Summer Madness

by   |   16/10/2017  17 Comments  [Jump to last]

I am, like thousands of Everton fans elsewhere, totally aghast at the dire fare we have to put up with at the moment. You can use as many words as you want to try and describe the team at the moment – shapeless, rudderless, tactically inept, characterless, static, serious lack of pace, serious lack of goals – while, as is usual, the manager takes the blame and, in this case, it’s probably 70% correct. Why 70%?

I think the summer transfer window turned from initially being one which enthralled all of us, with very early captures of Pickford and Keane, both quality internationals and young men. What happened next was I believe where the window started to turn against us.

Going back to February / March, we were obviously looking to take Sigurdsson off Swansea’s hands when they were heading straight down to the Championship. He was destined to be our No 10, our midfield creator, our guaranteed 10 goals a season man. But then Swansea recovered, stayed in the Premier League and were determined to keep Sigurdsson at all costs – no way were they going to sell him.

Koeman, not Walsh, then switched his target to Klaassen – he knew him well, he knew we’d get him at a price and he also thought he would be our No 10, capable of creating and scoring, but let’s give Koeman some due: Klaassen’s success was never going to be instant, it so rarely is with imports.

So far so good, but then Rooney came into focus. It looked early doors that he would go to China, then he wasn’t, then we wanted a loan, but Mourinho wouldn’t agree, then finally the swap of Lukaku and Rooney took place. It’s fair to say that Rooney’s experience, his stature in the game, his "done it all before" know-how, would be a huge bonus for Everton and in particular the young players we had.

So we had two No 10’s, Rooney won’t last 38+ games and Klaassen will grow into the Premier League. Then we got the “bargain of the year” in the shape of Sandro Ramirez, the 21-goal La Liga man, the ex-Barcelona man, and to be fair he still might come good.

At this stage, credit due, Koeman stated publicly on numerous occasions he still needed a left sided defender, a centre-forward and a wide man. But then it became absolutely apparent that Sigurdsson wanted to join us and rebelled at Swansea. I suspect that Koeman couldn’t resist the move, it was the player he always wanted, his “creativity” and rather than Walsh, Kenwright or even Moshiri raise objections to the in-balance in his squad, they kept quiet and got Koeman his prized asset. Now we had three No 10s!!!

Once again Koeman stated as loud as possible he still needed 3 players. The crime, either Walsh’s, Kenwright's or Moshiri's was that we only got Vlasic as the wide man, and failed miserably, naively, as Giroud and his missus declared as most thought, they were staying in London’s bright lights. Any Plan B (Benteke?), Plan C (Llorente?), Plan D (King, Long) was non-existent. Our left-sided defender didn’t even reach the drawing board for some unknown reason and we are now in this mess.

We keep hearing from disgruntled fans about using Mirallas, Lookman, Kenny, or Garbutt, but realistically other than Kenny the rest have failed miserably whenever tried. Mirallas, on numerous occasions, over the years.

Lookman looked like a 16-year old novice when played against Hajduk Split away. He went missing time and time again, lost countless balls and was pulled off at half time. He has so much to learn about the quality required to play in the Premier League.

Garbutt is great going forward but like Galloway he can’t defend at all, both have been given loans and failed.

So here we stand, a squad with 8 or 9 new players, a number of who will want 6 months to bed in, a side lacking the 2-3 players who can run at pace, a side with too many players who want to direct/control play, a side with 3 defenders well over 30, and a side lacking the pre-requisite 20-goals-a-season forward.

Whose fault, Koeman, Walsh, probably parts of the Board, but as usual Koeman has been given the jigsaw to manage with key parts missing. Hopefully Coleman and possibly Bolasie will be able to return, though again it will be 4 to 6 games before they will be firing on all cylinders. January is the first opportunity to get the new parts, but then realistically they’ll require 4 months to bed in.

So let’s be prepared for a long, long season with, I suspect, early Cup exits and relegation a permanent threat. Will Koeman be shown the door, I don’t think so. I’m not certain; if things go really belly up, then maybe mid-season, but if it’s a mid-table type season, then perhaps not until the season's end, if at all. This has been a collective disaster from top to bottom and I think Koeman will be given a chance to show he can manage it.

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Reader Comments (17)

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Derek Thomas
1 Posted 17/10/2017 at 02:54:04
Factually fair-ish enough Mike; Hope Coleman and Bolasie comeback as good as new. Spend another £150M+ in January and June... no wait, forget June – there's all that World Cup stuff to get out of the way, then player Hols, so they'll all be late back for training (good job we won't have any of that Thursday Cup stuff to distract us). Then they'll all need bedding in again.

My take is: don't write off this season, write off Koeman. If there's no decent replacement ready to go on the 6th November (or earlier), put in an 'Unsworth team' until there is. Not sure he would do any worse. But I am sure (as you can be – it's all a gamble after all) he will make, with the aid of some 'new manager bounce' a decent salvaging fist of it.

We can't drag it on or it will get worse and we will just end up doing all this again next season, if we stagger along below mid table but above the relegation specs.

I've said before I hope the delay is due to finalising departures and arrivals and not just Churchill's 'KBO' – Keep Buggering On / Micawberism.

Now please Mr Moshiri.

Jay Harris
2 Posted 17/10/2017 at 03:23:14
A very fair synopsis, Mike, and good reason why we should have showed some patience with Koeman.

However, I myself am coming to the conclusion Koeman has lost the fans and quite a few of the players.

We look like Rocky on the ropes every game we play now, no matter how poor the opposition is, and he continues to put the same team selection out after failing in so many previous games.

The points made by so many are very valid: we need some width and some pace.

Holgate is no use at RB.

Sigurdsson and Rooney cannot both play No 10 it makes the side so unbalanced.

Schneiderlin has gone to the dogs since he got married.

Tom Davies must be given game time.

Calvert-Lewin is wasted on the wing.

William Cartwright
3 Posted 17/10/2017 at 03:52:53
Excellent and logical article which shows the beauty of rational debate, but or me it is one side of the story with selected topics.

It ignores the sheer awfulness and the lack of adventurous play on the pitch. It also ignores the strength in depth of the players at Koeman's disposal, to some extent the legacy of ignoring the U23s and the simply shocking level of man management skills on display.

The litany of mistakes made has been the attitude to increase the squad numbers imagining that as we may be playing more games, that we should be able to field an A and a B team on different occasions. Instead he should focus on a steady core team of quality with a couple of genuine all-rounders of quality and have the U23s to fall back on.

We already have a big squad, of no little quality, but the selection of out-of-form players, duplication of players, out-of-position players, together with the non-selection of ostracised players, absent on-loan players, injured players, and missing players (ie, target man) just shows how useless he really is. He has to go.

Blaming the players? Bullshit. He reminds me of the WW1 generals who led men to slaughter just because they were who they were at that point of time. A bit of a dramatic analogy perhaps, and no disrespect to war veterans intended.

Given the highlighted concerns above and what I perceive as the most awful, pig headed, stupefying arrogance which make Bobby Bullshitter look a positive genius the please acknowledge we are in deep shit largely because of this man and he should wise up immediately to merit his six million + per annum, or simply sod back off from where he came from with his CV yet further enhanced.

John Keating
4 Posted 17/10/2017 at 06:12:44
Mike, I admire your support for our manager but I think William (@3) is far closer to reality.
Peter Warren
5 Posted 17/10/2017 at 06:40:25
Thinking Bolasie and Coleman will be ok within 4-6 games is nuts. They may never be okay and, if they are, it will take half a season after their injuries so don't expect to see them properly till next season.

Missing one striker shouldn't be the catastrophe it is. I actually disagree with Koeman and believe we need two strikers. He has been let down by the Board. The one thing I agree with Koeman is that Niasse should be nowhere near the team as he is garbage (seems like a nice guy). However Koeman even changed his mind on this!

Nothing excuses Koeman's managing, it's rubbish and an 8 year old could do better. Seriously, how about playing people in proper positions and starting Kenny, Davies and Calvert-Lewin in their proper positions. Play Vlasic and then another out wide (& yes there are options with pace, Mirallas/ Lennon/Lookman) out wide. Play Gueye in the middle. Then pick between Rooney, Sigurdsson and Klaassen as No 10. Play a back four. Well, that wasn't too hard, was it?

If Davies not playing well, stick Rooney or Sigurdsson back there. If Gueye not playing try Schneiderlin. If No 10 not playing well or still think need more pace in side then stick Mirallas with Calvin Lewin up front and play Lookman or Lennon in that position instead. But what does Koeman do, he plays Calvert-Lewin, Rooney and Sigurdsson out wide. Nuts. Play Sandro in cup games and/or the last 20-30 mins to get used to the games, you can see he is a footballer with skill.

Why let Barry go, could he not do a better job than Schneiderlin presently or even in central defence particularly since Koeman is obsessed with back 3? Bad management tactically, on match days, in the market, in the press and he's also a complete ballbag.

He's got to go.

Peter Mills
6 Posted 17/10/2017 at 10:25:54
“A camel is a horse designed by a committee.”
Kevin Tully
7 Posted 17/10/2017 at 10:46:36
Very valid points, Mike. We would all love to know who is the villain of the piece here, but I doubt we will ever find out the truth.

The simple fact is, and it was highlighted in an article by Lyndon, we find ourselves with a squad of journeymen. No flair players, nobody who can beat a man, and no striker! Our only player who could make things happen has been put up for sale and ostracised. After the summer outlay, that sounds more ridiculous by the day.

Like a lot of 'projects', things started brightly, but as soon as we came up against a difficult situation (no Plan B for a striker) things went to shit rather quickly. Six weeks effort and 㿙M for Sigurdsson whilst not identifying a centre forward seems to be the main failing here. We all thought we had a striker lined up, nobody I've spoken to thought we would start the season without a recognised number nine.

The sad thing is, the same people will be making the same mistakes in January, and next summer.

Charles Barrow
8 Posted 17/10/2017 at 10:53:31
Mike, a reasonable argument but not one I buy into. Even if he didn't get all players he was after, this doesn't excuse his dreadful, really dreadful tactics, his pretty poor man management, his playing people out of position etc.

I was at Brighton on Sunday – there was no improvement, still the same mistakes on selection, tactics and particularly how he insists on putting square pegs in round holes – the man's a fool. Brighton should have beaten us and really truly they were very average indeed.

Paul Kelly
9 Posted 17/10/2017 at 12:46:42
“Lookman looked like a 16-year-old novice when played against Hajduk Split away. He went missing time and time again, lost countless balls and was pulled off at half time. He has so much to learn about the quality required to play in the Premier League.”

I'll agree in respect to your above comment, Mike, but to single him out and for arguements sake, say nothing about Klaassen, maybe even Sandro, is a bit hypocritical I think. Lookman has been here a little longer, but , albeit, from a lower league. The other two I mentioned came from their top leagues respectively, they deserve the same degree of criticism surely? Or imo, none at all; they're all still raw and need time to bed in/adapt.

It's Koeman's job too to integrate them into the team and this is were he fails, miserably. Too much too soon for some, others out of position, rigid formations, we all see it, fuck me Mr Magoo would see if shown a dvd with our seasons highlights so far (43 secs) , so why can't that useless shit see it? he isn't a very good manager for us and it's certainly not working out (I've said before, but the connection to Valencia is unnerving) , and he simply needs fucking off.

Every time my phone rings or gets a message I reach in anticipation for reading the headline about him being sacked, leaving my mutual consent, fired out of a cannon, poisoned, getting his finger stuck in a dyke (Ellesmere Port)... whatever I have just read about Garbutt not being eligible to play until January and the word 'disorganized' popped into my head. Everyone knows Baines is no youngster anymore and his game time, like most in their 30s, needs managing. We didn't get the left sided defender, who I assumed would cover both LB and LCB, but let Galloway go on loan.

So potentially we had 3 left-sided defenders at the club, but can now only use one. We let 3 strikers go, didn't get our main target, but still didn't have Niasse registered for the Europa League. Again, it seems a bit odd.

Yes, these things can be down to timings, but we seemed to be hedging our bets on possible would be signings that never materialized over actual players that we have at the club. as long as he don't come back, I'm fine.

Stan Schofield
10 Posted 17/10/2017 at 13:04:53
Mike, yes it is a collective problem from the very top, and much of that problem will remain once Koeman leaves. But of course Koeman's job is to make best use of the players he has at his disposal. To select them appropriately, use tactics that are effective, and motivate them with good man-management.

It appears that all of these three things are missing from Koeman's repertoire, and as such it's difficult to see him turning things around. As such, I think he should go asap.

Steve Ferns
11 Posted 17/10/2017 at 13:24:09
A very well written and argued argument. Certainly gave me something to consider but ultimately I didn't change my position.

Let's start at the end of last season. We had a good side that was comfortably 7th and just short of 6th. So what was it?

Holgate Williams Jagielka Baines
Gueye Davies Schneiderlin
Barkley Lukaku Mirallas

Now consider Coleman is the right back for sure and Funes Mori was first choice at left centre half. What we had was a team that played similarly to Koeman's saints, particularly the front three.

Lukaku was Pelle – focal point.

Mirallas was Mane – a poor mans mane mind, but he brought the speed (kind of) and width.

Barkley was Tadic – the skills man, the creativity. Koeman had spent all season finding a position for Ross where he didn't need to defend and could still effect the game and I think he was getting back to his best.

So how should we have improved this side?

Keeper? Few would argue with Pickford.

Centre-back? Keane is an improvement on the aging two, but he really needed to be left footed! We need Funes Mori back.

Right back? Martina as a short-term cover for Coleman made so much sense. But consider this transfer carefully: We could officially approach him from 1 April 2017. The deal could have been concluded that day and he should have signed officially on 1 July 2017. So why was he signed weeks later? Makes no sense to me, unless there was arguments about how crap he actually is.

Midfield: Barry was done and needed to be replaced. He hasn't been and so the badly out-of-form Schneiderlin cannot be dropped as there is no other player in the side who can pass the ball over 40 yards.

Gueye's position – Davies is an improvement on him and so no need to sign anyone for here.

Davies's position – I think Klaassen was always going to come. He's a No 8, not a No 10. And Davies is a No 6, not a No 8. So Davies drops back and Klaassen replaces him.

Lukaku's position – this is the 㿚M question. For me, this was the only signing we had to make and the only one we couldn't fail to make.

Mirallas – some pace our wide was needed and Sandro seemed a decent and cheap gamble especially as we still had Lookman.

Barkley – I'd have moved heaven and earth to keep Ross. I love the kid. But, if you have to replace him, then Rooney was clearly the man for this position.

Where it all went wrong is there's no Number 10 in last years formation. Koeman didn't have one at Saints either. And now he's obsessed with them. Why didn't he stick to his tried and tested 4-3-3?

Why didn't he keep pace in midfield by keeping playing Davies as the 8? Why doesn't he try to return to the 4-3-3? Or is Rooney so incapable of playing 4-3-3 that he turns it into a 4-2-3-1? It seems to be that a few times that Rooney starts somewhere and then abandons his position in search of the ball and the whole dynamic changes.

I think the season can still be salvaged. We need to get Barkley fit and keep him for the rest of the season even if he walks for a tribunal fee (he doesn't go on a free) and try to play 4-3-3. Calvert-Lewin should line up at no 9 every game until the Window opens. But mainly we need pace at No 8, pace on at least one wing, and for definite Kenny at right back.

Steve Ferns
12 Posted 17/10/2017 at 13:34:27
I forgot to say, Rooney was always coming. It didn't just happen as you make out. Sigurdsson was always coming too. We knew full well he was kicking up a stink and we'd get him.
Paul Kelly
13 Posted 17/10/2017 at 14:22:11
Fernsy: “Schneiderlin cannot be dropped as there is no other player in the side who can pass the ball over 40 yards”.

Schneiderlin can't be dropped? Because nobody else can play a 40-yard pointless pass?

We don't have natural width, plus his game (should, but not in your opinion) involve a lot more than this shitty 40-yard pointless (let their defence regroup whilst hanging in the air) pass.

What about defending? What about winning the ball and passing forward? What about passing forward? What about tracking runners? – there's a lot more to his role than spraying fucking 40-yard pointless passes all over the show, à la washed-up has-beens at the tail-end, like Berndt Shuster or maybe Paul Rideout when he was dropped into the midfield in the 90s.

Looked amazing he did, Rideout, not the second coming of Christ you call Schneiderlin; plenty of people in our team who can hit a diagonal ball.

Tony Abrahams
14 Posted 17/10/2017 at 15:00:54
A diagonal ball to a fullback, Paul! The Cypriots must have watched Everton, previous to playing them because they just put a player either left or right half which stopped this great switch of play from happening.

People said three at the back doesn't work in England when Van Gal had Man Utd playing pedestrian football, but the very next year Conte, in his first season in England, won the title playing this very way?

Koeman, hasn't got a style, he hasn't got a favoured eleven, and his players look like they haven't got a fucking clue. We play narrow, yet have nobody to fetch and carry the football, which might just open things up closer to our opponents goal.

Does that even make sense? Because when a team are not being stretched defensively, then the opposition are already helping them. And when the middle of the park is so clogged up, then the switch is usually to an isolated fullback.

4-3-3, is useless unless it's played like Mouriniho plays it, or your team can manipulate the ball. Spurs and Burnley have both found it easy to play against by keeping possession, and then working a two-on-one against a fullback, with no protection?

Dave Wilson
15 Posted 17/10/2017 at 15:30:37

Since you first wrote about Schneiderlin's ability to hit 40-yard passes. I have taken a closer look. Sorry mate he just doesn't/cant do it.

An inaccurate 40-yard pass amounts to pointless surrender of possession. Some would even call it hoofball.

He is a poor passer of the ball. His success rate with anything over 20-yards is similar to mine when trying to hit the bulls eye with a dart – I have to throw an awful lot of them.

He is increasingly becoming a liability. I think we need to shorten the distance of our passes and quicken up the pace of them.

Our football has been poor more or less since he got here. You will have gathered,I'm not a fan.

Andy Crooks
17 Posted 17/10/2017 at 21:35:27
Dave, I can hit 40-yard passes. They go to no one in particular but by fuck I can hit them. It's hoofball, the same stuff you and I debated over in the Moyes days. 40-yard passes are the ace up the sleeve, the game changing, once in a while piece of skill. Not the way to go as a tactic.

Mike in the OP, your dismissal of Lookman is unfair, unjustified and based on what? The fact that Koeman doesn't rate him or the many times you have seen him play?

Garbutt? Is he shite? Well, the club pay him. Maybe he is no good; are you going on Koeman's view, which I suggest is , at least, not all that reliable, or your own, based on the many times you have seen him play?

When Koeman is sacked, I believe a fair bit of stuff will come out. I take the view that judging players who are managed by a beleaguered inept coach gives a distorted view of their abilities.

Steve Ferns
18 Posted 18/10/2017 at 19:08:11
When Koeman is sacked, I believe a fair bit of stuff will come out. I take the view that judging players who are managed by a beleaguered inept coach gives a distorted view of their abilities.

I agree, Andy; consider the players who play week in, week out, no matter what, without any criticism. Why is that? It can only be because they are ticking all of the boxes from the role the manager asked them to play.

What the fans expect of certain players and what the manager expects is clearly two different things. There's no point criticising a player for getting the ball and giving it sideways, if all he is doing is what the manager instructed him to do.

Back to an earlier point, Koeman clearly had a plan last season, he had a team with less players, less quality on the bench, but somehow he actually seemed to have more options last season. I sincerely believe that Koeman is the author of our current misfortune. It's not that he's having bad luck, or thinks are not just clicking. There is a serious design fault in the current setup and every fan can see it. There's no pace and no width. Everybody says it.

Koeman went on about pressing and productivity. This season we do not press and stats show we are creating less chances than all but the bottom 3. we are were we deserve to be. He has designed this. Get rid of him and get in someone who can design better.

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