An assessment of our 'greatest squad since the 80s'

By Paul Olsen 02/05/2016  0 Comments  [Jump to last]

Apart from the obvious conclusion that Roberto needs to leave, considering who should play a part in our future and who has nothing left to contribute with is an interesting one.

Our so called best squad since the eighties has been proven overrated throughout this(and the previous) season. Big changes are needed also in our squad. Let´s have a look.

Goalies:

Joel Robles, Tim Howard

Tim is leaving, surely a year too late to be remembered fondly by many fans. Joel Robles has overtaken the spot as our number one shot-stopper. The need to bring in a new goalie is obvious as none of our academy players have shown anything to indicate that they are anywhere near a first-team spot. The question remains whether it is a backup or a first-team goalie that needs to be brought in. To be fair Joel has not done much wrong since he finally got the nod as our first-choice man. He is tall, controls the box at least slightly better than Tim and appears pretty decent 1 vs 1. However, I doubt anyone would consider him one of the better goalies in the premier league. He is currently not a confident goalie. The best goalies always install his back four with confidence as well as supporters. Do we ever feel Joel is that keeper? I have faith that he will eventually become a pretty decent player, but he´s not there yet.

The likes of Courtois, Schmeichel, De Gea, lloris, Butland, Cech and Hart all all players most would rank as superior goalies to our current no.1. The rest of the lot? Well, our Joel probably ranks somewhere in the middle of it. If we are to be truly an ambitious side a top goalkeeper needs to be considered. At the very least I reckon we need someone that can be considered a serious competitor for Joel (No Hahnemanns or Muchas)

Conclusion: 1 goalie needed, and not just a place-filler

Defenders

Tony Hibbert, Leighton Baines , Phil Jagielka, Seamus Coleman , John Stones, Ramiro Funes Mori, Tyias Browning, Luke Garbutt, Brendan Galloway, Matthew Pennington Felipe Mattioni, Bryan Oviedo, Callum Connolly

At the start of the season I thought this looked really strong. How wrong was I? Be the looks of it filled with seasoned internationals and some really exciting talent. A few injuries and it all turned out to be a royal mess. In hindsight it would appear that the likes of Jags, Baines and Coleman might all now be past their best. All three should still be able to contribute next season, but we need more depth. Stones has played a big part and will only improve in the coming year. I remain one of those who believe it is of the highest importance to keep hold of him. With the form he has shown since christmas his transfer value will have dwindled and selling him now would probably turn out as a big mistake.

With a better manager he will be the kind of player this team needs to be built on. Funes Mori has perhaps not fully lived up to his transfer fee, but seems like a solid squad-player.
Galloway, Browning and Pennington all have gotten to play some part. Galloway looks a prospect, I am more skeptical towards Browning´s future. Pennington remains to be seen in action more before a verdict can be made.

Sadly Bryan Oviedo is beginning to look more and more like a player that does not cut it following his horrible spells of bad injuries. Garbutt might be stagnating, next season will be defining for him. Hibbo and Mattioni are both done.

Verdict: New right-back that can compete for a starting spot needed badly. Perhaps a replacement for Baines might be needed as well depending on how Garbutt progresses. I reckon Hibbo, Mattioni and Oviedo needs to be let go.

Midfielders

Darron Gibson, Aiden McGeady, Bryan Oviedo, Aaron Lennon, Tom Cleverley ,James McCarthy, Muhamed Besic, Gareth Barry, Ross Barkley, Leon Osman, Steven Pienaar

Big changes needed. Barkley is the only one definetely should be kept on. Lennon, Barry, Besic, McCarthy and Cleverley might still have a role to play.

Pienaar, Osman, McGeady and Gibson are all surely gone. That leaves with a paper-thin midfield with next to no x-factor or backbone. Barry has been impressive this season, but we honestly can´t expect him to carry on forever. Besic has had a disappointing season overall and need to make big strides net season to become the player we all desire him to be. James McCarthy has turned into a massive disappointment after a promising start to his Everton career. Tom Cleverley and Aaron Lennon are both decent players that will never be great.

Verdict: 1 holding midfielder of class, 1 offensive midfielder of class, 1 left winger of class + perhaps a couple of decent squad-fillers. Hopefully young Tom Davies or Ryan Ledson can make a step up? Pienaar, Osman, Gibson and McGeady to go. Other will have to get their futures assessed.

Forwards

Arouna Koné, Romelu Lukaku, Kevin Mirallas, Gerard Deulofeu, Conor McAleny , Oumar Niasse, Shani Tarashaj

Lukaku is sure to be gone, no need to even consider the possibility of something else. His head has already left us months ago. That leaves Deulofeu and our only star man here, and he is as unpredictable as a coin-toss.

Niasse or Tarashaj will need to make a big step to leave us with anything up front. That is a prospect that does not inspire confidence in anyone.

Mirallas might still be a player, but hopes a dwindling steadily with each month passing by. McAleny would by now seem deemed not good enough and Konè never has been close to good enough. Kieran Dowell might make a step up, though it would prove a bonus if he actually does.

Verdict: Top-class striker needed, backup needed. Konè, Lukaku and McAleny to leave, perhaps Mirallas as well.

Academy Players

Leandro Rodriguez, Mason Holgate, Callum Connolly, Jindrich Stanek, Conor Grant, Tom Davies, Sam Byrne, Ryan Ledson, Jonjoe Kenny, Russell Griffiths, Joe Williams, Courtney Duffus , Antonee Robinson, Gethin Jones, Kieran Dowell , Liam Walsh , David Henen, Connor Hunt, Mateusz Hewelt, Matty Foulds

Who in here can we expect to make an impect on the first-team next year? I wouldn´t place too much faith in anyone here making a big breakthrough. Leandro and Henen both seem unlikely to ever make the grade. This leaves the likes of Connolly, Ledson, Davies, Holgate and Dowell our best prospects. Connolly and Davies both have made promising first-dips into premier league football, but it´s still anyone´s guess if they will make it in the long run. Dowell has turned some heads in the past months, and also looks somewhat promising. Ledson needs a big season unless he is to turn out as another "almost-made-it". The academy holds no sure-bet stars of the 16/17 season, sadly.

This would perhaps leave us with the following players:

GK: Robles
DEF: Baines, Coleman, Jagielka, Mori, Stones, Galloway, Browning, Connolly, Pennington, Garbutt, Holgate
MID: Barkley, Lennon, Barry, McCarthy, Davies, Besic, Ledson, Cleverley
ATT: Niasse, Deulofeu, Dowell, Tarashaj

To me this looks quite scary. This summer needs to be a big one, and we need someone we can trust to see it through.

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