Draw ugly

By Paul Traill 02/09/2018 14comments  |  Jump to last
Everton 1 - 1 Huddersfield Town

Gaz rolled up a little early and so we were in the pub…a little early, for drinks before our what-we-hoped-to-be routine win versus Huddersfield Town. Liverpool already in the lead by the time we got to the pub, and despite more comedy goalkeeping from a Liverpool goalkeeper, that they stayed. I do worry about them this season.

A raft of injuries and a suspension was highlighted by a young substitutes bench. Dominic Calvert-Lewin got the nod on the left wing, with Ademola Lookman included amongst the substitutes. A game we all expected, and very much hoped, we would win going into the international break, but a bit of you always felt Everton could “do an Everton” and not seize the opportunity, as proved to be the case this afternoon.

We’re going to have to start timing our walk to the ground better than we have so far this season. We literally only just made kick off, getting to our seats just as Stuart Attwell blew his whistle to begin the game at a packed Goodison Park with an impressive following from Huddersfield Town.

The game never got going in any capacity. Huddersfield Town were more than happy with the draw from the outset, but Everton didn’t do near enough to get the better of them and though a solid effort from the Terriers which was well worthy of a draw, they’ll have to work a lot harder than that for other points at other stadiums this season. One shot on target for Everton, from Calvert-Lewin’s goal, tells it’s own story. Huddersfield Town meanwhile had six.

Our inability to defend corners again disadvantaged us, Philip Billing this time the recipient of our horrible zonal marking. We really need to get a handle on that and quickly as it’s costing us a goal per game. Thankfully we levelled the scores within two minutes, with Huddersfield Town probably still switched off. Lucas Digne with the ball in, well headed home by Dominic.

Though we didn’t carve out anything too clear cut, we did come close on a few occasions. In the first half Kurt Zouma nearly put us ahead with a quite brilliant bouncing effort from distance which only just flashed wide of Jonas Lossl’s right hand post. Cenk Tosun, with no other options narrowly missed target with a fierce angle drive, and then in the second half substitute Ademola Lookman’s ball just evaded Gylfi Sigurdsson; and from a Leighton Baines outswinging corner, Calvert-Lewin headed over.

The substitutes baffled many, removing Gylfi, perhaps our only player on the pitch capable of producing something out of nothing confused me. Needless to say the substitutions failed to yield an equaliser, and as the game stretched out you felt we were less and less likely to get the three points. It was as frustrating a final 10 minutes as I can remember with the game constantly being stopped for free kicks in what was a poor performance from Attwell. We trudged off unbeaten, yet disappointed at full time.

Though we deserved nothing more than we got today, there’s a sense amongst Evertonians that we should be at least a couple of points better off, but I guess we’ll just have to make sure we kick on after the international break.

While a disappointing display, we can’t overlook the number of absentees from our squad, many of whom would be in the team if available. Yerry Mina, Phil Jagielka, Michael Keane, Idrissa Gana Gueye, Andre Gomes, Barnard, Theo Walcott (who limped out of today) and Richarlison. That’s a lot of talent, some of which I believe would have helped unpick Huddersfield Town’s stubborn resistance. Idrissa Gana Gueye was particularly notable by his absence in my opinion. Nobody wins the ball back and keeps the play moving quite like he does and I’d perhaps like to have seen Beni Baningime given that opportunity today as he’s a player of somewhat similar ilk.

A bad draw then, but blimey, if you’d have heard some of the maniacs calling Radio Merseyside post match you’d have thought we’d have been relegated today. A poor performance, the worst in five games, but we all need to understand that this is going to take a lot of time, perhaps a number of seasons to get right and a great deal of patience is required…something that seems in increasingly short supply with the modern day supporter.

Player ratings

Pickford: Did what he had to pretty well and was quick off his line on a few occasions. 6

Digne: Did OK. Good ball in for the goal but like the team, seemed a bit bereft of ideas before he was substituted. 6

Holgate: A few poor moments but generally OK otherwise. 6

Zouma: Looks a very good, full-blooded defender. Strong and aggressive in the tackle and very dominant. Could be a great defender for us this season, and after that, who knows? My man of the match. 7

Coleman: Desperately out of form and I’d say needs to improve or get used to a bit of time on the sidelines to give Jonjo an opportunity. 5

Schneiderlin: Did OK. While he’s not shy to tackle I don’t quite see him in that holding role which Gueye specialises in. 6

Davies: Did OK. Was doing more than most to try and force something as the minutes ticked by. 6

Calvert-Lewin: Took his goal well and full of effort, but couldn’t offer enough creativity from the left. 6

Walcott: Went down injured early on and couldn’t quite run it off before coming off early in the second half. I really hope that’s not a serious injury. 5

Sigurdsson: Not his most effective game but it wasn’t for lack of effort. WIth Tom Davies on a yellow card, it seemed short-sighted to me to take Gylfi off when we were chasing the game. He’s always capable with a free kick, or an opportunity around the box and I thought it was a bad move to take him off at that stage. 6

Tosun: He’ll have to start getting amongst the goals soon otherwise he’ll be finding himself under pressure and Everton will be looking for an alternative in January. Pace is clearly missing from his game and, as Ste mentioned at the match, without this, you wonder where he fits into this system. That said, he does work hard Cenk and was a bit starved of service in this one. Though he’s struggling for goals, you feel that once he gets one he could very well get on the goal trail. Hopefully the rest of the September games will provide these opportunities for him…and he will take them. 6


Lookman (for Walcott): Made a good immediate impact and then faded somewhat. Unlucky not to have produced the winner with a wicked cross which Sigurdsson couldn’t quite turn in, but not a bad contribution. 6

Baines (for Digne): A straight swap for Digne and one I agreed with as I felt Lucas’s impact in the game had faded. Unfortunately Leighton couldn’t really make any further inroads down the left. 6

Niasse (for Sigurdsson): I also felt bringing NIasse on was the right decision, it was the sort of game in which his nuisance value might just have paid off, I just didn’t think it should have been at the expense of Gylfi. As always with Oumar, his effort was there, but unfortunately he never got that opportunity. Kieran Dowell might have been another good attacking option, but maybe Marco Silva was concerned that would upset the team balance. Anyway, not bad from Oumar. 6

Reader Comments (14)

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Kieran Fitzgerald
1 Posted 02/09/2018 at 07:03:18
This was basically our second-string team with a few exceptions. Zouma and Digne looked accomplished and settled which was a big plus.

I would agree that Coleman may need a little time off. It will be good for him. Kenny offers solid defending and, from what I have seen of him, has drive and is very vocal. What he brings in this regard may help drive the team forward.

Tony Abrahams
2 Posted 02/09/2018 at 07:12:02
Good report, Paul, hopefully it was just one of those games, but with so little craft on the pitch I never expected much more.

It shows you were we would have been if we never made those additions during the transfer window though, the new players we have seen all look good, so hopefully the other new ones can have a similar impact once they put on the shirt.

Agree with you about Sigurdsson, he did a lot of donkey work for the team, but once he was replaced I couldn't understand why we never just went 4-4-2, and pushed Niasse right up alongside Tosun. Sometimes when you are not playing well, isn't it just better to get the ball forward, and try to engage the crowd?

Jerome Shields
3 Posted 02/09/2018 at 08:30:29
Though it's going to take a lot of time, you would expect that tactically the framework would be shaping up at this stage to move on. Glaring tactical frailties are not being addressed game on game.

The defence has been sorted out in the personnel selected, though Coleman isn't playing well. I hope this hasn't been done by accident due to suspension and injuries.

The injured players we bought need to come into the side urgently. Quite frankly, there are some suspended and injured players I hope to never see again. . .

Everton need to bring in more players in certain positions, since there are players who are holding Everton back and are frankly not good enough. The players who have been loaned out are not the answer to Everton's problems either.

Thomas Lennon
4 Posted 02/09/2018 at 08:44:55
In a game like this, the pressure always seems to focus on creativity and goals but, for me, this was a 1-0 win lost by porous defending. Top 6 teams beat anti-football teams by keeping clean sheets.

Our defence is in its infancy, it is fair to say, transitioning to new players, new approaches with a big lad yet to come in who may yet be the leader... but, until the team can rely on them, there will be hesitation and we lose that vital 1% extra that wins these games. Conversely, the defence may feel under too much pressure if they feel one mistake will lead to a goal that we will struggle to recover from.

Confidence in the manager and the team needs to grow from within. If it is lost, we will repeat the last 2-3 years. If it is gained, then the only way is up. Fine margins. Picking out individuals at this stage is foolhardy.

Jim Bennings
5 Posted 02/09/2018 at 08:54:47
Probably a little generous with some of those ratings. I'd go with the following.

Pickford (6) — Had little to do but his distribution has been a little off this season and sometimes dives at things in an erratic manner but not really tested yesterday.

Coleman (4) — Defensively fragile at times yesterday as he has been all season and his crossing has been woeful for a long time. I don't want to say it but he hasn't looked the same since that injury; hope he gets better.

Zouma (7) — Pretty much what we expected, big strong and quick and he'll eventually form a partnership with Yerry Mina you would imagine as time goes on. The closest thing we have had to Sylvain Distin since his departure.

Holgate (5) — I still believe he's too flimsy and needs to bulk up, bullied too many times and aerial wise he's always found wanting. His distribution at times is as bad as Ashley Williams was. I'm still not sure Holgate will make it as a long-term centre-half, maybe an eventual switch to full-back.

Digne (6) — Did okay with what he needed, not helped by Calvert-Lewin in front of him though who kept cutting inside.

Schnederlin (5) — Did okay, does what he does, is that enough really though?

Davies (3) — Just offers nothing, no real pace about his game or urgency and those who say he offers energy really must not watch him closely, he's not quick enough to offer energy and the game passes him by. Doesn't shoot, can't pass or head a ball and too often loses out in the tackles due to being lightweight. Should have been out on loan this season; another wasted season coming up for Davies one feels.

Sigurdsson (4) —Worked hard at pressing but again, for £45 million, doesn't do enough to justify that price. Doesn't orchestrate enough and we have not really seen the set-piece king that he was at Swansea. Must do better.

Walcott (5) — Didn't get himself involved anywhere near enough and I still think over the course of the season he will be more productive as an away day player when teams are pushing on us. Hopefully that injury isn't too bad.

Calvert-Lewin (5) — And that's only for the goal because he was pretty anonymous for the best part of the game but why on Earth was he on the wing? When has he ever been a winger?

Tosun (4) — Piss poor, to be honest. Works hard enough in areas where we don't need him, Silva needs to drive home that he's a lone striker and he needs to be a penalty box player. Doesn't possess the pace or power to really affect the game enough and I still think centre-forward is a weak area for us. He needs to start scoring very soon as, going back to last season, it's now 1 goal in 11 matches — not good enough.


Niasse (5) — Ran a bit but that's it.

Baines (5) — What was the point unless Digne was that bladdered?

Lookman (5) — One great cross which nobody got on the end of but did nothing to give the manager a selection headache.

Jay Harris
6 Posted 02/09/2018 at 09:03:49
That's a good point, Thomas.

We are all looking for those 3-0 or 4-0 wins but sometimes you have to win ugly, especially against ugly teams.

Kim Vivian
7 Posted 02/09/2018 at 09:12:32
Notwithstanding that we were poor yesterday – and we were awful – I haven't seen it mentioned anywhere Huddersfield's contribution to a crap 90 minutes of non-entertainment. Sure they achieved what they came to do, but played a spoiling disruptive time-wasting game from start to finish.

Ugly, Paul? You bet it was.

Pat Kelly
8 Posted 02/09/2018 at 09:56:08
It'll get better. Give it another few years. In the meantime enjoy the odd home draw.
Ajay Gopal
9 Posted 02/09/2018 at 10:05:33
This is a season of rebuilding. Hopefully, by the middle to the end of the season, Silva will settle on a 'system' which will ensure that we win consistently at home. Mina, Bernard, Richarlison, Gomes will hopefully take us ahead to that level.

Coleman Mina Zouma Digne
Gomes Gueye Sigurdsson
Lookman Bernard Richarlison

Mike Connolly
10 Posted 02/09/2018 at 10:33:33
Jim (#5)

Your ratings were the most accurate. Disappointed today. We need a centre-forward urgently; however, easier said than done.

Bob Parrington
11 Posted 02/09/2018 at 11:00:53
Paul, I reckon you picked this in one. Zouma was the outstanding player today for Everton.

Time to look at the positive – except for the ridiculous "space, no space" marking for their goal our defence looked completely composed today. Silva – back to the drawing board regarding the zonal shit, please!!!!

Schneiderlin put in a good performance. Digne, other than the accuracy of his crosses, put in a good performance. Tosun worked his bollocks off!

Otherwise, in mid-field and up-front we didn't have a clue!!!

So, IMO, out goes Davies, replaced by Bernard. Out goes a wide Calvert-Lewin, replaced by naughty Richie. Keep Tosun or Calvert-Lewin central maybe (I think Tosun because he adds a vibe that Calvert-Lewin doesn't have).

Secret that seems to be missing is the speed of transition from defence to attack! Now there's a question!!!

Dave Ganley
12 Posted 02/09/2018 at 12:14:40
Good report, Paul, pretty much sums up everyone's feelings.

The thing that got me more than anything else yesterday was the lack of urgency. We played okay to a point but never showed that urgency needed to force the game apart from when Huddersfield had just scored. We went down the field, equalised then sat off again, very frustrating.

I thought Schneiderlin played well yesterday. It seems that a lot of people just don't get the role he is being asked to play. Essentially he's being asked to sit just in front of the centre-backs giving us a back 3 and it is allowing the full backs carte blanche to go raiding up the wings.

Tom Davis seems to be playing in the playmaker role, a role that doesn't really suit him. Yesterday, he had a bad day. He never stopped trying, to be fair, but he's not a playmaker and he was very slow around the pitch; maybe Wednesday taking its toll. He should have made way in the subs yesterday, not Siggy.

I didn't understand Digne sub either, thought he had a decent game too. Seamus is struggling badly in attack and defence, he seems to have lost several yards of pace and maybe it's time for a rest as he's offering nothing at the moment. As much as I love Seamus, nobody should be immune from the axe.

The zonal marking, well I read an article by Silva the other day explaining his theory. I get what he is trying to say. Effectively, he's saying that it's no different to man-marking except you're marking space, not the man. The players aren't marking the space, which is no surprise because none of the players are watching the ball, they all watch the man. How on earth anybody can attack the ball and head away when they don't watch the ball is anybody's guess.

It's a modern philosophy of players that for set-pieces they watch the man. Obviously you have to know where the opposition are but, if you don't attack the ball, then 90% of the time you will get beat to the ball because the opposition are attacking it and have better trajectory. The RS had all these issues when Klopp first came so it's just letting the players get used to it, that and getting a proper leader into the back 4 to organise. There is no-one putting their hand up to lead. A problem we have had for quite a while.

Yesterday was a set-back, that's all. I too listened to Radio Merseyside on the way home and it was amazing to listen to some of the rubbish spouted. 5 games and they want Silva out. It's ridiculous. 'Patience' is a word a lot of people don't like but we need it in spades. It's not going to be perfect straight away. It's going to take time no matter how much people rant and swear about it. We are going in the right direction. We had a lot of injuries and we haven't got the strength in depth to cope with them and still be a force so until we can then we need to tolerate it.

Calvert-Lewin is definitely not a wide man so maybe he should be given a few games as central striker. Tosun isn't bad but he just doesn't do it for me. Niasse will never be a starter and he showed why on Wednesday, let alone yesterday. Not sure Calvert-Lewin is all that but his goals over the last couple of games have shown a striker's instinct so worth giving a go. We need to bring in another striker as soon as though.

Victor Yu
13 Posted 03/09/2018 at 10:36:13
I understand Davies never stopped trying.

But this is not a 'trying' league. This is a 'get it done' league.

Davies is simply not good enough. He is barely good enough for Sunderland based on his performances in the past 12 months.

Brent Stephens
14 Posted 03/09/2018 at 22:40:12
For fuck's sake, Victor. Another thread. Another anti-Tom Davies rant. I couldn't possibly ask the moderators to put an end to this. Enough is enough. You've said it myriad times. This is a wind-up. Have a read of John Daley @164 on the "Our Youngsters" thread.

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