WHO Poll

tnb 12:00 Sun Dec 10
What is Moyes' first team?
Moyes has seen 5 games now and has had injuries to contend with, some of which are ongoing, but he must be pretty close to having an idea of his first XI now and I reckon we are seeing signs of what it is. So, if everyone was fit, who do we reckon is in his thoughts? May also give us some indication as to potential January activity.

Adrian has to be his first choice keeper now. He's made a big call dropping Hart, and to change back now would likely cause big issues as Adrian would feel even more mucked about and Hart would be coming in with less confidence than he had before. Having made that call, I think he will stick with it (and I hope so too, but that's neither here nor there).

Reid is surely a shoe-in at centre half. Alongside him, we haven't really seen how he ranks Ogbonna, Collins, and Fonte as he's only had the former available so far. What do we reckon he would/ will do when all three are fit? For me, I'm not sure Ogbonna has done enough to keep the shirt but this is an intriguing one. I'd rather Collins, and for no other reason than a hunch I have a feeling Moyes may eventually do so too. Ogbonna could well leave if I am right, and cover aside I wouldn't be too disappointed plus it might give Rice a chance.

At full back we don't really have any meaningful competition- Byram is permanently crocked it seems and has never managed to hold down a starting place under previous managers, and Masuaku seems to be considered more on the wing (rightly so in my opinion). So Zabaleta and Cresswell for now, but I wouldn't be surprised to see another left back come in soon at the very least to offer competition and cover. I know some people don't rate Zabaleta but the way Moyes often left him on his own at the end today in order to give Cresswell extra cover suggests he trusts him.

On the wings, one of Moyes' first decisions seems to have been that Masuaku is a left winger and also the first choice left winger, even if it means moving Arnautovic around. A good call, for me, and Masuaku has done enough to justify it. That probably leaves Ayew as cover for that spot, plus up front it we are desperate. Therefore, it's a fight between Arnautovic and Antonio on the right. I'd favour Antonio, but will Moyes? And to be fair Arnautovic did his cause a lot of good today, and not just with the goal. If he does decide to go with Arnautovic, I wouldn't be surprised to see Antonio leave either in January or in the summer at least if Moyes stays. I'd be gutted, but that's how I see it.

Lanzini is clearly the best 'number 10' at the club, ought to play there, and despite Moyes' history of preferring a bit of a lump there I suspect he will do so. Displacing Antonio/Arnautovic, or Masuaku seems unlikely and a waste of his talent. Could probably do with some cover for him, mind you.

In central midfield, it's a choice of 2 or in certain games 3 of Noble, Obiang, Kouyate, and Fernandes. For me I suspect Moues would rather Obiang and Kouyate, plus Noble if we at a third person there, with potentially and hopefully a new addition coming in for Obiang in the next window. We stillneed cover there, albeit Rice can do a job, so I wouldn't expect Obiang to leave in that scenario but of course it depends how he reacts.

Up front is the big question. As discussed elsewhere, I doubt he sees Carroll as Plan A and thank fuck for that. I'd love to be able to turn things around with Sakho but it seems that ship has well and truly sailed. Presumably- surely - Moyes doesn't see makeshift strikers like Ayew and Antonio (as outstanding as he was at times today) as a regular answer once others are fit. Which leaves Hernandez. Given the rumours about Moyes not trusting him at Man Utd, albeit with better alternatives than he currently has, it will be very interesting to see how this plays out once Hernandez is properly fit. This is another position I can see being added to in January, potentially with Hernandez leaving too which would be very disappointing but there we go.

Personally, post January, I can see the 'all available' first team looking like this:


New LB/ Cresswell

New CM


New Striker

Bench of Hart, Rice, Byram, Noble, Fernandes, Ayew or Antonio (one will probably leave in this scenario), Carroll.

Any thoughts?

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Sniper 10:45 Tue Dec 12
Re: What is Moyes' first team?
I think Antonio will be very important to him - he ticks a lot of moyes boxes in that he's quick and hard working upnfront but also strong and good in the air. Everton Moyes used to have Saha yakubu or anichebe up top with Cahill off them (although often with Cahill furthest forwards as Saha and anichebe were usually injured for half the season and yakubu was secretly 90 and couldn't play all the time). Antonio could doneither of those roles - the Cahill or front man one as well as playing out wide. Interesting to not see Carroll used at the weekend as well - I can't imagine moyes will have been impressed with what he's seen of him so far

Mex Martillo 7:33 Tue Dec 12
Re: What is Moyes' first team?
Exile, it is interesting that Cresswell played as a left centre back. But with a clean sheet against Chelsea I think he will be there as long as he is fit and the back line keep clean sheets. I cannot see Colins or Font coming in before him unless we start leaking goals again. All down to his and the defenses performance, as it should be.

Darby_ 7:29 Tue Dec 12
Re: What is Moyes' first team?
Listening to him being interviewed, I don’t think that there is a first team. It’s going to be horses for courses. As has been said, Antonio and Arnie were picked for their hard work and pace on the break. Chelsea try to play it out from the back, so the plan was for Antonio, Arnie and Sak to get in their faces as soon as their defenders received the ball from the goalie.

El Scorchio 7:03 Mon Dec 11
Re: What is Moyes' first team?
He's said horses for courses as far as strikers are concerned- i.e. the likes of Antonio and Arnie for games like Chelsea where presumably he expects they will have to work hard, track back and break quickly.

Maybe the likes of Hernandez and Carroll in games where he expects us to have more of the ball in attacking situations and there's less pressure on them to work hard defensively.

Sounds like he's going to be flexible and tailor line up and tactics to the opposition, which is something I'm in favour of.

cornish 6:56 Mon Dec 11
Re: What is Moyes' first team?
I think it varies a bit from game to game.

the exile 6:51 Mon Dec 11
Re: What is Moyes' first team?
Good thread, this, but I'm surprised nobody has brought up the issue of Cresswell being played as a left-sided CB. He seems to have done OK, but I would be surprised if he continued in that position if Fonte and Collins were fit. So with Arthur looking like he's nailed down the left wing-back position, where does that leave Cressewell? He has been really poor this season and is criminally one-footed for a player at this level, but like many of the players, his form has improved under the new manager.

Alex Bunbury 9:18 Mon Dec 11
Re: What is Moyes' first team?
I think one of the earlier posters was right in that we need to see how Moyes approaches games against lower placed teams. What was interesting was that he went with mobility up front against Chelsea even bringing Sakho on ahead of Carroll, Hernandez and Ayew. One of the problems we often had under Bilic was one up front with no mobility and on that basis I can see Antonio player up there more often.

nychammer 3:35 Mon Dec 11
Re: What is Moyes' first team?
I think Whoever we get In January (and we will surely be in the market) will tell us volumes about Moyes and his first eleven. Right now he’s working with Bilics side, however I think we starting to see him getting through to some of the players, like Cresswell, who’s form had dropped away under Bilic.

Vexed 1:43 Mon Dec 11
Re: What is Moyes' first team?
No chance will he play Collins unless there is a huge aerial threat he's worried about. Ogbonna is a shoe-in at the moment.

I'd expect he'll go with a similar set up with Arnie and Antonio playing striker like roles. Both are big and mobile and Moyes likes a big man up top. Carroll and Hernandez will be benched imo. Sakho may get more game time.

Interesting to see how we line up against Arsenals shaky defence.

gph 1:30 Mon Dec 11
Re: What is Moyes' first team?
Íþróttabandalag Vestmannaeyja

ACIrons 5:03 Sun Dec 10
Re: What is Moyes' first team?
It's a squad game these days so no 'first' team.

cup of tea 2:20 Sun Dec 10
Re: What is Moyes' first team?
What is Moyes' first team? CELTIC

Moyes made over 540 league appearances as a centre-half in a playing career that began with Celtic, where he won a championship medal. He then played for Cambridge United, Bristol City, Shrewsbury Town and Dunfermline Athletic before ending his playing career with Preston North End

, 12:20 Sun Dec 10
Re: What is Moyes' first team?
There seems to be real competition for starting places except for each full back position.

Willtell 12:04 Sun Dec 10
Re: What is Moyes' first team?
The nice thing about Moyes so far is that he doesn't have a first team set in stone. Play poorly and you are likely to lose out is now the way it goes.

I'm looking forward to see what happens January now as it seems some players will be leaving...

WHUDeano 11:31 Sun Dec 10
Re: What is Moyes' first team?
Football is an easy game. With the defence we have, we simply must use a back 3. I would hazard a guess that in the games both Bilic & Moyes have used a back 3, we have won or come close. Sullivan said Bilic saved his job with the wins at the end of last season...we played with a back 3. Every consecutive run of clean sheets/wins have come with a back 3.

Reid, Ogbonna, Collins, Fonte - none have the pace to play in a centre back pairing. What has made it even worse is having two full backs in Creswell and Zabaleta who also are both slow, if one player is caught out of position nobody has the pace to cover. Also, this season we have had a goalkeeper with lead in his boots seemingly incapable of saving anything that involves him needing to dive quickly to his left.

With three across the back it gives the extra cover needed to make up for the lack of pace. Also, they are all past 30 and have huge experience and as a unit make life very difficult for opposition forwards.

To suggest returning to a flat back 4 without signing at least 2 (if not 3) players with pace to fit around Reid would be suicidal. With a back 3 we suddenly look a lot more settled and solid, same with a player like Antonio up front running the channels (like Sakho did in Bilic's first season). I would say that all this team is missing now is one or two top quality central midfielders to replace Kouyate (decent player but hasn't progressed and looks de-motivated and stale) & Noble. Both would be ok on the bench, but a player like Fellaini would be an obvious upgrade on Kouyate in the role that Moyes wants him to play, and I'd guess he'd want a general younger upgrade on Noble - good on the ball, can pass and has bags of energy. I think we missed a trick not going in for the lad from Derby who Watford signed - Will Hughes. But there will be more out there, hopefully Sullivan can keep out of it and let Henry & Moyes pick up where they left off at Everton - Stones has been the one talked about, but didn't they also sign people like Jagielka & Seamus Coleman?

Overall I've been very impressed with Moyes so far, and fully expect him to have us safely mid table by Feb - hopefully with a Wembley final to look forward to.

Sven Roeder 11:07 Sun Dec 10
Re: What is Moyes' first team?
I wouldn’t get too definitive about things until we get past the Arsenal game and start playing the rest of the 14 also rans of the Premier League.
Moyes has done a good job in these two games vs superior opponents but he has to find something that works when it’s Stoke or Bournemouth... which he (& mainly the players ) couldn’t manage against Watford or Everton.
Longer term (ie post Jan transfer window) we need to have more quality in midfield to have the ball up the pitch and get the likes of Arnautovic, Lanzini & Antonio into the game to create and score goals. We basically need a type like Kante yesterday...winning the ball,providing an outlet , holding the ball & knitting the team together. Unfortunately we can’t keep the ball well enough and our passing in there is poor.
And we need to work out how best to use Carroll, Pea & Sahko to create a goal threat. They all have a role to play and are better than what the teams around us have.

Iron2010 11:02 Sun Dec 10
Re: What is Moyes' first team?
I like the side that he went with yesterday. Arnie and Antonio have to compete with the forwards for a starting position in my opinion. A lot of Slavs undoing was the 424 to accommodate both of them, Chic and at times Carroll.

Our squad suits this 352 down to the ground.

Mex Martillo 10:54 Sun Dec 10
Re: What is Moyes' first team?
Godwinson, I agree, Obiang is a key player for Moyes. Obiang has played every game for Moyes in the same position in front of the defense and he started of with his usual (of late) rubbish, but Moyes stuck with him and he is starting to look good.

Yes, I also agree, that Moyes rates Ogbonna also a consistent selection and with the goals and defensive play is becoming a first choice.

Moyes is playing Kouyate as a forward defensive midfielder that breaks play up high up the pitch and can also attack and score goals. I like it and it looks good to me.

Also I agree Zabaleta is by far our best player this season. It is a bit sad that an aging defender can outshine the youngesters so clearly, but that is how it is and if he keeps it up he will be my hammer of the season.

Fifth Column 10:39 Sun Dec 10
Re: What is Moyes' first team?
Ogbonna has been poor this season but then so have most players. He's been much better the last couple of matches like most of them. I think he'll be first choice with Reid.

Not sure why you'd have Kouyate instead of Obiang and I doubt Moyes would do that. Kouyate is not great in centre mid. His best position is centre half but it seems he thinks he's Patrick Viera. I like him but I think he may be sold in January to bring some cash and invest in a better player.

Also based on the logic that Masuaku, Arnautovic and Antonio all play in the same position and we only have two spots then why would we sell one of them? We have injuries, lots of matches, no need to sell any of them.

My biggest question to the original post though is - Zabaletta? Who does not rate him? I'd say he's been our most consistent player, is a warrior and very classy and composed on the ball. He's getting on a bit so can't play every match and Byram isn't the answer so I see us buying a better right back for cover in January.

Godwinson 10:21 Sun Dec 10
Re: What is Moyes' first team?
Moyes seems to rate Obiang and knows how best to use him as well as several other players. I’d expect Obiang to be one of his key midfielders.

What a relief we have a manager who at least knows what he wants from the players at his disposal!!!

Mex Martillo 10:17 Sun Dec 10
Re: What is Moyes' first team?
I think your analysis is not right because you misunderstand how Moyes is putting his team together.
He has a back 4 or 5 (has been from Zalaleta, Reid, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Rice and Masuaku)
Then a single defensive midfielder (Obiang)
Then he has a 3 - 4 midfielders, this includes a defensive midfielder that plays behind the forward (Kouyate or Noble) an attacking forward (Lanzini) and wing backs Masuaku / Zabuleta
Single forward Carroll or Antonio

Having said that it is a dynamic team at times we have 2 forwards or 3 central backs, the thing is the players are fast to get into a defending formation which yesterday was a back 5, then Obiang and then 3 defending midfielders, only Antonio and Skaho had the luxury of staying “forward” and even then both Antonio and Sakho put a lot of pressure on the defenders, which the Chelsea midfield were often forced to pass back to. It was a great performance yesterday. Going forward we often had 2 or 3 quickly attacking, Mainly Antonio supported by Arnautovic and either Lanzini or Noble.

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