Everton have endured a miserable start to the season. David Moyes’ team find themselves in second last place with only two points from a possible 15 so far. Everton were completely outplayed by Newcastle and their inept display prompts the question whether the time has come for a change at Goodison Park?
Moyes’ team selection on Saturday was bizarre to say the least. He chose a distinctly defensive looking 4-5-1 formation even though Everton were playing at home against a newly-promoted Newcastle side. He has been unwilling to freshen up the side, instead sticking stubbornly to a group of trusted players playing in all the wrong positions. For instance, Moyes insisted on playing Marouane Fellaini as a second striker when it is clear that his best position is as a defensive midfielder. Other strange decisions were choosing to play centre-back Johnny Heitinga as a defensive midfielder and Leon Osman, a centre midfielder on the wing. For a manager who has been at the helm 8 years, it seems strange that he still doesn’t know which positions suit his players best.
With Moyes’ stubbornness and favouritism clearly evident, real competition for places has been lacking. Leon Osman, while an excellent centre midfielder, is simply not a great winger. However, Moyes insists on sticking with him despite his poor performances. Everton have been severely lacking any vivacity and excitement in their play and players such as Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, Seamus Coleman and Magaye Gueye are the type of players to inject a bit of vibrancy and pace into Everton’s attack. However, Moyes seems determined to stick with his tried and tested formula and these players are set to keep on scratching their heads, wondering whether they will ever get their time to show what they are truly capable of.
The crux of Everton’s problems has been a failure to strengthen the squad. The team has really struggled for goals and Moyes is faced with a striking crisis. He is currently without Louis Saha and Victor Anichebe who have been ruled out through injury. Moyes allowed talented youngster James Vaughan to go on loan to Crystal Palace where he has just scored his first hat-trick. That leaves Everton with Jermaine Beckford and Yakubu as their only striking options.
Moyes took a huge risk in signing Beckford on a free transfer from Leeds United and he has so far failed to impress; however, he has often been left isolated upfront on his own so it is not entirely his own fault. That means he is left with Yakubu with whom Moyes has had a fractious relationship. He is just coming back to fitness after a lengthy injury lay-off and was a threat when he came off the bench for Beckford, hitting the post for Everton in the dying minutes of the game. Whomever Moyes decides to start, he will be looking for an improvement if Everton want to get themselves out of the rut that they have created for themselves.
Under Moyes, there is a feeling that things have become a little predicable and stale. He has been at the club for 8 years and has steered Everton from a club in disarray to a club which has finished in 4th place in the Premier League and played Champions League football. With all that he has achieved at the club, there is a danger of complacency creeping into Moyes’ mindset as he is maybe going through the motions at Goodison Park.
The club has found itself caught between a rock and a hard place. They have established themselves as European contenders under Moyes but club chairman Bill Kenwright cannot provide the financial backing to the manager for Everton to make the next step into consistently playing Champions League football. Unless this happens, neither Moyes nor any potential replacement can make any significant improvements to Everton’s long term goals.
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