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Everton – The Defence Is Back?

Everton have turned on the style over recent months, as the Toffees are currently unbeaten in nine league games. After yesterday’s impressive win over Wigan Athletic away from home, Everton were able to secure their first back to back clean sheets since the middle of September. Their is only one position on a football pitch that the fans have to thank for that, and that’s the defence.

Philippe Senderos was able to make his debut yesterday, as the defender on loan from Arsenal, had a decent game. Senderos has had a tough time with Arsenal, however hopefully from his point of view, he can have a very successful spell with Everton. The Swiss international has been stated as one of the worse defenders in the Premier League, however to be honest you can’t get much worse than former Chelsea player, Winston Bogarde. Senderos adds depth into the squad, as the likes of Jagielka and Yobo are still out injured, from my point of view I wish Phillippe all the best, while at Everton.

Jason Scotland (left) and Philippe Senderos, of Everton, tussle for the ball

On the clean sheet front, Everton’s defence in the 08/09 campaign was the 4th best in the entire Premier League. However with the injury of Phil Jagielka, the departure of Joleon Lescott and the niggling injury’s that Distin and Yobo have suffered, the Toffees haven’t coped very well, as they have to keep rotating the defence. On the other hand with Jagielka back in training, Yobo coming back from an injury which he sustained while playing for Nigeria and Tony Hibbert waiting in the wings, things are definitely looking up for Everton.

Now though it very well seems that Everton can play a fully experienced defence. With the likes of Heitinga, Neville and young Seamus Coleman, all capable of playing at Right-Back, plus Heitinga, Distin, Duffy and now Senderos all but available to play at centre back, the defence is looking bright from Everton’s point of view.

When the defence is fully fit, some players stand out above the rest, and over recent months two players have caught my eye. Left-back Leighton Baines and centre back Johnny Heitinga.

Baines for one has rightfully been one of the best left-backs in the Premier League this season. He is tremendous at getting back and forward in Everton’s team, plus his set piece taking causes the opposition all kinds of bother. Yesterday he was excellent, as his corner kicks and set pieces troubled Wigan. Also with the likes of Heitinga, Cahill, Fellaini and Saha lurking in the box, Everton are more than likely to score from set pieces than any other Premier League team. With Ashley Cole the first choice left-back for England, it could well turn out to be a battle between Leighton Baines and Wayne Bridge, for a place in the England squad for the 2010 World Cup.

Lastly the player I have been impressed with the most this season is Johnny Heitinga. The Holland international has been in excellent form, as his heading and tackling have been first class. He has turned into one of my favourite Everton players, and with the World cup fast approaching, Heitinga should well be picked for the Holland national side for the 2010 World Cup.


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