FanPost

What is the optimal Everton squad?

Everton has seen many different iterations of their team taking the pitch this year. My question is, which 11+7 do you think is best for the club (I'm going to stick to the 4-5-1 that Moyes prefers, but feel free to change up the formation if you think it best for the club.

Goalkeeper: Tim Howard - Not much to say here. Timmy has made a couple of mistakes this year, but overall he is the man for the job.

Defenders

Left Back: Leighton Baines - Again, Baines is the obvious LB choice. We do not seem to have any cover for him, which is worrying, but Baines is a great attacking threat. Although at times he can be a defensive liability, Baines' attacking play makes him an obvious choice.

Center Half (left): Sylvain Distin - Another steady starter this year, Distin has put in MotM performances on more the one occasion, although he is subject to a potentially costly mistake about once a game.

Center Half (right): Phil Jagielka - He's not on the England team for nothing. Jags always seems to get stuck into every match he plays and hardly loses his man.

Right Back: Philip Neville - The captain may not be the most talented man on the squad for this position, but he is included for his leadership. It always seems to me that the entire squad plays with more fire and drive whenever Neville is on the pitch and nobody wants to win more than Neville. If anyone remembers Neville's challenge on Ronaldo two years ago, you will know why this man lifts the entire club.

Midfielders

Left Midfielder: Steven Pienaar - Even though he is on his way out the door, Pienaar can be and usually is our most creative player on the pitch. His link up play with Baines makes the left side our attacking side (and by extension, our right side our defensive side)

Central Midfielder: Marouane Fellaini - Fellaini is a player who is able to take over the game by himself and dictate the pace of play. His height in the midfield is a spectacular asset on both defense and offense. He can be a little weak with the ball at his feet, but he has proven that he is fully deserving of the central midfield position.

Central Midfielder: Mikel Arteta - The vice-captain may not be playing at top form right now, but he provides us with some assets that are lacking on the rest of the field. He provides some goalscoring ability and a right-footed set piece taking option (even though i would prefer Baines to continue taking corners). Hopefully Arteta returns to his old creative form and also provides defense-opening passes.

Right Midfielder: Seamus Coleman - What's the best way to not allow defenses to exploit your aging right back? Play two defenders on the right. Seamus started out as a RB so having him as protection for Neville seems good. Also, Coleman appears to be markedly improving at the right midfield position and can be a threat to go on runs forward.

Attacking Midfielder: Tim Cahill - With the rest of the club struggling to find scoring form, Cahill seems to be picking up the slack. It is necessary to have someone on the pitch who can reliably score, so even though the major criticism of Cahill (he doesn't do anything when he's not scoring) may ring true, his inclusion seems necessary in our lackluster offense.

Forward

Striker: Yakubu Ayegbeni - This pick is really a Yakubu vs. Saha choice which I think Yakubu wins out. My criticism of Saha is the same as Cahill, and he hasn't been on his scoring form all season. Yakubu brings better link up play with the five midfielders and the ability to poach the odd goal himself.

Bench

GK Jan Mucha - obviously a backup GK is needed on the bench and Mucha is the man for Everton.

DM/CB John Heitinga - John Heitinga is a solid cover for the defensive parts of our field as he is able to play CB and DM (RB in a pinch). Heitinga has been battling fitness this year, but he has been a strong player in our setup years past.

CM Jack Rodwell - Jack Rodwell narrowly missed out on the starting lineup in my opinion and is a great young star. He has the ability to track the opposing AM as well as get forward himself. He is a great box-to-box midfielder of the future.

ST Louis Saha - Saha can still provide some scoring spark in games where we are losing.

ST Jermaine Beckford - Jermaine Beckford's pace can be a real threat to defenses off the bench if he is able to start playing at the Premier League level

CM Leon Osman - Osman brings experience in the central midfield position and can play RM in a pinch

LM Diniyar Bilyaletdinov - The winger has proven his worth to the side in the past, but he has not been playing well at all this year.

 

This is my XI when the entire team is ready and fit. What's yours?

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