The Beckford Question

It was a devastating result yesterday, and rightly or wrongly a lot of players are getting a large amount of stick from fans. One of those players is Jermaine Beckford.

Beckford started yesterday as the lone striker with Tim Cahill technically playing off him as an attacking midfielder. Throughout the first half, he moved into offside positions and continuously played balls off into space where no other players where. As such, he generated a lot of criticism from the fans inside Goodison Park.

However, a closer look at how he was utilised and how he played indicates that a lot of this flak being thrown his way isn´t all his fault.

Whilst at Leeds United, Beckford played alongside Luciano Becchio, a 6ft1 target man. Becchio was often the focal point for passing from the midfield whilst Beckford ran into the channels and the space created by Becchio´s presence.

It was no secret that Beckford was not a target man. He was not a player who drew others into play or indeed a player who contributed much to the defensive side of the game.

He was, however, a natural goalscorer, and found plenty of success at Elland Road.

Yesterday he was asked to do a job he simply could not do. He was asked to do a Becchio and Beckford combined – hold up the ball for others as well as attack in behind the defence.

Beckford was the only offensive player who made runs off the ball yesterday. At one point in the first half, he made a diagonal run inside the opposition left-back and centre-half but the ball was not sent his way by Phil Neville, leaving Beckford infuriated.

At another point, Beckford receives a route one ball from Phil Jagielka and chested it down into space – but nobody was there, because Tim Cahill was 10 yards behind the play.

In short, Beckford was asked to do two jobs and did neither very well.

Jermaine scored 10 goals in his debut season at Everton, mostly when asked to play on his own or as a substitute off the bench. That is not a bad return. When looking at Cahill, Saha and Fellaini – all of which used in an advance role yesterday – they did not compare with Beckford in terms of his movement.

Beckford alongside Cahill does not work. Beckford on his own up front does not work. Therefore, David Moyes needs to utilise a goalscorer correctly, something he has continuously failed to do during his time at Goodison Park.

If that means leaving out Tim Cahill to play two pure strikers up front, so be it, because Evertons problems don´t lie in our tendency to ship goals (we very rarely receive a beating), it´s our tendency to not score goals.

We do not have a complete forward at the club, so lets make use of what we have, have some faith in our ability to keep things tight at the back whilst having a go at the opposition. With the absence of wingers, 4-5-1 simply doesn´t work.

So I implore David Moyes; against Sheffield United and Blackburn, regardless of how thin our squad is, go for 4-4-2. Use Anichebe or Vellios if need be, but take a risk and play a side that´s designed to go out and get goals.

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