550 miles for that!!!

By Dave Williams 02/09/2018 48comments  |  Jump to last

The day started very early, my daughter (who was due in at midnight) extended it to 2am and, as anyone who has had teenage daughters will know, you can’t go to sleep until they get home! Once in we naturally had to find out how the evening went and lights didn’t go out until 2:30 am. The alarm was set for 6 am but I woke at 5 so, on the back of 2½ hours sleep, I set off for Taunton to catch the West Country Blues coach.

The 57-seater was full with Ron, Mike and the rest of the team doing their usual great job – shame the same couldn’t be said a few hours later about the team on the pitch!

I had a very pleasant beer with the master tactician that is Steve Ferns and another TWebber whose name I missed in the noise of the Royal Oak but he was a nice bloke too and no, we didn’t get into zonal marking as it’s way beyond a simple soul like me!

Into the ground and I detected an air of optimism around the revamped Old Lady who was looking very smart in all her stately splendour. I had the honour of meeting the great Tony Bellew at half time – what a nice bloke but my god I wouldn’t want to annoy him!

As for the game itself, Michael Kenrick's use of the word “ dismal” was nigh on perfect to describe it. Zouma and Digne were by far the best for us and Digne will prove a bargain at that price whilst Zouma will hopefully sign on permanently. I bumped into Mina at half time (I was busy) and he is very tall and athletic looking with the biggest smile I have ever seen, clearly enjoying life.

Back to the game and what has gone wrong with Coleman? It is easy to blame the injury but I thought he was very up and down even before that. His pace has gone, opponents are starting to target him and his attacking contribution has faded badly. On this form I’d play Kenny. Holgate lost out in the air against bigger and stronger opponents but did ok otherwise.

Tom Davies divides opinion and I like him. He struggled but kept going and he suffers if teammates do not run into space off the ball. He is a solid build, a bit like Peter Reid, but he gets shrugged off the ball too easily and needs to develop that mean streak that Reidy had when the likes of Souness and McMahon tried to do that to him. He can’t do it on his own and had no support from the senior midfielders.

Sigurdsson was poor albeit he put in plenty of effort and I wonder if he will keep his place once everyone is fit. Schneiderlin was steady but can’t influence the game and, if the guys he passes to are off the boil, then we are bereft of ideas – which was the case in this game.

Tosun tries very hard but, for me, doesn’t hold up the ball and this is one of our main problems in that we lose possession too easily. Calvert-Lewin looks like he has spent his summer holidays pumping iron. He has filled out with legs double the size of last season. He can hold the ball up, he has plenty of pace, he works hard and – despite what some posters would have you believe – the lad can score goals. I would drop Cenk and play Dominic at centre-forward for a sustained period and watch him develop; I see him in the full England squad later this season.

Walcott was never in the game; Lookman did little to show why we turned down £25m but he needs games I guess to get up to speed.

Very disappointing performance and result but this was Sam Allardyce's team plus Zouma and Digne and, being sensible, it was bound to struggle to create because it struggled last season. We missed Richarlison and Gana badly. When you look at the players who are out at the moment, the team yesterday was 50% reserves – surely Gomes, Richarlison, Gana, Bernard and Mina will all play when fit or back from suspension.

As for zonal marking, is it not more the case that the defence has to bed in new players? Last season, our back four was mostly taken from Kenny, Keane, Jagielka, Williams and Martina. None of those five were on the pitch yesterday and, to my mind, a back four needs a good half-season together to really gel and learn when to cover for each other.

Once we get that, things should improve, whether marking is zonal or whatever.No need to panic, no need to sack Silva – we were such a mess that it will take this season to sort it all out and establish a new team and a new style. He needs his own players to be available; yesterday, he basically had to manage with Sam's team – and it showed.

Back in the house by 11:15 pm – a very long day and the fact that what I talked about when I got in was meeting Tony Bellew says it all about the football.Keep the faith!!

Reader Comments (48)

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Kunal Desai
1 Posted 02/09/2018 at 17:58:02
400 miles for that as well. Hopefully a one off. Get some of our injured players back and Richarlison from suspension over the next few weeks and we should see results and competiton for places improve.
Steve Ferns
2 Posted 02/09/2018 at 18:08:06
Dave, it was great to meet you. It was Bill Griffiths who’d made the trek across from Borth Wales who met us before the match.

Afterwards, I had a quick coke with Kunal before running off just in time to avoid my car being locked in the car park!

Shite game, but good people.

Kunal Desai
4 Posted 02/09/2018 at 18:42:28
Good catching up with you, Steve. I must have been one of the few to leave Stanley car park just before 7pm.

Rubbish drive home. Made it finally home just after 11pm. Hopefully we'll talk about a better performance and with a few of our absent players back in the side as well.

Tony Abrahams
5 Posted 02/09/2018 at 18:52:04
I think that is as good a description of the players as I've read for a while, Dave, loads of common sense.
Dave Abrahams
6 Posted 02/09/2018 at 19:53:33
Dave and Kunal, sorry you had to travel so far to see Si little entertainment from both teams, Dave I thought Schneidernil was very poor and put so little effort in, I see little improvement in him from last season, takes the easy move nearly every time, Siggy had a poor game but he tried at least.

Anyway I marvel at supporters like you and Kunal the time distance and effort you make to see the Blues, much easier for me, five minutes by bus to the ground,
I take my hat off to supporters like you.

Gordon White
7 Posted 02/09/2018 at 20:18:26
Interesting to hear your thoughts. A balanced view I think. Couldn't agree more regarding our defence.

Given my expectations for the game, I was bitterly disappointed, more about the way we played than the result. But I temper that in the knowledge that it's early days.

It's a long journey there and back, isn't it. :-)

Andy Meighan
8 Posted 02/09/2018 at 20:20:30
Great piece, Dave. I enjoyed that.

Got to agree about Tosun; looks like he can't buy a goal at the minute. That said, the service into him was atrocious but you made a great point about replacing him with Calvert-Lewin. I thought he played really well yesterday considering once again he was shunted out wide

To me, though, the biggest disappointment of the lot was Sigurdsson. I don't know if it's just me but I've yet to see him grab a game by the scruff of the neck like we were led to believe he would.

What a shocking waste of £45 million!!! Slow; gets caught in possession, and doesn't seem to anticipate what's going on around him.

As for Schneiderlin... sorry but he's just a passenger — the game goes on around him while he just ambles about doing sod all. Ditto Davies... very very limited.

This seems to upset people when you call Davies out but he's not good enough. I'm just sorry you had to travel all that way, Dave, to witness that trash.

John G Davies
9 Posted 02/09/2018 at 20:22:13
Me too, Dave.

For the lads to show that commitment is unbelievable.

Dave Williams
10 Posted 02/09/2018 at 20:35:16
More than half who travelled were season ticket holders and I'm sure there are similar stories all over the UK. After a good game, the vibe home is great but it was very subdued last night.

I'm confident we will get there but not til next season — a win against the Meccano Stadium lot will do for me this season.

John Raftery
11 Posted 02/09/2018 at 23:03:03
I agree about Sigurdsson, whose limitations in terms of pace, movement, agility and dribbling were exposed yesterday.

I don't think the eleven which started yesterday can be labelled as Allardyce's team any more than it can be labelled Silva's. Only two of the players, Tosun and Walcott, were signed by Allardyce.

Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
12 Posted 03/09/2018 at 06:15:07
A win at Tottenham's ground from last season will be a lot nicer.
Kunal Desai
13 Posted 03/09/2018 at 07:18:24
Dave - I actually thought Schneiderlin wasn't that bad. He was tidy and moped up pretty much everything in front of Holgate and Zouma. He and Digne did okay and Zouma was MotM. As for the rest, less said the better.
Dave Williams
14 Posted 03/09/2018 at 07:32:34
John, sorry – by referring to "Sam's team", I was meaning the team that played the back half of last season so dourly – not that Sam bought them all.

Phil, agreed, beating the Meccano team at Wembley would do for me too!

Victor Yu
15 Posted 03/09/2018 at 07:50:53
Schneiderlin has played well this season.
Gerard McKean
16 Posted 03/09/2018 at 08:08:36
Dave, a concise and balanced summary. I just shake my head in disbelief at the way Koeman and then Allardyce made it clear there was no place for Barkley because Koeman and Walsh had decided that £45m was enough to replace him.

On the zonal marking, while I'm no Steve Ferns when it comes to tactics, I think Silva and his coaching team are over complicating it. Many years ago living in Germany I played for a team that was set up to mark zonally. At corners for example, one player took the far post and two players plus the keeper took specific spaces in and around the 6 yard box. If the ball came into their space they attacked it and cleared the danger.

Having just those 3 players plus the defender on the post meant they had the elbow room to move and attack the ball. Everton seem to have double that number in this area and they are necessarily static as a result.

Another innovative tactic used in that team was that the coach would often push 3 players up towards the half way line when we were defending a corner. 2 wide, 1 in the middle. This forced opponents to leave 4 and sometimes even 5 players plus their keeper in their own half. So they could attack the corner with only half a team.

Admittedly this was an amateur team but imagine the potential threat to any team of leaving the likes of Walcott, Richarlison and Lookman spaced out near the half way line, especially if Pickford gets hold of the ball and pings it towards them. This further decongests the space that needs to be marked and allows for more movement from the markers.

Dave Abrahams
17 Posted 03/09/2018 at 09:30:41
Kunal (#13), fair enough, everyone sees the game differently. As you say, Schneiderlin mopped up, he can do a lot more, never does more than he has to.

Gerard (#16), good points, watched them as the corners and free kicks were coming in, six or seven of them in a line, getting in eachother's way, no-one on the line (again), lots of them static... To leave at least two on the half-way line makes more sense to me, but we are only supporters... like Manuel, we know nothing.

Brian Harrison
18 Posted 03/09/2018 at 09:44:02
I really don't think it matters what defensive marking systems you use –it's about players doing their job. Practically all the top teams zonal mark.

The team that always astounds me is Man City. Admittedly whichever back 4 they play, they are all pretty tall lads. But then you have Silva, Sterling, Aguerro, Jesus coming back for corners – all small guys, but I don't see them conceding too many from corners.

I am sure Silva will drill this back 4 so it stops happening quite so often. But, as England proved in the World Cup, a well-worked corner can undo any side.

Steve Ferns
19 Posted 03/09/2018 at 09:45:25
Dave, It's not so much we know nothing, it's that Silva has this criticism at Watford and he never changed it. He's hardly going to do something radically different now.

Those MOTD stats were very condemning. However, what they show is that a high % of goals conceded by Silva teams were from set pieces. They should be showing how many set piece goals we concede compared with other sides and how many open play goals. If we don't concede an above average number of set piece goal and the open play goals conceded is low, then that's us doing alright.

We still have to hope they sort this zonal marking fiasco out soon. And not just Mina coming in.

I wonder what would have happened to Barkley had we got Silva in, in November? Also I doubt he'd have brought zonal marking in then, instead trying to effect changes more slowly.

I also thought Schneiderlin had yet another solid game. He's doing nothing spectacular, and he's probably still playing within himself. He's the best passer from deep that we have, but he's rarely taking a risk and hitting those 40-yard passes. I think this is probably due to instruction and Silva is instead trying to get us to play quick passes through midfield. We needed long diagonals against Huddersfield though. We needed to pull them about and to make them chase shadows.

Martinez possession game was about tiring these park-the-bus sides. They'd only chase for so long and then you'd find a way through. We need to speed everything up and raise the intensity levels.

Jay Harris
20 Posted 03/09/2018 at 10:02:05

As we both know, there is nothing wrong with zonal marking and not much wrong with our centre-backs defending now. It is the forwards, Tosun and Calvert-Lewin in particular, that have let us down recently.

Even if you're going to get beat to the header, at least put some pressure on the opposition to ensure they can't get a clean header on it. Our guys are acting like statues.

Sam Hoare
21 Posted 03/09/2018 at 10:34:23
Having watched Huddersfield's goal in replay, it comes off Calvert-Lewin's head initially. Pretty poor to be flicking on the opponent's corners but then, if you watch it again, you see the Huddersfield man behind him gives a solid push in the back just before the ball arrives which is why the ball skims off the top of his head rather than being headed away.

In these days of stricter refereeing, I'm surprised they did not appeal more.

Jer Kiernan
22 Posted 03/09/2018 at 11:01:24
Regards the appalling defending at corners, it's funny how the "journalists" spend their time asking Silva about Lookman's future, and nobody mentions the fact that we conceded the same goal 5 times already this season???

The worrying part about conceding this type of goal is that:

A – Anybody can expose it, even lower league teams, not to mention the better sides in the Premier League;

B – It shows there is major problem with our team on a most basic of tactical levels, And it has not been corrected yet?

Very worrying indeed... I expect this to be corrected. I have played in Pub teams that defend corners better than we have been doing.

Point being, we could have played shite and came away with a 1-0 win.

Alasdair Mackay
23 Posted 03/09/2018 at 11:20:37
They were definitely flat today.

There is something to be said for the fact that we have a lot of injuries and suspensions at the moment, so the bench was weak, but that doesn't excuse the lack of movement in the final third.

I thought Davies played okay alongside Schneiderlin. I take your point about his physical restrictions, but he is only 20. If we, the fans, give him the support and encouragement he needs, he will be a big part of our team for a long time.

I felt we started okay, but faded fast when we saw how Huddersfield were setting up. We let them get to us and dictate the tempo. They also did a good job of controlling the referee, which slowed the game down even more.

That being said, we need players like Sigurdsson, Walcott and Coleman (who have been around in this league for a long time) to recognise that and make a few more runs; work harder to open teams up. I think that's what was missing, a little more Premier League know-how in attack.

Either way, we have suffered our first flat performance under Silva, but we have the blessing of the international break to get some of our injured back, continue to bleed the system and style in and I think we will see better performances going forward.

I have faith in Brands and Silva and I think we have a balanced squad with talent in all areas (if we can keep them all available).

David Ellis
24 Posted 03/09/2018 at 12:10:29
Very disappointing performance... and I don't like it but Huddersfield did their job very well.

I don't agree with all Dave's comments on the OP. I think Tosun is doing just fine. He's not a worldie – but, outside the top 6, there aren't many better strikers. He holds it up well, has great control and strength. Although Calvert-Lewin has come on in leaps and bounds (and bulk), I think Tosun is the No 1 choice as the central striker.

Against bus-parking teams, we lack that super imaginative No 10. Sigurdsson struggles in the lack of space (and without Richarlison stretching them, there was less space) and I think this would have been a game for Bernard.

I love Davies but thought he was poor. Perhaps he was trying riskier passes than Schneiderlin but it wasn't coming off. Again, he's not really the player to break down a parked bus.

Schneiderlin I thought did okay but it's hard to tell on the TV what options he has available. He may look worse to match goers who can see what quick options he had.

Holgate and Coleman were both poor – particularly in how they use the ball and, in Holgate's case, how much time he took to start moving forward when not under pressure. Counter-attacks need to start immediately and often he had the space to take two or three touches and then did just that, rather than looking for the quick pass forward.

2 points dropped. Could have been worse. I'm still hopeful that things will improve, not just in personnel but also cohesion.

Steve Ferns
25 Posted 03/09/2018 at 12:24:14
The other way to look at it is, without zonal marking issues, we'd have won every game this season. We've only conceded one goal from open play.

It's not just that either, the defence has been pretty firm, Pickford has only pulled off one amazing save, but that was after he fluffed an easy one.

Solely due to the zonal marking issues, our promising start has dropped a notch and requires a win against West Ham in a couple of weeks or we're in fact going backwards.

That said, for me it's mostly about Arsenal. Can we show we're a better side by playing well and giving them a game like we haven't done since Martinez's first season? If so, we can say we've turned the corner and that results will come. Beat West Ham but get turned over by Arsenal again, and it shows we really are not much further down the line.

Tony Abrahams
26 Posted 03/09/2018 at 12:25:30
Andy @8, I think I might have done your head in a bit on the live forum last week (if it was you, mate) but I just thought your criticism of Sigurdsson was a bit belated considering he had only played 4 halves of this new season.

It's different when you write like this; it's a much better opinion when you explain yourself properly, and so much harder to disagree with.

I don't think you are alone on Sigurdsson: I hear loads of people criticising him, but I see a very good footballer in him – obviously not a £45 million player though.

He his the type of player who needs people around him, simply because he hasn't got great pace, and I for one would love to see him drop into a deeper midfield role if it meant getting rid of the real imposter in a blue shirt – who, imo, is Schneiderlin.

Andy, I would have loved to have had to have a good look at myself on Saturday night, because it would have meant I'd been playing for Everton, but I'm just a fan like yourself, who also has opinions like yourself, even if they aren't always the same.

Steve Ferns
27 Posted 03/09/2018 at 12:30:56
Tony, I thought Sigurdsson was isolated. They targeted him and got about him and stopped him playing. They also fouled us a lot, and got away with a lot and Sigurdsson took the brunt.

It's hard to criticise him particularly if they just do a good job and take him out the game. That said, the top players always find a way into the game. They only need one chance and they make something happen. He couldn't... so maybe that highlights that he really is not a top player.

I can't wait to see what happens when Bernard is fully fit. I don't believe he's back-up for Charlie. I expect he will be pushing Sigurdsson for the No 10 role.

Tony Abrahams
28 Posted 03/09/2018 at 12:33:24
Steve @25, no further down the line after 6 games, honestly mate, surely it's going to take a bit of time?

I can't remember ever seeing as much space on a football pitch considering this is supposed to be elite level football and the fact that we couldn't create shows me that we need the new players to come and bed in before we can really push on.

James Marshall
29 Posted 03/09/2018 at 12:34:39
The whole point about zonal marking is that the defenders are meant to be in the same boat as the attackers. The attacking players aren't there to mark anyone, they're trying to find space to attack the incoming cross – so to the defenders, the point being that all players have an equal chance to get to the ball first.

In theory this is a good thing. That theory being that if you're marking someone, you're essentially tracking them, doing the same as them, in an attempt to get to the ball first (chase the player and the ball). Zonal means you're only looking for the flight of the ball, thus your job should (according to the theory) be easier as you don't have to worry about the man.

The problem with zonal marking is the second-ball, as seen on Saturday – it flicks off a defending player and goes direct to an unmarked attacker = goal.

Had that player been marked, then less chance of a goal. To my mind, zonal marking falls down on the second-ball rule, and thus is less effective than man-marking. No system is flawless, of course.

Brian Harrison
30 Posted 03/09/2018 at 13:14:36

I can't believe you think that, if we hadn't played zonal marking, we would have won every game. That's far too simplistic, we have conceded goals from corners because defenders didn't do their jobs.

Also, if man-marking is the better way, then why do all the top coaches use zonal? Klopp and Guardiola both use zonal – how many goals have they conceded from corners?

The success of any system is the players, whether that be zonal or man to man marking, or a 3-5-2 or a 4-3-3 system. Good players make it – not the system.

Steve Ferns
31 Posted 03/09/2018 at 13:25:24
Sure it is, Brian. But if people want to bang on about the failings of zonal marking, we need to recognise the fact that only 1 of the 6 goals conceded has come from open play.
Dave Abrahams
32 Posted 03/09/2018 at 13:36:54
Steve (19), you say Schneiderlin is probably playing within himself, Steve he is not supposed to be playing within himself, he is supposed to the same as all the other players; play for 90 minutes; he's getting paid to play for the whole game.
Liam Reilly
33 Posted 03/09/2018 at 13:41:00
"We lived by zonal marking under Howard Kendall."

"You have to be touch tight all the time and as people move about your starting position has to naturally change because you don't want people to get a run on you."

"We had men who understood the system inside out."

Quotes from the Rat and that team didn't do half bad but it took a while for them to get some traction.

John Pierce
34 Posted 03/09/2018 at 13:41:24
I think it's fair to say it's the execution not the zonal system per se. Silva in his short time at Watford is alleged to have conceded the 2nd highest number of chances from set pieces in the Premier League.

Silva has started to shape things well from an attacking perspective, however potentially the above indicates there may be a flaw in the way he coaches zonal?

For my understanding of the system, it feels like it needs drilling. We are simply losing headers mostly at the front post. You'd like to feel any ball beyond that should be the keeper's. So the guys are either simply too small or have poor anticipation or both.

Those players should be reading the ball and attacking it better. My own eyes suggest they are not? Is it a simple case of best header at the near post being dominant?

Let's see what Mr Mina does. But, whatever the issue, it needs simplifying for the players to absorb because to date that ain't happening.

John Keating
35 Posted 03/09/2018 at 13:43:13
Personally I think the present set of players — and I include midfielders and forwards — would be better off marking man for man. However, it is patently obvious that Silva wants to play zonal and it looks that nothing will change his mind.

That being the case, he has to tweak the present marking and, as a number of posters have mentioned, open up the box a bit to stop all our guys getting in eachother's way. Possibly two on the posts, three or four in zones, and the rest marking the runners man to man.

I really can't accept that it takes "time" to impart defending. We're talking about professional footballers, many of whom have played various systems overseas for various clubs. Surely a week of intense coaching would more than sort this out throughout the squad.

It seems a great waste that all Silva's plus points thus far are being negated by a complete failure defensively. Without doubt, we can argue all day about this but it does appear to be a failing of Silva's past appointments. He has to change or all the goodwill he has received thus far will evaporate.

We all joked about Steve's love affair with Silva prior to his appointment. He did, quite rightly, say we would see his imprint more or less straight away. Even Steve is questioning his defensive frailties and that alone is cause for concern.

Ernie Baywood
36 Posted 03/09/2018 at 13:49:06
I struggle to believe that any zonal making plan doesn't include the zone on the edge of the 6-yard box.

It's not the strategy. It's the execution. There's no way Silva is telling them not to bother. There are players not doing their jobs.

Steve Barr
37 Posted 03/09/2018 at 13:55:15
Just a comment on our forward/progressive thinking coach. He is quoted as saying he's always gone with the zonal system and is not going to change now!

If one of the old English (dinosaur) coaches had come up with that kind of comment, he would have been criticized for being set in his ways etc.

As I've stated before, this coaching lark and the coaches themselves is/are very overrated. Emperor's Clothes comes to mind.

Steve Ferns
38 Posted 03/09/2018 at 14:00:27
Dave, he's probably playing to instruction. Otherwise, why else is he not hitting the Stevie Me style Hollywood diagonals?
Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
39 Posted 03/09/2018 at 14:02:42
West Ham at home, then Arsenal away and let us see how much we have progressed.

West Ham, who have lost all four, bottom of the league, after a 2-week international break, coming to Goodison Park. We are Everton. We know the result. 3/1 for a West Ham win at the moment. Got to be worth a grand that one.

Life is wonderful being an Evertonian. Wouldn't swop it for all the tea in China.

Thomas Lennon
40 Posted 03/09/2018 at 14:16:02
A few years back the Premier League did fan surveys that asked a few thousand fands how far they travelled to the match. If I remember correctly, people were stopped outside the game and given questionnaires.

One very striking fact that emerged was that the averge supporter of Everton lived 20 miles from Goodison. This was much derided at the time (possibly by those attempting to claim that an out-of-town ground would be a very bad thing for most fans) but, given the information presented in this thread, perhaps there was more in it than thought at the time.

The number of dedicated fans travelling hundreds of miles each is a testament to the commitment of Evertonians. Give us some silverware and 60,000 is easily fill-able.

Dave Abrahams
41 Posted 03/09/2018 at 14:44:26
Steve (#38), A good player uses all the options. On Saturday, Schneiderlin was playing one-two's on the Bullen Road side of the field, three or four passes. If he'd been aware, which good players would be, the other side of the pitch was wide open with Holgate and Colman available; this happens frequently with this player.

Those long diagonal balls played by Gerrard and also by Schneiderlin last season were not very effective, a bit out of date, they played over the full-back and were either cut out or left the man getting possession struggling. The long diagonal ball inside the full back is much more effective, but we'll leave it at that.

Peter Mills
42 Posted 03/09/2018 at 17:37:22
Criticism of Walcott on Saturday from a few people is a bit harsh. He had a decent first 30 minutes then took a severe bang to his lower ribs when he slid off the pitch (in front of me at the Park End end of the Main Stand). He was in a lot of pain, I suspect the injury had an impact on his performance after that.

Tony Abrahams
45 Posted 03/09/2018 at 19:02:56
Steve @38, he's not hitting those passes because he doesn't really want the ball, is how I see Schneiderlin in a blue shirt.
Dave Williams
46 Posted 03/09/2018 at 19:38:23

I know what you mean but sometimes I almost would! Must meet up again one of these days – in touch with a few of the Wirral Grammar old boys!

John McGimpsey
47 Posted 04/09/2018 at 09:16:29
In other news, Tom Davies nominated for Golden Boy award... Jesus wept. A field of 59 Under-21 stars nominated, oh and him.
Alasdair Mackay
48 Posted 05/09/2018 at 11:34:04
James Marshall #29

That's really interesting analysis.

Is there justification to have 2 players reading zones, 2 looking for the second ball, 1 on the post (at corners), and the rest man-marking? (Minus the 2 to 4 in a wall and 1 on halfway looking for the quick out-ball?)

In other words – a best-of-both-worlds system.

Dick Fearon
49 Posted 05/09/2018 at 21:54:26
Dave, I can understand your frustration with the game but, in my mind's eye, your description the journey from and return to the West Country made me pine for another trip back to the old country from here in Australia.
Tony Everan
50 Posted 05/09/2018 at 22:16:05
Dave, what a bummer! All that effort for a boring stalemate, a disappointment of a match.

It's a dilemma about starting Calvert-Lewin in place of Tosun. Tosun hasn't looked threatening at all but on Saturday the service to him was poor. It's a 50/50 one, but I wouldn't start them both.

Tosun puts in a shift and does work off the ball, but Calvert-Lewin is finding space in the box and looks the more likely to be in the right place at the right time at the moment.

I think Calvert-Lewin is a workaholic, he has toughened up over the summer and come back stronger. I need to see more but it is possible he has moved up a gear from last season. He has recognised that he has to be more ruthless and lethal in the penalty box, aerially and on the ground. It is very early days but the signs are good. He is delivering.

Whilst it would be tough on Tosun to miss out, for me, the balance has shifted in favour of starting Calvert-Lewin as centre-forward leading the line. I would be in favour of him starting against West Ham.

Dave Williams
51 Posted 08/09/2018 at 11:21:33
Tony & Dick – don't get me wrong. The game was an unexciting stalemate but the day itself was fab. I could happily sit in the ground for hours on my own just savouring the majesty of the place and remembering all of the good times of the last 55 years – I really could.

I met some very nice people, enjoyed excellent hospitality and can't wait to get back up there again. An entertaining performance is obviously a huge help but nonetheless it was a great day out.

The compensation I guess is that we have half a team to bring in when they are available and there are some class players there who will improve the rest. My expectations are high in six months time!

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