One great half...

By Paul Traill 30/09/2018 35comments  |  Jump to last
Everton 3 - 0 Fulham

With Ste unable to make this one, my father-in-law, or “schwiegervater” given his German roots, gladly used his ticket. Gaz kindly picked up up, and we were nicely in the pub for about 1pm, Dan and his son Alfie arriving at exactly the same time.

It was nice to relax in the pub with a good game of football. West Ham United vs Manchester United was quite a battle with the Londoners, who were in crisis a few weeks ago, coming out on top. You feel it’s now Manchester United who are the team in crisis.

We got the team news in the pub and there were no changes whatsoever to the team that lost unluckily at Arsenal last weekend. Even the substitutes bench remained the same I believe. With Andre Schurle, Ryan Sessegnon, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Timothy Fosu-Mensa and, Jean Michael Seri all featuring, the visitors did have quality in their ranks and couldn’t be taken lightly. Roger East, the best referee in the league in my opinion, got the game underway.

For once, we made it to Goodison Park in plenty of time for kick-off and even had a bit of time to enjoy the warm sunshine as we awaited kick-off. It was a good day to remember your shades. Though not such a good day to bring a coat. A packed stadium roared the teams out as Z-Cars rang out. That really is a special feeling which we miss far too often these days such is our laxness in leaving the pub.

Sadly, in the first half, the team didn’t respond to the backing of the expectant crowd, when a sluggish Everton really struggled to get going. It was actually Fulham who impressed me much more in the opening half. They are very intricate around the penalty area and keep the ball very well. Far too easily, they twice carved us open in the first half, first when Andre Schurle skied well over the bar from a good position just outside the penalty area; and secondly, not long before the break, Ryan Sessegnon also missed the target, this time rattling the crossbar when bearing down on goal with just Jordan Pickford to beat. He should have scored and I assumed he had and was astonished to see the ball cannon away off the woodwork. A let-off to the extreme for Everton.

With a few stoppages for injuries, 5 minutes of stoppage time were added at the end of the first half. With Everton shapeless and struggling badly to engineer anything, these 5 minutes were quite a slog and everyone in blue – supporters, coaching staff and players alike – were thankful when Roger East blew up to end the half. This had to get much better.

Sadly the half-time “entertainment” didn’t offer this and I hope they ditch this new game as it really hasn’t provided the crowd interaction that the marketing guys expected or targeted. It’s a ‘Bruce Forsyth’s Generation Game’ conveyor belt game, when a list of items scroll across the screen, and then afterwards the contestant has 15 seconds to name as many as he can, and for each one correctly guessed, gets £15 worth of vouchers to spend at the Everton Clubshop. Hardly a life-changing prize.

They then get the chance to “gamble” at the end of this and could then win £300 worth of vouchers if they choose to answer a 50/50 chance question. This then gives the host a chance to plug one of Everton’s partners presumably, given the question last time was “Which online streaming channel is launching Jack Ryan next week, is it A, Amazon Prime, or B, Netflix?”

I think they assume that almost everyone will gamble and they get to plug something. The host seemed a bit annoyed this week when the contestant decided to keep what he had, £115 worth of vouchers. “Are you SURE you don’t want to gamble?” he probed.

It’s terrible, and bring back the ‘hit the bar’ contest I say. At least that kept everyone entertained but I think they ended up giving away more cars than they budgeted for and canned that idea.

I had to get that off my chest.

Back to the game and as Gary, sat next to me, said – "It’s good to know that Marco Silva has it in him to give the team a rocket at the break." Whatever he said, and presumably it was a bit of a telling off, worked and we were straight out of the traps in the second half and quickly had a great opportunity to take the lead when Dominic Calvert-Lewin was shoved in the back by Denis Odoi as he chased a through ball. It was rather unnecessary from Odoi as Marcus Bettinelli looked to have smothered the ball before Dominic could get to it. Good work though from the referee and linesman.

Roger East didn’t feel he had a clear enough view of it to award the spot kick but the linesman quickly communicated to him that there was a clear shove by Odoi and Everton were awarded the penalty. Richarlison wanted it and grabbed the ball, but Gylfi quickly showed his authority in the team and pulled rank. It seemed to take an age for Roger East to book Denis Odoi and clear the box for Gylfi to take it. Whether that is why Gylfi got under it and scooped it onto the crossbar or not we’ll never know but, despite sending the keeper the wrong way, he sent it too high and it was a pretty poor effort really from Gylfi. It reminded me of the one he missed in the World Cup against Nigeria.

Any fears that this would have a negative effect on Gylfi were quickly diminished, as he then worked like a man possessed to make amends, and it wasn’t long until he did when he quickly seized on a loose clearance and hit a splendid low, curling effort into the corner from the edge of the penalty area with his left foot. It was a great effort and Goodison Park erupted with joy.

Everton really had their tails up now but Fulham offered us a reminder of the threat they possess on the counter-attack when Andre Schurle played in Luciano Vietto but having touched it a little heavy, Jordan Pickford seized the opportunity and came out rapidly to smother.

We needed a second goal to see off the visitors and we got it when substitute Cenk Tosun headed in following tremendous work by Theo Walcott down the right. You could see how much it meant to Cenk, and how made up for him his teammates were as they celebrated wildly. It was heart-warming to see him gesture up to his family in the Main Stand as they ran back to position. Let’s hope that’s a catalyst for Cenk to kick on now and get back on the goals trail as he certainly knows where the goal is, though I still wish he’d have scored that even easier chance against Liverpool last season.

The game was more or less done, but the introduction of Bernard on 88 minutes for the spent Richarlison shows just what strength in depth we now have. I’d seen Bernard a few times a couple of years ago for Shakhtar Donetsk and I remember thinking “What a player he is”, but I never thought he was a player you’d ever see in an Everton shirt and I more-than raised an eyebrow when I saw he’d signed for Everton. I missed the West Ham United game so this is my first glimpse of him in the flesh, and what an exciting talent we have there, and at only 26 years old you feel we have him at what should be his prime.

Immediately he had Fulham back-peddling. He runs at you with pace and shows defenders just enough of the ball to entice a challenge, but dive in there and he’s past the defender and gone, very Phillippe Coutinho like. His pace and trickery quickly carved out a chance for Gylfi Sigurdsson, and the Icelander didn’t miss, calmly stroking the ball past Bettinelli to make it 3-0. I can’t wait until Barnard gets up to speed and I hope he can start the game against Southampton on Tuesday.

With the game now definitely won, a clean sheet became imperative and I was glad Marco recognised that immediately, withdrawing Gylfi Sigurdsson for Morgan Schnederlin to see out the final few minutes.

Overall, a nice win and an important one. As we have in our last two games, Fulham will rue them missed chances in the first half. The Premier League is unforgiving and if you miss your chances you are usually punished. Let’s hope this win can be a catalyst for us to be more clinical with our opportunities moving forward.

Player ratings

Pickford: Though not a great deal to do, I’d say that’s his most assured performance this season after a couple of wobbles. Great news that he signed the new contract. That stability is required and it’s nice to get one back at all those who, following his World Cup efforts, told me he wouldn’t be at Everton for much longer. 7

Digne: Granted he joined us with high calibre so was expected to be good, but I have to be impressed by how effortlessly he has adapted to life in the Premier League. A great all-round player in defence and attack. 8

Zouma: A few shaky moments in the last three games has left me unconvinced, though he does show good qualities also. I’m sitting on the fence with him for now! 6

Keane: Certainly looking much more like a good centre back this season than last. 7

Kenny: A few wild hoofs on the half-volley way up in the air aside, he did well, particularly defensively. Certainly his best game yet since coming in to cover for the injured Seamus Coleman. 6

Gueye: My Man of the Match. His tackling and defensive cover is superb. A key cog in the team. 8

Davies: I like Tom and Idrissa as a two in the middle as they cover so much ground. I think I prefer Davies in there also as he’s a much more forward-thinking player than Morgan Schneiderlin. 6

Sigurdsson: His first goal was exceptional and having missed his penalty he then showed great attitude to re-focus and lead the team to victory. A good effort from Gylfi. 8

Richarlison: Not his best game so far but the boy shows good attitude and certainly works hard for the cause. 7

Walcott: He goes unnoticed a lot but shows great attitude and application and then, with his pace, can damage a team, as he showed with his excellent assist for Cenk Tosun’s goal. 7

Calvert-Lewin: Was contained fairly easily by the Fulham defence and it was a good call by Marco to hook him quite early in the game. 5

Tosun (for Calvert-Lewin): A great response to being dropped and we all hope he can really kick on now. 7

Bernard (for Richarlison): A great impact from Bernard and I can’t wait until he’s up to speed. 8

Schneiderlin (for Davies): Really not on long so difficult to judge but there was a moment when he had the ball in his own half and had ample space and time to put the forward-running Theo Walcott away, but he didn’t really look forward at all and just played the ball square. As Gaz said walking out of the ground, "If you can’t look up and pass forward when you’ve just come on at 3-0, when can you?" That’s why I prefer Davies in there. He’s much more positive. 5

Reader Comments (35)

Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer

Jim Bennings
1 Posted 30/09/2018 at 20:35:40
Fair enough assessment of the players although I think Zouma and Keane looks a solid partnership, need to keep in mind Zouma has played 4 games so he's not going to be fitting like a glove instantly.

The defence looks miles better without Holgate whose presence beside Keane or Zouma creates major jitters so right now for the moment at least I'm happy enough with Zouma and Keane.

I just think Zouma has that absolutely crucial pace and power that is needed badly when playing big bustling centre-forwards. I could have well imagined Mitrovic bullying Holgate yesterday like Arnautovic did two weeks ago, but Keane and Zouma was just more uncompromising.

Gana played pretty well.

I still think Tom Davies loses cheap possession far too much and tries things that he just can't do like going past opponents but he had a bit of energy about him to be fair.

It's a 3-0 win and wins don't come easy especially at Everton so I see no reason for complaint.

Jim Bennings
2 Posted 30/09/2018 at 20:59:48
Player ratings from me:

Pickford (6) – Had little to do but displayed great awareness and bravery in rushing out in the second half when Fulham looked certainly to level.

Kenny (6) – Does a decent enough job but don't think he's ever going to be what Coleman was at a similar age. A little bit slow on reading things at times and caught out in the first half when Fulham hit the bar, where was he? Other than that, he was okay.

Zouma (7) – I believe the closest thing we will have had to Sylvain Distin once he gets himself up and running with 10-15 games under his belt. Strong and quick, I can't see anyone in the Premier League winning a personal duel with him.

Keane (8) – Looks a different player this season, he really does, and seems the one player that Silva has improved from last season immensely. Leaner and more commanding and he would be my choice of captain right now.

Digne (7) – Reminds me of Leighton Baines when he came here. Will get better defensively but his use of the ball is immaculate and has a wand of a left foot, I can see why he's played for the clubs he has.

Gueye (7) – One of his best games in the last six months or more, busy and pickpocketing the opposing team, bags of energy.

Davies (6) – Seemed to have a bit of energy about him yesterday but I still feel he needs to take care of the ball far better, not a great passer of the ball and sadly that fault is not rectified by having any real turn of foot or pace, a better bet than Schneiderlin but that's not saying much.

Sigurdsson (8) – A mark up for two class goals and big character after many a lesser man would have gone into hiding after the penalty miss. He gets stick (mainly due to his £45 million tag) but I'll say it again, he's still the only central midfielder we have at present capable of reaching a respectable goals return.

Walcott (6) – Flitted in and out of the game but, when you watch it closely again, you see that most of the good things that we do involve something positive from Walcott, the first half shot, the beautiful cross on a plate for Tosun and then another good run and shot. Always a threat even when not necessarily at it.

Richarlison (6) – Okay enough. Again like Walcott, because he's always running forwards when he gets the ball, he will keep opposing defences on a back foot and looks likely to make anything happen at any given time.

Calvert-Lewin (4) – Runs about but he doesn't ever convince me that he's going to make it as a centre-forward of Premier League standard. Doesn't possess a first touch, doesn't striker you with any confidence in front of goal.


Bernard (7) – Football brain instantly shines through, always looking to make something happen, skilful and looks pretty quick too.

Tosun (7) – Finally, a much-needed goal, even if he couldn't possibly miss from there, at least he actually was there in the right position to score.

Kase Chow
3 Posted 30/09/2018 at 21:08:41
Jim #1,

Totally agree with you regarding Holgate. He's not excellent at anything; physically, he's not imposing or dominant enough. He doesn't win enough ariel balls. He's not super quick like a Des Walker type. Nor does he organise a defence particularly. (I don't think he's too vocal?)

He doesn't offer anything offensively when played at right back. I'm not sure what his best attributes are, to be honest.

Zouma & Keane are not perfect but are decent and we haven't had a decent centre-back pairing for what feels like years.

Fabulous to actually win.

I like Tosun but I feel the same way about him as I do about Holgate: he's not that quick, not that strong, nor that great in the air, nor that super a finished. I'd LOVE to be proven wrong but I don't see it.

However, with Richarlison and Walcott, we have pace and goal threat on the wings and Sigurdsson can both pick a pass or score a goal.

Agree: Bernard looks bloody mustard. I'd love to see him have an impact.

Annika Herbert
4 Posted 30/09/2018 at 21:34:48
Sorry but I don't see the love-in for Sigurdsson. I'm pleased he scored 2 but I don't see the creativity from him that was expected. It seems to me too many people are quick to make excuses for him, yet are extremely quick to criticise other players.

I'm not fussed about the price tag – that's not his fault – but the lack of creativity is very much his fault. Nor do I accept the excuse that it's not him, he needs better players around him. The same was said of Rooney.

With his experience, we should be seeing a lot more from the player labelled as the creative force we have been missing for so long.

Jim Bennings
5 Posted 30/09/2018 at 21:59:04

I also don't see the animosity towards Sigurdsson that you have shown since yesterday.

He had a poor first half (like most of the team) but look at him closely yesterday in the second half to appreciate what he does.

Forget the set plays, forget him not carrying the ball (that's not his strength, never has been, and never will be).

Look at his first goal, he plays a lovely through ball to Kenny (yes, a creative ball) and then is not standing admiring that but is on the end of the loose ball to tuck home a quite sumptuous strike with his weaker foot.

The third goal, what other central midfielder was there busting a gut to offer Bernard the option of a pass?

Sigurdsson might not be your cup of tea Annika but let's face it, what options we currently possess in that position of the pitch he offers the very best of what we can put there.

Last season, he never had a pre-season with us, played for three different managers and had his season prematurely ended in March thanks to injury but still managed six goals from midfield.

He's an intelligent footballer, not a world beater, but he's a good reliable footballer who will get you goals, and that's what the game of football is about at the end of the day.

Andrew James
6 Posted 30/09/2018 at 22:10:53
My thoughts differ on Mason. He's narky and he is good with ball at feet. He also gets some good tackles and interceptions in. He looked the best of a bad back four when it was Williams, Martina and Kenny last season and then his game was enhanced when played with Jagielka who talks him through.

Anyway, Paul I think your summary of the game is spot on apart from Gana. Many times he wins the ball back but sometimes he has to do that because he's the one who lost it, either by giving a teammate the ball while surrounded, heavy touches or being caught in possession. That said, others in our side lose possession and stop completely which is of no use whatsoever.

I thought Davies was better than him yesterday as he played some well-weighted balls into common-sense areas.

Paul Birmingham
7 Posted 30/09/2018 at 22:50:18
This season and next is a Work In Progress; as much as it irks, it's a fact of football life. If and if we get some luck then who knows, what could happen.

Good tonic on the back of a good 1st half at The Gunners, and the team is showing some good traits but is a long way off from what you'd call consistent, and we have not done back-to-back 95-minute storming performances in recent times.

No point in going back in time as that was then, and this is now, and a reality check to get close to the consistency of the Man City, Chelsea, and the RS.

I've confidence and belief in M&M, and they need time and patience, which in modern times are ever harder to find, but have always been in life's trials, precious assets.

Plenty to be positive about going into this week, which is a massive week for the club and this season, bearing in mind where we are, who've we played, and what's at stake.

Here's to a good week, Evertonians.

Gaute Lie
8 Posted 30/09/2018 at 23:27:43
Great outcome of 45 minutes. I was really pleased for Tosun and Sigurdsson. It has a lot to say about their self-belief.

Credit to the defence, all of them, really.

And what a player Bernard shows out to be. His play and sudden stop, then pass to Sigurdsson to score might look simple but, to me, that's football art. It looks very promising. His low centre-of-gravity advantage can be a true golden egg, and will hopefully make up for his lack of mass and height, cause he is small in stature, that's for sure. And I guess playing in Ukraine made him tough.

Let's hope the defense can keep up the good work as I now see good progress in our offensive power.

Lev Vellene
9 Posted 30/09/2018 at 23:55:11
I like Zouma's contribution a lot! But I keep seeing him as a hulking Frankenstein's creature hunkering over the ball all the time! :D
John Boon
10 Posted 01/10/2018 at 01:23:27
Sigurdsson had a great second half and showed just how good he can be. Unfortunately, he is often judged by the ridiculous amount of money we paid for him. We all need to forget about the cost and just judge him as a player.
David Pearl
11 Posted 01/10/2018 at 01:33:24
Nice report Paul, and definitely agree with the half time show, cringeworthy really. Glad I missed it as I'm over in Canada. I wouldn't mind having a go at hitting the bar, something I'm good at.

I've only seen highlights but pleased this game might of helped shape next week's line up, with Tosun restored and/or hopefully a place for Bernard. I don't mind Schneiderlin in this formation but, if he plays, it unfortunately means Gana plays further forward. With Gana deeper, the option appears to be Davies, and let's face it, he's got more responsibility so just may thrive. Getting better.

David Ellis
12 Posted 01/10/2018 at 05:25:14
Argh, Paul Trail - I don't know who or what Jack Ryan is but you had me looking it up to see if the answer is Amazon or Netflix (its Amazon for those who care).

Great anecdote on the half-time entertainment for us expat Blues.

Matt Traynor
13 Posted 01/10/2018 at 06:20:39
So, following on from your half-time entertainment rant, did Gylfi win a car after that penalty?
Merle Urquart
14 Posted 01/10/2018 at 10:10:40
Great 3 points as, against more ruthless opposition, we would have been down a couple of goals. We were shockingly exposed on a couple of occasions there with 2-3 attackers onto 1 but we got away with it and ran out deserved winners in the end after a very much improved 2nd half.

Delighted for Sigurdsson, Kenny and Dignes deliveries. Gana had a better game as well. Calvert-Lewin should not be starting, however; he reminds me of a certain Ian Marshall from the 80s, just a cumbersome footballer.

The best thing besides the points, Bernard's cameo it looks like he has a brain!

Let's not get carried away and put our strongest team out against Southampton, and get used to winning.

John Raftery
15 Posted 01/10/2018 at 11:15:35
The half-time entertainment is truly dire. It is a pity the Directors don't get to suffer it as well as the noise from the crap music they play via the deafening speakers. Pre-match the only highlight is the paltry 20 seconds of Z-Cars before the very annoying pitch side announcer breaks in to introduce the fair play handshake. I don't blame people for not taking their seats until kick-off.

I agree Gueye was our Man of the Match. His tackling kept us afloat when Fulham were swamping us in midfield. Before taking the penalty, Sigurdsson had been anonymous. The awful miss appeared to jolt him into action as though he realised his head was on the block. To be fair, he did well in the last forty minutes.

With the score at 1-0 Pickford's dash from his line to grab the ball from the feet of the Fulham forward was vital. How or why Kenny was left to deal with two forwards running clear is something which should exercise our head coach this week. Whether or not it will we can only guess at. Against a better team, we would have been punished.

While the final scoreline flattered the performance, it was imperative to take the three points and stay out of the relegation battle.

Jay Wood

16 Posted 01/10/2018 at 12:57:20
Re: Fulham's counter-attack from our corner that was snuffed out by Pickford's excellent save, it was absolutely SHOCKING how Jonjoe Kenny was left all alone as the solitary defensive player in the centre circle as Fulham broke on us.

I can't believe that was coached and that someone 'broke ranks' from their designated role and pushed up too far from the position they should have held.

I'm sure it will be highlighted at Finch Farm this week, but I also noted in-game that on subsequent Everton corners both Kenny and Gueye stood together in the centre circle in a defensive role.

So the coaching staff on the sidelines or the players on the pitch themselves recognized the deficiency and duly corrected it.

That merits praise.

Gaute Lie
17 Posted 01/10/2018 at 13:25:06
And I want to thank you, Paul, for always a good report. I also like player ratings like yours.

Always looking forward to this match report, keep it going!

Michael Lynch
18 Posted 01/10/2018 at 15:00:14
I like the way Zouma is happy to bring the ball out of defence if he can – he's made a few ventures into the opponent's half since he came into the team, and doesn't seem to give the ball away cheaply. Zouma & Keane certainly my preferred pairing until Mina is fit.

On the subject of giving the ball away cheaply: Tom Davies. Love the lad but he's not bringing enough to the team at the moment. He's caught in possession regularly and he doesn't create much. I'm hoping Gomes will be a more natural fit in the midfield because, in my opinion, that's where we are lacking at the moment.

Gana had his best game for ages, and Sigurdsson had a decent second half but we simply aren't dominating other teams in the middle of the park, or creating enough from there. Am I imagining it or do all our goals seem to come from work down the wings this season?

Pete Edwards
19 Posted 01/10/2018 at 15:03:30
I'm not having all the "Davies gave the ball away too much" – he had something like an 88% pass completion rate so you all need to get in the bin!
Michael Lynch
21 Posted 01/10/2018 at 15:07:36
Pete, you can stuff your stats in the bin, mate, I sat there watching him getting caught in possession in dangerous positions. Even if he only does that twice in a match, that could be two goals against.

Pass completion stats are pretty meaningless anyway – most passes are two yarders that are irrelevant to the game. For example, if the 12% of passes Davies didn't complete were ones that gave the opposition an opportunity to break and score, and 0% of the completed passes created a chance, then we're in trouble.

Pete Edwards
22 Posted 01/10/2018 at 15:08:42
Michael…. if, if, if, if, if — come on!
Michael Lynch
23 Posted 01/10/2018 at 15:12:07
Okay Pete, have it your way. Davies had a great game because he managed to find a teammate with most of his passes. Forget him getting caught in possession, and forget that most of his passes were sideways two yarders. I want him to dominate the game from midfield, and he isn't doing that right now.
Pete Edwards
24 Posted 01/10/2018 at 15:24:12
Michael, who was your MotM or who do you think had a great game then? Because, whoever you say, I can say without doubt that they gave the ball away on occasions and also got caught in possession at some point of the game... and I'd rather a player lose a ball trying to make something happen than not.

You do also realise that not many passes are irrelevant in a game, don't you? Everyone has to have a boo boy though, I suppose.

Tony Abrahams
25 Posted 01/10/2018 at 16:19:16
Jim @2, You think Jonjoe is slow at reading things? I think he's a very honest kid who tries to help out his team-mates; if you actually blame him for the chance when Fulham hit the bar, then I'm really surprised.

If Walcott's cross was good, then Kenny's pass to Theo was very good; if a young lad isn't given time to develop, then guess what? He won't develop.

Zouma's only played four games? Then how many games do you think Kenny has played for Silva, whose methods for a fullback is something I doubt any young English fullback will have ever come across before...

Mike Gaynes
26 Posted 01/10/2018 at 16:36:15
Paul, spot on with your report and your ratings. I especially agree with your fence-sitting comments on Zouma, whose qualities don't erase the concern about his errors, and your MotM for Gana, whose ball-winning is invaluable. He continues to lead the Premier League in tackles by a wide margin.

Annika #4, view again the pass Sigurdsson made to set Calvert-Lewin free for the penalty. Looked creative to me. Nobody else in our side makes that pass. Nobody else curls in a shot like that with their off foot for the first goal. And nobody else (except Richarlison) helps force the turnover that triggered the third goal and then sprints 70 yards to finish the chance. Siggy may not be dazzling on the ball, but he is quality, and he's critical to us in a lot of areas.

Michael Lynch
27 Posted 01/10/2018 at 16:45:07
Pete @24 I don't have any "boo-boys" and, if you refer back, I said I love Tom Davies. Doesn't mean that I think he's contributing enough though. You can criticise players without making them "boo-boys".

I remember seeing Tom come on after an hour at Stamford Bridge when we got tonked 5-0 and he was immediately our best player, positive and confident. He seems to have lost his way a bit since then and I'm hoping Gomes can come in and do a better job later on this season if Davies doesn't kick on. Am I allowed to say that though, or do you think we have to be mindlessly uncritical of every player?

Jamie Crowley
28 Posted 01/10/2018 at 16:50:40
I've been saying for a while - Steve Ferns can attest to this - our best midfield trio is Gana, Davies, and Sigurdsson.

For every time Tom Davies gives the ball away, he plays a splendid ball like the 40 yard brilliant pass he made to Calvert-Lewin against Arsenal in the opening minutes of last week's game. And he covers a ton of ground. Gana is a ball winner and compliments Tom. His passing isn't near as poor as some make it out to be, and although prone to a wayward pass, he wins the ball back at such an alarming rate to my eyes, he's an asset. Sigurdsson has all the tools in his locker as we witnessed yesterday.

It's not a Barcelona midfield, but it's not near as poor as many make it out to be.

Try this. Instead of focusing on Tom Davies shortcomings, count the number of times he does something well.

It will dwarf his mistakes by a mile.

Do it. I dare ya. Try to see him positively and watch what he does well and where he contributes, instead of waiting for the 1 out of 10 poor passes he makes and jumping on the kid. And then, while you're at it, analyze that one poor pass and see if it was actually giving away possession while trying to move forward or spring a teammate to an attacking opportunity.

Jay Wood

29 Posted 01/10/2018 at 16:54:27
The current back four - plus Pickford in goal - constitutes a very young defence with an average age of 23. They have played the grand total of 2 games together, achieving Everton's first clean sheet of the season on Saturday in one of them.

They are ALL impressing me.

Yes, Pickford is still overcooking some of his kicks, but less so than last year.

Yes, Jonjoe has a tendency to drift back in as the back line should be moving forward to potentially put an attacking player onside, but his energy levels, tackling, recovery, passing and crossing are already good and can only get better.

Yes, Zouma has got into Sylvan Distin-type tangles with his feet, but he is strong in both the air and on the ground, can carry the ball out of defence and can hit a mean long diagonal ball.

Yes, Digne (and Kenny) need to learn better when to kick on and when to hold their defensive position, but there is a proper footballer there.

Yes, Keane had the turning circle of an oil tanker last season, but possibly of all the players this season, he looks a player re-born to me. I have been particularly impressed at how he has come back from his fractured skull injury in the last 2 games.

He has been absolutely fearless and hasn't ducked out of a single aerial challenge since returning, be it defence or attack.

When he first arrived last season he looked a steady 7-8 out of 10 player, then rapidly deteriorated into a 3-4 out of 10. He is back to looking like a 7-8 out of 10 player again.

I continue to see good things happening with both individuals and the team, in spite of some setbacks and poor results.

Pete Edwards
30 Posted 01/10/2018 at 16:58:18
Not at all, Michael – it's all opinions at the end of the day, we don't agree with each other on this point.

I've not said we have to be mindlessly uncritical of players, if they play badly it's fair game, it's the mindlessly critical that gets me but you saw it differently to me and the stats, that's all. I'll stick by my views as you'll stick by yours.

Mike Gaynes
31 Posted 01/10/2018 at 17:09:29
Jay, I too am impressed with Keane's courageous recovery and overall improvement, but I don't think his quickness issue has disappeared -- he just hasn't faced that much real pace this year. I continue to be concerned about how he'll perform against forwards with genuine speed.

Zouma's issue to me isn't his feet, it's his head. Yes, he goes to the ball with admirable commitment, but too often he makes wrong decisions about positioning and reacting off the ball. And too many of his clearing headers go straight to the opposition. For a player with over 200 top-level appearances (113 in the Premier League), he looks like a rookie to me.

Brian Hennessy
32 Posted 01/10/2018 at 17:20:58
Glad to hear the reports from Silva that he doesn't want to make many changes for tomorrow's game with Southampton.

I would love to see Richarlison up front in place of Calvert-Lewin and Bernard out on the left.

Dave Williams
33 Posted 01/10/2018 at 20:43:26
Davies had a decent game – not outstanding but decent – and he and Gueye are looking a good partnership in CM. Gueye seems to play better with Tom rather than Morgan.

I'm getting sick of hearing myself defend Calvert-Lewin so will wade in for Kenny this week. Jim above compares him unfavourably to Coleman at the same age and I wonder if his memory is failing him (no disrespect Jim, I am joking) but Coleman at 21 was not trusted by Moyes to be a defender and was put on the right wing initially until he learned how to defend. Well, Kenny can defend albeit he makes mistakes and loses his position sometimes but he is learning and is far better than Seamus was at this age. Seamus could dribble and score goals but Kenny is a far better crosser of the ball. Give these kids time and encouragement and let's see how they are in 12 months time.

As for Calvert-Lewin, I remember a match report in the Echo on one of Sharp's early games, saying “As for Sharp, he was out of his depth at this level” – boy, did he prove that reporter wrong!

Andrew James
34 Posted 01/10/2018 at 22:37:44

I thought Kenny had a good game. Fulham were pushing high on their left so he and Walcott didn't get much space although it helped them when they broke through in the attacking third as the space suddenly emerged as they got behind them. His ball in for the second was perfectly weighted.

As for Calvert-Lewin, well that's 4 managers now who have kept on selecting him. Koeman would stick him on a lot albeit on the flanks. Unsworth used him. Sam turned to him a bit and now Silva is starting him up front. I know we've had a lack of quality up top of late but he's getting time so he must have something.

My mate is a Spurs fan and they persevered with Harry Kane for several years and had run out of patience and were calling for him to be sold. Look what happened there.

And when he latches onto balls like with the penalty, or he's alone against two centre-halves, you think maybe he will get there.

Bill Watson
35 Posted 01/10/2018 at 23:25:11
Paul: I totally agree, the half time Generation Game thingy is toe-curlingly embarrassing and should be pulled, immediately!
Dave Abrahams
36 Posted 02/10/2018 at 15:03:37
Lovely to see a few posters coming on and having lots of praise for our young players, Kenny, Davies and Calvert-Lewin.

I thought Jonjoe had a great game on Saturday, he is improving all the time as far as I can see. Davies and Calvert-Lewin are making mistakes and will continue to as they learn the game but they are nowhere near the hopeless cases they are being portrayed as they both have a good future at Everton along with Jonjoe and a couple more. Have some patience and bear with them.

Add Your Comments

In order to post a comment, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.

» Log in now

Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and Talking Points submissions across the site.

About these ads

© ToffeeWeb