You learn who you can depend on

By Paul Traill 24/11/2017 24comments  |  Jump to last

Just Ste and I went to this one, but such was the paucity of attendees, even with setting off a little late, we were able to comfortably park and get a pint. Ste and I were both a bit miffed when we saw Sehrou Guirassy tumble in the penalty area to gain Cologne a spot kick - and consequently a win - against Arsenal. Not miffed that Arsenal lost of course, but aggrieved that Guirassy went down in exactly the same fashion as Oumar Niasse, but nothing will ever be made of Guirassy’s dive. I don’t suppose their ex-captain is going to take to the airwaves demanding he be punished. What a farce.

We then got a quick chippy, and with still a little time to kill and the streets as good as deserted, we nipped in The Winslow Hotel for a drink before going into the stadium. It felt like pre-season as we made our way in. It really did, though this hadn’t stopped a few other hardy souls who had also come the match, one who travels from Middlesborough every game home and away. I don’t know how he does it, I really don’t. At the other end you had to credit the Atalanta supporters for filling the away end and backing their team throughout.

Unsurprisingly, and thankfully, David Usworth kept what he felt the bulk of his first XI well away from this one. The game meant nothing and it wasn’t worth risking anyone he needs for Sunday. The team talk on the face of it should have been a piece of piss. “Right you lot, here’s your opportunity. Prove to me why you should be in the team”. Unfortunately the majority out there only really proved why they shouldn’t be in the team.

Who did OK? Jonjoe Kenny - gave his all and was rightly given a rest for the final 20 minutes to give Morgan Feeney his debut. Wayne Rooney - seemed to end up in a few different positions and finished the game in midfield trying to spray passes. Not everything worked, and his set-piece delivery was poor but he at least showed heart and good intelligence on the ball.

Kevin Mirallas - I say just put up with him being a nark for the good of team performance. We’re in no position to be choosy. Like him or loathe him, and there are holes in his game, if we’re looking for productivity, he’ll create more opportunities and be involved more than most in midfield. Even if it’s just to help us out until he gets his Olympiakos move in January, so be it.

He had a few efforts on goal in the first half, one of which really should have resulted in an equalising goal for Sandro, but for his horribly wayward shooitng. Beni Baningime - needs time to develop and he made some mistakes but he looks a good prospect and has more than held his own this past month or so. Nikola Vlasic - replacing Davey Klaassen from the substitutes bench, he made a couple of errors but he is at least positive. His alienation from the squad is baffling.

Who didn’t do OK? Joel Robles - made a few good saves but I don’t know what happened with their second goal and his distribution was awful at times. What has happened to Maarten Stekelenburg by the way? He’s not injured is he? He just seemed to disappear.

Ashley Williams - the game is up. He’s too slow. He’s not brave. He doesn’t anticipate. He should be nowhere near our team. Neither of the other senior centre backs seem to be able to bear playing with him.

Sandro Ramirez - took his goal well when he was afforded a surprising amount of space but he otherwise played poorly. He missed a golden chance to score in the first half and though he runs, he’s not offering enough quality to put himself in the team. It was a big opportunity for him with Oumar Niasse suspended for the next two games and he really didn’t take it.

Cuco Martina - I don’t get the impression he really wants to be out there on the pitch really. That said, I don’t know who ever decided he’s a player who can play left back because he plainly can’t. At right back I think he can do a job, but at left back he’s all over the shop. Davy Klaassen - it wasn’t for lack of effort, and I can see a good player in there somewhere, but he’s going to need time to adapt to the Premier League. Time we can ill-afford currently.

Benefit of the doubt goes to the rest. Tom Davies is having a bit of a struggle, but can be relied on in that he does have character and he doesn’t hide. He has plenty to give, but not this weekend as he’s suspended. Michael Keane was cumbersome at times but just can’t play with Ashley Williams. Let Phil Jagielka and Michael Keane build that partnership…at least until January. Dominic Calvert-Lewin wasn’t great but is capable of better, while it was always going to be tough debuting into a defensive position with 20 minutes to play in that team, as was the case for Morgan Feeney. It should have been a dream come true for him but it instead turned out to be a nightmare.

On another day we might have drawn back level, but we have such a weak underbelly that we’re always up against it currently. All we can do is draw a line under it and go well at Southampton on Sunday.

One bright bit of news that emerged yesterday was the welcome news that Everton have exchanged contracts to lease the land at Bramley Moore Dock. To think, what we just witnessed could be Everton’s last ever European fixture at Goodison Park.

Talk about going out with a whimper!

Man of the match: For effort alone, Wayne Rooney.

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Reader Comments (24)

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Christopher Timmins
1 Posted 24/11/2017 at 06:39:17
We obtained further evidence last night that most of the summer signings are turning out to be a disaster and that Williams has had it as a central defender.

When the window opens in January we need the following at a minimum:

Central defender
Central midfielder (i have given up on McCarthy every getting fit)
Central striker

We have a huge squad but unfortunately on last night's evidence too many who are simply not up to it!

Keith Johnson
2 Posted 24/11/2017 at 07:22:42
Oh my god!! What a performance – the only bright spot was Sandro getting a goal. Hopefully it will boost his confidence.

I had great hope for Unsworth but he' too nice a guy. One player who we don't need is Williams (slow, overweight).

Cut their wages till they earn it.

Gordon White
3 Posted 24/11/2017 at 08:15:36
Fed up of this. Fed up of not pressing, woeful defending, and when we do get forward, there's no support and no one in the box. They don't play as one team either in defence or going forward.

What's the use of getting forward into good positions only to keep passing the ball backwards? Davy Klaassen looks like a ballet dancing skipping round and avoiding tackles, and Williams, dreadful?

Why is there never someone beyond the back post for corners and free kicks? 5-1 and we've got an ex defender for a manager. Arsenal must be laughing their heads off.

Mark Andrews
4 Posted 24/11/2017 at 09:08:52
Rooney as man of the match? Whilst I don't doubt his desire for the club it's glaringly clear that he was finished 2 seasons ago. His lifestyle has taken it's toll on his prodigious talent and he's done as a top class player. There's a reason that manure didn't play him and let him go and we're seeing it.

I fear for our club and I'm genuinely embarrassed to be a blue at the moment. We worshipped at the cult of Koeman and are paying the price for putting trust in a man who's ego outstripped his very limited ability. I'd be amazed if he goes anywhere near a top flight club again. His ineptitude has left a weak, unbalanced club full of players who are past it and players who will never make it.

I wonder if we'll even be in the Championship by the time we play at Bramley Moore?

Alasdair Mackay
5 Posted 24/11/2017 at 09:46:19
A lot of the players were dreadful last night.

I don't think we are in relegation trouble, but several players who have ability have played their way out of contention for a start in the near future and maybe out of the exit door in January.

Unfortunately - some of those individuals play in positions where we have insufficient cover, so they will more than likely get the chance to prove themselves incapable yet again.

There-in lies the problem. We can't put pressure on individuals because we do not have cover. Williams, Keane, Martina, Klaassen were all awful last night. It should be mentioned that Robles, by all accounts, played well and Sandro continued to work hard and took his goal well.

Rooney was good in the No 10 role, Mirallas worked his socks off without ever really getting the rub of the green and Kenny and Baningime continued to impress. Davies played fine, too, although he is not a leader yet and succumbs to the general mood a little too easily at times.

Still – you can't turn up with 7 players and expect to not get beaten at this level. Especially when 3 of those with somewhere else to be are in the back 4.

Very disappointed blue this morning.

Col Wills
7 Posted 24/11/2017 at 11:06:46
Klaassen should not be anywhere near an Everton team ever again. I've seen kids have better games than him: no pace, can't tackle, hides, no physical presence, it's like playing a man down from the start
John Raftery
8 Posted 24/11/2017 at 11:11:47
Unsworth did exactly the right thing in saving most of the key players for Sunday. Tonight's game was meaningless and some of the players gave meaningless performances. I would exempt Robles, Kenny, Davies, Baningime and Mirallas from severe criticism even though their contributions were far from perfect. The rest should be nowhere near the first team but we will have to use one or two such as Keane owing to the lack of suitable alternatives.

The lack of organisation when we were defending was criminal. If we had seen that standard from the under 18s we would have cause to worry about the long term future. To see it from an experienced group of current and recent international players was alarming for our short term prospects.

When we are conducting transfer business in January two key positions need to be targeted; centre half and centre forward. Until those positions are nailed down by top class performers we are destined to struggle. That is a statement of the blindingly obvious but in 2017 the club has failed miserably to address the obvious.

Col Wills
9 Posted 24/11/2017 at 11:44:42
One good thing about these Europa League games has been the chance to see 2 players in particular who have taught us a footballing lesson in creativity.

The first is Lyons Nabil Fekir and the second is Atalantas Argentine Gomez, they each had our so called defenders on toast. We should also be looking at Burnley's centre-halves, Tarkowski and Ben Mee.

Dick Fearon
10 Posted 24/11/2017 at 12:25:00
Paul, I do not envy your trying to be optimistic but what is clear is our shared sadness at the total mess our club has become.

Anthony Hawkins
11 Posted 24/11/2017 at 12:29:37
Rooney, Williams and Jags are pretty much done in the top tier of football. Baines is closing in.
Chris Rudd
12 Posted 24/11/2017 at 12:41:10
I'm amazed that anyone thought Rooney had a decent game last night. He's a relentless ball-losing machine, totally undisciplined in his positional play and being caught on the ball, all over the pitch including in his own goal area last night. He should never have come back.

Time to go, Wayne – USA, China... anywhere... just go.

Roberto Smith
13 Posted 24/11/2017 at 13:33:30
Klaassen sits too deep. Sitting deep he does, however, break up attacks. If you watch him, at the exclusion of following the game, Klaassen really is effective at slowing or stopping attacks... Ours, not theirs.

Watch him, it's a horror show of what no confidence does. He wants the ball played to his feet and becomes increasingly static as the game goes on. Opposition players just steal a yard on him, as he is not moving, or intercept the pass to him.

If our No 10, whoever it is, could just start moving into space as the ball is moved forward and expect team mates to play the ball into their stride, this would be a start.

Mike Allen
14 Posted 24/11/2017 at 13:54:58
Robles was poor; he conceded two headers inside his six-yard box plus one through his legs. He was not to blame for the crap in front of him but the saved penalty does not mean he had a good game.
Dave Abrahams
15 Posted 24/11/2017 at 15:10:17
John (8), your second paragraph spoke volumes for me, it was exactly like I saw our defence perform, like the Keystone Cops but not as funny. Witness them after Robles saved the penalty or from two or three corners, just lashing out at the ball, some connecting, some missing, two of them kicking at the same ball. It was taking four or five touches by different players before they got it out of the penalty area and always straight to an Atalanta player.

John, if we had seen it from an U11 players team, we would have been appalled; unbelievably inept.

Dave Williams
17 Posted 24/11/2017 at 16:55:03
Too many players who can't control the ball, pass to the opposition all the time, ie, Rooney, won't attack the ball, won't cover (first goal) and can't keep shape.

Unsy is on a hiding to nothing. Imagine the senior players in training. They will be looking at Unsy thinking he will be gone again soon so might as well wait for the new guy and don't bother much until then at least.

We need a manager to enforce basic drills for defending including set-pieces – repetition not enjoyable sessions. I hate the thought but Allardyce would sort them out quickly as would Dyche. Some fancy-pants foreign coach might just struggle because this shower are not ready to play good football - they have to re-learn the basics first.

Gordon White
18 Posted 24/11/2017 at 17:39:43
It's all very well blaming individuals. And I do too. But we didn't play as a team. And that's the managers fault. It was all disjointed. Regardless of the importance of the game, Everton FC shouldn't be losing games 5-1 at home!

I said long before Koeman left, it would be damage limitation until January. And following the absolute farce that was the summer transfer window – we're going to find out a lot about our new owner, and his resolve, in January.

Steve Hogan
19 Posted 24/11/2017 at 17:45:48
What did it for me was Unsworth, late in the game,taking off an 'uninjured Jonjoe Kenny, and giving an untried 18 year old his debut. Why?

Consequently, Feeny was given a 'roasting' for the last 20 minutes as Atalanta were given even better chance of increasing their goals tally.

Sorry Unsy, that did it for me, back to the U-23s I'm afraid.

Gordon White
20 Posted 24/11/2017 at 17:55:35
Steve (#19),

So his tactics and decision making are questionable. But it's okay to be in charge of our future then? Perhaps I'm being harsh. But it's a fair question.

Jason Wilkinson
21 Posted 24/11/2017 at 18:17:10
Bill (Kenwright) I can tell you who you can rely on. Around 12,000 die hard fans who will turn up to watch the worst team in living memory. I can't wait for the January transfer window. We could get some more average ex players into the backroom staff and spunk some more of Farhad's money on has beens and misfits.

Sell your shares, move closer to theatre land and become a fan again please. I admire what you have done over the years but the business needs to move on. Even the also rans have plenty of cash now. They have realised the Premier League is evolving. We are still little old Everton, boys pen, the grand old lady, the fourth most successful team in English football etc.

There are Evertonians who have never seen us win anything. There are those of us that are lucky enough to have seen great football and trophies. Then there are those who are content with rekindling the past.

Please! For the very future of the club, leave it to the 21st century business men and football coaches.

Clive Rogers
22 Posted 24/11/2017 at 19:42:20
Jason, the only thing I disagree with is when you say you admire what Kenwright has done over the years. He has turned us into a small club and a laughing stock with his lack of ambition, poor appointments and his non existent business acumen.

He has still never put a penny into the club despite making millions on his shares. He is still having an adverse affect on the club, and worst of all seems to be a jinx.

Jack Convery
23 Posted 24/11/2017 at 20:17:57
Agree Sandro scoring was a glimmer of light and a mere glimmer at that, in what will become a very dark corner in EFC history. The Club as a whole has let us the fans down completely this season, though this has been coming for a long, long time. The Patient took a very nasty turn in the November of Bobby's second season. The defence has been falling apart ever since then. Koeman realised this when Bobby never did.

He bought Williams on the back of the Euros and now both are finished at EFC. Jags has been creaking since then too. though his application has never been in doubt. Baines is nowhere near what he was before he started picking up injuries but thank god for his coolness at taking penalties. Coleman is missing. Distin has never been replaced. Funes Mori should have gone after the Derby where he got sent off. So that leaves us with Keane whose confidence has drained completely with whats gone on around him.

I did however expect more mental strength from him. Especially given the fact he resurrected his career after Man Utd got rid of him. That takes character but where is it now? I believe the timing was right for Keane to come in and take over the running of the defence. Maybe once Jags / Williams are out the picture he may come good but he needs to man up and show a pair. Pickford and Niasse are the first two names on the team sheet. Both have a great attitude and appear to have a great belief in their own abilities. Coleman has that too and I hope he's not mentally scarred - I doubt he will be - but you never know until that first hard tackle arrives. Holgate is learning as is Kenny. Martina should collect his bags and hand in his locker key in January.

That leaves us with a defence of Pickford - okay, Kenny L Plates, Keane nervy, Jags past glories and Baines can't command the left as he used to. Not good is it.

The Midfield - where to start. Lennon must play for his work rate and supporting of Kenny. He also gives his all. On the left Mirallas - not for me. His time is up at Goodison. Vlasic must start in front of Baines. His energy will aid Baines immensely. The two central midfielders for me should be Davies and Gueye. Energy / enthusiasm and a good reading of the game. If Barry was still available I'd pick him – bad business selling him to WBA – a fellow relegation candidate.

Schneiderlin needs to see a shrink or a physio or both as something as gone dramatically wrong with him. Besic has never done it and boy did I want him to but if he can't get into this team, what team can he get into. McCarthy's injuries are not looking good for him. We could do with him back as he once played but how many EFC players can we say that about at the present time. Lookman needs time and is at the learning stage. Cameo appearances and coming on when defenders are tired may be a good ploy right now.

Niasse is the centre forward as there is no one else scoring in that position for us. DCL is his cover for me. I would play Sigurdsson at No 10 and tell him he has 5 games to show us why we bought him. Rooney is his cover.

Klaassen is the guy I feel most sorry for right now. The guy is a very good player the wrong club at the wrong time comes to mind for me. I really hope he and Sandro do come good with us but right now we do not have the time to get them bedded in so to speak. Their playing records are very good – Sandro's 16 goals in Spain were not a fluke. However I think back to Ajax v Man Utd and how badly Ajax played that night, Klaassen like the rest of Ajax was anonymous. That alone should have had the alarm bells ringing for Walsh. If you cannot perform in the biggest game of your life what are you in the team for in the first place.

I may have missed players out as they haven't crossed my mind, These are my immediate thoughts after last nights total calamity. I have not forgotten Barkley but I do think he's off in January - why would he stay.

I hope we get something at Southampton as confidence is what this squad needs more than anything else at present. Even a new manager will take time to instill that into them.

Good luck on Sunday to the team and the fans going down there.

Paul Birmingham
24 Posted 24/11/2017 at 21:50:29
Salvation soon? You'd like to think the board have a plan?

Babel, Hell, it's all the same, it's killing the club and so now the “board” must act and be decisive.

I also think the club needs a therapy unit outside St Luke's for long suffering supporters with vouchers for 8 pints on the club etc like the club has done with free away match coaches, on the odd occasion. Any gesture by the club would be appreciated, as the club has let the supporters down, this year, big style, more than many previous big style failures...

The BBS and stagnation tones from the club in my view render seriously if they take the EFC supporters seriously.

Seriously if the club can't admit the damage inflicted these past 18 months, then there's no hope.

Let's see what happens and perhaps soon we will have a structure at EFC.


Charlie Lloyd
25 Posted 25/11/2017 at 00:29:17
Paul I respect what you say about Keane but that non defending for the first goal really plunged to a new low.

As an under 10 player I was taught to offer the forward a channel to run into and was never square on. You can't dress it up any other way. A £25+m player should not be doing that. No matter the other faults to his game.

I do agree with you on Williams though. If he pulls our shirt up over his face after another culpable act I swear I'd love to rip the shirt off his back and make sure he never has the audacity to wear it again.

Jason Wilkinson
26 Posted 25/11/2017 at 00:51:53
Clive #22, I hear what you're saying. When I said I admire what Bill has done. I was referring to him taking the club on when Peter Johnson left us in the shit, looking for the right kind of man to come into the club (not just sell to the highest bidder)

I do believe that we could well have been sold to a group like those who took over at Brum, City (prior to Sheik Mansour) or even some investment group that would have systematically broken the business up for a quick profit.

In no way do I look at Bill and think he has been the great evertonian. Only wanting the best for the club without keeping an eye on his share value. He has stuck around too long. He has made monumental fuck ups. He has been highly embarrassing at times. I still believe he is a fan first and a failed leader of the club. This is why I would like him to step down gracefully.

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