Mike Taylor...
Moyes Striker Problems
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Last weekend marked the end of what has been a barren spell in front of goal for our number 7. The release of frustration was clear for all to see as the man who thrives on scoring goals, notched his first in over 3 months against the defending champions. His deflected effort was just his 7th league goal of the season.

After last season's exploits, fans and presumably David Moyes had high expectations for Jelavic this term. After all, this is the man who was the quickest player to reach 10 goals for Everton in a century. His stuttering campaign may not have come as a surprise to some fans, many strikers find their second season in England tough - 'second season syndrome' if you will. However more worryingly, we have been here before.

The trend perhaps started with £450,000 striker, Marcus Bent. The much-travelled front-man was never a prolific goal scorer for the Blues; he did however serve a purpose and led us to the famous 4th place finish in 2004/05. The arrival of James Beattie combined with Moyes' preferred 4-4-1-1 formation proved to be the end for Bent. The record £6 million Beattie was always going to be first-choice and Bent found himself operating from the right flank on a number of occasions. He was eventually sold to Charlton Athletic for a healthy profit and top English goal scorer of the previous season, Andy Johnson was soon drafted in. This time, it was Beattie's turn to play second fiddle and as frustrations grew with the striker's unsatisfactory form, the former England man was moved on to Sheffield United in the summer of 2007.

The trend continued, as yet another record buy was made in the form of Yakubu Aiyegbeni from Middlesbrough. Like Bent, Johnson found himself operating on the right-wing when he was given a chance in the first 11. And in similar fashion, Johnson also saw his future away from Goodison Park. The same scenario can be described for Yakubu himself and also Louis Saha, but I think we get the idea?

Unfortunately for Evertonians, some of the aforementioned strikers were moved on for big losses - most namely, Yakubu who was sold for a loss of around £10 million. He moved to a struggling Blackburn side who were in the thick of a relegation dog fight. He rediscovered his goal scoring touch and went on to score 13 goals in the 2011/12 season, which was almost enough to single handily save Blackburn. The same could also be said, to a lesser degree for James Beattie who averaged better than a goal every other game for Sheffield United albeit some of which were scored outside of the Premier League.

Jelavic's loss of form then should not have come as much as a surprise, as he isn't the first striker under Moyes to start brightly and eventually fade away. However it does feel different, the fashion of his goals last term and his one-touch, killer instinct in the box has meant that many Evertonians still have the confidence that he will be able to rekindle his fine form of last season.

The signs however aren't good, all too often this season Jelavic has been found on the wings trying to get involved with play - sound familiar? As noble as this may sound, that isn't what he's there to do - we need him in the middle to finish off moves and take advantage of anything that falls his way just like he did when he first signed.

Questions have to be asked regarding Moyes and what exactly he instructs his strikers to do as it appears to be a recurring theme. After his goal against Manchester City, it will be intriguing to see if this proves to be the confidence boost Jelavic needed to buck that trend and fire us into European competition. Let's hope this is the case and he doesn't become yet another striker in Moyes' graveyard. Mike Taylor. @KingsofGoodison

Comments about Moyes Striker Problems
Dixie Dean: 1927/28 - 60 goals; 1928/29 - 26 goals. Clearly, another failed striker. Form is temporary, class is...
Murph, Cambridge, 9:06 PM 27/03/2013
Tommy #11 Yes he was our record buy but it wasn't like Madrid, Barca, Man Utd etc were chasing him was it? Or even Newcastle, Villa etc. That's what I mean by grade A. Negredo is a Spanish International, and they are a pretty fine outfit! Yakubu was expensive because it was a premier league team to premier league team transaction, always cost more.
alpha1, England, 8:58 PM 27/03/2013
Very good article - I agree with it in its entirety. Maybe Moyes should call on Michael Kenrick from toffeeweb - he's an arrogant sod who claims he's got all the answers - he would just barge into the opposition defences and create mayhem although whether he would score is doubtful because he can't see the wood for the trees
Martin Jones, Childwall, 8:28 PM 27/03/2013
Heard all this crap before. It was Moyes who boosted their playing careers not the other way round. None of them were scaring the daylights out of anyone before they came here. Moyes got the best out of them and that was proved after they left.
Tony, Stoneycroft, 5:17 PM 27/03/2013
Very, very good article this. I completely agree with the argument. It's happened to too many strikers to pass it off as a coincidence and why would every single one of them start so brightly and then after a while completely go off the boil like the article mentions. As for replies 4 and 5, Yakubu was a record buy at the time and 2nd highest premier league goal scorer behind Henry. He had gone before his injury and Moyes never gave him a chance to bring him back properly. He was scoring goals for an awful Blackburn side. If we get Negredo, it will be the same story again and he'll just end up on the wing like the rest of them.
Tommy, Sefton, 4:41 PM 27/03/2013
Agree with number 4 - the strikers mentioned didn't go on to better things when they were sold on, and when people talk of ruining strikers they never mention Rooney do they? He wasn't ruined! I just think that under Moyes we have never actually bought in what could be termed as a grade A striker. Even Yakubu was not in that top bracket, although he did cost a lot and he did do well for us initially. Jelavic was a bargain, if we get a top striker and he flunks then maybe the finger can be pointed to Moyes and his system and handling of the player. If we got someone like Negredo then it will be different. We would have a genuine world class striker. Can we afford him though?
Alpha1, England, 1:58 PM 27/03/2013
Sorry folks, all my fault. Every time i have Jelly in my fantasy football team he never scores. Took him out for the City game, boom....GOAL!!! Same happened with Fella & Peanuts in the previous game. Took 'em out, Boom X 2....Goal!!! No more blues will be picked = Goals, Goals, Goals....COYB...9 more cup finals. Everyone get behind the team. Let's pi** of Sky and everyone else who doesn't have a clue what it is to be a Blue.....Finish 4th!
Ciaran, Dublin, 1:38 PM 27/03/2013
Bit of an exaggeration this. None of the strikers who left did anything particularly spectacular. The Yak's first class career was finished when he ruptured an Achilles tendon, which is why his transfer value dropped dramatically. Last I heard he was playing in China. None of the others became anything other than journeyman strikers, probably their spells at Everton were the peak of their playing careers. Jelavic's dry run has coincided with less effectiveness from Bainsey-Pienaar, who are now marked much closer and can't get in as many crosses as previous. Mirallas and Coleman on the other wing are still developing and have only been able to do so in recent weeks. I don't agree at all that Moyes is 'defensive.' He does what he can with what he has and what we can afford. All strikers have bad runs, look at the most expensive of them all, Torres. People should put things in perspective.
Spectator, Crosby, 12:42 PM 27/03/2013
In my opinion Jelavic is a fantastic intelligent "one touch box player " and the fans still have a lot of faith that he will come good again. What I find strange / can't work out is why he ends up going out wide at all. When we have our strongest team out we have Piennar and Mirallas who are good wide players and two very good attacking fullbacks in Baines and Coleman who support them. In view of this, is he instructed to go out wide or drift out there due to lack of service ? My worry is that like the other players mentioned he will eventually reach the point that he becomes so fed up with the system he is playing in and like many before him moves on .
COYBL25, WOOLTON, 12:36 PM 27/03/2013
Totally agree with every word, been saying the same for ages now. I'm a fan of Moyes and want him to stay but he does seem to ruin good strikers. Jelavic needs to be told not to go near a wing and the midfielders need to be told to be either threading balls through the middle or hard and low across the box where Jela is most dangerous. He's not a hold up player, he's a 'shoulder of the last man' player. We need to play less balls high to Fellaini for flicking on and more to the feet of Pienaar, Baines, Mirallas, Gibson and to a lesser extent Osman who can all play a nice forward pass for Jela to pounce on.
Bored, Work, 11:28 AM 27/03/2013
You have to persist with strikers through barren spells and I feel hes been dropped at the wrong times. He's a quality player, with a fantastic work rate and still egts in all the right position, difference now is he snatching at chances because hes desperate to score. The big problem as highlighted for me in the article is he isn't supported properly and provided with the ball in the right areas. If this was true he'd of banged a load in this season guaranteed. Yes!!! hes missed a few sitters but hes had some bad luck too!(header off the crossbar against Chelsea!) To get the best out of him we need to stop playing Felli up front with him and use Osman or, dare I say it, Naismith in behind him. Naismith has never been allowed to play in his natural position since pre season, and has moyes forgot Jelavic said himself how great a strike partner he was. I for one have been surprised how poor nais is but moyes must know he's better than what he shows us yet still plays him on the wing!
Jamie, Newcastle, 9:05 AM 27/03/2013
Whilst acknowledging that Jelli should be, for want of a better word, ' goal hanging' a bit more,. It's also worth considering that the midfield are not creating the same kind of chances that he thrived on earlier. He's also been culpable of missing some gilt edged opportunities, but keep the faith with him. He'll come good.
Willsy, Salford, 8:33 AM 27/03/2013
I wonder how many goals RVP would score playing hold up and chasing every unsupported wide forward pass. I suspect very few. This has to do with DM's work ethic, no player being allowed to perform only one task. The unfortunate truth is, sadly, that strikers can not conform fully to this mantra. To poach a goal in and around the box you need to be in and around the box. Jelli has been exceptional this season,working like a Trojan week in week out. He just hasn't scored many goals. Like so many seasons the strikers exertions create space for midfielders to score,Tim or Ossie or Felli,they just decrease the likelihood of a prolific season for the front man. What I can't understand is why isn't Big Dunc drafted in to work with Jelli, Vic and Conor?
Win, Stafford, 7:40 AM 27/03/2013
So true. I noticed it with jelly from the start of the season. It's like moyes thinks his strikers should be doing more work to help the team but that just stops them doing the role there intended for.
Monty, Liverpool, 7:20 AM 27/03/2013
This is a pretty good article, something people have been discussing and quite accurate. I would like to know why this keeps happening as would everyone else.
Fleety, Cheshire, 10:30 PM 26/03/2013
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