At last, Beattie gives Moyes a plan of attack

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The Independent Online

Moyes did not transform his image from conservative Scot to gung-ho Celt against Chelsea by relegating his leading Premiership marksman to the substitutes bench as Marcus Bent had claimed that honour only by virtue of a solitary goal at Bolton.

Instead, it was the decision to unsettle the reigning champions with two natural forwards instead of his favoured 4-5-1 or 4-4-1-1 approach that allowed Goodison Park briefly to believe in the unthinkable prospect of victory over Chelsea and, although Moyes had nothing to lose after six successive defeats, showed Everton a way out of their current predicament at the foot of the table.

"We decided to play this way last week and now the players have set a standard that they must meet in every game," he admitted. "Maybe this one point can be so important for our confidence because it has come against the best team in Europe."

James Beattie and Duncan Ferguson would have made their acquaintances much earlier had Everton's £6m record signing not been consigned to the treatment room for the majority of his 10 months at Goodison and if the 34-year-old still had a regular 90 minutes in him these days.

Moyes has employed seven different partnerships in a desperate attempt to eke a goal from somewhere this season even though his options have been so restricted that midfielder Leon Osman has been used in attack more than most.

Jose Mourinho only need glance at the Everton team-sheet to discover the route Moyes intended to take yesterday, and although he second-guessed the aerial assault by handing the towering Robert Huth a rare start, he must have been surprised at the effort the Goodison forwards expended on their other task - denying Claude Makelele any time on the ball.

Although he cannot be blamed for the injuries that have encouraged many Evertonians to question their manager's judgement in the transfer market, Beattie's time to deliver is already overdue. To that aim, he made an encouraging start yesterday, especially so in comparison to the corresponding fixture last season when he was dismissed for a head-butt. "By the end, his effort and work-rate were what everyone hoped he would bring," Moyes said. "I still think he's got a bit to go, but he gave everything for 90 minutes and was running on empty at the end, but happy to do so."

One area of Beattie's game that needs no attention is his self-confidence and it was no surprise when he assumed responsibility for doubling Everton's goals tally, albeit with a penalty that kissed the underside of the crossbar. That was only the 27-year-old's second goal in 16 League appearances for Everton but its impact on a team that had not scored for 10 hours, 15 minutes was tangible, releasing the demons of a side that had begun to fear they would never produce.

There was more to Beattie's contribution in denying Chelsea a 10th straight league victory than his goal, however. The leadership he showed from the spot, in rousing team-mates at crucial moments of Chelsea pressure and simply by offering Everton a rare presence in attack, the former England international showed why he will be an essential part of any belated Goodison Park recovery.

Beattie was not alone. Ferguson delivered a similar workload until his substitution while Phil Neville, David Weir and Mikel Arteta also recreated the ethic that carried Everton to fourth last season. But it was the former Southampton man who owed Moyes a huge favour yesterday, and in doing so he gave one to the entire Premiership.

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