Tag Archives: Everton

Top Players by Club – Part 2 of 4


Welcome to our look at the players that made the Premier League as watchable as ever, earned the respect of their peer group and endeared themself to their club’s fanbase – here’s our top player from every side:

Everton

Marouane Fellaini Everton

our fave

In a season not dissimilar to last year, or the one before that, or any year during the Moyesian Era, the Toffees have been highly watchable, relatively competitive and mid table once more. Marouane Fellaini sits front and centre of a resurgent second half of the season that has seen the blue half of Merseyside salivating over their future prospects. Look no further than the Old Trafford frenzy that saw us a little overwhelmed with:

YEEHHHHH!!!! If Everton aren’t your new second team then step right up onto the bandwagon and join our merry forray as we celebrate a title race in earnest. AT LAST! Indeed, we could sharpen our focus onto Fellaini’s fuzzy frock that seemed to give the impetus for a transcendental performance of epic proportions. The Belgian provided the best display from a box to box midfielder that I can care to remember and has afforded pundits from all points of the Earth a Monday night/Tuesday morning to relish. Thanking you.

No longer do we have to feign interest in the scramble for 4th, or the glamour of the scrap between teams like Bolton, Blackburn and Villa to put themselves through another season of abject disappointment in the top flight.

I love you Marouane

Enough of that then…

Fulham

Clint Dempsey Fulham

ahoy

Fulham have had a tumultuous year. At times devastatingly efficient, and at others, drastically lacklustre, Craven Cottage has certainly not been easy viewing for Fulham fans. Martin Jol has revamped his side with new faces with difficult names such as Progrebnyak, but more importantly, new positioning for several outstanding prospects. Swapping Belgian connoisseur, Dembele, with the swashbuckling Dempsey, has been a masterstroke, with Dembele developing towards a Xabi Alonso type figure, while our pick of the bunch, in Clint Dempsey, has been simply rampant. The American has been a revelation, completing a rights of passage towards European action at one of the supposed big four. Apparently Fulham are resigned to losing the man from the big US of A, already lining up new Dutch talent. They’ll have enormous size 14s to fill, however, with Dempsey’s return of 17 goals, 7 assists unparalleled within a mid-table outfit.

Liverpool

Martin Skrtel Liverpool Blindfold Defender

explains everything

In truth, few players to pull on the famous red in 2011/12 deserve positive recognition, but of the maybe 3 players to enhance their reputations, Martin Skrtel has been the unclear standout.  Skrtel has displayed the consistency that his salary warrants, but not much more. Resolute in the air, adhesive across the park (save the Drogba FA Cup goal) and dangerous aerially at the set piece, Skrtel has done more than simply offer a grammar-defying surname.  Liverpool’s defence was hailed as the finest in the land on FFTD before Brazilian road block, Lucas, was forced from the stage by injury. Since then, Skrtl and Agger have established a robust centre pairing that at least bodes well for seasons to come. Marto deserves the plaudits for not dropping his standards under trying conditions.

Manchester City

Yaya Toure Man City Ivory Coast

#yeyeyaya

It continues to astound that an air of negativity persists around Eastlands. City may have tipped their, at times, substantive lead into the garbage, and disappointed in Europe, but if you’ve been hiding in Hungary with Zoltan Gera, that Blue Moon progressing on its lunar orbit. Seriously progressing. Mr Mancini deserves much of the credit for banding his combustible set of stars into a committed unit. Despite golfing sojourns and the Balotelli, City have been the most dominant side throughout the year; irresistable across the pitch. From the ever-reliable Joe Hart to the ruthless Sergio Aguero, so many in their squad deserve a mention in this column; the ultimate accolade.

But there can only be one winner, and it has to be Yaya Toure who has been talismanic, providing a sturdiness across the centre of the pitch. One of Toure’s most striking strengths remains his discipline – fulfilling clearly defined roles for the team – never more evident than against Newcastle, where he wallowed, poised and ready, as a deep lying midfielder, until with startling effect, he was released forward to overwhelm the opposition and effectively win the title. Toure’s presence seems to preside over contests, with the Ivorian providing crucial interventions at key moments and discerning nuances within the ebb and flow of contests to utilise in his side’s favour. Opta Stats has developed a new methodology for determining the most impactful talent, citing the value of particular actions as variant. For example, the volume of goals is less important than the volume of winning goals, meaning the value of a goal is not a constant (scoring a winner is more impactful than Dzeko’s 6th in their 6-1 demolition). In this measure, it was Toure who featured atop the Man City combatants and near the summit of the wider Premier League pool of employees. To one of the more likeable figures in the English game, we salute you.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Everton: Howzit Steven Pienaar


Steven Pienaar Everton Football Soccer English Premier League Man United

S. Pienaar with his entry for #sloganonundershirtoftheyear

Everton are in the midst of their customary strong end of season finish that has seen them unbeaten in 6 league games and leading the league in key indicators such as possession, goals scored and chance creation. David Moyes’ merry men have found the back of the net 4 times in each of their last three outings; a first for the club. They have now conceded just the 15 times in the last 16 fixtures since the January window was jammed closed, with the only real blemish being in the midst of that comeback at Old Trafford. While before Christmas goals were the major struggle on Merseyside, the arrival of Jelavic, Pienaar and Gibson has produced something of a transformation for their attacking prowess. The most overwhelming proof: 15 goals in 5 exceeds the 13 from the previous 17 league encounters.

Of the trio, Pienaar and Gibson are proven Premier League performers, but the impact of Jelavic has been particularly impressive. Niki J, as he’s affectionately known, would be a veritable hype machine if it wasn’t for one Cisse in Newcastle – and his contribution should not be understated. The front man has been the definition of clinical, taking previously wasted half chances with aplomb. His report card reads 7 in 6 at the minute.

Pienaar has been as influential, and appears motivated in the blue shirt and tireless in his endeavours – two qualities sorely lacking at his unhappy, albeit fleeting, time in London. Standout efforts against Chelsea and United are particularly striking. Specifically, Pienaar’s distribution has been of the highest quality, not afraid to hold possession in more thought out and deliberate build ups. Pienaar is ahead of club averages in several leading barometers: he passes at 82% compared to the team average of 76%. Within this, his final third passing rate is 75%, a figure impressively high, particularly compared to the team’s 66% return. Just to stress this impressive return, across the league, attack minded midfielders typically score below the broader team average, as they are charged with the responsibility for defence splitting passes with a larger degree of difficulty and smaller margin of error.

Further, the South African provides a goal every 138 minutes compared to the next best in FFTD’s much loved Fellaini, who has an assist every 837 minutes and next in line right back Hibbert who provides at just above Marouane’s rate. Incidentally, since returning to Goodison, this is the highest rate of any player in the league. If that isn’t proof of the creativity and imagination of Everton’s best midfielder going forward, then we’ll bring his general chance creation figures for your perusal. Despite appearing only 11 times since January, he is already Everton’s 2nd most proficient manufacturer of goal scoring opportunities in absolute terms. He provides a chance every 28 minutes – well ahead of Leighton Baines at 44 minutes. (It’s worth noting that these figures could be skewed against Pienaar, as Baines takes set pieces to boost his output).

David Moyes is widely regarded for his shrewd squad management, continually scouring the bottom of Europe’s proverbial footballing pool for forgotten talent or untapped potential. But, this year, surely, Moyes should be admonished. The Toffees have moved sideways, trending to the downside, and the sale of Pienaar was an astoundingly poor piece of business. Often teams of lesser financial prowess rest on their povert-status as an excuse for mediocrity and this tag seems to fit Everton a little too snugly. The excuse of finishing above their red rivals is simply mere puff.

Instead of investing in lengthy surnames from Italy and the unproven youth of Greece, two signings that few would have thought could propel Everton from mid to top table, Moyes could have solidified his squad with Pienaar’s autograph. Jelavic is a genuine success even after just half a season and Everton’s future looks rosy with these two in tandem (look no further than their showing at Old Trafford last month). Pienaar’s sale is now a sunk cost and should not be a consideration in wooing him back to the club on a permanent basis. Signing the South African would be an admission of erroneous judgement a year ago, but not signing him would be repeating a mistake hampering progress into the future.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Tribute to Marouane…


Mr Fellaini

Mr Fellaini

YEEHHHHH!!!! If Everton aren’t your new second team then step right up onto the bandwagon and join our merry forray as we celebrate a title race in earnest. AT LAST! Indeed, we could sharpen our focus onto Fellaini’s fuzzy frock that seemed to give the impetus for a transcendental performance of epic proportions. The Belgian provided the best display from a box to box midfielder that I can care to remember and has afforded pundits from all points of the Earth a Monday night/Tuesday morning to relish. Thanking you.

No longer do we have to feign interest in the scramble for 4th, or the glamour of the scrap between teams like Bolton, Blackburn and Villa to put themselves through another season of abject disappointment in the top flight.

I love you Marouane

Tagged , , , , ,

Here We Go Again!


With the Premier League drawing to a close, and a couple of weeks before the World Cup bandwagon really starts to gain momentum, the transfer rumour mill is starting to churn. Each Thursday, the most far-fetched and obscure deals on the table will be sent straight to your screens.

Joey Cole

The much maligned Cole has been out of favour with new Chelsea boss Ancelloti and hampered by a flow of injuries. The talented Englishman is demanded 120,000 big ones each week to boot. Apparently, he isn’t keen on Anfield as they can’t offer him Champion’s League action. This is despite Cole barely featuring in Chelsea’s campaign. Cole has been linked all across Europe, but it is West Ham, surprisingly, who have emerged as favourites. Cole still gets a favourable reception each time he returns to Upton Park and his former club have hinted at bringing back Cole.

It seems a little bit of a stretch to see Cole go to 2010 premier league strugglers West Ham, who have a manager who is more than just “under pressure” and is more like “walking out the door”. But the Londoners have put their entire squad up for sale, save Scott Parker, and are looking for a raft of new talent that will reignite their push for European football, that did not seem a distant prospect in 2009.

The Equation

Free transfer + former starlet – huge wage demands – Premier League strugglers = 60%

Milos Krasic

Krasic produced strong performances against Sir Alex and his Red Devils in the Champions League this year and is being touted as one of Europe’s finer talents. With several United midfielders the wrong side of 30, Sir Alex is said to be willing to shell out 16 million for the attacking midfielder. CSKA Moscow have missed out on the Champions League for next year and a move to the biggest club in Europe must be tempting. United are in heavy debt, but this hasn’t deterred Sir Alex from promising new talent in the summer. United will be desperate to tie this up before Krasic goes to South Africa with Serbia, who are a definite dark horse, where his price tag could rise considerably.

The Equation

Promising talent + attacking spark – United’s debt = 70%

Steven Pienaar

Redknapp is never too far from transfer action. He’s labelled Man City as transfer bullies ahead of their all important class tonight, been linked to practically every player off contract in the summer and wading through the gaffer’s drivel and actual interest is a difficult task. Redknapp has always favoured chasing proven stars in the league that his side competes and this year, it’s no different. The Yids have been strongly linked with the blue half of Merseyside in an interesting swap deal. (Aren’t swap deals just the best – new players at both clubs, easy comparison between which side is left better off – think E’to and Ibrahimovic)

Basically, Tottenham want Pienaar, and Everton won’t part with the South African. To get over this, Robbie Keane is being used as a tantalising bait for the Toffees, who had to play Timmy Cahill upfront as a makeshift frontman, and Moyes will be may be tempted to bring in more cover upfront. Do Spurs really need another right sided player? Pienaar will surely be down the pecking order behind the likes of Modric and Bentley. But if their European aspirations do eventuate, then they will need to increase their squad size.

The Equation

Redknapp’s genius + attraction of Europe + Everton’s desire for a quality striker – Tottenham not desperate – Moyes seems hesitant = 30%

Tagged , , , , , , , ,