Watford vs Everton

Friday 9 December 2016  89 Comments  [Jump to last]
Match Preview

Ronald Koeman remarked last week that he was fully aware of how difficult the Everton job could prove to be, at least in the early going, and the Dutchman is certainly being challenged as his team grinds through a run of just one win in nine league games.

Not only that but he has now been hit by the loss of Yannick Bolasie to an ACL injury which will deprive him off his most expensive signing and most productive outlet on the flanks. It's a turn of events that will have significant ramifications not only for his and Steve Walsh's January transfer plans but also for this weekend's trip to Watford.

Having fielded Bolasie in every game since his arrival from Crystal Palace, Koeman will be forced to turn to one of his similarly inconsistent but less reliable wingers while also needing another of them to perform on the other flank. It provides a terrific opportunity for perhaps two of Kevin Mirallas, Aaron Lennon and Gerard Deulofeu to step up and stake their claim to Bolasie's starting role.

It's possible, of course, but unlikely that one of Enner Valencia, Tom Cleverley or Ross Barkley could be pushed into a wide role, depending on what formation the manager opts for at Vicarage Road. Valencia was ineffective as a winger at West Ham and even cited that role as a major factor behind his poor form for the Hammers in his second season with the club. Cleverley struggled on the left side of midfield against United last Saturday and Barkley exposed the futility in Roberto Martinez continually trying him out wide.

Given how more effective the Blues were in the closing stages against United after Valencia had been introduced for Bolasie in the second half, there is a growing number of Blues fans who would like to see Koeman try a 4-4-2 formation for once to see if it affords Romelu Lukaku any more room and lessens the attention on him from opposition defenders.

While the Belgian could certainly help his own cause more by offering more movement across the forward line, there is no question that he has been starved of service. Koeman acknowledged both aspects of Everton's faltering attack in his pre-match press conference but the statistics don't read well for Lukaku.

A recent analysis highlighted that the Blues' striker has covered less ground than any other Premier League player this season and he has been outshone by his compatriot, Christian Benteke, who has had twice as many shots over the last five games even though Crystal Palace have been on an atrocious run of results since they came to Goodison Park at the end of September. Something has to change by thus far the manager doesn't seem to have known the answer.

Ex-Belgium boss Marc Wilmots once likened Lukaku and Benteke to lampposts but the Palace man has been far more active recently despite his team's awful run

A three-man defence and a return for Phil Jagielka is another option for Koeman — albeit a less interesting one — against a Watford side that have proved, on the one hand, how effective they can be at times this season but also how erratic they are on the other. A 4-2 win at West Ham and a 3-1 home win over Manchester United signalled that new manager Walter Mazzarri might have quickly found a winning solution. They've won three times since, beating two struggling sides in the form of Hull City at Leicester at home and edging Middlesbrough away but they also got hammered 6-1 by Liverpool and fell 3-1 at West From last weekend.

The Hornets are a physical side and won't provide Everton with an easy ride this weekend. Miguel Britos and yellow-card magnet Valon Behrami both return from suspensions but Roberto Pereyra serves a ban of his own and Craig Cathcart is ruled out with injury.

As difficult a test as Watford could pose if they're on their game, there is scope for Everton doing something they haven't really managed since the opening day of the season — unsettling the opposition early and getting out to a quick lead to sow doubt in the minds of their players and fans.

Show the kind of intensity with which they finished the game against United last weekend for the majority of the 90 minutes and they will clearly stand a great chance of finally getting that next victory, one that will keep them in and around the top six. Another draw would be of little use points-wise but it would at least help foster some sorely lacking confidence ahead of two difficult assignments back at Goodison.

Kick-off: 3pm 12:30pm, Saturday 10 December, 2016
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Last Time: Watford 1 - 1 Everton

Predicted Line-up: Stekelenburg, Coleman, Williams, Funes Mori, Baines, Barry, Gueye, Lennon, Mirallas, Barkley, Lukaku.

Full details: ToffeeWeb match page

Reader Comments (89)

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Kunal Desai
1 Posted 09/12/2016 at 08:53:04
Go with Mirallas on left, Deulofeu on the right and Valencia alongside Lukaku. Leave Barkley on the bench
Gareth Clark
2 Posted 09/12/2016 at 09:06:40
I'd like to see 3-4-1-2:

Holgate, Williams, Funes Mori
Coleman, Gana, Barry, Baines
Lukaku, Valencia

Subs: Robles, Jagielka, McCarthy, Davies, Deulofeu, Barkley, Calvert-Lewin

Mark Andersson
3 Posted 09/12/2016 at 09:20:14
Good write up. I feel another defeat on the cards. We're out of sorts all over the pitch.

No team work ethics. Koeman is struggling to get anything from this bunch.

As always I wish the traveling fans all the best and hope I am completely wrong.

Bob Parrington
4 Posted 09/12/2016 at 09:22:50
I'd go with that Gareth, too
Raymond Fox
5 Posted 09/12/2016 at 09:23:48
The way were performing gives me very little confidence that we can go to Watford and get the win we need; a draw maybe... but a win, I doubt it.

I'm not even sure what team is our best line up now; should Barkley play? Probably not... but he is a scarcity in our team – someone that can get a goal from distance.

Lyndon's team on paper looks quite strong, but too many players are not performing and the system – if we have one – is not working well also.

Trevor Peers
6 Posted 09/12/2016 at 09:35:21
If we play the predicted line-up, we will almost certainly lose. Lukaku looks like he's treading water till his hoped for move in January or the summer. Goals will be very hard to come by.

I like the look of Gareth's team selection, that would offer a far better chance of success, but I would be shocked if it were chosen.

Ajay Gopal
7 Posted 09/12/2016 at 09:42:16
I wonder why people on TW keep on picking Stekelenburg in spite of having so many howlers in the first third of the season?? If it had been Tim Howard committing those kind of mistakes, he would have been roasted here.

My team (4-4-2):

Holgate, Williams, Funes Mori, Baines
Coleman, Gueye, Cleverley, Mirallas
Deulofeu, Lukaku

Subs: Stekelenburg, Jagielka, Barkley, Valencia, Barry, Davies, Lennon.

Franny Porter
8 Posted 09/12/2016 at 10:07:49
You make a good point about Stekelenburg, Ajay. I think the bloke is a massive liability. Thing is, I don't think Robles is any better, I remember the Sunderland away game last season when Robles was diabolical.

Stekelenburg is probably the better of a rubbish two, he does seem capable of pulling off some great saves although I do feel a keeper should be judged on his ability to do the simple things consistently (such as not letting a Middlesborough striker head the ball out of your hands when you're about seven foot tall).

Paul Jones
9 Posted 09/12/2016 at 10:08:47
Just a quick update on the kick off time – it's a 12:30 one due to Sky coverage!
Steve Solomon
10 Posted 09/12/2016 at 10:39:19
Holgate, Funes Mori, Jagielka, Coleman
Davies, Gana, McCarthy, Deulofeu
Lukaku, Valencia.

More attacking with less focus on Rom

Steavey Buckley
11 Posted 09/12/2016 at 10:53:22
We should not expect too much tomorrow from an Everton team that is in a downward spiral and that Koeman can't motivate at present. Expect the worst.
Clive Rogers
12 Posted 09/12/2016 at 10:56:20
I can't see Lennon being involved. In his last two games he didn't seem to be trying and was pulled both games, then wasn't even on the bench. I think Koeman wants rid asap.
Clive Rogers
13 Posted 09/12/2016 at 11:02:30
Steve (#10),

There's no way Williams won't play... and there won't be more attacking with McCarthy in midfield.

Matt Williams
14 Posted 09/12/2016 at 11:05:04
Franny and Ajay, I take your point about Stekelenburg. Thing is, all goalies are prone to howlers. Shilton, for example, had over 100 caps for England but was one of the most error-prone goalies I've ever seen. He was out-jumped by an Argentinian midget in the World Cup Quarterfinals.
Brian Furey
16 Posted 09/12/2016 at 12:01:16
Does anyone else have that sinking feeling? Despite some of the players putting in a more hard working shift last weekend, I still feel a lot of this squad just don't like Koeman and don't trust his ways.

At the start of the season I felt he was trying to play to Lukaku's strengths and we were creating and scoring quite a few goals. Now, you look around the team and wonder where the hell are the goals going to come from. Bolasie, whilst very frustrating at times was at least one guy that can suddenly beat a man and create a chance but alas he's now fallen by the wayside and suddenly Koeman must be very worried.

Koeman, a bit like Moyes, is a much more defensively minded manager and I think this is why we play with the back 4 and 2 defensive midfielders every game. This was fine when your other attacking players were full of confidence and they were creating chances. Now we look terrible and often just hoof the ball up to Rom asap and get frustrated with him as he has no support and often loses it.

Most of us are hoping the Jan window will be a busy one and will save our season but how often are we let down by that window and let's face it, why don't look to appealing to anyone at the moment. Whilst we are probably glad to have dodged Sissoko, I'd say he's feeling the same about us.

I get the feeling players like Deulofeu, Lennon, Lukaku, Mirallas can't wait to get moved on as their body language says I don't wanna be here or to play for this guy. I wonder does Ronald miss the South coast as well and the lower expectations from the fans. He reminds me of when Mark Hughes was in the Man City job and you knew he was doomed to fail.

Laura Round
17 Posted 09/12/2016 at 12:06:46
2-1 to us! Coyb!
Scott Hall
18 Posted 09/12/2016 at 12:19:43
Ajay, you've honestly put Tom Cleverley in? Seriously? Wow.

I'd rather give out free raffle tickets to the fans, pull a number out of a hat and let the competition winner pull on the shirt.

Opinions hey?!?

Colin Hughes
20 Posted 09/12/2016 at 12:23:14
The fact that it's televised worries me already as we hardly ever win when on live. We need to get a quick two-goal lead tomorrow instead of waiting to go behind before we start the game.
Linda Morrison
21 Posted 09/12/2016 at 12:49:01
Colin, we hardly ever win at all!

I'm just glad it's not the 4:00pm game on Sunday – at least it will be over tomorrow.

I've been one of Lukaku's biggest fans but I can't wait for him to go now, he's bone idle. "Who will pay for him?" is the question. It's interesting there was no comment from the club about this Summer move.

George Cumiskey
22 Posted 09/12/2016 at 13:05:18
Ajay (#7) – are you joking putting Cleverly in your team, haven't you been watching any of the games!
Marc Sansum
23 Posted 09/12/2016 at 13:42:45
I've always liked the idea of Deulofeu playing just off the striker (effectively, where Barkley is normally played).

Isn't it where he plays for Spain U21s?

Either way, we need a performance tomorrow...

Paul Baker
24 Posted 09/12/2016 at 13:50:46
Might the the perfect time for Joel Robles to return to the fold. As no fit wingers are performing at all (if I were Ronald), I'd consider reverting back to a wingerless formation with three at the back (worked well for us at the beginning of the season).

I've already written this, but partnering Lukaku with Valencia up top and putting Deulofeu behind them (remember all Geri's through balls to Lukaku last season?) might be THE solution.

Therefore, as you folks post your starting XIs, here's mine:

Holgate - Williams - Funes Mori
Coleman - Gana - Barry - Baines
Lukaku - Valencia

Andy Meighan
25 Posted 09/12/2016 at 14:13:45
I'm no lover of Deulofeu but I do think he could be effective playing just behind Lukaku He's quick and he's got a eye for the killer ball.

As others have said, he seems to play there for Spain U21s, so why not give him a run in that role?

I don't think it'll happen, though. It will probably be 4-5-1 [yawn]; we desperately need a win though, because honestly can anyone see us troubling Arsenal with their movement and speed? And both scoring for fun.

If he plays Cleverley tomorrow, it's an insult after his shambolic performance last Sunday Time to deliver, Ronnie boy. Nothing tomorrow and it's going to be a long bleak winter...

Steve Solomon
27 Posted 09/12/2016 at 14:20:43
Isn't it time to start playing two up front... Lukaku and Valencia maybe? Two wingbacks... with Davies, Gana, Mirallas and McCarthy in midfield?
Peter Cummings
28 Posted 09/12/2016 at 14:30:29
I can't understand why, when we desperately need a goal scorer, Loeman refuses to give Niasse a chance to show what he can do given that he has been scoring on a regular basis for David Unsworth who seems to be able to get the best of his squad,

In my opinion, and an increasing number of Evertonians, Lukaku is no longer interested in performing for us and at least needs some support to take the pressure off him, Niasse could be the answer if given a run ,

Although I initially didn't rate him at first glance, I hear Unsy has vastly improved his game and deserves to be considered instead of being ignored and blatantly insulted by a man who refuses to change his ways, a la Martinez.

The game is live over here in Canada at 7:30 am and we also have the MLS Cup Final in Toronto to follow COYB.

Martin Nicholls
29 Posted 09/12/2016 at 14:39:38
I'm surprised at the few who want Cleverley in the team. Even more surprised that some still want Lennon for his "hard work" – Clive (#12) is spot on in saying that he has stopped trying. His lack of effort at Southampton was obvious to me.

As for goalkeeper, I agree with those who feel that neither Stekelenburg nor Robles are the answer; However (and not forgetting Sunderland last season), Robles is the lesser of two evils.

Daniel Lim
30 Posted 09/12/2016 at 14:54:42
I'm with you there regarding the choice of goalkeeper, Ajay and Paul (#24).
Robles might not be our goalkeeper solution, Stek is definitely not.
Thomas Surgenor
31 Posted 09/12/2016 at 14:55:33
Martin (#29) – anytime I see Cleverley or Lennon in someone's desired line-up, I immediately stop reading their post – move on to the next post and assume the prior post was a wind-up.
Brian Hennessy
32 Posted 09/12/2016 at 15:14:02
If now is not the time to give some of our youngsters a chance, when will it ever be?

Davies deserves a prolonged spell to show what he can do and several more should be given some time as substitutes. Everton fans are knowledgeable enough to give them time to develop, even if this means making mistakes.

The rest of the squad have been given ample opportunity to show what they are capable of – or more to the point – what they are not capable of.

Mat McConville
33 Posted 09/12/2016 at 15:17:29
I have said it once and I will say it again. We need to get players past Lukaku when the ball goes up to him. He also needs to work harder on keeping possession to empower runners.

My overall concern is we don't create much of anything. This is saddled with an obvious overall lack of any pattern of play. Against United, I watched Funes Mori and Williams stroll out with the ball on numerous occasions, look for something short then hoist a big one into the channels after shrugging their shoulders. It smacks of the Moyes era.

I wouldn't mind if we were getting the results. If I could see a tactical end game. I can't. I don't understand how we are trying to play. In the early games (Sunderland away) I was really encouraged by what appeared to be an instruction to Deulofeu and Bolasie. As soon as the ball goes wide, feed Lukaku with whipped crosses. Now it seems pedestrian and without purpose.

Jay Harris
34 Posted 09/12/2016 at 15:57:09
I would play 3 at the back to counteract their physical threat in the air and push Baines and Coleman up as wingbacks a role they look natural in.

I would also beef up the midfield by bringing McCarthy in freeing Barry to be more creative and play Mirallas with Lukaku up front (the only 2 natural goalscorers we have).
I would also put the last keeper to keep a clean sheet for us in so my team would be:

Holgate, Williams, Funes Mori
Coleman, McCarthy, Gueye, Baines
Barry (Barkley 2nd Half)
Lukaku, Mirallas.

Daniel Lawrence
35 Posted 09/12/2016 at 16:06:59
Probably been posted somewhere, but for those going tomorrow, there is a minute's applause at some stage as a Watford fan died at their game last week. I assume it will be announced beforehand.
Lyndon Lloyd
Editorial Team
36 Posted 09/12/2016 at 16:08:14
Paul (#9), Paul (#15) and Clive (#26), my apologies for the errors in the KO and date. "3pm" was through force of habit but I don't know where 2017 came from.

Perhaps, subconsciously, I just want 2016 to end!

Guy Hastings
37 Posted 09/12/2016 at 16:10:14
I thought Valencia looked okayish on Sunday. At least he moved around a bit.
Brian Furey
38 Posted 09/12/2016 at 16:14:25
Away from home, I'll be shocked if Ron plays two strikers, but I agree – Valencia gave us great hope last week and I think it would help Romelu. I wonder will he bring Kone back into the subs now that Bolasie is gone.

I think you are all being very hard on Stekelenburg. Yes, he made a huge blunder last week, but I still think he's a good keeper and is a lot more experienced than Robles.

Andrew Clare
39 Posted 09/12/2016 at 16:16:38
Winning is all about confidence. Attack as one unit and defend as one unit. I am certain this is what Koeman wants.

He is the product of 'total football' a man who played with great players and great clubs. He is probably just as concerned as us that he can't get this group of players to play that way. It will happen but not with this lot.

Look at Borussia Dortmund – now that's a team.

Jay Harris
40 Posted 09/12/2016 at 16:19:46
It's not just last week.

He has been far more error prone than Robles ever was and IMO was largely responsible for the slaughter at Chelsea.

Mike Allen
41 Posted 09/12/2016 at 16:26:00
Quite a few not pulling their weight so the team will not be much different than last week and the week before that... etc, etc.

But Deulofeu on the team sheet? You must be joking

Chris Gould
42 Posted 09/12/2016 at 16:26:13
Seems like I'm alone in wanting Barkley back in the team. I'd like to see two strikers ahead of him giving him some options. When you've got the most static striker in the league ahead of you, it's hard to look good in the no.10 role.

I use the word 'static' instead of 'lazy'... but I mean lazy!!

Mark Morrissey
44 Posted 09/12/2016 at 16:51:08
Stekelenburg running out of his area against Man Utd... one word: Naive.

Robles tomorrow please – and that's only because we've nobody else.

Si Turner
45 Posted 09/12/2016 at 17:04:31
Paul (#24) – I agree with your set up but I would like to see Barkley in the team in the place of Valencia.
Eddie Dunn
46 Posted 09/12/2016 at 17:08:31
Tomorrow, I would play Holgate at right back and push Coleman up the wing, and I would have Valencia in a supporting role to help Lukaku. Mirallas should start on the left. If things don't work out, we have Barkley and Deulofeu on the bench as impact subs.

Stekelenburg is far too inconsistent for an experienced pro, so I would start with Robles. After all if the captain can be dropped then so should others who are making regular mistakes.

Incidentally, if Lukaku doesn't pull his finger out, I would drop him next week, and put Kone up top. Might wake him up – Martinez eventually did it ,and it did make him play better.

Alan Bodell
47 Posted 09/12/2016 at 18:12:10
Eddie, the only thing that will 'help' Lukaku up front is sadly a set of jump leads.
Geoff Evans
48 Posted 09/12/2016 at 18:15:30
Surprising the number of teams picked by fans don't seem to include Barkley.

Maybe the penny has finally dropped. He's not up to it!

Stephen Brown
49 Posted 09/12/2016 at 18:21:09
Geoff - I'd like to see him given a run in cm alongside Gana! Especially at home!

That way more forward thinking players can be included in the team.

Coleman, Williams, Funes Mori, Baines
Gana, Barkley
Lennon, Mirallas, Deulofeu

Charles McCann
50 Posted 09/12/2016 at 18:22:55
I have to disagree with those who don't have Barkley in their team for tomorrow.

Barkley is a fine player and under the right manager will become a great player. He is maybe a little short in confidence but Koeman's handling of him isn't helping.

I have serious doubts about our manager.

Alan Bodell
51 Posted 09/12/2016 at 18:26:04
Charles, be hones,t mate, the last two seasons he's been awful, granted with a lazy lump up front that doesn't show for him hasn't helped but Ross has not gone on after promising so much. His level is the Championship.
Charles McCann
52 Posted 09/12/2016 at 18:34:12
Alan, Barkley has pace,power, skill and a good shot but his final ball lets him down. This will come with experience which he won't get sitting on the bench. I still believe he will under the right manager fulfil his huge potential.
Darren Hind
53 Posted 09/12/2016 at 18:34:35
I think we have gone beyond the point of debating selections and formations. It's about the chosen players doing the job they have been assigned. It's about the manager learning from what he has seen so far. We are now mid season and, if this management is to have any chance at all of succeeding, we need to start seeing signs of unity and cohesion.

Koeman will go with a conservative approach, of that we can be certain. Nothing wrong with that, as long as we break with intent and aggression.

Groundhog Day again. We all dare to hope this is the turning point. Some mugs (me) will even have a cheeky Ayrton on 0-2.

Hope springs eternal. We may not be champions this time next year, but who knows? We could all still be millionaires.

Jay Harris
54 Posted 09/12/2016 at 18:42:19
I disagree with those that say Barkley's final ball or killer pass ability is lacking. He has played some brilliant balls and in most cases passes very accurately short or long.

The main problem I have with him, and this has always been the case since he broke his leg, is that he can't or won't tackle and chase people down.

Apart from that, the only thing that lets him down is his team mates lack of movement. Barkley could be a top class footballer in the right team and environment.

Geoff Evans
55 Posted 09/12/2016 at 18:47:04
Charles (#32): We haven't got time to wait for him to get it together. We need players to show now, how much time does he need? With Barkley in the team we're already a man down.

If he needs experience, ship him out on loan if you must; anywhere but here.

Paul Tran
56 Posted 09/12/2016 at 18:48:00
Run. Battle. Fight. Dive in. Support each other. Get in the box in numbers. Move. Keep moving. Pass to feet. Shoot.

That's what I shout at my laptop every game. Wouldn't be nice if they did all of this? Should be bare minimum for professionals, but these sensitive lads are different, aren't they?

We've been waiting for a turning point for weeks. It's not going to happen in January, it's going to happen with these players.

I keep saying to myself that we're 8th without playing well, what will happen when we do?

A strategy, 1-0 will do me!

Sam Hoare
57 Posted 09/12/2016 at 18:58:12
I'm finding it very hard to be my usual positive self right now. Far too many players have been underperforming woefully over the last 2 months.

About the only names that have deserved their place on the teamsheet are Gueye, Coleman and Barry. Perhaps Bolasie at a stretch, though we won't be seeing him for some time sadly. All the others have been inconsistent at best or terrible at worst.

I'm trying to convince myself that its all about adapting to the new system and one or two decent results will turn around the form and performances but it's getting harder and harder to believe.

The last outing vs Man Utd did seem to represent a marginal step forward so there is that to be hopeful about. I'd still argue that a handful of kids should be included to provide fresh impetus if nothing else. Holgate's inclusion seemed to have this effect last week. I also think that Lukaku badly needs a partner to spark, shame or help him to his best.

Holgate, Williams, Funes Mori Baines
Coleman, Gueye, Barry, Mirallas
Lukaku Valencia

Might as well have a proper look at Valencia to see what he can do and I think Seamus will put the graft in on the right side of midfield and is as capable as any of our other midfielders of creating or scoring a goal. Barkley and Deulofeu to come on when we concede the first goal...

Brent Stephens
58 Posted 09/12/2016 at 19:18:10
Jay (#54), I'm one who has highlighted Ross's weaknesses with the final ball. As often is the case, we can make a statement that seems to ignore the good bits; and I do recognise that he does sometime hit some lovely passes.

It's not the ability to pass that I think is his weakness – it's the ability to see in time the pass that is on.

I also agree about the tackling weakness. Though, interestingly, signs of some life there this season.

I think we all are desperate for him to do well. I really am.

Mike Berry
59 Posted 09/12/2016 at 19:42:09
Same old names will be turning out. Time for youth?
David Hallwood
60 Posted 09/12/2016 at 20:08:35
Last week, we looked like a proper team when we went 4-4-2 (or rather when Koemen was forced to play 4-4-2) and Gana & Barry were playing like proper CMs – creative as well as destroyers.

The team I'd like to see tomorrow, and file under more chance of winning the lottery is:

Coleman, Funes Mori, Williams, Baines
Deulofeu, Gana, Barkley, Mirallas
Valencia, Lukaku

For me, Barkley isn't a Number 10 – he's a centre-mid all day long. Another possibility is Holgate at right-back, Coleman aat right-midfield, and Deulofeu instead of Valencia, but I'd like to see Valencia given a run out.

Dick Fearon
61 Posted 09/12/2016 at 20:35:56
Not many if any clubs are able to fork out our asking price for Lukaku plus his hoped for enormous wage.

That being the case, it is time for Rom to demonstrate his worth.

Dave Abrahams
62 Posted 09/12/2016 at 20:36:39
There was a story in The Mirror this morning about Troy Deeney of Watford; it finished with Deeney saying "I'm not the most talented player in the world, but I can work harder than everyone".

Contrast that with Lukaku who thinks he is one of the best strikers in Europe but will not put a good shift in to help the team. He has to do his fair share of the graft, no matter how poor his industry and general play is, he is never substituted, as others have pointed out, is this to stop his value falling when he eventually goes.

I know it must get on Lukaku's fans nerves the way we criticise him, but he definitely doesn't pull his weight. I hope he has a go tomorrow, it will not be before time.

Don Alexander
63 Posted 09/12/2016 at 20:47:42
Bloody hell, Dave Hallwood (#60) – what's Gana and the defence done to you to deserve that selection? If Watford could pick our team it'd have the same five offensive (allegedly) players in it.

I've said it repeatedly but unless whoever plays in those five shirts ups their running, tackling and sheer effort from the horribly low levels so much enjoyed and relied upon by our opponents, we're going nowhere, and with results-don't-matter millionaire contracts like our squad take for granted, it wouldn't matter if Jesus H Christ was our manager.

Raymond Fox
64 Posted 09/12/2016 at 20:56:41
The betting for the game is, we are 6/4 favs! Yes, I'm a little surprised too.

They are also betting that we will finish 7th in the League, do they see something we cant?

I wouldn't be keen to take either bet, but it seems that they are none as harsh a judge as us!

James Peter
65 Posted 09/12/2016 at 21:29:05
Scouse Evertonian in Little Italy, Manhattan. Any fellow Blues know or can recommend somewhere to watch the game, a 7:30am kick off for me! COYBs. Missus might come so breakfast could be an optional extra!!
John G Davies
66 Posted 09/12/2016 at 21:41:39
Mr Dennehey's, Greenwich Village.
Carmine St.

Everton Supporters Club NY.

John Pierce
67 Posted 09/12/2016 at 22:30:04
Any formation that has Lukaku as a lone front man or part of some crappy prent from three will ultimately leave him isolated.

If Rom insists on being a lazy twat, aka the Sun, then Valencia needs to be the stars and run around him.


Any keeper but Stekelenburg
Clearly Holgate but he'll pick Coleman
Funes Mori by default
Gana & Barkley in the middle, eyebrows raised all over the shop
Davies for fuck sake Ron on the right mate
Mirallas on the left
Sun & Stars up front.

Based on that, no square pegs in round holes, basic shape, 2-0 win.


Mick Davies
68 Posted 09/12/2016 at 22:41:58
Pity nothing became of the idea of putting Baines in midfield, Lahm style. He's got the ability to put defence splitting passes through, and with young Gana alongside him, could find a new lease of life at the club.
Raymond Fox
69 Posted 09/12/2016 at 22:59:58
Makes you wonder why we have youth teams at Everton. They always perform well in their respective comps, but with Koeman here now they must fear about being given a chance.

Galloway impressed me last season; is he going to be sidetracked. Browning is back to fitness, I believe. Davies is another that will probably go to waste.

Damian Wilde
70 Posted 09/12/2016 at 23:16:13
Cleverley, Barkley et al. all crap. Manager crap. Crap.
David Booth
71 Posted 10/12/2016 at 01:06:04
If Koeman doesn't shake it up tomorrow to try something different in Bolasie's absence, he really is not the man.

My money's on exactly the same formation, with that useless twat Cleverley in there somewhere and Valencia catching cold on the bench until the 81st minute.

Barry Jones
72 Posted 10/12/2016 at 01:15:25
Playing 4-4-2 is not the answer. We still have one fat lazy lump who is not working and we are effectively playing with ten and a half men. I cannot believe that we want to play 4-4-2 to accommodate laziness.

Most successful teams play one up top, but that man works hard (Aguero, Costa, Lewandowski) and compliments good movement into the box from other players in deeper positions.

With 4-4-2, there is a greater chance of losing the midfield and you end up having less possession and creating less chances. The simple answer is boot out Rom and try Valencia up top. I am sure that this would bring a big smile to the other ten faces in blue.

John Pierce
73 Posted 10/12/2016 at 01:24:57
James Peter.

Mister Dehenneys, Carmine Street. Round the corner from were you are.

Open for the game always. Beer available breakkie etc.

Brian Wilkinson
74 Posted 10/12/2016 at 02:19:02
Two players I would drop are Stekelenburg and Lukaku.

I would start with Robles and Valencia, play Barkley further forward. At least give it a go, try something different... if it goes tits-up, then bring on Lukaku and the like.

One thing's for sure – we need to try something different.

Douglas McClenaghan
75 Posted 10/12/2016 at 04:00:08
Drop Rom and damn the torpedoes.
Peter Barry
76 Posted 10/12/2016 at 04:25:48
Hoofball is only effective if you have a very mobile striker with good ball control skills – neither of which attributes Lukaku has.
Darren Hind
77 Posted 10/12/2016 at 05:53:45
I can't agree that individuals can be held responsible. Our problem is a collective one. Those who claim Barkley cannot deliver a final ball seem to be missing the blindingly obvious – it's very seldom on.

I've said many times that the biggest problem we have is we don't have intelligent movement. How on earth can Barkley (or anybody else) pick out a killer pass when Lukaku is standing still? Or Deulofeu has gone too early? What happened to Baines offering all game? We complain that Lukaku has a poor first touch, but when was the last time you saw a midfield player busting his balls to get up to join him, or go beyond him?

Stagnant players leads to predictable football. Predictable football inevitably leads to hoofball. Hoofball without movement leads to misery.

Football can only be beautiful if you work very hard at it... and I don't mean the Moyes run-through-a-brick-wall type of hard work when opponents have the ball. I mean the sort of work teams like Barca put in when THEY have the ball. players all over the pitch offering the man in possession options. Players prepared to make runs that may go unrewarded with the pass, then doing it again... and again.

You don't need world class players to play good football; of course having players like Inesta, Xavi and Messi helps, but just look at what Eddie Howe is doing down in Bournemouth. Most of his players would be considered "decent" at best, but fuck me do they entertain their fans? Howe may not be considered a top manager, but he has an infectious enthusiasm for playing the game the right way and his players all seem desperate to get in on the act.

I cant remember the last time I have seen consistent, intelligent movement from an Everton team. Perhaps Pienaar and Baines? but even then it was more a result of the two players "gelling" than anything Moyes preached.

Koeman MUST know the value of good movement. He grew up in a country which prided itself on "Total football", ffs. The problem he (along with many other top players who've become managers) has, is getting his players to play the same way? Does he and his staff have the communication skills? can they influence games from outside the playing area? We know the could act, but can they direct?

Mike Dolan
78 Posted 10/12/2016 at 05:59:01
Holgate, Williams, Funes Mori;
Gana, Barry,
Deulofeu, Davies, Gibson;
Barkley, Lukaku.

Why doesn't Gibson play? He is by far our best midfielder.

Denis Richardson
79 Posted 10/12/2016 at 07:46:51
How does a striker go an entire 90 minutes without having a single shot? Never mind that he's done it two games in the last five.

That is a truly damning stat and no amount of poor service hides the fact that Lukaku is simply not putting the effort in. A hungry striker starved of service would move around more, drop deeper, change his game and try something different to get more of the ball, even if it means he's having a pop from 25, 30 yards out.

Two games and not a single shot attempted? That is just ridiculous! And he's supposedly worth £65m?

Duncan McDine
80 Posted 10/12/2016 at 08:06:33
Denis, I agree to an extent. The worrying thing for me is that a player with plenty of flaws is still by far the best player in our entire squad!!!

Without Lukaku, we're in the scrap at the bottom of the table.

Raymond Fox
81 Posted 10/12/2016 at 08:28:45
Darren (#77), good post, old boy. We never agreed when discussing Roberto but I almost agree with all your points in that post.

The only point I would not completely agree on is while the other players don't make Barkley's job easy, its not the only reason he's not developing into the player we hoped.

He doesn't appear to have the sharpness of mind required to get to the very top. I hope with more coaching he can overcome his shortcomings but I have serious doubts that he will.

Chris Gould
82 Posted 10/12/2016 at 08:34:22
Darren Hind, absolutely agree with your comments regarding lack of movement and options for Barkley. He gets a hard time for not playing a final ball, but if you look at his options... there are none. Lukaku is too often looking for a miracle ball that just isn't there.
Paul Tran
83 Posted 10/12/2016 at 08:46:03
You're right, Darren. Earlier in the season, there was some pressing, there was some movement and we looked a better team. We even out-ran Spurs for 60 mins when 'unfit'.

The movement and pressing has stopped and I can't help thinking that, for the second time running, we've got a manager who has good ideas without being able to communicate them to his players, as say, Conte clearly does.

I can see the argument that he's got a hodgepodge of players who aren't quite good enough and that we'll be better with better players... But will he get them? And surely we could be seeing better than what we're seeing

Stephen Brown
84 Posted 10/12/2016 at 08:47:36
I specifically agree with Darren's point about nobody running in behind. That is so true!

Lukaku stands up there alone and we effectively have 7 defensive players behind him.

Do we always need to play two defensive midfielders? As much as I like Barry, I think that role could now be filled by Gana, thus freeing up a spot to an attacking player!

Dave Abrahams
85 Posted 10/12/2016 at 09:00:28
Paul (#83) agreed, there was also noticeable movement at corners, space being made for free headers, much more pressing. It looks like the extra work was too much for most of the players, the team has gone back since those early days.
Geoff Evans
86 Posted 10/12/2016 at 09:25:47
The first time we've played with any intensity this season was the last 30 minutes against Man Utd.

Why not start the game at Watford with the same line-up and have a bloody go?

Maybe that's too naive!

Andrew Clare
87 Posted 10/12/2016 at 09:42:29
Believe me, playing with intensity is vital in the modern game. Just watch the best club sides in Europe, they play with great intensity for the full 90 minutes.

I have mentioned it before on other threads, Borussia Dortmund are the prime example. They drew 2-2 with Real Madrid at the Bernabeau in midweek. Watch that and you will see a team playing like a team for the full 90 minutes. If they can do it, we can do it. I'm sure this is what Koeman wants.

As already stated we played like it for 30 minutes last week, let's play like it for the full 90 minutes today. If the players can't adapt, get rid of them. It must be made clear that we don't want prima donnas at the club.

John Malone
88 Posted 10/12/2016 at 10:01:00
Darren (#77), everytime you post, it's like you've read my mind!!

I echo your sentiment's exactly! But I also acknowledge the fact that player's who are physically strong and fit, have good technique and have a footballing brain are the best players out there and they cost top whack!

Players like Rooney, Gerrard, Suarez who are pure bread natural out and out footballers are few and far between. I've come to the conclusion that most professional footballer's have their own certain strengths but in general all have to work on a lot aspect's of there game and it's down to their own desire and the coaches to improve their weaknesses and mould them into complete' players!!

My point is it's very hard to 'polish a turd'! And we haven't got time to to 'make' Barkley the special player we all want him to be. He should be showing a lot more already if he's going to become a top class player!!

For me, Barkley is not and never will be a Number 10! For me, he should be moulding himself on Frank Lampard and Yaya Toure deep lying ball playing central midfield player who powers through the middle and arrive's on the edge of box to plough shot's in! Barkley has strength, speed and power not number ten qualities such as being nimble, quick footed quick minded being able to see a pass before it's happened!!

Everytime I've watched Barkley play from the halfway line, I've been impressed. when he is up top where the options are limited and the emphasis is on beating your man or using a bit of guile he is useless!

I really hope Barkley doesn't get let go and sign's a new contract because I like most blue's would love nothing more for him to become our main man our talisman and become good enough to be our captain but if I'm being really honest I think if that was going to be the case we would know it already!

Hopefully Koeman will change the hoofball style today with Bolasie out put Barkley back in the team and we will win 3-0 with Rom and Ross the goalscorers!! COYB! FTRS!

Damian Wilde
89 Posted 10/12/2016 at 10:45:12
Is this football more boring than the stuff under Smith?
James Peter
92 Posted 10/12/2016 at 11:12:35
Thanks, John and John, sounds perfect!
Ray Roche
94 Posted 10/12/2016 at 11:36:13
Stekelenburg, Funes Mori, Baines, Williams, Coleman, Gueye, Deulofeu, Barry, Mirallas, McCarthy, Lukaku on the Official site.
Fran Mitchell
95 Posted 10/12/2016 at 11:51:45
Back 3 of Holgate, Williams and Funes Mori.

Midfield of Gana, Barkley and Davies,

Wingers of Coleman and Deulofeu.

Attack Lukaku and Mirallas or Valência.

Dean Adams
96 Posted 10/12/2016 at 11:53:40
Darren. Very astute of you.

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