Another chance and another game came and went for our striker Nikica Jelavic last Saturday. I actually thought he did quite well for 20 minutes against Fulham, he showed some nice touches in link up play and got himself involved. Unfortunately, things began to fall apart for the Croatian once again, as the game went on and the few shots he had went awfully wrong. He was the dragged off for youngster Ross Barkley near 65 minutes.
So what’s the problem with last seasons deadly striker? In my eyes there are 3 opinions from Evertonians everywhere:
The Lack of Service –
Many Evertonians believe that manager Moyes does have a tendency to ruin strikers. For a long time I have opposed this. The reason for this being Beattie, Johnson, Yakubu and Saha all had injuries during their times here and only one of them was completely useless when properly fit. But with Jelavic, it’s starting to show that he’s not getting the right service. Look at his goals last season, all pulls backs with Jelavic slotting it home. Now his shots seem to be more from build up play and snapshots.
There is also the argument that Fellaini being the focal point of the team in the earlier part of the season affected his game and made us play longer, which certainly didn’t suit Jelavic. Fellaini having the focal point means Moyes does ask Jelavic to run the channels and this is something he’s not good at, he should just be in the box at all times.
Burned out –
Although our number 7 has been dropped since Christmas, he has played a lot of football over the last 2 years. When he was at Rangers, in the first part of 2 seasons ago, he was starting every game, playing not just in the Scottish League but also in their European outings and cup competition. Then he moved to Everton, where he played nearly every game in the run in, along with a cup competition. Then he had the Euros, where he played parts in most matches. That meant he had a shortened holiday and joined Everton’s pre-season late. Then he played every game until Christmas. There were certainly signs near Christmas that by the 70 minute mark in home games against Arsenal, Wigan and Chelsea, he was burnt out.
Been worked out –
There are too many examples of players in the Premier League that have come in and scored tonnes of goals in the first few months, and the suddenly died out. Amir Zaki, Alfonso Alves and Benjani are examples off the top of my head. Could Jelavic be the same? Have defenders worked him out? One thing I can tell is that defenders are more physical with Jelavic now and he doesn’t like it, his embarrassing dives never con the referees. Another thing that Premier League defenders might have worked out is Jelavic’s poor intelligence in forward runs. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes he makes excellent runs and isn’t found by the Everton midfield, but this season he’s been offside too much. Are defenders stepping up knowing Jelavic won’t hold his run?
My Conclusion –
Obviously at the minute Jelavic is completely drained of any confidence. I think the moment he steps out on the pitch it’s not the 3 opinions above but the lack of confidence more than anything. He’s had a few chances of recent when he’s on but scuffed them completely. That’s not because of the opinions above, that’s because he has no confidence left whatsoever.
BUT, there is a reason why he had stopped scoring before Christmas and before the confidence was completely drained. If it is one of the first two reasons then there is hope for our missed Striker yet. Things can be done. I hope to the heavens that it’s not the last reason though.
I’m hoping that it’s the second opinion. I hope he’ll get a good holiday at the end of this season, that he’ll rejoin our squad and play against a few ‘lesser’ teams and bag some goals during the Pre-season, leading him to carry onto next season and back to scoring goals in the Premier League.
Agree? Disagree? Comment below or have a lengthier discussion at theevertonforum.com