Reborn Niasse eases the pressure on Koeman

By Lyndon Lloyd 24/09/2017 54comments  |  Jump to last

When Oumar Niasse was signed for what was, at the time, a massive transfer fee of £13.5m for an untried prospect plying his trade in the comparatively remote environs of the Russian League, there was a justifiable fear among many Evertonians that he had been brought in to replace Romelu Lukaku.

After all, the Belgian had been making noises again about wanting away and while the club was clearly in need of back-up striking options, the Senegalese striker’s apparent pedigree and big price tag led to the inevitable speculation that his arrival was greasing the wheels for Lukaku’s departure.

In the following weeks and months, as the gangly 26-year-old made an embarrassingly ineffective start to life in England and was summarily written off by new manager Ronald Koeman, the notion that Niasse could realistically stand in for the Belgian was eminently laughable.

And yet, fast forward 13 months past Lukaku’s sale and Everton’s infamous failure to replace him by 31st August, the former cast-off finds himself with a second chance to prove that he can be some sort of answer to the gaping hole in the Blues’ forward line left by Manchester United’s new £90m man.

It may have been necessity — read: desperation? — on Koeman’s part combined with Niasse’s own professionalism, determination and commitment that brought Everton to this point but the events of the past few days have been quite the storybook narrative.

Ironically enough, for a player deemed not good enough even to merit a locker at Finch Farm with Everton’s U23s, Niasse could, if his heroic exploits against Bournemouth are any indication, end up saving the backsides of his manager and the club’s recruitment team at large this season.

He certainly helped bail Koeman out of another uncomfortable post-match inquest with a two-goal blast in the space of five minutes that turned this match on its head and delivered three points that seemed unlikely before he entered the fray in place of Wayne Rooney 10 minutes into the second half.

Wednesday’s League Cup win over Sunderland had been lit up by a resurgently strong performance from Tom Davies, an impressive display by Nikola Vlasic and, of course, Niasse’s his first Everton goal — a fine chest-down and half-volley that wrapped up a 3-0 win.

Koeman reverted to an increasingly questionable line-up for the visit of Bournemouth, however, with Rooney, Davy Klaassen and Gylfi Sigurdsson shoe-horned into a formation with three “number 10s” ahead of the two holding midfielders, Idrissa Gueye and Morgan Schneiderlin. Handicapped in defence by injuries to Phil Jagielka and Michael Keane, the Dutchman was forced to field his only remaining centre-half partnership of Ashley Williams and Mason Holgate.

The result was a team bereft of pace and width but apparently sent out with instructions to compensate for those short-comings by moving the ball about quickly and switching flanks to open up crossing opportunities for Cuco Martina and Leighton Baines.

It was a strategy that worked to a point but yielded just one effort on target on the first 45 minutes, a deflected Williams effort following a corner with 10 minutes gone. The Blues weren’t terrible and there were some pleasingly neat interchanges in midfield but there was precious little being created in the final third.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin went close to finishing a nice passing move early on but couldn’t guide his header on target and Rooney was unfortunate to get his legs tied up trying to finish another decent piece of play late in the first period.

In between, Everton had been denied two possible penalties by the typically awful Martin Atkinson, first when Sigurdsson was crudely barged over in the Bournemouth box by Dan Gosling — a foul given anywhere else on the pitch — and then when Simon Francis caught Rooney with an elbow that left the veteran needing to have a gash to his eye patched up on the sidelines.

The Cherries had made a lively start to the game but failed to test Jordan Pickford in the first half beyond a daisy-cutter from Junior Stanislas that was easily gathered.

That changed four minutes into the second. Josh King picked up the ball from Charlie Daniels in an innocuous position wide on their left but after escaping the attentions of Holgate, he took up the invitation to keep running. Easily evading Holgate’s despairing slide tackle, the Bournemouth striker advanced unimpeded towards goal and drilled a low shot into the corner to make it 1-0.

An awful giveaway in midfield by Rooney seemed to have handed a second goal on a plate for the visitors but he was rescued by Pickford who made an excellent save with his foot to thwart Jermain Defoe.

Whether he was suffering from the effects of his wounded eye or was just having an off-day, Rooney was withdrawn four minutes later along with Klaassen allowing Davies and Niasse to make their entries to the fray.

Davies was booked less than 60 seconds after coming on for clattering through an opponent but he stayed on the pitch to make two telling contributions later in the half.

Everton nearly levelled in the 69th minute when Sigurdsson won a corner on the right and Holgate nodded Williams’s subsequent header goal-wards, only to see Andrew Surman clear his effort off the line via the woodwork.

Parity was restored, however, 1 1 minutes from time when Niasse struck his first. Driving from midfield, he exchanged passes with Davies, the latter finding him with a pin-point pass towards the penalty spot, and took a touch before lashing an unstoppable shot past Asmir Begovic.

Five minutes later, when substitute Jonjoe Kenny’s centre to Calvert-Lewin was laid off to Davies and his attempted cross looped up to the back post, Niasse was initially foiled by Begovic on the line but he was able to pick up the loose ball and despatch it past the ‘keeper to make it 2-1.

Everton benefited from a let-off at one end when Lys Mousset glanced an unchallenged header over the bar from a corner when he could have done better but almost made it 3-1 at the other through Calvert-Lewin but he could only steer Jonjoe Kenny’s cross the ball over the crossbar.

Koeman suggested after the game that the victory and the dramatic manner in which it was achieved could turn out to be a turning point in the season. The manager should get credit for making the two changes that he did 10 minutes after half-time — the introduction of Kenny for Martina with 15 minutes left and the score 0-1 was a little harder to fathom even though the youngster did very well after coming on — but then his decision to drop Davies, for example, was questionable to begin.

It’s difficult to see the Blues kicking on back towards challenging the top six if he persists with chopping and changing while returning to the same formation and personnel for League games. It’s also hard to see how the Blues could have won this game without Niasse’s predatory instincts and neither factors reflect all that well on Koeman who might otherwise have been left reflecting on another League game without a win.

It will be interesting to see whether Niasse has earned a more prominent role in the team now, though, and if he starts what the impact will be on the line-up. Some Blues have been calling for a more conventional 4-4-2 formation, particularly at home, but whether Koeman is ready to eat the entire humble pie just yet remains to be seen.

Regardless of those ongoing concerns, there is no doubt that a come-from-behind win with a new cult hero in the side can only be a boon for confidence, something that was in short supply coming off the hammering at the hands of Manchester United. It’s certainly starting to course through the veins of a certain Senegalese striker and it can spread through the team, it could help make up for the shortage of creativity and speed in the side that has been so evident in recent weeks.

Two more home wins before the next international break and Everton tails could well be up again before the next away challenge, a trip to the south coast to visit Brighton & Hove Albion for the first time in the Premier League, looms.

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Reader Comments (54)

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Peter Larkin
1 Posted 24/09/2017 at 08:42:32
Shout out to Calvert-Lewin. I thought he was excellent. Lead the line despite zero support for 60 minutes. Never gives up, works his socks off. When this lad builds some true muscle, he is going to be a real handful. So proud of our young guns.
Harry Wallace
2 Posted 24/09/2017 at 08:57:55
How did Kenny play when he came on?
Paul Goodchild
3 Posted 24/09/2017 at 09:15:36
I agree Peter. Kenny should also have been given his chance when Coleman was injured. Davies should never have been dropped for Klaassen yesterday. It just made no sense to me and why play Klaassen anyway in the Number 10 role ahead of Sigurdsson?

Dowell is a shining light at Forest and should be integrated into the first team set up as soon as he returns.

We have some great young players and the future could be so promising if handled correctly by combining them with the senior members of the squad. Is Koeman the man to do this? I have my doubts.

Mike Allen
4 Posted 24/09/2017 at 09:19:48
Koeman is not long-term, whatever happens this season. Either he is a poor judge of players, or a poor coach, and certainly he is poor at man-management. I think he's poor at all three but great at passing the buck.
James Kirrane
5 Posted 24/09/2017 at 09:36:59
I was very impressed with Niasse when he came on. I have not seen much of him (clearly not been picked at Everton), but I thought the first goal was a fine goal.

Wining the ball in midfield, playing a nice lay off and heading towards the penalty area to collect Tom Davies's pass. The second goal also showed a predatory instinct and good physicality.

Calvert-Lewin had another good game and their defence certainly knew that they were in a game with him around.

Davies has to start in midfield and I would like to see Sigurdsson given a central role in the middle of the park to show off his creativity for our new found striking partnership of Calvert-Lewin and Niasse.

Let's hope Koeman learns from his mistakes (God willing) and picks his best 11 in their right positions in the upcoming fixtures.

Ian Bennett
6 Posted 24/09/2017 at 09:48:43
Yesterday proved that Davies needs to start. Two assists yesterday which follows the Sunderland game. We can't afford not to have that quality in the team.

Calvert-Lewin had a lively game, and Niasse looks a willing partner with something to prove. Bad balls look good balls when you have pace and intensity.

Against popular opinion, I think Koeman has played the Kenny bit dead right. It was a bridge to far to drop him into a struggling side. The clamour to drop the lad into those opening games was a massive risk. Swim and it would have been great. Sink, and you could have really crushed a young career before it got off the ground.

Hopefully he now gets his chance phased in against slightly easier opposition.

Paul Kennedy
7 Posted 24/09/2017 at 10:12:06
Just watched the brief highlights again. Well done to our subs coming on and lifting the game.

As a byline, Mr Koeman, we all make mistakes – you more than most – but the look of disappointment on your face as you walked down the line after Niasse scored was testament to your arrogance. Most of us believed he was not going to be good enough but I am happy to say his work ethic and motivation appears to have proved us wrong.

Now is the time to be a bigger man, learn from your mistakes, and use the players who can change our season around. Start with Jonjoe, Tom and Oumar, give our star players time to find form in the Europa League and the cups and at the end we may have a squad firing on all cylinders.

Rob Dolby
8 Posted 24/09/2017 at 10:16:44
Niasse has stolen the headlines and rightly so, he is a great example of resilience. He may be limited but he will never give up, he is our new firecracker. Who would have thought playing 2 up front would work? Calvert-Lewin looks like a young Graeme Sharp / Harry Kane; he will only get better if played in the central role.

Koeman's persistence with Klaassen is looking very questionable when he is playing the central role ahead of Rooney and Sigurdsson. It is going to take 12 months before we can make a proper judgement but at the minute he is way off the pace.

Davies should play every game and pick one of Gueye or Schneiderlin to partner him.

Kenny looks better going forward than Martina, it's all about quality and Martina hasn't got it.

Still lots of expensive square pegs trying to cram into a team that looks unbalanced and lacking in pace. Play players in their best positions and we will start gelling; dropping players that Koeman has signed should be the starting point.

Martin Mason
9 Posted 24/09/2017 at 10:18:35
Just hope that he doesn't have to take too much flak when he has some bad games but he deserves praise for recent performances and at 㾹.5M is beginning to look like good value.

What a good player Tom Davies is too. I think he would walk into all of the top 7 teams except Everton.

My view at the moment is fair team but poor coach but I'm positive

Steavey Buckley
10 Posted 24/09/2017 at 10:28:10
Not only was Koeman wrong about Niasse but so were most Everton fans. I took notice of Niasse last season when he was banging in goals for fun for the Everton Under-23s alongside Calvert-Lewin. So I knew then there was good understanding between the 2 of them.

Yet, it must be understood Niasse does his best work inside the penalty area, and this guy hardly misses. No wonder he was voted best player in Russia some seasons back.

Martinez with Lukaku has saved Koeman again with Niasse.

Barry Pearce
11 Posted 24/09/2017 at 10:41:39
Agree that Tom Davies should never have been on the bench for yesterday's game, also Kenny should have been right back as soon as Seamus got his terrible injury.

My other gripe is Ronald's take on the game. He stated, "So okay we changed things we went perhaps a little more direct." Well ,Ronald, it worked, and it got the crowd up. Hopefully lesson learnt playing more offensively.

So pleased for Niasse, by the way. Probably saved Ronald his job; very ironic.

Christopher Timmins
12 Posted 24/09/2017 at 10:47:26
Phew, that was a close run thing yesterday. Hopefully, the manager will come to terms with the fact that some of the big money purchases, be they his or Walsh's, are not currently working out, partly because he is trying to fit them all in to the starting line up.

Sigurdsson, Klassen and Rooney, should never start together, it's one from 3 in my view.

Schneiderlin and Gana should never play together at home against outside teams outside the top 6. Indeed if McCarthy comes back fit and well he must get in ahead of Schneiderlin at this point in time.

I was very disappointed that we did not start with Vlasic out wide. However, the manager made 3 changes in the second half and all 3 contributed to the victory.

Hopefully, we have turned a corner and going forward there is a better balance shown in team selection between youth and experience.

Two must-win games before the International break!

Tony Hill
13 Posted 24/09/2017 at 11:05:06
Ian (#6), I think there's a lot of truth in what you say about Kenny, in fairness to Koeman.
Danny O'Neill
14 Posted 24/09/2017 at 11:09:59
Interesting observation, Steavey.

Bang on, Ian, regarding Kenny. The clamour to throw in youngsters, whilst understandable, has to be tempered. They are still developing and must be managed accordingly.

Derek Thomas
15 Posted 24/09/2017 at 11:16:20
Peter @1; Good shout on your first part, but why do you and others have this 'thing' about bulking Up. Somebody said Lookman needs to bulk up... maybe Young, Vernon and Ball would've been better if they bulked up?

Yeah Calvert-Lewin looks a bit 'thin' around the face. IMO, all bulking up does is just that, it doesn't make you faster... unless you're a steroid sprinter.

Just as you are born with stamina, you are also born with sprint/pace; call pace muscle Group A or the twitch muscles as they are sometimes called and stamina Group B.

You can put stamina on sprint, but you can't put sprint on stamina. Footballers are more or less middle distance runners.

How many bulked up 10,000 m runners do you see. Is Niasse bulked up, Vardy? Kane. It may be no coincidence that Lukaku has the lowest distance covered per game... but he can really shift in a short sprint, when he feels like it, but Mo Farah he ain't, more like Linford Christie.

It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog...would you have told Bobby Collins he was too small?

Here endeth the mini rant.

Peter Larkin
16 Posted 24/09/2017 at 11:34:06
Derek. He is a young lad so he will naturally bulk up under the training regime. Of course I don't want him to "over bulk" and lose his pace. But due to the league a bit more muscle wouldn't do him any harm.

I remember when Rooney first went to Man Utd. Fergie wanted to bulk him up, and in my view they over done it which killed his pace after a few years.

But even without it you are spot on, the lad has a natural fight in him which can't be taught, just ask Lukaku, Heskey an Co.

Laurie Hartley
17 Posted 24/09/2017 at 11:42:10
It's great when you see someone get what they deserve. Yesterday we got a double helping.

Only saw the highlights but that's two games on the trot Tom Davies has put Oumar Niasse in on goal, and twice the quiet one has buried the chance. Well done to both of them.

I noticed on both occasions that his team mates and Duncan Ferguson were very happy about that. It's called team spirit.

Clive Lewis
19 Posted 24/09/2017 at 12:01:34
Koeman the clueless.

I don't think Koeman has a clue what to do. Sooner he is gone the better, making far too many mistakes and even his celebration is all over the place. Nothing for the equaliser then elation for the winner.

The team look confused, like they are leaderless.

Terry Underwood
20 Posted 24/09/2017 at 12:28:59
We have, traditionally, always given our managers a decent time to sort themselves out, something I agree with. But, seeing as how we had just grabbed what looked like, an unlikely three points, didn't Koeman have a face like a smacked arse during his MotD interview?

I hope Niasse can kick on now, not just for the club, but he does seem to be a really nice guy, honest and modest, rare qualities in an industry crawling with over paid drama queens.

Tony Hill
21 Posted 24/09/2017 at 12:30:17
Laurie (#17), yes I think that's very important. I thought Koeman had lost the players again after the Atalanta debacle, but that looks to be wrong. I still want him gone but if the spirit is there then all is not lost.
Brian Harrison
22 Posted 24/09/2017 at 12:36:56
Well, it's worrying while everybody in the ground can see that playing Rooney,Sigurdsson and Klaassen in the same team just doesn't work, seems Koeman is oblivious to this.

The reason we got back into the game was Niasse has pace and that worries teams. He stretched their defence and I thought he and Calvert-Lewin worked well together. Also Tom Davies who should be one of the first names on the teamsheet every week and Kenny gave us energy.

Yesterday's starting 11 lacked pace and energy, something that the top sides have in abundance. Having good footballers just isn't enough to unlock defences, the one thing all defenders hate is playing against a player with pace.

I know many on here have been asking for Holgate to play in his rightful position which he did yesterday. But I would tell him whenever possible don't go to ground when making Tackles miss one and you are putting yourself out of the game, as you have no time to recover. Twice he went to ground making tackles he missed both and one resulted in a goal.

I think Calvert-Lewin is growing game by game another good performance yesterday, and he had to take on their 2 central defenders alone as none of our other forwards till Niasse come on got close enough to help him. Now Niasse cant play against Limmasol as he is not included in our Europa League squad. I wonder if Koeman will be bold enough to play him and Calvert-Lewin up top against Burnley.

I think the next few weeks are very important both for Koeman and Everton, if Bournemouth had managed a win he would have for the first time heard how hostile Goodison can be when the crowd believe the team is the wrong one being selected. So the win gave him breathing space but surely he must realize he cant play Sigurdsson, Rooney and Klaassen in the same side. He also needs energy and pace both up front and midfield, I would also question Schneiderlin's place in the team especially at home.

I see some papers are saying he will go back in for Giroud when the window opens in January. Now while Giroud can hold the ball up and is good in the air, he has no pace, so if he does buy him he needs more pace than we have at present in the team.

Nick Entwistle
23 Posted 24/09/2017 at 12:49:11
Saw the highlights only and it was a shite state of affairs, then boom! All change. Must have been great to be at that match.

Rooney – what's the point in him then?

Kevin Tully
24 Posted 24/09/2017 at 13:04:14
This team is sent out to play 'hoping' it will somehow click and all our midfielders will pop up with the goals. Newsflash: our midfield is full of decent, not great, players who are definitely not able to turn a game like those at Man City, Man Utd or Chelsea.

Now, to be fair to the manager, he was badly let down by Kenwright & Moshiri, who by their own admission, have stated they were the ones looking until the last minute on TDD. I don't know what they were thinking, spending all that money and not getting a player who can score you the goals needed to win games, the pair of clowns.

The manager needs to swallow his pride, and start Niasse for the next few games. I cannot watch this team of misfits looking at each other like they haven't played professional football before, it's soul destroying to watch footballers paid millions who can't pass the ball 5 yards!

I still don't think Koeman is remotely near to being a suitable manager for this club, he's had long enough to produce a playing style at least; I don't see it – just a load of confused footballers.

David Hallwood
25 Posted 24/09/2017 at 13:09:17
Great report, Lyndon. Well spotted Barry (#11) Koeman's comments show no hint of mea culpa, and my guess that he will revert back to the same lineup that started yesterday vs Burnley (and probably the team that finished the game will be the starting lineup on Thursday).

If this is the case, it looks like Koeman's philosophy is to have the 3 No 10's doing little intricate passes with the pace and width supplied by the back/wingbacks hitting a target man. So be prepared to see Everton turned into a Dutch or Italian side, with little or no attempts by players to run ahead of the striker, or play in the 'crude' way we reverted to yesterday.

To quote Donald J Trump, Sad.

Nicholas Ryan
26 Posted 24/09/2017 at 13:10:04
Duncan Ferguson went absolutely beserk after Niasse's 2nd goal. It was the action of a man vindicated. I wonder if Dunc has been saying to Koeman; "Hey Boss, there is actually a proper centre-forward buried in there somewhere – give him a go" – and through necessity, he's been proved right.
Mike Berry
27 Posted 24/09/2017 at 13:13:54
Awful initial line-up by clueless Koeman who just does not see that we need pace and width as an outlet.

Appalling first half that had three people sat close to me walk out. Pity they missed the release of "The Lost Niasse Monster", with two superb goals and great input from Davies, also a promising run out for Kenny.

I have to save a special mention for Calvert-Lewin, who lead the line superbly, what a talent this boy is, quick, getting stronger all the time, two good feet, doesn't snatch at his chances and can head too! Potentially he could be another Harry Kane in a few years, we are going to have many other clubs sniffing around him soon.

What price for an outside chance to make England's World Cup squad next year? England do not possess his type of striker.

John G Davies
28 Posted 24/09/2017 at 13:14:54
Brian (#22)

Some very good points there. I would add Schneiderlin into the three you mention. For me it would mean starting with two only out of the four.

Two defensive mids screening the defence is fine, a lot of the top teams play it. Difference is in the quality and ability of the full backs to bomb forward creating the width. We haven't got that.

I think he brought Kenny on yesterday to give Holgate cover, he struggled at times yesterday and Howe brought Afobe on to bully Mason. Until Coleman is back I would not play Gana and Schneiderlin together.

Calvert-Lewin is developing more and more each week. We can look forward to a very good player in him. I thought a lot of his best work was in his hold up play in the wide areas. A benefit of being played wide in some games?

He has to go with the little pace we have. I would look to get Sandro in the side playing off Calvert-Lewin. Another must is players who play at a high tempo. Tom Davies should be starting.

Finally pace. I would not buy a forward who did not have pace. Preferably lightening quick but if not at least one with some pace. Ally that to Bolasie and Coleman and we will be okay.

Brent Stephens
29 Posted 24/09/2017 at 13:19:51
Nicholas (#26) "Duncan Ferguson went absolutely berserk after Niasse's 2nd goal. It was the action of a man vindicated. I wonder if Dunc has been saying to Koeman; "Hey Boss, there is actually a proper centre-forward buried in there somewhere – give him a go'; and through necessity, he's been proved right".

An interesting guess. That's all we can do.

Rob Halligan
30 Posted 24/09/2017 at 13:26:00
I think Niasse deserves an extended run in the team, until January at least, because if some rumours in today's papers turn out to be true, then it looks like he could still be off in January.

It's being reported that we will go back to Arsenal for Giroud, offering as much as 㿔M, and also try for Joshua King from Bournemouth. In my opinion, buy those two and keep Niasse as it looks like he maybe the ideal impact player coming off the bench.

Also in all probability Giroud will be cup tied for the Europa League, so should we get out the group, Niasse can then be added to the squad for the knock out stages.

Paul Tran
31 Posted 24/09/2017 at 13:35:28
I think it's just a sign that Ferguson is an outwardly emotional man who jumps up and down and Koeman is a more closed man who likes to stay in control of his emotions. Admittedly Ron was a bit racy yesterday, raising his hands and clenching his fists.

Of course, this stuff means nothing, unlike Ron's penchant for throwing similar players onto the pitch and hoping they gel. And waiting an hour to have the team we wanted in the first place.

Check out his next presser. There'll be more Dutch words in there as the pressure increases.

I'll say it again. He doesn't want them playing like drugged up strangers. He can't get his messages across. They looked like the Under-23 team on Wednesday and in the last 20 minutes yesterday. I think it was because some of the players took the bull by the horns and played 'their way'. And it was better.

Derek Thomas
32 Posted 24/09/2017 at 13:46:05
Kevin @24; I think you've nailed it. I said it wasn't working last November and it seems to have got no better. It'll be a miracle if he sees the light and gets us playing better this November

We don't need Giroud @ £50M? Calvert-Lewin has more positives than him – properly supported in a balanced team.

Plus we only need any 2 or 3 from Rooney, Schneiderlin, Klaassen, Sigurdsson and Gana – not all 5 all game every week.

Steavey Buckley
33 Posted 24/09/2017 at 13:49:39
Koeman comes from a footballing era when teams could get away without having pace and power and still win matches and trophies – that's why be brought in Klaassen, Rooney and Sigurdsson. But in today's footballing world, it's not possible. That's why Calvert-Lewin and Niasse were so important yesterday, while Klaassen, Rooney and Sigurdsson were not.
Paul Tran
34 Posted 24/09/2017 at 14:06:04
If we'd started yesterday with the same team, replacing Calvert-Lewin with Giroud, would there have been any significant difference? I'm not sure. I'd want to see him make the midfield coherent before I gave him millions to blow on a striker.
Derek Thomas
35 Posted 24/09/2017 at 14:07:52
Steavey@33; I fear you may be right. Just as the Physical side on it's own was never enough, neither is skill now.

Generals; always fighting the previous war. Somebody younger and more modern is required... well more modern anyway.

John G Davies
36 Posted 24/09/2017 at 14:14:17
Derek, there is no 'maybe' about it. We have an unbalanced squad that is lacking in pace.
James McPherson
37 Posted 24/09/2017 at 14:32:09
Paul (#34) – I do think Giroud playing up top would make a significant difference. Calvert-Lewin, promising talent though he is, is still learning. Giroud has that experience and intelligence that can impact a game. He is certainly a better header of a ball – an area (imo) Calvert-Lewin needs to develop further.
Paul Tran
39 Posted 24/09/2017 at 14:37:50
James, I would have been happy had we bought him in the summer. I'm actually more concerned about our midfield the way he appears to prefer it set up.
Keith Conchie
40 Posted 24/09/2017 at 14:41:44
Great comeback from the team yesterday. However, we should never have been behind. Niasse and Davies should have started the game, and Kenny should be ahead of Martina at right-back.

Rooney gives the ball away too easy and stifles what little pace we have in the team. He should have been dropped before this game; hopefully he will be now.

I like the look of Calvert-Lewin and Niasse upfront, they could prove a useful partnership. They can give opposition defences problems, which stops them pushing forward as much.

We should be playing with one defensive midfielder against weaker teams, and the January window needs to see a top defender come in to partner Keane. And a top striker of course.

Still, let's be positive, it's a win and 3 points that will hopefully give the player's some confidence to kick on with an unbeaten run. Upcoming fixtures are winnable.

James McPherson
41 Posted 24/09/2017 at 14:43:36
Yes, Paul, I have to agree Koeman has yet to get that formula that optimises the talent we have. I sense it will take more time – that's too long in some people's eyes (not mine).

I think if the results are there. Koeman should have time to develop the team and the pattern we play. Having no quality 20-plus striker is debilitating.

Laurie Hartley
42 Posted 24/09/2017 at 15:36:15
Keith (#40) – I agree that Calvert-Lewin and Niasse could prove a good partnership but the thing that has caught my eye is the two assists Tom Davies has provided for Niasse on Wednesday and the first goal last night.

Niasse moved into the right place at the right time and Tom Davies spotted it on both occasions and provided "through the eye of a needle" passes. Now that is something that we have been looking for.

Dermot Byrne
43 Posted 24/09/2017 at 15:43:31
My missus, a part time red and a CEO, reckons it is so obvious. The club love Unsy, the U23s won title, he has contacts everywhere and his players turn a game when they play.

I reckon she is right.

Koeman? None of the above.

Bit like Theresa May watching that no hope inspirer of the young, Corbyn!

Steven Jones
44 Posted 24/09/2017 at 18:49:21
Calvert-Lewin is improving and softened up the Bournemouth defence. When the subs came on the space as it does in the last third of the game opens up. Without the softening up and the fresh energy perhaps the subs if started from the off may not have had the energy and would have been nullified.

One of the challenges is that all the new players are taking time getting to know each other and need with a tight passing game react instinctively to each others movement. It will come over time.

Till then the combination of experience mixed with off the bench energy may be the recipe. I am a little concerned however about the two defensive midfielders who look out of form.

Rick Tarleton
45 Posted 24/09/2017 at 19:34:54
I hope Davies and Niasse have booked their starting places for the next two games before the next international break. Klaassen is willing, but has none of Davies's creativity and Niasse is a "fox in the box" to use Wenger's memorable phrase to describe Jeffers.
Brent Stephens
46 Posted 24/09/2017 at 19:54:34
When other managers bring on subs (every manager, ever game, almost without exception) is that an admission they got the initial selection / tactics wrong?
Jack Convery
47 Posted 24/09/2017 at 20:44:31
Really pleased for Niasse. Great when someone does something that says to the know-alls, "There, that's what I can do – now fuck you."

Yet he didn't say that – he was very pleased for everyone he had made happy. What a guy – so cool.

Will Mabon
48 Posted 24/09/2017 at 22:38:42
Brent (#46):

No of course not, but most other teams don't almost always play disjointed crap with an unsuitable set up until they bring their subs on.

Will Mabon
49 Posted 24/09/2017 at 23:06:20
Paul (#34):

There'd be some difference but not necessarily an improvement. Giroud has experience and nouse but no pace.

The last two games, our first wins for a time, have both shown the immediate difference that a bit of speed and quick movement makes. The evidence is right there. In my opinion the last thing we need to do now is blow many tens of millions on another slow player, an older player with a limited future time-wise.

Giroud, at even his very best, is not about to propel us into the top four, so why not develop with what we have and save the big money for someone of the pace and potential tenure at the club that we need and can build with for the longer term.

Koeman needs the brakes putting on him with his penchant for plodding speed. His vision, whatever the hell it is, will have us back to the start-of-the-season stuff – not that we've actually got fully away from it yet.

John Pierce
50 Posted 24/09/2017 at 23:42:50
Brent, almost a constant cause for concern under Koeman is poor selection/formation that have had to be changed at half-time.

From game 2 at West Brom, and him screwing over McCarthy after 30-odd mins, to a game to yesterday, when a pedestrian selection left him no alternative but to opt for energy and pace.

There were numerous games last year it happened. He often pulled Gana, a tacit admission he is too defensive.

Initially by many seen as a great strength to remedy a mistake quickly, its frequency became a symptom of poor management, compounded by using substitutes unnecessarily, wasting resources for later in the game.

I'd like to hear if there is a counter argument out there that can justify why Koeman gets that initial selection so wrong?

Will Mabon
51 Posted 25/09/2017 at 00:57:51
"I'd like to hear if there is a counter argument out there that can justify why Koeman gets that initial selection so wrong? "

Only Koeman knows that, John. He's not getting it wrong in his mind. He might be the wrong manager but he is not stupid. He has his own plan and his own motivations. It isn't working but he will obstinately stick to it unless forced to change.

John Pierce
52 Posted 25/09/2017 at 04:02:23
Will, my own take is mostly supposition, but I believe he thinks himself tactically superior. Evidenced by his need to alter the line-up, especially at the back, too often. Up there with the best of the tinkermen generation, even they rarely fucked about with the defence as much as Koeman does.

It's unsettling and actually not that productive as mostly changes at the back are there to stop the opposition not attack them. I'd even go as far to say his over rotation of the goalkeeper especially this season is baseless. To what end? We have a new, prodigious goalie. The team needs to understand his strengths/weaknesses, and he needs to settle. He doesn't need resting at all and Stekelenburg only serves to make the back four/five/seven nervous.

To try and get a handle on it, he simply over complicates and fiddles too much with the team. A more stable, less erratic approach would surely allow his team to gather some traction?

Paul Kennedy
53 Posted 25/09/2017 at 10:32:51
I would not like to see Giroud at the club. If he is not good enough to play for Arsenal, why should he be good enough for us?
Steven Jones
54 Posted 25/09/2017 at 17:24:59
I think we are taking time to gel – young ones developing well, the new ones from the continent such as Davy and Sandro are taking time to acclimatise and find an understanding with their new teammates.

Both if these will come good, are great hard working professionals and in Davy, someone who scored 23 goals last season, took his team Ajax as captain to the final of Europa League.

Sandro has the Barca heritage and played well in Spain last season, scoring a number of goals.

A lot of relevant analysis on the forum of Koeman approach, tactics etc but I do remember Liverpool and Spurs bringing in a lot of players a few seasons back and it is very hard to gel and find form for all in a short space of time. It just might take more time and playing with formations and combinations of players.

Will Mabon
55 Posted 26/09/2017 at 06:03:07
"Will, my own take is mostly supposition, but I believe he thinks himself tactically superior."


Will Mabon
56 Posted 26/09/2017 at 06:13:59
"I would not like to see Giroud at the club. If he is not good enough to play for Arsenal, why should he be good enough for us?"

Yes. In the absence of the power to obtain the big names, why not focus on what we have and bringing in younger talent in the right vein (which we have already to a degree).

The difference made by buying in cast-offs from the clubs above us is unlikely to justify the outlay. How many short-term older players do we really need, if we're trying to develop as a team?

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