Woeful Blues make a mockery of top-six ambitions

By Lyndon Lloyd 10/09/2017 121comments  |  Jump to last
Everton 0 - 3 Tottenham Hotspur

It was only a few weeks ago that Everton’s impressive transfer business was being heralded by a usually ambivalent national media and the Blues were being talked about in terms of being genuine top-four contenders.

The return of Wayne Rooney, admittedly past the peak of his powers but a world-famous name nonetheless, gave the show of ambition an added layer of legitimacy and Evertonians waited for the two or three additions to the squad that would top of an excellent transfer window.

Those signings never came, of course. Romelu Lukaku, the source of football’s most important currency — goals — departed for huge money but wasn’t replaced; 32-year-old Leighton Baines (not to mention the rest of a defence boasting a 35-year-old Phil Jagielka and Ashley Williams, also 32) was left without cover; and if there was any desire on the part of the management to add pace and/or genuine creativity to the side, there was precious little evidence of it.

The product of this largely one-dimensional approach to recruitment this summer has been Everton’s uninspiring start to the new season, one which has, over the past two games, lurched from concerning into the realm of deeply demoralising.

Worse, the team looks like a collection of acquired individuals bereft of a plan, an identity, or any consistent attacking threat which means that when the wheels come off defensively you get the kind of humbling Everton suffered today at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur.

Seldom, if ever in the Premier League era, has a Spurs side enjoyed such an easy ride at Goodison Park, a venue that had become a veritable fortress for Ronald Koeman’s side since the turn of the year. By the same token, it’s hard to recall the Blues so lacking in desire or spirit in a home game against highly-fancied opposition in recent years other than the 3-0 reverse against Chelsea at the tail end of last season, the only defeat at Goodison in 2017 before today.

For the first time in the league this season Koeman abandoned the five-man defensive line he had been using, perhaps to keep one of his experienced centre halves in reserve with an eye on the upcoming trip to Italy in the Europa League or perhaps because he identified something in Tottenham’s makeup that was better tackled with a flat back four.

Cuco Martina made his first Premier League start in an Everton jersey — many will hope, probably in vain, that it’s his last — while Davy Klaassen and Morgan Schneiderlin returned to the side and Sandro Ramirez was preferred to Dominic Calvert-Lewin alongside Rooney in attack.

The opening exchanges didn’t offer much hint of the debacle to follow from the home side as Rooney and Martina combined well down the right and the latter found Sandro in the middle but the Spaniard couldn’t guide the ball on goal from a difficult position.

Gylfi Sigurdsson, making his Goodison debut, had a couple of early but unproductive set-piece opportunities, Williams was booked for pulling Harry Kane back while both Eric Dier and Christian Eriksen escaped yellow cards from erratic referee Graham Scott shortly afterwards.

The warning signs for the Blues came before the match was a quarter of an hour old. Twice Ben Davies took advantage of far too much space afforded him by Martina to whip in dangerous crosses from the Spurs right. Dele Alli chested down the first and teed up Eriksen but the Dane hooked a first-time effort uncharacteristically wide; the second fell to Moussa Sissoko whose goal-bound effort was blocked well by Williams

The opening goal would come from the other flank, though, and in annoyingly unfortunate circumstances. A corner on side eventually ended up on the Tottenham right where Kane tried to swing in a cross but ended up drifting his centre over Jordan Pickford and under the crossbar to make it 1-0 with 27 minutes gone.

Sandro saw one snapshot at the other end cannon off Toby Alderweireld’s head from close range after good work by Rooney but it was a rare opening for Everton that was swiftly followed by a second goal for the visitors.

Sucked into his six-yard box, Martina waved a leg at a cross that had been flighted over everybody in the middle which left Davies in space to force Pickford into a save but he could only push it out to Eriksen who converted the rebound from close range.

Alli should have buried Everton in stoppage time but, completely unmarked in the middle, he mis-kicked yet another delivery from wide on Tottenham’s left before Martina gifted the ball to Kane and the striker dragged his shot wide.

Kane made no mistake less than a minute into the second half, though. Laying the ball out to Davies with Martina badly exposed again, he continued his run untracked by Schneiderlin and calmly side-footed a first-time finish past Pickford to make it 3-0.

That goal ripped up whatever plan Koeman had had for the second period having thrown on Tom Davies and Calvert-Lewin for Klaassen and Sandro and for the next 20 minutes, all the chances were created by Spurs.

Kane and Eriksen combined impressively in the 53rd minute for the latter to volley towards the far corner but Pickford was equal to it. They carved their hosts open again a minute later but Alli’s attempted cross came off Schneiderlin’s heel and Pickford saved again to deny Kane.

Sissoko then tried to get in on the act as Kieran Trippier picked him out in a laughable amount of space in the middle but he made a hash of the free header which went well wide.

Lloris nearly made it mildly interesting by tying himself into all sorts of knots trying to play it out from the back and passed it straight to Idrissa Gueye but the Senegal international failed to bother his goal with a first-time shot aiming for the empty net.

Everton sputtered into a bit of life too late in the proceedings as the game ticked through the last 10 minutes after Nikola Vlasic had come on for his debut following his deadline-day move from Hajduk Split. It was a cameo that featured some neat touches and confident running that ensured he would walk off at the end as one of a very small number of Blues players to emerge with any credit from a pitiful performance.

Meanwhile, Baines despatched a fine cross to Rooney that the veteran air-kicked badly and both Calvert-Lewin and Sigurdsson had shots charged down before Rooney headed disappointingly over. In the final reckoning, Everton had just one shot on target and failed to trouble Lloris with a shot all game… as damning a statistic as you can imagine for a team supposedly challenging today’s opponents for a place in the top four.

Let’s get the supposedly mitigating circumstances out the way first. Yes, this is a team featuring a number of new faces, some of them who are new to the Premier League, who will take time to bed in and gel. And, yes, Everton were handed a brutal start to the new league season — few fans were wild with expectation over the number of points that might be gleaned from a run of games against four of last season’s top six in the first five fixtures.

It’s not the fact that we have picked up a solitary point from those difficult games so far that is the problem, however. It’s how poor, how toothless and how utterly directionless they have looked in all but the game at Manchester City when there at least appeared to be a game plan and they wanted to have a go. Two shots on target in that match, zero at Chelsea and just one today… obviously you can’t hope to win football matches like that.

Koeman, a man steeped in the Total Football of Holland’s finest era and a Barcelona legend in his own right, is presiding over some awful yard-dog football that is, on the evidence of today, marrying the worst elements of his three predecessors’ reigns: the striker-less days of Walter Smith, the defensive and cowing disposition of some of David Moyes’s teams, and the spineless and defensively shambolic performances in the worst days under Roberto Martinez.

Tactically, he looks to be a novice despite his lengthy CV. His team has no width, no pace, no creativity and too many like-minded players stuffed into the same line-up. Sigurdsson, deployed out on the left, might as well have sat on the bench and only come on to take set-pieces such was has anonymity on the day. Klaassen, clearly an intelligent player who could be a great asset in a functioning team, played a similar role to the Icelandic international but offered little when the side was crying out for a consistent link between midfield and attack.

So, too, Gueye and Schneiderlin — the Frenchman was abysmal, it has to be said — who perform the same disruptive function in front of the back four but leave Everton short when defence turns to attack. That left Sandro once again chasing lost causes, not helped by Rooney’s lacklustre (bordering on disinterested) distribution in forward areas, and Martina to take the wooden spoon as a glaringly ill-considered addition to a supposedly top-seven team full stop, let alone a starter ahead of Mason Holgate who, playing as a makeshift fullback, at least has the positional awareness to do it justice even if it’s clearly not his best position. Moreover, it’s hard to see how even an inexperienced Jonjoe Kenny could have been any worse.

If those early forays into Europe could be chalked up to pre-season rustiness and a lack of peak fitness, what can explain away the abject displays at Stamford Bridge and at Goodison this afternoon? Performances characterised by aimless hit-and-hope fare that was epitomised by the kick-off to the second half: Everton restarted the match with a backwards pass and a hopeful punt forward to a hopelessly out-matched Rooney and less than 60 seconds later, Tottenham scored their third. School of Science it most definitely wasn’t.

Everton under Koeman have no answer to the high press, they go backwards far too often and they have no focal point up front which means the ball keeps coming back. Again, this isn’t just a question of us having played last season’s top three and lost; we look lost at the moment and it’s difficult to see where the progress has been made with an outlay of £140m on new players.

There is plenty of time, of course, and it was only a few short months ago that this looked like an Everton team that could go places if it could just work out how to win away from home. Time for the manager to really earn his abundant corn and figure out a way to get his side playing basic football again or this is going to be a very long, frustrating season.

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Reader Comments (121)

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Mick Quirke
1 Posted 10/09/2017 at 08:14:31
Pretty damning that, Lyndon. We have to start picking up points quickly and deliver in the Europa League or the mood's gonna turn nasty.

And not just for Koeman. Lots of talk of £140 million but it was very little in net terms and would have been practically nothing if Barkley had gone to Chelsea.

We'd known Lukaku was leaving well before the end of last season and no-one came in. Was Giroud our only real option?

And the lack of pace! All top teams have pace to burn. Without Coutinho, it's all the Shite have, but it can be devastating. If our game plan against the top teams is principally to contain, how can you get any respite if you have no pace on the counter?

Two big games coming up and it's difficult to see us getting anything at Old Trafford.

David Johnson
2 Posted 10/09/2017 at 08:44:03
Most on here would have settled for a top-half finish last season. We did a bit better than that and got 7th.

We actually have a decent defence when pitted against the sides who finished below us, but age and a real lack of pace at the back is absolutely exploited by the top managers in the land time after time. The side Koeman inherited needed a huge overhaul and we shouldn't forget that. Some of his comments thus far seem to suggest that he was probably promised more than has been delivered in this respect.

Would he have spread the signings more evenly throughout the team if he'd known or should he have known by now so is himself culpable, who knows. This is Everton after all and nothing is ever as it seems.

There's been lots of talk about breaking the top 4/6 and transfer war chests and stadiums. Think we're probably all a bit more realistic this morning. If the project exists it is to develop youth so I expect we'll need a bit of patience.

Mike Davies
3 Posted 10/09/2017 at 08:57:53
Damning and mirrors my thoughts exactly. I can accept losing, even by a greater margin than against Spurs, if there were signs of progress, development or some kind of plan.

No width, no pace, all 5 midfielders are of 2 sorts: destructive, holding, defensive players with limited creativity, or slow No 10s who need space and time to create, and in this team are rarely afforded either.

Due to the formation, Gylfi is pushed out wide, which for me is the main reason why he failed at Spurs. He's a Number 10!

I understand using Holgate (a centre-back) at right back if we are going with a more defensive approach but surely if we are looking at using the full-backs as an attacking outlet, Kenny is a better option for numerous reasons than Martina?

I hope there is a plan that our very well paid, vastly experienced manager is developing, and that, as just a fan with no football qualifications, I just can't see it.

Tony Marsh
4 Posted 10/09/2017 at 08:57:55
Those of us who have watched Everton for a long time know the signs. We can smell the bullshit from the board and just instinctively know when a manager has lost it or just doesn't have it.

We have been brought up on disappointment and I'm afraid we are witnessing another David Moyes scenario but a lot earlier in Koeman's tenure than even I thought possible. Koeman is a dead man walking. Well, he would be at another club.

We are terrible. Koeman's signings and tactics are shocking. It's so painful to watch.

SOS Big Sam is all we can do right now to stave off a relegation scrap. Seriously, that's how serious this is.

David Johnson
5 Posted 10/09/2017 at 09:02:18
Would love to know who was responsible for not getting in the striker and defender Koeman said he needed.
Gerry Ring
6 Posted 10/09/2017 at 09:13:57
We would have been off had we spent the same amount on half the players we bought. With 3 exceptions, the new signings are no better than what we have.

Far away hills are green! Koeman needs to mend the bridges with Barkley & McCarthy & get them fit & back into the side. We have a soft "underbelly" in midfield which needs to be addressed.

Hopefully when Seamus returns, he will be appointed Captain & provide much-needed leadership, drive & pride in the jersey. What I hope doesn't happen is Koeman continuing to play his new signings, trying to justify his decision-making & leaving better players out as a consequence.

Geoff Williams
7 Posted 10/09/2017 at 09:35:13
Baines apart, all players in the selected team have been bought by Koeman so no longer can people blame Martinez for yet another dire performance. Koeman's lack of tactical nouse, idiotic team selections and poor transfer dealings have produced a situation where a relegation battle is a certainty.

Williams and Martina should be nowhere near the first team. Sandro and Klaassen need to spend the next six months getting up to speed with the U23s, although I really can't see either making the grade in England.

Schneiderlin doesn't appear to know what his role is within the team. Poor Keane, his performances have got poorer with each successive game but playing alongside Williams can't help. Gueye and Davies are all energy but no end product.

To start the season without a top class striker is such a huge mistake but what is particularly worrying is the lack of goal-scoring opportunities.

Lukaku was always leaving but mistakenly Barry was sold, Barkley alienated by the manager and their replacements are simply not good enough.

I don't think Koeman has the skills necessary to turn things around.

Mark Riley
8 Posted 10/09/2017 at 09:46:03
Appalling to watch. Absolutely appalling.

Koeman has to shoulder the blame for this, his tactics and starting eleven were very wrong. Why be so stubborn? Players who were woeful against Chelsea started again.

Martina – Good going forward but zero positional sense. Doesn't have the basic defending skills a fullback should have. Surely Holgate or Kenny are better options until Coleman is fit?

Williams – Is he 32/33 or 50? No pace, caught out a lot by Spurs forwards, and for most of the second half resorted to holding on to players or pushing them in the back.

Sandro – Maybe a little out of his depth but trying to use him as a target man doesn't work. He didn't win one ball that he went up for.

No width in the team. Most balls were played through the middle where we've got 3 players in Sigurdsson, Rooney and Klaassen all doing the same job. Totally bereft of ideas when we got near their box, which wasn't often.

Overstating the obvious but not signing a forward has cost us a lot. How can we be in a position of selling one of the league's best forwards and bringing Niasse back into it?

Christopher Timmins
9 Posted 10/09/2017 at 09:59:57
An unbalanced squad and an unbalanced team. Combinations at the back, in midfield and upfront are just not working.
Bob Skelton
10 Posted 10/09/2017 at 10:17:56
Have to agree with all your comments, Lyndon. From my seat in the Lower Gwladys GT6 I could not believe how much space their wing back was given. He was never marked and was their outball every time.

I do not blame Martina as there was absolutely no cover for him. Where was the midfield? Over on the other side running into each other!

Besides atrocious tactics,the thing that struck me was how lightweight we were compared to Spurs. They seem to win every physical battle and we seem to have a team of Osmans.

Long season ahead.

Clive Mitchell
11 Posted 10/09/2017 at 10:48:08
Lyndon: 'lacking in desire or spirit' – exactly so, though that wasn't a charge that could fairly be levelled at Keane, Pickford or Rooney.

I'm assuming the FA is preparing a charge against Schneiderlin of bringing the game into disrepute.

Rick Tarleton
12 Posted 10/09/2017 at 12:33:08
Koeman and Walsh have bought badly: Klaassen looks lightweight, neat and productive if allowed time, but was always going to struggle. Ramirez looks a second tier striker, no better than Niasse. Martina is at best a bench defender; what has Kenny done to upset Koeman? And one hopes Sigurdsson will be the player he was at Swansea, not the player he was at Spurs.

Barkley looks a different class to any of the mid-fielders he's bought, but as he's injured and alienated, that's irrelevant. How good he'll be at Spurs with their forward movement is a mouth-watering prospect, but not for us.

Schneiderlin is a breaker up, as is Gueye, as is Besic, their creative abilities are restricted. Davies, like Kenny and Barkley, is local and therefore does not fit into Koeman's plans.

Keane and Pickford look good buys, especially Keane. Vlasic has not played enough to know if he'll cut it in the Premier League. I had hoped for 6th or 7th, but that may be a tad optimistic.

I don't like the way Koeman blames his players as though the players he bought and trains are nothing to do with him. His motivational skills are obviously on a par with his tactical acumen and his man-management ability.

Andy Meighan
13 Posted 10/09/2017 at 12:49:31
A lot of us have been saying for a while now, Schneiderlin either picks up a mysterious knock when the big boys come calling or simply just doesn't turn up. Yesterday being the latest poor performance from him.

Admittedly, he wasn't alone – his partner in crime, Gueye, was in my view equally as bad and many of us have been saying for a while now, the two of them in the same side doesn't work. Of course, there's not a prayer Koeman will change it; no chance... and he'll still persist with his "square peg, round holes" routine.

Just a thought but, if we'd have signed Giroud, the target man he was screaming for, who would have supplied him? Because, the last time I looked, we haven't got a winger. Well, we have if you count Bolasie and obviously everyone knows what's wrong there.

Sorry but I'm afraid it's going to get a whole lot worse before it gets better...

Barry Pearce
14 Posted 10/09/2017 at 13:40:04
Your take of the game, and our performance, is spot on.

I think you could do a better job as manager.

Jack Convery
15 Posted 10/09/2017 at 13:47:24
I said we needed Vardy, Van Dijk and Sigurdsson. We got one of them. So I for one was not surprised by yesterday. My gut told me we would lose 2-0. My heart was hoping for better, as it always does, but being an Evertonian of 50-plus years standing, I know what happened to hope a long time ago.

The beginning of the transfer window was so positive but the end a total anti-climax and that's the way it feels around Goodison Park right now. Very negative. We are like a lottery winner who believes he can buy everything he wants only to find the arse has fallen out of the pound and he no longer can.

The mood music needs to change and change quickly. So over to you, Mr Koeman, can you rustle up an uplifting concerto or have you lost the will having lost your first violinist and not had him replaced as you and the faithful had expected.

John Keating
16 Posted 10/09/2017 at 14:27:55
Hopefully project Martina is over and we can ship him out in January to save paying his wages.

It surprises me that we play so many defensive midfielders yet the opposition can get through us so easy and often. Playing Schneiderlin and Gueye together seems to me a waste of a player – one is enough. If we have to, then Jagielka alongside Keane is a better option than Williams.

At home, we should play two up top. Unfortunately, as we have no choice, it has to be Calvert-Lewin and Sandro.

Koeman has to stop making excuses for shite tactics and team selection and have a good look at himself. Regardless of who plays, the fact that we have gutless cowards playing in our shirts is a disgrace. If anyone is not prepared to put 100% effort in and come off that pitch knackered, then they should be shipped out asap.

A disgraceful start to the season and let's have no excuses.
David Hallwood
17 Posted 10/09/2017 at 15:09:01
Brutal but spot on Lyndon. Lot's of talk about the two holders being a waste of a player-I'd go further than that. If you've recorded the game and fancy a bit of S&M by watching it again, what you'll see is Spurs players running through midfield without a tackle or any player in blue tracking them.

Look at the 3rd goal; WTF was Schneiderlin doing? Surely he's supposed to be the player that protects the back 4. But the system needs to be changed, because we haven't got Seamus and a 28-year-old Baines to provide the width needed in the final 3rd a la Trippier & Davies.

And like everyone else, I'm asking what is Koeman's 'vision thing'? He appears to want us to play like Spurs, and if that's the case we're a long, long way from it – it's the difference between a Nike top and a Nike top from Taiwan.

The fact that there was no attempt to keep Lukaku, although he still had 2 years left on his contract, suggests that either Koeman didn't fancy him or they had a gentlemen's agreement; no Champions League, you can go. Either way that means that the club had at least a years notice that we would need a new centre-forward and decided to strengthen in other areas.

But if we couldn't find a replacement for Lukaku, why keep playing like he's still there? The RedShite and Man City don't play with a big target man and Leicester won the league without one.

But we are where we are, which let's be honest isn't a very nice place. The Chelsea and Spurs games we've had one shot on target and conceded 5, and it should've been in double figures. And BTW, before people start pining for Lukaku, the lack of chances created is a worrying trend that goes back to the latter end of last season.

Koeman's got his work cut out to make this talented but unbalanced squad into a cohesive unit. Why is it so hard to be an Evertonian? Personally, I blame my dad.

Charles Brewer
18 Posted 10/09/2017 at 15:43:52
A few months ago, my wife informed me that there was an open day at UCL's Mullard Space Science Research Centre near where we live, and I managed to get a ticket in the lottery. So I spent the afternoon listening to a series of talks about project managing a UK-USA-Italian-French-German solar orbiter, the development of Cubesats, and a man talking about sending a submarine to Titan as well as talking to a bunch of scientists and engineers about all kinds of marvellous stuff.

It was great. I enjoyed every minute.

During one of the breaks, I finally got a phone signal and got onto the Live Forum, Everton were 3-0 down and clearly "playing" very poorly. I was a bit disappointed (but not very), but not in the least surprised. This team is so poor, and its manager so clueless that I may well just give up for this season. I don't usually do this until November.

We have occasionally seen teams implode when the manager proves so clueless that the players effectively just throw in the towel. I think Koeman has achieved this in record time.

To follow Lyndon's lead:

Moyes had no money but a talent for getting inferior players very fit and winning (and drawing) enough matches to survive. Martinez had a real talent for spotting good players and getting them to Goodison and in his first season lit the place up with exciting, aggressive play; sadly he didn't have a clue about defending or fitness and a Plan B for when Plan A had been rumbled.

Koeman has had money, time and the forbearance of the crowd for an entire season. If he were to leave today he would be remembered for:

- Pissing off the dressing room

- Playing slow, expensive, old, journeyman players instead of talented local lads

- Playing a team consisting of a 50% useless back line, a midfield consisting of 3 or 4 identical players (slow moving players who occasionally get in the way of opposition attacks), and 4 or 5 "No 10s" (defined as players who move about slowly 2/3rds of the way up the pitch – actually I remember No 10s as being really cheap and horrible cigarettes smoked by people who couldn't afford No 6s)

- Managing to
a) insult one part of the team directly – Niasse, Mirallas, Barkley, Funes Mori, Robles;
b) alienate another entire group – Jonjoe Kenny, Aaron Lennon, Ademola Lookman, Mason Holgate, Dominic Calvert-Lewin plus all the young lads on loan;
c) bring in dross that couldn't get a game elsewhere but pay huge prices – Stekelenburg, Klaassen, Martina, Schneiderlin and, as far as I can see, Sigurdsson.

Koeman is starting to look like our version of Roy Hodgson across the park.

Jay Woods
20 Posted 10/09/2017 at 16:33:11
Boy, I hate to say it, but we miss Barkley.

As others have pointed out, we shouldn't be playing with two defensive midfielders, not if we have top 6 aspirations. Gueye or "Sideways" Schneiderlin, but not both at the same time.

And on the issue of the French crab, why did we sign him at all? Man Utd got rid of him because he wasn't good enough for their ambitions, so why is he good enough for ours if, as we are being told, the aims for the club are maximum?

The harsh comments directed at the other flops are valid, but particularly so for Williams. He shouldn't be playing for us at all.

And Pickford, while looking like a true gem, needs to lose some weight. Am I the only one who sees this?

Stan Schofield
21 Posted 10/09/2017 at 16:46:56
Despite the fairly ordinary nature of the recent signings, their quality and that of the rest of the squad is such that we should be playing a lot better. The fact that we aren't is, IMO, down to the manager, his team selection and tactics.

A good manager would be able to get the best out of this squad, but he obviously cannot, and he doesn't look like a good manager. Unless he turns things around soon, he should be shown the door.

Brian Porter
22 Posted 10/09/2017 at 17:14:12
So the U23s beat Tottenham 4-1 today with Niasse scoring two and Lookman on the score sheet too. When will Koeman bloody wake up to the fact that, like him or not, Niasse scores goals and Lookman can do too if given the opportunity.

I have totally lost confidence in Koeman. Bereft of ideas and tactical awareness, no sense of adventure or spirit to play to win, a totally defensive-minded fraud.

We are paying ٤m a year for this idiot to lead us into the possible mire of a relegation fight, which is the only direction I can see us going under his insipid leadership.

Not saying with any certainty that Niasse would have scored yesterday but unless he's given a chance, we're never going to know just what he might be capable of.

Nicholas Ryan
24 Posted 10/09/2017 at 18:11:27
Missed the match, and indeed all footy news yesterday. So, imagine my [short-lived] joy, when I saw a headline: Niasse scores twice against Spurs!
Sadly, the reality has now dawned!!
Joseph Mputu
25 Posted 10/09/2017 at 18:45:06
Inept almost indifferent, they alternately bungled or retreated.
Charles Brewer
26 Posted 10/09/2017 at 18:51:27
If things continue this way, it will be a choice between Koeman (who seems like a gratuitously insulting clod with the tactical nous of an Austin Allegro) and Niasse (who seems like a remarkably decent bloke given his treatment), I think I'll be hoping it's the goalscorer who stays at Goodison.

I wonder if Koeman can find another ex-Southampton reject who can play in the No 10 position, and another defensive midfielder who can get out of the way of opposition attacks.

Denis Richardson
27 Posted 10/09/2017 at 19:14:28
We really are in an odd situation. Without full-backs who can bomb up the wing and provide width, we simply have to play with midfielders who are able to play wide, and have some pace.

Mirallas and Lookman are the only two attacking wide players we have (sorry but imo Lennon is crap and shouldn't be in the side). However, neither of them gets a look in and we have no less than 5 central midfielders starting, all of whom have no pace!

Koeman cannot be a footballing idiot to not see this so I can't understand why we start with 2 central defensive midfielders along with 3 No 10s.

I still don't understand why we signed Rooney if we were going to pull out all the stops to sign Sigurdsson. Rooney playing in the middle means Sigurdsson, our record signing!, is forced to play wide, WTF?

The manager needs to choose a system that suits the players we have rather than the other way round. We were truly hopeless against Spurs and it really could have been 6-0 or 7-0.

Phil Walling
28 Posted 10/09/2017 at 19:31:06
Denis, I have little doubt that Rooney was the Chairman's signing – penance for selling him cheap all those years ago – whilst Sigurdsson (㿀M overpriced) was a way of keeping Koeman sweet.

Whilst I can't see the Dutchman achieving anything with Everton, I'm positive no manager will ever make it whilst The Entertainer wields any influence over the Club's affairs – let alone clings to the chair!

Andy Meighan
29 Posted 10/09/2017 at 19:50:40
Brian (#22),

I was talking to someone today who left the ground early yesterday and he'd seen Lookman getting into his car. He shouted to him "What's up, kid?" Lookman said back to him "The cunt didn't even put me in the squad" and with that drove off like Starksy and Hutch (younger readers, ask your dads).

So it looks like he's alienated another member of the squad. Not saying he would have made a blind bit of difference but he does possess a bit of pace – something we are sorely lacking. Seems strange that we paid a lot of money for a kid but are reluctant to use him.

The whole atmosphere at the club seems rotten at the minute and it seems to me there's only one man to blame. Is he purposely going out of his way to upset players because it seems like it... We've had Niasse, Barkley, Mirallas, and now supposedly Lookman Wonder who's next? Over to you, Ronnie boy.

Rick Tarleton
30 Posted 10/09/2017 at 20:37:19
I'd just like the manager to see that he has some responsibility for the debacle.

Eddie Howe said on "Match of the Day", that it was his responsibility that Bournemouth had started the season so badly. No one else was to blame.

Koeman had signed ten of the starting eleven yesterday, he is responsible for training them, for motivating them and for the tactics. Yet he blames the players and does not see or admit that he has any responsibility for what is happening on the pitch.

What are we paying him £6 million a year for if everything that happens is not his fault?

Denis Richardson
31 Posted 10/09/2017 at 23:08:29
Agreed, Phil, not chuffed that Kenwright is still at the club and will probably be there until his last breath.

It really is very strange how we've ended up with such an unbalanced squad. The whole summer, we were told a striker and a left sided defender were the priority, yet we sign neither. I know its hard to attract the very best but surely there must be dozens of decent players we could tempt over on £60k-80k/week – which is much more than most players in the European top flights earn.

The look out for a Baines back up/replacement should have started at least 6 months ago and the club knew Lukaku would be off a year ago! Likewise a right-back. Coleman's injury meant we'd be into 2018 before he would be back so we should have looked to sign a proper RB to provide cover and competition. Not singling out Martina but we could have done much better given the amount of time we had to look.

As it is, it looks like we're having to play the players that came with hefty transfer fees, even if this means the team is totally unbalanced.

Really not looking forward to Atalanta.

Nigel Munford
32 Posted 10/09/2017 at 23:18:13
It could be worse... we could have gone for De Boer.
Colin Glassar
33 Posted 10/09/2017 at 23:26:30
Denis, the only way Kenwright will leave is feet first.
Carl Allan
34 Posted 10/09/2017 at 23:46:22
Nigel (#32) that is a laughable comment. I just watched Palace highlights on MotD and they created more chances in one game – 23 attempts, the stats read v than we have all season.

More notably, they looked a team with purpose who were playing for their manager today, a manager who has had 4 games in charge – not 14 months like Koeman.

Robin Cannon
35 Posted 11/09/2017 at 01:21:31
Damning but accurate.

I'm actually not hugely concerned about the defence taken in isolation. With the glaring exception of Martina (can cross okay, can't defend at all), they're all decent players.

But when the team has no width, and no attacking focal point, the ball... as Lyndon pointed out... just keeps coming straight back, and there's no cover out wide.

I really don't understand our signings. One of Sigurdsson, Klaassen or Rooney might have made sense, as a "behind the striker(s)" purchase. Buying three of them and attempting to force them all in the team makes no sense.

Sandro might be a very promising player, but he clearly isn't one designed to plow a lone furrow up front. And with a static midfield there's simply no outlet. The number of times Pickford searched for an option and then had to boot it up front for Sandro to lose a challenge was really sad.

I just don't see what the plan is.

Dan Murphy
36 Posted 11/09/2017 at 05:46:45
Very well written and right on the money.

Farcical really for Koeman to have to hook two of his summer signings at half-time 'cause they were ineffective.

It looked like it was set up to contain but they went through and around us with ease. You wonder what the tactics for transition and attack were.

I thought Rooney might play like he had something to prove but no, he didn't look up to it.


Barry Pearce
38 Posted 11/09/2017 at 09:40:14
I think most posters agree, why is he obsessed with buying so many midfielders, brought in to do a job, ie, to be more productive, and press with intensity, which at this moment in time, looks so far off the mark – it's ridiculous.

Klaassen looks like he couldn't press a grape. Sigurdsson playing wide left, surely he wasn't bought to play there? And Sandro playing target man... absolute joke.

He needs to sort this and quick, because it ain't working.

Jonathan Tasker
39 Posted 11/09/2017 at 09:41:17
There's more chance of me finishing in the Top 6 than Everton.
Paul Kennedy
40 Posted 11/09/2017 at 09:57:52
When we were talking about 6th I did not think it would be 6th from the bottom! Terrible!
Alasdair Mackay
41 Posted 11/09/2017 at 10:19:54
I am a big believer that, to appreciate Everton, you have to be an Evertonian. That is why no-one who hasn't played for the club has won a trophy as a manager.

Koeman came in and looked at us as a stepping stone, not the pinnacle. So did Lukaku and that is why he fluffed his lines in the big games. People like that see "plucky little Everton" and not the 4th most successful club in English football and the team to have played more top flight games than anyone else.

As long as we have people in charge with the "knife to a gunfight" attitude, we will never kick on. We have to shed the inferiority complex and to do that, we have to shed Koeman. The sooner the better for me.

Unsworth, Ferguson, Stubbs – any of those will make me happy. And give them time. Screw reputation and standing in the game.

We are Everton – those that don't understand, don't matter!

John Hammond
42 Posted 11/09/2017 at 10:22:45
Hopefully this is the kind of humbling defeat that'll give Koeman a kick up the arse but who knows. He seems to be saying and doing all the wrong things right now.

What's happened to the pressing he banged on about last season? Klaassen, Rooney and Sigurdsson in the same team is a disaster. Rooney shouldn't have been in the squad on the weekend – out on the piss and no one bats an eyelid.

Klaassen, Schneiderlin and Rooney need to be benched for the United game. Let's get Vlasic, Calvert-Lewin and Sandro as the front three, Sigurdsson as the number 10 and Gueye and Davies sat behind. We desperately need some pace and energy in this team.

Eric Paul
43 Posted 11/09/2017 at 10:26:26
I'm not a fan of Bill Kenwright, nor do I dislike the man, as we have a Director of Football who is responsible for transfer targets and a manager. Between them, they were responsible for 10 of the starting 11 on Saturday. How can it be Bill Kenwright's fault that we are so poor on the pitch?
Daniel Lim
44 Posted 11/09/2017 at 10:39:23
Jonathan @39

What competition are you in?

Stan Schofield
45 Posted 11/09/2017 at 11:10:13
The evidence has been accumulating, from last season onwards, that Koeman lacks both the competence (as evidenced by his lack of tactical skill) and attitude (as evidenced by his terrible man-management and tendency to blame others for failings) to be Everton's manager.

We've given him time, but there is insufficient improvement on the pitch, he is intransigent, and is inept at dealing with players. He's had enough time. Now it's time to dispense with his 'services'.

Carl Taylor
46 Posted 11/09/2017 at 11:40:26
Dutch Moyes, although, to be fair to Moyes, he did look bothered when we lost and happy when we won.

I've had enough of indifference and want, it pains me to say, the passion that Klopp or Conte display. Promote internally and give passion for the club a chance.

Alex Gray
47 Posted 11/09/2017 at 11:45:04
I've been reading ToffeeWeb for many years. Whilst I believe that we needed a striker what worries me more is the constant baffling line-ups.

For me I believe it's simple. Pickford in goal, Kenny and Baines as full backs, Keane and Jagielka as centre backs. The midfield is more tricky die to the number of centre midfielders. I'd have Gueye and Schneiderlin still as defensive midfielders as Davies has looked lost.

I'd have Lookman and Sandro on the wings for pace and Sigurdsson or Rooney as the Number 10 playing behind Calvert-Lewin. It's not ideal but its a formation where everyone is playing in their best position.

Then there's Klaassen, Rooney or Sigurdsson, Davies or Besic, Niasse, Williams, Mirallas if he's in the right mindset, Martina or Holgate and a keeper on the bench. We're short in a lot of areas still and I'm left wondering how we've strengthened!!

Roy Noon
48 Posted 11/09/2017 at 12:42:44
I must admit, even on the evidence of the early games, I was concerned. I realise players need time to settle in and gel as a team. However, Klaassen seems too lightweight, Ramirez doesn't look good enough, Martina can't defend. The team, whatever he puts out, is lacking in energy, creativity and width.

As a unit they seem to lack fluency and cohesion – I would love to know exactly what goes on from a coaching point of view – they look a collection of lost individuals.

And so to Koeman. I must admit that the period of last season, between October to December, made me fear for his future. We were awful. Crap clueless football. If things hadn't picked up in January, I think Koeman may well have been on his bike. Fair enough, things got better. The emergence of Tom Davies and improved form of Barkley may have got Koeman out of a hole.

So what happens now? We so badly needed a physical presence upfront that, in the end, I would have settled for anyone? Our football is so dire and lacking in imagination that, when the inevitable lump upfield occurs, we needed someone to have the physique to get on the end of it and hold the ball while our ponderous reinforcements arrived – even if that focal point was a journeyman, seen better days, lower league forward, it would have done me as a stop gap solution. Much as I think Calvert-Lewin has potential, he is not quite ready yet.

Truly hope I'm wrong. Maybe with the influx of players and those already here, we will suddenly click and become a creative, freescoring, buccaneering side to be reckoned with... and maybe Kim Jong Un will abandon his nuclear programme, start wearing a kaftan and stick flowers in his hair??? We shall just have to wait and see.

Dick Fearon
49 Posted 11/09/2017 at 14:19:36
The main question is whether he has cleaned out his locker yet and I don't mean Niasse.
Dick Fearon
50 Posted 11/09/2017 at 14:29:11
I see it is Schneiderlin's turn to front the media. Until such time as they are strutting their stuff on the pitch, I wish the players would keep their big mouths shut.
Brian Porter
51 Posted 11/09/2017 at 15:10:09
Joey Barton is now reported as saying that Kenwright blocked the signing of a striker. If true, it shows that Kenwright is as culpable as Koeman and Walsh for the situation we now find ourselves in.

Koeman has no ideas, no awareness and should be sacked immediately before we become even worse. He is gradually alienating the players. The earlier comment relating to Lookman is pretty damning, if true.

This season is already turning into a disaster and the only person to blame is Koeman; he is totally out of his depth at a club like Everton. I'm sick of him saying 'Everton this' or 'Everton that' when he should be saying "we" or "us". It just proves he has no connection to the club whatsoever and should be got rid of post haste.

Dennis Ahlgrim
52 Posted 11/09/2017 at 15:19:15
Most all commentary here is spot on. We lack pace, creativity, guts, desire. Signings that appear to include the same midfield player over and over aside, the manager has alienated or insulted many good players who last season helped create some enthusiasm around the club.

In my mind, Barkley first and foremost. He is not ideal, but offers so much of what we lack — speed, creativity, directness, and a willingness to at least try something. Many bemoan his decision making. Fine. But who wouldn't want to see him running with the ball, maybe with some chaos, but at least drawing players and maybe creating chances and space. In other words: doing something!

The early wins and ties allowed us to not look and see how dull, slow, and basically bad this team was playing. The thought was, "we just needed time to gel." Good Lord, we are abysmal right now.

To echo many, losing to top clubs isn't the primary issue, it's how bad and disinterested and overmatched we look in doing so — and that lands at the managers feet.

Joe Duffin
53 Posted 11/09/2017 at 15:31:27
To me, the key point is no pace. In a team with 3 No 10s, Schneiderlin (is like a slower James McC, with his backward/sideways passes) and a right back who is terrible.
If you are going to play 4-5-1 (or 4-3-3), you need to have pace on the wings – I'm not sure Sigurdsson or Klaassen can offer that.

I am also not sure what Kenny has done wrong, as I personally think he is better than Holgate and attacks with much more zest – maybe when Seamus comes back we will get that.

Mirallas may have a strop – but in a game crying out for someone to take a chance and actually shoot – he is a good bet. Lennon, a proven player – pace and ability, which is missing completely.

With Atalanta this week, and Man Utd on Sunday – could be a tougher week to come.

Koeman has got to come up with a system to get best out of players, and without more pace in midfield, not sure he will succeed

Martin Mason
54 Posted 11/09/2017 at 15:51:19
De Boer has been sacked. Koeman next, I hope!
Dave Pritchard
55 Posted 11/09/2017 at 15:52:38
Joe 53 agree about too many No 10s as it seems to be called these days.

I would let Sigurdsson play this role giving him the same job he had at Swansea. Then fit a balanced team around him with some pace up front (Calvert-Lewin or Niasse) and a winger (Lennon or Lookman or if necessary Mirallas). If this means leaving some big names out of the team, then do it.

Players not in form should be benched (we might need a very long bench after recent displays).

Dan Kemp
56 Posted 11/09/2017 at 16:02:38
Would it be worth playing Rooney up front to accommodate Sigurdsson in the No 10 role? Tell Wayne to give it everything for an hour and then sub him off.
Dermot Byrne
57 Posted 11/09/2017 at 16:07:16
Totally agree, Dave. Imagine – a shot from edge of box!
Winston Williamson
58 Posted 11/09/2017 at 16:21:20
Well, I'd like a British manager, who shows passion, likes to set-up a team to win, is not afraid of using a mix of younger and experienced players and understands Everton:

David Unsworth

He could really inspire the players and fans alike.

Craig Walker
60 Posted 11/09/2017 at 17:18:03
The signs were there against Man City. A goal up against 10 men and we just constantly surrendered possession and invited pressure. A decent team would have kept the ball and made Man City chase it.

Davy Klaassen looks to be the next Stefan Rehn or Tobias Linderoth and I thought he'd be a goal-getting midfielder. Sandro isn't as good as Jermaine Beckford. Ashley Williams is a yard dog. We're all hoping Bolasie can come back and offer some pace but he wasn't great before the injury. We never learn though do we?

We're mocking the RS over summer and making comments of "top 4" or "winning the Europa League" because we start spending the cash. They buy players with pace and ability whilst we buy pedestrian journeymen.

If they get a top goalkeeper and centre-half, then they'll be contenders – we're further away from them and the other big boys that I can remember. It's bloody depressing being an Evertonian!

Jonathan Tasker
61 Posted 11/09/2017 at 17:20:29
Nothing will change until Kenwright leaves. Kenwright has shown no sign of leaving so I guess he won't go until he leaves this mortal coil.

Not sure how many times I have to keep pointing this out.

Eric Paul
62 Posted 11/09/2017 at 17:53:17
Why does Kenwright still get the blame?

Moshiri has 49.9% while Kenwright has 12.2% of shares.

Michael Lynch
63 Posted 11/09/2017 at 18:28:17
We're like Spurs the season after they sold Bale. Villas-Boas made a complete arse of it, bought some right shite, and was sacked before Christmas. Pochettino came in the next season, gave youth a chance, bought well, and the rest is history.

So is Koeman our Villas-Boas or our Pochettino? Right now, it looks very much like the former.

Ray Said
64 Posted 11/09/2017 at 19:15:35
Good article and well written.

Yes, some of the buys have been baffling – all those number 10's? – and not spending to replace the top scorer is the most baffling thing.

But a good manager making a reasoned analysis of the players we have and developing a simple tactical plan to make the most of the players assets could still make something of this squad. I have seen nothing this season that convinces me that the manager has a plan to set the team up to get the most out of what we have.

Very worrying days to be a blue.

Paul Birmingham
65 Posted 11/09/2017 at 20:43:52
The next two games won't make the season, but are massive.

The selection of the formations for Atalanta and Man Utd, based on the last 2 games, could be an indicator of whether the squad is felling and the managers tactical nous!

Based on this season and at least a quarter of last season, we were dire and arguably worse now than then.

No balance, no game plan, and bar a miracle, it's nailed on we'll get whacked big style against Man Utd and scrape a draw in Bergamo.

The U23s had more guile, spirit and belief in their first goal, yesterday, than all the PL games the first team has played this season.

Time to change the tea bags and Finch Farm training routines? I want success and style but hand on heart, I don't see it this season.

Koeman will blame Walsh on failing to get a proven thoroughbred centre-forward, but now it's time to play Niasse and try and save what's left of his reputation.

I just hope by the time we play Liverpool, Kenny, Calvert-Lewin and Niasse are playing as at least they play with guile and spirit.

David Johnson
66 Posted 11/09/2017 at 20:48:10
Wonder where Joey Barton is getting his info. Normally comes across as well informed when speaking about Everton.
Dermot Byrne
67 Posted 11/09/2017 at 20:49:22
Agree, Paul. And unless Koeman is daft, he will know that too re the next two games.
Brent Stephens
68 Posted 11/09/2017 at 20:50:04
I think it was Snods who yesterday on the commentary on the U23 game told the story of the lads being on a coach, with Joe Royle also aboard. Joe asked who was the youngest, and that was Feeney, so Joe told Feeney to get teas and coffees from the back.

When Joe tasted what Feeney had made, he (Joe) said it was the worst tea he'd ever tasted. And Feeney (the youngest on board, mind) said "I did that so you wouldn't ask me again!!" Pay that one!! Now there's a leader?

Will Mabon
69 Posted 11/09/2017 at 20:53:15
Ray @ 48:

Say what you like about Kim Jong Un, at least he's got a couple of shots off in recent weeks.

David Johnson
70 Posted 11/09/2017 at 20:56:14
Eric (#62),

Maybe because it's too uncomfortable to think Moshiri could be a fucking charlatan too. Still acting like clowns, blow-arsing about this and that, then delivering fuck-all.

David Johnson
71 Posted 11/09/2017 at 21:09:14
Before the Commonwealth Games went to Birmingham, I was about 90% certain we'd see a spade in the ground. Today I'm at about 50%.
Paul Birmingham
72 Posted 11/09/2017 at 22:55:35
No doubt they'll pile the foundations and find a Roman mosaic or a Viking or Saxon Street!

With the way it goes in life and EFC, we always expect the unexpected on good day. The hype has gone flat on the ground and the only yard stick is the first team is playing crap, and consistently, so It raises issues about any investors in the ground.

Priority now is a squad and a team that plays for EFC, and with style and manner befitting. The manager can't keep making excuses, about not putting in effort on the pitch. Saturday was the double pits after Chelsea.

The RS are bad, but we have zero threat now so I believe as it is we are allergic to shooting outside the box and scoring.

I hope I'm proven wrong the next couple of games.

Brent Stephens
73 Posted 11/09/2017 at 23:08:02
Paul "No doubt they'll pile the foundations and find a Roman mosaic or a Viking or Saxon Street!"

And so stop the building and so we'd get the Games?! Brilliant! About 10 years ago the building of a new university campus on the banks of the Usk in Newport was halted as they found "nesting" otters!

David Johnson
74 Posted 11/09/2017 at 23:36:11
Nesting voles perhaps.
Nitesh Kanchan
75 Posted 12/09/2017 at 06:33:57
It's understandable some people defending Koeman, to give him time with this new squad.But then they should also understand others who want Koeman out.

I might be overreacting here, but I actually used to watch the Valencia games and it was same dross as this.

He stands there like a buffoon when things are going wrong. Being Atletico supporter as well, when I see Simeone and Koeman they are poles aparts during the game.

Before Simeone arrival,we sacked some coaches before the right one came in and delivered trophies. The football was not that great to watch but he got us results and trophies against likes of Real and Barca with a squad assembled with players from likes of Deportivo, Zaragoza etc, none of whom at that point would have got into Real or Barca reserve squad.

But the most important thing is the way players fought on the pitch like a war, is simply a treat to watch along with Simeone as their 12th man.

I am not asking for Simeone, but someone who can show attributes similar to him, who can make them hard to beat,who respond strongly when behind and who can fight for the players, rather than fight with them.

I want Koeman to succeed but he is learning nothing and looks clueless and that mentality will get us 7th at most, considering others have weaker squads than us, and I for one am not going to be satisfied, unlike the others who are defending him.

The way this is going it looks like a same cycle being repeated since Moyes days,poor start and then some decent run to 7th and then in the end nothing to play for and players don't give a shit in the final games, next season starts, best player leaves, no top player wants to join as we are not in Champions league and it continues. Very similar to Arsenal except that they always finish higher than us.

At the moment we need a manager and I don't mind if Unsworth takes over. At the most Koeman should be given only a month and if we are not in top 5, he should leave.

Jonathan Tasker
76 Posted 12/09/2017 at 08:38:48
David Johnson (#70) – trust me on this – Moshiri is a charlatan and is cut from the same cloth as Kenwright.
Colin Glassar
77 Posted 12/09/2017 at 08:43:12
If Moshiri names Jim White to the Board of Directors, then I think we should start to become concerned.
Denis Richardson
78 Posted 12/09/2017 at 12:03:46
I hope that's a wind-up, Colin – just mentioning that gives me a nervous tick.
Kev Wood
79 Posted 12/09/2017 at 12:27:43
Gerry Ring (way back there at No 6) makes a great point about us lacking '... much needed leadership, drive and pride in the shirt'.

In this team of ex-captains of other clubs, the one thing we don't have is a captain who talks to the other players and gets them sorted out and motivated. (It'd help if we had a manager who did some of that from the technical area too.)

With Jags sitting on the bench (and when on the pitch, being too much of the nice guy from what I can see), I can understand why Koeman went with senior pro Leighton Baines. He was probably our best player on Saturday but I had to think long and hard and check all over the site before I was confident that he had captained us (after all, it was Wayne, as ever, who was doing most of the talking to the ref).

Any other views on captaincy here (although I realise that it is Tuesday and I'm late in commenting on this post)?

Kim Vivian
80 Posted 12/09/2017 at 13:15:45
Kev – Obvious captain material?

My first choice would be absentee Seamus Coleman and, of course, Wayne Rooney who is not doing a lot to earn the armband just now, certainly in the example he is setting, so no time soon will that happen.

In the meantime, we will continue to see the 'senior' figures tasked with the job – Jags or Baines. What goes on in the dressing room we cannot know but one has to agree that a more vocal presence is needed on the pitch and, at this moment in time, besides those mentioned we do not really have those personalities, so expect to see more of the same.

Whether Koeman looks to Seamus on his return is, quite frankly, anyone's guess remembering, of course, he is not one of Ronnie's boys.

Dave Abrahams
81 Posted 12/09/2017 at 13:23:44
Kev (#79), I've got to agree about the lack of leadership, I saw lots of players with their heads down some feeling sorry for themselves especially Schneiderlin.

On the other side of the coin we've had Rooney continually in the referees face, in nearly every game, and he is doing too much: very early in the Spurs game he had a rant at the referee for a foul, the referee waved him away, a few minutes later Rooney went down in what I thought was a foul, the referee let the game flow.

Rooney banged the floor, the ref just looked at him and to me it looked like he was saying to Wayne 'I'm refereeing this game not you'. You are allowed to moan, there is a time and a place, don't do it all the time you will just turn the ref against you.

Dick Fearon
82 Posted 12/09/2017 at 14:16:22
Not that it could ever happen... yet just imagine what SAF would do to any of his players who moped around.
James E Evans
83 Posted 12/09/2017 at 17:24:41
In my 37 years (27 of them supporting the Blues), I know a another false dawn when I see one.

That performance on Saturday was as bad as any I have witnessed in that time. It was absolute garbage. This current crop of players have no personality, no identity, no pace, no-one who is prepared to take their man on, no movement off the ball, no leadership and seemingly no belief (look at the way the players' heads went down after the first goal went in).

Koeman has no plan and no idea how to sort this mess out. He is clearly a good manager, his record st Southampton proves it, but instead of questioning his failure to bring in the players he wanted, how about the two (Barkley and Lukaku) who wanted out of the club??A ٤m a year manager with clear vision to success would have convinced these players to stay.
David Chait
84 Posted 12/09/2017 at 19:36:41
Having at last climbed out from my bunker to read a report that was an exceptional analysis and insight into the game and the issues surrounding it... sometimes the smartest managers make the job look ridiculously hard!
Paul Tran
85 Posted 12/09/2017 at 20:58:08
He's buying players who were leaders at their clubs, yet don't do it with us. These good players appear directionless and clueless. The only explanation to me is that they don't know/understand what he wants.

I don't care how he 'looks' on the touchline. That's superficial for me. Give simple, clear instructions, play them in their best positions, let them get on with it.

Dermot Byrne
86 Posted 12/09/2017 at 21:18:05
Replace Koeman's brother (head coach) with Unsy.
Matthew Workman
87 Posted 12/09/2017 at 22:05:21
So imagine EFC was a business. You have a star product that everyone else wants (Lukaku). He intimates he wants to leave but you can guarantee another 50 goals by keeping him.

Goals equal money, exposure, success & expansion. You know these 50 goals will cost you 㿈m. These goals may next you Champions League football which brings in 㿭m in revenue. The chance of 𧴺m revenue minus the 㿈m cost looks like smart business.

Why in the name of God did we sell our best striker for 30 years without a replacement?You buy in a position of strength not sell. Terrible business & more so football decision.
Shaun Wilson
88 Posted 13/09/2017 at 07:09:42
That's some fucking hard, cold truth there Matthew, I wish you were an advisor for some of these pricks that are supposed to be running the club.

This whole things a fucking mess. If Koeman's too stupid to put out a team that can compete, he doesn't deserve his job. I've seen various projected line-outs, on numerous threads – any fucking one of them would do better than the teams he's lining out, and theses are fans projecting these line-outs! FFS!

Take your head out of your ass Ron , and take a fucking gamble on the likes of Kenny, Lookman, Calvert-Lewin etc..., Calvert-Lewin has been one of our better performers FFS. I know, well I don't know, I suspect, you didn't get all the players you had hoped you'd get. Play the fucking hand your dealt. I thought at the start of the transfer window that Sandro was going to play off Lukaku, didn't work out too well for me, did it?

Trust me, I want you to succeed. When we brought you in as manager, I thought we meant business. Great player, had done well with Southampton as a manager, sweet. But these fucking bizarre line ups have me second guessing you. WTF is going through your head?

Start playing to your strengths instead of lining up slow, shit teams with absolutely no threat. Sure, the guys I mentioned mightn't set the league on fire, but what the fuck have you to lose?

Do your fucking job, or take the remainder of your £18 million and fuck off.

ps: You will never, ever,manage Barcelona. Unless they turn into the Everton of Spain, of course

Shaun Wilson
89 Posted 13/09/2017 at 07:22:01
Shaun Wilson
90 Posted 13/09/2017 at 07:22:40
Sorry, COYB!
Colin Glassar
91 Posted 13/09/2017 at 08:08:55
I'd just like to know why he continues to pick Williams over Jags. Both are past their use-by dates but at least Jags doesn't panic every time he receives the ball like that useless lump Williams.

Matthew, are you talking about that useless, lazy, couldn't trap a bag of cement, Lukaku? He wasn't well liked by a very vocal group on here, remember?

Paul Kelly
92 Posted 13/09/2017 at 08:21:41
Hey Shaun, that CYOB, Jesus that could be taken the wrong way. Glad you cleared that up.

"Play the fucking hand your dealt". Indeed, couldn't agree more, just play any hand than the one he did Saturday.

Seems he's reverted back to his Valencia days of managing (if links posted on this sight are anything to go bye – interesting read by the way), it scares me a lot.

I do think it's a case of justifying his buys, probably mentioned on a few threads on here but that's how it comes across to me, why shoehorn ninety twelve #10s into a team? Why not play Sigurdsson in the middle? Why play the 'Welsh' fella when Jags seems better?

Why drop Calvert-Lewin when he's got a quality double-barrelled surname? oh, and he come of age against Man City imho only to then be put out wide against FC Hadjuk (Smash Your Face In Until It) Splits. (Took me ages coming up with that last one).

Ronkoe? Is that what we call him these days, I much prefer 'clueless twat' by the way, makes so much more sense. He needs a footballing epiphany before the next match, one can only pray, and hope and pray some more, or start a mass uprising of biblical proportions!

I'm a bit tired, so for anyone who heeds my 'advice', let me know how you get on and maybe I'll click the 'like' button if I read about it on the news.


Paul Kelly
93 Posted 13/09/2017 at 08:22:22
Sorry, COYB. Rubbing off on me.
Brent Stephens
94 Posted 13/09/2017 at 12:14:49
Paul – naughty. You'll go blind.
Paul Kelly
95 Posted 13/09/2017 at 12:19:53
Half way there anyway mate, I mean the blindness, not the situation, if you get me. I'll stop typing. Laters.
Mick Hoban
96 Posted 13/09/2017 at 13:00:41
Maybe Vinnie Garstrokes can finish that off for you Paul
Brent Stephens
97 Posted 13/09/2017 at 13:12:50
Mick, very good. Gotta hand it to you.
Paul Kelly
98 Posted 13/09/2017 at 13:13:07
Mick Ha, never spotted that before. Ha
Frank Bortoli
99 Posted 13/09/2017 at 13:13:43
Good article Lyndon.

We appear to be approaching the darkest days of the Martinez tenure with a team not wanting to play, or not knowing what system we should be playing. There also appears signs that Koeman is starting to loose parts of he dressing room with what is a very unbalanced team with a duplication of players whom he now has to try and accommodate. How we ended up with four No 10s is beyond me with no striker or creative attacking midfielders capable of replacing Lukaku's goals.

No width, no pace and no creativity and a manager with no tactical nous could well be the death knell to this season. If things don't turn around very quickly let's get Unsworth in to do a temporary role and see what happens from there.

Why Premier League teams appoint managers on such long-term contracts when 75% of them fail I don't know. If a manager does a good job on a two- or three-year contract he is most likely to want to finish things off and resign.

Tom Bowers
100 Posted 13/09/2017 at 14:50:21
After a couple of really poor performances and not so impressive in the other games one can only speculate what is going on behind the scenes. Aiming criticism at the manager and certain individual players is natural as we all want answers and a reversal of the situation.

It's quite obvious to us all that things are not right on the field system-wise and spirit-wise. Koeman is responsible for that without any doubt. Offensively they are as toothless as any team in the league at present and the question is whether Koeman has the ability to change this.

We will find out tomorrow and Sunday if they can snap out of this malaise as these games will really test their mettle. Everton have a deep squad and can give other players a chance to start like Niasse, Lennon, Calvert-Lewin and Besic but will Koeman change things up?

Steve Ferns
101 Posted 14/09/2017 at 10:18:32
I swerved all things Everton following the game, which meant of course avoiding ToffeeWeb, until today, the day of the next game.

I thought Koeman got it so wrong against Spurs. 2 of the back 4 were wrong. Okay, there is not much between Jags and Williams, and I will buck the trend and say I do like and rate Williams. But this was a game for Jags.

First off, Williams had just played 2 internationals, whilst Jags had his feet up. Secondly, Jags is still faster than Williams at 35. Thirdly, Keane and Jags seem to have fashioned a partnership. For me it makes sense to play Jags, rest Williams and then switch them for tonight's game.

Now we come on to right back. Let's park our / my hatred of all things Martina. Martina is more attacking player than Holgate, and Holgate is a more defensive player than Martina. Few would argue that Martina is better in terms of pure defensive qualities of a right full back (as in right back in 4).

You may argue that Holgate is a better right wing back than Martina, but there's no doubt that Martina is better at crossing. This was Spurs, a top side from last season, who utilise the fullbacks and create overloads (extra man) in attack. How do you combat that? You play a defensive right back. You play Holgate. You tell Holgate and Baines that they defend as a back four and stay back.

Now, I would combat Spurs' tactics with a high defensive line, and so we would be relying on Holgate's pace if the offside trap was breached. The high defensive line would condense the play and flood the midfield.

Lyndon was scathing about the midfield defensive shield. I think Lyndon and a few others on here are wrong when they say that Gueye and Schneiderlin do the same job, they do very different jobs. Gueye is the one to press and he goes forward far more. People mistake this for him playing better. But it is not the case.

Koeman handcuffs Schneiderlin to the two central defenders and Schneiderlin does exactly what the manager wants. He's always done this, which is why I query time and again, why play a back 3? Schneiderlin plays like an extra centre-back. Schneiderlin's basic function is to pass the ball. It is actually Gueye who wins the ball, and Schneiderlin who passes it. Schneiderlin is the one who is meant to turn defence into attack.

Defensively, he was isolated, outnumbered, and he was overwhelmed. In attack there was poor movement ahead of him, he was isolated, he was outnumbered, and he was overwhelmed. He did not have a good game, but this was because Koeman got his tactics wrong.

People want to play with just one defensive midfielder. The reason we cannot is if Gueye is playing the "Carsley role" in a 4-5-1, then he cannot press the opposition. If he presses the opposition, we suddenly have no defensive shield. Schneiderlin rarely presses, unless Gueye is in position and can sit. The pair work in tandem. Schneiderlin goes left, Gueye goes right, but Gueye goes forwards, and Schneiderlin rarely does.

Even Chelsea did this last season. Kante was Gueye and Matic was Schneiderlin. One sits and passes. The other presses all over the pitch. This is how the double pivot works. If you play a single pivot, then you turn the attacking players ahead into defensive players because then they have to press instead.

Also the defensive single pivot needs to then be a great all round footballer who has an awesome engine, great tackling, and a superb range of passing. These players cost a fortune and play for the very best teams.

Klaassen got yanked off at half-time and he is fast becoming a massive flop. There is major grumblings from people around me who doubt his effectiveness and ability. I have said it many times and I will keep saying it: Klaassen's game is about moving the ball quickly, it is about fast one touch passing. He cannot play his game if no one else is on his wave-length.

He reminds me of Gravesen under Walter Smith. Our bulldog defensive midfielder who ran around like a headless chicken kicking people and making bad tackles as the ball was consistently hoofed over his head. Then Moyes came, realised he was a terrible defensive midfielder and was actually a brilliant attacking midfielder and got people on his wavelength and we finished 4th.

Klaassen is a brilliant player. We have the players around him to play wonderful one touch football, namely Wayne Rooney, Glyfi Sigurdsson, Morgan Schneiderlin, and Ross Barkley. The current failings are down to the manager's tactics.

Gylfi Sigurdsson was anonymous as Lyndon said. I did not want to buy him. However, I do think he is a fantastic player, and I suspect all the doubters would agree with me on that. I think I speak for all of the doubters in that we did not object to the signing, or even the cost, we objected to the signing at the expense of a centre forward, and especially when we already have a number of players who can play his position.

What I do not get is his utilisation. Why purchase the much requested No 10 and then play him on the left wing? Why have him so isolated and away from the ball and away from Klaassen? When we had a spell in the first half when the game was still on, he was involved, as was Klaassen and I thought there were some positive signs between the two.

Up front, Koeman got it so very wrong.

Toby Alderweireld might just be the closest thing the Premier League has to Koeman himself. he's an excellent attacking centre-half with a superb long pass on him. All game long he hit a 70-yard pass to the left wing for Davies to run on to. Martina was often caught out or out paced and Toby just kept hitting these bombs non-stop. Now this was no surprise.

Everyone knows how good this guy is. He's asking for a fortune in wages because of it. Toby cannot get the ball and hit these passes if you mark him. If we played Dominic Calvert-Lewin, then he had the speed to get about the Spurs back-line and in particular single out Toby and give him no time on the ball to hit these passes.

As good as Sanchez and Jan Vertonghen are they are not capable of those perfect long balls that Alderweireld plays. Calvert-Lewin could have stopped these easily.

Spurs were missing Wanyama and Dembele and Son was on the bench. Sissoko played. We could have got at that midfield. Instead they outpowered us, outnumbered us and overwhelmed us. The game was always going to be won or lost in midfield. Koeman picked the wrong team, selected the wrong tactics and did not take advantage of an under-strength Tottenham side.

I understand that he probably selected Martina to try to pin Davies back, that he probably thought him the weak link in the side, being a young lad and all. He should have played a flat back 4. He should have selected Holgate. He should have pushed the defence high and squeezed the play. He should have had Schneiderlin and Gueye sitting. Then he should have checked Klaassen's fitness. If he was not 100% he should have started Davies.

Their role should have been to harry Dier and Sissoko and to press them and win the ball. Calvert-Lewin leading the line and pressing the back 3 of Spurs and stopping Alderweireld getting on the ball. We then should have had Sigurdsson and Rooney much more central with one helping get at the Spurs defensive midfielders and the other being the spare man ready to get the ball and go at Spurs.

All three of Sigurdsson, Klaassen / Davies, and Rooney like to press and win the ball, and all of them are capable of immediately going on the attack. Spurs do not like it when they are pressed back and they make mistakes. Remember Sissoko is a big joke, we made him look like the player we wanted to spend 㿊m on.

Close Dier down and he makes mistakes, the lad is a defender, not a midfielder, and he lacks skills on the ball and composure. By playing a back 3 they had less in midfielder and with more energy we could have overwhelmed them.

It was such a disappointing game and it all came down to Koeman getting his selection and his team very wrong.

Brent Stephens
102 Posted 14/09/2017 at 10:42:23
Steve (#101) (Room 101?!) thanks for that post. I always read your posts in full, because I suspect you have a better understanding of the game than many (me included) – I appreciate things I hadn't seen.

I would just add, re Martina, that I thought in terms of his defensive role we just allowed too much space to Spurs to overload our right flank and left Martina trying to decide which of 2 or even 3 players to move towards.

So, Martina the wrong man for the role on the day, and then not provided with the cover he needed?

Dermot Byrne
103 Posted 14/09/2017 at 11:14:28
Steve... wise man. I would make that a habit. Your post is much better and thought out than the knee-jerk cack we churn out too often.

But imagine if TW became thought out and considered? Toffeebore would be new name.

But I really agree with you assessment.

Dick Fearon
104 Posted 14/09/2017 at 11:22:07
Steve, the way you describe a back four with Holgate and Baines concentrating on defence by staying back. That set-up is called a flat back four. For that to be successful, each of the four backs must be exceptionally fast.
Pete Clarke
105 Posted 14/09/2017 at 11:32:38
Even with the unbalanced team we had out against Spurs, I think good organisation and tactics would have done slot better.

Unfortunately, there was neither and all of us suffered for it. Even a neutral would say we were piss poor. As for Ronald Koeman well he seems to think that ignoring the oppositions tactics is his only mistake.

Time to bring back the cushions in the Top Balcony..

Tony Hill
106 Posted 14/09/2017 at 12:10:44
Dermot (#103), the older I get the more I find that knee-jerk responses have a tendency to be accurate. On the other hand, I find that plumbing the depths for truth, or failing to see what is in front of you, often leads to confusion and paralysis.
Michael Lynch
107 Posted 14/09/2017 at 12:18:13
Koeman out, Ferns in. Terrific post.
Steve Ferns
108 Posted 14/09/2017 at 12:20:27
Or Dick, perhaps you could have a mobile keeper who is fast off his line and good on the ball?

Other than that, plenty of teams, particularly Arsenal in the 1980s were able to play a flat back four without all of the defenders being fast. Steve Bould for example. What about our great defence of 1985? Stevens and Ratcliffe on the right side were like the proverbial off a shovel, but Van Den Hauwe and Mountfield were not fast in anyone's book. Ratcliffe used his speed to sweep up behind Mountfield, and Southall was happy to come off his line. We played a very high line in 1985, as can be evidenced by the goals we conceded when the offside trap was breached.

Keane is quick, but Im not saying he's anywhere near as fast as Ratcliffe was. But it is possible to play a flat back four against spurs, because the one you need to watch is Alli. Kane and Eriksen are no faster than Jags or Baines.

Steve Ferns
109 Posted 14/09/2017 at 12:21:30
Haha, no thanks, Michael, not unless I get ٤m a year!
Michael Lynch
110 Posted 14/09/2017 at 12:28:37
Not sure about ٤m Steve, but I've had a whip-round on here and we can offer you 㿞 a week, an old Gola tracksuit (you'll have to wash it yourself), and as much tea as you can drink. Koeman says he's happy with his reduced role as a Toffee Lady so it's all sorted.
Ian Hollingworth
111 Posted 14/09/2017 at 12:36:02
Great post Steve, have you thought of writing a regular match review like Ken, Paul, Michael and Lyndon?

Yours could be from a tactical viewpoint which would be an interesting dimension.

Steve Ferns
112 Posted 14/09/2017 at 12:40:47
Haha Michael.

Cheers Ian, but I can't get to every game because of work commitments and enough on here do a good job.

Brent Stephens
113 Posted 14/09/2017 at 13:19:23
Tony #106 "I find that plumbing the depths for truth, or failing to see what is front of you, often leads to confusion and paralysis".

Very profound. You're over-thinking it, Tony!

Brent Stephens
114 Posted 14/09/2017 at 13:33:36
Ian (#111) says "Great post Steve, have you thought of writing a regular match review like Ken, Paul, Michael and Lyndon? Yours could be from a tactical viewpoint which would be an interesting dimension".

Steve, go on! That's a really good call. I enjoy the reviews of the others mentioned above, always read them. A tactical analysis per game would be really good. And (or at least) a post before each game setting out your preferred team selection, tactics and reasons.

David Graves
115 Posted 14/09/2017 at 13:34:22
Well written piece, Steve. Koeman did get his team selection wrong albeit against a very strong Spurs team.

You never know the slow ponderous approach might well suit the Europa League. Here's hoping.

Tony Hill
116 Posted 14/09/2017 at 13:36:43
Yes indeed, Brent. If we all stop worrying about it and just let it happen then maybe, just maybe, it will all come good. Wu Wei isn't it?

Perhaps that's what Ronald's up to – it's not that he doesn't give a fuck or has no idea – he's just waiting to catch the flow.

Brent Stephens
117 Posted 14/09/2017 at 13:39:41
Wu Wei it is, Tony.
Steve Ferns
118 Posted 14/09/2017 at 13:47:09
Wu Wei? wasn't he that lad we signed from China with Li Tie?
Brent Stephens
119 Posted 14/09/2017 at 13:55:25
Li Tie - was too small - nihao to a grasshopper.
Steve Ferns
120 Posted 14/09/2017 at 14:11:46
If anyone is more interested in tactics and can't be bothered reading things like "Inverting the Pyramid" or anything by Michael Cox and wants something a bit simpler then this YouTube channel is decent:
Klopp Pressing
Chelsea 343
false 9
deep lying playmaker
Marcelo Bielsa
Andrew Clare
121 Posted 14/09/2017 at 14:40:37
Spurs are a top team. We are a mediocre team hence the score. 30 years of mediocrity interspersed with three or four seasons of okayness. Still no sign of change. Martinez's first season offered a glimmer of hope. Hopefully Koeman will get it right eventually. Been hoping for a long time.
Will Mabon
122 Posted 14/09/2017 at 17:29:05
"...the older I get, the more I find that knee-jerk responses have a tendency to be accurate. On the other hand, I find that plumbing the depths for truth, or failing to see what is front of you, often leads to confusion and paralysis."

So true, Tony. A time for analysis, a time for instinct. The trick is knowing when and where!

Darren Hind
123 Posted 16/09/2017 at 06:40:11
Steve @101

I don't think Lyndon is wrong about Gana and Schneiderlin. I think you are.

I don't know where you watch the game from Steve but if its from the side you will see the Everton formation. When the opposition get the ball, we immediately withdraw into two banks. Nothing unusual there, but our formation is so rigid, it looks like we practice it with the aid of a geometry set. Our first line is absolutely straight. you could not get a cigarette paper between our defensive midfielders. they play an identical line. I accept Gana is more likely to break ranks and go hunting, but they do patrol the same area and although they are slightly different in style, they do exactly the same job.

Spurs did not overpower us in midfield. They didn't even have to engage us in midfield, our territorial surrender enabled Eriksen to abandon he usual number 10 role and go and play as a second striker with Kane. Spurs midfield were given the freedom of the park and were even able to get down both flanks doubling up with wingbacks to expose our full backs.

When Sissoko, Kane and Erikson were strolling through unchallenged they were running passed our defensive midfielders. Schneiderlin and Gana were not being overpowered , they simply were not staying with their men. They didn't know which of them had responsibility for what. they were in deed doing the same job.

Before the game, you made a lot about Demebele being the guy we needed to shackle, but his non selection proved he was not the problem. The problem we have is of our own creation. Tactics aside; you need to match the efforts of the opposition, especially one as mobile as Tottenham. We simply didn't do that, time and again people were more concentrated in holding the formation than tracking movement. Fatal.

Having said all that Steve. I enjoyed your post. You make some very valid and shrewd observations. I too would like you to do an after-match report form a tactical point of view – when you are able to see the games.

I'm trying to gage how old you are Steve, You are clearly interested In the tactical side of the game. Have you done coaching courses?
If you haven't, I strongly recommend it. It will not make you an expert (they don't exist) but they are hugely enjoyable and you will gain a completely different perspective. Got a feeling they may be expensive these days though.

I wouldn't set to much stall by "Tactics Explained" YouTube clips either. They're often the thoughts of people who don't understand the game as well as you do yourself.

I have noticed there are quite a few people on here who have done courses or who are interested by detailed tactics. You are clear in what you want to say and I hope you reconsider and give some thought to doing the occasional report.

Robert Walsh
124 Posted 16/09/2017 at 12:15:07
Ronald Koeman should look into bringing Henry Onyekuru back from his season loan in Belgium. He was top scorer in the Belgian League last season. He has pace and an eye for goal, something not many Everton players have shown this season. The lack of pace in the squad is very apparent.

Gylfi Sigurdsson is a great attacking player but looks lost on the left. He needs to be central if we want to get anything out of him. Klaassen has shown what he is capable of in flashes but has still yet to impress. Rooney is no longer the player he once was. We signed too many midfielders and no prolific forwards.

The signing of so many midfielders has meant players like Tom Davies and Ademola Lookman look less likely to play. These two players really impressed me last season.

Whilst Sandro looks like a good signing, he is still very young. He had a good season with Malaga scoring 14 but La Liga is a different place to the Premier league.

Keeping Mirallas may be one of the best moves this transfer window. May not be Koeman's favourite but is one of mine. He has pace and can be a great forward when given the chance. Him and Bolasie (when back from injury) should be starting on the wings, Gylfi playing as Number 10 with Rooney or Sandro up front, Gueye controlling the midfield with the help of Schneiderlin, Davies, Klaassen or Rooney.

As much as I admire Calvert-Lewin, he is still not a solution to our striker problems. He has talent and huge potential. I would love to see him getting minutes off the bench this season. Same for Lookman.

Mark Andrews
125 Posted 17/09/2017 at 18:21:54
Perhaps the top 6 place Koeman was alluding to was in the top 6 of the Championship?

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