NOV
11
2012
Rocky Balbluer...
Best Fit For Fellaini
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Marouane has been the nuts up to now this season. In fact he's been the nuts for the past 3 years. Since the opening game of the season against Manure he's grabbed headlines with goals scored and his Velcro chest. In fact the defining image from an uncharacteristically good start for the Blues would have to be Felly rising through the air to meet an aerial ball with his chest and bringing it effortlessly to his feet; shrugging off inferior players (Joe Allen for example) in the process. Playing in a more advanced position has definitely poured yet more limelight over our prized asset but at what cost? Now I don't want to totally rubbish one of the success stories of our season but I really don't think it's best for all occasions. I have my reasons for this; they are threefold:  

 

First of all is our overall style of play. To put it bluntly we play a lot of long balls to Fellaini when he is further up the pitch. It's not pretty but it has been effective this season. My concern is that it is not effective enough to sacrifice the close, intricate play Evertonians have been getting so used to over the last 10 months. The ball goes long first and if it is brought down by Fellaini the rest of the team have to catch up. When he is in a deeper role, short, simple passes become the ball of choice for everyone in a blue shirt which, as a general rule of football, leads to a better quality of chance in front of goal. The team advance as a unit, allow more bodies to get into attacking positions and break up the shape of an opposition.

 

The second reason is that Fellaini breaks up play better than any other midfielder currently plying their trade in the Premier league. This side of his game is almost totally lost when playing in a more advanced position and could even be a reason for the goals we've leaked recently that have turned winnable games into draws. Phil Neville has been more cover for the marauding Coleman of late so centrally we have missed the extra barrier of defence that Fellaini can provide.

 

The third reason and also the reason why we can comfortably adapt back to having Fellaini in a deeper role is Nikica Jelavic. With Fellaini acting as target man, Jelavic is no longer the focal point of our attack and it appears to be adversely affecting his game. He is seeing a lot less of the ball than he is used to and looks rusty when he gets himself in the positions that seemed to always end in a goal last season. I don't think we would lose the goal threat that Fellaini provides by dropping him back again. That threat would simply come in the form of Jelavic instead.

 

Obviously it is a matter of opinion and this just so happens to be mine. I would rather see us set our stall out with a short game in the majority of matches and in order for us to do this Fellaini has to play deeper. This also has the added benefits of enabling Fellaini to display all aspects of his magnificent game and resets the natural balance of our attack by making Jelavic the spear head. In games against stronger teams and certain away games I do still think deploying Fellaini higher up the pitch can be an effective weapon but it should be the exception rather than the rule.

 

The form of two other midfielders could dictate where Fellaini finds himself playing for the remainder of the season. If Leon Osman continues to perform at what is now an international standard in a deeper role then maybe Fellaini will find himself in a more attacking role for the foreseeable future. However if Ross Barkley continues to display his goal scoring capabilities in an advanced role for Sheff Wed then Moyes will have no choice but to recall him and place Fellaini back in his natural position. With Gibson to return to the fold also Moyes will soon find himself with the high class problem of which three central midfielders from a possible five (if you include Neville) he starts with. Rocky Balbluer.

Follow Rocky on twitter @johnsimms1878

 

Comments about Best Fit For Fellaini
6
I totally agree, especially with the 3rd point about Jela no longer been the spearhead of the attack. its a point i made at half time on saturday. Felli was bought as a holding midfielder and he says himself its his best position. (i dont know where the first 2 comments get their facts from). The best midfield 3 would be Gibbo and Felli holdin with osman playing the advanced role. And ofcourse Kev and Pienaar on the wings.
Mark, Widnes , 2:10 PM 12/11/2012
5
Yeah I can understand where you are coming from, I mean look at how well we started to play when he came deeper against sunderland. And I do remember seeing somewhere that last season when he was deeper he made the most tackles except for Cabaye, which shows his ability to break up play. Along with his size and strength, it does seem that he can actually tackle now too. However, I think that with him playing upfront we have another route to goal, along with that of down the left with baines and pienaar and down the right with mirallas and coleman. We do play a lot of long balls to him, but theyre not hopeful long balls, it seems like jags could hit a flea on a dogs arse from 80 yards most of the time. I think we should keep fellaini in the advanced role until maybe a player like mirallas or naismith can play behind jelavic and we can use the Croatian for a target man, then we can have mirallas and naismith, who both have pace and can finish, can play off him. Or maybe even Barkley when he comes back. I do understand with what you are saying, but imagine if we had another arteta in the team to play alongside gibson. We would then have our giant playmaker and goalscorer behind jelavic, then have gibson tidying up and protecting the back 4 and then a creative magician in the centre ( you could argue that ozzy has played that since arteta has gone but I would prefer someone a little heavier/stronger ). Sorry for the long post :)
Jay, Waterloo, 11:30 AM 12/11/2012
4
I thought he said he could play in any of three positions? All I'm saying is we just look a more balanced team with him deep. Take the Sunderland game as an example. Before he dropped back we had the lion's share of the game but it just didn't seem to quite connect. As soon as he was in the middle of the park it all just clicked. It's not as though he's shackled to the centre circle if he starts deeper. He scored one and magnificently set one up from that position. It's not as though we played badly at the back end of last season with him deep either. If I'm going to be pedantic he played in an advanced role in the only game we've lost in the last 19(ish). I can't remember the stat but didn't go about 4 hours of football winning every tackle he put in?
Rocky, L4, 12:16 AM 12/11/2012
3
He (Fellaini) proved this is a great position for him on our road to Wembley when he played further forward with Cahill and even Cahill dropped deeper against Middlesbrough. The beauty of his versatility is he can easily drop back alongside Gibson as Osman can play wide and Neville RB. With Mirallas, Pienaar and Naismith comfortable on either side we are very happy. I agree though it'll be a nice headache when Gibbo is fit again and Barkley would be a bonus ditto Vellios. Coyb ETID
John, Huyton, 11:08 PM 11/11/2012
2
I don't agree Rocky. Felli himself says the present formation suits him best, and the minute he drops back we lose effectiveness up front. For your second point, when Gibson's back we won't need Felli to drop back. As for Jelavic, he's having an overdue poor run, it happens to everybody, but he'll be okay. Overall Moyes has got it right as he usually does. Once Gibbo's back and Mirallas also I think you'll find the team is even more formidable than before.
Spectator, Crosby, 7:48 PM 11/11/2012
1
Nonsense, Fellaini was bought as an attacking midfielder. He terrifies teams when playing in and around their penalty area, he takes a number of opposition players with him as one marker isn't enough to stop him thus creating space for Jelavic, Pienaar and Mirallas to expose. We dont always go long, Baines and Pienaar/ Mirallas down the left is as good any combination in the League. Leave the big man up top wreaking havoc, and enjoy him until January!!!
Marshall, Crosbyshire, 7:42 PM 11/11/2012
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