Rusty Everton eke out victory over Ružomberok

Thursday, 27 July, 2017 324comments  |  Jump to most recent
Jan Kruger / Getty Images

Everton will take a slender lead to Slovakia next week after a largely sluggish performance yielded a 1-0 win over MFK Ružomberok at Goodison Park.

Ronald Koeman fielded £60m of newly-acquired talent in his first starting line-up of the season for this Europa League Third Qualifying Round first leg but it was the man snapped up for just £5.2m from La Liga and a veteran fullback who made the difference.

Sandro Ramirez was only named as a substitute given his late start to pre-season but the Spaniard came off the bench to add pace and energy to what was hitherto a very one-paced Everton side, while Leighton Baines's deflected shot provided the winning goal on the night.

Wayne Rooney started as expected and there were debuts for Michael Keane, Cuco Martina and Davy Klaassen, while Jordan Pickford and Sandro were on the bench.

Maarten Stekelenburg was named between the posts given Pickford's lack of pre-season preparation, while Baines captained the side.

With large sections of the Main Stand closed for renovations aimed at improving facilities for disabled supporters and Ruzomberok bringing just a smattering of travelling fans, the atmosphere inside Goodison Park had a decidedly pre-season feel as the Blues' season got off to a largely pedestrian start.

Everton had the first half chance in the opposition area after eight minutes when a defender shanked the ball awkwardly into the air and goalkeeper Macik inexplicably chose to bat it away rather than catch it. It eventually came to the feet of Idrissa Gueye, arguably the stand-out player of the first half, but he sliced high and wide of goal.

Rooney's first chance to re-open his Everton account was served up by Baines in the 20th minute but he fired wide from an angle and the veteran forward had a better chance eight minutes later but scuffed it at the 'keeper after excellent work by Calvert-Lewin.

A minute later, easily the best move of the first half saw Klaassen exchange passes with Rooney and Calvert-Lewin but he could only hammer the ball into the side-netting.

Gueye stung the palms of Macik from distance at one end while Eric Daniel seized on Ashley Williams' poor pass out from the back to force a low, one-handed save from Stekelenburg before Calvert-Lewin saw the last effort of the half comfortably saved.

Emboldened by their hosts' torpor, the visitors controlled the early exchanges in the second half and Daniel had a half-chance but he hooked it wide.

That prompted a response from Everton when Martina swung a deep cross into the centre that was met by Klaassen but he couldn't steer his header on target.

The contest remained disconcertingly open, however, and after Mirallas's accurate drive had been pushed behind by Masik, Stekelenburg had to intervene with an excellent save when he finger-tipped Maslo's header onto the crossbar.

That led to movement in the Everton dugout as Sandro stripped off ready to come on in place of Calvert-Lewin as Keane's header off a free kick was deflected behind.

The Spaniard's introduction provided an immediate spark of urgency and when Everton won a corner in the 65th minute that was cleared to the feet of Baines, the captain rattled a shot goalwards that took a decisive deflection off Daniel and past Macik to hand the Toffees the lead.

1-0 was nearly 2-0 five minutes later when Mirallas caught hold of another shot that seemed destined for goal but the Slovak's keeper pulled off a fine save to turn the ball behind.

Sandro's first sight of goal himself came with 18 minutes left when he was released into the channel by Gueye but he was closed down and his left-foot shot was blocked by the covering defender.

With time winding down, Koeman introduced Ademola Lookman for Mirallas but it was Ruzomberok's own substitution that almost paid dividends when the ball fell to the feet of Lacny 10 yards from goal but, thankfully, he could only shoot tamely at Stekelenburg.

Kick-off: 8:05pm, Thursday 27 July, 2017

Everton: Stekelenburg, Baines {c}, Martina, Keane, A Williams, Schneiderlin, Gueye, Klaassen (Davies 86'), Mirallas (Lookman 82'), Rooney, Calvert-Lewin (Sandro 61').
Subs not Used: Pickford, Jagielka, Holgate, Barry.

MFK Ružomberok: Macik, Maslo, Maslo, Kruzliak, Kupec, Takac, Qose, Kochan, Daniel, Haskic (Lacny 83'), Gal-Andrezly
Subs not Used: Gerec, Curma, Kostadinov, Hajduch, Menich, Sapara

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Reader Comments (324)

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Trevor Lynes
1 Posted 27/07/2017 at 19:13:39
Everton are treating this match lightly judging by the team selected. Why no Pickford or Sandro?
Charlie McCann
3 Posted 27/07/2017 at 19:14:39
Stekelenburg and Martina starting and McCarthy not even making it to the bench. Absolute joke.
Brian Porter
4 Posted 27/07/2017 at 19:20:25
Would have liked to see Sandro up front with Rooney.
Dean Cooper
5 Posted 27/07/2017 at 19:21:02
Strong lineup, but a bit disappointed some of the youngsters miss out. Hopefully we can put a few away and give them some minutes in the away leg.


Steve Ferns
7 Posted 27/07/2017 at 19:26:19
Well to those of us thinking Koeman signed Martina as back up, how wrong we were.
Christy Ring
8 Posted 27/07/2017 at 19:26:30
Kenny deserved a start ahead of Martina.
Bill Gienapp
9 Posted 27/07/2017 at 19:26:30
Assume Pickford and Sandro are on the bench due to their delayed pre-season start, though that shouldn't make a huge difference for a keeper.

I like Calvert-Lewin well enough, though I'm not sure why Koeman is so smitten with him. Lookman's clearly the more exciting, explosive talent.

Craig Fletcher
10 Posted 27/07/2017 at 19:28:49
Disappointed that Dowell doesn't even make the bench. He's arguably our best pre-season player thus far.
Ray Roche
11 Posted 27/07/2017 at 19:32:31
Craig, apparently Dowell and Connoly have been "returned" to the Under 23's and Unsworth. I thought Dowell could have given us a bit of class this season.
Liam Reilly
12 Posted 27/07/2017 at 19:33:03
Disappointed for the youngsters, but this is a must win game (crazy to be saying that so early in the season, but it is).

They'll hopefully have other opportunities.

Gerry McDonnell
14 Posted 27/07/2017 at 19:54:58
I would have liked to see Sandro start this one but overall happy enough with the lineup.

This competition finishes on 16th May 2018 in Lyon, France. It all starts here for us tonight, let's see how far the journey takes us. COYB.

Craig Fletcher
15 Posted 27/07/2017 at 19:55:27
Thanks for that Ray. Disappointing nonetheless but we'll need squad depth if we get into the Europa League group stages, so hopefully Dowell will get his chance in the senior team again.
Barry Pearce
16 Posted 27/07/2017 at 20:03:51
Gutted for Jonjoe, hope he gets a chance sometime, would hate him to get disillusioned, and leave...

Agree with others about Dowell as well. Koeman must really rate Calvert-Lewin.

Jason Saggers
17 Posted 27/07/2017 at 20:35:50
Martina not filling me with confidence, seems to be the wrong side of the ball all of the time.
Lewis Barclay
18 Posted 27/07/2017 at 20:51:04
Barry (#16), I think Koeman probably plays Calvert-Lewin for his height as much as anything.
Craig Fletcher
19 Posted 27/07/2017 at 20:52:56
Halftime. Dire. Williams looks like he's playing a celebrity master's friendly, the less said about Martina the better.

On the flip-side, Klaassen has had some nice touches, Keane brings the ball out of defence well. Gueye busy as usual but rusty.

Peter Hughes
20 Posted 27/07/2017 at 20:53:56
I don't know what Koeman sees in Calvert-Lewin, to be honest!
Ernie Baywood
21 Posted 27/07/2017 at 20:57:05
Gueye, Klaassen and Baines probably the picks so far.

I reckon Klaassen is going to be very well liked.

Martina, not so much. I thought he was quick?

Joe Foster
22 Posted 27/07/2017 at 20:57:35
Disjointed first half. Nothing to write home about so far.
Dean Johnson
23 Posted 27/07/2017 at 20:59:00
Martina wasn't that bad, looks rusty.

Calvert-Lewin, Rooney and
Klaassen linking up well at times, Stekelenburg and Williams having a bit of a mare.

Keane – makes it all look so easy. I really like Klaassen so far, Baines also pretty good

Speed it up a bit in the second half and we've got it covered.

Mike Keating
24 Posted 27/07/2017 at 20:59:25
God awful.

We are playing Burton Albion Lookalikes for a place in the next round. I can't believe how poor we are.

Sue Brown
26 Posted 27/07/2017 at 21:01:22
I actually think Calvert-Lewin has done okay; good to see Klaassen settling in too, some nice touches there. We badly need to up the tempo though!
Brian Murray
27 Posted 27/07/2017 at 21:03:45
Ron too safe with his selection, the likes of Baines, Williams, Mirallas, Stekelenburg shouldn't be anywhere near the first team.... never mind the squad.
Tony Twist
28 Posted 27/07/2017 at 21:12:06
Absolute rubbish 1st half; embarrassing, to be blunt. No directness at all. Oh for a manager who plays the players in their favoured positions. I don't see any sort of team at the moment, the other side could snatch a goal here.
Brian Murray
29 Posted 27/07/2017 at 21:22:17
Unfortunately he had his favourites and today's manager is scared stiff to try anything different. The real top ones have the vision after 30 minutes to affect the game.

Having said that, most of squad have had chance after chance and shouldn't be anywhere near the first team – ie, Stekelenburg, Williams, Baines, Mirallas and so on. All bottlers in the big games.
Ary Lima de Moraes
30 Posted 27/07/2017 at 21:22:44
Awful performance so far. Need Davies and we're missing a target man.
Jason Saggers
31 Posted 27/07/2017 at 21:58:14
Struggle to see any positive from that game, lucky to get away with the win.
Mike Allison
32 Posted 27/07/2017 at 22:01:02
Poor. Slow and static. Martina was awful, won't cross it. I wish Kenny had played, it was the ideal game for a bit of youthful enthusiasm. Substitutions were way too late, needed to be done much earlier. Far too much backwards and sideways allowing the opposition to drop in.

Calvert-Lewin was a bright point, but I don't know why he's always a wide option, he should play more centrally. Mirallas in the side means Baines plays on his own on the left hand side, no wonder people end up criticising him, he never has an option on the ball.

Highly frustrating, not just because it wasn't entertaining, but because there was a clear policy of stifling promising young players.

Craig Fletcher
33 Posted 27/07/2017 at 22:06:37
We've given Ruzomberok a sniff next week.

We'll need to score. I'm assuming away goals count, so if we score once next week they will need to score three.

Dave Lynch
34 Posted 27/07/2017 at 22:08:47
I honestly thought Martina was tidy.

Williams didn't appear to fill him with confidence and as for crossing the ball, there was no movement upfront, the one ball he did whip in was wasted as no-one was on the edge of the box.

He was constantly having to go back because of lack of options; when Sandro came on,he had an option and tried to use it.

Brian Murray
35 Posted 27/07/2017 at 22:09:24
Moyes-like substitutions: too little, too late.
Andy Meighan
36 Posted 27/07/2017 at 22:10:15
Get used to this type of performance under this manager... Because that's what he's about!
Grant Rorrison
37 Posted 27/07/2017 at 22:17:20
New players. First competitive game of the season. Only a handful of warm-ups. Shit conditions and a team playing the biggest game of their lives and defending resolutely.

Think people are being harsh. We looked pretty good when Sandro came on. He looks like he'll be a real handful for us.

Gueye had a good game. Martina nowhere near as bad as some are making out.

Maybe to those who think we should beat every team with a silly name 4-0, it's a disaster. But a lead and clean sheet at home is hardly the end of the world in Europe.

Kevin Rowlands
38 Posted 27/07/2017 at 22:17:34
You're right, Dave (34), Martina had a decent game, just because he was brought in on a free, some posters have written him off as shite already.

Overall, although the result wasn't as good as we would like, the performance was quite decent. Rooney has still got it, no doubt; Keane looks an excellent signing.

Personally, I enjoyed the dodgy stream and think we have a lot to look forward to, no need for doom and gloom yet.

Will Mabon
39 Posted 27/07/2017 at 22:18:25
I too have to admit that Martina was less shit than I feared. He was caught a bit high once or twice but he also covered well at the back once or twice.
Tony Dove
40 Posted 27/07/2017 at 22:18:37
I really mustn't continue to underestimate Koeman. He is obviously a master of mind games lulling the rest of the Premier League into thinking this is Everton's best team. I do however worry that we have spent £23 million in buying Naismith back.
Kristian Boyce
41 Posted 27/07/2017 at 22:20:02
Does anyone know that, if we sign someone before the return leg, are they eligible to play the game, or is the deadline to register players for this leg passed?
Lev Vellene
42 Posted 27/07/2017 at 22:20:11
So, we won one goal to nil, despite Koeman's dire warnings to his disciples about that NOT being good enough...

For the return match, I hope we treat this as an opportunity for those NOT in seeming favor to actually prove themselves!

I still think we'll crash out!

I'm not happy! Koeman demanded a big win, yet he started the game with a team like he would in a pre-season friendly? And didn't change people/thoughts until after 60 minutes? Did I do my 'Grrrr!' before now?

Peter Gorman
43 Posted 27/07/2017 at 22:20:47
Exceptionally weak of Koeman to leave Rooney on the pitch after he was gassed (at 50 mins like). Team over individuals please.


Ron Sear
44 Posted 27/07/2017 at 22:22:20
Dull, Slow witted, Boring, Gullible, and that's before I get Roget's Thesaraus off the bookshelf. Quite worrying given the amount of cash spent up to now.
John Graham
45 Posted 27/07/2017 at 22:23:04
I wasn't a good game. Most players looked rusty. Hopefully things will quicken up and gel.
Stephen Karnes
46 Posted 27/07/2017 at 22:29:17
The amount of negativity on here is shocking. Lots of commenters seem like they couldn't wait to slag off Martina and Sandro. Others seem surprised that we didn't look sharp or cohesive.

It's going to be a long season for Blues who are only looking for things to moan about.
Minik Hansen
47 Posted 27/07/2017 at 22:29:43
I understand Martina being played, unfortunately it looks like he needs action to come back to his best, so we might see more of him.

Lookman and Calvert-Lewin simply need more experience. Well, they got that at least in this game – I hope Koeman will use them in the right games, this one being one, though the result was not the desired outcome.

Ruzomberok were so much more sluggish, maybe they did their best, let's hope that and we show up in the away leg. The team has slowly started to gel in. COYB.

Gordon White
48 Posted 27/07/2017 at 22:30:40
Pleased with the result. Still in our pre season. For some players it was the first time they've played 90 minutes. A lot of new players trying to gel.

Those expecting a rout will be disappointed. But need to be realistic. We win with a clean sheet. Good preparation for the start of the season.

Looking forward to welcoming Sigurdsson and a striker.

Andy Crooks
49 Posted 27/07/2017 at 22:31:31
The players aren't fit yet (Baines and Rooney were blowing like unfit racehorses in their interview).

There are legitimate excuses and some positives. However, I thought it was a poor show with no creativity. Martina offered zero going forward.

I expect improvement but I am concerned at just how flat it was.

David Morgan
50 Posted 27/07/2017 at 22:32:33
Martina was awful, not sure what game some of you watched.
Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
51 Posted 27/07/2017 at 22:34:32
After watching Martina, Seamus can't come back too soon.
Jeff Armstrong
52 Posted 27/07/2017 at 22:34:47
New signings...

Keane – very good.
Martina – Kenny is better.
Klaassen – no better than Davies.
Rooney – similar to his latter Man Utd performances.
Sandro – bright and alert, should have started.
Pickford – didn't play but should have if he's going to be Number 1.

Stekelenburg was decent though.
Overall... slow, predictable, too much sideways and backward passing... typical Koeman performance really, packed with crabs like Gana, Schneiderlin.
Stephen McNally
54 Posted 27/07/2017 at 22:36:53
I think people are forgetting the players aren't match fit. Also, with so many new players in the side, it will take time for the players to gel.

There were a number of positives tonight; but, it will be difficult to know whether or not genuine progress has been made with the squad, until a couple of months into the season.

Everton's recent spending will be like a double edged sword: a good win and the team will be going places; a poor result will mean expectations won't be met. The pressure is on!

Will Mabon
55 Posted 27/07/2017 at 22:37:21
Flat is a good description, Andy. It had the feel of many of our away performances last season despite the different personnel.

I still don't think Koeman is a motivator, a builder of team spirit.

Paul Mackie
56 Posted 27/07/2017 at 22:37:31
If I was World Cup winner Jonjoe Kenny, I'd be seriously wondering what I'd done wrong to not get selected ahead of Martina.
Paul Hewitt
57 Posted 27/07/2017 at 22:37:32
That was the first match. Give them a chance.
Gavin Johnson
58 Posted 27/07/2017 at 22:37:42
On that display, Martina would make it into an all time Everton worst 11.

We've seen some shite over the years at right backwith the likes of John O'Kane, Tony Thomas, Paul Holmes and Alex Cleland but Martina looks worse than any of them. You've got to give the lad time but the signs aren't good. Jonjoe Kenny must be gutted.

My only conclusion on the signing of Martina is that Koeman wanted some eyes and ears in the dressing room.

John Davies
59 Posted 27/07/2017 at 22:37:50
Martina really poor I'm afraid, both going forward and particularly defensively. Please add a new right back to your shopping list, Ronald, or give the youngsters a go. This lad Martina is definitely not the answer.
David McMullen
60 Posted 27/07/2017 at 22:40:00
Guess I watched a different game; Martina was, in my opinion, at worst, the same level as everyone else. It was a mainly slow lethargic game.

I was disappointed we didn't crush them. Instead it was a training game attitude, let alone a pre-season friendly (better in the 3 games played).

I can only take heart we did win without conceding and, yeah, we will be fitter next week.

Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
61 Posted 27/07/2017 at 22:40:09
Gavin Johnson – you forgot Marc Hottiger!
John Roberts
62 Posted 27/07/2017 at 22:41:07
Not happy after watching that. I thought Baines, Keane and Gueye came out with positives. Davvy some nice bits but, overall, we looked toothless going forward – especially with Rooney up top. Lukaku leaves big hole to fill by the looks of it...
Phil Sammon
63 Posted 27/07/2017 at 22:41:46
Martina looked distinctly average bar one nice cross. I don't think he's anywhere near the worst 11 ever to have pulled on the blue shirt though. That's a bit OTT.
Ed Fitzgerald
64 Posted 27/07/2017 at 22:42:01
It's Martinez's fault these players aren't fit isn't it. Once Koeman has his players in place all will be okay.

Koeman is a tough guy if someone isn't performing he won't tolerate it and sub them.

I'm looking forward to his excuse this time. Gutless to leave Rooney on who was shite from minute 1 to 93.

Will Mabon
65 Posted 27/07/2017 at 22:44:46
I can be as critical as the next man mostly but I didn't see Martina as the worst player I've ever seen. Not to say I want him as our right back, but after the "build-up" in his recent thread, I was fearing a couple of pens conceded and an own goal or two, plus some total clown play.
John Roberts
67 Posted 27/07/2017 at 22:47:25
Hate to say it but, Ed, I think your right: Rooney looked very sluggish, lost the ball, and out-muscled often.
Raymond Fox
68 Posted 27/07/2017 at 22:47:34
I thought Martina did okay, he had a busy night going forward and back.Williams was ordinary. I didn't think Klaassen had a good game unlike some on here.

Rooney's position is behind the forwards, not up front. Sandro looks worth nearer £50m than £5m. Gana had his usual good game. Mirallas always looks a threat going forward. Keane was sound enough. Baines had okay game.

They were a 25/1 shot tonight, but I think that seriously underestimated them, I thought they played well.

Will Mabon
69 Posted 27/07/2017 at 22:48:01
Ed - it's early days and things will improve. The extent to which they improve is the crux. I feel there are some heated discussions to come about the manager.
Drew Shortis
70 Posted 27/07/2017 at 22:48:29
This would normally have been one of the middle pre-season friendlies. Players are far from match fit and others are still being rested after summer internationals. New faces trying to gel. We still have 2-3 key signings to come.

We got a result, though a more exciting performance would have been welcome. As far as this tie goes, we'll score at least one away and get through with ease. Not the most thrilling game of football but when everything is factored in it's no disaster (think West Ham, Southampton and more recently Rangers).

Sandro looked lively and Klaassen showed glimpses of what he is about. Keane looked composed (as opposed to Williams). Martina looked pretty nervous early on but began to show some movement and intent in the last quarter of the game. I hope he is just cover for Coleman and Kenny though. It was good to see Calvert-Lewin start and Davies & Lookman given some playing time.

This run-out did nothing to dampen my enthusiasm for the season ahead or the way the club is heading!

Robin Cannon
71 Posted 27/07/2017 at 22:49:51
Not particularly impressive, but not particularly worrying, either. They're well ahead of us in their season preparation, given their season has already started and we don't have other competitive games for another fortnight.

I think we'll be a little sharper next week, and ultimately go through reasonably comfortably.

Kev Johnson
72 Posted 27/07/2017 at 22:50:00
Oh dear, that was shit. Wasted 90 minutes of my life...
Jack Ledwidge
73 Posted 27/07/2017 at 22:50:01
Maybe a few tough comments about Martina. True, he didn't offer a Seamus like contribution but coming into his first game I'm sure as a defender he wanted a clean sheet and took no chances.

Klaassen did things simple but more importantly quickly. The side will gel, the tempo will increase. Koeman has plenty to think about but so too have one or two players... Mirallas being one.

Will Mabon
74 Posted 27/07/2017 at 22:51:27
Raymond, they were a competent team, and I was surprised by their fitness later in the game, too. The next leg is not a foregone conclusion.
Gavin Johnson
75 Posted 27/07/2017 at 22:51:53
Phil Roberts ñ Hottiger totally slipped my mind. He was defo a contender.

Phil Sammon ñ Yes, I am being OTT, but he'll be a contender for worst 11 if he has many more displays like that. The lad can't defend crosses, his passing was suspect and he stops with the ball and slows down play instead of running down the by line. We shouldn't write him off totally but it was a poor home debut.

Ed Fitzgerald
76 Posted 27/07/2017 at 22:54:14

The fitness excuse was something Koeman trotted out last season blaming the previous manager. This guy needs more windows than Everest Double glazing to get things right.

We already have some cracking young players at Everton at this rate most of them will be leaving as Koeman fills a team with ageing has-beens – apparently we are after James Collins from West Ham.

Kev Johnson
77 Posted 27/07/2017 at 22:57:43
Oh my god, what was that excuse of a right back? After watching him, I have just jettisoned him into my all time shite Everton side. Ahead of Tony Thomas. What was Ron thinking?
Dave Older
78 Posted 27/07/2017 at 23:00:24
Knees jerking all over the place on TW tonight. A pretty poor show I have to say but Rome was not built in a day.

We need to finish the job and next week play Kenny and Lookman for Martina and Calvert-Lewin – why he was played out of position, I just don't know. At least Sandro looked lively. He must start next week. COYB.

Matt Edwards
79 Posted 27/07/2017 at 23:03:31
I can't believe nobody has been brave enough to bring it up but Rooney was terrible 2nd half. Gave the ball away and tried passes that just weren't on. As previously mentioned Martina not great and Klaassen faded although I thought he had a decent game.

I thought Baines was best player. I can't help but think in that type of game Schneiderlin becomes a bit redundant – he's a tidy player but Gana showed him up a bit and did most of the work for both of them. Tackling, interceptions and taking the ball out from the defence. I think Davies would have been a better option to start.
Dave Abrahams
80 Posted 27/07/2017 at 23:10:23
I thought Baines, Gana, Keane and Klaassen had good games. As Mike Allison (32) said Baines never has a winger in front of him. Mirallas was all over the place, but Baines was up and the wing all night and his goal gave him the MotM for me just a head of Gana.

Sandro looked good when he came on and looks a live wire who will keep defences on their toes. I wouldn't have a go at any of the other players, it was patently obvious that we are not ready yet, this match came much too early considering the importance of the game to Everton. We will get better and should be fitter next week and get through.

Paul Smith
81 Posted 27/07/2017 at 23:10:32
I worry Sandro will come to in 3 months and think, "What the fuck am I doing here?"

We need something through the middle. Never pined for Ross once tonight – that's a plus.

I thought Keane was class, he's a great addition, best player on the pitch for me. Cuco Martina looked dodgy to say the least and Rooney should never have come back, he's not good enough.

Buy Sigurdsson although he's no speed merchant, is he, and Giroud. Mixed feelings tonight.

Derek Knox
82 Posted 27/07/2017 at 23:10:48
It makes me laugh, but, in a very sad way. I watched the game, like most on ITV4, and the commentator intimated that Koeman said anyone treating this match with contempt will suffer the consequences!

I suggest this: it was he who underestimated the opposition – not the players.

Having said that, I still stand by that but could somebody please explain to me what Cuco brings to the game?

I have never seen such a bad right back/wing back be so useless in my 60 years of supporting the Blues.

I said in a previous post, do not treat this team as mugs – and what has happened? I am not trying to score Brownie Points, far from it; I am just trying to illustrate that you can never assume the opposing team are walk-overs.

There were some positives but very few; any promise came with the inclusion of Sandro and Davies but, there again, all too late.

Hopefully, lessons will have been learned, mostly from the Management Team.

Matt Muzi
83 Posted 27/07/2017 at 23:11:59
Martina wasn't as bad as I had anticipated. IMO we played a fitter team who were well disciplined & organised. They pressed us early on & had at least 8 men behind the ball.

We need a target man, another centre-half and some wingers. I don't like Calvert-Lewin on the right. I liked the look of Sandro, Klaassen looks good, and Keane looked good.

At the end of the day, it's a win and a clean sheet.

Tony Hill
84 Posted 27/07/2017 at 23:12:39
Pure Koeman stodge: baffling selection of Calvert-Lewin in the wrong position, persistence with two defensive midfielders at home against a limited side, late and pointless substitutions.

There is nothing knee jerk about it. We were shit in a very important game and I am concerned for the second leg at a tight ground with one goal in it. I think we'll get through but let's not talk nonsense about it being pre-season still – this is the start of a competition which we should be aiming to win and we've long known we were going to be playing at this time.

On the wider front, I see nothing to persuade me that Rooney is ever going to get up to speed – he is plainly a yard short. The next two buys will define our season (if we make two buys): we must get creativity and we must get another serious striker, preferably one with speed.

Worrying I thought, and I don't care that it was the first game and that we're in July.

Steve Ferns
85 Posted 27/07/2017 at 23:14:02
Everton were very poor tonight. We need to improve a lot, especially if we do harbour top 4 ambitions.

I thought Stekelenburg did alright, particularly tipping a shot onto the bar.

Martina was very rusty, extremely poor at first but got better as the game wore on and his crossing was better than Holgate's. However, why did Kenny not play? If you can't trust him against these Slovakians, then you aren't going to trust him against Stoke. May as well send him off on loan so his progression isn't stunted by the need to play this sub-par player.

The midfield was poor. Schneiderlin was well off the pace. His passing was slow and astray. I seem to differ with some others about Gueye, I thought he was busy and energetic, but he was sloppy in possession and positioning. Klaassen showed some lovely touches, moved the ball quickly and showed what he can do with that 1-2. He also made a few sloppy passes. He also showed that he's not going to provide the creativity.

Koeman played Calvert-Lewin and Mirallas far too wide for me. DCL provided our best chances in the first half, and was full of running. Rooney was isolated and well marked. Perhaps it would have been better to take off the completely ineffective Mirallas and play DCL central, Sandro left and Rooney right.

I found that Sandro and Rooney both dropped too deep and there was no-one in the box. Klaassen was playing too deep to be relied on to get on the end of crosses. If they were both playing off DCL, then they would have found space higher up the pitch. His height would have added something as well.

At the end of the game, I saw the Rooney I hoped we would have left in Manchester. He was on the half way line, blowing hard and doing nothing. He needs to be up top, not in midfield, putting his foot on the ball and slowing things right down.

Koeman has a lot of work to do on the training ground.

Dan Davies
86 Posted 27/07/2017 at 23:17:01
Gana was MotM for me, bloke's like a ball magnet. Sharp and keen. Impressive.

Rooney seemed more productive and comfortable playing deeper, with Sandro buzzing about ahead.

Tom Davies should have been introduced earlier.

Klaassen will come good in time.

Worryingly Cuco Martina for me seemed to be involved quite a lot seen as most are slating him. I thought he did okay.

Overall, we won and kept them scoreless, roll on next week.

Chris Williams
87 Posted 27/07/2017 at 23:18:15
Just back from the game. What to say about that?

Probably easiest to say what seemed to be missing.

1. Match fitness
2. Pace
3. Centre-forward
4. Width
5. Cohesion.

Some way second best as far as fitness was concerned, and concerns about lack of centre-forward and pace were justified, even allowing for the lack of fitness.

Of these 5 things, fitness and cohesion will come and there were some encouraging signs in the link up play from time to time. The other 3 things need addressing.

MotM for me, a toss up between Baines and Gueye. Klaassen, Keane and Sandro all encouraging. Stekelenburg made a fine save. Martina did okay, but nothing special. He has pace and strength but his distribution is poor and he slows thing down. He got turned easily a couple of times. Kenny would provide more pace, width and constructive play and would help the overall shape.

Rooney looked out of position and got frustrated but as always kept going. Will have wanted to do much better.

Williams was poor but did improve later, Mirallas had a shot well saved but did little else. Schneiderlin was okay but can and will do much better. Calvert-Lewin is not a winger, please stop picking him there. He tries hard but needs to bin the flicks.

We won and should go through with another weeks fitness and team building, but not a gimme. Concerns about what's missing will also hopefully be addressed in the not too distant future.

Feel a bit deflated but accept I probably had artificially raised expectations .

Rob Dolby
88 Posted 27/07/2017 at 23:18:32
Pre-season friendly feel about this game. Why do Uefa think it is a good idea to start this cup so early? I am not looking forward to Thursday and Sunday games.

The Stek was good, Baines looked fresh and Keane looked the more assured CB. Martina can only get better lets face it he cant get much worse. Kenny must be wondering what he has to do to get a game.

Sandro impressed in his cameo. DCL needs to move away from the wing as he is obviously a central striker who is being played out of position.

Think we will need to score an away goal in the 2nd leg as I think that the opposition will almost certainly score.

David Edwards
89 Posted 27/07/2017 at 23:19:16
Hmm... left ourselves a tricky away tie next week, haven't we? A sluggish display – decidedly pre-season and while Ruzomberck defended in numbers much of the game, making space a premium, and probably benefitted from a few more games beforehand - we really should be taking a great cushion over there.

The whole team looked ring rusty and all will improve, but I hope they up their game in time for what could be a defining moment in our season, even before it starts.

Despite a lack of sharpness and fitness, Stekelenburg and Baines looked solid, as did Gueye and Schneiderlin – although this was a game where defensive midfield solidity was less important than a more creative, attacking midfield spark – which we only showed in glimpses and suggests more transfer business might be needed.

I was impressed by Klaassen early on and think we might have that link man to the attack this season. I really think he could be an effective playmaker for us once he gets used to the Premier League. Calvert-Lewin put in a reasonable shift too and Keane looks a class act, although even he had a couple of dodgy moments – although not on the same scale as Williams, who looked worryingly off the pace even at this stage.

I see from earlier posts and on the Live Forum that Martina looks like being a bit of a whipping boy this season when he plays. Defensively he looked okay, but I was very frustrated by the way play slowed down significantly when he got the ball (which he did on many occasions). He rarely looked like attacking the bye-line down the wing, and too often it was the crab-like sideways pass which slowed things right down. Holgate is worth a run based on that performance – but it's early days hopefully.

Mirallas didn't have a bad game, but as he has always done, he shows flashes of invention but doesn't sustain it over a whole game. With new signings and youngsters available, is it time to move on – along with others sitting on the bench – and lose some of the baggage from recent seasons?

Sandro was a breath of fresh air coming on later and while there was a touch of 'headless chicken' about him at times, I'm hopeful we've got a real bargain and someone who can develop into a class striker for us. We will see.

So to Rooney. As the post-match interview showed, he still has some way to go fitness-wise and while he (like the whole team) will get sharper in the weeks to go – at times it looked like the feet couldn't quite do what the head and heart wanted. One thing is certain: he can't be our central striker and Koeman needs to make that clear early on. He looked much better when he dropped back deeper into the pockets after Sandro came on – but unfortunately by then he was knackered and couldn't dictate the play effectively as the clock ticked down.

Koeman's selection and tactics were not great tonight. Too much emphasis on the defensive midfield, Rooney leading the line and Davies and Lookman brought on too late to impact fully. Still concerned at times he doesn't always know his best team or his best formation – and having shiny new pieces on the chess board might not help him earlier on with his selections.

So fingers crossed we survive next week's potential banana skin and the team shift from 3rd to 4th gear, with the hope that we then move to 5th gear for the Stoke game! Still missing some key parts of the jigsaw and a proven, dominant striker, another creative midfielder and maybe a partner for Keane will go a long way to quelling my concerns for the season to come!

Christy Ring
90 Posted 27/07/2017 at 23:20:30
I still think Kenny should have started, still no shape to the team, and I know it's preseason, but we were playing who???
Terry Underwood
91 Posted 27/07/2017 at 23:22:37
Of course the guys were rusty, first competitive game of the season still, haters gotta hate
Trevor Lynes
92 Posted 27/07/2017 at 23:23:18
Rooney was pretty woeful and slowed us down a lot. It was glaringly obvious that the two players we really need have not been signed eg; A flair play maker and a top striker.

No top six side would have Rooney as a starter in their side. He has just about 45 minutes in him and that is it !

Fans are critical of Martina but he was more involved in the game than most and did not run out of steam. That opposing side this evening are better than we all expected and unless we play far better away we will struggle to get past them. God only knows what their pitch is like!!!!

We badly need Sigurdsson and Giroud asap as our attack is completely punchless without Lukaku.

Christy Ring
93 Posted 27/07/2017 at 23:27:14
I'd still put a fully fit McCarthy on the bench.
Peter Mills
94 Posted 27/07/2017 at 23:27:51
Many of us have been concerned about a lack of pace in the side. We didn't see much tonight that offered us any comfort.
Dan Davies
95 Posted 27/07/2017 at 23:29:49
Christy @ 93, what difference do you think McCarthy would have made to the game tonight?
Derek Knox
96 Posted 27/07/2017 at 23:30:44
David @89, there's no whipping boy syndrome attached to Cuco, he is pure and simply shit the bit that really worries me, he's in our side for another three years!

Either, he has some agenda on Koeman, or I may be missing something here, what the fuck can he possibly bring and add to our team, other than keeping young talented players out!

You may have guessed,I am pissed off with this charlatan already.

Ernie Baywood
97 Posted 27/07/2017 at 23:32:20
It may be a competitive game but the reality is it's been incorporated into our preparation... an approach that has a chance of backfiring now. So I don't want to read too much into it but...

I can't believe he left Rooney on. Was as if he was desperate for the 'homecoming goal'.

I didn't have particularly high expectations of Martina but he was dreadful! Repeatedly committed the full back's cardinal sin of just giving the ball away cheaply trying nothing passes. It's getting moved to him to recycle play – either go outside or give it back.

I stand by my assertions from last year that Schneiderlin and Gana are just two ways of playing the same position. And Gana is a vastly superior player. Schneiderlin does little more than 'a job' - even if he makes himself look quite classy doing it.

Big fan of Klaassen already. We may need to find a position for Rooney.

Tony Hill
98 Posted 27/07/2017 at 23:33:58
We should indeed be thankful to Stekelenburg for what was a brilliant save before we scored. 1-1 would be truly worrying.
Clive Mitchell
99 Posted 27/07/2017 at 23:37:38
Phil (#$61) – definitely, Marc Hottiger is the worst player I've ever seen in an Everton shirt.

Ronald, it wouldn't be wise of me to comment on your team's "first dress rehearsal" type performance. So I won't.

Mark McParlan
100 Posted 27/07/2017 at 23:37:51
So. I've just got back from Goodison and I've quite a bit to say about the match.

Everyone arrived in high hopes. It's testament to the way the fans have bought into Koeman's & Moshiri's 'new Everton', that a match against unknown non-entities in Europa League Qualifying was completely sold out. There was a buzz before the match. Really good atmosphere where I was, I feel the fans were really expecting something, all these great new players to really put on a show for us.

What we saw fell disgracefully short of the standard we expect against such a nothing team, and really let down the crowd who created a raucous atmosphere out of nothing tonight.

In the first 70 minutes of that match I saw some of the worst football Koeman has ever served up at Goodison. Truly shocking – woeful 'defending' by Martina and Williams in the first half, Stekelenburg mix-ups, shoddy passing from the midfield, terrible finishing up front.

I'll provide the ratings for the starting XI

Stekelenburg – 6. He did not inspire me with confidence first half, seemed shaky and communicated very poorly with his back line. We nearly conceded 5 seconds in. However, some excellent saves later improved his score.

Martina – 4. He seems... reasonably competent running forward but he's terrible defensively and can't cross, and I don't think he's up to the standard required to play for Everton. Right-back is a massive problem for next season that we have not addressed at all. Holgate and Kenny won't cut it at their age currently, and Martina is a poor player. I think if the board was serious about these new ambitions, if this big wad of cash was really here we would have gone out and spent £20 million on a proper right-back. But we didn't and got a shit free agent that Southampton can't wait to see the back of. Brilliant.

Keane – 7. He had a couple shaky moments, but I really rate him. He seems in control of games and I always feel confident of not conceding when he plays.

Williams – 5. There are still big question marks over whether he is good enough. He is the definition of a donkey. He really is woeful on the ball, controlling it and passing. He made mistakes first half, but improved in the second.

Baines – 8. A very solid defensive performance from him today, impressed Leighton. And that was a wonderful goal, captain's performance. Still, he's on the decline and we need backup quickly.

Schneiderlin – 6. Yes, he's one of our classier players but I always feel like he could be doing more, imposing himself more on games.

Gueye – 7. He was generally excellent today, good passing and excellent tackling, but he had a few bizarre mistakes too.

Klaassen – 5. I've yet to see much skill or technique in him yet, any cutting edge to take our midfield to another level. I think he's a good player, but he appears slow, takes ages to make decisions, and hasn't impressed me much yet. But there's time.

Calvert-Lewin – 4. I honestly have no idea what Koeman sees in him; he's not a goal threat, he's not a good passer, isn't good from the wings. His only use is as a target man to hoof the ball to because he's quite good in the air. Good decision to hook him.

Wayne Rooney – 5. I wasn't very impressed with him today, he seemed more like the slow and ponderous Rooney recently at Man Utd, wasn't much of an attacking threat. Very poor finishing too.

Kevin Mirallas – 6. I've definitely seen a lot worse from Kevin, but neither was it his best. He was decent, he was okay. Nothing more to say.

And final mention to Sandro Ramirez, who was nothing short of a revelation when he came out. We spent 70 minutes faffing around, creating nothing, then he comes on, running with pace, attacking, shooting, pulling their defence apart with energy and power. It's no coincidence we scored right after he came on.

So – very disappointing. This lot should have been out of sight by half-time.

Christy Ring
101 Posted 27/07/2017 at 23:41:17
Dan (#95), I think he might offer more than Barry on the bench.
Brian Williams
102 Posted 27/07/2017 at 23:41:48
Not long in and still in a bit of shock to be honest. We were poorer than I could have imagined. The team's crying out for pace and creativity.

Martina's a liability; Sandro looks very good. Keane looks solid, Williams doesn't.

Gonna have trouble sleeping after that...

Anthony Dwyer
103 Posted 27/07/2017 at 23:45:03
Brian Williams ⬆
Spot on.
Peter Gorman
104 Posted 27/07/2017 at 23:49:30
Agreed with pretty much every rating there Mark except for Calvert-Lewin – he did as well as you can expect any striker instructed to hug the touchline. In fact, he did very well to create a chance out of nothing for Rooney and play a neat one-two to Klaassen in to hit the side netting. Please don't put him in the same boat as Martina.

On Cuco himself; to say he is in an all-time worst 11 is flagrant exaggeration. We have seen some shite in our time. However, it is an absolute disgrace that he plays for this club when his level of talent patently doesn't deserve a shirt.

As has been noted, he is also hindering the progress of more than one promising fullback. Fans should be livid with Koeman for signing the player, not Cuco.

Paul Thompson
105 Posted 27/07/2017 at 23:51:22
It feels like a real let down after the build-up and anticipation. And it was – in fact, on chances created they could have sneaked a draw.

We learned useful things about the potential of individuals – Klaassen (to move the ball quickly), Sandro (speed, to find space), Martina (Kenny should have been playing!); but we didn't learn much about the team as it was all so disjointed.

We also confirmed what we (and the manager) already know – we need a target man and a creative midfielder. A big dilemma for us is who to play out wide until Bolasie returns. Calvert-Lewin looks out of place wide and Mirallas always cuts inside – result, not enough width.

Stan Schofield
106 Posted 27/07/2017 at 23:53:48
Abysmal, wasted two hours of my life.
Stan Schofield
107 Posted 27/07/2017 at 23:56:13
And I'm still not clear what Koeman's tactics are. That's assuming he has any.
Dan Davies
108 Posted 27/07/2017 at 23:56:20
Christy, fair enough. Personally I don't think he would have made any difference but each to their own.

Siggurdsson and a big skilfull striker next please Farhad! I do like the look of Sandro mind.

Anthony Dwyer
109 Posted 27/07/2017 at 23:57:38
On Cuco, I will say he wasn't needed at the club and he shouldn't be used over U23 Premier League 2 winning captain and U20 World Cup winner, Jonjoe Kenny, or Holgate.
Jay Wood
110 Posted 27/07/2017 at 00:06:04
Credit to the opposition. As to be expected, they were playing one of the most prestigious games in the club's history. They fought like tigers and kept disciplined shape all night long, making it difficult for a ring-rusty Everton to break through their defensive lines.

That said, width and pace was evidently lacking in the Everton team selected tonight, but I saw a 'plan' in how we will play going forward this season.

Rooney, Klaassen, Mirallas and Calvert-Lewin, plus Sandro, Lookman and Davies when they all too fleetingly were introduced, did on occasion play some quick-fire one-touch passing around the opposition's penalty area. I think we can anticipate seeing more of that this coming season as a way of playing through the centre than down the flanks as in recent seasons, with players inter-changing positions more.

For me, Klaassen had his best game to date in an Everton shirt. I like how he sees a pass early and has the ability to play it. Gueye had a good game, but Schneiderlin still looks ponderous on the ball to me and is often the cause of slowing the game down and playing backwards and sideways when we really needed an injection of pacier forward passing.

Keane looked solid defensively and no nonsense with his clearing, but a ball player he ain't.

As for Martina, to me it is a concern that Koeman preferred him to either Holgate or Kenny. Holgate is more understandable. As with Pickford and Sandro, with his extended time off due to the U-21 tournament, he wasn't risked from the off. Martina wasn't completely cack, but considering the opposition, he was exceedingly easily beaten by his winger and wasn't particularly incisive or clear in his decision making when further forward. I'd be nervous starting him against some of the opposition we'll come up against early season.

Lots of work at Finch Farm in the week ahead before the 2nd leg. Back in 1984-85 we had a wobbly first round game against University College Dublin. We need to be switched on to ensure we get through over there.

Andrew Keatley
111 Posted 28/07/2017 at 00:15:01
First competitive game of the season, so I expected some rustiness but...

The ball is moved too slowly all over the pitch. Movement off the ball is not good enough – meaning that the opposition are not being pulled in difficult directions. Too many players want to have too many touches – precisely because there are no exciting runs being made ahead of them. Only Baines seemed to work out how to counter this, as his decisions to shape to pass then dribble allowed himself some inroads as the game wore on.

Rooney is a big worry; he might end up being an albatross. Williams is going backwards. Martina is not the answer. Schneiderlin seemed to be playing well within himself. Klaassen got through 80 minutes without doing too much of note.

Good signs from Sandro. Bright cameo from Davies. Keane looks class. Stekelenburg made important saves, but his distribution was ropey. Calvert-Lewin will do a job; his aerial ability is very strong, and he is mostly neat and tidy. Baines was the star man for me – and not just because of the goal. He was the only one who seemed to take the game by the scruff of the neck.

I think this game was crying out for Gareth Barry, who – from what I have seen from the pre-season footage – looks in good nick.

Derek Thomas
112 Posted 27/07/2017 at 00:23:30
[Soothing voice...] The close season idyll is drawing to an end - 4, 3, 2, 1, *snaps fingers, aaaand you're back in the room.

Normal service is resumed. We're basically 17 years into the new century and on our 3rd Coach who doesn't know what his best 11 is, but can spot a square peg for a round hole at 100 metres.

These July qualifiers are a bit of graveyard recently for English teams. The away leg will be tricky and, if Stoke come here with a positive attitude to go with their usual prickly one, the wheels could all fall off smartish.

Charlie Lloyd
113 Posted 28/07/2017 at 00:23:35
We looked better in the 3 pre season friendlies than tonight.

It was slow, ponderous and a bit devoid of ideas. I'm not going to hang myself over it and we all know there is much room for improvement.

Positives: Gueye was impressive. Like the first 4 months of last season. He was everywhere. Calvert-Lewin put a shift in and put himself about. Rooney and Sandro got more game time together with the latter's cameo impressive. Keane was solid. Stekelenburg was assured. A decent back up keeper.

Negatives: Martina was skinned a few times and looked tactically inept at times. Williams was not steady. Schneiderlin was quite poor. He's not up to speed yet. Mirallas drifted in and out against determined but limited opposition.

They are going to be up for the second leg. We need to be ready for a scrap.

Paul Hughes
114 Posted 28/07/2017 at 00:27:59
Just back from the game. It was pretty dreadful, but it is still July, and so effectively it was a stiff pre-season workout. A win's a win, and we kept a clean sheet thanks to an excellent save by Stekelenburg from, I think, their only effort on target).

I thought Martina was dreadful, Kenny must be given an opportunity. Calvert-Lewin had a few good touches but still needs to be more convincing. Rooney looked lively in the first half, and faded a bit in the second. Throughout he was too isolated, none of Calvert-Lewin, Klaassen or Mirallas got close enough to him. We definitely need a focal point to play alongside him.

Sandro made a real difference when he came on, but that may have been largely because MFK were really tiring by the time he came on.

I think we've just done enough to win the tie, which is the main thing, and hopefully will be more match fit when the main event begins against Stoke.

John Pierce
115 Posted 28/07/2017 at 00:28:38
Line up was as expected based on game time and players return date. We won and laboured in the exact same fashion as last season.

The personnel in the main didn't matter, it was the reliance on playing two 'defensive midfielders' instead of another genuine midfielder against limited opposition.

Sitting in their half mostly Gana spent that time high up the park. Why? Why restrict ourselves, Gana is many things, not a dreamy passer though. It became laboured and stifled as too many passes between him and Schneiderlin. Koeman was far too defensive,; Davies should have played.

The lack of quick tempo, had the horrible affect of sucking Rooney into the middle of the park where it ain't happening for Wayne. When he was in and around the box, he combined well with runners.

Keane was hands down the clear winner in the transfer investments. Really tidy player, good at his feet perhaps knock off the Funes Mori impressions chipping balls into diddy forwards.

Klaassen impressed too, a first time merchant and a runner, sure several touches didn't come off but many were through balls and that will come.

As fluid as fast setting concrete, Koeman's tactics yet again leave me cold.

Christy Ring
116 Posted 28/07/2017 at 00:32:44
Barkley, last season, tried to take the game by the scruff of the neck; who is doing it now?
Tony Twist
117 Posted 28/07/2017 at 00:33:29
Quite worrying really, we were very poor, the manager is clueless though I am sure he will have someone lined up to blame. His view of having lots of ex skippers on the pitch will turn us in to a quality team is very short sighted.

Play players in their strongest positions or not at all. Calvert-Lewin on the wing?! Zero in the middle up front, the next Earl Barrett at right back when we have a very decent player in Kenny, a glorified Naismith in the form of Klaassen, a couple of decent chances for the opposition, two defensive midfielders playing at the same time at home – mind you Williams playing might have something to I do with that!

The positives; Sandro and Keane. It's going to take someone better than Swansea's £50m star player to improve things.

Sam Hoare
118 Posted 28/07/2017 at 00:33:42
All Summer, I've felt it hard to be as optimistic as some others have been. Today pretty much underlined what I have been feeling about our signings and our team.

Keane and Sandro are good signings who will make a big impact. Hopefully Pickford too.

Klaassen I wasn't so sure about as a playmaker but as a box to box should bring something.

Rooney, I didn't want. He's not looked consistently good for a while and I wasn't convince he'd be able to turn the clock back.

Martina is acceptable as a back up but surely should not be starting season as first choice. If Koeman doesn't have faith in Kenny then he needs/needed to get a proper RB.

I felt/still feel that Sigurdsson is not what we need as what we are crying out for is movement and unpredictability. Someone like Mane who can stretch defenses with his pace (Sandro looks good to that end but we need more than one) or someone like Coutinho who can dribble past a man to create space for an other who he will then find with an incisive pass (what I hoped Barkley might be this season).

This team is still a long way off being able to challenge for cups and top 4 in my opinion and unless we address our lack of attacking penetration then we will be looking at 7th and maybe a the odd quarterfinal if we're lucky.

Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
119 Posted 28/07/2017 at 00:42:39
Mark McParlan.

Why do we need to waste £20m on a replacement right back? Forget the kids coming through. We have a £50m one on his way back from injury. When Seamus is back, what are we going to do with a £20m one? Leave them in the bench? Sell them next summer?

James Watts
120 Posted 27/07/2017 at 00:46:02
Having decided not to wake up at 3 am to watch it, I instead woke up at 5 to watch before heading to work. Keeping off the net to make sure I didn't spoil the convincing win that was surely due.

Then I saw the team selection. Well surprised was a polite way of saying my feelings.

Having now finished the game I can safely say Koeman is just as stubborn as Martinez and Moyes. He has his favourites, unfortunately his favourites are shite. Martina? I warned you all for those that would listen. Stekelenburg shouldn't be playing, even though he saved us. Calvert-Lewin at right wing? Pleaseeeeeee. Let's not do that again eh Ron?

Very disappointed with everything I saw except the fact we got a clean sheet and a win, which I guess is all that matters right now. But if things don't get any better quickly, we'll be in the bottom 3 after 5 or 6 games and pressure will be heaped on Ron and his misguided favourites, tactics and style.

Buckle up people, it's going to be a bumpy ride!

Gary Hughes
121 Posted 28/07/2017 at 00:46:47
Well there you have it. Rooney leading the line against cannon fodder & he produced exactly what he's produced for about the last 3 seasons – nothing. Slow & lethargic as expected this treacherous has-been at 31 has the miles on the clock of a 36-year-old journeyman. Those of you who cheered his return deserve everything you get.

Apart from that, somehow Koeman managed to shoehorn in Calvert-Lewin out wide where he can't play as we saw so many times last season.

Any optimism for the bright new dawn has evaporated into thin air. The real mystery is that I had any optimism in the first place. I really should have known better by now.

Mike Green
122 Posted 28/07/2017 at 00:52:13
1-0, won the game, clean sheet, plenty of negatives but Klaassen looked handy, Sandro looks like he could be really useful, Rooney is still world class, Keane will be a quality defender for us and let us remember:

Half of the team have never played with each other in a competitive game and the other half have never played with any of them either!!!!

I love the default negative setting people have, they can't fucking lose. We go to shit, they were right. We succeed and they can jump on the funbus unnoticed.

Game 1. 1-0.


Davie Turner
123 Posted 28/07/2017 at 00:52:19
Lot of mixed feelings, not a good performance but take a lead back and 90 minutes under the belt. Early start to the season and it showed.

I felt Keane settled in quick, could do with a new partner though, Klaassen did well for me and Martina, he seemed to try hard but looked a weak link at the back. Sandro looks exciting and Wayne looked a bit like the player of the last 2 seasons at Man Utd.

I Feel we have the ingredients of a good team who can go far in the Europa League, another solid centre-half would help and we need some pace in the side.

All-in-all, a crap performance but no harm done if they can find an extra gear or two in the next leg.

Brian Wilkinson
124 Posted 28/07/2017 at 00:54:53
Back from the match, pretty much the same as other posters have posted.

But, if you thought that was bad, I was sat in Upper Bullens and two teenagers sat behind me gave a running commentary from the first whistle til I left in stoppage time. Not one positive even during the goal. Looked like Williams was their whipping boy, why isn't Sandro on, why this why that, non-stop for 90 minutes.

There's so much a person can take and had to bite my tongue before I nearly snapped and said "Shut the fuck up, it's bad enough watching this than having you rabbitting down my ear, repeating every single fucking pass." Rant over.

John Pierce
125 Posted 28/07/2017 at 01:07:20
Don't feel too bad, folks, only 5 of the ties tonight had more than one goal in them.
Andrew Keatley
126 Posted 28/07/2017 at 01:11:22
Mike Green (122) - How you can say (on tonight's evidence) that Rooney is still world class is totally beyond me. I thought he was woeful.
David Israel
127 Posted 28/07/2017 at 01:18:12
Being away and unable to watch the match, I was looking forward to some enlightened comment here, as is usually the case, but too many people have concentrated on the apparently hapless Martina.

Bring back Hibbert, I say! ;-)

James Watts
128 Posted 28/07/2017 at 01:37:24
To be fair, David (#127), Martina was pretty much what was expected. It's not the lads fault we brought him and played him. He'll be a Tim Howard whipping boy if Koeman persists in his selection for which I feel a bit sorry for him. Unfortunately it will also block Kenny's development as Ron has his favourites, no question about that after tonight.

Generally Koeman was the biggest disappointment overall with his team selections, tactics and subs. He doesn't seem to have learnt much from last season based on that showing. Players out of position, not making obvious subs earlier and persisting with two defensive midfielders against a team equivalent to a decent League Two team doesn't fill me with optimism.

We have mitigating circumstances for sure. 5 new players and only half way through pre-season being two of them. I think a lot of us expected more, hence the disappointment.

Apart from the overall result there are some positives. Sandro looked good, Klaassen smacks of a young Cahill, and Keane has settled in nicely.

James Peter
129 Posted 28/07/2017 at 01:42:25
Pretty much everything has been said but my tuppence:

David Edwards (#89) – Rooney couldn't have fell deeper into their pockets tonight.

I don't think I've ever felt this one before – When Martina went down, I actually wanted him to be injured. Not serious but enough to force Koeman's hand. Like with Martinez and Moyes before him, sometimes managers need to be forced into the right option.

I believe having Jonjoe Kenny in that team would have changed the complexion. More attacking width and would have opened the rest of the pitch up.

David Israel
130 Posted 28/07/2017 at 01:58:33
Thank you for the snapshot, James (#128).

I never let myself be demoralised by the first league match (which we usually don't win), let alone by a Europa League 'third preliminary round' one (when did those poor blokes providing the opposition tonight start their pre-season, I wonder?).

Nicholas Ryan
131 Posted 28/07/2017 at 02:12:14
Calm down, everyone, calm down! We are in pre-season mode, and we put out an 'experimental' line-up. We won 1-0, so that the 'oppo' have to come out and attack us at their place; and when they do, we'll pick them off, with our well-placed arrows, like overweight knights at Agincourt!
Ernie Baywood
132 Posted 28/07/2017 at 02:21:37
I don't doubt we'll beat them, Nick, but we're going to have to take it a lot more seriously now. That selection can't be experimental – it needs to be clinical.
Will Mabon
133 Posted 28/07/2017 at 02:36:56
Christy (#116): we're gonna miss Barkley big time.
David Barks
134 Posted 28/07/2017 at 02:57:04
The performance was poor. But to start at home with two defensive midfielders was criminal.
Jim Knightley
135 Posted 28/07/2017 at 02:57:47
We were poor today – clearly not match fit (as expected) or in sync.

The worrying thing is the lack of pace and creativity. We must target that in two more attacking signings. I like Giroud, but I'd like to see a pacey striker come in instead. Sigurdsson will help of course, but I think someone like Lanzini could be more effective. We need a little more fluidity in the final third and someone to control the tempo. Like Arteta pre-knee injury, or even a Pienaar.

Rooney might offer that, to a degree, in time – but as always with Rooney, he needs games to get going. I expect he will not hit his stride for another month yet.

James Watts
136 Posted 28/07/2017 at 03:03:30
Disagree there, Nicholas lad. Experimental? Nope. Far from that. It's obvious who Koeman rates and is far to rigid in his team tactics and selections. He was the same last year but thought this was down to personnel. Unfortunately his first team this year shows that wasn't really the case and he's doesn't appear to have learnt anything.

If he persists on playing Calvert-Lewin then play him in his natural position not out wide. It's not rocket science. Why not drop Rooney off him instead of asking Rooney to play as if he was Lukaku? The same players but in more natural positions where they will be more effective.

And when they tire bring on Sandro and Lookman. Such obvious things to do but he's missing them.

Koeman's reasons for playing Calvert-Lewin out wide where strange to me. He basically said he played him as their left back can't defend. Surely Sandro would have been a way better option in there to exploit such a weakness? Or even someone pacey like Lennon. But to play a lumbering make shift centre forward with the pace of a snail on the wing is bizarre.

Koeman also mentioned he wants two Number 9's which was a bit strange as it suggests he doesn't see Calvert-Lewin as a Number 9. If that's the case expect to see Calvert-Lewin on wingers duty fairly often.

And then there is the odd right back, goalkeeper and two defensive midfielders come what may selections.

I dunno. I think Koeman is decent but today he missed glaring and obvious tactical and team selection elements that left me baffled.

Chris James
137 Posted 28/07/2017 at 03:03:42
Jesus there's a lot of moaning minnies on here. What the hell is the problem?

We won our first competitive match at a time when we're clearly not match fit and are bedding in a load of new signings. It wasn't a great match by any means and underlined we are rusty and where we need a few more signings but we created chances, had the bulk of possession and won with a clean sheet.

We'll be sharper next week and really only need 1 away goal to kill the tie off. Then we'll continue with pre-season

James Watts
138 Posted 28/07/2017 at 03:09:55
Chris (#137). To be honest, I don't blame the players. There are a fair few mitigating factors for them. The biggest culprit for today's game was Koeman for reasons I've highlighted in #136. I would expect far more from a manager starting his second season with us.
Terry White
139 Posted 28/07/2017 at 03:41:10
As the Manager said before the game, he does not know what is our best XI at this stage. So he has to select a team and hope that individuals play well and the unit gels. Next week's team will reflect changes as well in order to give game time to players such as Jags, Kenny, Lookman and Davies.

Only after these games will he have a better idea of his first XI for the league season. It's unfortunate that these two games come at a time when it is usually pre-season. Unfortunately the results actually count but the Manager still has to assess his squad one way or another by giving players the opportunity to play and hope the result will go in our favour, as it should.

Ernie (#132) wants a "clinical" team selection. Will somebody please tell me what that means and who are the players that will provide it?

Alan J Thompson
140 Posted 28/07/2017 at 03:52:45
I don't understand the excuses being made. They weren't fit, a bit rusty, new players still gelling as a team, Uefa starting the competition too early, lack of pace.

We didn't find out on Tuesday – we've known for some time when this game would be played. Any ideas who's responsibility this should be.

John Pierce
141 Posted 28/07/2017 at 03:52:56
It really isn't about the players at this stage. We have squad depth and talent enough to win the tie.

Down to tactics and adventure. We've discussed at length the need for a targetman centre-forward. Whilst we wait for that player..

Was it beyond the wit of man to use Calvert-Lewin as that player and get the other to play off and under him.

Instead, he makes the lad play right wing! Add his obsession with twin defensive midfielder and we have narrow, slow congestion. Pretty easy to defend against.

Does Ronnie have another plan?

Ashley Roberts
142 Posted 28/07/2017 at 03:55:07
James (#128), I could not agree more. While I did not see the game today I really worry about playing 2 defensive midfielders in the line up, especially given the lowly standard of opposition we were up against. There is no way we can challenge for a top 4 position playing with such a negative line up.

I have yet to be convinced with Klaassen and if folks are thinking he is going to be a replacement for Barkley then they better think again. Barkley is going to be a great loss to the team along with Lukaku and therefore the quality of these 2 players need to be replaced for us to progress beyond last season. I think in Keane Pickford and Sandro we have made some very good buys.

For me I think Klaassen and Martina are very questionable and we would have been better served by using Kenny and Dowell (weren't these 2 guys just part of an England U20 team that won the World Cup?).

I also agree that Koeman is the past master of playing people out of their natural positions. Why??? For me the team is not balanced and maybe playing Dowell on the left today in a 4 man midfield with Davies as well as Lookman would have served us better with Sandro and Rooney up top.

For me I would like to see Lanzini and maybe Giroud and Dembele to replace Barkley and Lukaku; only then do I think we will progress beyond last season. Without this type of quality coming to the team I think the best we can hope for is another 7th position again.

James Watts
143 Posted 28/07/2017 at 03:58:57
Terry (#139). I guess Ernie meant he wants our strongest first XI playing from the start.

I do agree with some elements of your post about assessing certain players except I can't get my head around Calvert-Lewin as a winger and Rooney as as an out and out striker (overlooking other obvious tactical issues).

Any manager worth his salt doesn't need to experiment with theories there? He should already know, no? We simply have better options for numerous positions which is obvious to anyone who has seen anything of these players in the last 12 months or so. Unfortunately Koeman blindly ignores it.

Anyway, enough Koeman bashing from me for today. Better actually go do some work! But let's hope he steps his game up next week – otherwise we're going to be highly embarrassed by another early cup exit.

Ernie Baywood
144 Posted 28/07/2017 at 04:18:33
Pretty much, James. Not experimental... precise, tried and tested to whatever extent it can be.

Not keeping Rooney on for either emotional or fitness reasons. Best XI from the start.

We've lost the chance to treat the second leg as another run-out in preparation for the tougher games.

Jay Harris
145 Posted 28/07/2017 at 04:27:34
I'm Koeman's biggest fan but I have to say tonight's game cried out for Dowell, Kenny, Lennon and Davies. All players who are prepared to run at defenders and take them on.

Tonight should have been a 4-0 or 5-0 game despite the rather limp excuse that it was too preseason.

FFS it was like playing Marine, not Bayern Munich! If our levels of pace and fitness are that bad, god help us in the opening games of the new season – let alone the return leg.

Don Alexander
146 Posted 28/07/2017 at 04:37:12
I didn't watch the match but am well disconcerted by some of the comments re our fitness etc.

Our guys were playing against the equivalent of Parbold FC from what I can make out.

Our Ron needs to ensure a Rolls-Royce rather than a Ford Anglia performance next time.

It's not as though they have anything else to worry about is it?

Will Mabon
147 Posted 28/07/2017 at 04:51:12
...players who are prepared to run at defenders and take them on."

He's about to leave the club.,"...players who are prepared to run at defenders and take them on."

He's about to leave the club.,,,1,04:37:36,,,ok,19747,07/28/2017 04:37:36,Overdrive,reader,, 835058,35261,toffeeweb,28/07/2017,Jay Harris,,"I have to say I really rate Ronald Koeman but he didn't get it right tonight.

Rooney is what a number of us suspected – a class act but a spent force at the top.

I didn't think Martina needed slaughtering but Kenny was the better option to run at what is essentially a "Marine FC" standard of team. The little interplays were neat but not effective and far too rare.

For me this was a classic chance to give Dowell, Lennon, Kenny and Davies a good run out as they are all players who are prepared to run at the opposition. As soon as Martina got the ball on most occasions he had to stop and look up so the momentum was gone.

I don't care what Ron says Calvert-Lewin is not a right winger and should not have been playing IMO.

Rooney struggled to get to passes because his legs have gone; while you couldn't fault his effort and determination, he should not be first choice in a team with top 4 ambition.

Henrik Lyngsie
148 Posted 28/07/2017 at 06:04:54
It is still pre-season and too early to evaluate on individual performances. What worries me is Koeman's tactical setup.

I really like both Schneiderlin and Gueye, but they are both strongest defensively and offer very little going forward. They can keep the ball within the team, but do not make quick forward passes.

Combined with Williams who is awful in his passing and Keane who also looks like having a bit of challenges with his passing. Martina and Holgate before him also very limited. This is what makes our build up so slow and we lack the creativity.

Defenders are defenders but in my book you can not play Schneiderlin and Gueye together at home to a small team. Maybe against the top 6, but we really need a different balance in the team.

What makes Barry so good is his intelligent passing. He makes quick forward passes that often starts a good build up. We should not rely on Barry, but then at home against a small team I would rather see Davies or Klaassen next either Schneiderlin or Gueye. They would offer much more going forward.

In fact, I have for years thought that that was the role Barkley should have had. Provided of course he got much more disciplined tactically – but that is another thread.

James Watts
149 Posted 28/07/2017 at 06:09:02
Will (#147), To make sure we are talking about the same player maybe the quote should also say:

"Without putting his foot on the ball for 5 seconds, then stand there like a lemon before playing the wrong pass, thus losing the ball but then not be bothered about running back to defend and rectify his mistake."

James Watts
150 Posted 28/07/2017 at 06:18:07
Don (#146).

The fitness as this stage of the pre season shouldn't be that much of a worry. In real terms they've probably only had around 10 or so proper sessions, well the players who came back straight away that is. Other players such as Sandro even less.

The much bigger concerns are tactics, team selection and sub usage. There are mitigating factors I admit, so all we can do is hope these glaring things become obvious to the only man who can do something about it.

Will Mabon
151 Posted 28/07/2017 at 06:23:03
James – yet somehow having high assist, chance creation and through ball stats last season, with mostly only Lukaku to find.

Lukaku had his failings but did what mattered too, hence he has been bought by a big club for big money. I guess Barkley will always be considered lacking until he surpasses Messi.

Steavey Buckley
152 Posted 28/07/2017 at 06:36:51
On last night's performance , Everton play too deep, not enough attacking options with pace and no proven premier league goal scorer. Buy back Lukaku? Next premier league season could be a damp squib.
Kieran Fitzgerald
153 Posted 28/07/2017 at 06:44:59
It was the first leg of a European tie. We were at home. The golden rule is don't concede and try to take a lead to theirs for the second leg.

Yes, we were set up very defensively. But the opposition were already into their season, had better fitness and match sharpness.

From bringing Davies, Sandro and Lookman on as his subs, Koeman saw that running at this opposition will open them up. I suspect that Sandro and Lookman or Lennon may start next week.

James Watts
154 Posted 28/07/2017 at 06:50:29
Will (#151). No problem at all disagreeing about Barkley. It makes for good debates.

In terms of footballing ability he is right up there. In terms of application, know how and desire to succeed he is dreadful, based on what I've seen. Put the two together and you have a highly inconsistent player. Which is what he is. Could he become a star player still? Absolutely. Will he? Unlikely based on his performances since Martinez's first season.

His stats are impressive. But stats don't tell us everything as they don't show some of the biggest flaws in his game – one being his decision-making. Some of that blame can be laid at Lukaku's door, agreed, but he's also had the same issue for other clubs and England. They all don't have a lazy arse only interested in moving when they can score strikers.

And I don't believe last night he would have made a jot of difference anyway as he would have been stuck out wide instead of Calvert-Lewin or Mirallas. And we know he doesn't particularly play well there from past experiences.

Honestly, I would have like to have seen him play this season as a Number 10 with the likes of Klaassen and Sandro, as we know from what we've seen so far they will make space and give him options. We would have truly seen what he was made off then. Unfortunately that won't happen now, barring a dramatic U-turn.

Guy Hastings
155 Posted 28/07/2017 at 06:53:59
UCD all over again. Let's hope for at least the same result as then at their place. Need to get something going up the right hand side. Woeful lack of pace. Martina will have to get whatever act he has together pretty quickly and young Tom needs to be assured of game time.
Will Mabon
156 Posted 28/07/2017 at 07:14:54
"apparently we are after James Collins from West Ham. "

I saw that one, Ed. Surely not true...?

Keith Conchie
157 Posted 28/07/2017 at 08:04:22
First competitive game, so we can't expect too much, still working towards full fitness. Next week in the return leg we should be a lot fitter, and breeze past them.

Williams was awful in defence, we need a new quality centre-back, Holgate should have started before him.

Martina is just absolute garbage, awful at defending, and stops all our attacks when he gets the ball.

Baines (despite his deflected goal) is past his best, doesn't have the pace he used to have, and tries to pass a ball past too many opposition. He didn't have a good game at all.

Mirallas simply isn't good enough.

Plus points were Schneiderlin and Gana play really well together, Klaassen showed glimpses of what he can do, and will only get better IMO. Keane looks a confident and strong centre-back(would be a great partnership with Van Dijk).

Rooney is putting the effort in and still has the class and ability we need (and I'm one of those who didn't want him back). I think him and Sandro could link up well for us, but would have liked to have seen Sandro get 45 minutes. He looked good when he came on, and really got at there defence.

It's a 1-0 win, and they didn't get an away goal. So, despite not being a great performance, a good result.

Dermot Byrne
158 Posted 28/07/2017 at 08:25:35
Maybe after the transfer activity we all expected 4-0 and a really smooth performance. But it never works that way at clubs who do such big changes.

There is the whole team dynamic to develop and folk need to get comfortable with each other or even learn how to communicate. You can talk about the manager, how much they are paid etc but the above is true for any group of people. It will come.

It wasn't fun to watch. In my eyes Klaassen looked someone who will be good for us. Gueye great tackler but needs passing practice. Loved work ethic of Sandro. Baines, despite goal, seems nervous. Goes 10 yards and always cuts back. Rooney still has his footy brain and how fit he can get remains to be seen. I think we need some pace and by god we miss Coleman.

Not the end of the world at all. Just a dose of reality... this is where we are now. But the potential is there and it will take a few weeks for players to gel.

I have put my dummy back in my mouth this morning.

Paul Tran
159 Posted 28/07/2017 at 08:26:23
We won. Clean sheet. The state of Baines and Rooney in the post-match interview showed everything about the players' fitness.

On that basis, hard to judge the performance. I can't see why Calvert-Lewin is on the wing when he could have been a focal point for Rooney, Sandro, Mirallas to feed off.

Was the sluggishness down to fitness, or was it a harbinger of last season revisited?

Andrew Ellams
160 Posted 28/07/2017 at 08:30:59
Paul, if Sandro had had more than one preseason game under his belt then I suspect the starting forward line would have been very different last night.

Obviously nobody expects the team to be a full throttle in July but one major concern for me in the long term is that, if Sigurdsson and Giroud are to be the two further attacking additions, then this team will really struggle to break down premier league defences with a complete lack of pace from anywhere except Sandro and Calvert-Lewin who I don't expect to be regular starters.

Liam Reilly
161 Posted 28/07/2017 at 08:32:32
Most of the side had their first 90 minutes of the season last night and couple that with many having never played together and boom! We get what we saw last night.

No need to panic for me, just need a professional performance next week with a fitter side and this will be forgotten.

Sandro looks a talent and his price tag is not reflective of what he would've cost on the open market.

Jon Withey
162 Posted 28/07/2017 at 08:34:36
It wasn't riveting to watch and we were largely closed out of it by a fitter side.

Happy with Keane and Sandro. Osman comparing Klaassen to Naismith was funny – sly dig ?

Hoping it will click a bit more as we get games.

Kevin Tully
163 Posted 28/07/2017 at 08:50:16
I want to start a petition here and now. It's to stop the crowd applauding overhit passes that trickle out of play.

Seriously, what the actual fuck is this about? I don't know any other crowd who applaud a fuck-up. These are not the Under-11s playing on a Sunday!

These players are paid millions to pass a ball. It's nearly as bad as the striker giving the thumbs up to a hoof that sails out of play, 20 yards over his head.

It's not good for my health.

Phil Walling
164 Posted 28/07/2017 at 08:54:55
Jay Woods. No need for me to cash out my bet with you on that selection. Whilst Davies is likely to win the bet for you, I feel sorry for all the other 'promising youngsters' who will be ignored.

ps: Jay, My missus says Lookman and Calvert-Lewin don't count because they were 'purchases' and thus against the spirit of the bet!

Mark Tanton
165 Posted 28/07/2017 at 09:01:34
Joe (#162), only if you don't rate Naismith. I thought it was a compliment – Naismith moved superbly and found space everywhere despite sometimes kicking it like an Orlando sea lion.
Anthony Hughes
166 Posted 28/07/2017 at 09:08:00
The fitness was a factor last night but I've got to say i'm with the posters who are questioning Koeman's tactics. Calvert-Lewin out wide is just making the lad look cumbersome and awkward and i'd really like to ask Koeman what is his thinking in doing that.

Also I don't see Mirallas as a wide player, he just does not take the fullback on ever. Constantly coming inside and narrowing the play is defeating the purpose of his position.

I also don't see the need for two defensive midfielders against what is pretty average opposition. Are the centre halves that bad that they need a double pivot protection against what is sometimes only one striker? Why can't we have a holding player in there and a deep-lying playmaker alongside him, sort of the way Fabregas sits deep and plays that role.

I don't think we should be expecting fast free-flowing football under Koeman, it just doesn't seem to be his style. We need pacey wingers out wide and a pivotal centre-forward but I'm not sure if Koeman is going in this direction, we seem to be filling the squad with central players and guys who want to play as a Number 10 or a false 9.

Carl Taylor
167 Posted 28/07/2017 at 09:20:18
I'm hoping, against hope, that last night was Koeman sending a message to the board that the spending can't stop. Before the introduction of Sandro, the lack of pace was shocking.

Williams still looks a mistake waiting to happen and it was highlighted that Mirallas is no more than a squad member.

Nervous about next Thursday given we did not look solid or overly creative. Are last decent run in Europe relied upon swift counter attacks, eg, Wolfsburg away, but there was very little swift about last night's performance.

Ray Robinson
168 Posted 28/07/2017 at 09:31:02
I've had to stop myself getting too despondent after the match last night. It's only the first game after all – but I have to ask, where are the goals going to come from? The next two or three signings are going to be the most important of the close season!

Thoughts on Klaassen: Very good at moving the ball on quickly (which is good) but as a result, loses possession often (which is bad). I've a horrible hunch that he could become the next whipping boy if he doesn't learn when to retain the ball and when to release it.

Martina was every bit as bad as people said he was.

Only a truly brilliant save from Stekelenburg kept us in this game. However, it's still early days. As others have pointed out, this could be our UCD moment. Coincidentally, they also hit the bar with a header in the game at Goodison that would have put us out of the Cup Winners Cup at the first hurdle but we all know what happened after that. Onwards and upwards!

Charles Brewer
169 Posted 28/07/2017 at 09:31:16
I understand that players have a cooler of months when they don't okay competitive football but I don't accept that they changed from super fit athletes to middle aged couch potatoes in a matter of weeks and that getting more mobile than Diane Abbot requires dozens of matches.

A game played in august delivers just as many points as one in January so why are the players not fully fit (injuries excepted) in the first essay of the competitive season (ie, last night – don't forget that Man Utd targeted the Champions League by this route).

As for the match? If was the same slow build.up.kick it sideways crap we have seen for the past 2½ seasons, just some different names on the shirts. Have we not got a single player who will attack the ball in the penalty area? Have we got no-one in midfield or on the wing who will go forwards and not stand around with his for in the ball waiting for the opposition to get organised?

Robert Leigh
170 Posted 28/07/2017 at 09:39:52
I honestly think Ross would have made a difference tonight.

Klaassen looks very good on the ball, but will need people to go beyond him as well as pass it off to before he goes.

Kenny - Keane - Jagielka - Baines
Barkley - Klaassen
Sandro - Mirallas

We do need a striker though, I don't think we currently have one for the Premier League, Calvert-Lewin has potential and I'd like to see him played in League Cup as a striker to see if he is up to it (like Spurs did with Kane – they lucked out really!!).

We also need some pace on the wings – and under the radar. Mentioned it before on another thread, but always liked Joel Campbell of Arsenal whenever he got a chance; great left foot and likes a shot.

Charlie Dixon
171 Posted 28/07/2017 at 09:44:58
Why do people keeping saying Ross would have made a difference. Whether or not he stays or (more likely) goes, it's by the by... he was injured!!!
Ernie Baywood
172 Posted 28/07/2017 at 10:03:05
And it's by the by anyway. I can't be bothered talking about him unless someone says he's staying.
Derek Knox
173 Posted 28/07/2017 at 10:03:36
Ray @168, 'Martina was every bit as bad as people were saying he was'.

Ray, I can assure you, he was much worse than that!

I have always had a lot of respect for Koeman, but whatever possessed him to sign this clown as cover for three years! It beggars belief.

That was the ideal game last night for a combination of youth and experience, ie, Kenny, Dowell, Davies and Lookman with the more experienced players with them.

Andrew Ellams
174 Posted 28/07/2017 at 10:13:01
Whilst Martina is obviously going to be this season's whipping boy, he was no worse than Rooney, Williams or Mirallas last night.
Ernie Baywood
175 Posted 28/07/2017 at 10:14:40
Oh he was. I thought he looked like he was plucked out of the local leagues.
Steve Ferns
176 Posted 28/07/2017 at 10:32:49
Anthony Hughes (#106), this is exactly Mirallas's position. He is an inside forward playing on the left of a front three or on the left of an attacking midfield three.

Nearly every team in the league plays one. They all do the same thing, turn inside onto their favoured right (yes, all of these guys are right footed – even Hazard) and look for the shot. He looked much better when a younger baines could provide the width. Mirallas is no good at finding the reverse pass to Baines and instead relies on a short pass inside to someone who will feed Baines, which is a move I am sure the opposition will be hot on.

I am hoping that Sandro will claim this position. He looks as right footed as Mirallas, but from all I have seen of him, he is far more willing to go outside on the left than Mirallas. YouTube shows him even crossing from there.

Bolasie is the one though. He can play left inside-forward, shoot with his favoured right, but he showed at Palace that he loves to get wide onto the touchline and cross the ball.

The only problem is, he can whip in the world's best cross, but Rooney and Sandro won't be there as they dropped too deep, and so we are relying on a runner from midfield, ie, Klaassen.

Rudi Coote
177 Posted 28/07/2017 at 10:41:09
Don't panic! What were you guys expecting? First game, you can't expect the team to be world beaters, can you really?

After all the close season enthusiasm, you are now back to sniping at the players. Don't believe you people. Give them a chance ffs. How many of you started a new job and were up and running after clocking in? New players, lots of them! Okay so they have practiced but that is not the same as a real game, is it?

Far too early to criticize for me. But already players are being singled out to be whipping boys. Let's see how the next few games pan out.

Eddie Dunn
178 Posted 28/07/2017 at 10:53:26
I really find it hard to understand why athletes lose so much fitness in just a few weeks.

If they had injuries to heal, I can appreciate that they put their feet up, but surely if you are earning so much money, and you are aware that unusually, we are starting early, then you have a duty to keep off the pies on your hols.

Williams looks like he's been on a tour of Muffin Parlours. Would anyone expect Usain Bolt to have a few weeks off and come back to training looking like George Foreman (in his later years)?

As for the comments about not playing together much – they have been training and have played games in Tanzania and Holland. Perhaps, instead of wasting time travelling , we would have been better off running up and down some slag heaps or sand dunes!

John Hughes
179 Posted 28/07/2017 at 11:15:27
Of all the posts on here from over a hundred better managers than Mr Koeman, the only one I agree 100% with is Kevin (163) about over hit passes and thumbs up to poor crosses. Kev, we have to keep on taking tablets for our health.
Michael Lynch
180 Posted 28/07/2017 at 11:16:22
Eddie – yes, I often wonder about that. I would assume that when they're on hols they still keep up a basic fitness regime of running and some light weights – I mean, even I go for a run when I'm on holiday and I'm a fat old bastard.

I know they need to rest their bodies, but you don't go from superfit to fucked in a few weeks unless you're hammering the buns and sitting on your arse all day. Again, two activities I'm pretty familiar with...

John Hammond
181 Posted 28/07/2017 at 11:38:45
I think we lacked sharpness rather than fitness. We were extremely lucky to come away with a win and playing Rooney up front was a mistake. Constantly lost possession, slowed down play, misplaced passes etc etc. The same thing everyone has been banging on about for the last few years - absolutely nothing to do with him being unfit.

I expect and hope that Sandro starts up front in the away tie and we sign a striker soon as we lacked a focal point up top last night. Talking of Sandro, I'm hoping this kid is special. Looked good when he came on but I'm well aware of the opposition he was up against.

Martina was alright at times, I thought. Passed back when he could've crossed quite a few times but then you realise he had no-one to aim at in the box. Mirallas was infuriating as hell. Still can't get over the chance he had against Genk where the ball broke to him in the box from Calvert-Lewin's shot and instead of banging it first time he pissed around and it came to nothing. I thought Davies should have come on sooner. Schneiderlin had a poor game.

Kim Vivian
182 Posted 28/07/2017 at 11:42:13
Yes Kevin and John at 179. I agree... Where do I sign?

After watching that last night, I am worried to think what the likes of Hazard, Coutinho, de Bruyne etc. will do to Martina. He marauded forward a bit and showed some intelligence when doing that I thought, but questionable execution – but his main function is as a defender, right? He looked weak in that role.

Do we know when Seamus is expected back?

Ciarán McGlone
183 Posted 28/07/2017 at 11:46:25
Cuco Martina was the best newcomer for me. Early days, but I'm sure we've improved a great deal after our hefty spending.
Andy Lee
185 Posted 28/07/2017 at 12:19:21
Such a shame Jonjoe Kenny was overlooked. The way we have set up with such a focus on central players (Gueye, Schneiderlin, Klaassen, Rooney etc) makes it very narrow, crying out for width and a bit of pace.

Baines doesn't have the pace now but he still supports well, so it would make sense for a Kenny bombing on which is a big part of his game. Especially against a team that didn't look to attack a huge amount.

Ciarán McGlone
186 Posted 28/07/2017 at 12:26:45
That was slightly tongue in cheek by the way, before people start sharpening their pitchforks. I thought all the newcomers were average.
Shane Corcoran
187 Posted 28/07/2017 at 12:27:54
John Hammond, I think you have it right.

I thought Martina was okay, albeit I'm disappointed he was selected.

I think that was the Rooney we'll continue to see for the rest of the season.

I think this bizarre open-arms welcome he's getting will soon wear off.

Bobby Sjaak
188 Posted 28/07/2017 at 12:36:59
I agree with the Toffees saying Martina wasn't bad, but I don't see him being a match winner – like Coleman. He has a good awareness going forward; to give decent crosses (the reason why he's playing?). But I don't think his forward play is better than Kenny's and he definitely should defend a lot better than he did in his last two matches... If he keeps defending like this, we might as well use a midfielder for his position.

Calvert-Lewin should play as a centre forward – he can hold-up play and find space. He also has the stature Koeman loves. Klaassen thinks fast, presses a lot and gives one-touch passes – I like it.

Sandro has a winner mentality and knows how/where to run, Rooney and Schneiderlin did good. Williams not concentrating enough and Mirallas is Mirallas.

Gana, Keane and Baines = starting eleven for the season. Stekelenburg made some good saves, but his distribution has to be better – I want to see Pickford play. The ref wasn't good

Overall, I hope we are more active and direct in the coming weeks.

Nitesh Kanchan
189 Posted 28/07/2017 at 12:39:55
Not up to speed I think. I did not watch the game but many are saying it was dull and lacking in pace. Next game will be tricky then if we concede early. Lennon, Lookman and Sandro should start in the front three next game.
John Hammond
190 Posted 28/07/2017 at 12:47:06
Shane 187: Agreed, really think Kenny should've been given a chance.
Andy Crooks
192 Posted 28/07/2017 at 13:20:37
I am hoping that Martina's failure to make no attempt to get to the byline was down to lack of confidence and fitness. Otherwise we have even less attacking options.
Sam Hoare
193 Posted 28/07/2017 at 13:37:52
The Rooney transfer has the power to be quite destructive unless he can find a higher level than that. Hopefully Koeman won't persist with him unless his performances merit but you feel he may be one of his 'favourites'. Like Martina.

Sigurdsson is not the answer to the problems witnessed last night. It's pace, movement and unpredictability we lack.

The team needs a superior Mirallas – someone who can beat a man and then spot a pass, get off a shot – maybe Keita Balde or similar.

We also need a matured version of Calvert-Lewin, a mobile striker, strong and fast who knows where the goal is – someone like Batshuayi.

Less pressing/likely buys would be an upgrade on Williams and Jagielka. And some better options at full back (or play Kenny).

If Rooney must play then it has to be in the middle behind a fluid pacey attack who will stretch the defense and give him time and runs to pick out. Something like:

Kenny Williams Keane Baines
Klaassen Gueye
Keita Balde* Batshuayi* Sandro

*= or similar alternative

My current feeling is that we will have spent £100m and make very little progress on last season. A few more pieces of the jigsaw needed.

James Watts
194 Posted 28/07/2017 at 13:53:01
I, like a lot of posters, would love to see Kenny given a chance. But I'm afraid I don't think that is going to happen - unless we have an injury crisis there and he's forced into it. If Koeman was going to play him or even thinking about playing him he would have played some part in the last couple of games.

From all the evidence I've seen, Koeman has chosen to go with Martina/Holgate until Coleman is back. Also expect them to be swapped around a la Stekelenburg and Robles style. In many ways, it's a similar situation. He has his old pal who shouldn't be in the team (Stekelenburg/Martina) vs a player who is not quite good enough in that position but is still a better option (Robles/Holgate).

I fully expect Martina to be playing the majority of games now until he screws up (but it will no doubt take several goal causing errors like it did for Stekelenburg) then expect Holgate to be drafted in.

Gary Edwards
195 Posted 28/07/2017 at 13:58:48
That's the bubble burst. What a horrendous, dire showing against opponents who in real terms are no better than a League Two / non-league team.

It's difficult to dismiss the negative comments as knee-jerk, it was that bad. That Martina starts ahead of Holgate and Kenny is a travesty and in itself speaks volumes of Koeman.

I've previously laughed at suggestions that Unsworth be made first team coach but at least he has his teams playing pacy, positive footie in all areas of the pitch. Based on that showing I'll be happy to watch more U23 games than first team games this season, again.

Colin Glassar
196 Posted 28/07/2017 at 13:59:54
A good work out last night to get rid of the cobwebs and rust. We should be a lot sharper by next week but the crucial game, for me, is against Stoke. We need to be at, at least, 90% by then.
Nicholas Ryan
197 Posted 28/07/2017 at 14:00:35
On the subject of summer fitness. I saw an interview with Sylvain Distin, you know, the guy built like a Greek God, even at 37.

He said, each summer, he booked the family into a posh hotel in the South of France, which had an amazing gym. While the family sunned themselves, he hit the weights, 4 hours a day for a month. Result; he was stronger and fitter at 37 than some players are at 23!

Mike Keating
198 Posted 28/07/2017 at 14:34:34
Sam @ 193, you clearly weren't paying attention. Phil Neville reckons Rooney's performance was "World Class".
Joe O'Brien
199 Posted 28/07/2017 at 14:43:02
Again, a whole load of overreacting on here. As Liam @161 said, it was the first 90 mins for most of them. Rooney himself hasn't played a full match in nearly 2 years. I'd bet also there was a lot of newcomers who never played together in a competitive game.

On the subject of fitness, there's a difference between fitness and match fitness. That's what we saw last night. It'll take time for this new team to gel. Then the faster slicker play will come.

Andrew Ellams
200 Posted 28/07/2017 at 14:45:13
Rooney played in the central striker role last night quite simply because there wasn't an alternative. That has to be a priority over Sigurdsson right now.
Jay Wood
201 Posted 28/07/2017 at 15:03:45
Phil Walling @ 164.

Deary Lord Phil. How graceless and desperate to be 'right' are you? Let's clear up some things about the 'spirit' of the bet we struck in the highly speculative 'Chelsea Thinking of Stealing Tom Davies' thread.

On the back of a rumour in The Sun, you jumped in immediately at post #1:

"Tom Davies may get shipped out along with Barkley. Koeman seems obsessed with midfielders... Seems 'our man' is keen to 'de-Evertonise' Everton before he moves on. That's the new philosophy, I guess!"

Challenged by some on that @57 you posted:

"We'll see how many Premier League matches the likes of Davies, Dowell and Kenny start this season! If it's the half-dozen I predict, it will be the lads themselves who will be agitating for a move. And rightly so!"

Now, in context that reads as if you believe Davies, Dowell and Kenny will not start half a dozen Premier League games between them this season.

You got all sniffy @ 75 at the comments you drew: "No room on here for an alternative view, then?" as if you were being shouted down or censored. Not the case, as I explained in that thread.

In riposte to you, I offered you a bet – £50 to be paid by the loser to EitC, that Everton players under the age of 20 or 21 (I generously allowed you to stipulate) will play more than your predicted half-dozen games under Koeman this season. I also, again generously, allowed you to stipulate if the bet covered all games, or just Premier League games.

You drastically changed your starting position in relation to your earlier posts in that thread. Yes, you accepted the bet, but:

* ONLY for 19-year-olds and younger

* Only starting games in the Premier League count

* And that rather than the accumulative 6 games for all players at that age, that you had clearly implied in your posts, you added another condition: that at least one player had to have 6 starts in the Premier League.

This is the (far from definitive) list of players I showed you before striking the bet:

Josh Bowler – 18
Morgan Feeney – 18
Beni Baningime – 18 (19 in September)
Matty Foulds – 19
Antonee Robinson – 19 (20 in August)
Callum Connolly – 19 (20 in September)
Liam Walsh – 19 (20 in September)
Anton Dokor – 19 (20 in November)
Tom Davies – 19
Ademola Lookman – 19 (20 in October)
Kieran Dowell – 19 (20 in October)
Dominic Calvert-Lewin – 20
Mason Holgate – 20 (21 in October)
Jonjoe Kenny – 20
David Henen – 21

You took a look at that list, and even though the vast majority have never represented the first team, you contrived to exclude the likes of Antonee Robinson, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Mason Holgate, Jonjoe Kenny and David Henen before taking the bet, even though 2 of the 5 have never represented Everton in the first team and Kenny barely 2 games.

And now, having struck that bet which is heavily weighted in your favour, you (and your missus, bless her!) have the gall to say Lookman and Calvert-Lewin don't count because they were 'purchases' and thus against the spirit of the bet."

Three points on that observation:

1) Calvert-Lewin is already excluded from the bet by age on the generous concession I granted you;

2) if you were sincere in applying the 'spirit of the bet' which truly align with your posts in the Chelsea-Tom Davies thread, you would do 2 things:

* accept that any player on Everton's books who came through Everton's academy who starts a Premier League game this season to count, regardless of age;

* that Premier League starts for such players should be accumulative. That is, it requires just 6 Premier League starts by 'x' players, rather than the late clause you inserted into the bet that at least one player has to make 6 Premier League starts;

3) I am not as desperate to win the bet, as you appear to be, Phil. In fact, even before striking the bet with you (which I am still confident of winning, as heavily weighted in your favour as it is), I had decided win or lose, I will make the donation to EitC any way.

Very telling that, as far as I can see in the wake of last night's game, your post to me about our bet is the first and only contribution about the game.

So Phil, in the politest way possible, get the fook wid ya! Your bluff and bluster well and truly called, as far as I see.

ps: Oh! And I'm Jay Wood. Jay Woods has a very, very different take on many things – Everton and otherwise – to my good self.

Raymond Fox
203 Posted 28/07/2017 at 15:04:43
I thought Phil W came out with a good truism the other day, he said 'many on here confuse how they would like us to be, with reality'.

Expectations are too high at the start of every season. I am all for ambition but when you compare our players man for man with usual top 6 sides I'm afraid our players don't measure up! Not yet at least.

If we are serious about getting among the top 6 we need 3 or 4 players who are another step up in class.

Mick Davies
204 Posted 28/07/2017 at 15:24:57
Sorry to upset all you McCarthy haters but, if you want to win a midfield battle, he's the best player at the club in that role.

Also, it looks like Koeman prefers anyone Dutch to our promising youngsters, with the new Tony Hibbert (who couldn't get into the Southampton side) looking the gaffer's new pet.

Serious concerns need to be addressed before next week, and all that 'not fit' rubbish won't wash – they are professional footballers FFS and they've been preparing for this game for weeks. And it's anyone's guess why a 23-year-old keeper isn't 'match fit'!!!

Derek Knox
205 Posted 28/07/2017 at 16:04:42
Mick @204, you mention Cuco Martina, I presume, as the new Tony Hibbert. I was never a great fan of Tony, but even he would look like Jairzinho in comparison.

This charlatan, who appears to be Koeman's pet as you say, is the most woeful excuse for a footballer I have ever seen in a blue shirt, and believe me, supporting Everton for 60 years now, I have witnessed some donkeys. Furthermore, we are stuck with him for three years, that's the length of his contract!

I think we should have fan representation, on transfer business, you only had to read what the Saints fans said about this guy, to realise, "There is no smoke without fire".

Having said that, the other acquisitions seem to be fairly sound. Sandro will be a gem, Klaassen needs to speed up a bit, Keane is what we have been lacking for ages. I had to get that off my chest.

Andy Osborne
206 Posted 28/07/2017 at 16:10:31
I thought I heard that this game was "sold out". Not sure why most of the main stand was empty.

I live in Perth, Australia, when there is a game hosted at the NIB Stadium and they have a televised game that is not sold out, they close the stand that is behind the cameras, so the ground looks full.

Pretty sure Everton could have done the same and kept Bullens Road empty, so at least the ground looked full on TV. All about smoke and mirrors.

David Barks
207 Posted 28/07/2017 at 16:14:51

That stand was closed because it is undergoing renovation. They said so during the broadcast. They can't control if the section of the ground undergoing renovation is visible by the cameras or not.

The club were completely transparent that the number of seats was reduced for this game. Not everything is a conspiracy theory or smoke and mirrors. They only offered 30k tickets because a section of the ground is currently closed while undergoing renovation in preparation for the start of the season, and those available tickets sold out.

Rob Halligan
208 Posted 28/07/2017 at 16:16:23
Andy (#206).

The game last night was a sell-out, with a maximum capacity set at 34,500. There has been 'renovation work' going on in the family enclosure, so that part of the stadium was completely closed, as was the first 20 rows in the main stand, coming along from the end by the church towards the directors box.

I'm not sure what the actual attendance was last night though?

James Hughes
209 Posted 28/07/2017 at 16:18:25
Andy. it was closed for pre-planned maintenance, legal requirement.
Barry Williams
210 Posted 28/07/2017 at 16:21:00
I am not sure what people expected last night.

Four debutantes started the match in key positions, five overall. They haven't been together very long either. Of course it is going to take time to gel, a lot more than a couple of pre-season friendlies. In the pre-season friendlies Sandro, Keane and Pickford all came late on, if my memory serves me correctly. So, last night's game had a number of players with hardly any game time.

Some of last night's player's haven't even played in England yet!

As for those saying we have known about this game for some time and we should have been physically prepared, could you please enlighten me as to how? It doesn't matter how long you have known about a game, there has been a limited time period to get the players properly match fit. The team we were playing were obviously up to speed due to their season starting early I suspect. Everton were never going to be up to match fitness in such a short time, I thought that'd be obvious. If in doubt, check the amount of playing time most of the squad have had in pre-season prior to last night's game.

For those bemoaning Koeman buying players who'd block youth development, you did notice that Calvert-Lewin, Davies and Lookman all got game time. Also, I think Sandro is only 21.

Seems to me that we also have a new whipping boy in Martina, shame that, all after 90 minutes in his first match.

The side out last night may not be the same side come a few months or at the end of the season. More than ever it will become a squad thing this season, but people are already complaining that certain players weren't on the bench last night. Incredible!

For me, we have 6 new players in, we have signed youth and yes we need some more quality in the team. The last time I checked, it was still July and there was over a month until the transfer window closes.

Back in 1985, we just about scraped past a bunch of Dubliners at a similar stage, but I suppose that team was no good either!

Colin Glassar
211 Posted 28/07/2017 at 16:33:25
Some people don't know what they want, Barry. If we'd had won 10-0 ,they would say "Oh well, can't read too much into beating a shite team".
Keith Slinger
212 Posted 28/07/2017 at 16:55:39
People seem to forget we are only 3-4 weeks into preseason. I now understand why people call us "bitter blues"...
Joe O'Brien
213 Posted 28/07/2017 at 16:57:40
Exactly Colin... I think 4-0 would have been perfect... it wouldn't let us lose the run of ourselves and also not let us write off the whole season after our very first match.

Damn you, Everton, for not scoring 3 more. This thread would have been a lot more contented.. .but that would not make some on here happy either.

Tony Hill
214 Posted 28/07/2017 at 17:07:09
I can tell you what I wanted to see last night. A side of professional athletes, selected to give us the best chance of securing a winning advantage in the tie against mediocre opposition, playing coherently and incisively in a very important competition for us. A readiness to make timely substitutions would also have helped if Plan A was obviously not working.

My main complaint is not about their fitness (though at least two of our players last night, Williams and Rooney, are overweight and in Williams's case he presented himself for pre-season in that condition), it is about the dullness and defensiveness of our style of play – problems which we had for much of last season and for the two seasons before.

Here's hoping that it will all click together, even so, and that we will at long last see some entertaining and fear-free football from Everton.

Stan Schofield
215 Posted 28/07/2017 at 17:13:45
Joe @213: I can't really see many posts (if any) on here writing the whole season off. But I can see valid concerns being expressed.

The devil is in the detail, and it's valid to comment on each match as it comes, as we see fit, without being regarded as being 'unhappy bunnies' or equivalent.

For me, the game didn't surprise, but it did disappoint, early in the season or not.

Mark Morrissey
216 Posted 28/07/2017 at 17:13:46
I was impressed by Ramirez when he came on and felt Keane and Klaassen looked good prospects but I am not sharing most peoples excitement about the transfer business to date.

Keane is a top signing but we need three more top signings. A world class striker, a world class defender and a proper playmaker.

I think Cuco Martina was simply that, a bloody clown of a defender. Why oh why have we signed this player. So very unimpressed.

When do we get to spend some proper money on some proper player investment. Selling Rom is one thing but when are Everton going to break the bank and go beyond selling to buy?

Andy Osborne
217 Posted 28/07/2017 at 17:24:36
Thanks for the reply to my comments about the main stand being empty. I didn't see the game live (I don't subscribe to BeInSports over here in Australia) so I didn't hear the explanation in the commentary.

Sorry. :-(

Brian Williams
218 Posted 28/07/2017 at 17:35:52
Stan (#215).

"It's valid to comment on each match as it comes, as we see fit, without being regarded as being 'unhappy bunnies' or equivalent."

Agree with that Stan but ask that you use the same principle when referring to those who you label "Koeman apologists"?

Joe O'Brien
219 Posted 28/07/2017 at 17:41:20
Stan, it just seemed that way to me. All the doom and gloom after one match. I think I saw some comment that the coming season could be a damp squid... I think we have to put things into perspective. It was the first time a lot of players played together and our first 90 mins for most players. I just see a lot of overreacting on here.
Andy Osborne
220 Posted 28/07/2017 at 17:41:21
David (#207), the smoke and mirrors comment I made was about how teams over here in Australia make the ground look "full" for TV, even though the ground is not full, by closing stands that are not visible by the cameras. I wasn't suggesting that Everton were pulling a fast one. Sorry if this was misunderstood.
Gary Reeves
221 Posted 28/07/2017 at 17:56:01
Lots of talking points from the game, but just a quick one – Gareth Barry is a better player than Schneiderlin! He covers more ground, has a better eye for a forward pass.
John Audsley
222 Posted 28/07/2017 at 18:02:42
I can't understand why you play Martina at right-back when you have a young lad who clearly has ability and a tough attitude (which Koeman likes) in your squad. Kenny looks a super player and I hope to God he gets his chance asap.

I'm not a Martina hater, he was okay but he clearly is a weak link and we already have Williams who is like a juggernaut at the back with his lack of movement.

We really missed a central striker last night, let's hope we get one very soon.

John Pierce
223 Posted 28/07/2017 at 18:02:55
Joe, one match, no, Koeman's body of work with Everton to date, yes, worthy of criticism.

This game is not viewed in isolation nor should it be. There should be a clear evolution from his tactics from last season.

Better players, full pre-season for most, removal of players he doesn't need or want. All "reasons" put forward on these pages for the lacklustre pragmatism we were served up last season.

There was nothing memorable about last season, even when the season was done, he failed to experiment, despite the opportunity.

His pedigree, his salary, and our renewed ambition off the field is reason enough to warrant a more attractive brand of football.

Whatever you may feel, I think Koeman has to shape up and show some intent quickly.

Will Mabon
224 Posted 28/07/2017 at 18:53:51
John, correct. The reasons, excuses and obstacles all but pared away.

A couple more weeks for fitness and "gelling", then it's time to see Koeman's project.

Andrew Keatley
225 Posted 28/07/2017 at 19:06:08
Martina is coming in for some serious scorn on here. He certainly wasn't good, but I didn't think he was awful either.

And playing in his first game, alongside new team-mates, in a game of relative importance – and in a team that failed to play well for any major period of the game – he was no stand-out disgrace amongst a number of distinctly underwhelming performances.

Like many on here I would have loved to see Kenny given the chance, but if Martina is going to be Koeman's choice at right back, for the first few games at least, then let's try and get behind the lad.

Joe O'Brien
226 Posted 28/07/2017 at 19:12:58

Yeah I get what you're saying but there a lot of newcomers out there last night. I think Keane was good as was Klaassen and Sandro. Rooney off the pace a bit, it's been a while since he's played a full match and was probably nervous making his 2nd debut. The same for the others new players.

Teams need to gel to get to know each other's movements before they make them, which will make the play quicker. I just think when this team clicks they will play a lot more fluently than they did last night.

Christy Ring
227 Posted 28/07/2017 at 19:14:35
Barry (#210), You're spot on about '85 – we were lucky to beat UCD, but that team had 2 wingers and 2 strikers.

I don't know why he won't try Calvert-Lewin as a target man; he's tall, good in the air, and definitely not a winger.

Gordon Crawford
228 Posted 28/07/2017 at 19:15:38
The word is he was resting Kenny after playing for England and that's why he played Martina.
Martin Nicholls
229 Posted 28/07/2017 at 19:17:15
Barry Williams (#210) – spot on, apart from your reference to "debutantes" – not an upper class woman on the pitch!

Seriously, I fully agree with you – too many on here are too quick to rush to judgement.

Frank Crewe
230 Posted 28/07/2017 at 19:21:56
Koeman wasted the first half. It's obvious Calvert-Lewin will never be a wide player. Play him as a striker or don't play him at all.

We have been buying players all summer so that we don't have to put square pegs in round holes anymore. We have strikers and we have wide players. Use them in their correct positions and stop compromising just to get particular players on the park.

David Currie
231 Posted 28/07/2017 at 19:28:29
Derek (#173), great post. Team selection was poor last night, Martina a below average – a foreign player getting a chance instead of a young homegrown lad who has deserved his chance to start.

Williams starting when I have said many times on here that he is a carthorse, Jags and Holgate are better.

Playing two defensive midfielders against this team was poor; Mirallas does not deserve to start and playing Calvert-Lewin as a wide player is a no-no when you could have played Lookman, Lennon or Dowell.

Hugo Kondratiuk
232 Posted 28/07/2017 at 19:37:33
Calvert-Lewin is 23 days older than Joe Royle was in '69-70.

Six foot one, good in the air, touch of class.

Why not find out?

John Wilson
233 Posted 28/07/2017 at 19:40:23
Someone said, somewhere, if there were a poll on whether fans would like to keep Barkley or bring in Sigurdsson... apparently, the majority would keep Barkley.

My view, and Oppenheimer's manager, is we need to move on and pay the few million more to bring in an excellent player – not just a brilliant goal scorer – in Sigurdsson.

Gordon Crawford
234 Posted 28/07/2017 at 19:50:50
I don't think Sigurdsson is coming. Word on the street is that the deal isn't happening now. But hey – stranger things have happened.
Chris Gould
235 Posted 28/07/2017 at 19:57:57

'Word on the street?'

Do you mean NewsNow?

Andy Walker
236 Posted 28/07/2017 at 19:59:44
I've heard it all now... 'Martina hater'. What? Fans passing an opinion based on what they saw in his first game, when they were already in a positive mindset.

To turn all the goodwill into criticism says a lot for his poor performance. Reality was he was really bad. "You can't polish..."

Paul Kossoff
237 Posted 28/07/2017 at 19:59:59
Team was unfit (still?). Players out of position, if we play like that in the second leg we will be out of Europe. Koeman really fucked up last night.

A striker was needed big time, Calvert-Lewin not good enough, and when Sandro came on he went on the bleeding wing! What's up with strikers staying in the box?

I agree with keeping Barkley but his head has been turned I'm afraid. Offer Barkley to Arsenal for Giroud and Walcott if Ross wants to go; we need a couple of players still.

Andy Walker
238 Posted 28/07/2017 at 20:00:19
Hope you're right Gordon. Well overpriced.
Colin Glassar
239 Posted 28/07/2017 at 20:02:16
Is Martina to become the next Hibbo, Ossie, Rom or Ross?
Jeff Armstrong
240 Posted 28/07/2017 at 20:09:34
Ross's head has indeed been turned... by a completely clueless negative manager who's only inspirational plus-point is a playing career that finished 20 years ago.

"Rosh, you need to presh more."

"Is that it? That's the sum total of your coaching advice?"


Gordon Crawford
241 Posted 28/07/2017 at 20:25:57
Chris (#235) yes, pal. But I thought word on the street sounds better, more shizzle my hizzle lol.

Andy (238): He is that, well over-priced.

Jeff Armstrong
242 Posted 28/07/2017 at 20:51:07

"Koeman wasted the first half playing Calvert-Lewin on the wing."

What about the last 10 games of last season? It's obvious that Calvert-Lewin is not a wide player. Apparently our £6-million-a-year coach needs 15 games to spot this!

Barry Williams
243 Posted 28/07/2017 at 21:05:24
Martin Nicholls (#229),

Yes, I should have checked my spell checker, but maybe it was a Freudian slip given the way modern footballers are!

Andy Crooks
244 Posted 28/07/2017 at 21:12:33
Derek (#205), that is a very unfair and harsh judgement based on one game. I thought he was mediocre, as were most. However, I thought he lacked match fitness and confidence.

Many times he was in the perfect position to skin the full back and get to the byline. On every occasion, he took the easy option with a wasted cross or a simple pass inside. Maybe he is not good enough to do it, but, to disparage him after one game when he has had so little football is grossly unfair.

I would like to see Kenny given a chance. Also, I am prepared to accept that coaches get it wrong and that Koeman may well eventually see Kenny as the man. Right now, it is Martina, why not give him a break?

John Audsley
245 Posted 28/07/2017 at 21:13:07
Hope Barry plays in the away leg. Yeah, he is ancient... but his brain and cool temper could be crucial.
James Marshall
246 Posted 28/07/2017 at 21:13:38
I haven't read the whole thread but it seems like most people are pissed off. Personally I thought we looked exactly what we are, a new team playing an early season game against a team established with players that know each other and are ahead of us in terms of fitness.

We showed good signs because we have good players. We showed occasionally poor, okay, because we're unfit and unknown to each other. Pretty simple to me, and not unexpected at all.

We won the game, kept a clean sheet and have everything in our court for next week. No problem as far as I'm concerned.

Will Jones
247 Posted 28/07/2017 at 21:14:52
I agree with the bad set up. No need for 2 defense midfielders in this game, well actually, for me, never ever!
Tony Abrahams
248 Posted 28/07/2017 at 21:23:08
Kenny helped Oxford get promoted the season before last, then played Under-23s football last season. He's helped England win a World Cup at Under-20s level and now needs to be playing senior football at a good level to keep helping him progress. Otherwise, what is the point?

The same with Dowell, who will learn absolutely fucking nothing by playing another season of Under-23 team football, so I expect both of them to be out on loan, by the time this season kicks off. Otherwise what is the point, again?

Ian McDowell
249 Posted 28/07/2017 at 21:33:37
I thought the setup was spot on. We played with a few new faces, not fully fit yet and won to nil.

Keeping a clean sheet in Europe at home is everything. If we keep doing that, we'll go a long way in this competition.

Raymond Fox
250 Posted 28/07/2017 at 21:54:23
Sandro instantly lit our attack up when he came on. If he can maintain that level of play, he's going to be the bargain of the season.

It's early days for Rooney, but he looked far more at home playing deeper and spreading the ball around than he did up front in the first half.

Terry White
251 Posted 28/07/2017 at 21:58:48
Take a Bow, Cuco Martina. You are now the possessor of the title, "Worst Player ever to play for Everton". This title is proudly bestowed on you by some of the contributors to ToffeeWeb. It hasn't taken you long to earn this award.

As far as I can recall, you have only taken part in a couple of games. But, never mind about that, you are following in a long line of scapegoats whose common traits are that their performances have already been pre-judged and they can do no right in the eyes of these contributors, regardless of how well you may perform.

It's a shame really. You came to Everton not having cost a transfer fee and I doubt that you are being paid a king's ransom to play for the club. I don't believe anyone has professed that you are the second coming of Alex Parker, Tommy Wright or even Gary Stevens. The best we hope is that you are an Alan Harper, Kevin Richardson or a Paul Power. Someone who can play when asked in a number of different positions without complaint and do an adequate job. Every club needs someone like that.

But it doesn't matter because som on ToffeeWeb know so much more then the Manager of the Club and they will continue to let you know how inadequate you are. Fortunately, there are others who are more reasonable and balanced and who are willing to recognise your failings but still give you a chance. Certainly beyond the couple of games in which you have appeared to date.

If a couple of games were all the time players were given to make an impression, then Alex Young, Howard Kendall, Dennis Stevens would all have been condemned to the trash heap before their Everton careers got started.

I hope you have a thick skin, Cuco. You will need it.

Colin Glassar
252 Posted 28/07/2017 at 22:02:41
Cuco out!!
Gordon Scott
253 Posted 28/07/2017 at 22:08:10
Mark (#216)... why is it that you think a world class striker and defender would sign for us??? There are too many people on here that think we are currently a bigger club than we actually are..

For now, I would settle for proven reliable consistent players; let's not try to run before we can walk!!!

Joe O'Brien
254 Posted 28/07/2017 at 22:15:25
Cuco is some donkey.
Tony Hill
255 Posted 28/07/2017 at 22:19:24
Yes, Raymond (#250), since he is a newcomer, Sandro hasn't learned – as Ross was eventually required to do – that receiving the ball and running at the opposition in a forwards direction is an inherently unsafe procedure. I noted that he lost the ball on a couple of occasions.

But there's time yet and I expect Ronald will cure him.

Joe O'Brien
256 Posted 28/07/2017 at 22:21:28
Only messing... totally agree with Terry.

We shouldn't jump the gun, for all we know Jonjoe might be the preferred pick for the Premier League which I'd be delighted with. He looks like he's ready and there's no doubting his ability but we need backup with Seamus out till who knows when, that's why Cuco was brought in.

We all saw last season that Holgate isn't a good fit for that position.

Kieran Kinsella
257 Posted 28/07/2017 at 22:23:29
Hibbert is probably better than Cuco. He also costs less cause his contract expired and he didn't even notice he was unemployed until he read the paper.
Raymond Fox
258 Posted 28/07/2017 at 22:34:49
Nice one, Tony.

Brian Williams
259 Posted 28/07/2017 at 22:36:39
Kieran (#257).

That was what Osman said as well and yet he's still connected to the club having been in Tanzania recently.

Something doesn't quite ring true because who'd still be involved with a club that allegedly treated them so badly?

Brian Wilkinson
260 Posted 28/07/2017 at 22:53:07
Terry @251, I think the problem is more down to walking into a team when we have a guy there, Jonjoe Kenny, who is better all round.

Not the players fault, yet we put this guy straight into the team, early Days yet but the guy cannot cross a ball, everything goes backwards when he is in possession.

He's a covering player at best, but if I was Jonjoe Kenny, I would be rightly pissed this guy getting in front of me.

Andy Crooks
261 Posted 28/07/2017 at 23:02:19
Well said, Terry White.
Barry Williams
262 Posted 28/07/2017 at 23:05:52
Colin Glassar – #211,

You are probably right, mate. I can understand expectation, but there has got to be some realism.

Dave Bowen
263 Posted 28/07/2017 at 23:07:21
Probably gonna be enough. If we play our fastest players, eg, Lookman & Lennon, in the 2nd leg, we should nick a goal and put the tie to bed.

Keep Calvert-Lewin as far away from the match squad as possible (sorry if I upset a few people here) because he brings nothing to the team.

Joe O'Brien
264 Posted 28/07/2017 at 23:11:11
If you play him on the wing, Dave, he doesn't. He should be up front where we'll see what he's made of. He's being played out of position, he's a striker v not a winger.
Terry White
265 Posted 28/07/2017 at 23:17:21
Thank you, Andy (#261).

I quite agree with you, Brian (#260), I too would like to see Kenny given a chance. At the moment he has looked good in a couple of cameos, but that is all. We know he played for the England U-23s; but so does Calvert-Lewin and he is another that is deemed by many not good enough yet for the first team.

Don't forget, there are only two more games before Stoke. Hopefully we can win overall on Thursday but, after that, there is only Seville and a lot of players need game time. Pickford, Kenny, Holgate, Jagielka, Davies, Barry, McCarthy, Besic, Dowell, Lennon, Lookman, Sandro, any more?

So, a lot of these are going to be in the starting line-up on Thursday regardless of whether we think it is our "strongest" team or not and we have to hope that we are good enough to get through. Only after this game and Seville will we have a better idea of what Koeman sees as his "best XI".

Christy Ring
266 Posted 28/07/2017 at 23:32:29
Terry, not as good as Atteveld or Hottiger!!
Paul Kelly
267 Posted 28/07/2017 at 23:53:08
Didn't Hottiger once catch the ball when it was going out for a throw in and concede a free kick?

Poor old Martina, I'm in no way, shape or form think he's going to be a superstar but I'll give him more game time before passing final judgement. Earl Barrett 2.0 ;)

John Smith
268 Posted 29/07/2017 at 07:16:58
Martina wasn't that bad. He's a squad player and did some good things, defensively, won the ball, forced a throw-in and a corner etc. All the little things people don't notice.
John Pickles
269 Posted 29/07/2017 at 08:47:18
The greatest team I ever watched once struggled to beat University College Dublin 1-0 at Goodison, on the way to winning a European trophy, so perhaps there is still hope.
Paul Tran
271 Posted 29/07/2017 at 09:17:37
Again, again, again, the problem is not 'two defensive midfielders'. The problem is the lack of creativity in front of them.

Even allowing for fitness levels, we had a young centre forward on the wing, the prodigal son desperately seeking a place where he can be effective and the reliably inconsistent Belgian.

The optimist in me is clinging onto Sandro's pace and movement, Klaassen's intelligence with the ball, the new striker and wide man, or Koeman having the sense to play Calvert-Lewin upfront where he belongs and giving Lookman a proper run, telling him to create mischief. And of course, that the raised fitness levels and integration make a big difference.

The pessimist in me is looking through my fingers at a more expensive version of last season.

Let's have the other teams worry about us rather than constantly setting ourselves up to counter them.

Mike Keating
272 Posted 29/07/2017 at 09:38:42
'This charlatan, who appears to be Koeman's pet... is the most woeful excuse for a footballer I have ever seen in a blue shirt, and believe me, supporting Everton for 60 years now, I have witnessed some donkeys.'

Derek, I've only been supporting the Blues for 53 years and perhaps should bow to your greater experience but, on the basis of one mediocre performance, how can you chuck this guy into the same bin as those already mentioned or the likes of Brett Angel, Bernie Wright, Per Krøldrup and Glenn Keeley?

I am as disappointed as anyone else that Kenny didn't get a shout but there's no need for a scapegoat just yet.

Derek Knox
273 Posted 29/07/2017 at 10:11:29
Hi Mike @272, my comments were not solely based on one game, he did play against Genk, albeit it was a pre-season game, and gifted them their goal, by tamely heading the ball to Genk, while allegedly defending.

I also looked at the Saints fans comments when it was first mentioned Koeman was interested in bringing him to Everton. I also watched some of those YouTube clips and he was woeful in those which usually have the opposite effect making a player look like a world beater, when he would find beating an egg a formidable challenge!

Just thought I would come back to clarify that my comments were not a knee jerk reaction to appoint a new whipping boy for ToffeeWeb but based on some fact.

Mike Keating
275 Posted 29/07/2017 at 10:58:43
Derek, I wasn't impressed by his signing either or the 3year contract he has been gifted, but is he really the worst player you have ever had to watch disgracing the shirt?

As you say, hopefully he will not become the automatic whipping boy for the Goodison Park diehards. I remember the groans whenever Earl Barrett got off the bench.

Kenny has to get the nod as replacement for Seamus (a great blow to our new season) and Martina as cover only.

I missed the TV coverage of the Genk game due to EFC TV ineptitude and from what you say, I don't think I could bear to watch his clips on YouTube. Still, why Koeman and Walsh think he is worth a punt remains a mystery. Hopefully he will get the chance to prove his worth and Koeman's surprising faith in the guy.

James Watts
276 Posted 29/07/2017 at 11:15:20
Not defending the Martina signing one bit – I repeatedly warned people as I had actually seen him play a few times in the flesh so it's no surprise how poor he is.

He'll get up and down and put in the odd decent cross, but his defensive positional play is dreadful and I shudder at the thought of some of the big boys' players going up against him. But to say he's the worst ever Everton player? Nope, can't agree with that. We've had some stinkers worse than this fella!

3-year contract was madness, a complete waste of money in wages. As Koeman seemed desperate to get him (remember Koeman was actually going to pay £1.2m for him in January) he should have been given 1 year with the option to extend if he was truly cover. We would then have Seamus back with Kenny a further year on with more experience. And if Kenny didn't work out or if Seamus didn't come back as well as expected, then sure extend it (assuming Martina played decently of course).

Also, I don't believe Walsh had any say in this one. I would imagine it was the same when Stekelenburg came on board i.e. a phone call from Koeman to his old pal saying come play for us.

The early signs aren't good for Martina however, so unless he miraculously improves he will definitely become a whipping boy if Koeman persists on playing him. The groan I let out when I see his name will echo through Goodison in a few weeks, I have no doubt.

Colin Malone
277 Posted 29/07/2017 at 11:25:12
If I gave my missus a blank cheque book, she would buy things she would never wear or use.
Peter Mills
278 Posted 29/07/2017 at 11:56:51
Mike (#272), despite having posted last week the pithy appraisal of Martina by one Southampton supporter, I agree that we have to give players a chance.

However, I had to smile (ruefully) at the names of the 4 players you mentioned, and how very quickly they were assessed.

Brett Angell: First game, eyebrows raised to heaven. We knew.

Bernie Wright: I was at Anfield when he made his debut as sub, coming on immediately after we went 4-0 down. Shirt sleeves up round his biceps, shorts up round his testicles, we had an inkling that he might struggle.

Per Kr£ldrup: Watched his solitary performance on telly, away at Villa. He couldn't head the ball, something of a requirement for a centre half.
Glenn Kelley: Watched his one appearance in horror at Goodison as he was torn to bits by Rush and Dalglish, before the ref had the compassion to send him off after 20 minutes.

Occasionally, it's just obvious!

Dave Bowen
279 Posted 29/07/2017 at 12:26:44
Joe @ #264. Everyone can see that Calvert-Lewin is not a winger except Koeman. Can't understand why Koeman thinks he is, it's not doing the lad any favours.

Although it'll never happen, I'd actually give Niasse a game in the 2nd leg. He is fast & strong & it could be the making of him. Perfect on the counter attack.

[Sits back & awaits flak!]

James Watts
280 Posted 29/07/2017 at 12:39:23
Dave (#279).

Ron has already got his Niasse playing at right back. They just spelt his name different to fool us all.

Dave Bowen
281 Posted 29/07/2017 at 13:14:38
Love it, James!
Phil Walling
282 Posted 29/07/2017 at 13:37:02
I read somewhere on this thread that not only did Kenney 'miss the cut' on Thursday but that he has 'been sent back to Unsy' to hone his skills.

If Koeman was watching the same game as us, he will have seen Martina's appalling display and instructed Walsh to have a second go at covering the right back position.

Why does this over-hyped guy insist on making his job so difficult?

Stan Schofield
283 Posted 29/07/2017 at 13:40:35
Dave @279: Spot on. I can't fathom why Koeman insists on playing him, and one or two others, out of position. I'm trying hard to be positive about Koeman (having started with a very positive view when he was recruited), but it's got well beyond the point where I can't help thinking he's obstinate, arrogant, and lacking in tactical nous, former great player or not.

No doubt some might respond that Koeman knows more than me, he's a top manager, was a top player, bla bla bla. But that wouldn't really be a good counter argument, it being better to form views based on evidence rather than using hope and pre-formed opinion.

Chris Williams
284 Posted 29/07/2017 at 13:45:37
I read that too about Kenny, along with Dowell and Connolly.

I saw Martina on Thursday night, and he was okay. Nothing in there to pillory him about yet, other than the opinions of others. I saw him against Genk and again, average at best.

The problem might be that okay or average is the best we can expect from him, but time will tell. But certainly too early to be giving him the Hottiger/Atteveldt label.

Chris Watts
285 Posted 29/07/2017 at 13:47:44
He plays Calvert-Lewin to ram home to the board that he needs more players. Anyone can see Calvert-Lewin should not be in a wide position he's continually looked totally out of his depth there. The only explanation is that he ramping pressure on them to buy Sigurdsson.

I really hope we sell Mirallas and Lennon, before the window ends as well as none of these are going to help this season. We need a striker and two more wingers. And Lookman looks good every time he plays. I don't understand why he's not being played

Hugh Jenkins
286 Posted 29/07/2017 at 15:29:09
He came on a free and now has a three-year contract, so, if we sell him at the end of the season whilst he still has two years left on his contract to Sunderland, or Villa, or anyone else, for £4 or £5 Million, we will have had the use of him for a year, and made a profit.

Good business, but in the meantime, we do need to ensure that any adverse impact he may have on the team, is kept to a minimum.

It may well be that, as the season progresses, we will see more of the youngsters breaking through and Martina et al will be used for League cup and or FA Cup games in the early rounds against (supposed) weaker opposition.

Here's hoping, anyway.

Tony Abrahams
287 Posted 29/07/2017 at 16:47:41
I usually agree with Paul Tran, and although it's very, very, very early days, it's the formation and the players being asked to play it, is what also concerns me.

Steve Ferns wrote a piece the other day explaining Koeman's usual formation and it made a lot of sense. He talked about having three players ahead of the two central midfielders and just behind the striker, playing interchanging football, but not being asked to play too far out wide. Fine if the fullbacks are good with the ball but not so good if they aren't...

Jeff Armstrong
288 Posted 29/07/2017 at 16:54:12
So a hypothetical move to Villa or Sunderland now makes Cuco good business?

FFS, he's not what we require for the next level. A Southampton reserve, he's the type of signing we used to make under Moyes to supplement the bigger signings like Fellaini or Yak. But we don't need these second raters anymore, we've got more cash and better youngsters.

For the life of me, I don't why Koeman has signed the guy, it just proves to me he cannot be trusted to judge a player,£6 million a year or not.

Despite what others on here think, sometimes the punters DO know better than the manager, I remember we all knew Davies was ready,but Koeman didn't. Suddenly he had to pick him and he played the rest of the season.

Paul Kossoff
289 Posted 29/07/2017 at 17:03:26
Watching Arsenal v Benfica in the Emirates Cup, on Quest would you believe! High paced game, Benfica just made it 2 2, both sides showing full fitness.

I can't understand why we are still not up to match fit. If we had played either of these sides the other night we would have been turned over no problem.

On another point, Osman discrediting the team that gave him a living and a nice retirement fund by saying how Barkley has to up his game if he wants to play for a top team, a top four side, a top six side, what an ungrateful twat! Get paid for that, did you, Leon?

David Barks
290 Posted 29/07/2017 at 17:15:30

My God you're an outrage machine. Did it ever occur to you that Osman was including Everton when speaking about Barkley needing to up his game to play in a top team?

Ross Barkley

Ross Barkley joined Everton at the age of 11

Everton midfielder Ross Barkley will have to add to his game if he is to reach his potential at a top-four club, says former Toffees player Leon Osman.

"He is certainly going to get into top teams in the league," said Osman.

"But he's not got the all-round game yet that managers of these top four or six clubs want to see."

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 live, he added: "Moments of brilliance he shows are what clubs strive for. That's why he's constantly linked with top clubs. Not every player can produce those moments."

Osman believes the timing of Barkley's decision is odd in a summer during which Everton have spent heavily on 12 new recruits.

"Ross Barkley has got a big decision to make," Osman added. "Now it's up to Koeman to plan for time without him.

"He has to plan for the club to move forward and he's been doing a good job so far."

Everton above Liverpool?

Osman believes Everton's summer signings, including midfielder Davy Klaassen from Ajax, striker Wayne Rooney from Manchester United and defender Michael Keane from Burnley, mean a top-six finish should be a minimum goal.

Manchester United finished eight points clear of Koeman's side in sixth last season, while their Merseyside rivals Liverpool were a further seven points better off in fourth.

Asked if Everton could finish above Jurgen Klopp's side in the 2017-18 campaign, Osman said: "Absolutely. The divide isn't that big with regard to the league.

So he says Barkley needs to improve to make it in a top team and then goes on to say he expects Everton to be one of those top teams. But that didn't fit your narrative, so you misquote and allege something that didn't occur.

Paul Kossoff
291 Posted 29/07/2017 at 17:21:13
David, no, sorry I'm not having any defence of Osman. Read what he said, he never mentioned Everton, he wasn't including us in his top sides, he was referring to Barkley wanting to play for a top team, not Everton.

So you are ignoring the first part of what Osman said, and just referring to the second?

Everton midfielder Ross Barkley will have to add to his game if he is to reach his potential at a top-four club, says former Toffees player Leon Osman.

"He is certainly going to get into top teams in the league, said Osman.

"But he's not got the all-round game yet that managers of these top four or six clubs want to see."

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 live, he added: "Moments of brilliance he shows are what clubs strive for. That's why he's constantly linked with top clubs. Not every player can produce those moments.

I don't agree but I respect your opinion.

David Barks
292 Posted 29/07/2017 at 17:24:51

He is literally quoted as saying Everton could finish above Liverpool and that there isn't that big a divide in the league. Finishing above Liverpool, guess what that would be top 6.

Ian Jones
294 Posted 29/07/2017 at 17:36:55
Re Osman's comments re Ross Barkley.

I think he is correct – Ross does have to up his game if he wants to play for a top team. If we were the best team in England, he would no doubt have had to up his game to stay in the team.

Paul Tran
295 Posted 29/07/2017 at 17:38:53
Tony, Steve Ferns's piece is a superb appraisal of Koeman's tactics.

You're right, without any width, we look narrow and we congest the play. Problem is, our two best wide players are in rehab. So I think we need someone who can skin a player and cross the ball, plus someone for him to aim at. And because we bought five players early, we're expecting everything to be done yesterday.

I'm still trying to work out how much Thursday's display was lack of fitness or a repeat of last season's tactical mess. Calvert-Lewin on the wing is nonsense.

Tony Abrahams
298 Posted 29/07/2017 at 17:49:29
I would go 69/40 with it being that fitness was the thing we lacked most the other night, Paul. 40% was down to tactics, especially once Sandro, came on and Rooney dropped a little bit deeper and started passing the ball, because Martina, was left one-on-one quite a lot then, but going passed a man, is not really what he's about.

Although Klaassen should have done much better with his header after a really good Cuco cross during the second half.

Michael Lynch
299 Posted 29/07/2017 at 17:52:29
Talking of Osman, I'm not sure it helps us, him claiming we'll finish above the Red Shite. By all accounts, they're giving Hertha Berlin a bit of a going over right now, looking fully fit and ready to go, while we looked miles off the pace the other night, and are clearly still short of several players.

With what we've got so far, minus Lukaku and Ross, I think we'll be lucky to match last season's showing, let alone get anywhere near our neighbours.

Chris Williams
300 Posted 29/07/2017 at 18:00:58

I think the relative fitness between the two teams counts for a hell of a lot more than 60%. They were much fitter than we were, having played more games and their league having started I believe, plus 2 games against Brann.

I suspect it made them look a hell of a lot better on the night than they actually are. That was the first full 90 minutes for a fair few. We'll know soon enough mind.

Paul Tran
301 Posted 29/07/2017 at 18:02:39
I'd agree, Tony. I also noticed Baines getting down the wing and constantly choosing not to cross it. I also noticed it was Martina's cross that Klaassen mistimed his jump and nodded over, plus the belter he whipped across the box that nobody gambled on. So I'll reserve judgement on him for now.

Tony Abrahams
302 Posted 29/07/2017 at 18:19:17
Chris, I couldn't argue with that mate, but I honestly never watched the game from anything other than an Everton perspective.

Football is never easy when you are playing a team who are more competitive than yourselves, which they definitely were because it was their fifth competitive game compared to our first, but I didn't think the formation we played got the most out of the team.

When Rooney went deep, we suddenly had a constant flow of passes onto the right wing for Martina to go forward. I'm not sure that this is one of Cocu's strengths, and I would have prepared to have seen a more attack-minded player receiving these passes?

This is just one example of possibly half a dozen, I could give you Chris, but as I said, it's still very, very, very, early days, and for that reason alone I expect the second leg to be a lot more comfortable for us!

George Cumiskey
303 Posted 29/07/2017 at 18:27:38
Tony @299 – you are right just watching Liverpool, they look fitter, sharper and more direct than we did on Thursday, and they have players who can take a man on and beat him. Why we so far behind?
Chris Williams
305 Posted 29/07/2017 at 18:33:14
I agree with all that Tony. Pace and width were missing and giving even half an hour to Kenny might have worked the trick for us.

Even allowing for that we could have had at least one more goal in that second half.

Tony Hill
306 Posted 29/07/2017 at 18:34:19
George, yes extraordinary that. According to some on here, though, it's okay that we walked through treacle on Thursday in a Europa League qualifier because you really can't expect the lads to be fit and running just yet.
George Cumiskey
307 Posted 29/07/2017 at 18:43:32
A big problem for me is that, if Lookman doesn't play, we have no-one who can actually go past people. And buying Sigurdsson and Giroud isn't going to add pace to the team.
Tony Hill
308 Posted 29/07/2017 at 19:04:18
Indeed, George. Ramirez looks like he's got a few positive notions but that's about it – apart from Lookman, as you say, and Davies I would add – though Tom isn't quite quick enough. <>We're a team of frightened crabs: sideways, sideways then back; followed by a usually inaccurate dart at the opposition.

The last time we cured this habit was 2013-14 with Barkley and Deulofeu and an interested Lukaku. We actually took sides on and ran at them, including the top teams. Did it really happen?

Onyekuru, of whom we will see nothing for 12 months, looks very exciting if that's any consolation.

Dave Williams
309 Posted 29/07/2017 at 19:06:51
Well said, James (#246). This was effectively a training game in front of a half closed stadium with little atmosphere and very few players looking match fit.

The stick dished out to Martina is not far short of bullying behaviour. Okay, he is clearly not top level but he tried hard and didn't do too badly – give him a chance for heavens sake.

Some good signs: Klaassen is decent and Gana played well. Baines was excellent.

It's clear we need width up front and Lookman and Lennon can provide this – Kev just doesn't do it for me. An orthodox centre-forward is required and I would play Tom as first choice. Gana and Schneiderlin seems a duplication to me and at the moment at least Gana looks better.

Rooney will sharpen up and will be better with more fitness and once players tune in to him.

Calvert-Lewin played okay for me but is a centre-forward, not a winger. Again, give him a chance people – do the critics on this thread always perform well at work?

Tony Hill
310 Posted 29/07/2017 at 19:11:43
Except, Dave, it wasn't a training game, it was a Europa League qualifier and we have left ourselves exposed in the second leg.
Steve Carse
311 Posted 29/07/2017 at 19:32:03
A bit off-topic, I suppose, but since the impact has been mentioned in this thread, was the closure of such large sections of the stadium an OTT health and safety direction? It certainly detracted from any potential atmosphere.

Though why the Upper Bullens section next to the Park End was closed is anyone's guess – I couldn't imagine we were expecting to welcome 3,000 Slovaks!

Ray Robinson
312 Posted 29/07/2017 at 19:48:47
Steve (#311). I was at the match and, as far as I can recall, the Upper Bullens above the away support, was fully populated with Blues fans! The parts of the ground that were closed were due to ongoing maintenance.
David Barks
313 Posted 29/07/2017 at 19:57:27

It was known for quite a while that the club had that section of the stands closed for renovations. It was planned.

Chris Williams
314 Posted 29/07/2017 at 19:57:27
You're right Ray (#312), it was full. It was made available late on to home supporters and snapped up.
Colin Malone
315 Posted 29/07/2017 at 20:44:16
Just wish I could see Ross Barkley play with Rooney, Klaassen, Sandro. The lad has guile. He's had to put up with a static statue for the last three seasons.
Peter Mills
316 Posted 29/07/2017 at 20:51:27
Steve (#311), I was amongst many Evertonians in the Upper Bullens towards the Park End. It was nostalgic as that was the stand I went in when I first started going 55 years ago, but it felt rather like entering a timewarp as it was pretty cramped in the concourse and WC.
Michael Spear
317 Posted 29/07/2017 at 21:14:03
Steve (#311),

David Barks is right about the stand closures. All Premier League clubs are working towards meeting a voluntary deadline of August 2017 to comply with new guidelines on "accessible stadiums" to improve facilities for disabled supporters. All bar three – Bournemouth, Chelsea and Watford – are expected to come up to the new standards in time, including Everton.

According to the hospitality team at Goodison, ensuring the work is done on time was one of the reasons for the stand closures on Thursday and the friendly against Sevilla next Sunday. Everything will be ready for the sell-out start against Stoke on 12 August.

Dave Abrahams
318 Posted 29/07/2017 at 21:41:51
Peter (278), with you on the first three players you named, but put the blame on Howard Kendall for Glenn Keeley's poor performance against Liverpool, he came on loan from Blackburn, hadn't played for quite a spell, he was coming back from an injury, wasn't match fit and didn't it show.

I think the 20 minutes he played for Everton that day was the only time he played for the Blues. Peter, he was a good player and had a good career, he shouldn't have been picked to play that day.

Paul Graney
319 Posted 29/07/2017 at 22:58:07
I think the criticism of Martina as being regarded our worst ever player is a bit over the top. I thought when he got further up the pitch his reluctance to cross was more to do with lack of numbers in the box rather than anything else.

I would agree though that he is a full back and obviously should know how to defend; he couldn't even do the basics and the number of times he got the wrong side of his man was an embarrassment.

At the end of the day, as said in earlier threads, when we play any decent opposition, he will get roasted. So not good enough on that performance.

Not sure what Koeman sees in Calvert-Lewin. I agree, he was played out of position but at the moment, for me, he's not good enough. Personally, I would prefer Lookma.

Also, the other night, Keane looked steady, nice and tidy on the ball, but sterner opposition awaits. It was fairly evident also that Rooney is not the centre-forward we crave. Admittedly the service to him not the best.

Why do we also persist with two defensive midfielders against inferior opposition? As a result, sideways and backwards passing that is frustrating to watch – not helped by the lack of mobility.

Rooney looked better when he dropped deeper and Sandro came on. He looked sharp with good movement. We were crying out for an out-and-out centre-forward and, to me, that should be our main priority. I can't help but think we missed a certain person the other night... He's gonna be tough to replace.

Peter Mills
320 Posted 30/07/2017 at 16:27:34
Dave (#318) – fair comment. Balanced and reasonable as usual.
Keith Conchie
321 Posted 31/07/2017 at 08:27:39
Anyone know if our game Thursday is on tv?
Paul Tran
322 Posted 31/07/2017 at 08:29:40
It's on ITV4, Keith.
Allan Barratt
323 Posted 31/07/2017 at 09:02:54
Not according to any TV listings.
Keith Conchie
324 Posted 31/07/2017 at 10:14:01
Thanks, Paul, I had a look at the TV listings and can't see it. I'll check again.
George Freeman
325 Posted 31/07/2017 at 11:18:41
Keith (#324),

Keep an eye on the listings. Last Thursday it should have been motorcycle racing at 8pm and they changed it to show the game.

Paul Tran
326 Posted 31/07/2017 at 12:33:54
It's definitely on ITV4, Keith. Sam Matterface said so on Twitter, he'll probably be commentating. Wasn't in any of the weekend paper listings. They were probably waiting to see if things were in the balance, so 1-0 makes it worth them showing it. If we'd stuffed them, they probably wouldn't bother.
Keith Conchie
327 Posted 31/07/2017 at 12:46:44
Cheers lads, just seen Sam Matterface on twitter confirmed it's on ITV4.

Hoping for a more comfortable win and stronger performance as the team nears full fitness. I've got high hopes for us in the Europa League.

Am I right in thinking that, when the group stages start, it is on BT Sport? Be great if it was shown on ITV for free.

Paul Pen
328 Posted 31/07/2017 at 14:18:58
Just watched a young, energetic Arsenal team completely dismantle Benfica. The contrast with Everton's inept display last week was frightening.

I've been as excited as anybody about our new-found muscle in the transfer market, but on the basis of our most recent outing I'm beginning to feel a bit jittery about our prospects.

Martina: Half-hearted in attack, hopeless in defence.

Klaassen: Easy on the eye, but I'd rather have Davies.

Rooney: Past it blowhard

Ramirez: headless chicken with a first touch as bad as Lukaku's

As for our manager, Wenger has had a lot of bad press, but I'd be far happier if he was sitting behind the desk at Goodison than Koeman.

Can't see us finishing higher than 7th this season. Who knows, we may even be in a relegation dogfight after our first six games.

Chris Williams
329 Posted 31/07/2017 at 14:24:50
We're all doomed!

DOOMED I tell you.

Ste Lewis
330 Posted 31/07/2017 at 14:49:28
Paul Pen, quite how you conclude Ramirez to be a headless chicken with a bad first touch from his cameo last week, I'll never know. I thought he looked quite the opposite – very sharp with intelligent movement. I had a great vantage point on the Upper Bullens and watched him carefully.
Trevor Peers
331 Posted 31/07/2017 at 14:53:20
Paul is right @328:

We lack pace and quality down the flanks, Koeman has eliminated wingers from our play, it must be rectified or it will be difficult to stay awake watching the blues this season.

Swap Barkley for Oxlade-Chamberlain or Mahrez.

Jay Harris
332 Posted 31/07/2017 at 17:47:47
I think we should not base our opinions on one game.

Yes, we should have done better against them and team selection was a bit wayward but I didn't see the doommongers all out in our previous friendlies and we haven't got the final pieces of the jigsaw yet.

I believe Sandro will surprise us with his ability and workrate.

Barry McNally
334 Posted 31/07/2017 at 18:17:44
Ružomberok won 4-0 at home yesterday although opposition had a centre-half sent off after about 25 mins.
Neil Thomas
335 Posted 31/07/2017 at 19:08:54
Still can't see on TV guide when the game is. Not showing anything on ITV4 and I can't see it on BT.
Clive Mitchell
336 Posted 01/08/2017 at 00:31:38
Osman on Barkley. A bit like a Mini complaining that a Rolls-Royce isn't perfect.
Ronnie Pearce
337 Posted 01/08/2017 at 04:01:45
I'm not having a crack at individual posters but, throughout the criticisms about Koeman's team setup, people complain about lack of wingers. I'm a little confused about this. Which sides play wingers anymore?

It appears to me that most of the successful sides have ball players who are comfortable either inside or outside, depending on the opposition or team strategy required.

Obviously some players are more comfortable playing on a particular side of the pitch and some sides play with one player who could at a stretch be called an out-and-out winger (Mane and Sane for example) but two wingers in the same side are virtually unheard of now.

I guess Everton have only the injured Bolasie who falls into the winger category, yet I have seen him criticised on ToffeeWeb for impeding Coleman's progress down the right flank at times.

In the modern game, I believe width is created by player movement and the ability of teams to create overlaps for fullbacks, which was the case when Pienaar combined with Baines.

Chelsea for instance did not play with a classical winger last season. Marcus Alonso, in the wing back role, was often the widest player allowing Hazard to roam across the pitch when they were attacking. Similarly Moses was used in the same role on the right side.

It would seem to me that Everton already have this setup when Coleman is fit, notwithstanding Leighton Baines not being quite as marauding as he once was.

Perhaps Everton just need to start moving the ball quicker when attacking?

Tony Abrahams
338 Posted 01/08/2017 at 08:02:35
Neither here nor there, really, Clive, but what a player Osman would have been if he had Barkley's physicality? So what a player Barkley would become if only he had Osman's brain!
Dave Williams
339 Posted 01/08/2017 at 11:05:27
So we just need to find a top surgeon, Tony!!!!

Very good observation – sadly I can see Leon having had the better career at the end of the day. Ross needs to sort out himself, his agent, his relationship with his manager, the people he hangs around with – before it all goes the way of other bright young talent who don't hack it in the big world!

Tony Abrahams
340 Posted 01/08/2017 at 11:32:02
I don't know enough about Barkley, Dave, but the best bit of advice I've heard anyone given was what Koeman said about Barkley for slagging Hodgson because he never picked him during the Euros last summer.

He said that it's easy for players to slag the manager for these things and he thinks that the best place to prove anyone wrong is out on the pitch, especially if a player has got the ability.

We all know Ross Barkley, has got the ability but, like you say, Dave, has he got the capability, for this very unforgiving game?

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