Valdes denies Lukaku and Lookman

Everton had some guilt-edged chances to bring back all three points from the Riverside, with Valdes denying both Lukaku and Lookman to leave them scoreless.

MIchael Kenrick 11/02/2017 239comments  |  Jump to last

Mason Holgate starts on the bench again
Middlesbrough 0 - 0 Everton

Idrissa Gueye returns to the side for Everton's trip to relegation-threatened Middlesbrough. Barry makes way with no Mirallas or McCarthy on the bench.

Ademola Lookman gets his second start in the Premier League, with Tom Davies returning in midfield. Lennon, Koné and Valencia provide the reserve firepower from the bench.

Tom Davies kicked off but Williams resisted the punt upfield, Everton circulating possession within their own half for the first two minutes, Schneiderlin failing to find Lookman wide left. Schneiderlin won the ball back, fed Barkley wide right, who jinked inside getting Davies in close but with his back to goal he could do little with the creative ball.

Everton, in their all-black strip, were playing very confidently, and moving the ball around well, Gana releasing a great ball for Davies to chase. With heavy freezing rain and sleet coming down, the pace of the game was lively and relatively open, Traore giving the home fans a lift whenever he got on the ball.

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Everton were dominating possession with slow build-up from the back, letting Boro form up their defensive wall with no element of real pace, and struggled to force through despite the energy of Davies and Lookman. When Boro did get the ball, there was an element of danger with Everton looking a little shaky at the back.

Adam Forshaw, previously of the Everton Academy, was playing his part for the home side, getting in a number of foul tackles. But the Blues' passing was just a fraction off on key forward balls, with the Boro players closing down well. Gana found Lukaku on the right with a nice ball and the big man did well to run in but slipped comically and spooned the ball behind as he set up to cross.

Lookman was a livewire and seemed to have bamboozled two defenders before the ball was stolen off him by Traore as he went down in the Boro area, but no foul. Some brilliant Everton passing saw Fabio concede Everton's first corner, taken from the right by Barkley, with a brilliant outswinger that fooled everyone, but Baines returned a brilliant ball to the back post; Funes Mori, however, was not the man to make the most of it.

More very scary attacks by Boro made the Everton defense look Sunday League as the ball pinged about but each time, Traore it would not fall quite right. Davies released Lukaku who had a trademark run in on Valdes to score... only he fired too close to the oncoming keeper who saved well with his outstretched leg.

More brilliant work by Davies looked to release Lukaku again but he had strayed offside. He started coming deep — too deep, as he twice was forced backwards into Everton's half under close attention from Boro defenders.

Some brilliant passing saw the ball out to Baines and a promising cross but Lukaku was called for a foul by Mr Dean. Another fabulous move saw Coleman cross in well to Lookman, whose shot was saved at close range, then Barkley dancing into the area and Lookman coming so close but denied by more tight last-ditch defending to block his shot after a brilliant drag-back.

Baines and Lookman then combined on the left, Lookman making great space and lashing in a low shot, just wide of Valdes's goal. More panic at the back for the visitors, though, as the ball seemed to bounce off Funes Mori and needed a hoof from, of all people, Idrissa Gueye to clear the lines. Some brilliant football from Everton in the first half, but not too many clear-cut chances to score.

Boro won an early corner off Traore after the restart and it needed a header from Coleman to clear. Traore then powered forward and lashed a shot that may have been deflected wide. Danger signals, as Boro seemed brighter and quicker to the ball.

Traore again ran in, forcing Coleman and Williams to bring him down on the edge of the area. Forshaw's free-kick was fortunately headed straight at Robles. In comparison, Everton seemed to have been given bromide in their half-time cuppas as they lacked the energy and desire that was so evident before the break. Forshaw was replaced bu Guedioura before the hour mark. Koeman's response to Everton's poor showing was to swap out Gueye for Valencia.

Barkley finally got forward but has shot was always going wide. Valencia showed pace and intent, running the right side channel. Poor defending from Funes Mori led to a Boro corner that Baines had to clear off the line to repel Gibson's header.

Sub Ramierez fouled Lookman with his first touch, Barkley wasting the chance into the two-man wall. Barkley brilliantly put Lookman through but again, Valdes saved a certain goal with that left leg. At the other end, Guedioura lashed a fearsome shot over Robles and the bar. The next change was Lennon for Lookman, with a quarter of the game remaining.

Ramirez shrugged off Schneiderlin and drove forward past impotent Everton defenders but clipped his cross too far wide. Davies, who had been quiet for much of the second half, started to get more involved but looked to be tiring. Nothing seemed to really be working with Boro winning the second half on points, Karana making his final change with 10 minutes left: Negredo off for Gestede.

Funes Mori was again beaten too easily but Guedioura thankfully spooned it well over as the game became disjointed entering the final 5 minutes. Ramirez was booked for treading on Baines but Barkley's cross was too close to Valdes. A strange last sub by Koeman, Barry for Barkley preceded the chance of the game for Boro and the Save of the Century by Robles, a fantastic one-armed reach to push over a bullet header from Ramirez that was goalbound all day long.

Everton built an attack in the last minute but it was just too slow, Baines's cross evading Lukaku. Baines tried a Barkley backheel that Valencia did not anticipate, Barry picked out Valencia but his pullback to Lukaku led to Everton's second and final corner that came to nothing in 3 mins of time added on.

The match ended in torrential freezing rain, a disappointing scoreline for the very vocal travelling troupe from Merseyside, and two points dropped in pursuit of the top six.

Middlesbrough: Valdes, Chambers, Bernardo, Gibson, Da Silva, De Roon, Clayton [Y:31'], Forshaw (58'Guedioura), Traore, Negredo (82' Gestede), Stuani (66' Ramirez).
Subs not Used: Ayala, Leadbitter, Guzan, Downing.

Everton: Robles, Baines, Williams, Funes Mori, Coleman, Schneiderlin, Gueye (62' Valencia), Davies, Barkley (87' Barry), Lookman (73' Lennon), Lukaku.

Subs: Stekelenburg, Jagielka, Holgate, Koné.

Referee: Mike Dean

Attendance: 31,496

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Reader Comments (239)

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Ian Bennett
1 Posted 11/02/2017 at 14:18:07
No Mirallas or McCarthy on bench - why?
John Pierce
2 Posted 11/02/2017 at 14:19:06
Well I'm not surprised Koeman has gone with a back 4, a bit of a worry he's trying to shoe horn all our better players into a formation.

It strikes me as unbalanced with the only real width coming the full backs.

We are not playing a particularly creative side so we've might get away with it.

I guess we'll see if our much self vaunted midfield can plug the gaps when we bomb forward.

Fingers crossed.

Duncan McDine
3 Posted 11/02/2017 at 14:22:51
Bit surprised that he's sticking with 4 at the back but that is possibly due to the fact that Boro are not an easy team to break down – this formation is possibly a bit more attacking than playing 3 at CB.

I hope the 3 in midfield can fulfill their potential as a very strong unit (that is surely the future), and hope we can still look like a force without the excellent Barry.


Hugh Jenkins
4 Posted 11/02/2017 at 14:39:15
It looks a strong and exciting first 11, but with the exception of Holgate, the bench looks ageing and, mainly for that reason, quite weak.

If we are to challenge the top four places this season, or beyond, we do need to strengthen the squad.

However, given the strides made by Holgate and Davies thus far this year, and by Galloway and Browning (pre-injury) last year, hopefully there is more to come from our U23 prospects, including those that are oft mentioned, but have not yet made the "step-up", like Walsh, Ledson, Pennington et al.

Jay Harris
5 Posted 11/02/2017 at 14:40:00
Bit disappointed really.

I thought we have looked our best with 3 at the back and Seamus and Baines bombing forward and linking well with midfield.

No width in this line-up but still capable of all 3 points.

Dave Abrahams
6 Posted 11/02/2017 at 14:43:05
McCarthy must be injured; he can't be left out after last week's performance.
Hugh Jenkins
7 Posted 11/02/2017 at 14:44:49
Dave (6) - Hamstring - again - as I understand.
Joe O'Brien
8 Posted 11/02/2017 at 14:50:59
Starting 11 looks strong enough to get the three points. The bench looks quite weak. McCarthy had a problem with his hammy last week or was rumoured. Mirallas is defo injured I'd say. He's been good enough lately
Christy Ring
9 Posted 11/02/2017 at 14:53:28
Hugh, if it is his hamstring again, it's a huge blow for him, and they'll have to find out why it's happening so frequently.
Dave Williams
10 Posted 11/02/2017 at 15:14:37
Hugh, Ledson was sold a few months ago.
Craig Fletcher
12 Posted 11/02/2017 at 15:56:18
HT 0-0. Boro as predicted, difficult to break down. We've looked the more likely but Boro are proving a threat through Traore especially. Negredo winning a lot of long-balls in the air which is a bit concerning, as it is getting their team up the pitch.
Phil Sammon
13 Posted 11/02/2017 at 16:17:05
What are we playing at here? You'd think we were 3-0 up the way we're stroking it around without intent.
Colin Hughes
14 Posted 11/02/2017 at 16:24:14
We are not clinical enough to trouble the top six and simply can't win when we didn't play well. Middlesbrough were there for the taking in that first half.
Ciarán McGlone
15 Posted 11/02/2017 at 16:37:57
Our embarrassment of riches in midfield are simply an embarrassment in this half.


Ciarán McGlone
16 Posted 11/02/2017 at 16:39:25
A special mention for Williams. I think he's the defensive equivalent of Emile Heskey.
Paul Conway
17 Posted 11/02/2017 at 16:54:38
I can't see what Lennon and Valencia are doing that Niasse is not! They are both useless.
Jim Bennings
18 Posted 11/02/2017 at 16:59:41
What a disappointing performance on the back of some really good attacking displays.

We got dragged into a scrap against a very very poor attacking team and basically for me failure to beat these type of teams means we are now just playing for 7th nothing more, deep down I think even Koeman knows that.

Koeman has solved the bad home record from recent seasons, hopefully next season he can get a more clinical team away from home, our lack of killer instinct away from home always holds us back, was the same in the Moyes era when the form at Goodison was strong.

The team is crying out for a more consistent attacking central midfielder, Lukaku back to living off scraps today with no support or service..
Still think we lack that sprinkle of stardust in attacking midfield areas.

Maybe we just have to take 7th as progress and move on in the summer with some key signings, Siguardsson etc.

Chris Williams
19 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:01:30
Crap match played in terrible conditions and it seems a fair result on the day.

Needed a bit of luck there but we missed our best chances or Valdez saved them. Robles made a great save and Baines cleared off the line.

Not a game for the purists or for silky soccer. Not a classic to be sure.

Peter Hughes
20 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:01:31
And Funes Mori who gives me palpitations with the ball at his feet!
Mike Powell
21 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:02:10
I said this will be hard game Boro don't concede many. I'm glad we got a point to tell the truth; that was a hard-fought draw.

They did a job on Lukaku. They got their tactics right. No doubt all the Lukaku bashers will be out the woodwork again...

Brian Wilkinson
22 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:04:07
Point gained today or two points dropped, not the easiest place to go Boro, sometimes a goalie is all the difference, two outstanding saves by their goalie today, that was the difference.
Tony Twist
23 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:05:20
Quite typical and was expected after the goal fest of last week. Failure to buy a quality striker that can score when lukaku doesn't. Why can't the club see the blatantly obvious.
Mohamad Haryan
24 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:05:39
My goodness... the bad passing is back. Why are we lumping the ball everytime? From the 90s till now... Everton passing is really bad.

Why is nobody doing off-the-ball running? Why is nobody looking for spaces that players can pass to? Why can't they pass the ball on the floor? Simple direct passes. Is that too much too ask for a professional football team?

Slow movement and sideways and backwards passing equals frustrating football. Koeman, sort it out.

Craig Fletcher
25 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:07:07
Poor second half. Have to take your hat off to Victor Valdes though, showed his class. Twice one-on-one with an opposing striker and twice kept them out. Great save by Joel for us at the end.

Difficult game, at least it's an away point.

Barry Jones
26 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:07:31
Robles has definitely come of age. What an improvement in his all round game. The other players have confidence in him too. If he keeps improving at this rate, he will be one of the best keepers in the Premier League pretty soon.
Jim Bennings
27 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:08:02
The chronic run of results from October to Christmas when we had 1 win in 10 has really done too much damage to expect to seriously pressure for a top 6 place.

Let's just beat West Brom and West Ham to 7th, get a bit of pride back this season and build again in summer, hopefully next season a better run in the domestic Cups and a stronger more consistent challenge for 5th or 6th.

Patrick Murphy
28 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:09:13
That was so dissapointing on the back of our mini run in the league. It's games like today's and to a lesser extent at Stoke where picking up three points is the name of the game.

The result didn't bother me as much as the performance, we lacked bite in the tackle and Boro at times cut through the midfield and defence like a knife through butter. At the other end we looked bereft of ideas and lacked the sheer will to win.

Never mind on to the next game after a short trip to warmer climes for the players, can't help feel that any real hopes of Everton qualifying for Europe via the league ended today.

A poor match and a pretty poor performance by Everton.

Joe Clitherow
29 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:11:56
Not being funny, Tony, but why can't you see the blatantly obvious that we did buy a quality striker called Ademola Lookman? The lad looks top class and will get better.

We may well buy another one but the one Koeman may want may not have been available this window. Lots of people here were calling for Negredo when he was available. He was dogshit today, thankfully we didn't panic buy the likes of him.

David Barks
30 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:13:37
Calm down people, it was absolutely dreadful conditions. Players could hardly keep their feet and the ball control all over the pitch suffered. It was absolutely pouring down as the match went on.

In those conditions against Boro it was never going to be a great game. We struggled in midfield, struggled the get the ball up top, struggled to keep the ball up top, struggled to get any quality service into the box, struggled to play with any pace, struggled to keep our footing, struggled to string any passes together other than between our defense. It was just a struggle against a side that does quite well defensively, especially at home, in dreadful conditions.

Wish we could have gotten three points to continue to push up the table, but it was just one of those days. A point and we move on. Doesn't mean we're now suddenly stuck in 7th and everyone above is out of reach. Go for three points next match and be glad we don't have to live in Boro. Christ the suicide rate up there must be sky high having to live through that weather.

Jay Harris
31 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:19:44
Scrappy display in appalling conditions. Excellent display by Robles. Very poor leading of the line by Lukaku.

There is a player in Lookman but he needs to keep his head up and look at options before pulling the trigger.

I thought the midfield trio did not work at all. Constantly running into each other and forcing our 2 CBs too far apart. At least we kept our unbeaten run going.

Mike Berry
32 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:19:52
We got a point away at a very difficult gig, lighten up!!
Scott Hall
33 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:20:22
Thought we were unlucky. Two great saves from Valdes made the difference.

We put some nice moves together and Boro's strategy was just to kick lumps out of Davies, Barkley and Lookman.

And what a save by Joel.

Onwards and upwards. We'll take 3 points from Sunderland.

Jeff Armstrong
34 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:21:19
If Lukaku has a day like today, there is no-one else to step up. We've relied on him alone all season for goals. It should have been sorted in January and it wasn't; that mistake could be the difference between 4th and 7th.

We should have gone all out for Dohlberg, and although hindsight is wonderful, the fact we wanted Gabbiadini in the summer and then didn't bother in January smells of bottling it, surely, as he's now proving; he didn't become that bad in 6 months!

George Cumiskey
35 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:23:16
Crap game, poor performance. If we could pass the ball better, we would be in the top four. Central defence definitely our Achilles heel, and did anyone see Lennon actually touch the ball after he came on?
Jay Wood
36 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:27:01
Not a game to set the pulse racing.

Disappointed not to get the 3 points, but the unbeaten run now extended to 8 in the PL. Our best undefeated run in 3 years.

With a 2 week break and warm weather training between now and our next game home to Sunderland, this draw doesn't represent the end of any hopes of climbing a place or two in the league before season's end as some are suggesting.

With 3 of our next 4 games at home to Sunderland, Hull and WBA, that offers us a great opportunity to get points on the board before the end of March.

Onwards and upwards, as ever.

Jim Bennings
37 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:30:56
Pardon the pun Mike Berry but I "get the point"

We got a point at a hard place, but to be in or around the top 5 or 6 next season it's games like this, Bournemouth, Watford, Burnley and Hull away that we need to get 7 points from not just 3 which is what we took combined, especially when Everton wins at places like White Hart Lane, Anfield are nigh-on impossible...

John Pierce
38 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:31:39
A point gained, perhaps? Joel was justly our best player and that tells you everything. He was confident, stable, one very good save and perhaps that should tell me how the other players performed, poorly to my mind.

It starts with the formation, our centre defenders are so limited it dramatically effects our style of play. Sure a back 5 has its negatives but it also helps limit the deficiencies in Williams and Funes Mori. We also get width from Baines and Coleman

That width was lacking totally today and we persisted in going down the width of the penalty box. Not until the game opened up post 70 mins did Baines really get forward.

The formation is on Koeman and his failure to change it, a recurring issue with him?

Yes, I agree, the game was a played in filthy conditions but both sides had to contend with it... so hey ho.

I guess Lookmans chance was as good as it got for us, Rom isolated again mostly due to the formation. Very frustrating but not a surprise.

Colin Glassar
39 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:32:00
David Barks, I think you're being a bit harsh on Middlesbrough as a town. They've never really recovered from the Viking invasions of the 8th century have they?

Talking of Vikings, they seem to be in good voice at Anfield this afternoon.

Tony Hill
40 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:36:55
We will almost certainly finish seventh assuming WBA don't turn us over at Goodison. This game doesn't end our chances of getting higher but it showed us where we are in truth, even allowing for the conditions. We all know we're 3 or 4 players short of being a top side.

The rest of the season is about bedding the new and the young people in and then we can get started quickly, I hope, to secure the essential reinforcements in the summer.

Good to see Joel doing well again. Otherwise I thought we were okay but no more than that, and you could just feel the 0-0 looming.

David Barks
41 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:42:53
Good point, Colin. I think the traveling supporters could have used a few of those thick Viking fur coats while watching that match today. It honestly did look dreadful on TV, you could see just how hard it was coming down when they did the close up camera shots.
Dan Davies
42 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:48:27
No need to be overly negative, a point away from home in difficult conditions against stubborn opposition.

It could very easily have been 2-0 to Everton today.

Jim Bennings
43 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:52:19
Got to admit it, even though I hate to do so but what a player that Mane is!!

So quick, strong, direct and can finish.

Sam Hoare
45 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:53:37
Disappointing. But we're not going to win every game. Yet.

They are hard to break down and we just didn't put away the chances that we made.

Onwards and upwards.

Alan Bodell
46 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:54:05
Could have gone either way so it's just a disappointing point then and shows yet again how we need a creative player not here since Arteta.

On the upside, I really like our goalkeeper, getting better and better and still has plenty of mileage left.

We are just a creative player short right now from big things.

David Barks
47 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:54:38
To be fair the Spurs defense have probably been Liverpool's best player on the pitch. Did Martinez take over their defense this week?
Tony Hill
48 Posted 11/02/2017 at 18:00:13
Alan (#46), we need a good left back (possibly a proven left sided player ahead of the LB too), another CB and a serious option alongside Lukaku plus the player you mention. Today is no real setback because some of us had always thought that talk of getting into the top 4-5 this year was fanciful.

We have much to be optimistic about but I think we can all calm down now and enjoy the rest of the games without worrying too much about where we are going to finish.

Roman Lizuch
49 Posted 11/02/2017 at 18:01:41
Oh well, feels little bit like we lost 2 points but it was a good performance. Just unlucky.
Patrick Murphy
50 Posted 11/02/2017 at 18:06:05
Lukaku is the forward we have – he's strong direct and can finish... who the hell cares who plays for the other lot? Some people are so obsessed with them it's untrue.
Gordon Crawford
51 Posted 11/02/2017 at 18:09:50
Ronald's fault today. Why change to a back four? He offered us no width with this change. Midfield is crowded too.
Steavey Buckley
52 Posted 11/02/2017 at 18:18:13
Everton made Middlesborough look good today because Everton played far too deep that allowed Middlesborough's midfield to run at Everton. Not having McCarthy today weakened the midfield because he is one player who would have closed the opposition down.

Schneiderlin, Funes Mori and Williams don't do for me, as all 3 players play far too deep. The gaps between the Everton centre halves and Schneiderlin and the rest of the team were far to deep.

Although Valdes is praised for the saves he made against Lukaku and Lookman, their efforts were too close to the goal-keeper to have any real chance of beating him, since most Premier League goal-keepers will stick out a leg if they can't reach a shot with their arms or hands.

Mike Galley
53 Posted 11/02/2017 at 18:28:08
I'm sorry, but I can't agree with the comments saying it was a point at a difficult place. Look where they are in the league.

Whilst I'm optimistic about our medium- and long-term future, can we stop any talk about catching any of the teams above us this season? It's not going to happen.

Failing to beat Borough today showed that. I would love to be wrong though!

Jim Bennings
54 Posted 11/02/2017 at 18:28:50
Problem is there isn't going to be any width with the wholesale loss of so many wingers, Deulofeu, Bolasie, Mirallas flits in and out, Lennon clearly just bit part, Lookman not a winger.

We have too many central midfielders and not really one that naturally stands out as a regular support for Lukaku, it's games like today when you need to get men in and around the box to break through a stubborn defence, today and maybe too often away from home we just don't commit men.

It's not a bad result but it's another lesson to go with quite a few other away games this season that we need to find a killer instinct, need to commit more men to get the win, it's the difference to challenging the top sides and just being on the cusp with no way of getting in.

Rob Dolby
55 Posted 11/02/2017 at 18:30:48
Clean sheet and their goalie being MotM. On another day, it could have been 2 or 3 plus the fact Clayton should have got a 2nd yellow for the foul from behind on Davies with 20 mins to go.

Not sure on the formation today. Davies as central attacking midfielder and Barclay out right didn't work. Valencia should have kept his hat and coat on as he was totally ineffectual Gueye also looked off the pace.

Any idea why McCarthy and Mirallas weren't included in the squad?

Andy Crooks
56 Posted 11/02/2017 at 18:36:44
We are some way off Champions League yet. I think we are moving forward and I think a Europa League campaign would be a major part in our progress.

Clean sheet and a continuing unbeaten run, that's okay. Last on MotD, deservedly I think.

Alan Bodell
57 Posted 11/02/2017 at 18:38:13
Rob, McCarthy and hamstring mate.
Phil Walling
58 Posted 11/02/2017 at 18:39:44
Ronald is more of a tinkerman than a tactical genius.
Paul Thompson
59 Posted 11/02/2017 at 18:52:08
It wasn't a poor match or a poor performance. We played quite well in the first half – plenty of intensity, but lost that somewhat in the second half.

But comments in the thread about lack of width are surely right. Coleman was often on his own trying to make progress down the right. We are missing Bolasie.

Just watch England bring game changers off the bench against Wales. Valencia and Lennon do not do it.

Tony Hill
60 Posted 11/02/2017 at 18:52:32
Barkley out wide has never worked. The good thing for us is that we are grinding on, sometimes fluently and most times not, in the way that proper sides are built. The habit of victory is best of all, obviously, but the habit of not losing will do very nicely for now. The rest will come.
John Steadman
61 Posted 11/02/2017 at 18:54:39
One of our biggest problems is Rom, if he wants to play the whole team play, if he doesn't then we have no joy.

In the past 3 games he didn't show at Stoke nor again today, did anyone actually think he would score when he was clean through in the 1st half?

I would actually take any offer for him in the summer, as for me he does do enough, limited movement, not particular good in the air. getting better at holding the ball up.

The size of him, he should be making defenders worried, put one on their arse in the first minute to let them know, what the type of day there are going to have! Does he NO!

Bye bye and good riddance.

George Cumiskey
62 Posted 11/02/2017 at 18:56:02
As I asked before, Did anyone see Lennon actually touch the ball? At least Valencia had a go!
David Price
63 Posted 11/02/2017 at 18:58:55
Correct, Rob (#54), second yellow nailed on and then an over-the-top challenge on Baines was a shocker. I would've backed Lukaku to take his chance but to be fair to Valdes, two really good saves. Robles with his magnificent save ensured we didn't lose.

Tough game, not sure what people were expecting on here from Middlesbrough but they got stuck in and made it difficult. It was up to Mike Dean to do his job but after his enforced break he decided to play things safe and bottled two big decisions for red cards.

Missed having Mirallas available but it's a good point and the team deserves credit. People moaned on here for a 6-3 last week so I guess 0-0 didn't stand a chance.

George Cumiskey
64 Posted 11/02/2017 at 19:02:53
Nobody's moaning – just passing comments on what we have seen today; we can't hide the fact that it was a poor performance.
Stan Schofield
65 Posted 11/02/2017 at 19:13:35
John @60: So, if Lukaku wants to play the whole team play? If it's that simple, Lukaku must be better than I thought. He's scored 16 goals, but 'bye bye and good riddance'? Seriously? You couldn't make it up.
Phil Walling
66 Posted 11/02/2017 at 19:17:31
Good riddance to Romelu, John Steadman @ 60?

'God help us' more like!

Grant Rorrison
67 Posted 11/02/2017 at 19:29:04
Nothing game, nothing season. Thank god Leicester dropped like a stone and West Ham, Southampton and Stoke had slow starts to the season so we can pretend that we're making progress. :{

Mike T Jones
68 Posted 11/02/2017 at 19:29:39
We'd have lost that with Bobby brown shoes. Things are on an upward trajectory and if you can't see that, then I feel sorry for you.
Mike T Jones
69 Posted 11/02/2017 at 19:31:14
And good riddance to Lukaku!!!!! Wtf?!?
Grant Rorrison
70 Posted 11/02/2017 at 19:32:31
Mike (#67). Erm, we beat Boro 2-0 there last season (in the cup). :O
Colin Glassar
71 Posted 11/02/2017 at 19:34:14
Didn't take long for the Rom haters to rear their ugly head again, did it?

"I would actually take any offer for him". What, like 60p? A tenner? £15m? State a price, lad.

Probably one of the stupidest statements in a long, long time.

Mike T Jones
72 Posted 11/02/2017 at 19:35:49
Apologies, Grant. Bring back Bobby.
Jim Hillier
73 Posted 11/02/2017 at 19:38:06
Not particularly happy with a point away at Middlesbrough, me, to be honest, but some of the comments here beggar belief. Grant Rorison, for example.

Far be it for me to suggest that the long list of never-posted-before Evertonians are a bunch of Reds with nothing else to do after a disastrous run, but surely any genuine Blue would recognise that we are on a fantastic run of form, and the occasional away point against shit negative anti-football shit (Stoke, Boro) rather confirms that.

John Pierce
74 Posted 11/02/2017 at 19:39:14
Whilst I would not speed to defend the Spaniard, Mike, you mean we'd have lost it like when we won 2-0 last year in the League Cup under Roberto?

The upward trajectory you speak of under the Dutchman is more like a gentle slope, who has us in the position we normally have occupied across the last decade. Progress, maybe? Or top of the also-rans, or bottom of the top 7. Take your pick.

Jim Hillier
75 Posted 11/02/2017 at 19:40:04
Oh yes, and Lukaku, what a waste of money him. Fuck off, will you
Andrew Clare
76 Posted 11/02/2017 at 19:40:08
It was one of those games that happens for every team. A dour, flat game.

My main complaint is Joel and Williams constantly hoofing the ball up the field and giving possession back to Boro on every occasion. For a forward it's a nightmare receiving service like that.

Williams is just too limited to play in this team. Joel apart from his hoofing is playing very well. We are still in shouting distance of the teams above us and we are definitely progressing as, not long ago, we would have lost a game like that.

Mike Dolan
77 Posted 11/02/2017 at 19:41:26
A good point today in horrible conditions, fair result. I thought we played decently not great just okay. Robles made a world class save, I really like him in goal. Needs to work on his distribution but he has been a revelation of late. Do we need a new goalie? Maybe not.

Davies played well in a cluttered midfield. I like that he gets into the area to support Rom. Is it me or is Davies's range of passing improving game by game. This kid is so impressive.

Peter Fearon
78 Posted 11/02/2017 at 19:43:03
The negative comments re Lukaku are, of course, ludicrous. The conditions dictated the game and I don't think any team would play their best football in those circumstances.

However, I have been repeatedly disappointed by Enner Valencia who seems to become invisible whenever he comes on. God help us if Lukaku leaves and we have to rely on "cover" for him.

Jim Hillier
82 Posted 11/02/2017 at 19:49:07
Stop Press. Improving team with some impressive performances and results under its belt in the past eight weeks does not win every single game. Perspective, anyone?
Colin Glassar
83 Posted 11/02/2017 at 19:58:02
Jim (#74), I've suspected the same for a while now. I can't (obviously) prove anything but it is a bit suspicious. It's even worse on the live forum when we have an adverse result.

Getting back to the game, I'm really disappointed with a draw but shit happens in football. You can't win 'em all, unfortunately.

Thomas Surgenor
84 Posted 11/02/2017 at 20:00:11
Not a bad point but equally not a good point.

I felt we had done enough to win it but unfortunately didn't. Valdes had 2 great stops. Davies was inches away on 2 occasions from breaking the deadlock and a better pass from Rom to Ross would equally have won us the game.

My only negatives are a bit of indecisiveness at the back and that Lennon and Valencia offered nothing when they came on. Funes Mori backing out of that tackle also got me agitated... absolutely criminal!

I doubted the signing of Schneiderlin but he impressed me today. Good work ethic and sharp in the tackle.

I can't believe all the negatives on here. I honestly felt that Boro played for the draw and were very difficult to break down. On so many occasions when they finally got into our half, they just turned and went the whole way back to prevent a quick turn over.

Paul Conway
85 Posted 11/02/2017 at 20:01:58
What does Lukaku have to do to convince people he is one of the top strikers in the Premier League? He had a bad day today because he was isolated.

There was no Everton forward within 6 yards of him at times. Each time he received the ball, there was a minimum of 2 defenders on him.

Apart from Lookman who has just started to ply his trade, the likes of Valencia and Lennon couldn't supply him, These 2 are definite candidates for the deadwood stage!

If anybody has any doubts about Lukaku's ability, just take a look at his first goal against Man City... Absolutely sublime!

Peter Mills
86 Posted 11/02/2017 at 20:02:25
Of course, we were hoping for 3 points. I thought we would get them. We didn't, but we kept the points total ticking over.

Take a fortnight without a match, re-group, and press on for the rest of the season.

John Pierce
87 Posted 11/02/2017 at 20:04:00
Mike, keep the personal stuff to yourself please.

You had an opinion, it was countered, somewhat in mirth and in some part in derision without personal insult. It is a forum after all?

Every manager loses games they shouldn't, that's the point, and the improvement is there sure but not to my mind as great as people think.

Enjoy your pint 🍻

Jim Hillier
89 Posted 11/02/2017 at 20:06:48
Is that a Yes, then, John?

Improvement? I'll take that.

Mick Davies
91 Posted 11/02/2017 at 20:09:33
Andrew @ 75: My main complaint is Joel and Williams constantly hoofing the ball up the field and giving possession back to Boro on every occasion.

I can't believe you expect a goalkeeper, under pressure from a backpass, to stand around, pick out a player 50-60 yards away and deliver a match-winning defence-splitting Ronaldo-esque peach of a pass! The poor lad got hammered one time for constantly playing out from the back under orders from Martinez!

John Steadman
92 Posted 11/02/2017 at 20:10:49
If your a center-half, playing against Rom is easy most of the time, as he doesn't move them around. How many has Rom scored against the higher placed teams? He is at is best when he is annoyed.

Simple fact, When Chelsea looked to ship him out after an ineffectual World Cup for Belgium, did any of the top European clubs come knocking for him? No!

Last season when he allegedly said he wants Champions League football did any top European or British sides come knocking? No!

If somebody offered what we paid for him, would I take it, yes in a heart beat.

I have been a season ticket holder at Goodison for coming on 50 years, so yes I can recognize a good player when I see one; I can also recognize a "lazy" one when I see one.

Jim Hillier
93 Posted 11/02/2017 at 20:12:33
John Steadman, when was the last time you slagged off an Everton centre forward who was top scorer in the league? Just wondering.
John Steadman
96 Posted 11/02/2017 at 20:26:09
Jim (#92) you have to go back a long way to find a center-forward for us who even got close to topping the scoring charts, for example... Lineker.

But you always thought Lineker would score and he usually did.

Jim Hillier
97 Posted 11/02/2017 at 20:30:34
So, generally speaking, John, an Everton striker being the top scorer in the league is a good thing? Didn't pick that up from your contribution here.
Mick Davies
98 Posted 11/02/2017 at 20:43:28
Yes, Lukaku scores against weak defences, and 7 of his goals came in 2 matches against the leakiest defences in the Premier League. But how much have Liverpool spent, yet struggle against lower (and lower league) sides who park the bus at Houlding's hovel?

Scoring is an art, and as he's only 23, he is still perfecting that art and honing his skills. Without him, we'd be up to our nostrils in it.

Remember how he scored for fun in Europe, and bagged (excuse the pun) plenty at a struggling West Brom, including a hat-trick at Old Trafford? He's more Latchford than Lineker but, unlike our one-season wonder, or 'boy wonder' Owen, he won't wane through a loss of pace.

What he really needs is more assistance from his team mates, as we saw last week with Ross, Macca and Seamus all giving him the support he needs.

Joe Clitherow
99 Posted 11/02/2017 at 20:44:57
You are aware John Steadman aren't you that Lukaku is currently top of the "scoring charts"? In the middle of February? Two thirds of the season gone.

Does that not even get close to topping the scoring charts?


Grant Rorrison
100 Posted 11/02/2017 at 20:46:06
Jim (#72). Form changes. I'll wait until the end of the season before assessing how much, if any, progress we're making.

We lost 2 games in 3 months at one point last season and yet it didn't end very well.

John Steadman
101 Posted 11/02/2017 at 20:46:49
Jim, no... not generally speaking, but one who works for 90 minutes, and works for the team, will do for me if he can score that is a bonus.

I just think that we are a far better team when Rom is at it.

Jim Hillier
102 Posted 11/02/2017 at 20:52:47
Getting late, and I could do with a beer, so I will end here. Grant: beating Man City 4-0 obviously means nothing to you.

Wait to the end of the season, and then come up with some other reason why we are not progressing. You have the right, after all.

John, let's agree we are a far better team when the man who has scored 8 in the last 9 is 'at it'. That I'd say he is currently 'at it' and you think otherwise is neither here nor there.

To finish on a point we can all agree on, it's a grand old team.

John Steadman
103 Posted 11/02/2017 at 20:54:41
It is a grand old team, we just happen to vent our frustrations on this site... but, as you say, COYB.
Jim Hillier
104 Posted 11/02/2017 at 20:57:34
John, if we were in the pub, I'd buy you a pint.
Grant Rorrison
105 Posted 11/02/2017 at 21:03:08
An isolated game/performance, however impressive, is hardly evidence of progression. We had plenty of those games under Martinez.

Bill Gall
106 Posted 11/02/2017 at 21:23:43
As someone has commented before, that center forward is rubbish – the only thing he can do is score goals....

Today was one of those games against a team who were fighting against relegation, had only allowed I think 10 goals against them at home and in atrocious conditions, and we are expected to have an easy game. As Koeman said there are no easy games in the premier and each team gives you a different problem to play against them.

We played well in the first half and like you would expect from a home team, Boro came out for the second half with more effort.We could have won but their keeper done his job and they could have won but our keeper done his, so maybe a point was a fair result even if we expected better.

We are not a top 4 team and we may not even make the top 6, but there are signs of improvement and that is what we expected for this season. We cannot say one week that we our rebuilding and the following weeks say we are rubbish. We have to expect there will be games like this and put up with it.

Andy Crooks
107 Posted 11/02/2017 at 21:25:03
Turgid stuff but plenty of positives:

● We have a good goalkeeper.

● Lookman and Davies will have had their confidence massively boosted by their selection. Both are first-teamers now and will not have to break their necks in cameos.

● Lookman and Davies will have learned a lot from a dour game under dour conditions.

● Middlesborough are not a bad side and they are motivated. It was not a bad result.
● There are good times ahead, in fact they started when we thumped Man City.

Patrick Murphy
108 Posted 11/02/2017 at 21:37:05
Everton must be making progress, as at the same stage last season we had 35 points and at the end of the last two completed seasons we had 47. Seeing as we now have 41 points and more than a fair chance of amassing more than six points from our remaining fixtures, that must count as progress.

Back to today and I still think it was a poor performance overall, as there are the usual problems within the team, too easily giving possession away, not being confident enough to try a daring pass, particularly from the back, and too often punting it forward aimlessly which leads to the opponents gaining confidence.

The previous performances away at Hull, Stoke and Palace had their merits but today I thought we lacked so many of the qualities needed to win the game, lacklustre up front, muddled in midfield and shambolic at times at the back. The conditions didn't help but it is the same for both teams and football after all is a winter game.

Colin Glassar
109 Posted 11/02/2017 at 21:55:30
I bet if TW was around when Dixie Dean was playing he'd of got slagged off as well. Some people are never satisfied. Last week, Rom was walking on water; this week some idiots want him sold at any price!!
Colin Glassar
110 Posted 11/02/2017 at 22:09:44
Just another tidbit to pour some cold water over the 'Get Lukaku out at any price" gang:

● Ronaldo scored 77 Premier League goals by his 24th birthday.

● Rom is already on 76 and is still a few months away from his 24th.
James Marshall
111 Posted 11/02/2017 at 22:47:57
I thought we played very well today – Boro were tough tackling and good value for their point.

Seemed a fair result to me – on to the next one.

Lukaku is class. End of story.

Andrew Presly
112 Posted 11/02/2017 at 22:51:20
Bringing on Valencia and Lennon is the reminder we'll have to be patient and wait a few windows for the full detox. Europa via 7th will represent a good campaign.
Gavin Johnson
113 Posted 11/02/2017 at 22:53:47
The game was a non-event. It was a fair point in the end. Joel made an excellent save and should be our 1st choice keeper next season, unless we can sign a big name established keeper like Joe Hart, or Frazer Forster.

I was very surprised in the improvement of Adama Traore for Boro. He was a scrawny ineffective kid at Villa last season. A Barca academy player who was behind Deulofeu, both in stats and reputation, albeit a year younger in age. He looks a different player this season and looks like he's been hitting the gym. He looks a better player than Deulofeu now. Could be an option in the summer maybe?

We should have signed a quality striker to bring on or replace Rom for games like today. It looks like Gabbiadini could have been an excellent signing. I wonder why we seemingly lost interest in that deal?

Terry Underwood
114 Posted 11/02/2017 at 22:59:49
I'm satisfied with a point to be honest. Boro do not concede many at home. We cannot expect to thump Premier League teams every week, regardless of league position. Take the point and move on.
Paul Conway
115 Posted 11/02/2017 at 23:02:11
James Marshall @110,

I like it.

Concise, direct and truthful.

Brent Stephens
116 Posted 11/02/2017 at 23:07:21
#95 "You have to go back a long way to find a centre-forward for us who even got close to topping the scoring charts."

TW poster shoots himself in the foot. Lives to write crap another day,

John Malone
119 Posted 11/02/2017 at 23:55:11
I thought Koeman got the shape wrong today; we have played our best football and got some good results playing 3-5-2. Granted he had injuries to Mirallas and McCarthy but I would prefer to see Lookman playing up top off Rom – he's too lightweight to play out wide every week!

I think a lot of us have fell foul of getting carried away with some of our good run of results rather looking closely at our performances! Some of our defending and all round play has been dodgy to say the least the workrate and intensity seems to have dropped a bit!

The saving grace is it is early days under Koeman's regime and money in the bank!

Soren Moyer
121 Posted 12/02/2017 at 00:15:47
Boro's home results AFTER today's game: won 3, drawn 4, lost 6.

If we don't win against this sort of opponents, then we are not worthy of a top 6 place.

Paul Kelly
122 Posted 12/02/2017 at 00:18:24
Bill Gall @105, well said.
Kevin Dyer
123 Posted 12/02/2017 at 00:48:15
Karanka sets Boro up the same every time, all about retaining shape. Koeman's idea was correct: keep the ball moving and hope they lose concentration, try and regain possession when they break and quickly counter them. The team seemed to lose confidence when the strategy didn't get results, dropped deeper 2nd half and Lukaku got isolated.

With Boro playing 3 in CM the centre was very congested, particularly with Ross dropping back to try and get on the ball and Fabio tracking him. Plus Lookman naturally drifting inside left no space and our midfield struggled to find time and room. We had no natural width or options to provide any from the bench.

Valencia coming on briefly got some support up for Rom, but in taking Lookman off (why?) for the ineffective Lennon we lost that. One option would've been to get Holgate on and push the fullbacks forward to provide wide options, not sure why we didn't try that. Without McCarthy and Mirallas, half our bench was useless, highlighting the need for improved quality in the summer.

Will Mabon
124 Posted 12/02/2017 at 00:55:35
John Steadman:

"...but one who works for 90 minutes and works for the team, will do for me if he can score that is a bonus."

You seem to have player positions confused. That above is more a description of the priorities of a midfielder or defender. Lukaku is a striker, so a better description would be:

"One who scores, and if he can work for the team, that is a bonus".

See, if Lukaku "worked for the team" (however you define that) but scored goals infrequently only as a bonus, he wouldn't be classed as a successful striker, and would be playing for a team like, say, Middlesbrough.

"I just think that we are a far better team when Rom is at it."

That's eye opening. Does it apply to all the other players, and the goalkeeper too?

Derek Thomas
125 Posted 12/02/2017 at 01:37:09
1point gained or 2 lost? For me, sadly it's only a point gained. Because until we get to the level of genuine, 3rd, 4th or possibly 5th contender – at these levels you are expected to win more of these than you draw.

Where we are now is exactly where we should be, 6th or 7th. On a good day, we might, briefly, stand on our tip toes, stretch and lightly brush the bottom of 5th with our finger tips... see 4 vs Man City and 6 vs Bournemouth. Until we up the overall quality and cut out the 3s vs Bournemouth and the draws at Stoke & Boro... how ever 'difficult' they might be in the wind and the sleet of January & February, 6th or 7th is it.

Better teams mostly win these – we didn't, so what does that say?

One thing it does say, to me at least, is that we have improved some – we would've lost this and Stoke... and maybe even at 3-2 stuffed up the Bournemouth game too, under the previous regime.


Re the bench, I don't believe for one minute the 'slight injury' claims – It was bench rotation to keep the lads happy-ish.

James Marshall
126 Posted 12/02/2017 at 02:01:39
Boro have only lost 3 games by more than 1 goal all season - against West Ham, the RS and us.

They drew with Arsenal 0-0 and City 1-1 away. Spurs were very lucky to beat them 1-0 at WHL.

Boro have not been hammered by anyone, and are notoriously hard to score goals against, therefore a point against them away from home is a decent result, especially given that things change over a season, players mindsets change and so does motivation.

It was also fucking miserable up there today – cold as all hell, and pissing it down by the end. These things make a difference whether you believe it or not when you're playing football – performances ARE affected by these things.

Boro are close to the bottom 3 so are scrapping it out – you have to dig a bit deeper when making sweeping judgements like, "better teams mostly win these" etc. That's a meaningless term and actually not true.

Will Mabon
127 Posted 12/02/2017 at 03:05:02
It wasn't a bad result in the circumstances. Of course a win would've been better. Can't win them all. It wasn't an abject performance by any means, just not our best. No player performed woefully (though Funes Mori tried), and it's another game unbeaten. In October, this would've been considered a much improved performance.

Later, we'll beat someone that beats 'Boro at The Riverside (or we already have). We're still much improved from earlier in the season, and just need to keep that improvement going – the team and the manager.

Bob Parrington
128 Posted 12/02/2017 at 03:59:41
What a difference a week makes. Lousy weather conditions and indifferent refereeing aside it was in no way convincing. Thanks Robles! Seems you weren't included in the headlines for keeping us in it but I thought this was a great performance by you even though there were long period when you were not called in to action. Valdes got the headline but our shooting was not that good on the whole.

IMO Barkley had a solid game as did Bainsey.

Watching it on TV in Adelaide, watching the weather shots even made me feel cold!!!

Barry Williams
129 Posted 12/02/2017 at 04:05:13
From watching it here in Sri Lanka, I could see why Middlesborough have conceded so few. They retain their shape well and get back in numbers. They have pace to break, but luckily they aren't clinical enough to take advantage of it.

For once I found it hard to think what Everton could do to change the game. I think we shouldn't downplay the weather conditions here as I think they were definitely not conducive to playing good football. So really, a point away from home was okay.

Lukaku was isolated a little bit too much and Valencia was brought on to rectify this, but hey ho, we are unbeaten in 8 and going in the right direction, keeping another clean sheet ourselves. I have been rather impressed with Mr Robles recently.

Barry Williams
130 Posted 12/02/2017 at 04:12:22
James Marshall (#125),

Yes, the weather can be a great equaliser, especially when you play in those conditions a lot more than your opposition. I saw a few players lose their footing and it is difficult to weight a pass, although we did get some decent balls through.

It appeared to me that we were trying to get balls through the middle, which was the right thing to do as their defence seemed very capable of repelling attacks with width. But for me, it was a decent point.

Ashley Roberts
131 Posted 12/02/2017 at 04:28:52
There may be a lot of competition for the midfield positions but I do not think Gueye and Schneiderlin are a good combination as neither can pick a pass going forward. I thought Gana was poor today and I cannot remember Schneiderlin making any pass further than 10 yards.

Barry's legs might not allow him to play the full 90 minutes but I would start him over these 2 and then sub him out when he runs out of steam. My fear is Schneiderlin will play no matter what as we paid £24M for the benefit. Davies is improving and he can pick a pass going forward.

I thought Ross was quality today and cannot believe the Echo only gave him a rating of 6 and Schneiderlin 7. I must have been watching a different game!!!

Paul Ferry
132 Posted 12/02/2017 at 04:36:05
I've heard it all now. A striker who scores is erm a 'bonus'

Dear Lord.

We buy strikers 'who work for 90 minutes and work for the team'. Anything else is a 'bonus'.

Dear Lord.

Derek Thomas
133 Posted 12/02/2017 at 04:47:09
James Marshall @125; 3 out of 4 of the 'better teams' did win there (1 drew, aka didn't lose) so did Palace, Watford and West Ham for that matter. So that's 3 'better' teams and 3 'better on the day' teams.

We haven't... unless everybody hits the top notes together on a good day, got enough about us to win these games – yet. But hopefully we will – soon.

Leagues aren't won (like 84-85) by thrashing United 5- whatever; it never does you any harm to do it, but it takes more. They're won by battling in poor February conditions at places like Leicester and Boro... then scoring 2 late-ish goals.

I know though that one man's 'telling it like it is', can sometimes be seen as 'having a go' or 'nit picking'.

When those 4-0s and 6-3s become the rule rather than the exception, we will all be a lot happier.

The Emperor isn't, like Martinez, totally bollocko, he just needs a jacket, tie and some shoes – just not brown ones.

Brent Stephens
134 Posted 12/02/2017 at 04:49:19
Adama Traore was a big threat from them. The number of times he ghosted past 2 or 3 of our midfield. Very impressive. As the game progressed I was convinced he'd set up a goal for them.
Will Mabon
135 Posted 12/02/2017 at 04:59:29
"I thought Ross was quality today and cannot believe the Echo only gave him a rating of 6 and Shneiderlin 7. I must have been watching a different game!!!"

I noticed many years ago that most of those "Ratings" became wildly off from what I saw. I think it was the Daily Mail that introduced them (and their "Entertainment" score) back in the seventies, at least that's when I first saw them, and they seemed to be an accurate reflection.

Anyway, I haven't read papers for years so have to trust that most unreliable of sources, my own opinion!

Brent Stephens
136 Posted 12/02/2017 at 05:02:01
Went to the game, so just now catching up on TW match report Live Forum comments. Cop this from Vineet Sood on the Live Forum. Cracker...

"URGENT! This may be of interest to you or someone you know. A friend of mine has 2 tickets in the corporate box to Everton v Sunderland on the 25th Feb. He paid £300 each, but he didnt realise when he bought them that it was going to be on the same afternoon as his wedding. He is looking for someone to take his place If anyone is interested, its at the Wigan registry office at 3pm. The brides name is Nicole .shes 5'4, size 8, great legs and is a really good cook .she'll be the one in the white dress!!!!"

Nigel Gregson
137 Posted 12/02/2017 at 05:20:49
Lukaku really needed to finish that one-on-one with the goal keeper. That was 2 points then and there. That's the fine line between being top 4 and mediocre middle.
Keith Edmunds
138 Posted 12/02/2017 at 08:06:58
Thanks Brent. Cracked up the whole family. What a laugh.
Trevor Peers
139 Posted 12/02/2017 at 08:23:40
We're better than last season, but still not very good, just average, has to be the message taken out of that game.

Koeman had the chance to put things right in the window, but buying another defensive midfielder and a rookie winger was never going to solve our main problem, which is obviously the fact we haven't enough goalscorers.

Having seen Gabbiadini's brilliant performance at Sunderland, he looks just what we needed to help Lukaku share the burden up front; inexplicably we chose not to sign him. Koeman has a few more windows to put things right, but he should of sorted out the problem by now.

Ian Hollingworth
141 Posted 12/02/2017 at 08:55:24
It's not a question of Rom's class... it's a question of what do we do when he has an off-day? Unfortunately for us at the moment, he has a lot of them.

I wonder what happened to the Napoli striker, now at Saints, who has hit the ground running? My issue is in the summer was that Moshiri made a big point via Sky's Jim White that we had bid for this fella etc. So what happened that we did not go back for him in January?

Colin Glassar
142 Posted 12/02/2017 at 09:50:37
I wouldn't fret too much about Rom, he'll be off in the summer and will be replaced, no doubt, by a striker who runs a lot and scores every game. I can't remember what his name is but he's out there somewhere.
Phil Walling
143 Posted 12/02/2017 at 10:12:14
Will @ 137,

Schneiderlin will get 7 every week because he is a star signing from Man Utd whereas the others have to earn it and are judged by different standards.

I put him down as a Koeman vanity signing at an exorbitant price.

Nigel Gregson
144 Posted 12/02/2017 at 10:20:54

Sorry, I wasn't taking a dig at big Rom – I love him to bits. But this is a game that was crying out for a bit of magic from someone, except we have Valencia and Lennon. Geri would have been great with a bit of spark. We really need that extra creativity this summer.

Mike Galley
146 Posted 12/02/2017 at 10:27:58
I was a little disappointed immediately after the game yesterday, hence my previous, probably too negative, comment.

Looking back, we where probably a little unlucky not to get the three points.

On a more positive note, I've been very impressed with Robles lately. Dare I suggest he might be the answer to our goalkeeping problem?

Peter Mills
147 Posted 12/02/2017 at 10:30:56
Since Christmas we have taken 18 points out of a possible 24. Five of the eight games have been away from home. In the three home games we have scored 13 goals.

We are improving.

Andrew Clare
148 Posted 12/02/2017 at 10:56:02
Koeman is definitely getting us on the right path. We are on a good run and still with a chance of getting in the top six.

We shouldn't worry about Lukaku leaving as I am sure Koeman will find the right replacement(s). When Lineker left I was disappointed but look what happened there – we won the league the following season.

The manager is the most important person at the club not the players. I was devastated when Kendall left because I knew that he was irreplaceable.

Stan Schofield
149 Posted 12/02/2017 at 11:02:21
Colin@142: The new striker is Roy of the Rovers. We're also signing Alf Tupper to help with the pressing game, at a salary of 3 large bags of chips per day.
Aidy Dews
150 Posted 12/02/2017 at 11:05:14
Tony Hill (#40), pretty much my feelings right now as well. With our current squad we are where we are and that's the best we can hope for I think; 7th, best of the rest. We are lacking quality in certain areas and hopefully we can address that in the summer and kick on.

The rest of the season is about giving the young lads like Davies, Lookman & Holgate the relevant experience and game time to improve and fully integrate into the first team ahead of next season and also give Schneiderlin time to get to know his new team mates which he seems to be doing just okay with.

I think we all know where we're lacking in this team. We badly need a couple of quality centre-backs. Think Jagielka's time at the club will be up in the summer and Funes Mori is too much of a liability to be in the team week in, week out. Williams is ok but I don't think it helps him or the team having Funes Mori at the side of him. We could do with a younger, fresher centre-back to partner Williams or 2 new centre-backs to go straight in the team.

I think we could do with a goalkeeper but each week Joel seems to make me doubt that. Think he's been really good of late with his saves, command of his area. He hasn't done a lot wrong since coming in.

Central midfield is a strong area for us now, especially with regards to the defensive side of things and players that can do a job screening the back 3/4 or Nick balls and break things up. We all know what Gueye brings to the table and Schneiderlin is similar but has that quality on the ball. Those 2 will be main stays in the midfield in the long run. Then I feel we need a more creative central midfield that breaks into the box from deep, offers a goal threat from that part of the pitch and can pick a pass going forward to compliment both Gueye & Schneiderlin. I'm not fully convinced Barkley is that player. He doesn't seem to break forward enough and go beyond Lukaku and get into the box, he likes to hang back and look for the ball too much. Even playing as a wide forward in a front 3 he drops too deep and isolates Lukaku. We need to find that Scholes, Lampard "type" that is great at breaking away from the midfield and bursting beyond the striker and chipping in with goals.

Then we need some quality wide options. Lookman looks promising but needs time to adjust and find his feet. He could be a real threat next season once he's integrated into the team and our way of playing. So him, along with Mirallas, are options wide left, but were seriously devoid of any quality down the right and that's why Barkley as been put out there but he doesn't get up there and close to Rom, he drops too deep into midfield cos he wants to be involved and on the ball.

Watching Gabbiadini at Southampton it looks like we could of missed a trick there. He usually prefers to play from the right and cutting in, linking up with the front man and when you watch him his movement is spot on and he likes to play one two's and spin off his man and go behind and imo he would of been a great foil for Lukaku coming in off the right. And he would offer us another goal threat! And obviously we need another centre-forward to compete with Lukaku and sometimes partner him and help him out.

Big summer ahead to get those type of players in to push us on to the next level though. As it stands, are squad is only good enough for best of the rest, it's nowhere near good enough for the top 6 and beyond so we need to find the quality and bring it in to hopefully kick us on to the next level. But it's vital we do finish best of the rest and hope Man Utd win the league cup and a top four side wins the FA Cup so it gives us a spot in the Europa League as that will help to entice better players.

Gary Russell
151 Posted 12/02/2017 at 11:05:23
Derek Thomas @Mystic Megthomas. How shall I put this? Ah yes... "Where we are now is exactly where we should be, 6th or 7th. On a good day, we might, briefly, stand on our tip toes, stretch and lightly brush the bottom of 5th with our finger tips."

Tell me kind sir, do you get up extra early and practice the blatantly fucking obvious? Do tell...

Ian Jones
152 Posted 12/02/2017 at 11:09:54
Colin @ 142. I will take that striker. A goal a game in the league would be a good return. :)
Chris Gould
153 Posted 12/02/2017 at 11:16:06
Brent, that's brilliant. That's really cracked me up. Thanks for that.
Colin Glassar
154 Posted 12/02/2017 at 11:18:15
Nigel, I wasn't having a go at you (or anyone else for that matter) just a bit frustrated by the constant criticism of the player by certain elements.

As an aside, what about these Barkley rumours? I can't imagine Ross refusing to sign a new contract but, who knows eh?

Jon Withey
155 Posted 12/02/2017 at 11:20:06
Not terrible but a bit rubbish after the raising of expectations.

Just galling to watch Man Utd brush away similar opposition and a reminder of what the squad can be lacking.

A shame Mirallas and McCarthy weren't available to switch things – I hope it was that straightforward.

Aidy Dews
156 Posted 12/02/2017 at 11:21:20
Colin (#110),

I'm not getting involved in any Lukaku argument but the comparison with Ronaldo isn't a great one tbh as, in his time in the Premier League, he was a winger and only the odd time did he play directly as the striker. At that point, Rooney was in his prime and the main man upfront for Man Utd. So that stat for Ronaldo is very impressive for a winger!

Peter Morris
157 Posted 12/02/2017 at 11:33:54
Surely this would have been another depressing 0-1 last season and the one before. We ground a point out at Stoke and similarly here. So let's bank it, and move on, soak up a bit of sunshine and come back refreshed to put Moyesie and his old boys to the sword in two weeks time.

For me, the lesson of recent weeks is that the centre back pairing isn't at the right level. Funes Mori just isn't good enough, and we should focus on a big old fashioned stopper, particularly one who is good in the air for next season. He's a bit of a thug, but I think Shawcross does his job week in week out at Stoke.

We also need new cover for Baines, and should look no further that Hull's left back, Andy Robertson. He was very good in an attacking guise against Arsenal yesterday. If Hull do get relegated, they will surely cash in on him.

Christopher Timmins
158 Posted 12/02/2017 at 11:46:48
Too much talk in the lead up to the game of breaking into the top six this season. The team is a long way from being top six in my opinion, but they are improving from what was on show over the last two seasons.

We need one / two central defenders and a creative player in midfield. It does look as if the current keeper may make the Number 1 spot his own. Fair play to him if he does, I for one doubted him.

Yesterday also showed that McCarthy does bring something different to the team. The manager is overloaded with central midfielders; given that we are out of the Cup and not in Europe, this may become a problem.

Phil Walling
159 Posted 12/02/2017 at 11:55:36
In other words, Aidy @ 150, we need a whole new fecking team?
That just ain't gonna happen. Get wise!
Aidy Dews
160 Posted 12/02/2017 at 12:07:27
5-6 players, Phil. How is that not doable now we've cut the squad down? Koeman wanted 7 alone in the summer! Over the course of this season we've signed 6 players and imo we need another 6 to improve the first team.

At the end of the day, after getting shut of the amount of shite that we did in January, we need to not only improve the first team, but fill out the squad with better players. We need a good first team and good options to call upon from the bench. So yeah, you figure it out and get wise .

Mark Wilson
161 Posted 12/02/2017 at 12:18:12
The years of mediocrity and hopelessness, broken by the odd truly dire season, have certainly taken their toll on blues haven't they. Witness the resigned reaction to a terrible nil-nil at Boro. It was the awful weather, or just one of those days, or the mighty Boro are a tough act, or pretty much anything other than the glaring truth, which for me is simply that we are blowing away a genuine chance to surprise ourselves and finish a lot better than the apparently magical 7th.

I just don't get this club anymore or the reaction sometimes to how we do business. It's not our job to find the players who can improve the squad, that's what Walsh and Co get paid the big bucks to do. But since Koeman raged about inadequate transfer activity after the Leicester game, we signed one, defensive, holding midfielder who looks to be very impressive but, that was it. Lookman arrived before that Leicester rant which betrayed the real feelings of the manager rather than now when the window has closed and he's been asked, politely I'm sure, to shut up.

I've seen this weeks stuff online in which there's the usual "we don't want numbers for the sake of it, we need quality" comments. But that familiar refrain doesn't have it for me because there was I'm certain decent quality out there in January at Forward and Centre Back. It may not have been Lukaku £80m quality of course, or even a fit Van Dijk type quality st £35m.

But there were options and we've dithered, again. But we got rid of all that dead wood didn't we? Hurrah, it would have happened in the summer anyway and how did it really help now? They were never getting games or holding back youngsters.

Why does it matter that a couple of great games from the hugely impressive Tom Davies and what amounts to a few minutes from the promising Lookman seem to have kidded everyone that a one-win-in-ten run and some indifferent holiday period performances didn't signal a need to urgently strengthen? Koeman knew it was needed and lost his rag eventually.

But what really drives me crazy with performances like Boro, and to a lesser extent Stoke, is that the strength in depth wasn't there to make the difference at a time when there is, or probably now there 'was' a genuinely real chance to up,a gear and finish 5th or who knows, steal a Champions League place?

Why not sim that high after exiting cups so early? Why gamble on the emergence of Tom Davies as the touch paper for better results or worse why gamble that Rom will never get injured ? Why not see the huge plus from a massive turnaround in January and seek to get us into a position where we can use our new found financial muscle to compete for the best because we are playing in Europe or even that unlikely but possible Champions League place? Where's the bloody ambition. I'm fed up of hearing about progress and development when the 'now' was there as something exciting yet many suddenly seem comfortable to fight for 7th and forget about a few weeks ago when it was all total shit.

Yesterday I saw a few on Twitter shouting again about our 'brilliant' transfer windows in the summer and January. It's beyond my understanding how they were brilliant. And yesterday at Boro, thanks to a couple of injuries, we lacked the edge on the bench to change a game that, whatever you say about the amazing Karanka team organization or the terrible weather, was just so winnable, and those dropped points will make that surprise final position even less likely.

We are still 9 off third today and 8 off the shite in 4th. It should have been closer. I just don't understand why more can't see the chance that was there for us. Surely it was worth a risk in the January market, however difficult it might have been?

Colin Glassar
162 Posted 12/02/2017 at 12:23:59
Andy, great stats for a winger but, and a big but, surrounded by superstar players (in their prime) like Giggs, Scholes, Rooney, Gary Neville, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra etc.
Phil Walling
163 Posted 12/02/2017 at 12:24:26
Aidy, six more players indicates we are as far away from troubling the 'big boys' as ever. As value for money, Koeman's signings are decidedly dodgy with at least half of then no improvement on those they replaced.

The fortunes paid for the likes of Bolasie and Schneiderlin were surely not value for money and whilst Gueye has delivered, the others have been disappointing.

However we see it, without Romelu, we would be down amongst the dead men. So perhaps you are right – six or seven it is!

Graham Mockford
165 Posted 12/02/2017 at 12:49:46

Why are you spouting such utter shite?

"The fortunes paid for the likes of Bolasie and Schneiderlin were surely not value for money."

Schneiderlin has played three full games. How can you possibly reach that conclusion? Have you got a crystal ball?

Bolasie had a decent enough start until his season ended through injury.

Who are the others that have been disappointing? For all the stick Williams appears to get, our defence is much more solid. 27 goals in 25 games points to that.

Maybe it's Lookman who has disappointed you? Or is it the whopping £1m we forked out on a reserve keeper?

John G Davies
166 Posted 12/02/2017 at 12:53:23

The Form Table makes enjoyable reading:

Koeman is improving us more and more every week.

Shame we could not have taken 3 points yesterday. Down to Valdes that we didn't.

We would have lost that game if the previous manager was in charge.

Matthew Williams
167 Posted 12/02/2017 at 12:54:22
Disappointing result but...

Another away point.
Another clean sheet.
Our unbeaten run continues.

If only we could pass the ball better and have at least one player in our ranks that likes taking pot shots from long range... gotta be worth a try now and again!

Let's bring more misery to Moyes with another fine win at home and keep chasing down the top 6.


Matthew Williams
168 Posted 12/02/2017 at 13:23:26
Having seen Boro play a few times,when George Friend don't play they rarely score let alone win...

We need to stick with 3-5-2, it suits our play, it gives us real width & we can always find a route up to Rom to work from. Keep with the youngsters – they add pace and drive and always fire us fans up.

We're improving... slowly, but surely... just ensure no team this season does the League double over us and keep the unbeaten run going, lads!

Phil Walling
169 Posted 12/02/2017 at 13:35:47
It's all speculation, Graham. I just don't see Koeman as the 'second coming'. Half-decent manager by his record but nothing to get excited about. Bit like the players he's signed, I guess.

But next season... (always next season).

Gavin Johnson
170 Posted 12/02/2017 at 13:37:34
I can't believe the despondency on here after getting a draw away to a team who are very hard to break down. Boro have a better defensive record than we do. Their problem is that they don't score goals. We're still unbeaten and the run continues.

I believe Koeman's and Walsh's transfer business has been very good. I don't think Stekelenburg and Valencia are the answer, but one cost a nominal fee and the other is a loan signing. I'm just gutted we didn't renew our interest in Gabbiadini in January... Saints look as though they've got a bargain.

Colin Glassar
171 Posted 12/02/2017 at 13:53:43
We live in eternal hope, Phil. You should know that by now.

As for Gabbiadini... How many strikers have we seen over the years who have started on fire only to fall away in their second season? Pelle, Vardy, Michu and our very own Jelavic spring to mind. Time will tell.

Soren Moyer
172 Posted 12/02/2017 at 14:16:34
Aidy Dews (#150),

Spot on, can't agree more.

Christopher Timmins
173 Posted 12/02/2017 at 14:36:06

Williams is hardly setting the world on fire either and don't forget the efforts to spend £30m on the last day of the August transfer window.

To date, the purchases have been mixed.

Tony Hill
174 Posted 12/02/2017 at 14:42:26
I agree with a lot of what Mark Wilson (#161) says. Or, at least, I sympathise with his feelings. I haven't entirely given up on improving our position this year with 13 games left but what is now indisputable, I suggest, is that the summer transfer manoeuvrings must be done quickly and decisively.

There is no international tournament and if we get business done early then we give ourselves the best chance of making a serious bid for top 4 (Europa League qualification may also be a factor).

I agree with Mark that we are frustratingly close this time round and I think a lot of us are disappointed with yesterday's result in truth. These chances do not occur as of right and we cannot afford to spurn them. There will not be much, if any, excuse for the new regime if we are falling short this time next season.

David Hallwood
175 Posted 12/02/2017 at 14:45:39
Agree with Gavin (#170) in that there's too much despondency in the comments on TW which to be fair, is the default position.

If you look at the last 12 games, we are W6 D4 L2, which is 22pts out of 36 – not a bad return. Obviously the Football Manager predictor in us has us winning every game, but as we all know football ain't like that.

I'm watching the Burnley v Chelsea game at the mo; now that should be a walk in the park for Chelsea, but Burnley are giving them a game and it's 1-1 at present and it could go either way – there ain't no gimmes in the Premier League.

Yes, we are a work in progress and I'm in agreement of what we need, but do we need to be "glass half-empty" about what is a decent-to-good second half of the season?

Mike Powell
176 Posted 12/02/2017 at 14:54:02
Can not believe what I am reading from John Steadman (#61) – sell Lukaku who is the leading scorer in the Premier League at this present time... are you serious? Unbelievable!!!

Koeman is doing a great job, he us sorting out the Martinez mess; he as brought in some good players and I believe, when he buys a few more quality players, in the summer we will be challenging for the top four next season. It wont happen overnight.

We got a draw at Boro – we never lost. Yes, it wasn't the best performance but it was a well-deserved point. Get a grip, John.

Paul Tran
177 Posted 12/02/2017 at 15:24:01
I liked our intensity first half and was disappointed at it going missing second half.

We didn't get at them enough. On the rare occasions we did, we created good chances for Lookman (twice) and Lukaku, all foiled by good saves/blocks.

The next stage in this team's development will be grabbing back the game and bossing it against rugged, cussed teams like Boro and Stoke. Yesterday showed why we'll finish 7th.

Allan Board
178 Posted 12/02/2017 at 15:26:56
I'm not sure what some people want on here – free-flowing football at the expense of our defence?

Listen very carefully: we were very shit for nearly 3 years and were the easiest team to score against.

Koeman has made us difficult to beat again in a very short time and it's getting harder for opposition teams week on week to beat us.

That's progress in the real world, by the way. To listen to some, you would think Koeman had Real Madrid's squad at his disposal!

Be calm, be patient and stop moaning!!!!

Paul Burns
179 Posted 12/02/2017 at 15:32:10
Two more points thrown away because of a blatant lack of the will to win. It's not a hard place to go, they are rubbish.

It seems like the lack of ambition has spread to the fans like a disease.

Gavin Johnson
180 Posted 12/02/2017 at 15:34:02
Christopher (#173)

When you talk about the efforts to spend £30m euros on summer deadline day, I assume you mean the efforts to sign Sissoko?

You can't really criticise signings that never even happened. It looks like we dodged a bullet but at the end of the day you don't know for sure whether Sissoko wouldn't have been a success for us.

Some players succeed at some clubs and fail at others and unless you have access to a crystal ball or live in a parallel universe, you cannot say for sure. I wouldn't say Williams has been a bad signing.

I think Lookman and Schneiderlin look excellent signings on the little we've seen. Gana was one of the signings of the summer. Bolasie was our most creative player until is injury and Williams was the best we could get at that time. We needed and experienced organiser. IMO he's been okay. We're conceding fewer goals.

We discovered in the summer that it's not as simple as having a load of money to spend. Witzel wasn't interested, Sigurdsson wasn't interested, and there were others I can't think of at the top of my head. Unfortunately, until we have a vastly improved league finish, we'll still be competing with teams like West Ham, Stoke, Saints and Baggies for players; interestingly we're above those teams.

As I said, there's far too much despondency, particularly towards Ronald Koeman and Lukaku. Tbh, it's ridiculous.

Colin Glassar
181 Posted 12/02/2017 at 15:41:20
Like Chelsea today at a windswept Burnley, Paul? Sometimes you just can't win them all.
John G Davies
184 Posted 12/02/2017 at 15:50:36
Colin (#181),


Bad conditions. Well drilled, well disciplined side, working hard and running more than the opposition, will invariably be difficult to beat.

Joe Rooney
185 Posted 12/02/2017 at 15:58:27
Just let me state first... I really want Lukaku to thrive at Everton and score loads of goals for us! However... I'm tired of everyone saying he has no support or the service to him is poor!

Yes he has scored 16 goals... great! Looks an amazing record!

If you take the 4 against Bournemouth, 3 against Sunderland and 2 against Watford, you are left with 7 goals. Meaning he has scored 7 in 21 games.

Now you lot on here will say he does it all on his own with no support! There is no creativity in the team!! Well, I haven't seen him score 16 individual goals this season! Have you?

For a midfielder to create for his forward he needs a few things from the striker!

Hold-up play

I didn't see any of that from Rom yesterday.. and I didn't see it against Stoke either.

In fact... there has been 14 games this season were his performance has been awful! You could also say games he has scored in he has been awful too!

We don't get enough from this player, week-in & week-out. He needs to give our midfield more options. Because when he is in the mood, up for the fight against defenders, full of movement and running, he can be unstoppable!

He was so static yesterday, it was untrue and it's a typical performance from him rather than a good one! He needs to spread his goals over more games and that's just the truth! He will do that by actually putting a bit more into every game!

Too often he goes on runs without scoring, then it's covered up when he hits 4 against a shite defence! 16 goals.. he should be on 20+

If you find it acceptable he is the least hardest working player in the whole of the Premier League then that's fine for you... for me it's not good enough when you have that sort of talent!

I want to keep him but – if you feel he does enough and it's the players around him responsible and not him – you are the stupid ones on here commenting!

Darren Hind
186 Posted 12/02/2017 at 16:07:52
These threads become more like the Martinez treads by the week. Some fans seem so desperate to see a massive improvement, they are actually inventing one.

Eddie Howe has key defenders missing and has decided every game will now be a case of "you play – we play"; I think some have gotten a little carried away by that game and result. The Man City game aside (when we took all four of our chances), every one of our games have been like yesterday's – dull as ditch water.

I'm astounded at the naivety of people who think we are going to catch the RS and other teams above us.... are they expecting these teams to declare? How many positives can a club take out of so many crap performances?

We need wins. Depending on our keeper making world class saves to get a point against relegation fighters will not take us where we need to be. To turn draws into wins, we need a manager who has a sense of adventure, Koeman's time wasting when Seamus wanted to take a quick throw said just about everything.

Martinez-type threads, talking about Martinez-types of performances, with a liberal sprinkling of Martinez "pie in the sky" optimism.

Champions league? Some people really are having a laugh... Koeman's desperation to settle for what he had yesterday speaks volumes about the limits of his ambition. This is as good as it gets under this fella.

John Pierce
187 Posted 12/02/2017 at 16:21:49
A very mixed bag to date with Koeman's Everton. A dour man who, despite coming with a stellar playing reputation, has been a bit of a jobbing manager to date.

He has improved us; wins, a fixture list which if league positions are reflected is likely to end in an excellent return at the Old Lady.

Clearly we are harder to beat, defeats have come but (Chelsea apart) we don't get spanked, we stay in the game. Our goals against is hovering around 1 per game.

Subjectively, I wrestle with it when several times his selections have veered from eyebrow raising to the damn right weird. Praised for changing it decisively several times, we should also question why the poor selections in the first place?

Forced into playing a system and personnel because poor results and form from established professionals, he has to a degree lucked into the changes.

So with a new found stability he seems to want to change things unnecessarily, when our schedule has be lightened by two dismal cup exits, why?

The last two games feel like a warning: we had to work very little to beat a porous Bournemouth, ignoring how defensively exposed we were... and, but for an impotent Boro team, might have lost again at a poor side – just like we did at Burnley, Watford & Bournemouth.

There's a lot right with this team, but still some gaping issues to resolve and that would to me mark Koeman out if he can improve them.

Progress is tangible but shouldn't stall because we have little left to play for, if we are honest about it.

Question: Can a Koeman team ever play with the handbrake off?

John G Davies
188 Posted 12/02/2017 at 16:56:25
11th position last two seasons.
7th position this season.

Improvement... no?

Andrew Clare
189 Posted 12/02/2017 at 17:19:23
Colin (#181) and John (#184),

Thank you for your balanced view. Others must remember that, at Southampton, Koeman was only there for a couple of years and he made progress. With more time he will do an even better job here, of that I am confident.

Have patience. It will happen, regardless of whether Lukaku stays or not.

Graham Mockford
190 Posted 12/02/2017 at 17:20:23

Totally agree our performances since the New Year have been dreary dull.

Apart from the 6 against Bournemouth...

And of course the 4 versus Man City, total shite...

Oh yeah, and the 3 against Southampton.

All that aside, with an 8-match unbeaten run, including 5 consecutive away games, it's just been unbearable.

Brent Stephens
191 Posted 12/02/2017 at 17:30:53
Graham, what about the dullness of the defence which has conceded all of 4 goals in the Premier League in 2017.
John G Davies
192 Posted 12/02/2017 at 17:35:43
Hard to deny there is no short term improvement when we sit top of the form table for last 6 games.

Won 4 drawn 2 with a +11 goal difference.

Colin Glassar
193 Posted 12/02/2017 at 17:42:06
How dull was our kit yesterday?
Matthew Williams
194 Posted 12/02/2017 at 17:53:38
Yes Colin... gotta be Amber with Royal Blue trim for me.
Brent Stephens
195 Posted 12/02/2017 at 18:05:40
Colin, that WAS dull. Why not our usual blue against a team in red? It explains our performance. Dull kit, in dull weather, led to dulled senses, dull performance. Sack the kitman.
Darren Hind
196 Posted 12/02/2017 at 18:07:08
I guess it depends on how easily pleased you are, Mockers.

It says everything when you need to use the two games I use as an exception to support your argument.

Anything to say about the other twenty?

Chris Williams
197 Posted 12/02/2017 at 18:20:33
On a slightly different tack, I see WBA play Palace and Bournemouth at home in the next two games. Could get a bit tighter if we don't perform.
Mike Dolan
198 Posted 12/02/2017 at 18:21:08
We are so massively improved from last season, it's not even close. Even yesterday's result would have been a defeat last season.

We do have a big problem scoring goals but this is not a new thing at Everton. We have trouble scoring goals consistently even with the league's leading scorer playing every game. It really isn't so much about having one brilliant striker – it's about having the team be a brilliant striker. That is the only way you will ever score consistently. It also means that every player on the team becomes a complete player – in his position.

Koeman has done really well establishing a reasonably solid base but we still have several players who are stop-gaps at best and do a good job making up the numbers. A player like Lukaku, while on his day looks a world class striker, offers nothing on other days and often has problems passing the ball 10 yards.

I am not saying sell him because perhaps he will get better at some of the basics involved in his position but I am saying that he is great for Everton now but as the team improves he just has to improve as an all round team player. A big fish in a little pool.

Colin Glassar
199 Posted 12/02/2017 at 18:34:41
As dull as eating cold chips on a beach in Montrose on a winter's day, Brent?
Nicholas Ryan
200 Posted 12/02/2017 at 18:38:34
Yesterday, we got an away point, against a very well-drilled, miserly defence, in utterly appalling weather and pitch conditions.

The main reason we didn't win, was because of a brilliant display by a goalkeeper, who played 535 times for Barcelona, won La Liga 6 times, the Champions League 3 times, was in a World Cup-winning squad, and a Euros-winning squad. He also won the Zamora Trophy for the best keeper in Spain 5 times (more than anyone else, including Iker Casillas).

This afternoon, Chelsea got an away point, against a very well-drilled, miserly defence in utterly appalling weather and pitch conditions. Antonio Conte pronounced himself, overall, satisfied.

Time for a bit of perspective, folks!

Brent Stephens
201 Posted 12/02/2017 at 19:27:59
Colin "As dull as eating cold chips on a beach in Montrose on a winter's day, Brent?"

Ah, memories of misspent youth.

John G Davies
202 Posted 12/02/2017 at 19:44:48
Last season, 13 teams conceded less goals than us.

This season, only 3 teams have conceded less than us.

Improvement... no?

Frank Crewe
203 Posted 12/02/2017 at 19:46:46
I think our main problem is we are too reliant on one player scoring almost all our goals. Lukaku has scored 17 goals this season. Next best is Barkley with 5.

Now there is no doubt we have improved of late but we are still playing with an overload of DMs. We've gone from Barry and McCarthy to Gana and Schneiderlin. Now this is an improvement but still they are both DMs and don't get forward or score much.

Schneiderlin has made 304 senior appearances in 9 years and has only scored 20 goals (probably why Man Utd let him go). Gana has made 244 appearances in 9 years and has scored 7 goals. So in a combined 18 seasons they have scored 27 goals.

One of these players, and I don't care which, has to be dropped because I doubt either of them is suddenly going to become prolific goal scorers.

We pick one and next to him we play Davies because he's creative, he gets forward more, and is a box-to-box player.

If we are going to continue to play with 6 or even 7 defensive players on the park then the likelihood of us ever scoring enough goals to allow us to win enough games to challenge the top 4 is pretty remote.

I see no need to pick two DMs, especially when playing three CBs. One is enough. We need more creativity and support for Rom.

If it was up to me I would go:

Holgate, Williams, Funes Mori
Coleman, Schneiderlin or Gueye, Davies, Baines
Barkley, Lookman

Joe McMahon
205 Posted 12/02/2017 at 20:03:48
Darren Hind – look at the teams above us in the Premier League. All 6 of them massive Sky/media darlings with rich owners. That's what we are up against.

Our current manager inherited many Championship players, an antiquated dump of a stadium, and a team that has won zilch for 22 years. He has had just 7 months into his first season. Our previous relegation manager had 3 years, and our manger before that had 11 years.

So, on balance, I think you need to give Ronald some slack, as turning the once great Everton FC into a force again is such a mammoth a task it could quite possibly be beyond any manager.

Apparently the best managers in the world, with endless talents of squads, transfer budgets, fantastic stadiums are currently 5th and 6th in the Premier League, so Ronald (with what he has in comparison) is not doing so bad in 7th.

Wise up and stop ranting.

Brian Harrison
206 Posted 12/02/2017 at 20:12:38

I agree about being over reliant on Lukaku, we definitely need more goals from Ross and the rest of our midfield. When you looked at our squad at the start of the season and looked at the goal records of our players, its the thing Koeman has to improve the most.

But he has improved this team both in players and mind set, they are all well aware that, if you don't perform the way he wants then your brought off, or left out the following game.

We have gone 8 unbeaten winning 5 – that's not a bad return, and other than a bad run of results will finish at worst 7th. Now most fans said they would accept a top half finish in Koemans first season.

I know some will say well Martinez managed to get 5th in his first season, well I would say 2 things, first he took over a well drilled side, and when he left the team couldn't defend to save their lives. The team very rarely altered, and you could put down at least 7 players who started every week regardless of performance. Even Koeman's critics have to agree that he will drop people who don't perform. And the other massive plus is he doesn't try to kid anybody in his after-match press conferences, he just tells it as it is – no bullshit.

Jamie Sweet
207 Posted 12/02/2017 at 20:49:00
We've got some right doom-mongers amongst us haven't we?

Top of the form table (Man Utd being the only other team unbeaten in last 6), we have the player top of the scoring charts, not to mention young player of the month.

But for some, everything and everyone is still shit?!

I get "nothing but the best" etc, but we really do need to temper that with a little dose of reality every now and again.

John Malone
208 Posted 12/02/2017 at 21:07:27
It's 3-5-2 or we don't look very good!

We have no quality wide men, Ross struggles to do the dirty work as a ten and Rom performs better in a front two!

Lookman's got bags of talent but he is too lightweight to be a starter every week!! I hope I'm wrong but I get the feeling we're going to regret letting Deulofeu go on loan and not buying more attacking quality!!

Hywel Owen
209 Posted 12/02/2017 at 22:09:01
It would greatly help Lukaku if the so-called experts got off his back.

He is the PL top scorer playing in a mediocre team. He may look lazy but that is his style. Some players run around like rabbits on heat but not him. Anyone old enough to remember Fred Pickering, Bob (walk on water) Latchford and Graeme Sharpe will know that top goal scorers often look like big lazy lumps. They knew where the net was!!!

What the know-alls need is for Lukaku to miss a few games (God forbid) and they will realise how effective he is.

Alan J Thompson
210 Posted 13/02/2017 at 05:54:45
Nigel (#144) & John (#208); I was wondering if Lookman was brought to replace Deulofeu and wasn't meant to go straight into the starting XI and if Deulofeu was moved out through being over-expressive on his desire for a starting position?

It seems to me we would have been better served by Deulofeu's couple of moments of magic coming off the bench rather than Lennon. Similarly, Valencia may be more experienced but, for his input so far, might we not have been as well served by one of our younger strikers?

A bench of goalkeeper (obviously), a defender, a Midfielder, a forward, someone with some versatility (Besic when fit?), and a couple of lazy, unfit sods who just happen to be able to produce nothing more than a few moments of magic from time to time.

Bob Parrington
211 Posted 13/02/2017 at 07:25:49
Does anybody on here have stats on other times we've been reliant on a great goal scorer? I'm sure there must be similar times in our history!!!

As far as Rom is concerned I'd sooner we have him than not!

Tony Heron
212 Posted 13/02/2017 at 08:57:35
Hywell @ 209. Yeah I remember Fred Pickering. Made his debut at Goodison against Nottm Forest. I recall him missing a sitter after a few minutes and everyone groaned, then he sticks 3 away.

Next week, away to his previous team Blackburn, he's up against a big old-fashioned centre-half in Mike England who has him in his back pocket.

So yes he knew where the net was but didn't do much else. Any comparison with any current player is purely coincidental!

Brent Stephens
213 Posted 13/02/2017 at 09:11:24
If I remember correctly, Fred Pickering had a goals-to-games ratio better than even Lukaku.
Ray Roche
214 Posted 13/02/2017 at 09:33:46
You are right, Brent.

Pickering had a goal ratio better than a goal every other game. I've seen people refer to him as a carthorse on these forums but I'd love another (English) forward who could score goals like he could. No-one comes close to him for Everton in post war football.

Ray Roche
216 Posted 13/02/2017 at 10:03:17
In fact, Brent, curiosity got the better of me so I checked.

Pickering has a goal-to-game ratio of one goal to every 1.7 games, Graham Sharp has a ratio of 1 in 2.9 games. And we go into overdrive about Big Rom.

Franny Porter
217 Posted 13/02/2017 at 10:12:37
I've said this a few times but there are no pushovers in this league.

Although I do feel like we should be putting the likes of Boro to the sword, a point was not too shabby.

Our problem today was the bench; nobody there (IMO) was of sufficient quality to make anything happen.

The central midfield spot is well catered for now but we probably need a couple of offensive players in the Summer either to come straight in to support Lukaku or to put more pressure on Barkley.

Sam Hoare
218 Posted 13/02/2017 at 10:41:12
I accidentally ended up on a Boro website where they were debating whether it was the best they've played this season.

For us it was possibly the worst we've played in the league for the last month and a half or so. Yet we drew and possibly should have won.

No team has it all their own way in this league. Look at Chelsea yesterday.

Chalk it down and move forwards.

Martin Nicholls
219 Posted 13/02/2017 at 11:23:00
Ray – I too have seen Pickering referred to as a carthorse on this site. He was far from that and I vividly recall, along with thousands of others, proclaiming him "the greatest centre-forward in the land"!

In terms of his goalscoring ability (two-footed and good in the air) he was most certainly that. Fred's career with us was cut short by injury but he deserves far more credit than is given to him by some.

Ray Roche
220 Posted 13/02/2017 at 11:28:23
Martin, I don't know if you were at his debut game versus Nottm Forest when he banged in a hat-trick. I was behind the Gwladys Street goal and went mental along with everyone else. I think he played 9, scored 9 and wore 9! Happy days.
Brian Furey
221 Posted 13/02/2017 at 11:29:32
From the highlights I saw, and especially that amazing save from Robles, I think we are lucky to come away with a draw. Had we lost would there be a lot more negativity on here? Had Lookman scored one of his chances, would we be on talking about top 6 again. Small margins between glass half full or empty.

In all reality the top 6 are all quite a bit ahead of us I think in performance and I can't see us catching them. There is only 2 points between 2nd and 6th place and so even next year, should we spend well, I think we'll still struggle to make that top 5 or 6.

Koeman knows that leagues are all about being defensively strong and that's the main change he has done with our team. He knows he has a quality striker who will win us matches with moments of greatness so it's all about keeping it tight and not conceding too many. Away matches in bad weather are tough games to win and so a point away to Boro keeps us ticking along nicely.

I just wish West Brom would stop doing so well. They've got two easy enough home matches before coming to Goodison on 11th March. We've a tough away game to Spurs the week before.

Chris Williams
222 Posted 13/02/2017 at 11:40:46
Pickering was no cart horse. Big and strong, for sure, but he had great skill on the ground, and could beat a man with skill and footwork. I can well remember him cutting in from the left, beating men and whacking it into the goal from 20 yards.

Dangerous player, Big Fred. Should have played more for England. Converted by Blackburn from a full back, we payed £85k for him, a record at the time.

Graham Mockford
223 Posted 13/02/2017 at 11:46:06

To be honest, I was talking about the last three home games, seems fairly relevant to look at how the team is progressing. Unbeaten in eight league games is a pretty good effort. Not exactly time to be planning Champions League trips but progress all the same.

I've certainly enjoyed the football a lot more this season than the previous two for sure. Although I only go to home games these days, based on experience, the worst part of any away trip is the journey home having been beaten.

You seem to have made your mind up about a manager who is trying to build a side. Seems to me so far he is on the right track considering our results have improved. I will be certainly giving him more time and not reaching a conclusion after 25 games.

Graham Mockford
224 Posted 13/02/2017 at 11:47:57

'I accidentally ended up on a website' is not normally accepted in a court of law although I believe it might have worked for Pete Townsend.

Brent Stephens
225 Posted 13/02/2017 at 11:52:27
Ray (#214 / 216). Thanks. Confirms my memory about his goal/games ratio. I had a mate who also argued vehemently he was just a carthorse despite his goals record. Plus ça change... plus c'est la même chose.
Alan Bodell
226 Posted 13/02/2017 at 12:08:43
Graham (#224), ha ha, without doubt the post of the week.
Dave Abrahams
227 Posted 13/02/2017 at 12:23:53
Ray (214), when you say 'no-one comes close to him for Everton in post war football' do you mean in his ratio of goals per game?

I thought Fred was a very good player for the Blues, good control, could beat a man, had a terrific shot, could handle himself, got stuck in, maybe lacked a bit of pace but all-in-all gave good value to Everton. He was unlucky to be left out of the 1966 FA Cup Final dream but his replacement helped us to win the match.

Apart from the goal ratios, I think Joe Royle, Graham Sharpe, and obviously Alex Young were better than Fred but I think you were talking about his goal ratio so fair enough; if not, it's back to opinions and yours is as good as mine.

Martin Nicholls
228 Posted 13/02/2017 at 12:49:28
Ray (#220), I was indeed! And reacted like you did. Stark contrast to his previous appearance at Goodison when in that same season, Blackburn beat us 4-2 with (I think!) a Pickering hattrick!
Chris Sikorski
229 Posted 13/02/2017 at 13:05:50
I'm looking forward to a pre season Europa League Qualifier against TNS or someone! :-)
Dan Egerton
230 Posted 13/02/2017 at 13:08:48
Denis Stracqualursi scored on his debut in Columbia. And then was sent off for punching an opponent, lol. Just think about how far we've come since then....

Mike Gaynes
231 Posted 13/02/2017 at 14:10:45
Dan (#230), no implied criticism of The Stracq will be tolerated. The Stracq is a legend.

Seriously, thanks for posting. He certainly has better hair now than he did with us.

Ray Roche
232 Posted 13/02/2017 at 14:11:07
Dave (#227),

Purely on his goals-to-games ratio, Dave. Like you, I would put Young, Sharp and Royle ahead of him as footballers but, if you wanted someone to score goals for you, Fred was your man. Hugely underrated player, how would he be viewed if injury hadn't shortened his Everton career, I wonder?

Martin, I well remember that game too, didn't that defeat end our long unbeaten home run? I know (think) that we were unbeaten the previous year when we were Champions.

Philip Yensen
233 Posted 13/02/2017 at 17:01:02
A lot of column space used up on a shit game, but I would like to comment on David Barks's remarks.

All that rain and cold wind and slippery pitch and an opponent that doesn't let many goals in. There is that heavy ball and sodden football kit, but they could have changed their boots because they had a warm-up before kick-off.

No, these superstars get top top money, luxurious travel to and from the stadium, may have even stayed in a hotel the night before. The supporters had a 4-hour journey, a walk to the ground, sat wet and freezing for a couple of hours, and then all the way back.

Whoa, my bleeding heart! Bad conditions, simple football, pass and move, not even a muddy pitch. Arrogance and negativity and a manager that has as much touchline activity as Martinez... zilch. Most coaches parade up and down the line, not ours.

Martin Nicholls
234 Posted 13/02/2017 at 17:09:53
Ray – as you say, we were unbeaten at home in 1962-63 but the run was ended earlier in 63-64 by Burnley.
Michael Kenrick
235 Posted 13/02/2017 at 17:25:21
Philip (#223), you seem to be dismissing any excuse suggesting that poor conditions may have contributed to a poor game. Fair enough, your opinion... but I would agree with David Barks that the weather seemed to affect the play at critical moments, irrespective of your "coddled Prem player" theory.

What I would take issue with is your apparent insistence that our manager – the manager of Everton FC, remember – should be jumping around in the technical area like a demented jack-rabbit, as if this somehow says something about his commitment, involvement, player empathy or whatever.

It doesn't.

Barry Williams
236 Posted 13/02/2017 at 17:34:58
I usually don't come onto here to berate fellow ToffeeWebbers as we are all entitled to an opinion and my viewpoints might be massively wrong too!

However, reading some of the posts on here and you would have thought we were going backwards! Let's just have a look at cold hard facts first!

We have been knocked out of 2 cup competitions early doors. Massively, massively disappointing. I wouldn't argue that with anyone!

However, Koeman has been here just 7 months in total. He inherited a team that most can agree was on a decendancy, and he followed a manager who was much berated for putting too much emphasis on cups and not enough emphasis on the league! We now have a much improved defence, coupled with a keeper who has grown in confidence. We have the top premier league scorer in our ranks as at this moment.

On top of this, four young players have come to the fore in the shape of Davies, Holgate, Lookman and Calvert-Lewin. We have massive competition in midfield, although we lack that elsewhere. But , in comparison to last season, we are much better off! We were defensively inept last season; this season, we have the fourth best defence in the league! Also, players under-performing under Martinez are now, in general, doing better.

For those who slag Lukaku off for scoring 4 against one team, 3 against another one etc, I guess if he scored just one in each of his games, but we lost or drew those games, you wouldn't complain that he didn't do enough to finish them off... right????

My question is, if you are not pleased with the progress that has been made, what would appease you in terms of league positions etc?

My last point is this: I think that the recruitment has been pretty good – not perfect, but good. We have finished 11th for 2 seasons, were generally seen as a team in decline, so who would want to join us that could join a champions league regular? Recruitment, under the circumstances, has been pretty solid and has improved us!

For those who bemoan a lack of cover in the full-back positions, what player worth their salt would join knowing they were going to be understudies to Coleman and Baines? When Ovideo joined, he could do a job on the left midfield too, thus had options outside of just cover.

It is the same for a striker, you have ambitions, but know you will be second fiddle to Lukaku and will only get a game if he is injured, banned or rested! Why would you join? For the money alone? Is that the type of player we want?

John Hughes
237 Posted 13/02/2017 at 17:48:09
Barry Williams at #236 – I think your spot-on with your analysis, well said. COYB.
John Pierce
238 Posted 13/02/2017 at 18:33:03
The weather?! Yes it plays a part, and even pulls down the quality of play.

However the weather happens to both sides not just our team. Have Everton never won in a sleet storm before? I'm sure someone will have the statistical run down for us .

Perhaps we might look at the aimless hoofs employed by both Williams and Mori or the fact we played with a back 4 not a back 5 or our singular failure to get up and support our centre forward as more pertinent answers to a poor performance? All things not affected by the meteorological phenomenon at Middlesboro'

Was it more the Riversod? Than Riverside? The pitch was fine and those players are conditioned to be able to play in all conditions. You take advantage of the conditions offered up to you and adapt better than your opponents.

We could just face the fact we were lame, not very good rather than looking for a natural disaster on which to hang our hat on for the mitigation for not beating a relegation candidate.

Hands up now, we were poor and it had nothing to do with the rain, wind and sleet.

Phil Walling
239 Posted 13/02/2017 at 18:37:53
Barry, he could hardly be worse than the last bugger, could he? He looks like restoring us to Moyes territory and that is all I expected of him!
Andrew Clare
240 Posted 13/02/2017 at 18:52:10

He has been here 5 minutes. Give him a chance.

Peter Lee
241 Posted 13/02/2017 at 18:56:31
We failed to win this game because Boro' were up for it and we weren't.

They were magnificent in my view.

They closed us down all over the pitch, they were rarely further than arms length away from their men and they put a foot in and a shoulder most often, illegally more often than not but they were getting away with it; few injuries resulted. The referee was poor in intervening to stop this.

Always difficult when the entire team is at it but the Rugby Union approach is to tell the captain that the next one gets yellow carded, then goes to the sin-bin.

When I played myself, a long time ago, we operated on the basis that, whatever the ref let the oppo away with, we'd do the same and try and push it further. Caused chaos sometimes at amateur level with poor refs. Shouldn't in the Premier League.

In addition, I don't think we picked up a second ball at all in the game. Could talk about baffling set-up of the team but, if you don't compete, it matters little.

Phil Walling
242 Posted 13/02/2017 at 19:02:32
I am giving him a chance, Andrew and have always said if he gets us to a seventh place finish he will have done well!
Will Mabon
243 Posted 13/02/2017 at 20:37:28
Joe, post 205:

Goodison still has a lot more going for it than to be referred to as "an antiquated dump of a stadium".

Just because the bog roll holders don't play mp3 while you crap, doesn't take away from the fact it has one of the best atmospheres you will find anywhere in this league.

What bearing does the age of the stadium have on the manager's performance anyway?

Brian, post 206:

"...the other massive plus is he doesn't try to kid anybody in his after-match press conferences, he just tells it as it is – no bullshit".

Koeman's frankness may have its uses but he's gone too far at times. Elsewhere in the media it's being reported that Barkley may delay the signing of a new contract until the summer. He's apparently not happy with his treatment by/relationship with Koeman. Most of the top six are reported to be "Monitoring".

It's media talk of course, and may be based on an attempt to unsettle – but Koeman's public gobbing off has provided the ammo. Truth about the performance of the team, professionally and diplomatically delivered, is welcome. The rest of it, not so.

Aidy Dews
244 Posted 13/02/2017 at 20:55:10
Phil I agree that we did over spend on Bolasie big time, although he's an asset. I think Schneiderlin could prove to be a great bit of business at £24m in total has he's class but we've ended up getting rid of 5 players (off of the top of my head?!...) in January. OK, some are loans but one or two could turn into permanent deals.

We brought in 2 and the likes of Kone & Valencia will be gone in the summer. Other players like Jags possibly will move on, maybe someone like McCarthy or Besic even with the options we have in central midfield these days, so that could end up being 9 players moved on from the first team squad in the space of 2 windows?!

We are going to have to make up those numbers in the squad. We are going to have to fill out the squad with better players than the ones we've let go, some will need to be of real quality to walk into the team imo, it's what we need.

It's all very dependant on the finances we will have available and are willing to spend on individuals come the summer but I reckon were gonna need around about 5-6 new players at least!

Now like I say, depends on what we spend on individuals cos I can't see us forking out £20-30m a piece on 5-6 players. But we do need a quality CB, creative CM and right winger who will all walk into the team and make us better and they won't come cheap.

Then we definitely need a CF option, then imo another CB option unless one of the likes of Browning or Pennington all of a sudden make an impression on Koeman and change his thinking and we could probably do with an all round midfield type that can fill in anywhere in the attacking roles and give us an option.

Me personally I'd love us to go for van Dijk for CB but at £40-50m I can't see it when we need a fair few players so need our transfer budget to stretch, plus he'll be wanted by some of the CL clubs.

Michael Keane would be a great option and he would cost around £20-25m. I'd want Sigurdsson as the creative CM and he'd cost similar. And by the sounds of it we bid for him both in the summer & January so I wouldn't be surprised if we went back in for him has Koeman is a big fan!

For right wing I can't think of anyone of note off of the top of my head but for someone of real quality you'll be looking at £20m plus upwards! So that's potentially £70m or more there! Are we even going to spend around that in total all summer, let alone on 3 players? Time will tell?!

Then we definitely need a CF without doubt, so what is that going to cost? For me we're going to need to spend £100m at least in the summer to revamp the squad and fill it with quality and fill it out with good options. Will we do it though, that's the big question? Even with investment?!...

It's going to be an interesting summer either way, that's for sure.

Bill Gienapp
245 Posted 13/02/2017 at 21:01:41
Predictably, Gabbiadini bangs a few in for Southampton and people immediately start making noise about how we somehow "blew it" by not signing him.

Honestly, the guy was dreadful for Napoli this season. He'd basically plummeted to the bottom of their depth chart, which is why the club slashed their asking price in half. Literally NO ONE on TW was clamoring for us to pursue him in January, so there's no point dwelling on it now. Besides, his current goal rate is hardly sustainable, given that 33% have come off his forearm.

As for the match, I'm pleased to see so many level-headed responses on here. It wasn't a particularly bad performance, nor was it a particularly good one. Ultimately, a scoreless draw felt like a fair result, based on the balance of play.

As many have argued, those judging Middlesbrough strictly on their league position are doing them a great disservice. Their defense is stingy as hell, and given that Arsenal and Manchester City both settled for draws with them at home, you can throw out that "if we had any ambition, we'd beat them" rubbish.

Will Mabon
246 Posted 13/02/2017 at 21:35:48
Well balanced, Bill, #245.

I doubt we'll regret not signing Gabbiadini any more than we will Slimani.

Andrew Clare
247 Posted 13/02/2017 at 22:06:49
I have watched Napoli a lot and I can safely say that Gabbiadini is no great shakes. His scoring rate is poor and this season he has hardly featured for Napoli.

There are better players out there.

Kristian Boyce
248 Posted 13/02/2017 at 22:13:33
Will #246, according to the buffoon that is Garth Crooks, Gabbiadini is the new Filippo Inzaghi. He's a decent player, but nothing better than what we have for back-up (which isn't much). He wouldn't displace Lukaku so like you said, we won't really regret not signing him.
Mick Davies
249 Posted 14/02/2017 at 00:36:43
While the subject has drifted onto signing a striker, I see Aguero has drifted down the pecking order with the acquisition of Jesus the saviour: a cheeky bid in the summer could come off, and can you imagine him and Lukaku together?
Robert Keys
250 Posted 14/02/2017 at 03:54:37
Apparently Marcus Rashford is stalling on a new contract with Man Utd.

Now him and Lukaku would be a fine pairing!!

Will Mabon
251 Posted 14/02/2017 at 06:58:16
Mick, I actually hinted at Aguero in a post here about a week ago but no-one bit. Probably too audacious a move for us at this point in our revival but would be interesting to see us chance our arm. Imagine the fee and the wages though!

Problem with Aguero is, apparently Pep doesn't like his lack of pressing, so...

Will Mabon
252 Posted 14/02/2017 at 07:03:53
"Apparently Marcus Rashford is stalling on a new contract with Man Utd."

Interesting. So that's him and reputedly, Barkley (caveat: if the rumours are true).

Is this a new ratcheting up of player power?

Franny Porter
253 Posted 14/02/2017 at 09:14:52
Some interesting points on here considering it was a nil-nil, that in itself is a sign of progress.

Cracking shout by Will (#252) about Rashford, he would suit us down to the ground, either to support or as backup to Rom. Young enough to do his time on the bench but would get loads more playing time with us than them.

Someone also mentioned Aguero earlier, we can but dream! Imagine getting him in January in time for the derby.

Finally, Phil (#235) suggests he wants a manager such as "Jurgen Top Banter Rock God Klopp" jumping up and down on the touchline and screaming shite in the fourth officials face whilst simultaneously playing to the crowd and demanding more "passion" from the terraces.

Well I don't. That, my friend, is bad "wool behaviour", leave it to that lot, they will turn on him soon enough and he will go from endearing to irritating over night.

Robert Workman
254 Posted 14/02/2017 at 09:38:13
Back to the Fred Pickering story. I was a major fan of his, but his goals that day for Blackburn meant that I witnessed Everton losing at Goodison Park for the first time. From what I remember we were 2-0 up after 10 minutes with Alex Young scoring at least one.
Patrick Murphy
255 Posted 14/02/2017 at 09:46:43
Robert (#254),

According to the brief report in the Everton programme from the following season:–

It was after only three minutes that Fred Pickering opened the scoring for Blackburn in last season's game. Twenty minutes later the same man scored a great goal to increase his side's lead and bring on the Goodison gloom. Left-winger Harrison registered Rovers' third goal before Alex Young opened Everton's account with a goal after half-an-hour.

Everton came more into the game after this although their labours were not rewarded with any more goals for the time being. Indeed, it was again the visitors who scored the next goal – and Fred Pickering scored it. Although Everton did what they could in the circumstances (Jimmy Gabriel had been a limping passenger for most of the game, in addition to other troubles) it was not until only five minutes remained that our second goal went in. This was a header from Derek Temple and the effort completed the scoring for the afternoon.


Derek Thomas
256 Posted 14/02/2017 at 10:49:30
63-64; We were the new Champions – there to be beaten and our Lancashire neighbours set about doing it... with plenty of help from our selves, via injuries, lack of form and in Mick Meagan's case (great bloke though he is) just past his use-by date. As shown by Brian Harris turning out at left-back 10 times. Plus blisters from you know who.

We were hammered away by Man Utd, beaten at Bolton, kicked out of it at home by Burnley 3-4 and after 4 games were 16th out of 22. Form was up and down.

Then in November, with Bryan Douglas (who Shankly tried to sign before he was at the RS) pulling the strings and the rest of them getting their retaliation in first... coupled with Fred turning the knife and adding the goals.

Douglas was in the form of his life and ripped us a new one on his own. So much so that Harry took on board the 'new' fad of 'man-marking' and next season put in Dennis Stevens at wing half just to follow him about... all to no avail, we still lost 2-3 at home, though Fred did score against his old club.

Ian Hollingworth
257 Posted 14/02/2017 at 13:03:09
"Predictably, Gabbiadini bangs a few in for Southampton and people immediately start making noise about how we somehow "blew it" by not signing him."

I actually posted that my issue is that in the summer Sky's Jim White claimed that Moshiri told him we had bid. If this is true then my question is: Why did we bid in the summer but not in January?

Regardless of whether he is any good or not, someone at Everton FC thought he was in the summer, allegedly.

Robert Workman
258 Posted 15/02/2017 at 17:41:54
Patrick (#255), well checked. I thought 2-4 didn't seem right. I was thinking of 2-3.

I have just checked my 'Everton Head to Head' and it was one year later, 24 October 1964, that I saw my first Everton defeat.

Interestingly it shows that, whilst The Blues lost both those home games, we won both the away games during those 2 seasons.

The Blackburn player that used to terrify me was Bryan Douglas. He should have had a lot more England caps than 36 (Wikipedia).

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