Everton battle to stay unbeaten under Big Sam

By Michael Kenrick 23/12/2017  287 Comments  [Jump to last]
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Everton were without Wayne Rooney as Chelsea came to Goodison Park for the final game before Christmas.

Everton's talisman and leading goalscorer missed today's vital game with a flu bug. Tom Davies started in his place, with Phil Jagielka coming back in as captain, replacing Ashley Williams who was on the bench.

Yannick Bolasie made his return to senior football as one of the substitutes after being out for over a year with a serious knee injury. Sandro and Niasse were also on the bench.

The game started as the fog rolled back in, Everton hoofing the ball up to Calvert-Lewin and out of play. Chelsea respond with Moses whipping in a wicked cross that somehow Hazard missed, something of an early let-off.

Everton almost applied some pressure but the ball would not run for them.

Keane was forced to give away the first corner, Pedro eventually shooting wide. But Everton cultured something of an attack, Lennon getting the ball back from Chelsea and Sigurdsson's shot blocked by Kante.

More frantic defending before Davies tried to play in Calvert-Lewin. After more good work from Davies, Martina then got a decent cross in that Calvert-Lewin could not put any power on. He was booked for catching someone's ankle pretty harmlessly.

Two incredible clearances off the line saved Pickford and a certain opening goal, fantastic positioning from the captain Jagielka as Chelsea attacked with strength.

Chelsea continued to dominate, forcing the Blues back into their own half, and making them look very poor and panicked in defence, a desperate parry out by Pickford wildly hacked at by Kante.

Everton had some rare possession and had no idea what to do with the ball after Davies gave it to Schneiderlin, a forward ball sailing past Lennon. Everton tried some fast but accurate passing — too fast as Lennon could not control it. Davies fed Sigurdsson who drove his pass beyond Martina and out of play, giving Chelsea another chance to attack again.

Martina was really poor challenging Moses, giving away a needless and dangerous free-kick and earning a yellow card. Willian tried to curl it in but it flew past the angle, another let-off.

Calvert-Lewin won another hoofed ball upfield but there was no-one there to pick up the second ball. The Blues were a little more competitive in retaining possession but Sigurdsson again spurned the chance to create something, pushing the ball through to no-one.

Davies got a chance to dribble forward but looked petrified and lost the ball after showing too much to the defender. But Chelsea's dominance had waned a little as they tried a long ball themselves, Pedro flagged for offside. After some better possession, Davies drove forward but made his shot too early and well off target.

Everton's defence seemed to now have better shape, forcing Chelsea to again play a longer ball forward that Pickford gathered. But on the next attack, Pedro got clear and powered his shot high for Pickford to make a flamboyant save to parry it high in the air.

Everton were doing a little better in challenging the Chelsea players for the ball in midfield but and keeping the white shirts further away from the Everton goal. Calvert-Lewin brilliantly controlled a clearance only to find he had no-one in support to pass to, and another Chelsea attack ensued.

Everton got a chance to build down the left but it ended with a loose pass from Davies. Through shear perseverance, Calvert-Lewin got free with the ball as Christensen slipped but tried to go for glory rather than laying it off to support and just hit it into a Chelsea defender. Incredibly the half-time whistle blew with the game still scoreless.

Two changes at the break: Sandro and Williams on; Davies and Lennon off. But they had to defend immediately from the restart, Pedro firing in, and Pickford incredibly saving very well. In the next attack, Willian drove the ball wide after Everton defenders could only ball-watch as it whizzed around their area.

Keane did very well with a key tackle and it allowed Everton to attack with a decent cross in from Kenny. But Gueye went down, holding his left leg, and Baningime stripped off for a third and final Blues change early in the second half.

Everton then wasted a throw-in in an advanced position, and continued to look scrappy and lacking any real ideas. They tried to build down the left until Martina played a pass straight to a white shirt. Calvert-Lewin was next to do some good work only to give the ball away with a poor pass, but Kenny got forward down the right, only for Keane to get the yellow card after catching Hazard from behind.

There was some decent fight from the Blues, trying to retain possession and give Chelsea something to think about. CL played in Martina who won a first corner, taken by Sigurdsson, punched away by Courtois. Chelsea broke but Keane made a superb tackle on Hazard.

Schneiderlin was next to make a superb interception to steal the ball off a Chelsea attacker, then another in midfield on Willian. Sadly, the passing wasn't up to the standard of the tackling, but the Blues were making a better fist of things.

Chelsea upped their game, though, Kenny heading away a dangerous cross before Hazard lashed in a wicked shot that Pickford parried, and they somehow survived. Chelsea had a good spell of probing but the Everton defence resisted and Willian drove wide. He was then replaced by Batshuayi.

Everton could not break out effectively, Sigurdsson picking put CL but the forward again was isolated with on-one to pass to and Chelsea were able to build again. A fierce across by Moses was headed by Williams onto the face of the bar and away.

A great ball out to Kenny was sent in first-time to Calvert-Lewin and he tried to make something of it but could only carry it away from goal under heavy pressure, and Chelsea once again piled on the pressure. Everton again tried to break but quick passing between Kenny and Sandro finally broke down and in another Chelsea attack Hazard almost beat Pickford.

Zappacosta's shot was blocked and Sandro found Calvert-Lewin with an excellent ball but any forward movement was stalled again through lack of any meaningful support.

Hazard danced past Martina and lashed in another shot but it hit his own player and gave Pickford more time to gather the ball. Sigurdsson did well to win the ball only to waste it, and allow Chelsea to come right back at the exhausted Everton defence.

Sandro worked hard again to win a free-kick for Sigurdsson to curl in toward Williams but it was defended away, only to come back in with Sandro winning a very late corner, headed just inches over by Keane, should have scored.

Chelsea came forward again for the umpteenth time, winning a corner that cleared everyone and Sandro almsot got to it ahead of Azpilicueta. A frantic spell ensued, Pickford getting a strange free-kick that allowed another venture forward by Everton before it was repelled without a shot on Chelesa's goal.

The torture was finally over, and Sam Allardyce's incredible unbeaten run continues.

Kick-off: 12:30pm, Saturday 23rd December 2017

Everton: Pickford, Kenny, Keane [Y:57'], Jagielka, Martina [Y:21'], Schneiderlin, Gueye (50' Baningime), Lennon (46' Williams), Sigurdsson, Davies (46' Sandro), Calvert-Lewin [Y:13'].
Subs not Used: Robles, Holgate, Bolasie, Niasse.

Chelsea: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger, Moses(81' Zappacosta), Kante, Bakayoko, Alonso, Willian, Pedro (63' Fabregas), Hazard (71' Batshuayi).
Subs: Hudson-Odoi, Caballero, Drinkwater, Cahill.

Referee: Robert Madley


Reader Comments (287)

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Jay Wood
[BRZ]

1 Posted 23/12/2017 at 11:35:26
Rooney left out of the starting XI.

Interesting...

Sam obviously doing some heavy rotation due to the intense fixture congestion?

Barry Williams
2 Posted 23/12/2017 at 11:41:23
Jay Wood (#1)

Flu bug according to the Echo. Holgate and Williams as well as Rooney have it!

Jerome Shields
3 Posted 23/12/2017 at 11:42:35
Jags is risky as a centre back. He flatters to deceive. Looks okay, but others round haven't the confidence in him. Doesn't provide cover. No early goal a priority. We need the points. This is a test if Allardyce can achieve the necessary consistency we have previously failed to achieve.
Jay Wood
[BRZ]

4 Posted 23/12/2017 at 11:46:45
Lemsip and hot water bottles order of the day on the bench then, Barry!

Jags and Keane... on their last appearance together at Southampton (and for a great deal of the season), that's a worry.

Here's hoping they've got their act together a bit better in the down time they've had.

John Dingle
5 Posted 23/12/2017 at 11:49:14
What does Sam see in Schneiderlin that we can’t see? I am amazed he’s starting after the performance on Monday, we were clearly far better when he was subbbed for Davies. I would like to see Niasse for Schneiderlin and Davies dropping back with Gueye if Sam must play 4-2-3-1
Derek Knox
6 Posted 23/12/2017 at 11:49:16
Bit of a blow that, with Rooney being out, along with Holgate and Williams, this will be a sterner test than before.

Let's hope the others can stand up and be counted, not sure where the goals will come from, if any.

Trevor Lynes
7 Posted 23/12/2017 at 12:05:00
Flu bug at EFC... why do they not get flu jabs?
Charlie Lloyd
8 Posted 23/12/2017 at 12:09:39
If it’s flu that effects the changes in the line up then fair enough.

Massive game for Jagielka and Keane. Plus Schneiderlin really needs a performance here.

Surprised neither Vlasic or Lookman made the bench but it’s great to see Bolasie back on it.

Michael Lynch
10 Posted 23/12/2017 at 12:19:46
Flu? Then why put Williams and Holgate on the bench? I mean, if they really have flu then they should be in bed. So if they simply have a little cold, then either play them or don't – if they're not fit enough to start, don't have them on the bench?
Alan J Thompson
11 Posted 23/12/2017 at 12:23:54
Just seen Mr Allardyce explaining Rooney's non-appearance and he didn't seem too convincing. Has the wife been stuffing more than the turkey? As my father used to say, it's been plucked and stuffed, all it needs now is killing and cooking.
Jackie Barry
12 Posted 23/12/2017 at 12:24:54
You still can get flu even with a flu jab if it doesn’t cover the strain.
George Cumiskey
13 Posted 23/12/2017 at 12:25:17
That's a team with nothing in midfield!
Phil Sammon
14 Posted 23/12/2017 at 12:25:54
I'm happy Rooney's out. I really think we'll see a better team performance without him. We really need Davies and Schneiderlin to step up and dictate play.
Mark Dunford
15 Posted 23/12/2017 at 12:57:44
Playing percentages. I never wanted Big Sam, still don't. Radio 5 Live saying “It is a compliment to Everton that they haven't conceded”. We're at home. Osman describing how Everton would have made this game competitive in past years.
Jerome Shields
16 Posted 23/12/2017 at 13:16:52
I got the flu jab, but it doesn't cover a nasty lingering cold going about. I suspect Rooney has it.
Jay Wood
[BRZ]

17 Posted 23/12/2017 at 13:23:25
Decent enough half, taking into consideration where we are in the grand scheme of things.

The threat of Moses and Alonso down the flanks and the space they have at times is a worry, but Jags' double goal line clearance apart – excellent work! – has Jordan Pickford seriously been called on, other than the Pedro shot?

The latter chance resulted from a poor pass from Keane who still doesn't look right to me.

We've actually had a couple of decent ops ourselves. On the stroke of half-time, sly little blindside shirt pull by on Calvert-Lewin on Christensen before nicking the ball off him. Again, a good game by Calvert-Lewin, but if he had just lifted his head rather than take on the shot...

Roger Helm
18 Posted 23/12/2017 at 13:29:26
True, Jay, but let's not forget, he's a young lad learning his trade and hasn't even played a full season yet. A year or two from now it's a goal to us. And he made the chance in the first place with his chasing which some centre-forwards I could name wouldn't have.
Carl Allan
19 Posted 23/12/2017 at 14:14:11
Hate watching us these days.... it's like Walter Smith's first season again. Effing clueless offensively, an insult to football and the Premier League.
Ciarán McGlone
20 Posted 23/12/2017 at 14:26:34
Utterly desperate and joyless stuff.

We are totally unwatchable... And when that happens, it becomes pointless.

Danny Baily
21 Posted 23/12/2017 at 14:26:35
Great result given the circumstances. Could have nicked it as well!
Mike Hughes
22 Posted 23/12/2017 at 14:28:30
Another superb result from Big Sam's Everton.
The best start EVER to any managerial career?

Very few could have sorted this mess out. Still, I love the smell of those burning season tickets from the high-principled types on here.

Season's greetings to all true Blues.

Jay Woods
[LAT]

23 Posted 23/12/2017 at 14:30:10
McGlone, you're a rotter. The point of the game is to win, progress up the table, gain an advantage over your rivals... not to play free-flowing stuff en route to another glorious hammering by the opposition. A draw, given our limited playing resources and unbalanced team, against one of the elite sides of Europe ain't so bad.
Richard Mason
24 Posted 23/12/2017 at 14:30:34
I thought Schneiderlin battled hard today, Sandro still off the pace.
Jay Wood
[BRZ]

25 Posted 23/12/2017 at 14:32:24
Well I for one enjoyed that!

Given how the starting XI was depleted due to a bug before KO... given how the early 2nd half Gana injury meant Sam had used up all his subs by 50 minutes, I thought it was more than a honourable, hard-fought draw.

Sure, we all want tikky-takky ole football. We don't yet have the players for that.

There are many aspects of football and one of them is being solidly defensive. That is now very clearly restored under Sam Allardyce.

It kept us in the game for the whole 90 minutes. Too often this season, the stadium would empty long before the final whistle because we were dead and buried.

I have no doubt, no doubt whatsoever, that how we played under either Koeman or Unsworth we would have been ripped a new one today.

On my commentary Michael Keane was named MotM by Alan Smith. Whilst he improved 2nd half, I thought our big call outs today were Schneiderlin who is improving, Jags, but most of all Martina.

He saw off first Moses, then Zappacosta and any one else who came into his area of the field.

Well played Blues!

Brian Williams
26 Posted 23/12/2017 at 14:33:08
Just sat down for a pint while the traffic dies down.

The Alamo, that's all I can say!

Joseph Terrence
27 Posted 23/12/2017 at 14:35:41
Overall a very good result, and special mention to Jags who was great today. Curious to see how Big Sam sets the team up once he gets his striker in.
Trevor Lynes
28 Posted 23/12/2017 at 14:36:13
Results will give us survival if that is the be-all and end-all.

However, we are awful to watch and fans want to be entertained – not just watch our team hanging on at home.

George Cumiskey
29 Posted 23/12/2017 at 14:39:14
Our back nine played well; as soon as he took Tom Davies off, he gave up any semblance of attacking football.

Someone said we don't need to spend much in January – they must be joking.

By the way... £45 million for Sigurdson – money well spent?

Joe Clitherow
30 Posted 23/12/2017 at 14:41:37
Some clueless, delusional postings here. This is a team in (yet another) transition and half of the game is defence. Defence in depth was magnificent today and special mention to Michael Keane who was much improved.

The main issue we have is that we offered no attacking threat. Calvert-Lewin did a solid job but had no support; Sandro was a passenger and Chelsea knew it and could pile everyone forward. Despite his limitations Niasse would have been a much better bet pressing their defence today IMO. Excellent point today, and we get the wins against lesser teams.

The better our league position, the more attractive we are to players with the window open. Onwards and upwards.

Raymond Fox
31 Posted 23/12/2017 at 14:42:47
What Jay (#25) said.

How many times have we been slaughtered trying to beat a regular top 6 team playing open football? How many times have we even got a draw?

Some folks are never satisfied!

Lester Yip
32 Posted 23/12/2017 at 14:43:48
Solid defending keeps frustrating Conte. Another clean sheet and one point from a top 6 team. Good result.
Lester Yip
33 Posted 23/12/2017 at 14:48:10
Calvert-Lewin is outstanding winning the header. Big Sam must be trying to get Sandro to play the knock on. Give them more time and goals will come.
Barry Williams
34 Posted 23/12/2017 at 14:49:38
6 weeks ago that would have been a significant loss!

We had Rooney out, an injury to Gueye, which then meant no chance to change things around as we had used all our subs!

Consider that we couldn't call upon Bolasie, Coleman, Baines, Funes Mori, Barkley or McCarthy, had to change 50% of the defence, then yes, I will take that performance.

We need a striker more than anything. A big, strong target-man who can hold the ball up and take the pressure of the defence and midfield, that was so obvious.

Schneiderlin was a lot better today too!

John G Davies
35 Posted 23/12/2017 at 14:51:28
Good point, battling display.

Added bonus is another few days wait (at least) for the gloating when we get beat.

Mike Allison
36 Posted 23/12/2017 at 14:53:10
Whilst we obviously still need the proper number nine we failed to buy in the summer, I hope fans aren’t expecting a January spending spree to solve our problems. Not only is it difficult to make good signings and therefore unlikely to happen, it’s also not the right way for us to improve.

Our biggest problem this season is that we made too many major signings in too short a space of time. What we need now is consistency, continuity and the opportunity for this squad to get. More upheaval has as much chance of causing problems as solving them.

Joe Foster
37 Posted 23/12/2017 at 14:56:09
That was a great point. Sam got the tactics spot on for me.
Derek Knox
38 Posted 23/12/2017 at 14:56:09
Still unbeaten under the Sams, though admittedly we rode our luck at times; we didn't have one shot on their goal, but still another valuable point and a couple of days to regroup.

I would have taken the point before kick off, to be honest; if nothing else it will boost confidence.

Craig Walker
39 Posted 23/12/2017 at 14:56:33
I didn't want Sam at Everton and we could have done a lot better in possession today but Chelsea put 8 past us last season. They've beaten us twice away this season too. There was some character and organisation and I'd have taken that after Saints away.

Martina did well, I thought. Gueye was playing well. I think even Schneiderlin did okay with some good tackles. Calvert-Lewin and Sandro have to do better at retaining possession and bringing other players in. We need more guile and speed but Sam knows that. Bolasie coming back should help.

We're also getting our fair share of luck, for a change.

The game before Christmas 2016, we lost in stoppage time to the RS at home. Fair play Sam. Happy Christmas fellow TWers and Blues!

Jamie Crowley
40 Posted 23/12/2017 at 14:57:37
Dire shit to watch.

But a point, and as others have said defending is part of the game. There's a beauty in defending. And finding that beauty is clearly necessary nowadays.

The result was good. The defending was excellent. Feels a bit like the Liverpool game to me...

Positive – liked Big Sam's adjustments at half. Went with two holding mids and basically three up top to get on the end of it and try to create something. Defensive priority with an eye to a counter / nick. Yes it ended up all hands on deck defending by the 80th, but it looked to me Big Sam did try to set us up to get a goal coming out at half.

The bad – hate to say this: I think Sandro is crap. A poor man's Naismith as he does try but he's simply not good enough.

Tim Lever
41 Posted 23/12/2017 at 14:58:40
Jay Wood – agreed -– Martina had a great game some key interceptions from Schneiderlin, too

A great result! Especially as I watched it with my (Chelsea season-ticket holding) father-in-law who got me a seat in row A (Matthew Harding Lower) behind the goal at the Bridge for the 5-0 dicking last season.

Damian Wilde
42 Posted 23/12/2017 at 15:01:17
Good draw. How bad was Sandro, worst Everton player ever. Why didn't be put Niasse on?
Andrew Keatley
43 Posted 23/12/2017 at 15:03:09
Very good point. Allardyce is making us tough to beat, which (after the first 20 games of the season in all comps) is no mean feat.

Pickford, Kenny, Jags and Keane excellent. Martina largely did well in defence but he looks petrified going forward.

Sandro tried to do everything at 100 mph; he needs to be a bit smarter on and off the ball or he won't make it in the Premier League. Calvert-Lewin gave gallant chase, winning headers, closing down defenders; considering he often had to wait five seconds for any supporting blue shirt I thought he was outstanding, and made the 3 Chelsea defenders wary throughout. No mean feat.

Thought Schneiderlin was good; marshalled the midfield well and worked hard. First time this season I've said that.

Gerard Carey
44 Posted 23/12/2017 at 15:04:23
A very good point. Sam might not be everybody's cup of tea but we are now hard to beat. We are stuck for attacking options, no seasoned No 9 etc, but it's a case of steadying the ship at the moment and I think Sam has done a very good job.
Andy Crooks
45 Posted 23/12/2017 at 15:12:59
John G (#3), I didn't want Sam but there will be no gloating from me. He was brought in to do a job and he has done it magnificently. I expect as the confidence grows and the points accumulate, he will look at more expansive football.

No-one could have taken over the mess that Koeman left and had us playing joyful soulful football. This will take time.

Sam Hoare
46 Posted 23/12/2017 at 15:18:10
A very decent point under the (flu-ridden) circumstances – though I find it tough to celebrate any performance at home where we have not managed a shot on target. Away, I'm fine with the Alamo approach but at Goodison, I feel that we should always aim to be competitive and to be creating chances.

There needs to be someone supporting Calvert-Lewin as very few players can be expected to do it all alone. Nonetheless, our defense has improved by miraculous margins and that gives us an excellent foundation to build upon. We must now find ways to remain solid whilst being more effective with the ball than we were today.

Sean Patton
47 Posted 23/12/2017 at 15:20:57
Damian,

Simply no reason for it as one is a proven Premier League scorer and the other is yet to score in the league... a baffling managerial decision.

Duncan McDine
48 Posted 23/12/2017 at 15:27:07
What I like is that we won't get spanked every time playing this way against the better teams. The shame is that we don't have better options to break away and get a goal yet. Lukaku and Bolasie in place of Dom and Lennon/Sandro could've got us more than a point today.

I thought everyone did their part and ran their nuts of for their teammates today... something that was so obviously missing pre-Sam. We're still a long way off the team we'd like to be, but for now I'm more than happy to see this kind of football if it continues to earn points.

Duncan McDine
49 Posted 23/12/2017 at 15:31:12
Damian and Sean – I also felt the same about putting Sandro on instead of Niasse. Very odd decision considering Niasse's knack for popping up with a goal.
Dean Cooper
50 Posted 23/12/2017 at 15:31:44
Thought our defence was excellent again, the whole back 4/5 and Gueye, Baningime and Schneiderlin barely let a decent shot at Pickford.

Watching Sigurdsson today and I think he's just smarter than the rest of our players. If we can get our wingers and Calvert-Lewin on the same wavelength we will start looking a lot better in attack.

Mike Dolan
51 Posted 23/12/2017 at 15:34:22
Given the circumstances a great result if a bit hard on the eyes. We packed the defense and got the draw we were playing for. I thought it was good to see our previously nervous nellies of a back line play with professional cynicism and stone-cold confidence.

Kenny, Martina, Keane, Schneiderlin, Jags all played well today. The point they won was against the odds and so all the more precious. Just a few weeks ago, we would have been toast.

Its a different game today if we had a top flight target man and winger on the field, We are playing counter attack without the actual counter attack. Bolasie with Dembele, Giroud, or Batshuayi anyone.

Alan J Thompson
52 Posted 23/12/2017 at 15:35:51
Schneiderlin put in more effort than usual but it still wasn't an above average performance and certainly not worth £24Mill.

Baningime shows some nice touches and an awareness of what is around him. I'd like to know why the central defence was completely changed from the last couple of games.

A point is a point, I suppose, and Mr Allardyce has said he will try more expansive football if we are in with a chance of a higher position toward the end of the season. I hope I know when that is.

Brian Denton
53 Posted 23/12/2017 at 15:45:09
Well, given the quality of the opposition that wasn't a bad performance. Keane should have done better with that header at the end though!
John G Davies
54 Posted 23/12/2017 at 15:46:00
Andy 45,

I would not expect it from you. There are one or two who can't wait for Sam to fall on his face.

Another good point, mate. 👍

Roger Helm
55 Posted 23/12/2017 at 15:46:43
We were missing a whole first team (with Stekelenburg) injured or ill, so a point against a team with Chelsea's quality has to be applauded. It might not be pretty but it makes me more comfortable watching them knowing we are unlikely to concede many goals, if any at all.
Will Mabon
56 Posted 23/12/2017 at 15:49:15
It appears Allardyce doesn't rate Niasse. He's gradually fading out of the picture.
Christy Ring
57 Posted 23/12/2017 at 15:55:10
I'm delighted with a point, a clean sheet, and a Man of the Match boost for Keane. I know we didn't offer a lot going forward, and a pity about Gueye pulling up with a hamstring strain, but hopefully McCarthy isn't far away, and with Bolasie on the bench, and Barkley due back also, Big Sam will have a more potent lineup.
Paul McCoy
58 Posted 23/12/2017 at 16:11:59
Mike (22) – At least by not going to the game anymore, I don't have to sit in the cold to watch the turgid shite version of 'football' we played today.
Paul Tran
59 Posted 23/12/2017 at 16:18:04
Central defence was changed because Holgate & Williams are recovering from flu.

Clear evidence of coaching, drilling and fitness as the team defended well, kept its shape and kept concentration.

Now, let's see if we can keep & pass the ball better, while getting men forward to support Calvert-Lewin.

Ian Linn
60 Posted 23/12/2017 at 16:27:28
Paul (#58), would you rather have 'attacking expansive magnificent' football and get humped 3-0? – that would have happened under Martinez and probably Koeman too.

Sam talks a lot of sense, I like him and I'm glad he's our manager.

It's a results driven business, live or die by the numbers.

John Keating
61 Posted 23/12/2017 at 16:31:45
Poor performance but great result.

A few weeks ago we would have got absolutely battered with the same team on the pitch.

All those calling for entertaining football need to get real. Against teams that are man for man a hundred times better than us we would get overrun. God knows we were getting embarrassed playing shit football earlier this season.

Every game gives us more and more confidence and self belief when that comes so will the performances.

Other teams presently below us will start getting results as well as us and we might find we still need to do a lot more to stay safe. The season has been a write off since before Allardyce arrived let's not start blaming him for not giving us great performances they were shite under Koeman and Unsworth, at least noe we are getting points.

David Johnson
62 Posted 23/12/2017 at 16:32:31
Mike @ 36,

You are saying we should buy nobody in January. Why do fans say rubbish like this? – it's not like it's your money.

Not a single shot on goal at home and you think everything is okay as it is? Behave yourself.

Kim Vivian
63 Posted 23/12/2017 at 16:36:24
Brian – back a #26. Cropped up on the forum, this -–The Alamo, I think you will find, was a battle lost under siege. Now Rourke's Drift – that better sums up our resilience today. :-)

Predicting 3 draws against top 4 teams by this stage of the season 3 months ago would have qualified for a fast track to the asylum. We are now starting to look, with continued squad and playing improvement, as though turning some of those into wins, especially given the injury and sickness list, is a distinct possibility.

Our squad is proving with the right mentoring to be considerably less crap than they tried to demonstrate under Koeman. Another six points by this time next week, a clean sheet against Spurs and onward to the FA Cup game at Anfield.

What's not to look forward to?

ps: Mike – I don't agree with your "turgid shite" description. We know there is a huge gap between the respective squads today for the reasons we all know about, and we dealt with that pretty soundly I'd say – with some improving performances across the pitch. I would single out Martina, Keane Schneiderlin and Pickford. That is as viewed from my sofa, not at the game.

COYB

Paul McCoy
64 Posted 23/12/2017 at 16:39:20
Ian (60) – There's more to football than just results. It's supposed to be entertainment. Yeah, yeah, I know. Sam is 'steadying the ship' and 'making us hard to beat' first. I won't hold my breath for anything beyond that happening though.

We're back to the days of David 'Get to 40 Points first' Moyes but somehow even less watchable. Yet everyone on here is loving it. It's crazy.

Oliver Brunel
65 Posted 23/12/2017 at 16:53:03
The thing I noticed was the complete lack of atmosphere at Goodison. This is because the type of football is turgid, does not encourage singing.

That being said I acknowledge completely that the results have been good. Now... if we can only play like Barca.

Keith Monaghan
66 Posted 23/12/2017 at 16:54:08
A great result and well-earned point, which owed a lot to our keeper.

Not great, but easily Schneiderlin's best game this season, Keane's too – and in spite of obvious limitations, it's hard not to admire Martina.

Sandro needs game time – he is easily a better player than Niasse and that was a very difficult game for our front players to impress in, given the lack of quality service – Chelsea clearly have much better creativity than we do, but in truth they didn't create many clear-cut chances.

I didn't want Big Sam, but he's doing what was needed in organising & improving our defence, and the results, mainly against poorer opposition have boosted morale & confidence considerably.

Don't expect much in the January window – top quality players won't be queuing up to join us at present.

Merry Christmas to all & COYB

Kevin Tully
68 Posted 23/12/2017 at 16:58:20
Why is it always black or white? Play like did today, or play open, attractive football but get a hiding? Is there no middle ground where we can keep it tight but also pose a threat? Talk about simplifying a discussion.

That was like watching Moyes's more pragmatic cousin managing us today. Keep it tight and hoof one. KITAHO.

I will never forgive the twats who have wasted hundreds of millions. Some are still there. The crowd cheered at the end like we'd gone top of the League. What a strange club we are.

Darren Hind
69 Posted 23/12/2017 at 17:02:02
God that was ugly.

There is a balance to be struck here. I get that we need tighten up and gain confidence, but this was embarrassing. We played exactly the way a non-league club would have played against Chelsea in the Third Round of the FA Cup. No shots on target for a home game (apparently the first time in six years).... Not acceptable.

Luckily I'm off for the Chrimbo and won't be back until the game at Anfield. Hopefully we will start to see an improvement which stretches beyond packing 9-10 men behind the ball and asking them to spoil the game.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

David Barks
70 Posted 23/12/2017 at 17:07:52
It's funny how often I'm seeing people ask, “Would you rather that result or playing entertaining football and lose 3-0?” I'm sorry, I must have missed where in the rules it says if you play good football you must also lose by three goals.

People keep saying we have a shite team. No, we have a complete lack of attacking intent. Time after time when Chelsea had the ball with their keeper or defenders we had only Calvert-Lewin in their half. Literally every single Everton player has already dropped back well into our own half. When Sandro came on he and Calvert-Lewin were the only two players in the Chelsea half while everyone else simple dropped back toward our box.

That's madness. There is no reason to simply concede 75% of the pitch to the opposition. The point of football is to score goals and win the game. It is not to simply hold on and hope for a 0-0, especially at home. You don't have to send men flying forward. But these tactics are surviving on borrowed time. We were very lucky in the derby, with what was a lucky penalty. And today we relied on Jagielka twice clearing off the line and numerous other close chances.

And I'll tell you another thing, you're not going to attract a single attacking player with any ambition or class with this type of football. It's not about picking option A or option B. You can do a bit of both, defend and attack.

Frank Crewe
71 Posted 23/12/2017 at 17:08:19
@Paul McCoy (#64).

Actually there isn't more to football than just results. Just ask all the managers who have been sacked this season.

The facts are that fans love attacking football when their club is winning but, when they are losing, it's all the manager's/owner's/this or that player's fault.

That was a good solid defensive display and we could have nicked it right at the death. All in all a good result.

Oliver Brunel
72 Posted 23/12/2017 at 17:08:38
Kevin (68), yes, that's a good point. The bar is set a bit too low for me. I admit the results have been good but I want to watch exciting football. Call me deluded.

What is extremely worrying is the board at our football club were about to spunk more millions on the Watford manager who has lost about 5 on the bounce. They got The Samster by default.

Rick Tarleton
73 Posted 23/12/2017 at 17:08:46
I agree, Kevin, but Keane had that chance right at the end and we could have actually nicked it. The Gods were with us today, but it was good to see Jagielka and Keane looking so solid.There's a bit of fight there that was never there under Koeman.

At the moment we have to be happy(ish) with defensive solidity and a high workrate. Whether Allardyce is the manager for the next stage is unanswered, but after the start we had, this'll do for now.

Mike Dolan
74 Posted 23/12/2017 at 17:11:45
Kieth (#66) said it. Chelsea looked great but they did not create a whole lot of chances. Against Chelsea we had 32% and against Liverpool we had 28% possession but we got the same amount of points as they did.

When Everton have the players to counter attack effectively, we will be winning more of these low-scoring games. It all starts with a solid defense. Glad the three year plan is back on track.

Paul Tran
75 Posted 23/12/2017 at 17:12:07
You're right there, Oliver. Sometimes good decision-making is as simple as accidentally dodging a bullet.
Lev Vellene
76 Posted 23/12/2017 at 17:13:37
Sandro instead of Niasse may have much to do with that 11v11 on Tuesday that we didn't see. But Sam might have seen something he liked, and whoever was on the opposite team to Sandro then, they didn't play much like Chelsea, is my guess... But if he's already decided to wave Sandro bye-bye come January, I don't think he would have featured today!
Stan Schofield
77 Posted 23/12/2017 at 17:14:04
Kevin@68: At the start of the season, we were shite to watch and we leaked goals like a sieve. Now we are definitely better to watch, by virtue of being at least well organised, and are defensively quite sound. Not good to watch, certainly, but better. And Allardyce has explicitly said that he wants improvement in use of the ball and overall football quality as we proceed.

The quality of football is not being enthusiastically welcomed by Evertonians, and we anticipate much better. But there is a lot of justified relief after the state we were in. The cheer of the crowd no doubt reflected that.

I would like us to play like the Everton I grew up with, the real School of Science and NSNO, but at the moment I'm appreciating the fact that we're developing a solid base.

Jay Harris
78 Posted 23/12/2017 at 17:15:45
I think there was recognition of the effort and determination of the players and recognition by the manager that the squad is not yet to the required quality and affected by flu. Sam is proving to be a very lucky manager although they say you make your own luck. Still unbeaten under Sam gives us something to build on.

Merry Xmas to all fellow blues and a special thanks to Michael and Lyndon for maintaining such a marvelous site.

Lev Vellene
79 Posted 23/12/2017 at 17:22:13
Ooh, and Dowell got an assist for Forest. What a season he's having!
John G Davies
80 Posted 23/12/2017 at 17:22:50
Kevin,

I can see where you are going with the point, I don't think anyone will be thrilled with what we are watching at the moment. Bit surely a bit of credit is due.

We would have lost that game and conceded 3 or 4 under Koeman or Unsy.

Brent Stephens
81 Posted 23/12/2017 at 17:32:26
Context, context!

Results this season Before Sam? And quality of football (defence and attack). You know the answer to that!

Opposition today? Chelsea, who cost a fortune. And had an expensive bench. Odds on with the bookies and neutrals to win this one.

Our squad? Injury after injury. With, apparently, the dreaded lurgy knocking out some players. Some of whom (Williams and Holgate), nevertheless, had to be prepared to take the bench, with one of them actually having to step onto the field from the bench. Were Keane and Davies subbed because of the lurgy?? Gana taken off with injury early second half, and the substitute, Beni, then almost immediately takes a knock to the side and can hardly run.

What do some people want? Ah, attack, attack, attack. With what? They would have taken us to the cleaners!

Actual result, against all those odds, a point that felt like a win. A fine defensive display. No goals against in the last 5 out of 7, did I read?

And the (other) positives? Jonjoe Kenny continues to grow, as does Dominic Calvert-Lewin who ploughed a lonely furrow. Pickford excellent in goal. Keane seems to have regrained something. Martina wasn't taken to the cleaners.

Les Martin
82 Posted 23/12/2017 at 17:32:43
A great result for us today, and I don't care if it was not pretty either, Missing Rooney and Holgate did not help, but Sam is improving the players and they are playing for him.

I can't believe some of the moaners, he is unbeaten as the Manager, tactically spot on, he knows what he is doing and performances will improve.

He hasn't even had a transfer window yet, and his seat is barely warm!

Seasons Greetings!

George Cumiskey
83 Posted 23/12/2017 at 17:33:54
David Barks@70 – spot on again, mate.
Oliver Brunel
84 Posted 23/12/2017 at 17:34:32
I'm not too positive about January. I mean who will be available? And at what extortionate prices? But I think Sigurdsson is getting better and better and Barkley may be back and Coleman. That's positive.

Maybe if Sam had the right players, he would be playing a more expansive game. It would take a world class left back, a midfield box to box playmaker and a 20-goal-a-season centre forward. That will be next summer. Will Moshiri stick or twist?

John G Davies
85 Posted 23/12/2017 at 17:39:34
David 70,

It worked.

Kevin Tully
86 Posted 23/12/2017 at 17:40:35
Anyone who thinks the points gained against Liverpool or Chelsea are due to a defensive masterclass needs to watch those games again. We were dead lucky. Poor finishing from the opposition gave us the draws.

Darren nails it, we are playing like a non-league outfit in the Cup. A dangerous precedent to set. Standards are set by those at he top. It seems after our record spend, just maintaining our position in the Premier League is our new ambition.

I'm not blaming Allardyce or his staff, by the way, they haven't had the requisite amount of time to sort this mess. I'm shocked that some are so accepting of our new Huddersfield type gratefulness at gaining a point against certain sides. We have some of the highest paid players in the world pulling on the shirt. Surely we have to expect better?

Eddie Dunn
87 Posted 23/12/2017 at 17:41:30
I thought we'd get beaten today, by a couple of goals against a classy side full of quality. Our organisation was superb and each player worked tirelessly for the cause. How satisfying to see the coaches up on their feet cajoling and berating the players.

Some big performances from Calvert-Lewin, who held the ball up magnificently, and a special mention for Martina, who has shown great tenacity, out of position and often targeted by the opposition.

Schneiderlin also looks a different player to the lethargic passenger of a few weeks ago.

Clive Mitchell
88 Posted 23/12/2017 at 17:42:37
David (#70) – I don't know what you're watching at Goodison, but it's not what I'm watching.

Jay, (#25) – exactly.

George (#29) and every post of yours I can remember... Merry Christmas!

Kevin Hudson
89 Posted 23/12/2017 at 17:46:05
I don't want the ‘School of Science'. Don't care for it, don't buy it either.

Right now, against the defending Champions & Kopites, Row Z will do for me, all day; 2 similar game plans that worked out quite well given our vulnerability.

We looked nailed-on relegation candidates during the Atalanta - Southampton week – that was the nadir.

What Sam has done (and did today) is precisely what was needed.

I couldn't care a jot whether I'm ‘entertained' or not. At the game today, I was fully appreciative of just how hard the players had to work to stop a team that's put 12 past us in the last 4 meetings – the lads worked their arses off for that point...and for me that counts for everything at the moment.

I'm pretty sure that once the ship has fully stabilised, the confidence and maybe the swagger will return.

(Cue a dire, last-30-seconds-on-MotD snooze-fest at the Hawthorns on Boxing Day...)

David Barks
90 Posted 23/12/2017 at 17:47:08
Clive,

I watched us play at Goodison, with only 30% possession, no shots on target, with the opposition having 26 shots. I saw two shots cleared off the line by Jagielka, one cleared off the line by Williams and multiple other shots stopped by a diving Pickford. What did you watch?

Tony Hill
91 Posted 23/12/2017 at 17:48:31
Defending well and attacking with intent should make you a top 6 side. We are not in that category because of the idiotic mishandling of our affairs over the last 6 months or so. There is an entire mindset and some delicate egos to be cured, not to mention habits of mediocrity stretching back decades.

Be thankful that we are going to be safe this season. That is all that matters; anything else will, as they say, be gravy. I believe we'll be having some of that anyway, but a little gratitude for our salvation wouldn't go amiss.

John G Davies
92 Posted 23/12/2017 at 17:49:10
Chelsea and Liverpool have scored 73 league goals this season. Combined total of 1 against us.

He's doing something right.

David Barks
93 Posted 23/12/2017 at 17:54:13
It's just funny. Those accusing some of us of believing that there is nothing more to the game than attack, and that we'd prefer 4-0 drubbings with entertaining football are actually the ones celebrating as if the only aspect to football is defending and keeping clean sheets. It's amazing.

Try again to understand. Some of us want us to do both, defend, and attack. Not attack in equal measure and quality as the likes of Man City or Chelsea. At least make some sort of an effort to threaten the opposition. Get men into the opposition area.

Oliver Brunel
94 Posted 23/12/2017 at 17:56:26
We are now the new West Brom, Stoke, Huddersfield. I don't mean to sound grim but that is the new end-game. A few quid was thrown at a 'project', atrociously handled, we then try to hijack the 'next big thing' who loses 5 on the flop and everybody criticises you because you're not happy clapping.

If I go to watch a game of football, I expect my team to kick the ball on target at least a few times, to enthuse passion in the crowd who are now clapping excitedly when Kenny passes a straight 3-metre ball to Jagielka. Maybe I need a new beer...

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

95 Posted 23/12/2017 at 17:56:40
Perspective.

Each and every one of us has our own individual and different perspective on all things.

Here on TW that primarily relates to matters concerned with Everton FC.

My perspective on today's game, both in itself and compared to the whole season to date, is this:

* under both Koeman and Unsworth the performances were mostly awful to barely mediocre

* on average under both managers we were conceding 2 goals a game, often more, and had zero defensive quality

* the primary issue that was preventing Everton from achieving even a draw - our defensive fragility – has clearly been addressed by Allardyce in his six games to date: four clean sheets and only 2 goals suffered in 540 minutes on Sam's watch

* such solidity keeps Everton in the game for the entire 90 minutes – even when being pounded for the vast majority of a game as was the case at Anfield and again today

* I seriously doubt that Everton, playing as they were under both Koeman and Unsworth, would have escaped with a draw in either game vs the 'poo or Chelsea

* the half time changes Sam made today were, for me, positive ones. I believe his intention was to sit with a solid back 3 to pick off the fluid front 3 Chelsea set up with. This in turn allowed the full backs Kenny and Martina to play more advanced and protect the flanks better, further from our goal, rather than retain the narrow deep-lying flat back 4 of the first half

* This intended strategy was further enhanced by sacrificing one of the midfielders with Sandro as a support and additional out ball up front with Calvert-Lewin

* Sam and Everton was unfortunate that 5 minutes after effecting that tactical switch, Gana went off injured, meaning Sam couldn't add further attacking options as was his pre-game stated intention, to get Bolasie on the pitch at same point

* Who and how the opposition play determines a great deal how and who we play to combat them. They are not passive traffic cones we simply pass around

* The hope is that before much longer Everton can be in an 'and-and' situation, rather than an 'either-or' situation as some are trying to portray it. That is, we are not limited to only being defensively solid, or alternatively being only all-guns-blazing offensively. As in many things in life, it is a question of finding a happy medium between the two

In conclusion, I don't consider myself easily appeased or with limited to low ambitions for the club. I am not content with heroic backs-to-the-wall 0-0 draws at home only. I want to be competing for trophies, not just making up the numbers.

Nor do I claim any greater degrees of tolerance and patience than others in relation to Everton. But given performances and results under the 2 previous managers this season, I will continue to express my continued support and contentment as to how Sam Allardyce and his coaching team have rapidly brought some stability to the turbulent waters on which SS Everton was cast adrift before his arrival at the helm.

Tony Hill
96 Posted 23/12/2017 at 17:59:39
Defence is the absolute priority. A few weeks ago this was the worst Everton side I have ever seen, by a margin. That sort of awfulness isn't going to disappear quickly. Build it back patiently and securely and then look to the creativity.

If Allardyce was hailing our fantastic attacking performances I could understand the frustration, but he's agreeing that we need to be more potent. It will come.

Paul A Smith
97 Posted 23/12/2017 at 18:02:24
David Barks I think we gave up 75% of the pitch to the opposition due to the pace of our team. Or lack of it. They played through us time after time even with us sat so deep and a huge chunk of our defending was last ditch.

Schneiderlin played well overall today but look at him to his opposite today, Bakayoko. Schneiderlin can't get around the pitch like Bakayoko who without playing great, has the luxury of supreme runners around him.

I saw again today the complete lack of technical ability in our side. The simple ball. How many times does Gana win the ball back then give it away. Schneiderlin passed responsibility to Davies 2 yards to his left because he can't play a simple ball wide.

Calvert Lewin held the ball up great a number of times then overplayed his hand and lost it. Decision-making in these games is massive and ours were poor on the break again.

Tony Hill
98 Posted 23/12/2017 at 18:06:11
Paul A Smith, spot on. This is a major job of reconstruction after fundamental damage, right down to the basics both technically and in terms of confidence, and I would say in terms of power and fitness also. It isn't a matter of clicking a switch.
Stephen Brown
99 Posted 23/12/2017 at 18:16:48
Off topic -Not sure if this has been mentioned but Leon the Evertonian from Gogglebox has just passed away! RIP Leon !
Tony Hill
100 Posted 23/12/2017 at 18:22:00
Yes, Stephen, what a delight and a gentleman he was. RIP.
Stephen Brown
101 Posted 23/12/2017 at 18:23:48
Indeed Tony!! Glad the threat of relegation had passed before he died!! Great Evertonian!
Winston Williamson
102 Posted 23/12/2017 at 18:27:36
Okay, so the defence is better and we're more solid than the Koeman and Unsworth teams. It's still early days of Allardyce's reign and solidity is important.

But, if we're expecting anything different than today against the top 6 (under Allardyce), think again. History says this is how it will always be.

I'm collecting splinters here on this fence. I appreciate the tough defence, but when all we have to talk about is how well our defenders played and our oppositions chances, then there is nothing to celebrate.

I point blank refuse to celebrate a goalless draw at home. That said, this situation is not Allardyce's fault. It's a sad state that a guy who scored a hat trick in this fixture a few years ago, sold now, would walk straight into this team..

Alan Bodell
103 Posted 23/12/2017 at 18:31:55
Darren, I'm right behind 90% of your views but come on, mate, we were dogged against a very good team today and if we'd opened up on them we'd have been ripped apart.

Great to see Keane and Schneiderlin. I've been ranting all season against him playing very well so looks like we've got 2 more playing with confidence.

Pickford superb again. Happy Xmas everyone.

Roger Helm
104 Posted 23/12/2017 at 18:32:31
Can't believe the comments here bemoaning the fact we didn't go toe to toe with Chelsea.

Apart from the horrendous injury list, we were in the last few weeks relegation candidates after the Koeman debacle, today playing the Champions and recent European Champions in whom over a billion pounds of dodgy Russian money has been spent filling the squad with world-class talent. I think a point today was a great achievement.

Christy Ring
105 Posted 23/12/2017 at 18:39:40
Lad's, some of you need a reality check. Big Sam took charge less than a month ago – not my choice, but we were in free fall, and our performances were dire; as some of the pundits said, there was no one worse than us in the Premier League.

We have the most unbalanced squad, 3 defenders in their 30's, with the worst defensive record, and I for one was very worried to say the least. Now we are 9th, unbeaten and conceded 2 goals. We got a point at Anfield, with 2 attempts on goal, and with all their possession, they had 3 shots on target? Today we had 1 chance from Keane, and their best effort was Williams header? It's a huge turnaround.

Wait until after the transfer window, when Sam makes his signings, and changes the squad, then judge him.

Paul A Smith
106 Posted 23/12/2017 at 18:47:50
Jay Wood great post again mate.

Tony Hill I agree mate. Knowing we won't win the league and Europe being a long shot, as somebody who likes to analyse where we can do better (even if we win). These performances have great substance for me.

And today's opposition enhanced the beliefs I have had for ages. We are way off top level. Working as a unit is the first thing we need to do to change that. That's happening right now. And it wasn't there.

James Marshall
107 Posted 23/12/2017 at 18:49:33
Going balls out against Chelsea we would have got turned over at home – then everyone would have lost this shit over it. Under Koeman we'd have likely lost 2-, 3- or 4-0 today.

I'll take 0-0 against the top teams any day of the week.

We're hard to beat, and that's what's important in football matches – I share that philosophy with Big Sam.

We were in freefall a few weeks ago, and now look at us – our defence is mean as fuck and we barely give teams a clear cut chance all game. Chelsea had a lot of shots today, but probably only one or two of them were actually decent chances and we defended like demons front to back.

Yeah, we all want to see us play like Man City but you have to accept the reality of supporting Everton at the moment just isn't going to be like that.

Brian Williams
108 Posted 23/12/2017 at 18:56:21
There are undoubtedly some positives to take from today's game but the lack of creativity is painful. Watching Chelsea play quick, incisive, attacking football with one two's and back heels, knowing where their team mates are going to be was a huge contrast to our own play.

It's not just a striker/s we're in need of but two or three players with the ability to make things happen. Unfortunately it's not likely to be young Onyekuru as he's done his knee ligaments and will be out for a long time. Injury curse strikes again!

Barry Williams
109 Posted 23/12/2017 at 18:59:21
"I changed the shape of the team at half-time and went two up top to try and put more pressure on Chelsea's back three, but we did not really deliver enough quality and that disappointed me.

"I felt that with just one up, we were getting nowhere in the first half. So I put two up to stop their centre halves coming out with the ball and also to get down the side of their centre halves."

Allardyce

He does want us to play better folks. However, how do you legislate for poor passing. My biggest criticism was that the midfield didn't support the strikers quick enough and Niasse should have been on instead of Sandro. If, and it is a big if, Calvert-Lewin had squared the ball to Sigurdsson when free, who knows what might have happened.

Rooney was out today, the flu decimated an already injury hit squad, we changed both centre-backs and still kept a clean sheet, the 5th in 7 games and we are 9th as opposed to 18th. I understand that people want more entertainment, we all do, but sorting out a defence that was incredibly leaky to the point of 5 clean sheets in 7 games really is laudable me thinks.

We need a proper seasoned number 9 who can hold the ball up and be physical with the opposition players, that would change things drastically I reckon! We are 100% heading in the right direction, something I deemed impossible just over a month ago!


Paul A Smith
110 Posted 23/12/2017 at 18:59:28
I sat there today muttering this is frustrating, shit, annoying, dull, uninspiring. But I know why. I am not watching the 11 players we need to take games to the likes of Chelsea. When we are like that or close to it, I expect the performances to bring some more dynamic moments.

One of the most important things about Allardyce is that he is generally not a fool on match day and he doesn't seem to fall for the sheep like theories that make idiots like Martinez talk his way into troubled tactics.

Christy Ring
111 Posted 23/12/2017 at 19:01:33
Sad to hear of Leon's passing, a true blue RIP.
Nigel Munford
112 Posted 23/12/2017 at 19:12:55
We’re going through the pack like Lewis Hamilton, 18th to 9th amazing.
Paul Hughes
113 Posted 23/12/2017 at 19:15:41
I disagree totally with the comments that we were somehow lucky today. The only slice of luck was when Williams nodded it against our own bar. The rest was organised, determined, defending.

Of course I'd like to see us with more possession and creating chances, but a month ago we'd have lost the game by a distance – so first things first. Every player put in a shift, and in my opinion, the whipping boys, Schneiderlin and Martina had far and away their best games of the season.

The test now comes against Bournemouth and West Brom – can we hold onto the ball, make space and pass and beat sides we should be beating? If we can, I will, for the time being, accept draws against the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool and Man Utd.

James Marshall
114 Posted 23/12/2017 at 19:16:08
Sam Allardyce has a plan, something our previous 2 managers didn't appear to have. Against the top teams he forces them wide, forces them to cross the ball and defends that – look at the stats, Chelsea crossed the ball into our box 30 times today, that proves the point.

Defending crosses is a lot easier than defending passes through your defence – it's Big Sam's tried & tested method, and it works.

We've conceded 2 goals since he took over, and lost zero matches. I'm alright with that. :)

Mark Taylor
115 Posted 23/12/2017 at 19:16:28
It is perhaps a sign of our snake belly low expectations but having been comprehensively outplayed, there were some positive aspects. Martina was vaguely competent which is a novelty, Schneiderlin did a good job at breaking up play, which is also a novelty (this season, at least), even Williams, apart from manfully trying to score an OG, was slightly less headless chicken than normal. So lots of Xmas novelties. Pickford looked solid in goal and I feel slightly less nervous at set pieces than I did when Howard was glued to his line.

On the other hand, we had next to nothing going forward. Hard to accept but against Chelsea and the RS, we have looked way below their standard, almost embarrassingly so. But one cannot knock Allardyce if he is able to eke out points in such circumstances. None of our more recent managers would have done. I'll cut Calvert Lewin some slack, he is as isolated as a leper in a nudist colony.

I liked Allardyce's half time subs. Davies may have tried to be positive, but he was headless chickening again. I think the idea was to try and free up the FB's to get some width, stick Siggy in the middle to slide in a few passes and give DCL someone to feed. The problem was that Sandro and DCL never got close enough to each other for this to work (in the end, the latter was operating more as left sided defensive midfielder) and Siggy again sank without trace. Where is the player who was worth £25m?

Thin gruel it may have been, but it's another point and not very long ago, we'd have been opening the Moet for that

James Marshall
116 Posted 23/12/2017 at 19:18:49
Mark – did you not see Sigurdsson defending manfully for the entire game? Covering, running, tackling, stopping attacks, pointing, cajoling his team mates, covering every blade of grass all afternoon?

That's the Sigurdsson I see every week. It's funny how we all see the game so differently.

John G Davies
117 Posted 23/12/2017 at 19:19:01
James, spot on.

You describe his game plan perfectly.
Full backs narrow and give up the space wide.

Tony Hill
118 Posted 23/12/2017 at 19:32:32
There were two beautiful tackles today. Keane's on Hazard, and Schneiderlin's on the same player. The second tackle was especially precise and clean towards our penalty area and I thought Morgan was very good indeed all round.

If we can get Schneiderlin back to his best then we should all be celebrating. He's a class act but he has a temperament which needs managing. It seems that he's responding to Sam.

Alan McGuffog
119 Posted 23/12/2017 at 19:34:11
Can't abide the fella. Was soooooo looking forward to watching us in the Championship next year. Why can't we play like City? Where's me dummy?
Mark Taylor
120 Posted 23/12/2017 at 19:41:25
James,

If we wanted (yet) another defensive midfielder, they are available for less than £45m (I was being a bit sarcastic saying £25m, because that is all Siggy was ever worth).

He was bought to be our game changer, who can change the momemtum with a moment of class, deliver great free kicks and score a few goals. He is not that player, not for us anyway. And while he is clearly trying, he is not actually that good a DM. Barry could have done that job better in the role you describe, if we actually need three of them in one game (God help us).

Alan Bodell
121 Posted 23/12/2017 at 19:47:34
A lot of people on here grumbling, I'm off out again tonight on the bevvie after a very nice point and I never thought I would say it but I'm starting to warm to Allardyce.
John Keating
122 Posted 23/12/2017 at 19:48:03
In the ale house before the game and heard Rooney was out.

The only thing that surprised me is that he didn't play central with Davies playing wide.

However it must be said he put in a real shift so credit to him. I'm sure if he was played in his best position he would shine.

Another great result against a far superior, in every department team.

Oh yes... bollocks to this School of Science crap. I watched every game during our School of Science period and can't remember seeing a great deal of it!! Results are more important for the next month or two.... after that, then let's see if we can play a bit.

Trevor Peers
123 Posted 23/12/2017 at 19:48:32
God that was ugly? Maybe, but under Koeman and Unsworth the difference is, we would have been beaten today 4-0.

Allardyce has definitely added defensive steel and spirit to a very average set of players. The main reason we're so much poorer at times this season, is the sale of Lukaku, who was giving us a real threat up front.

Hopefully the January window will provide a genuine goal-scoring replacement, then I'm sure we will start to compete with the best. Rooney is a class act, his creativity was badly missed today.

James Marshall
124 Posted 23/12/2017 at 19:48:52
He's been mostly played out of position, that's why we haven't seen the best of him as a creative force.

Our team has been woeful all season, and Sigurdsson has, in my view, been a victim of our previous management's struggles.

He's a central midfielder, a Number 10, we all know this but he hasn't been played there = we're seeing a different side to his game.

I don't see how anyone can create a direct correlation between performances and fees paid for players anyway. That doesn't really mean much to me, but I do see what you're driving at, Mark.

Us supporters tend to waste an awful lot of energy criticising our own players – I did it for years, then got older and softer and nowadays I tend to try to see the good they do more than the bad – it's a lot less stressful!

Lev Vellene
125 Posted 23/12/2017 at 19:51:17
Mark (#115),

When I saw the surprise team sheet today, there were two things cheering me: Lennon on to keep working with Kenny (well, it worked defensively...), and Sigurdsson on the left with Martina! Sigurdsson is doing so much defensive work, I'm surprised he can do so well forwards as he does!

I said early on in the Live Chat that I hoped Keane and Jags had been watching closely! And those two sorry players from early on, played beautifully! It looks like we have a proper back-6 to choose our back-4 from now!

With our patched-up team, I'm very happy with a shut-out and one point! That's one point each from Man City, Liverpool and Chelsea so far! Happy!

Mark Taylor
126 Posted 23/12/2017 at 19:54:27
James, it doesn't stress me to say Sigurdsson is not worth £45m and is not a player we needed anyway, not ahead of a striker, left-back and left centre back. It's just a fact.

He hasn't played in his favoured position because none of our managers set the team out quite like Swansea so it does make me wonder what purpose he was bought for – that question is aimed at Koeman.

Now he is here, we need to get the best out of him, but that means sometimes not playing him because he doesn't fit the playing style. I actually feel a bit sorry for him because he clearly cares, but is also shorn of confidence.

Michael Williams
127 Posted 23/12/2017 at 19:54:36
I've come to realize that there will always be someone who is unhappy no matter what and that some people are always unhappy.
Jamie Evans
128 Posted 23/12/2017 at 19:54:59
Basically it comes down to what kind of Evertonian you are I suppose. The kind who wants to attack the current Champions, even if that means getting turned over, or are you happy to play for a point and not have an effort on target for the entire game.

Honestly, did anyone expect OCM to play any other way?

Mark Taylor
129 Posted 23/12/2017 at 20:01:01
Lev, I'm also very happy with a point. I should say I was an advocate of Allardyce coming in. Sure he is no Guardiola, but we are light years from being able to deliver that.

On the other hand, he is a proven fixer of dodgy teams, especially if there is a modicum of ability in the squad. And I do not regard him as neanderthal – he is actually quite visionary (one of the first, as far as I know, to get into dietary regimes for example).

That said, one cannot ignore the evidence of our own eyes, how miles behind the top 6 we are, and as a blue for over 50 years now, that hurts a little.

Steavey Buckley
130 Posted 23/12/2017 at 20:06:16
Everton are a better team by limiting the amount of goals being scored against us. The other limitations are caused by lacking quality in other parts of the team; and that will resolve itself, when players return from injury and when there new acquisitions. Everton had a heart attack not long ago, Everton are now out of intensive care and taking it easy with any thoughts of being too exertive upfront just to be hammered at the back.
Lev Vellene
131 Posted 23/12/2017 at 20:12:36
Michael, we could try to play flowing football with our flawed, current (and hopefully previously...) disillusioned squad! Certain TW'ers would applaud that, as well as our almost decent showing in the Championship when we of course (?) won promotion again on the back of our optimistic, positive football!

I'll go for pragmatism any day to steady the ship! And every interview with Allardyce I've seen so far, says that he wants us to play as good, attacking and flowing as the nay-sayers say he hinders us doing! That we only have seemingly decent players compared to the Top 6 (although they were in disarray earlier), and money to only buy slightly better ones here and there if needed, seems irrelevant to these people who can only be happily unhappy if Everton is not playing like we had Messi, Bale and Ronaldo in our team...

Eric Paul
132 Posted 23/12/2017 at 20:16:44
Mark,

Why are we light-years away from a team that was in the third tier of English football in 1998.

Andrew McKernan
133 Posted 23/12/2017 at 20:23:18
Dare I say it, a classic 'Big Sam' performance today against a team who are a different level to us and who always seemed to have an extra player all over the pitch. Back's against the wall, dogged defending and rode our luck.

Well pleased with a point, let's face it under Bobby Brown Shoes and Koeman we'd have been well beaten, 0-2/0-3 (take your pick).

Tony Abrahams
134 Posted 23/12/2017 at 20:24:49
All about opinions, and if someone has a different view, it's just the different way they tend to see things.

I'm with James Marshall, with regards to Siggy, and think Dean Cooper called it right earlier in this thread, and also think, if he wasn't so disciplined, he wouldn't be getting played out of position.

I also wouldn't want to watch that every week, but it's an indication of how poor we had been this season, before this manager came in, and for the first time in a long time, at least we are getting properly organised. Giving up 75% of the pitch is much better than half pressing and half defending too deep, so it will do for me for now!

Colin Glassar
135 Posted 23/12/2017 at 20:38:18
Just got home from the game and I've come to the conclusion that Big Sam walks on water.

Now I know it was a draw, and I know it wasn't pretty, and I know our passing in the final third leaves much to be desired but that was like watching fucking Juventus in the 1970's!!

That was Cattenaccio at its best. Not for one moment was I shitting myself waiting for the inevitable goal I just felt confident, after 10 mins, that they wouldn't break us down.

I was watching the players without the ball and everyone of them, including Martina, knew where they had to be – it was like watching a chess match being played by a Grandmaster.

The only disappointment was Sandro who looks clueless but I'll give him time. Jags, Keane, Gana, Schneiderlin etc all superb. COYB and Hail King Sam!

Mark Taylor
136 Posted 23/12/2017 at 20:43:53
Eric, I've no idea who you are referring to. Chelsea were in the Premier League in 1998, in fact had a pretty good season that year from recollection.

With the best will in the world, they outplayed us today. I wish that wasn't the case, but it is.

John Keating
137 Posted 23/12/2017 at 20:49:19
Jamie (#128).

I take it from your post that you are the "kind of Evertonian" "The kind who wants to attack the current champions, even if that means getting turned over"

Are you also the "kind of Evertonian" who is happy to walk around town after playing dire against Spurs at home 0-3. Man.Utd away 0-4, Arsenal at home 2-5, Atalanta home 1-5. Soton away 1-4 etc etc etc etc???

For me Jamie I would rather not get embarrassed watching us getting hammered every week, getting us involved in the bottom of the league rabble, sitting with my grandkids at the match fed up telling them how good Vernon and Young were and then watching Williams and co make mistake after mistake.

No for me, Jamie, right now in our present time and situation I am quite happy us picking points up against the current Champions and our near neighbours however it might be.

I'm just that "kind of Evertonian".

Eugene Ruane
138 Posted 23/12/2017 at 20:50:12
I think Eric is talking about Man City and the answer to his question is easy:

Link

Jon Withey
139 Posted 23/12/2017 at 20:51:30
Well, at least we have a defence again! I'll take the fact that Jonjoe Kenny has barely been mentioned as an excellent sign.
Brent Stephens
140 Posted 23/12/2017 at 20:52:42
John – aye to that. As you say, right now in our present situation, picking up points against the current champs and our near neighbours. Nobody is saying we want to see that every week, so I don't know why some ask the question.
Tony Marsh
141 Posted 23/12/2017 at 20:53:22
What do fans here want or expect from this current Everton side? Why is anyone moaning about the style of play considering where we are now and where we were under Koeman and Unsworth? It's not pretty but it is effective.

I suppose some would rather be in the position we were in a month ago, getting twatted by 4 goals every week. Can anyone tell me what style of play it was we were playing before Allardyce came in because I don't know what it was.

I was happy we got Allardyce at our club... in fact, we should thank the Lord we got him, we are blessed. Allardyce is doing a fantastic job at EFC. If you don't believe me, look at the before and after stats if you need convincing...

Moan all you want but facts are facts and Big Sam has stopped the rot..

Paul A Smith
142 Posted 23/12/2017 at 20:53:55
I thought Siggurdson worked his socks of and our best (most dynamic) moment of the game was when he took the ball from Martina with a brilliant touch before beating 3 Chelsea players and laying it to Schneiderlin.

I didn't see another Everton player create a moment like that?

Tony Abrahams
143 Posted 23/12/2017 at 20:56:16
Colin, I vaguely remember Forest winning two European Cups with a similar set up defensively?

They had better wide players though, people who could run with the ball, and give his team-mates a little respite, but it was built on a strong defence nonetheless.

Allardyce, has been here for six games, and we have conceded a lot less in those games than we had in just one match previous to his appointment.

We looked like a relegation team; we now look like a mid-table team. Although we all want more craft, the first thing is being hard to beat, and this is something our players look like they are starting to believe. If Keane hadn't missed the best chance of the game, we might even have nicked a victory, simply because we had defended for our lives to keep a clean sheet.

John McFarlane
144 Posted 23/12/2017 at 21:14:17
Hi All, I'm sure that every Evertonian would love to see free-flowing football, but I'm on the side of those who are suggesting that, until we can consolidate our position, results are of paramount importance.

I have experienced relegation (in 1951) and I can assure anyone who hasn't suffered that disappointment, that it is a harrowing experience.

The discomfort we feel regarding poor performances, hopefully a temporary situation, is nothing compared to relegation.

I also think that expecting Everton to play in cavalier fashion before establishing a respectable position is an unrealistic stance to take.

Mike Connolly
145 Posted 23/12/2017 at 21:14:54
I can't believe some of the negatives against Sam. We want free-flowing football? Yeah, free-flowing football would have had us bottom heading for the Championship.

Sam's remit was get us out of the shit. He knows we have not got the players to play free-flowing football. A lot of the times we can't string three passes together.

Sam realises when we have less of the ball we can't make as many mistakes. Give Sam time to assemble his own team; I recon it won't be as bad as the one he inherited.

Dave Abrahams
146 Posted 23/12/2017 at 21:19:52
I think we can all understand the frustration felt by some fans at the way we are playing so defensively at the moment. It helps me going to the game to expect them to play like this for the next few games.

Okay we should be creating a bit more but we simply do not have the squad that will allow us to play an even moderately attacking game, when some of the long term unfit players get back (hopefully) to perform and a couple of signings in the first week of January then if things don't improve, fair enough, moan to your hearts content. But for the time being give a little leeway to the new manager and his coaching staff.

I'm one of the biggest moaners when we don't perform and was on my feet a few times today at the very poor passing by some players; there is no excuse for that. But getting through the games for now and gaining points is helping me to stay calm and hoping the team will be much better in the New Year, starting at Anfield.

Paul A Smith
147 Posted 23/12/2017 at 21:21:51
Be interesting to see if we can get Bolasie and Barkley back for the cup game? If they can get anywhere near the level they are capable of, the likes of Calvert Lewin and Rooney will be able to preserve energy in games. That alone could be a massive boost?

It just amazes me that people with 2 working eyes that have watched Gana give the ball away how often? Schneiderlin go 2 yards sideways or backwards how often? Davies hacking at players he's chasing how often? Can they go and play free-flowing football?

Williams, Holgate, Jagielka can't kick a ball. And they want better football? My word...

David Israel
148 Posted 23/12/2017 at 21:23:03
I am quite happy with the result, and even the performance, given the last-minute changes, the injury to Gana, and the overall background.

Some people were, rightly so, despairing at the utter tosh we were playing and at the awful results we were getting, not so long ago. A few on here were even saying that we were a dead cert for relegation. Our fortunes have improved tremendously, not just in terms of results, but also, yes, in terms of fortune itself.

What I am mainly disappointed with is watching hugely expensive people like Sigurdsson still under-performing (his good goals of recent games don't detract from that). But some people hold a grudge against Sam Allardyce – whom I won't call 'Big Sam' – and will keep on moaning, while daydreaming of the good old days of the School of Science, Harry Catterick, Ball, Kendall and Harvey (a team that I watched with great pleasure, of course).

If, come the end of the season, or even the early stages of next season, the football being served is still as 'turgid' (to borrow a word much in vogue on these pages) as some people think it is now, then I'll be the first to criticise the manager. Until then, give him time to build, for heaven's sake!

Season's Greetings everyone!

Steven Jones
149 Posted 23/12/2017 at 21:26:58
Great post, Colin Glassar.

I just love Sam's interviews. He is the most professional manager and the most straight-talking guy we have had at the helm... and he cares. He talks about players with their first names, is honest about the positives and the negatives, and where we need to improve.

We are solid and the attitude of the players to be professional and know their places and positions when in defence is the best since 1985 to 1988 – Love it!! Guess what – we have a lot of young players who are only going to get better!

Brian Wilkinson
150 Posted 23/12/2017 at 21:28:23
Before a ball was even kicked today, one or two jumping on the Schneiderlin "whipping boy" bandwagon, along with "Jagielka's legs gone". Personally I thought they both did a job today; same happened with Barkley when he played previously, as soon as he misplaced a pass.

It is about time we got behind the players instead of waiting to howl at any misplaced pass. The players we had today did a great job against a top Chelsea side, that's Chelsea, Liverpool and Man City who have failed to take three points against us, two of those away.

Not pretty to watch but, until Sam can reinforce and make the team better shaped, we have to take every point we can. The defence is looking more solid and teams are no longer banging in two and three goals against us.

It takes time; for now, Sam is getting points in the bag. Once we land a striker and get players back, we can then start being more adventurous and playing attractive football – just be a little patient.

Mark Taylor
151 Posted 23/12/2017 at 21:33:03
Eugene,

Assuming you are correct, then yes it is a very easy answer. This is now and that was then and they played us off the park, even with ten men.

Sadly.

Oliver Brunel
152 Posted 23/12/2017 at 21:34:44
By the time Harry Pothead gets hitched, we could be in the European slots!!
Steven Jones
153 Posted 23/12/2017 at 21:40:59
We could actually field a side of youngsters. No other club, including Arsenal and Man City could do this.

Pickford, Kenny, Holgate, Keane, Davies, Lookman, Baningime, Calvert-Lewin, Vlasic, Sandro, Walsh, Browning, Hornby, Feeney, Garbutt, and I forgot Kieran Dowell who is the top scorer and player of the season already at Nottm Forest.

U20 World Cup Winners, Premier League 2 Champs, La Liga winners, Premier League players and England caps in there at top level and at all levels. There is something else – a winning attitude, a professional attitude – and they have each other!!!

14-plus bench – non 23 years yet!!!

Terry Underwood
154 Posted 23/12/2017 at 21:47:00
Can't see why people are unhappy, sure we could play "the Everton way" and get a 6-1 spanking every game, get relegated but at least playing the game If we don't concede, we don't lose. When we don't lose, we can then think about winning.

Under the old system we would have had our pants pulled down against Liverpool and Chelsea, possibly Newcastle too. We are becoming hard to beat and gaining morale all the time. Baby steps guys, baby steps.

On the subject of babies, checkout on YouTube Baby Metal "Road of Resistance" but only if you are into teenage Japanese girls singing heavy rock. Mmmmmm, oops sorry.

Andrew James
155 Posted 23/12/2017 at 22:02:55
We have to be happy that Sam tells us every game why he did what he did. RK never did that. Yes, Sam is taking credit for or trying to demonstrate what a difference he is making but that honesty is refreshing.

He is also keen to tell us that he wants the football to improve in the final third and that's a message to the fans. I'm sure he will want the style to be nicer on the eye to change the perception people have of him.

But currently he wants to make the defence solid, increase points and confidence so that he gets a longer contract in the summer. I am sure we will finish 7th or 6th under this regime but the telling part for me will be how we get on with the FA Cup.

Brian Denton
156 Posted 23/12/2017 at 22:03:20
John G Davies (92) – if you'd included Man City as well it would have been even more impressive!
Kevin Bennett
157 Posted 23/12/2017 at 22:09:47
After 19 games last season we had one more point than what we have now!!

Incredible that we are now looking up – well done Sam and the whole team!

Stan Schofield
158 Posted 23/12/2017 at 22:12:15
Colin@135: Spot on. Discipline and organisation are the basis of a good team. Indeed, they are the basis of being creative and having flair. Without discipline and organisation we'd be buggered, as we were at the start of the season.

I voted, in the ToffeeWeb poll, not to have Sam, on the basis that his experience didn't match Everton's level (one of averaging nearly 60 points per season over the last decade or so). However, I realise that, on the evidence so far, I was wrong in my judgement. Rather than not matching our level, he brings the discipline, organisation and leadership that we've needed but lacked for a few years.

I have been surprised that he comes across as not only straight talking and logical, but also as charismatic, in that he exudes authority. Someone for whom the players might want to perform well, as opposed to just going through the motions as we saw under Koeman.

Now, I'm not putting him on a pedestal, simply looking at the detail of what he's doing. And the devil is in the detail. It's the detail that makes a team improve, rather than high-level philosophies. Those who are currently criticising our style of play should remember that we had an habitually hoof-ball style of play under Koeman, but whenever that was raised most folks would ask for him to be given time. Well, the same should apply to our current manager, since it's early days and we're avoiding defeats, which is what was primarily required.

Peter Mills
159 Posted 23/12/2017 at 22:18:24
I’m with those who are satisfied at the improvements that have been made so far under Sam Allardyce. It is just one month since we haemorrhaged 9 goals against Atalanta and Southampton. We are vastly better organised and committed now.

Today was not exactly easy on the eye, but there was much to admire about the defending. A solid base is being created.


Steven Jones
160 Posted 23/12/2017 at 22:30:28
Sam knows the club better than some think. His best mates are Bracewell and Peter Reid. Sam again noted what we all know: a great tackle, a great recovery run is applauded as much as a fancy trick at Goodison.

With the defensive shape, I also see a winner's mentality and a reaction to the ball and game that we have not seen since the mid-eighties. There is a kernel of a philosophy and a winning mentality that can see us go all the way – and I mean all the way!

Derek Thomas
161 Posted 23/12/2017 at 23:16:01
Allardyce is doing nothing wrong... at the moment. Effort – mental and physical – is good, as are clean sheets, being undefeated.

This type of stuff has to carry on for 12 to 18 months minimum before it 'seeps in' and becomes ingrained. We saw under Martinez how fast bad habits develop.

Then, and only then, can he (if he can!) start adding flair to the mixture.

We will lose – everybody (except Man City) loses – and it will be to somebody 'daft'. His next battle is against early false confidence.

John Boon
162 Posted 23/12/2017 at 23:23:49
Great descriptor Michael when you finished your excellent report by noting, "The torture is over". Nothing could sum up a match from an Evertonian's perspective. I was so glad when it ended. I was never a fan nor a critic of Allardyce. To me he was just a manager of various teams who all badly needed help. Unfortunately, mainly due to Koeman, we had become one of those teams.

However, he must be given credit for taking over a team that had completely lost its spirit. He also took over a team that was such a complex mixture of young players with lots of potential and older ones that are very close to finishing their careers. Everton have relearned how to defend. Not too pleasing on the eye and likely to cause some with a nervous breakdown.

We all feel better when we are winning, and if possible to do it with style. Despite present reservations about depending mainly on defence, I honestly think that given time and some suitable signings he will slowly introduce a more adventurous and attractive type of football.

Today we got a point. The main reason was because Allardyce has introduced a system that requires discipline. Every player seems to now know what they expected to do. Many of them are very ordinary players, but Sam seems to have improved every one of them. Thaey all look more confident. Hopefully even better things are to come, but we all need to be patient. We never really know what is around the corner.

Matt Butlin
163 Posted 23/12/2017 at 23:58:59
Retired, undefeated as England manager, kind of... now undefeated at Everton. Better than I expected.
Mike Hughes
164 Posted 23/12/2017 at 00:03:14
“The torture is over” could have applied to many games – and management teams – that I have seen at Goodison Park over the past few years. (0-0 v Coventry in the early-mid 80's was painful beyond belief.) It long pre-dates the Sam Allardyce regime.

(I realise there is a context to apply in the original article as Chelsea were all over us.)

Right now, this is the bad-tasting medicine we have to take to get better. I welcome Sam Allardyce's approach. And for those who, under the circumstances, don't think taking points off Liverpool and Chelsea is not commendable, then I pity you.

Unbeaten after taking over a shambles of a squad (with injuries and illness as well) is a superb achievement that all true Blues should welcome.

If it was an exotic-sounding manager (Fonseca, Simeone) achieving what Sam has done so far, then he'd rightly be getting loud applause all round on here.


Steven Jones
165 Posted 24/12/2017 at 00:14:04
Well said, Mike Hughes!
Kevin Tully
166 Posted 24/12/2017 at 00:32:36
I may have had a few (I have) but reading Blues actually celebrating a goalless draw without a shot on target has made me realise something. Nothing to do with the manager BTW.

Get in there you beauty. Well in boys. So, the cheers were real at full time after all. I know one poster who dislikes expletives. Apologies in adavance, but sometimes you just have to. Fuck me, look at this club of ours.

Mike Hughes
167 Posted 24/12/2017 at 00:42:49
Well said Steven Jones (just read your posts above)!

I also see a winner's mentality in Sam Allardyce.

Kevin Tully
168 Posted 24/12/2017 at 01:06:51
The Everton Legends dinner for next year's anniversary has already been sorted.

Tickets £45.00. Can't wait.

Soren Moyer
170 Posted 24/12/2017 at 01:33:26
That is the only thing big Sam can do right now with the players in his disposal; sorting out the defense, stopping us from conceding goals and maybe nicking a goal against the top six opponents. We just don't have the material to play an entertaining form of footy against them without getting beaten. However, deadwood, we have plenty of those!
Mike Dolan
171 Posted 24/12/2017 at 01:41:26
Every player that Everton put on the pitch today worked his arse off like a hero. You can ask for nothing more than that. The massive point that we earned against Chelsea has brought out the swarms of School of Science flies who seem to not be able to acknowledge is that we are not yet a fully constructed team.

Our improved financial status should have had us competing with Barcelona by now. It is of course almost total bullshit. Our two top players over the last 2 seasons were Lukaku and Barkley. Take the top two players from any club in the Premier League and tell me if it doesn't effect how they play.

We will be able to compete with any team in the Premier League eventually. We will attack them at home. We will attack them away. We will attack attack attack them. We will never surrender.

Si Cooper
172 Posted 24/12/2017 at 01:44:48
Why Sandro instead of Niasse? Probably because Oumar has made a very poor fist of holding the ball up and playing others in recently, as his tendency is to retain possession and to attempt a kick and run once a defender has got close. His main game is doggedly chasing the ball when there is space in behind.

You can see Sandro was trying to hold up the ball and link up with other players. It isn't quite happening for him at full tilt, but that is obviously what the manager was intending by pairing Sandro with Calvert-Lewin.

Jerome Shields
173 Posted 24/12/2017 at 02:29:40
Sandro and Calvert-Lewin didn't work, because Sandro is not up to speed and Calvert-Lewin was knackered. Niasse would have been a better option, because he is unpredictable and unorthodox. Chelsea where able to deal easily with Sandro and Calvert-Lewin. They knew exactly what Big Sam would do tactically and where we'll prepared.

Niasse is the difference, as Andy Gray was the difference. Gary Lineker was predictable, always had to run onto the ball and was easily dealt with, hence Everton where not as successful when he arrived. Sandro is nowhere near Lineker's standard. Miracles are not going to happen. Bad decision by Big Sam. We could have won.

Bill Gienapp
174 Posted 24/12/2017 at 03:23:30
"He was bought to be our game changer, who can change the momentum with a moment of class, deliver great free kicks and score a few goals."

To be fair Mark, Sigurdsson scored a sublime goal to give us the lead against Swansea on Monday, then delivered an excellent corner kick in added time today, which Keane narrowly missed putting on target. So he *is* doing those very things... perhaps just not enough for your liking.

Re: Sandro – he may ultimately prove unable to cut it in the Premier League. But we aren't going to know for sure until he's given an actual run of games. Bringing him on at half-time, against a top opponent, in a match that we're playing hyper-defensively, with very little in the way of offensive build-up or clear-cut opportunities, isn't going to reveal much one way or another.

Re: Schneiderlin, he was actually quite solid today. But he's got so little credit in the bank at this point, I suspect he'd have to do something genuinely superheroic on the pitch to start winning supporters back over.

Steve Brown
175 Posted 24/12/2017 at 03:41:31
Go on then, I am not going to slam Allardyce even though that performance was dogged with the emphasis on 'dog'. Although I will not drop to my knees like Mike Hughes to thank our lucky stars at being forced to watch such dire, defensive dross every game. That is just a sign of how low our standards and expectations have collapsed as a club.

He did actually try to change to a more attacking formation at half-time – three at the back, the wing-backs to push forward and pin back Moses and Marcos plus Sandro up front with Calvert-Lewin. It didn't work because of the players' lack of quality in their passing.

Ed Prytherch
176 Posted 24/12/2017 at 03:58:43
The entire team has been lifted since Sam arrived. A handful – Pickford, Kenny, Rooney, Calvert-Lewin were playing well before he arrived and they too have improved. Most of the others were playing poorly and now we see no one playing badly.

Schneiderlin is a different player and today Keane had his best game so far. Maybe the ones who don't make the bench are still stuck in the mud and hopefully they will soon find new opportunities. I will be surprised if we finish lower than 7th.

Eric Myles
177 Posted 24/12/2017 at 04:35:57
Kevin (#157), another interesting stat I read was that, after 17 games this season, we had scored 1 more goal than last season.

Conceded a lot more this season though.

Peter Lee
178 Posted 24/12/2017 at 07:59:06
Jay Wood nailed it a hundred posts back.

Stand up all those who wanted to "Give Unsy 'til Christmas".

Don't you feel stupid?

We have a manager who will be honest about what he tries to do, owns up when it's wrong and explains the changes he makes. He, according to the players, let's them know in simple terms what they need to do and doesn't make it complicated.

He isn't shy of admitting that he wants it better, more expansive, but he is realistic about maintaining results on the journey.

He also, for the first time I can remember since Brian Clough, used his position to make a political statement (about food banks).

If nothing else, you have to respect him for these things.

Merry Christmas, Sam – and thanks. Mine will be a lot better than it was likely to be if it wasn't for your appointment. Pity it wasn't done during the international break.

Ian Hollingworth
179 Posted 24/12/2017 at 08:02:09
For years, our biggest problem has been the lack of ambition shown by the club. That appeared to lead to a club set up that lacked a winning mentality. You always knew we would get beat by certain teams or ship that last-minute goal etc. I think in Sam and his team have brought a whole new philosophy of winning to this football club. I think there is a determination to succeed.

Yes the football is shite but guess what it has been for years. I cannot believe that Sam does not want to improve the football. Sit back and take a look at what is happening to the players individually, there is a marked improvement in many, confidence is also growing.

With the confidence that results bring will come better football from the team. We still need better quality players in many positions.

For now we are improving at a pace most would not have felt possible a few weeks ago and like it or not that is down to Big Sam and his team and the wining mentality they are bringing to the club.

Rudi Coote
180 Posted 24/12/2017 at 08:09:11
I can't believe the anti-Sam comments in here. Sure, not many were totally enamoured with his appointment (myself included) but, now he's here, he should get full backing from everyone. And, as the results show, Sam is doing his job. Not pretty football...yet! But I am very confident it will come.

The cake isn't finished until the icing is on top. We're still at the "mixing" stage. Lighten up, Steve Brown.

Chris James
181 Posted 24/12/2017 at 08:17:54
Wow... just wow. We steal a point from the Champions, who are a far superior team in pretty much every department, and do it with a team missing a number of our first choice players... and without a proper Premier League striker – and still there's people moaning that we didn't play enough football?

I think the naivety is only matched by the shortness of memories by (in many cases) the very same people who literally 2 months ago were distraught at the fact we kept leaking goals and were going to be relegated.

Last season, this team put 8 goals past us in 2 matches... EIGHT. And, for all our attacking approach then, we scored exactly the same number of goals we've scored today...

Chelsea have better players, a more balanced team who have been playing together for years, and strength in depth. Last season, we had a pop and it didn't work. Would you rather just keep repeating the same approach even though it was virtually guaranteed to be a heroic failure? Is getting beaten 5-0 more 'entertaining'? It sure of hell doesn't entertain me.

Presumably the same posters would also rather we 'had a go' at Anfield too and got soundly spanked there as well in the name of 'entertainment'?

Yes, we want to score goals; yes, we want to attack the opposition. But that is happening also – we've averaged 2 goals a game over the last 7 (including Unsworth's last match, admittedly); it's just that we're being smart for once. Rather than play the same way regardless of opposition, we're picking our fights – so far, that's meant 4 wins (against teams below us) and 2 draws (against teams above us). if you don't think that is genuine progress on where we were 8 or 10 games ago, then frankly you're wrong.

Yes I'd love to see us being more expressive, but I'm frankly tired of rolling out the 'School of Science' crap time and time again. I've been a supporter for about 34 years now. We were an incredible team when I really got into following football; we won the league and were challenging for honours each year... and we were playing great football.

Since Kendall departed, and especially since the Premier League began (25 years ago), we've been largely a poor relation, harking back to past glories. We spent around a decade vying with relegation – yes there were some high points and some great players but it was only when Moyes came in and started building from the back first (like the vast majority of successful managers in world football – barring Pep and Klopp) that we actually started to become a more serious challenger in the league – fixing ourselves for most of his tenure around the top 6 or 7 and getting a chance to play in Europe again (albeit primarily the second tier competition).

Since 1987, the solitary honour we actually won was hardly earned with flowing football, was it? The 'Dogs of War' tag attached to Royle's 1995 cup-winning Everton was deserved for a team that fought their way to an unlikely victory.

In conclusion, do I think that we should resign ourselves to defensive football? Not in the slightest; I want us to be expansive and creative and we have in the likes of Siggy, Rooney, Davies, Lookman and Bolasie (plus support from Coleman, Kenny and Baines and Barkley if he stays) players that are more than capable of delivering that for us. But to do so, we need both confidence (which really only comes from winning), the right supporting players (a target man or two would be a start plus a fit left wing-back), and opposition that aren't just so talented they'd likely smash us on the counter (eg, Liverpool, Chelsea, Man City, Arsenal).

First and foremost, we need points and that means keeping clean sheets and scoring goals – both of which we've been doing. 11 from a possible 15 (or 14 from 18 if you include the handover match) will do for me, that's 'European' form and has us 6 points off a likely Europa League slot and 9 points off Champions League at the half-way stage of the season. With two winnable games coming up before the end of the year, we'd hope that gap will continue to close and we can kick off against Man Utd with even more confidence (and hopefully a fit Rooney, Bolasie and Baines).

Maybe, if we're still playing the same 'defence-first' football this time next season, then maybe I'll join the moaners; but for now, I'm going to get behind Big Sam and the boys and hope we can continue our unbeaten run!

Stephen Brown
182 Posted 24/12/2017 at 08:27:00
Very sensible post, Chris!

John G Davies
183 Posted 24/12/2017 at 08:41:27
For anyone having a moan about the quality of football, please read Chris James's post at 181. It's the best summation I have read since Allardyce took over. Indisputable.

Ray Robinson
184 Posted 24/12/2017 at 09:07:54
I have often wondered what makes a good manager and have come to the conclusion is that it is someone who maximises the use of the resources at his disposal. On that score, I cannot fault Allardyce.

Whether we should have better talent at our disposal – in order to play more expansive football – is an entirely different question.

Jamie Evans
185 Posted 24/12/2017 at 09:14:30
John (#137). I think I'm somewhere in the middle. I think.
Kim Vivian
186 Posted 24/12/2017 at 09:27:12
IS(&S)WT

Happy Christmas all.

Paul A Smith
187 Posted 24/12/2017 at 09:37:00
Stan Schofield, great to see someone post they have been wrong so far. I bet it didn't hurt either, mate? I bet you don't feel inferior for being honest in your judgement too. It's just football and to me there are no experts – just opinions.

All the best, mate. All the best to everybody. Enjoy your Christmas Day and keep talking Everton until we get what we want.

And then talk more Everton
X X X

Sam Barrett
188 Posted 24/12/2017 at 09:54:47
Just a couple of things.

Sam got tactics correct yesterday. His only 'error' was to put Sandro on instead of Niasse. Now I know we set up defensively, but after 10 to 15 minutes of being under the cosh, it just did not feel inevitable that we were going to concede (a feeling that I'm sure most of you are aware of). In fact, I felt confident that we wouldn't. We were still in the game by the 90th minute and, dare I say it, 'unlucky' that Keane didn't put away his header for all 3 points.

Also, if Sam was appointed earlier on in the season, I would be currently looking forward to another European away trip.

Now, pleasing on the eye, it is not... but don't be swayed by the kopite media bullshit about Sam being an anti-football dinosaur – if he was a young Portuguese manager, he would be hailed as a genius.

George Stuart
189 Posted 24/12/2017 at 09:59:36
You know what the headline on Soccernet was "Man City soaring ahead as united fade, Spurs struggle, Everton flop". FFS. Chelsea Billionaire play things. Expected to at least win if not batter us. I fucking hate these media twats.

The game was what it was. We might rip a poorer team to bits in February or March. But not yesterday and not against Chelsea.

Paul Hay
190 Posted 24/12/2017 at 10:00:52
I'm much happier than I was before Sam was appointed.
What a depressing period that was!

Let's approach 2018 with confidence folks. Keep the faith.

Have a very Happy and Healthy Christmas and New Year everyone.

Paul Smith
191 Posted 24/12/2017 at 10:01:21
It was a tremendous defensive effort by the team with the exception of Sandro whose effort was diabolical. That is surely his last chance in the blue shirt and Niasse will start against West Brom with Calvert-Lewin rested.
Derek Knox
192 Posted 24/12/2017 at 10:36:26
I am sure (or would like to think so) that I am not the only one to feel for Sandro; I really wanted him to succeed but, after yesterday's showing, I think he's almost put that to bed.

Another unfortunate yesterday, was the injury to Gana, for he had already made a double substitution, Sandro being one; not only will Gana be missed for four or so games.

Hypothetical I know, but Gana had to be subbed too; I think he would have had Bolasie on later, but it will have to be the West Brom game now at some stage, imagine had Niasse been on instead of Sandro, and Bolasie had come on?

Jon Withey
193 Posted 24/12/2017 at 10:37:23
I suspect Sandro has to be given a chance otherwise we will never know will we? Feel a bit sorry for Niasse though as he helped us through a terrible period and he is a pest to defenses. There are plenty of games to come though.

Some of the players don't seem to be able to pass and retain the ball under pressure particularly well. I only wish we would use our wings more as we do have some pace in the squad.

Gana is a miss – can Baningime fill in?

Paul A Smith
194 Posted 24/12/2017 at 10:43:26
I thought yesterday's game was hard for a player like Sandro to come into. Niasse would have had it worse in my opinion. He can't hold the ball up at all whereas Sandro has a slightly better chance and closes down quicker. Chelsea were well on the front foot when Sandro appeared and he had defenders around him 2 gears ahead.

The comments saying he was poor are true but nobody was allowed a yard from Chelsea who were desperate to win and Sandro hasn't found a minute of form all season. Again this is a clear point of what we are lacking. Lookman wasn't even on the bench.

It's going to be very difficult to sign many top players in January but signing one can make all the difference. It's now Moshiri and Company's time to turn somebody on.

Bob Parrington
195 Posted 24/12/2017 at 10:46:47
in Phuket at present and no chance to watch the game but naffed off with the few whingers on here who complain about the fact that the football we're playing is shit. Give it a break, FFS!

On results since the Sams arrived, if they'd been here from the start of the season we'd not be too far behind Man City! Okay, I realise that's a stretch but it's results we need just now not flamboyant football.

Moaners, give it a rest and accept this is a transition that we needed. Same players, different results. Positive not negative. OMG some are never happy!

Steve Cotton
196 Posted 24/12/2017 at 10:50:50
I think I saw that we were 3rd in the league for last 6 games, possibly before yesterday but nonetheless it's a step in the right direction...

I still think Sandro is crap though.

Ian Bennett
197 Posted 24/12/2017 at 10:54:09
I didn't want Allardyce, like many on these boards. However, he's shown he is the boss. We look defensively sound with a side organised that gives no chances away. Established players like Williams, Rooney and now Schneiderlein have all stepped up, and we seem to have a game plan.

The finished product is a bit agricultural, but I like what I see so far after a handful of games. He's honest about where we are, which is refreshing after the foreign guff we've had from the last 2 managers. He's not a coward like Moyes either. Other teams aren't going to enjoy playing against us, home or away, particularly the big 6, so getting under their skin will be pleasant.

I still believe in the School of Science, and I love the Old Lady when it's a bear pit. Early days, but I am interested in this project.

Steve Cotton
198 Posted 24/12/2017 at 11:04:31
Anyone else feel that Tom Davies is not progressing? He looks a bit of a liability at the moment and lucky to come out for the second half of games.
Phil Walling
199 Posted 24/12/2017 at 11:06:11
Expressing satisfaction with the shite football we saw yesterday is what marks Everton down as decidedly second rate. All pretense of the School of Science has long passed and even when our prayers for a banker have been answered, kick (but no chase) has had to be adopted as the norm.

There's no blaming Allardyce – he is the man for the moment – and sees hoof-ball as a necessity given the players he is stuck with. But there's only space for half-a-dozen football teams these days and, sad to say, Everton will never again be one of them.

John G Davies
200 Posted 24/12/2017 at 11:17:06
There's your first one, Andy.
Ray Roche
201 Posted 24/12/2017 at 11:22:28
Phil, Yes, I too would love to go back to the School of Science that I remember from the late 50's and 1960's. I would have loved us to go out yesterday and throw caution to the winds and attack Chelsea. However, I wouldn't have liked the 6-0 battering that would have followed.

We have to be pragmatic. The so called Sky 6 have had at least a decade to spunk money away on great players (and not so great players) and build a squad before FFP was introduced so the nouveau riche have little chance of competing on the financial front, being hamstrung by current regulations. And the likelihood of Johnny Foreigner opting for London as his preferred destination.

Man City, Arsenal, Man Utd, Chelsea and Liverpool have spent billions developing their squads and Global stature and whether we like it or not we are late to the party, standing at the door holding a bottle of Blue Nun while the others have carried in cases of Chateauneuf du Pape. It is what it is, and Allardyce, like him or loathe him, has made us hard to beat and propelled us up the table.

The good football can come later when we are safe. All great teams started with a great defence.

Dave Williams
202 Posted 24/12/2017 at 11:24:33
I really cannot understand the guys who are slagging off Big Sam.

We were relegation certainties according to some when 3rd from bottom and we were letting goals in by the bucketload. Did anyone really expect the new guy to come in and play good football from Week 1 and collect points to steer us clear of trouble?

It can't happen chaps- we were in trouble because we weren't playing well, the team couldn't defend and we had no balance in the squad. Sam can't change the squad til next month so had to patch things up in the meantime.

Everyone knows you start with the defending – don't let one in and you win a point. Don't let one in and pinch a goal and you get three points –simple! Then look at how to score more goals and that is when a change in players can change the style of play, from a position of strength knowing that, if a move breaks down, we have a team which can defend.

I heard Sam say last week that the players look very good at Finch Farm and he is waiting to see that form appear in a proper match. I recall howard Kendall saying the same after our capitulation at Anfield in 1983 and sure enough with a few lucky wins the confidence came and wow!!!

We have players who we need to move on: Mirallas, Besic, Klaassen most likely – but there are signs that Schneiderlin may get his form back, Sigurdsson is starting to show himself and our youngsters are doing wonderfully well though Tom could probably do with sitting down with Sammy Lee to be taught how to play as a top class midfielder.

The transfer window will be interesting and Sam is on the right track. Williams and Martina look much better, Kenny improves every game, Calvert-Lewin is a star in the making (so like Sharp but better at this age) and Holgate looks very good at centre-back.

Reasons to be cheerful – give the manager some time!!

Jay Woods
[LAT]

203 Posted 24/12/2017 at 11:31:01
Some of you need viciously slapped. With a wet lettuce.

You know who you are.

The run-before-you-can-even-walk brigade.

Yapping about the negative style as if we're a latent Barcelona being deliberately fettered by the manager's tactics.

Are y'all really that thick?

Steve Ferns
204 Posted 24/12/2017 at 11:37:37
Come on, I dislike Allardyce more than anyone. I went the game and it pained me to watch that performance. We didn't try to win and we were at home. Everton should try to win every home game they play.

But these are not normal circumstances. We're still turning things round. We've not completed the recovery yet. We're not even close.

So far we've beaten two promoted sides and the bottom of the league. We got a very good point at Anfield, but only by the skin of our teeth.

That's not enough to throw caution to the wind and attack Chelsea. Yes there is a chance we could have beaten them and our recovery would be speeded up, but imagine we conceded early, we could have easily chased the game and ended up with a hiding. Where would we be then?

Like him or loathe him, Allardyce is who he is, and he is not easily influenced by the media or the fans. He did what he thought would work and executed the plan well, and achieved his objective.

This is Allardyce's fifth league game. He's still trying to set the team up his way, we're still trying to rebuild confidence, and we've still got a long way to go.

The issue is not playing like that in December, it's if we are playing like that at home at the end of the season.

Charlie Lloyd
205 Posted 24/12/2017 at 11:42:32
Six weeks ago, we were relegation certs. A team with brittle confidence, unbalanced, poor work and team ethic and toothless up front while shipping goals.

Now we are becoming solid and a team that most others will look at the fixture and think “this is going to be tough”.

I understand that it's not pretty and possession needs to be used more effectively but some on here, although entitled to their opinion, need a reality check.

Would I have taken 9th position and a sizeable gap from the bottom 3 six weeks ago at the expense of Galactico football?

A resounding Yes!!

Michael Williams
206 Posted 24/12/2017 at 11:43:05
Except for a spell under Roberto Martinez we have not played beautiful, free-flowing football in decades yet some folks are complaining that Sam Allardyce does not have the team playing that way even though just a few weeks ago the players were demoralized, and discussed by almost every pundit as definite for relegation.

One of the many things I like about Sam is that it is clear he is in charge. He communicates extremely well and the players know what their jobs are. Barring something drastic, I am willing to give him until this time next year to re-build and gel these players, put a bit of a stamp on this team with a few of his own players, and move the type of play in the direction we all want.

Tony Abrahams
207 Posted 24/12/2017 at 11:46:44
I often think that the only thing you can truly learn off is history Phil. Not one to dwell in the past, it's why I won't be joining Kevin, at the legends dinner, but football changes quickly, so I wouldn't even bet with your money, that Everton, will never be a top team again.

Is Allardyce the answer? How can we tell in such a short space of time. Are Everton, the most pragmatic football club, in the land? I reckon we would always be in the top-three in this league, but we had been getting so far removed from our roots by Roberto and Ronald that we didn't even know what we were supposed to be doing anymore?

I couldn't watch that type of football for too long, I don't think that too many of us could either, but Everton were all over the place just the other week, and were definitely on course for the Championship imo, because they had forgotten the most important thing in life. When things are going wrong, Phil, they had forgotten how to fucking fight. (Sorry John.)

I learn the most about Everton managers when I listen to people like Darren. He thinks we are too quick to praise, and I could say we are the same about the opposite sometimes. Let's give him time, we aren't stupid, we all know what we want, and we got at least 50% of it yesterday.

Phil Walling
208 Posted 24/12/2017 at 12:00:27
I don't dislike Allardyce and I understand we have to play hoof-ball to get out of trouble. What I was saying is that picking up points this way – out of necessity – has never guaranteed better football in the future.

Just look at what has happened at Stoke where Mark Hughes has tried to 'pretty it up' and found himself losing game after game. Same goes for Pulis at Albion and many other pragmatists.

Hoof-ball ain't just for Xmas!

John G Davies
209 Posted 24/12/2017 at 12:00:29
Tony,

I can't see many over praising Allardyce.
I can see plenty ripping the back off him.

Too early either way.

Steve Hogan
210 Posted 24/12/2017 at 12:15:22
Jesus, Phil Walling mate, your post's make for depressive reading. Thank god many Evertonian's accept where we are at the minute, and a large dose of realism prevails. Five week's ago we were sinking fast, without trace.

All Allardyce has done is to 'steady the ship', and made us much harder to beat. Why is it so many out there badly want him to fail?

At least give him the opportunity to put HIS stamp on the side. After all, we gave the deluded Spanish one that, as well as affording the same courtesy to the arrogant but equally hapless Dutch Master.

Happy Xmas, Phil (If that's possible!)

Christopher Timmins
211 Posted 24/12/2017 at 12:15:30
Folks, remember it's only a few short weeks since we were well beaten by Southampton. We have picked up 14 points out of a possible 18 since then. All of our options at the back are playing better. The ship is no longer taking in water.

The style of play is not easy on the eye and will have to improve if we are ever to challenge for the top 4, it may well pan out that our current manager cannot develop our style of play to allow the needed improvement to occur; however, he deserves time to try and implement a more progressive style of play.

Tony Everan
212 Posted 24/12/2017 at 12:19:37
At the moment we are Everton Wanderers.

Safety first is the modus operandi. Everything else is secondary.

Question is: Can Sam nurture a creative, attacking team.

We may see some green shoots in January, with one or two new signings and returning senior players. Here's hoping.

Eric Myles
213 Posted 24/12/2017 at 12:23:31
Bob (#195), there's plenty of bars in Phuket that will have the game on. We get ALL the Premier League games broadcast in Thailand.
John Charles
214 Posted 24/12/2017 at 12:35:31
Allardyce is doing what Allardyce does. It may even be that at this time it is exactly what we need.

However, those who think the style of play will change under Sam , will I believe , be sorely disappointed. This is how Sam plays. It is no coincidence that he was run out of town by Newcastle and West Ham exactly because this is how he plays. Great for the short term (?) Long term – personally I hope not.

Still I was there cheering the nil nil with no shots on target at home, with everyone else yesterday. I actually thought less people left the game early than in recent weeks. Though the ground was still very quiet for most of the game.

Tony Abrahams
215 Posted 24/12/2017 at 12:45:50
It's better that way, John G. It's either "give a dog a bad name", or "a leopard never changes its spots" ... Unless you're Phil!
Kevin Tully
216 Posted 24/12/2017 at 12:47:06
I haven't read a single post asking for free-flowing Barca-type football. Or one which says we should go toe to toe with the Champions (the Champions David Moyes's bottom of the League West Ham gave a schooling just a couple of weeks ago.)

Each poster has invented their own argument, then patted themselves on the back for an alternative viewpoint which nobody has even mentioned! It's like the twighlight zone on here sometimes. I'm sure I've stumbled onto the wrong thread, but no.

It seems it's negative to want to see the home side, with players earning Champions League wages, to actually show the minutest of attacking intent. Not School of Science, not Man City or Barcelona;, you know, have a little foray into the opposition half once or twice, or get a cross into the box for a striker to attack. Merry Christmas.

Jay Woods
[LAT]

217 Posted 24/12/2017 at 12:59:32
The Barcelona quip was illustrative, not literal. Plainly such subtleties are lost on some people.

Of course the current style of play is horrible, but we have a season to rescue here first before we can start fancying ourselves to be a Champions League side.

Peter Gorman
218 Posted 24/12/2017 at 13:03:18
So, if I may summarise;

Some fans are so happy with our points haul and staving off the threat of relegation they can overlook the complete lack of entertainment.

Other fans prefer their sport to be entertaining and perhaps worry about the long-term, given Allardyce's reputation in the game for grinding out results at the expense of playing football.

Sounds all very ToffeeWeb to me. Merry Christmas everyone.

John G Davies
219 Posted 24/12/2017 at 13:05:23
Deffo Tony.

Bit of realism required, mate, given the start to our season and the way we were leaking goals.

Have a good Christmas mate. Regards to your dad.

Phil Bellis
220 Posted 24/12/2017 at 13:10:57
Peter Reid recently said that every player in Howard's great team knew their job and each individual took responsibility. That could not be said of pre-Sam performances; a measure of how poor the players were was the number of ex-pros who, unusually, broke ranks and slagged them off.

Watching the game back, it was bloody obvious all the players knew what they were supposed to be doing, especially in the apparently 94 minutes Chelsea had the ball.

I'd settle for half-a-season of functional football and rebuild rather than what looked more likely... years in the wilderness following relegation.

Grant Rorrison
221 Posted 24/12/2017 at 13:11:00
Kevin (#216). Gave a schooling? The game was very similar to ours. West Ham had 31% possession and 5 attempts at goal. We had 32% possession and 5 attempts at goal. The difference was they managed to get 2 of them on target and 1 went in. Hardly a schooling.

Colin Malone
222 Posted 24/12/2017 at 13:17:59
Too all who are criticising our style of play, at this present time, what the fuck do you want?

Cast your minds back to two successful sides from when they won the Premier League. Do you remember the chant: "One-nil to the Arsenal, one nil to the Arsenal"?

Pass the ball back, pass the ball back, pass the ball back, Liverpool?

These two teams cannot win a trophy because of their poor defences. We are unbeaten in 6 games... what more do you want, at this present time?

David Israel
223 Posted 24/12/2017 at 13:35:42
On the now seemingly existential question of 'expansive, free-flowing football', I don't seem to remember many people complaining about the 'Dogs of War'.

Some people may be sincere in their longing for quality football, but the fact is that, apart from brief spells under Martinez, that is something that has been absent from our teams for quite a long time.

In all honesty, I think the phrase 'expansive, free-flowing football' has become a euphemism for 'I don't like Sam Allardyce', uttered by people who don't think they can actually frontally assault the man, given his excellent string of results.

The moment we go on a bad patch, as all teams inevitably do, 'free-flowing football' will be replaced by 'Sam out!', or some such utterance.

David Israel
224 Posted 24/12/2017 at 13:44:20
Almost since the start of the season, our squad has been labelled useless, and most players described as second-rate by many on here.

Suddenly, this supposedly crap bunch of players are deemed capable of playing 'expansive, free-flowing football', and the only thing that is preventing them from doing so is the fact that we have hired a man who, according to legend, can only set his teams up to play hoof-ball. There is a failure of logic in there.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

225 Posted 24/12/2017 at 14:15:08
Kevin @ 166:

"Blues actually celebrating a goalless draw without a shot on target has made me realise something... Get in there you beauty. Well in boys. So, the cheers were real at full time after all... Fuck me, look at this club of ours."

Now I am possibly misreading this, but this to me implies both match-going supporters and posters on TW are too easily appeased and are somehow culpable for what Everton FC has 'become'.

Very, VERY recently Kevin you repeated more than once the damning statistic that every team in Premier League history that had conceded 28 games by the 13th game of the league season was relegated. Everton hit that number with the 4-1 trouncing at Southampton.

All season,it has been blindingly obvious, on both statistical data as you offered above, and on empirical evidence – simple observation by any sighted person - what the core problem was with Everton: a total inability to defend all over the pitch, regardless of the personnel selected.

In the 5 league games under Sam's charge, with just 2 goals conceded in 540 minutes, that one has been indisputably 'checked' on his 'to do' list.

Any one who truly knows the club and supporters will tell you one thing about their support: you don't have to first prove yourself to be a Fancy Dan, prolific goalscorer or any other attribute skill wise to earn their support or appreciation.

The most fundamental and basic thing you have to do for the supporters as an Everton player is... TRY!

Show us effort. Show us passion. Show us commitment and we will show our appreciation.

Game after game after game this season, under both Koeman and Unsworth, that effort, passion and commitment was totally absent. I asked at times, during games, is there any one wearing a blue shirt who actually cares...?

It no longer is the case.

Now that effort, passion and commitment alone is not sufficient to be genuinely challengers for trophies. But it is necessary. It is a starting point and a vital building block in what, I hope, Sam and the club wish to construct.

Maybe Kevin, just maybe, those cheering at the final whistle and expressing pleasure at the new-found resilience Everton is now showing are acknowledging this sea change in our season.

It is not a blind, sycophantic, passive acceptance on the overall quality of our football. If better, more joined-up football doesn't follow, expect a rising tide of dissatisfaction of the manager, the players, the team.

I repeat, I for one enjoyed the performance yesterday, not for our lack of aesthetically pleasing football, but for our sheer doggedness, discipline and resilience.

And why? Because there were no slackers. No shirkers. Every last man of them TRIED.

Don Alexander
226 Posted 24/12/2017 at 14:34:36
The views of how we're now playing are in my opinion liable to disguise issues needing further thought and, hopefully, action, none of which are the responsibility of the manager or players.

Personally I'm happy and relieved we've achieved the results we have under Allardyce. His antics as England manager lost any chance he had of me respecting him as a man (not that he'll give a damn admittedly) and his history with basket-case clubs doesn't inspire confidence in him as an entertaining manager.

But he might just fancy glistening his own ego by now using us to show the football world that, with the (marginally in some cases) better players he now has and, more importantly, financial expenditure on a par with the likes of Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool, this is what Moshiri inferred would be the case when he bought in; he can become the Dudley, gum-chewing version of Guardiola.

Without such support from Moshiri and the board, he might just have to reconcile himself to a continuing reputation as an overweight, boring masticater.

Mark Taylor
227 Posted 24/12/2017 at 14:34:39
Bill (#174),

Clearly there is a decent player in Siggy, albeit not a £45m one (though that isn't his fault) but we have barely seen it, aside from a few glimpses. As I say, I feel sorry for him, he is played out of position and his confidence is shot.

I felt Sandro was a decent buy and I would be unwilling to entirely give up on him just because he is struggling in a side that can't or won't attack. In fact, I think it is perhaps a compliment to Calvert-Lewin who I feel has been doing a great job in almost impossible circumstances.

A few commentators were criticising him when he didn't pass when he made that half chance. Well have another look at the replay, and see how long passes from the time he sets off to chase the pass, to the point when he gets in the box. It is a good 10-12 seconds before anyone else even appears. Did no-one think to get running to offer him some support? It doesn't take 12 seconds for a pro footballer to run 40 yards.

I agree Schneiderlin was much better today. He is never going to be a creative force but again, he has proven at Southampton that he is a decent player. My impression is, he's a bit temperamental like Mirallas, so he can blow hot and (very) cold.

Sam Hoare
228 Posted 24/12/2017 at 14:35:30
I wonder if Batshuayi would still be worth pursuing in January? He's a good striker but can't even get a game when Morata is out.

I'd be pretty happy to get him or Giroud in either permanently or ideally on loan with a permanent fee agreed.

One of those plus Shaw, Bryan or Chilwell would do for me.

This squad is good enough to push for 6th/7th and a cup run. Even after the Koeman disaster, we are still 9th in the league where many people had us down for relegation certainties.

Michael Williams
229 Posted 24/12/2017 at 14:39:31
To all those who dislike Sam and/or the team's style of play since he took over:

I think those of us who support Sam, the current results, and our club's play right now do not disagree with you as much as you think. I believe we are willing to give him more time to improve play based on where the club was when he took over. There will come a time when Sam settles in and has a chance to put a stamp on team that we, like you, will expect or even demand a more progressive type of football. For us that time is not right now.

This community disagreement over Sam and playing style is only a matter of degrees. In the end, all of us want our club to play attractive football.

John McFarlane
230 Posted 24/12/2017 at 14:40:16
Hi Tony [207], I may be a little presumptuous in thinking that your apology was meant for me, but I'm going to accept it anyway. I agree completely with your sentiments, but not in as many words.

I find it difficult to understand that the people who are calling for a more attractive, and attacking style of play, can't see that our tolerance of the present method is only a short-term acceptance, and that we are just as anxious as they are, to see an improvement in performance.

Mark Taylor
231 Posted 24/12/2017 at 14:44:49
I agree with Kevin (#216), I think the claim that there are lots of us calling for Barcelona style football is a straw man. No-one anticipates that. But we are absolutely the other end of the spectrum at present. As toothless as any team in the Premier League going forward. Certainly a lot more toothless than Bristol City were against Man Utd the other night.

Equally I think most of us accept the need for pragmatism. Certainly I do. We were in a massive mess a few games ago. Sam is doing a good job as I expected him to do.

Personally, I think his management is somewhat maligned. Bolton for example had a lot of flair and attacking capability – no surprise when you see the calibre of player he brought in on a shoestring budget.

Once we stabilise, I think he is more than capable at improving us offensively, though I expect this to be a very incremental process, as it should be.

In other words, I think it is entirely possible to be supportive of what is happening, whilst also being realistic enough to see that we are a mile away in quality from where we would like to be.

George Cumiskey
232 Posted 24/12/2017 at 14:50:20
Nobody's expecting Barcelona-style football, but surely a couple of shots on goal isn't too much to ask for especially at home.

As I truly believe we are out of the relegation battle, let's hope that performance isn't the bench mark for Allardyce's tenure.

John G Davies
233 Posted 24/12/2017 at 14:55:33
Mark, George.

If, four weeks ago, you were offered two points from the Liverpool and Chelsea games would you have taken them?

Brent Stephens
234 Posted 24/12/2017 at 14:56:26
Jay (in Bra) (#225)

"I repeat, I for one enjoyed the performance yesterday, not for our lack of aesthetically pleasing football, but for our sheer doggedness, discipline and resilience".

For sure. I would like to see aesthetically pleasing football eventually, but for now I can enjoy the results – and the individual performances of people like Kenny.

Dave Abrahams
235 Posted 24/12/2017 at 15:07:40
So Cooper (#172) and Bill Glenapp (#174),

Good posts in your defence of Sandro. Like you two, I couldn't see how Sandro was going to make a big difference in the attack when, for most of the time, there was only him and Calvert-Lewin battling against four and five Chelsea defenders. Like Bill said, let's see him in a more attacking Everton team. He may not make it here, let's give him a proper chance before writing him off.

Eric Myles
236 Posted 24/12/2017 at 15:09:58
If it had been a team managed by Mourinho it would have been a defensive masterclass and a deserved point.
James Marshall
237 Posted 24/12/2017 at 15:11:42
Eric, it was a defensive masterclass and a deserved point.
Dave Evans
238 Posted 24/12/2017 at 15:13:30
Jay Wood (#225) Good post.

For many reasons, we don't have a top 6 squad yet. But we are where we are and it's great to see the players organised, trying their best and not giving games away.

With this attitude, a good January window and return of injured players the New Year could be a good one.

Pete Clarke
239 Posted 24/12/2017 at 15:18:35
Points on the board and building of confidence were the crucial factors that needed addressing when Big Sam took over. He has point points on the board for sure and with this I hope comes that confidence to be a lot better with ball retention in the long term.

However, that was painful to watch and if that ball retention part does not improve, then patience of Big Sam will wear thin very quickly.

I don't expect our current midfield to start passing the ball around as I firmly believe it's not in Gueye or Schneiderlin to do this in an attacking sense but, to move forward, then we need at least one top acquisition in this role. If the board give Big Sam money to spend, then I expect he is here for the long term but, if he is not given money, then our roller coaster will continue.

George Cumiskey
240 Posted 24/12/2017 at 15:26:10
John @233,

I'm not talking about four weeks ago, I'm talking about now. Like I said, I think we're out of the relegation battle so a bit of attacking isn't too much to ask for, surely?

Mike Hughes
241 Posted 24/12/2017 at 15:29:53
Jay Wood (#225)),

Excellent points.

Koeman did not appear to have any passion for EFC and that seemed to reflect on the pitch.

SA is getting so much more out of the same squad of players.

We might be 9th now – thanks to Sam Allardyce. Without him – or a similarly impactful –change - we were relegation certianties, in my opinion. Hindsight is 20:20 but we were clueless prior to Allardyce.

Onwards and upwards.

Paul A Smith
242 Posted 24/12/2017 at 15:34:34
We couldn't string passes together frequently under Koeman. Nor Unsworth. Why expect it now? If you think we have good players, that's entirely your opinion. I think we have a handful of very good players. That's it.

Personnel will always dictate how you approach or play games. Like I have said before, would Allardyce have Barcelona or Man United playing long balls from out of defence? (Which hasn't even often happened here yet) I very much doubt it.

And again, I have wondered who we have that can match the levels Arteta and Pienaar reached. Or who can bully teams like Cahill did? I don't see much of that in our squad; hence I don't see a very good footballing side.

People say Allardyce is a long-ball manager but he's not. Its just a another easy lazy theory. He's a manager that has never had a squad of quality when he has arrived at a club. Hopefully we buy him some quality.

John G Davies
243 Posted 24/12/2017 at 15:34:35
Have to disagree, George.

Confidence is building game by game. We attack Chelsea, get done on the counter, and lose heavily... then confidence is back to Square One.

Michael Lynch
244 Posted 24/12/2017 at 15:37:47
Yes, Sam you'd better pull your finger out mate. We're not fooled by you turning a side that every other team looks forward to playing cos it was a nailed on three points and a big goal difference boost, into a team second only to Man City in points gained. We're not fooled by you holding Liverpool to a draw where every other team gets battered by 4 or 5 cos they don't concentrate on stifling the undoubted flair of the opposition.

No sir, we're watching you, and we're putting you on notice that, if you don't start playing champagne football soon we're going to be very angry. I mean, beating the teams outside the top six and drawing with teams in the top six every week is all very well, but where does it get you? Well, apart from the Premier League title with 90 points, but fuck that. We're watching you Sam, and we want the School of Science!

Do you know what, if the team carries on playing like this, winning against the teams outside the top 6 and drawing with the top 6, it looks like I'll be the only one cheering the open top parade through Liverpool. The rest of you will be sitting at home with your faces to the wall watching videos of the Alan Ball years.

Mike Hughes
245 Posted 24/12/2017 at 15:41:52
Michael (#244),

Well said. You won't be alone cheering the open top bus. I'll be cheering as well.

Sam Allardyce is doing a great job with limited resources, illness etc. Any criticism of him is ludicrous.

James Marshall
246 Posted 24/12/2017 at 15:55:50
Michael @244

Hahaha! That about says it all really. :)

Tom Bowers
247 Posted 24/12/2017 at 16:04:20
Some fans are never satisfied are they.

Lot's of improvement still needed and we all agree on that but Rome wasn't built in a day.

Just a few short weeks ago this team was being battered by Southampton and Arsenal, showing nothing but relegation form.

Things are turning around slowly and, given that some players are coming back from injury and January just a week away, we could be forgiven for thinking that Sam is going to get this team together and do something,

Okay, they won't make the top four but top eight sure sounds better than bottom four.

Peter Lee
248 Posted 24/12/2017 at 16:38:44
Sam was interviewed on Monday Night Football a couple of months ago and asked what he did to turn around Sunderland and Palace. He set out seven steps.

If you listen, you will appreciate that he has started at Step 1 and he is working his way forward. If you put that with his comments about team performances and tactics, you will recognise how far along we are.

Once he'd described Step 7, he intimated that you were getting the maximum from the group and the only way forward was to buy better players.

He reached that stage at the two clubs he was sacked from. The clubs and fans wanted more than could be gotten from the respective squads. They wanted the West Ham way, the Newcastle swagger. Remember when those clubs did that successfully? No, I don't either. The additions he was allowed to make were too often low value, average quality. Look what happened to them since.

He has already begun to wring better out of the players. Martina, who has looked abysmal, stopped Moses from getting past him to the extent he was subbed. His replacement did no better. As the whistle went, Martina was on his beam ends and absolutely goosed.

There are others who he has moved to better. Schneiderlin is beginning to look better, playing in different roles in each of the last three games, miles better than than he was. And yet in his interview Sam made it clear that he needs to deliver more.

We are beginning to move through the walking stage from being flat on our back in a spin. Expecting rapid movement to greater fluidity is naïve.

Moyes has done a great job at West Ham. Yesterday his team set out to run before they could walk consistently; Newcastle, remember them, no points in last nine games, turned them over and the final score could have been six.

Leave the man and his support team to get on with the job. If past interviews are anything to go by, he'll tell us what his expectations are and when.

Patience patients, the prognosis is good.

Brian Harrison
249 Posted 24/12/2017 at 16:39:31
Seems like the fans are split between, we were in a mess before he came so not bothered about how we play as long as we pick up enough points to keep us well clear of relegation. Then there's the other group, which I admit I am in, saying Yes we were in a mess and can understand sometimes we have to play a way that I am far from comfortable with.

Bar from a couple of players this is the same group that played with more attacking intent last season and finished a very comfortable 7th.

Yes we have picked up the points in the 5 games Allardyce has been in charge, but we could and should have lost to Liverpool and Chelsea and even Newcastle hit the post twice. So, with a bit more bad luck, the points tally may have been significantly worse. We even allowed Swansea to dominate the first half.

Dave Brierley
250 Posted 24/12/2017 at 16:49:46
Michael @ 244

Beautifully put.
A voice of sanity and reason.
Happy Christmas pal.

John Keating
251 Posted 24/12/2017 at 16:57:37
Brian (#249) you are correct. This is more or less the same group of players that played with more attacking intent last season and finished a very comfortable 7th last season.

Notice the "last season" could have been 20 years ago. So what??

This season. They are more or less the same group of players who have embarrassed the Club and supporters, couldn't score a goal and shipped them in regularly. Got the Club in a totally unacceptable league position with no sign of getting out.

Difference = Allardyce and his staff. Thanks Sam.

Mark Taylor
252 Posted 24/12/2017 at 17:05:21
John (#233)

Of course, I'd have bitten your hand off. And to be clear, I am okay with the means justifying the end, for the time being.

I've said throughout my posts, how desperate our plight was only a short while ago and that I thought Allardyce was a good choice under the circumstances. However sleazy he might appear (though I actually thought his England sacking was excessive), he has more to offer than some seem to think. More than just fixing the basics, as I think it is clear he is already doing.

But we were totally outplayed in those two games and I think we had a fair bit of good fortune to the extent that I don't think over time we'd get too many draws in the sort of game like the RS, when it could easily have been 4-0 or 5-0.

That's the reality and I'm a realist, I know we have made bad choices over recent management and signings, so we need to keep expectations well in check. I just can't help feeling a bit sad when we hardly ever attack beyond hoofing it up to Calvert-Lewin.

Sam Hoare
253 Posted 24/12/2017 at 17:15:27
Seems like some on here are being lambasted by Allardyce supporters for asking for the same thing that Allardyce has asked for. That we are better in possession.

I think he's done a great job so far but agree with his own assessment that we have not been good on the ball for long enough periods yet. Hopefully that's to come in the New Year.

Dave Abrahams
254 Posted 24/12/2017 at 17:23:36
Michael (244),

I get your point; we are doing much better than we were, but don't over egg the puddin'! Five teams out of nine have drawn at Anfield in the league this season.

If we the second-best team to Man City in terms of form the last few weeks, that transformation by Sam and Co has been truly miraculous. Now, when he wins at Liverpool in the FA Cup, you may just have a point; at least you are very positive.

John G Davies
255 Posted 24/12/2017 at 17:31:58
Mark (#252).

Me too mate. It's not good to watch and young Dominic will be burnt out at this rate. It will change though as the team and squad develops.

Andy Crooks
256 Posted 24/12/2017 at 17:42:51
Some quite subtle and less than subtle gloating from the Sam supporters. I made my position clear in an earlier post; Sam has been excellent. He has done the job he was brought to do. He has a chance ouf redemption at our club and I hope and believe he will do it.

However, I fully understand Kevin Tully and others lamenting the turgid anti-football that was served up yesterday. I accept it, Sam needs time and I believe the expansive football will come.

What is distasteful is how the phrase "School of Science", has become pejorative. We all know what has to be done but surely to God no Evertonian should be whooping with delight at it.

John Keating
257 Posted 24/12/2017 at 17:57:54
Sam I don't think it's so much Allardyce supporters and non supporters.

It seems to me that there are supporters who are prepared to accept Allardyce and leave it to him and his staff to determine how we play in order to gain points and confidence. Also, are prepared to leave it to him and his staff to determine if and when we do "open up" to play a more expansive game. Maybe next week... maybe next month... maybe never.

There is then a group of supporters who are in denial that we are/were ever in a precarious state and want us to play some sort of open attractive football and be entertained regardless of the result.

A final group consists of some supporters who refuse to accept Allardyce at the Club regardless. As we are all aware they have intimated to take a sabbatical from supporting the Club until he leaves and in some cases refuse to even go to the games.

Allardyce knows exactly what he has to work with and their capabilities. He knows we have to do more attacking in games. He, as you have mentioned, has identified the path ahead.

We've had some crazy managers and played some dire football before and after Kendall and I can't remember anyone getting more stick, more expectation and more requirements to succeed than other managers.

Why we can't just let him get on with it, I really do not know.

John G Davies
258 Posted 24/12/2017 at 18:06:40
Andy,

I haven't read all of the posts. Of the ones I have read I haven't seen any gloating. Subtle or unsubtle. Can you point them out please.

John, if they stop going to the game hopefully they will give their tickets away.
It's difficult to get a ticket now.

Phil Walling
259 Posted 24/12/2017 at 18:08:05
Michael at 244; I'm sure Sam would wish for the team to employ better than Division 2 tactics in search of survival but the current mixture of kids and 'stars' who had switched off with their previous teams before they joined Everton will never deliver attractive football.

But so what? 'It's the points what count' – so we better get used to it and keep our traps shut about that Fancy Dan football the likes of Catterick used to lay on for us 'when we was kids'!

Tony Abrahams
260 Posted 24/12/2017 at 18:16:37
I thought we all just supported Everton, Andy@256!

Some good sense getting talked on this thread, but when the presumptuous John Mc, who has seen more than most, talks, I think he spells it out for the majority of Evertonians in his post@230, were he his basically saying short term pain, will hopefully lead to long term gain?

We have seen some shite down the years, but as Jay & Peter say, once you get the commitment right then hopefully we can move onto better things? If not Michael and Lyndon, will just have to re-introduce the original ToffeeWeb poll, which was 80% against Allardyce to begin with!

Merry Christmas to everyone on ToffeeWeb, I'm hoping my present doesn't arrive until the first Friday of the New Year!!

Mike Hughes
261 Posted 24/12/2017 at 18:18:59
John (#257),

I could not have put that better myself. That is exactly how I see things.

I support EFC above any single person. But Sam Allardyce needs to be given a chance. I have found the lambasting of Allardyce quite annoying / illogical and think that, as a result, some of my own posts have over-compensated in his defence. He will never be treated fairly by some.

The stats indicate that he is doing a good job. The crappy football is a necessity to get points on the board due to the shambles Allardyce was left with.

I think / hope Allardyce has it in him to evolve into a more progressive style. I'm more optimistic with him on board than Koeman or Martinez. We all want to see that.

John Boon
262 Posted 24/12/2017 at 18:31:05
I think we have let Allardyce "get on with it". I don't think he has really had any more scrutiny than any other new manager. We do, at least, have some history, as opposed to most of the teams that Allardyce has been with. We should have high expectations.

He does seem to have passed the early litmus test. Whether you like the present type of play or not, he has done everything right so far. We really don't have truly great players at the present time. Hopefully he can get them and we can play the brand of football that we would all like.

We need to be defensive at the present time. However, we should never need to lower our future expectations. We have as much right as any team to actually be the best... yes, the best!

Dermot Byrne
263 Posted 24/12/2017 at 18:43:46
Michael (#244)

Love it. Imagine changing "It's a Grand Old" song to "Fuck you... we did it with Sam"

To the tune of ?

With ya mate.

Dave Abrahams
264 Posted 24/12/2017 at 18:51:07
Tony, I hope your post is late, I've put a 50p postal order in your Christmas card.
Sam Hoare
265 Posted 24/12/2017 at 19:27:20
John G @258, I certainly haven't read them all but started at the top and got to #22 when I found what seemed a fairly obvious case of gloating.

John @257 I agree with most of what you say but I don't think there are many (any) who want entertaining football regardless of the result. I think there are quite a few who believe we should be capable of getting both good results and having decent football. Even though my competitive nature has me very results focused, I think this is a fair demand.

I think those same people are prepared to let Sam get on it with but equally feel entitled to point out if the performance is not as appealing as the result.

But as I've said, Allardyce himself feels the same way. I personally am more than happy to keep winning ugly while he gets the personnel and platform he needs to make us competitive at the higher levels.

Ian Bennett
266 Posted 24/12/2017 at 19:48:45
Sam – I'll summarise: We want winning football. Competitive, winning football. A winning style of flare, attacking intent, pragmatism, defensive resilience, and mental toughness.

The mind boggles why some managers address only one element.

Andy Crooks
267 Posted 24/12/2017 at 19:57:49
John G, # 258, it is strange how one reads posts with a pretty determined mindset. I have read this thread as it developed and was surprised and annoyed at the "gloating", I read your post and thought, "Well, John, I'll go over this thread and give you example after example",

Apart from Sam's example, I could not find, and believe me I hunted, another. So, I'll have some humble pie. Also, I think it has made me think about scanning a thread with a closed mind. I like my opinion endorsed as much as anyone but even Tony Marsh' s post (damn it) wasn't gloating.

Tony Abrahams
268 Posted 24/12/2017 at 20:11:52
Tar Dave, I think you're the reason I've never liked Christmas!
Mike Hughes
269 Posted 24/12/2017 at 20:29:40
Ha ha . #22 was a tad gloating wasn't it? An immediate post-match reaction.

As previously stated, for every OTT pro SA post, there are several more OTT anti-Allardyce posts that defy logic and reason and that require balance. (Read them all for a clearer view.) Not getting into any discussion on the matter.

I'm an Evertonian. Sam wins, we win. Simples. The 'how' is not too important right now given we couldn't buy a win a couple of months ago. And it's all down to Sam Allardyce because it's the same squad minus illness victims and injuries.

But, what the hell!!! This is getting very, very dull. I'm off here until Boxing Day when I hope to have a good old gloat later that day (it'll mean we've picked up some points folks.)

Why not join the festivities? Be positive and focus on the good points, not the bad ones. A bit more like Colin (#135) amongst others.

Greetings to all true Blues. The Christmas wrapping has been completed (just); full tank of fuel (for tomorrow) and now off to re-hydrate.

Back on Tuesday. (I promise).

Raymond Fox
270 Posted 24/12/2017 at 20:37:58
As to fans that want winning football and also wish to see entertaining football at the same time. Please take into account that we can be as near certain as makes no difference that there will be 6 teams that have superior squads than ours. Look at the table, it's those 6 I'm talking about.

What happens when we produce a player who they deem good enough to play for them? Invariably they get their wish.

If we expect any manager of ours to finish in a top 4 or even in a top 6 position, then they will be odds on to be fail each season. When we face teams inferior to us, I agree there is no excuse for not opening out our play especially at home; it's very early days yet though. Allardyce has said that we are not performing well going forward a few times in interviews, so he is aware that is a weakness at the moment.

I have confidence that, when he has had a good look at our squad and maybe added 2 or 3 more, he will have us playing good football. Maybe not Man City football but as entertaining as possible!

Charles Brewer
271 Posted 24/12/2017 at 21:02:09
Sam Allardyce is a manager with a reputation for winning dour relegation battles with "no hope" teams. He was also delighted when appointed England manager and presumably very proud to be a mediocre footballer who had never managed a fashionable club but to have been appointed to run his country's national team.

However, he is not very attractive – a bit of a bulldog chewing a thistle – and has a very unfashionable accent. He was therefore somewhat naive when talking to a couple of journalists – who in no way might have been acting on instructions to nobble him – about a hypothetical circumvention of rules.

Gareth Southgate may not be Arsene Wenger, but he will be a much more acceptable England manager than Sam.

In my view, Allardyce was set up. And if anyone doubts that, just have a look a the stories in today's Sunday Times and Sunday Mail about how bent coppers and a dodgy journalist set up a government minister.

I reckon that, below the thicko Midlander image, Allardyce is a man who would love to have a real success on his CV, and at 63, he's probably got no more chances. There is universal appreciation on this list of his on-camera performances: no nonsense, clarity of thought and while we'd all like to see Manchester City style football from Everton, it's not something that will come within two months of being the No 1 relegation candidates in the Premier League.

I think Sam Allardyce knows that he's in the Last Chance Saloon, that he's landed the best job he's ever had (excepting England) or will ever have at the only club where he has any chance of being a real success and laying to rest the "agricultural" reputation he has in most of football.

I should be utterly delighted – and perhaps less surprised than I ought to be – if Sam Allardyce stays for 5 years and retires after winning the Premier League, with a team composed almost entirely of young English players, who also form the backbone of the England 2022 Qatar World Cup winners. (Dominic Calvert-Lewin getting his second World Cup winning goal.)

Phil Bellis
272 Posted 24/12/2017 at 21:39:14
Sam comes across as someone down to their last fiver who wins £20,000 on a scratchcard.

I think he just may view us as his biggest opportunity to prove what he can do (yea, Eng-er-lund not withstanding!); until he mimics latter-seasons Moyes and bores the arse off me, I'll keep a watching, supportive brief.

What I find very telling is the number of kopites telling me we "won't need a groundsman" and "you'll all get stiff necks" – they appear quite miffed we are no longer certs for the drop.

Stan Schofield
273 Posted 24/12/2017 at 21:43:04
Charles @271:

I agree, apart from where you say that Sam has a 'thicko Midlander image'. I've not been aware of anyone saying that, and he certainly doesn't give that impression to me. On the contrary, he comes across as intellectually sharp.

Unlike a number of managers (Koeman and Klopp spring to mind) who open their mouths without thinking clearly beforehand, and make themselves appear inept. Thankfully we don't have to endure that now.

John G Davies
274 Posted 24/12/2017 at 22:30:40
Andy 267,

We all do the same. In our sheer desperation to see our side win a trophy, we go off-tilt now and again. No worries mate. I have seen the good times in the sixties, early seventies and eighties. The days when you went the game knowing not hoping we would win. The cup win 22 years ago is an added bonus.

It's the kids who have seen us win nothing and still love this club unconditionally that hurt me. My season ticket holding grandkids especially.

I would give anything for them to be at Wembley and see us win a trophy.

Keep the faith brother. We will get there one day.

Phil Bellis
275 Posted 24/12/2017 at 22:48:51
Well said. John G.

And so, as Tiny Tim said... "A Merry Christmas to us all; God bless us, everyone!"

Rob Hooton
276 Posted 24/12/2017 at 22:55:21
I've read every comment and love the arguments given from various angles. I am very pleased with the way the team has a lot more spirit & desire and are visibly playing for each other and standards have been set, the solid base I am sure all of us are happy (I was a centre-back so enjoying it!) to see, if it'll hopefully leads to a more attacking and adventurous style of footie.

If we managed to achieve another 14 points from the next 6 games and are still in the FA Cup, then I wouldn't give a monkey's how we got there as we could start thinking bigger then! Only time will tell what happens, my glass is half-full so Cheers!

Merry Christmas to all!!!

Jeremy Jansen
277 Posted 24/12/2017 at 23:41:18
I wonder if Norwich would take Sandro for Naismith...?
Phil Parker
278 Posted 25/12/2017 at 00:30:20
Enjoying Christmas and toasting big Sam. The goodwill he has built up with me will take a long long time to disappear, if ever.

I don't think anyone else could have had the impact Sam has had. We were as bad as anything I have seen at Everton in 50 years when he took over, although Unsy made a start at improving us.

Only 4 weeks to get us clear of trouble and relaxed. So a nice Christmas glass of wine or two, no talk of relegation, kids proud to wear the colours around the city, looking up the table, and rows with the reds in work. Great stuff.

Merry Christmas, all true Blues.

Laurie Hartley
279 Posted 25/12/2017 at 00:37:42
Charles Brewer # 271 - this is Sam Allardyce's last chance and I think it was because "it was Everton" that he came out of retirement.

My personal opinion is that the man is made of sterner and better stuff than the image the media has pinned on him.

The players themselves are the best placed to assess if that opinion has merit. As I have said many times on TW – men follow men. The signs are there for me that they have already made up their mind about him.

As far as his mistake is concerned there has never been a man or women born who doesn't deserve a second chance. Barring None.

I just hope that he keeps his health. Farhad Moshiri will support him and I expect towards the end of the season to see Everton playing a very good brand of football.

Mike Corcoran
280 Posted 25/12/2017 at 01:42:02
Didn't want him but massive credit to Sam for organising what was a shambles of a defensive unit. The difference is the quality of his coaches. We had a gang of losers under Bob and Ron. Little Sam and Craig are winners, different class compared to the last 15 years of complete melts.

Hopefully the next stages will be worked through quickly. I remember the 0-0 with Coventry well, I was one of the first members of the Young Evertonians (£1.50 in the Street End). I could have brought in deckchairs and a parasol for me and my bird it was that empty. Couple of months later Inchy gets an equaliser and it's all change. She'd jibbed me by then though!

Happy Chrimbo Twebbers

David Midgley
281 Posted 25/12/2017 at 07:26:27
It looks as though Capt Bligh has got the SS Everton under control . He's fixed the rudder that had been broken for a long time and is steering us in the right direction. We will miss the rocks but the waters are still turbulent.

So many varied comments about our manager. He seems to be having a little success from our recent results,and at the present time that's all you can ask for. For twelve moths or so our motley crew have been unable to pass,run,defend or attack!!!

Why would anyone think that they could start playing expansive football? People post about what Real Evertonians? True Evertonians want. I know what I want. As an Evertonian. I want my team to play the basic game correctly. To pass the ball to a teammate more often than not. To be competitive for 90 minutes plus, score goals, give us winning football, and to wear the Royal Blue with pride. That's what I would like but I don't expect it in the very near future.

However, I think our management team will whip the crew into shape and we will see improvements built on a solid foundation.

I thoroughly enjoy reading all the posts. So many clever, knowledgeable, funny, intelligent, ridiculous, stupid, thought-provoking and dream-enhancing ones (George). I also read the ones that call into doubt posters' eyesight, brain power, veracity and their loyalty to Everton. The abusive ones. The ones with snide remarks.

Over the year, my brain has been battered by ToffeeWeb. My emotions abused by Everton FC... and my wallet used by my family.

I look forward with optimism to 2018.
Keep posting.


Pete Clarke
282 Posted 25/12/2017 at 08:07:32
Is there a topic of conversation where all people have the same views?? I doubt it very much so why would we expect all Evertonians to think the same!

Most of us wanted these results but some of us don't want how its being achieved as it makes us look like minnows. Most of us wanted Koeman gone without the thought for the next step but would we be 9th now with Koeman still in charge??

Who knows, but I am happy with the rapid progress made in the past few weeks and love the fact that it has been achieved without any change in the players. I hope that we get a top quality midfield ball player and striker in January to show we can mix it up a bit with the top teams and still get results.

It is Christmas after all (at least in Oz) so what's wrong with dreaming.

Best wishes to every blue out there.

Andy Meighan
283 Posted 25/12/2017 at 08:26:30
Happy Xmas to all. Especially to Lyndon and Micheal throughout the year for their time and effort.

But I will leave you all with these words:

Big Sam – The man who saved Christmas!

Steve Brown
284 Posted 25/12/2017 at 08:41:35
On this day in 1999, Bill Kenwright took over Everton.

The rest, as they say, is history:

Trophies won = 0
Wins at Anfield = 0
Average league position = 9th.
Managers from Preston, Wigan, Southampton and Marbella retirement home!

Merry Xmas to all long-suffering Blues. Have a few drinks!

John Raftery
285 Posted 25/12/2017 at 11:32:00
Pete (#282),

I very much doubt we would be ninth with Koeman still in charge. More likely we would be level with West Brom and facing a desperate six pointer relegation battle tomorrow.

It amazed me that Koeman failed to realise that with such an unbalanced squad. The only way he could deliver a top half position was to batten down the hatches in defence and grind out results with clean sheets and making the most of set pieces. I would have dismissed him after the shameful performance in Italy on 14th September.

Had Sam arrived at that stage I believe we would never have sunk into the bottom three and would possibly now be sitting level with Spurs and Burnley.

Derek Knox
286 Posted 25/12/2017 at 11:58:58
Merry Xmas to all, just heard that Celtic have had a bid of £18M accepted from Brighton for Moussa Dembele, SSN being the source, they even interviewed Chris Hughton.

It's not finalised, but aren't we supposed to be in the running?

Think it would be a big mistake, with all due respect to Brighton, if we let that one slip through.

Peter Lee
287 Posted 25/12/2017 at 12:52:50
Steve, why do you bother. You are clearly pissed off, have been for some time, your comments will never impact on the club.

What pleasure do you get from your involvement with EFC? Merry Christmas.

John, I remember the players looking to the bench at Atalanta after five minutes for instructions about how to deal with Atlanta overloading both flanks, pushing up and ignoring the centre. This wasn't the game plan. Arms folded, the Flying Dutchman ignored them and sat down.

A useless, arrogant waste of space. Agree with all you've said about timing. I reckon we might up there with Burnley, Spurs if we'd only made the change at the international break. All the best, might bump into you tomorrow.

Stan Schofield
289 Posted 25/12/2017 at 13:22:43
Steve@284: Can't dispute those facts, but it's also a fact that Moshiri is now here, and has clearly stated ambitions aimed at being in the top-6 consistently, with consistent presence in the Champions League (and the financial rewards that stem from that). Two points:

(1). We've averaged 58 points and league position of 8th over the past decade. To realise Moshiri's stated aim will require raising that average to about a dozen points higher, to comparable with the likes of Liverpool. Readily achievable, IMO, if we are well organised, making best use of the players we have.

(2). To get to the level after that (which is what Liverpool and Spurs are trying to do), where we would actually win stuff and consistently so, would require a further average (about) 15 points, to be comparable with the likes of Man City and Chelsea. Not as readily achievable as (1), obviously, and probably needs cash injections on a level greater than Moshiri (say, Usmanov?).

At the moment, I believe we're at stage (1), trying to get beyond the 'Kenwright era' performance that you highlighted. So, reasons to be a bit positive?

Merry Christmas to you and all other Evertonians.

Steven Jones
291 Posted 25/12/2017 at 20:04:20
You should pop along to John McFarlane Snr's series on favourite players who may not be the best but are your favourites.

Ends up swinging from favourites to best – which we all tend to fall into – but an education and a half. Visit it and leave a comment of your own faves.

Tony Dunn
292 Posted 26/12/2017 at 15:49:35
Andy Meighan, greetings from sunny Catalunya. Bolasie to score today?

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