The derby has flattened us

By Paul Traill 11/12/2018 70comments  |  Jump to last
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Everton 2 - 2 Watford

Gaz, Ste and I set off in good spirits, the mood then somewhat dampened by very busy traffic in the Birkenhead tunnel. Still we were in the pub in ample time to enjoy a few beers, Nic and Dan already there.

It was nice to see Marco Silva revert to his trusted XI after making a few changes against Newcastle United. Watford featured Gerard Deulofeu on the substitutes bench. Prior to the game a lot was made of Watford supporters angst at Everton’s pursuit, and ultimate acquisition of Marco Silva, so much so that the wacky funsters even brought along inflatable snakes to goad him with. I’ve seen much sparser crowds for a Monday evening trip, but I’ve also seen much better, and given the supposed hostility for the game I did expect more Watford supporters to be in attendance. Nevertheless, those that did travel made themselves heard and can be proud of how their team performed in what was a good honest effort from the Hornets.

Everton attacked the Park End in the first half but it was Watford with the earliest opening when Roberto Pereyra shot tamely at Jordan Pickford. We soon got in the swing of things though and though we weren’t exactly fluid we did get on the scoresheet on 15 minutes when Andre Gomes showed admirable composure when behind the Watford back line to pick out a good pass for, it had to be, Richarlison to smash home. We hadn’t exactly started well but you hoped the goal could give us a bit of a kickstart.

We seemed to do OK for a little while but Watford gave as good as they got and were clearly up for the game. I think Isaac Success got behind us and shot at goal. I’ve no idea if the ball was going into the goal or if he was offside but Troy Deeney skied over from close range at the far post. Later in the half, as the break closed in I think Pereyra flashed a header wide of goal when well-placed. We hadn’t been too bad but not too good either and you felt it had to get better in the second half. Kevin Friend, the match official, left the pitch to boos but I thought at the break that he had done generally OK. He’d given Watford a couple of soft decisions but I felt he was pretty fair in the half and wasn’t fooled by play-acting from either team, especially from our Brazilian Richarlison. What the referee then lacked in the second half was consistency in what was a tough half to take in.

Watford began well on top and it felt like only a matter of time before they levelled the scores. We’d already had a let off when Pereyra’s free kick hit the side-netting (humorously the Watford supporters felt it was in for a moment) and it was a surprise to nobody that Watford finally equalised, Pereyra again was the man involved after substitute Deulofeu played in Kiko Femenia who found the Argentine. His effort hit the post and then bounced back at Seamus Coleman and into the goal. I’ve just had a quick look at it again on the TV and I feel Seamus could have reacted better.

1-1 then but momentum was with Watford and the locals were restless…even more so only two minutes later when Pereyra, yes…again, crossed deep and the galloping Abdoulaye Doucoure headed down and into the goal. Jordan Pickford got something on it but couldn’t keep it out. It occurred to me at the time that Pickford may have claimed the cross and having now seen it again I concur with that original thought. The ball was in the air for a considerable amount of time and I felt could have been dealt with.

Everton had work to do then and Marco rang the changes, hooking Theo Walcott, Bernard and Idrissa Gueye for Ademola Lookman, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Cenk Tosun. It must have been on around 70 minutes, I think before Cenk was added, that Everton were awarded a penalty for Kabasele’s clumsy lunge on Yerry Mina. Chatting to Ste as Gylfi readied himself to take the penalty, we both agreed that we’re never very confident in Gylfi when he steps up to take penalties. I don’t like his run up. I never feel he’s going to score, whereas when he took them for Swansea City you always felt he was going to score. His accuracy was incredible. I don’t know how he’s lost his way from the spot but it’s a situation Everton need to amend. Had he have scored Everton might have ran away with the game, as it was we were lucky to scramble a draw. His effort was well saved by Ben Foster, but the penalty wasn’t a good one and maybe we should be looking for another candidate.

unspectacularly Everton ploughed on albeit without creating much. Gylfi arched backwards to head a Seamus Coleman cross at goal but it was easily saved by Ben Foster. There were a few little moments in the penalty area which all came to nothing and as stoppage time ticked on we felt the game was gone and even considered leaving, but on we stayed, as you just never know when a Congolese centre back may panic handball and give you a last opportunity.

Lucas Digne and Gylfi Sigurdsson both shaped to hit and it looked like it would be Gylfi, but Lucas must have seen the gap and the moment it left his boot you knew it was a goal. “It’s in” I said to Ste instantly. A splendid strike from the impressive Frenchman to save our bacon on the night. Gylfi was quick to ask Kevin Friend how long was left in the game, and he looked disappointed before signalling to Marco that we had just one minute left. This was enough time for both teams to launch an attack, though neither were successful and it ended honours even. Watford unlucky, but then we did miss a penalty.

Two games you may ordinarily have labelled home bankers have ended in disappointing draws, but at least we didn’t lose either game and have come from behind in both to get something. You never know, the points may be critical come the end of the season. What is the reasoning behind our dip inform these last two games? I blame the Merseyside derby. I think that cruellest of endings has flattened our players and they’ve gone from buoyant to befuddled.

They need to get it out of their system quickly, and maybe a “free hit” game at the Etihad against the champions is just what they need to get back on track. A good performance there, result regardless, could just get them ticking again, and we’ll need to be before the festive fixtures really come thick and fasdt.

Player ratings:

Pickford: I think he could have done better with Watford’s second goal and his distribution was wayward. 5

Digne: Kept on going throughout and popped up with the crucial late equaliser. A splendid goal. I like his long throw quality also. 7

Mina: I thought he did well. I’m not sure if he can be blamed for either of the goals and he carried the ball out of defence multiple times. More than most if not all in the team, you felt he did not want to be denied and his presence up top did cause a bit of havoc late in the game when we found an equaliser. My man of the match. 7

Keane: A bit more like the Michael Keane of last season - slow and hesitant. Keep him in the team though. He’s been doing well and I back him to bounce back next game. 5

Coleman: Was doing very well until the own goal but then lost his way a bit. I think he could of reacted better for the own goal. He didn’t seem to anticipate at all. 6

Gueye: He really needs to work on his passing, it’s sometimes particularly poor. His tackling is great, but his passing can be a liability and is something you can ill-afford in the Premier League. When you see a player like Doucoure who can do both your mind does begin to wander. 5

Gomes: Great at times but not quite at the races for long periods of the game. 6

Sigurdsson: I thought he started the game well but faded and fluffed his lines with the penalty. Perhaps hasn’t quite been at the races since the injury he sustained at Chelsea. 5

Bernard: Worked hard but we didn’t get enough flair from Bernard. 6

Walcott: Worked hard and had a few good moments but his end product is usually lacking. 6

Richarlison: Took his goal well and offered a few good moments but largely frustrated otherwise. Can do better. 5

Substitutes:

Lookman (for Walcott): Didn’t make a big contribution. 6

Calvert-Lewin (for Bernard): Didn’t really make an impact. 5

Tosun (for Gueye): Did OK and got into a few good positions. 6


Reader Comments (70)

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Mike Gaynes
1 Posted 11/12/2018 at 03:38:42
Paul, the most horrendous second-half display of the season and nobody gets lower than a 5? I shudder to imagine what sort of performance would rate a 4 or a 3...

I'm also a bit skeptical of the premise that this is all about the derby. Just because B and C followed A doesn't necessarily mean A caused B and C. Yes, we played two ugly games, but there's been a whole lot of ugly at times this season, and this may have been just some reversion. Or it may be that opponents are getting scouting reports on our key man Gomes and figuring out how to play him better. Either way, I hesitate to blame it all on Pickford's Anfield howler.

Finally, the comparison of Gana to Doucoure isn't valid. Yes, Gana's passing is frequently poor, and Doucoure is a better attacking mid. But Doucoure can't hold a candle to Gana defensively. He has half as many tackles, half as many interceptions, and Gana wins nearly 2/3 of his 1-1 duels while Doucoure breaks even.

(Oh, and by the way, they were dead even on passing today. Gana made 35 passes in 70 minutes with an 80% completion rate, Doucoure 47 passes in 90 minutes with an 81% completion rate. Even.)

Brian Murray
2 Posted 11/12/2018 at 05:59:26
Maybe the Watford lad is not really the comparison with Gueye that we should be looking at. A defensive midfielder who can actually pass a ball like a top four player...

Oh but he will do because we don't expect any better. As usual!!

Mike Gaynes
3 Posted 11/12/2018 at 06:52:09
Brian, I know of one "defensive midfielder who can actually pass a ball like a top-four player"... but I don't think Kante is available.

All the other defensive midfielders I know in the Premier League are flawed. Defensive midfielders are defensive midfielders because they have deficiencies in other areas.

Brian Murray
4 Posted 11/12/2018 at 07:12:35
Apparently, there's a big planet out there – that's why we have scouts. Especially Marcel. Them other sheisters have been finding players like Keegan, Neal, Hughes, Nicol, Hansen and so on for decades while we find one gem every 10 years or so.

It's called being a professional ruthless club. Something totally lost on our affable chairman and his 11-year love-in with the likes of Moyes.

Derek Thomas
5 Posted 11/12/2018 at 07:39:25
Paul, I have to disagree with you. The derby mental thing has not much to do with our last 2 home games... or the derby result.

The whole problem revolves around our 3 subs – 'could be', 'might yet be' and 'never will be' – aka, Lookman, Calvert-Lewin and Tosun... and, to a lesser extent, Bernard and Walcott.

The derby was there for the taking in the last 20 mins but we had nobody decent to bring on. Even if the derby went as it did, a bit more guile and skill would have, in all likelihood (but this is Everton), given us 2 wins.

This won't be fixed overnight... all without discussing the Striker problem.

Jim Bennings
6 Posted 11/12/2018 at 08:01:03
We all knew and have known for some time that Everton are quite a mentally fragile bunch, which is one of the reasons why we never hold out for a win against one of the top six.

As soon as we lost that derby, I got worried when I heard Jordan Pickford talking about “that's Everton luck at Anfield”.

Why he's talking about that I don't know because it wasn't even luck why we lost there, it was his own schoolboy mistake.

What worries me is that, every time Everton are given an opportunity to rub shoulders to mix with the top 6 they, can't take it.

We had a real opportunity this past week to drive home the pressure on Manchester United and get closer to the likes of Arsenal but, once again in December, wins have evaded us.

It's all about seizing the opportunity when teams above you lose a bit of form, that's how Leicester won the title, and how Tottenham have quickly overtaken Everton from finishing regularly below us to being a Champions League shoo-in every year.

We are just never good enough to win the required amount of games and only in Martinez first season have we looked remotely like being able to break the glass ceiling.

Paul Tran
7 Posted 11/12/2018 at 08:14:19
Interesting argument, Paul. I could reel off the names of horses 'broken' by trying to go toe to toe with a superior animal.

The truth is, we're a half-decent team that can put in a belter/shocker in any game. That's why the top five are pulling away. They're consistent.

Next couple of weeks will show if we're 'broken', or if we can raise standards again.

Jim Bennings
8 Posted 11/12/2018 at 08:25:00
Paul Tran,

I agree what you say about consistency but not too sure about being able to put in a belter in any given game.

We have looked mediocre in many games and probably only the second half v Brighton has totally been standout for me.

We are still a million miles away from the top teams and we can't beat any of them so that proves we can't really compete still.

Joe McMahon
9 Posted 11/12/2018 at 08:27:25
Sorry, Paul, I ain't seen many belter performances... maybe Leicester but they were a man down.
Amit Vithlani
10 Posted 11/12/2018 at 09:07:55
Paul (Traill), I think the derby certainly was a sickener and I can imagine the players feeling sorry for themselves the next day.

However, I put down the root cause of our poor second-half display last night to recurring issues with this team that needs to be fixed by a combination of transfers, coaching and/or motivation:

1) We. Desperately. Need. A. No 9. Tosun missed a sitter against the barcodes, he and Niasse missed sitters against West Ham, and chances have been missed in a few other games too. Last night, we really needed someone to hold the ball up when Watford pressed high. Richarlison and Sigurdsson will thrive even more if the ball is held up for them at the edge of the opponents box. If we can't find a strong no9 then hopefully someone who is more prolific in the area to finish the chances created will take this team up a notch.

2) Our worst performances this season in my view: Huddersfield, West Ham, Newcastle and Watford - all at home. They all have one thing in common: dreadful second halves. It seems we have an issue at home when we fail to hit the groove against stubborn teams. Mentally it seems that the side can't deal with the expectation of overcoming obdurate sides who we are expected to beat at home. I think this is a long-standing trait. Squandering points at home was a theme in Martinez' final two seasons as well as last season. Looks like 4 seasons out of 5 where we will have a Home record packed with draws from games we should be winning.

3) Lack of depth. Gomes, Gana and Gylfi are key cogs. Last night all 3 were below par and we were second best. We have no midfield depth, or indeed depth at right-back. We have no centre-forward. Last season we had no depth at left-back, centre-midfield, center-back and no decent centre-forward. The season before that, centre-midfield was an issue. Another consistent theme of this club.

I think we are in for a roller coaster of highs and lows until these long-running issues are put to bed.

There is a 4th issue – results against the top 6. But I see that being overcome by addressing the 3 issues above:

● Having a good No 9;

● Mentally being able to cope at home in difficult games, as home is the most likely place where we can pick up wins against the big sides;

● Having some strong options to alter thing in the centre of the park if our key cogs are out of form, not fit or not in the game.

Chris Gould
11 Posted 11/12/2018 at 09:17:53
We are much improved but still short on real genuine quality on the right side, plus we don't have anyone to bring off the bench who can change the game. We need to trust that Brands can bring in 3-4 players of similar quality to those bought in the summer, and then sell Tosun, loan Calvert-Lewin, and bench Walcott and Coleman.
Darren Alexander
12 Posted 11/12/2018 at 09:31:10
I think all of us were sick for days after the result against the RS –well, not so much the result but more the manner of it. But, while last night's result is nothing to shout about, it should surely give us a bit of a lift to know that we can also dish it out in the 96th minute?

But, all said, both the goal we conceded against the RS and the one we scored at the death last night only had single points riding on them... so perhaps we should now just get a bit of focus and perspective back? There's plenty of time left this season for us to put a good run together...

Darren Hind
13 Posted 11/12/2018 at 09:41:20
"We are a million miles away from the top teams and we cant beat any of them so that proves we cant really compete, Still" ... A million miles???

We've matched all of these teams (ask any of their fans) we have stood up and played the game in the right way and, if we had strikers of the quality of theirs, we'd have probably beaten them all.

The thing I like about Silva is, he knows he is attacking these teams without their firepower, but his team have not shown fear – anywhere. He still fancies his chances. Does anybody on here want to predict Man City will enjoy their usual domination of the ball on Saturday?

The only "mental fragility" I see is coming from the cant-win-don't-try element. Those who think we can't compete in the present or the future because we haven't competed in the past. Thankfully, we have just offloaded a couple of managers with that mindset.

Moyes's teams would often go on a run after a derby defeat; it was as if the fear that had taken a grip had been lifted...


Jim Bennings
14 Posted 11/12/2018 at 09:53:05
Darren,

There's matching them and beating them – that's the difference, mate.

You get FA Cup games where a lower league side competes for 70 minutes against a top side and maybe even beats them (Wigan winning the FA Cup).

The very least I expect from a Premier League team that has spent what we have is “competing”.

We could compete under Koeman, Martinez and Moyes against the top sides, even managed to beat them on occasions.

Dave Ganley
15 Posted 11/12/2018 at 10:13:08
Jim, you seem to want to put a negative slant on everything that is happening with Everton this season. Whilst it's not all good, it's not all bad either.

We were a shambles the last few years. Players brought in without any idea as to how to implement a system to best utilise these players. This season, we have Digne, Gomes, Richarlison, and latterly Mina. Tell me that these players haven't improved the team. Sigurdsson is becoming the player we hoped he would be, Bernard has shown flashes and will get better.

We can't just revamp the team in one transfer window. We are miles better than we were. Darren has said all we need to say about taking it to the better teams on their own patch. We are actually doing that with No fear.

The problem we have at the moment is depth. That will come. You have a point in that the least we should expect is being competitive; however, we haven't been over the last few years and we are now. We just need a little bit more guile and craft against the so-called lesser teams. Again that will come.

Silva and Brands are building a half decent team that will get better. Vent your frustration by all means but, if you can't see the improvement from the last few years, then there's no helping you.

Stan Schofield
16 Posted 11/12/2018 at 10:28:58
The team we put out last night is, IMO, a very fine Everton side, probably the best I've seen in a long time. But we can't compete consistently with 'one fine team', and in a sense we need at least two, that is we need quality depth on the bench, which we don't have compared with the 'top clubs'. The latter can mix-and-match from their squads, because they've had massive and consistent financial resources compared to us.

It's as simple as that. That team looks like it could beat anyone, particularly more so if we get a top striker. But one team being able on paper to beat anyone is not the same as quality in depth. Liverpool have found that to be the case, and it's only now that they are defensively sound after spending big to ensure quality in depth.

We'll get there, but big resources will continue to be needed.

James Hughes
17 Posted 11/12/2018 at 10:53:01
Paul, I am not sure what Seamus could have done differently to get out of the way or clear the ball. It all happened very quickly and he it just took him by surprise. I agree about Sigurdsson's penalty taking, he never looked comfortable and the duty should be passed on to someone else.

One of the most awful games I've seen from us in a while, but still better than the fare served up by the nameless one last season. We definitely seem flat since the defeat at Mordor and we face an arse-kicking this weekend. The performance will count for a lot this Saturday and hopefully we can raise our game again.

Dean Johnson
18 Posted 11/12/2018 at 10:55:41
I can't say fairer than this report and the comments thereafter. This is the best Everton team we've had for years, but the squad is atrocious.

Gana would be so good if he could pass.

Gomes is having a bit of a reality check but will come back again.
Bernard showed some great touches last night but if there's no striker playing as a striker, who is at least half as good as those behind him, we're going to struggle.

I thought Mina was outstanding (apart from that one penalty incident tackle) and Michael Keane was pretty terrible – letting a long throw bounce in the box right next to him.

Maybe last night was a blip, considering how well these lads had been playing, but not scoring is going to hurt us sooner or later.

Can anyone really say that they didn't expect Watford to at least equalise?

I really don't want to see Theo play for us any more though. He is exactly the same as at Arsenal – so promising, looks quick, turns well, gets past players... then fucks it up. My Arsenal-supporting mate at work says that's par for the course with Theo, you spend your time waiting for that one moment where he gets lucky and gets a goal or an assist.

Jim Bennings
19 Posted 11/12/2018 at 11:45:53
Dave,

It's not really a negative slant – it's an opinion of what problems have dogged Everton Football club in recent months/years etc.

You cannot improve if you tell yourself everything in the garden is rosy and this time next year we'll be this and that; we told ourselves that during the Moyes era then Martinez, then Koeman.

The only way Alex Ferguson created a dynasty at Old Trafford was because he kept demanding better.

Danny Broderick
20 Posted 11/12/2018 at 11:47:04
The problem we have got is up front. There was a stat last night on about 60 minutes that showed the territorial possession for the previous 10 minutes. We had had 1% in the final third! I don't ever recall seeing this stat so low!

The ball just isn't sticking up front with Richarlison. In fairness to him, he's not a number 9. Put Olivier Giroud in this team, and we would be a different team. He'd get us further up the pitch, and he'd make the likes of Walcott play better by linking up with them.

It's just not clicking in the final third. I thought our four attacking players (Bernard, Sigurdsson, Walcott and Richarlison) were all rubbish last night. It's very hard to get a good team performance when your front four are all performing below par.

A striker is a must in January for me.

Jim Bennings
21 Posted 11/12/2018 at 12:18:51
It's criminal that we have allowed two summer transfer windows to pass now without signing a proper proven striker.

When Lukaku left, we spent too long in late August 2017 dithering over Giroud when it was apparent that he wasn't coming when we should have been going after someone that had similar traits in the movement to Lukaku, could we have tried for Vardy, Batyshuai or however the hell you pronounce it, the Chelsea lad.

I'm not convinced by going after these lads from weaker leagues abroad; even Sandro from a so-called stronger league came in an was limp, Tosun and Niasse were mistakes.

Callum Wilson would offer what we need but it's getting him here.

Funnily enough I think even Chicarito would have benefitted from the way we play now; he's always a goal threat and hangs around the area where most of the goals are scored.

James Marshall
22 Posted 11/12/2018 at 12:38:19
To all the people complaining about Gana not being able to pass, may I suggest you go and have a look at the passing stats for Everton players this season.

It might surprise you to learn that he averages 85% for his passing, which statistically makes him the most consistent passer of the football at the club. Perception is everything, I guess.

Dave Ganley
23 Posted 11/12/2018 at 12:56:44
Jim, you're right – not everything in the garden is rosy and we should demand better constantly. NSNO still means something to me (I'm an arl arse) and lucky enough to have seen titles and trophies won in the dim and distant past. Also you're right that problems and bad decisions have dogged us for a number of years now. However, you have to draw the line somewhere and give the new regime a chance.

To date, it is widely accepted that the summer transfers have been decent. The football we have been playing has been far better than we have seen in recent seasons. Yes, we had odd games against the top clubs previously whereby we beat them at home, but surely the odd game here and there isn't acceptable. We want to compete against those clubs consistently and to date this season we have done that. We have been to Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and Man Utd and shown we are not overawed and been unlucky only to get a solitary point against them.

You're argument about not replacing Lukaku is perfectly valid but it's not entirely the fault of the current regime. Silva and Brands appear to be signing players who will fit in with a system we are playing and have the right attitude. They have only had one shot at a transfer window so, if the right player wasn't available, then I'm happy that they just haven't brought someone in for the sake of it. I'm happy to wait for the right player.

This was always going to be a season of consolidation and we will have highs and lows. We just aren't the finished article as of yet and probably won't be for another year or so. I didn't really know much of Silva before he came apart from what has been written on here and I have been impressed with what I have seen so far considering how dire we were last season. Brands too, knows his targets but won't be held to ransom, as shown in the pursuit of Mina. It's been a while since we've had someone who demands value for money. They have also trimmed some of the deadwood and I am quite sure there will be more to follow.

I'm not advocating mediocrity or advocating lowering standards and that's not what I'm doing. We have improved immeasurably this season. The defence has tightened up, although not perfect by any stretch, but far better than we were. We are playing better football and have better football players now. The phrase "Rome wasn't built in a day" is especially apt now.

The last couple of results have been disappointing but not disastrous. We have shown heart and fight to dig out a result, something we have shown precious little of in the past few years. We are showing a lot of progress on and off the pitch and, so long as we continue to do that, then we will have far more highs than lows.

John Raftery
24 Posted 11/12/2018 at 14:20:12
I agree Mina was our Man of the Match.

While I am no great fan of some aspects of Pickford's goalkeeping, from my seat in the Park End I don't think he could have left his line to claim the cross without an undue degree of risk. He certainly had little chance of keeping the ball out once Doucoure had so easily outjumped our defenders to direct a classic downward header.

Likewise, Coleman had no time to react to the rebound. He was unfortunate but the goal had been coming. Sooner or later, something was going to break in Watford's favour in our penalty area.

One of the alarming aspects of last night's performance was that Watford, on the back of three successive defeats, looked hungrier than our team.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

25 Posted 11/12/2018 at 14:35:07
An aspect of TW that you can always guarantee is that after a less than stellar performance or result, posters will trot out the shortcomings of individual players and the team as if an under par performance is the norm.

Now it is totally legitimate to express disappointment and exasperation about a single game and point out perceived shortcomings. But when you extend a bad 90 minutes and try to claim it is 'typical' of the individual or the team this season to date, that is more contentious. Let's look at some examples.

Gana was as combative as per norm. He was also involved in our first goal, carrying the ball forward between 3 Watford players before playing a crisp through ball to Walcott which initially exposed and turned Watford's back line. No reference to that, but people trot out the urban myth he can't pass the ball when, as James @ 22 points out, the data makes a mockery of such claims.

That he came off early in the game and immediately started stuffing ice packs down his shorts indicates he was probably not 100% fit and carrying a groin injury. Gana has been one of our players of the season. It's totally OTT to claim as some are doing that he is a liability. He will be sorely missed at Man City at the weekend if unavailable.

Bernard and Digne got some grief for allowing Watford in down our left for their equalising goal. Small things contributed to it. Yes, Bernard could have given his mate a shout rather than allow Digne to attempt a stretched header, who then slips as he attempts to get to the falling ball. A clever footballer like Deulofeu took advantage of the situation and slipped in a delightful ball for the overlapping player to cross.

No questions asked that I've seen about Yerry Mina's positioning or 'wavy leg' effort to cut out the ball for the shot that hit the post, but a few comments about Coleman's 'reaction' in scoring the own goal. That's really, really harsh on Seamus. What is he meant to do? Suspend the laws of physics? It was a sharp rebound off the post, at pace and close quarters. The skip clearly tries to turn his body away from goal. Where the ball hit him and rebounds into the net was a complete lottery.

For the second goal, Pickford is criticised for not coming out to claim the cross. I suggest people look at that again and see just how high the arcing cross is and how it bends away from goal. Jordan would have needed several extensions of a fireman's ladder to get to the ball. Indeed, the camera shot from behind the goal you don't even see the ball in frame until it drops out of the sky at the last second for the player to head home.

The greater failing on that goal was with the collective. Watford won a free kick wide right. Our players closest to the play turn their back on the ball. The free-kick taker and overlapping player are very alert and smart to take a quick free-kick which has us ill-prepared for the incoming cross.

Even then, the goal scorer is wide right, behind the free kick when it is taken, 20-25 yards from goal. He runs past Gana and Walcott outside the box and, as a result, gets a free jump on Coleman in the 6-yard box. I wish some of our players last night showed the same cuteness and determination as Watford did on that play.

So, no. I'm not pinning that one on Pickford. And in making the claims that they do, those saying Jordan doesn't come off his line enough to clear out high balls must have missed the entire first half. He was fearless and very secure in doing just that with big Watford units leaping into him.

I posted after the derby match that the two games against Newcastle and Watford would tell us a great deal about the state of the team.

What it tells me is a number of things:

1) We still require greater strength in depth to be better able to rest and rotate players and still get a result. On the same night, we changed 3 players against Newcastle (and many considered it was too many changes); Liverpool changed seven players and won away in a competitive match at Burnley, whilst we struggled to a draw.

2) Silva's default XI is not showing the ability to get in behind deep-lying defences at home. He needs to improve on this and switch in the players to better achieve this.

3) Richarlison is scoring goals which you can't argue with, but I have to wonder if continuing playing him in the central forward role benefits the team as a whole.

As last night showed, against strong defenders he is going to take a battering. It also gives him an excuse to go down a wee bit too easily and, as others have mentioned, he is starting to gather a bit of a reputation for that, to the point that genuine fouls against him are not being called. Tosun and Calvert-Lewin get lambasted a lot, but neither have been given a good run in the team to truly judge if they are capable of adding good hold-up play and goals under the Silva system.

Long-term we need a quality forward, but currently we don't have that option. So Silva needs to find a solution using the players already on our books.

4) whilst the team can be complimented on coming from behind to get a point in the last two games, the harsh truth is we should be putting away teams like Newcastle and Watford at home if we have any ambitions to break into the top 6. We still lack the cussedness, the cunning, to get a win no matter how the game is playing out on the day, or the impact of fixture congestion, that is second nature to the leading pack of six.

5) Folk have very short memories if they cannot recognize the difference in our play this season compared to last, under any of the 3 managers who took charge of affairs.

The last two home games is a massive missed opportunity. There is much work still to do. But to claim we are 'a million miles away from the top six' totally ignores how we played against four of them away this season.

I didn't and don't expect a quantum leap to closing that gap in the first half of Brand and Silva's first season with us.

But nor will I join the forlorn and despairing based on the last two home games alone.

John G Davies
26 Posted 11/12/2018 at 14:48:31
Good post Jay, some great points.

I can't agree with the Pickford one. The ball is low enough in the air for Duocoure to score the header. Pickford is roughly the same height as the scorer plus the lengths of his arms. If the scorer didn't need a fireman's ladder to head it, the same goes for Pickford.

Different if the cross is whipped in at pace, of course, but it was a looped cross that was in the air for long enough for the keeper to punch.

Brian Harrison
27 Posted 11/12/2018 at 15:08:45
Jay

Just to pick up on your 5 points.

1) Yes we do need more options, to be able to rotate the team although we do have options in defence and limited options in midfield. But it's up top where we have virtually no options.

2) I agree we struggle to create against deep-lying defences, but I can't think of changes he could make from the present squad that would help us do that.

3) Well if we don't play Richarlison up top then what our the alternatives, Tosun or Calvert-Lewin neither even look like they could do it half as well as Richarlison is at present. While the main striker's role may not be his best until we can buy a striker worthy of the name I don't see any changes in that position Silva could make that would improve the team. I would also say that, even though it may not be his best position, he is still scoring goals playing that role.

4) Yes top teams would beat Newcastle and Watford at home but at this moment we are not a top side and it will take Silva more than 1 window to turn us into that top 6 side.

5) Couldn't agree more – a blind man can see the difference from this team to the performances of our previous 2 managers. As Lyndon says, it feels like 2 steps forward and 3 steps back at the moment but that's what happens when you are bedding new players into a team playing a new style. I believe in what Silva and Brands are doing but, like everybody else, I want the change to be instant even though I know it's not possible.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

28 Posted 11/12/2018 at 16:24:07
To answer your own responses Brian, we do have alternative options on the books NOW.

IMO, Silva is sticking too rigidly to a single starting XI and system we as mere supporters are already familiar with. Premier League teams will be even more aware, with all the data and analysis available to them these days, on how to counter our system and impose their style of play on us.

Before settling for the Bernard - Richarlison - Sigurdson - Walcott front four he has mostly played since the Leicester game, Tosun played the first 5 games of the season and – contrary to some – he did well as the target man off which others played.

I have a great deal more belief in Calvert-Lewin than many on TW, but his opportunities have almost exclusively been limited to the bench. Even so, his goal to minutes ratio is respectable.

Right there are two possible alternatives to playing the central forward role. A third choice, but seemingly one Silva has no intention of experimenting with, is Niasse. I can only assume that Silva (who knows him well from his Hull days) is not willing to risk the latter's shortcomings against the player's respectable goal to minutes ratio.

Playing any one of those three releases Richarlison from the central role and playing with his back to goal and an Orc of a defender inside his kecks. This allows him to return to left field where he can impact on the game more, not just with his goals, but also with his ability to run at players as well as pull players out of position.

Bernard and Walcott have ability and have some good moments in games. They can also disappear and be pretty anonymous. Lookman has consistently shown in his cameo appearances from the sub bench that he can take on a man/men at close quarters, beat and get in behind them and then deliver killer passes.

Schneiderlin I would bypass, but we also have Davies – who from reports is a very good scholar who is constantly asking what he can do to improve his game and get into the team – and Dowell. The latter more of a risk, agreed, but there is no doubting the lad's footballing talents.

Even at right-back, Jonjoe Kenny could bring to the team something that Seamus progressively is less and less capable of: breaking defensive lines and getting good crosses in.

The talent pool is shallow in some positions, I agree. But I don't think Silva is helping himself or the team by sticking so rigidly to the same starting XI and tactics virtually every game.

James Hughes
29 Posted 11/12/2018 at 16:48:47
Jay, many thanks for sharing your opinion, others are available.
Jay Wood
[BRZ]

30 Posted 11/12/2018 at 18:00:01
You're welcome, James.

As you and others are also welcome to express their opinions.

John Pierce
31 Posted 11/12/2018 at 18:48:35
Paul, I think the thread leans towards the idea it wasn't the derby that has affected the team.

I'd agree with that and point to that Silva has yet to find a solution at home to sides who let us have the ball. 3/12pts versus Watford, West Ham, Newcastle & Huddersfield is not acceptable for any Everton manager at any time in their tenure. Last season, we won all of those games!

The tempo we play at needs to remain higher, our dominance doesn't yield enough killer blows. The absence of decent centre-forward is well noted on these pages and it shows against these types of sides.

Creativity in the middle of the park is an interesting question. Do we need Gana at home against poorer sides or can we play someone with a better attacking range of passing in there?

I think we can, as well as centre-forward who occupies both centre-halves. Richarilson has many qualities but his propensity to go to ground and not be as effective with his back to goal needs adjusting.

Dave Abrahams
32 Posted 11/12/2018 at 20:04:33
Jay, I blame Pickford for not coming off his line and punching it away. He is rooted to his line far too often for me and doesn't control his 6-yard area with any degree of confidence. Yes he punched the ball away a couple of times in the first half, both times to the edge of the penalty area, so Everton players had to fight for the ball and clear it away.

I thought Coleman could do little about the ball that basically hit him and went in; however I think he needs resting and let Kenny back in. He lost his place after not playing well in the first half at Leicester, but finished up having a good second half in that winning game. I thought he was unlucky to be dropped after playing well in a few previous games.

I understand Everton fans having a go after the last two performances, doesn't mean most of have given up on the team or that we cannot see were we are going under Brands and Silva. As a few have said, the rebuilding of the club and team will not happen overnight. I am still confident that those two will provide a winning combination... given time.

Jay Harris
33 Posted 11/12/2018 at 20:08:15
Just a couple of points to put up for debate.

Since the Zouma - Keane partnership was dropped, we have failed to keep a clean sheet and have looked very vulnerable defensively.

Also, Silva has a record of demanding very high tempo from his team which is very tiring. He also has a record of strong starts and then a falloff in results. I just wonder if this and the derby defeat have taken the legs of a few of our players who have gone from being first to the ball to being very much second.

I also want to add that I agree with Jay, it is ridiculous to suggest that Pickford should have dealt with that cross even though a so-called 'expert' pundit said he should. The ball was far too high.

John Raftery
34 Posted 11/12/2018 at 20:51:21
Jay – initially we did okay without Zouma. We kept clean sheets against Chelsea and Cardiff and came within a minute of keeping one Anfield.

I agree with your point about the high tempo and worry a little about how our players will perform when the top six visit Goodison Park.

Colin Glassar
35 Posted 11/12/2018 at 20:57:06
Kenny and Lookman (or Bernard) down the right against Man City. The Coleman - Walcott combo isn't working and teams are exploiting this.
Andy Crooks
36 Posted 11/12/2018 at 21:28:43
Moyes, Martinez and Koeman were stubborn. They stuck with their favourites through good and bad. When all around could see change was needed, all three mistook loyalty for arrogance and obsession.

I see disturbing signs that Silva is similar. It seems to me that the coach is shoe-horning his favourites into the team. A winger as a target man. A clever midfielder with guile as a winger.

I believe we have the right team in charge. Things are better but Monday was abysmal and the coach was poor.

Jim Bennings
37 Posted 11/12/2018 at 21:48:35
A troubling thing for me is actually hearing people saying that we are suffering from fatigue. How can this team be suffering from fatigue, seriously?

We have no Europa League, and were knocked out of the Carabao Cup on October 3rd by the mighty Southampton.

Players like Bernard, Mina, and Gomes have only played a handful of matches.

I don't know what's more bizarre, people blaming fatigue so early in the season or realising that those same people are wanting us back in the Europa League next season!

Madness.

Anthony A Hughes
38 Posted 11/12/2018 at 22:13:59
Regarding Gana's passing stats, how many were sideways 5-yard or backwards passes?

I think more relevant is that, as a central midfielder, how many goals or assists does he get? Nowhere near enough.

Tony Abrahams
39 Posted 11/12/2018 at 22:16:42
Life is full of contradictions, Jim! I thought we looked tired, and can also understand it as well.

Football has changed, intensity is nearly always the key nowadays, and although Everton, played some decent football early on, they couldn't match Watford's energy, or aggression, in the middle third of the game.

Tired minds make mistakes, and it was during this period that Everton really lost their composure. It looks like Silva, doesn't fancy many outside the starting eleven, and it's usually in midfield that players get rotated, and very rarely in the middle of the defence.

Sometimes, it just needs a decent player to come in to freshen things up (Gomes) and it's obvious to most Evertonians, that getting us just one decent centre-forward, would give us a lot more options.

James Flynn
40 Posted 11/12/2018 at 22:18:08
From Darren (13) – "The thing I like about Silva is, he knows he is attacking these teams without their firepower, but his team have not shown fear – anywhere. He still fancies his chances."

#1 take-a-way from this new era under Silva and Brands.

With all the current frustrations, we all know this season is a beginning. Marco stated and is proving that his teams will set up to play and win. Erratic now for sure.

He needs time and we need more talent, especially in the attack. We all see and know this.

Yet what Hind posted is so. Silva has set the team up to play without fear.

No doubt we'll suffer more disappointments this season and the next as the team develops. But the players Brands gets will come in to a side sent out to win games and win them playing attractive football.

Not happening yet, but that's where we're headed.

Jim Bennings
41 Posted 11/12/2018 at 22:37:32
Other teams don't look tired Tony!

Spurs and Liverpool have just successfully navigated qualifying in the Champions League are they tired?

What Everton are is still mentally fragile, the response following the derby has proven that.

If we'd got a 0-0 draw at Anfield or won, we would have come out the blocks against Newcastle last Wednesday flying, brimming with confidence after a morale-boosting result.

The likes of Lookman, Calvert-Lookman, Tosun are coming on playing 40 minutes and contributing nothing – you can't say they are tired.

Zouma and Mina have played a handful of games each, Bernard and Gomes too.

I very much doubt fatigue is an excuse the first week in December with no European commitments; if it is, then I'd be asking the question: Why?

Tony Abrahams
42 Posted 11/12/2018 at 22:57:57
I’d say they will be tired of playing without a proper centre-forward for a start Jim, but would definitely agree that we began to look fragile for the middle period of last nights game.

Gomes, new league, Mina, new league, same for Digne, and also Bernard. Richarlson, playing in a different role, and a team lacking a real focus point at the minute.

Liverpool, and Spurs, are used to the rota Jim, they’ve been doing it for a few years now, and if their players weren’t good enough, they wouldn’t be used to it, and tiredness isn’t an excuse, it’s just a view I take, after having watched our last two games.

Most foreign players are given time to adapt, but we had four on the pitch last night all getting bedded at the same time, into a very physical environment, and that’s why it’s so important that these players are given a little break, with either a little rest, or preferably a decent centre-forward to play with?

Lawrence Green
43 Posted 11/12/2018 at 22:59:07
Jim #41,

Winning teams don't get tired they just go from game to game loving and enjoying every minute. Meanwhile those teams who lack certain qualities find it more difficult to maintain the will to run and harry and they get mentally tired as more and more doubts creep in which leads to mistakes and thus a vicious circle is created.

The best teams have the best players – it's a simple fact of life, Everton FC do not have many if any of the best players at the top of their game, therefore inconsistency will follow us like a bad smell until most of the side is made up of very good footballers. Not excusing the last two home performances in any way but even the so-called lesser teams have a smattering of very good technical players but, like Everton, they too are very inconsistent.

Which is why I often furrow my brow when some people claim that Everton should beat this side or that side easily on any given day; experience tells me this happens a lot less than we'd like. Until those teams are beaten routinely at Goodison or away from home, Everton will continue to frustrate the life out of us.


Mike Price
44 Posted 11/12/2018 at 00:08:14
We always keep players too long on ridiculous charity contracts that make it hard to move them on. They've been good servants but Coleman, Baines and Jagielka should have gone a while ago. We always do this? Campbell, Osman, Hibbert — it's gone on for ever.

Add that to terrible recruiting, pre Brands, and it's a recipe for disaster. How much will it cost to get rid of Tosun and Niasse, even the Sandro contract was a joke.

We massively overpaid for Sigurdsson and even our youngsters are poor. Calvert-Lewin and Kenny are Championship at best. All of this will take a long time to resolve and will cost hundreds of millions.

This is what separates us from the Spawn across the park; they rarely make a mistake, find world stars like Suarez, Coutinho and Salah, make hundreds of millions when they do sell on and their young players, academy or early buys like Gomez, are top quality.

If we've got the right people sorting out recruitment, it's still going to take years for us to reshape this mess.

Jim Bennings
45 Posted 12/12/2018 at 00:38:40
Mike

I think that lot make their signings better and physically fitter players as well though.

Jordan Henderson was nothing special when Klopp took over but, within three months, gel head was ripped, so too Milner who seems fitter at 32 than our lads of 20 are.

Contrast the physical fitness and power of the likes of Alexander-Arnold to Jonjoe Kenny who appears flimsy and fragile.

They seem to develop athletes whilst we develop wimps.

Calvert-Lewin is another example: he's tall but far too weak and looks like a puff of wind would blow him over, just look at how weak his shooting is, has anyone ever seen him strike a ball hard yet?

He can't because there's no power in the lad.

I don't know if it's the academy, the management, the blueprint or what but we seem to get very tired very easily.

Mike Price
46 Posted 12/12/2018 at 00:51:53
Jim, I totally agree with you on the fitness point. They are ripped, strong and look like top athletes whereas our lot look like averagely fit people. We look weak, slow and soft, without much endurance in comparison.

I know for a fact that this manager doesn't place massive emphasis on the hyper fitness that Klopp certainly does.

Don Alexander
47 Posted 12/12/2018 at 01:56:20
Like Jim and Mike immediately above, I've long since had cause to wonder why we so consistently seem to be so much less than our opponents, whoever they are, when it comes to heart and fitness. In saying this, I'm talking decades, not a season or two. Hmm?
Jay Harris
48 Posted 12/12/2018 at 04:28:22
Jim,

It took Klopp almost 2 years and a few hundred million to get his squad fit and capable enough to play his high pressing game.

That is the problem I see now for Silva plus the fact playing without a proper Number 9 is like playing with 10 men.

When the ball doesn't stick up front everyone has to charge back to defend which is very tiring.

Add to that the mental drain of conceding so many sickening goals and it's why I say they are not looking as if they have the energy they had earlier in the season.

Brian Murray
49 Posted 12/12/2018 at 05:01:47
I, like many Blues, can take yet again that it will take time to build a first 11 and quality back-up but, if Silva (like Martinez) is ignoring the basic requirements of a top athlete, as in peak fitness, then we can sign 3 Messi's and we will stay hovering around 7th for another three years.

I hope to god the poster above is wrong about that; otherwise, Moshiri will be looking for New Dawn, Number Three... Or is it Number Four?

Not rocket science, Marco; get wise or get packin'!!

Andy Meighan
50 Posted 12/12/2018 at 07:19:19
Seems a couple of posters on here are under the impression that we've gone toe-to-toe with the so-called big teams... not true! The points return against them is 1 from 12. And in not one of those games have I thought we'd win the match.

Jim Bennings got it spot on when he said there's a mental fragility within the club and that's so right. Since the derby, the other lot have gone on to win 3 games, scoring 8 times in the process, and conceding only one. Whereas we've drawn our 2 against mediocre opposition yet there's some on here who think we are not too far away from them. Absolute nonsense — they're light years away from us.

As for your report, Paul, I mainly agreed with everything you said apart from blaming the derby. Your comments on Pickford and Gueye were spot on; also, Sigurdsson, who was looking good in the Autumn, has gone back to the player we bought last season: piss-poor. I know the lad didn't make the fee but what a shocking waste of money for a very very ordinary footballer.

As for the Man City game, expect more of the same. I can't see anything but a defeat

Darren Hind
51 Posted 12/12/2018 at 07:20:15
Jim 14

I know the difference between matching them and beating them. I also know the difference between taking the game to them and outplaying them for long periods and a lower league team fighting for their lives in a cup tie.

Here's another thing I know: I know the difference between losing because you are not good enough in certain departments and losing as a result of mental fragility – that's because I have witnessed years of the latter.

This team is not rolling the ball around tentatively like Martinez's team did on a weekly basis. They are fizzing passes to feet with real assurance. Trust me when I tell you, a mentally fragile team simply wouldn't be able to do this. Your comparison to a lower league team raising their game and digging in for a cup tie is miles away.

I always feel criticism is healthy, I've been slaughtered on here myself for being too critical, but your criticism is lazy and without thought. You are taking the "mentally fragile" accusation levelled at the three previous managers teams and applying it to this one. Painful as it is to look at our record down the years against the top boys, it is wrong to bracket Silva with the Frankie Howards. He cannot be held accountable for the inferiority complex which has gripped this club for so long.

We don't have the guy who makes the difference. The striker who will separate two teams who couldn't otherwise be separated. That's the only reason we haven't won these games.


Amit Vithlani
52 Posted 12/12/2018 at 08:03:28

"They seem to develop athletes whilst we develop wimps."

Well, we are, under Silva, in the top 4 for distances covered, ahead of Liverpool:

Arsenal – 1,003.4 km
Tottenham – 996.68  km
Bournemouth  – 988.48 km
Everton  – 984.5 km
Chelsea  – 980.09 km
Newcastle  – 979.84 km
Liverpool  – 972.60 km 
Crystal Palace  – 969.96 km
Huddersfield  – 966.92 km 
Burnley  – 965.74 km
Man City  – 963.31  km


These "wimps" also rank 3rd in terms of tackling.

The predictable response to these facts will be to dismiss the statistics because not a single kilometer run was through a re-enforced brick wall, and not a single tackle was made on Giant Haystacks.

Liverpool's "ripped" athletes, whose fitness regimes were designed by Marvel comics, possess the type of physique necessary to participate in the inter-galactic, inter-stellar, war of the species contests that we need to be winning.

Our poor lads can only cheer on from the side lines, their scrawny physiques only good for holding a hot dog and a coke, as they watch our hated neighbours clash against hordes of invading, muscular, manic, frothing, football playing, anvil-headed, extra terrestrial life forms, who have no need to phone home.

Poor Calvert-Lewin. He never attended the Roy Race classes on power shooting. His special power – becoming invisible when he turns side ways – is clearly no use in a war of the worlds.

Jim Bennings
53 Posted 12/12/2018 at 08:33:08
Jay

It took Klopp three years to get them challenging for the title again but weeks after he came in they were running further in matches than anyone other than Leicester (who eventually won the title).

We don't zip the ball around with the purpose we think we do.

Against Newcastle and Watford everything was back to slow sideways passing with no zest.


Mike Price
54 Posted 12/12/2018 at 09:27:11
It's clear that our players are nowhere near the same level of fitness and strength as them. It's a joke that people are saying our players are tired when they and Spurs are ripping it up in the Premier League and Europe.
Statistics are the scourge of modern football and are very misleading. The classic example is from above and Gueye — anyone who thinks he's a good passer of the ball doesn't understand football.
Laurie Hartley
55 Posted 12/12/2018 at 09:30:33
For what it's worth I think Silva and the players were mentally "flat" after the derby. I picked up on this in Silva's pre match interview against Newcastle.

The two draws were disappointing indeed but perhaps last season or the season before we would have lost those two games. We certainly kept going to the death against Watford even though we were second best for most of the game on the night. This outfit is maybe tougher than we are giving them credit for.

The other issue that I would like to comment on is the centre-forward question. It has taken a while but I am now convinced that finding a proper centre-forward is the key to getting the best out of this squad of players.

I am a big Bernard fan but would put Richarlison back on the left flank in a flash IF we had someone to play centre-forward. I don't think we have a viable option at the moment.

I have been one of Tosun's major advocates on here because I was convinced he was a "finisher" after his first few games for us. But now I can't help making the comparison with Jelavic who I also thought was the answer.

We need someone who will put fear into the oppositions centre-backs. I got fed up with Lukaku with his want-away antics but he certainly frightened the grocks with his speed and physical strength. I remember one game against Leicester when he outmuscled Wes Morgan of all people.

I said this on another thread the other day - we need a big, mobile, goal-scoring centre-forward that can handle anything the oppositions CB's can dish out and give it back.

The problem is buying one in January won't be easy but at the risk of getting slaughtered I would like to put the following questions:-

1. Balotelli is fit and out of contract – putting aside the fact that he is a nutter, what would our forward line and midfield look like with him leading the line?

2. Would he score 20 goals a season with our wide men and midfielders feeding him?

3. Even though he is a nutter, is he worth the risk?

I think he is, and I think he would give us that fear factor up front that we are lacking at the moment.

Brian Murray
56 Posted 12/12/2018 at 09:44:46
Why the tired old names like Balotelli, Giroud, Vardy etc. Does the world not stretch further than our shores?

We have hopefully a scouting network ready to unearth the next Drogba so please no-one tell me he's not out there. The Shite find them decade after decade.

Joe McMahon
57 Posted 12/12/2018 at 10:16:48
Amit, loved your post! Giant Haystacks... fab.

Although I do think Calvert-Lewin isn't the required standard for Premier League football though, and I have seen more powerful shots in blow football.

As for Tosun, not even Sean Dyche would sign him.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

58 Posted 12/12/2018 at 11:34:14
Amit @ 52.

Hat duly doffed.

A supremely crafted post.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

59 Posted 12/12/2018 at 11:51:40
Mike @ 54.

"Statistics are the scourge of modern football and are very misleading. The classic example is from above and Gueye. Anyone who thinks he’s a good passer of the ball doesn’t understand football."

Or alternatively, anyone who thinks he is a limited footballer with poor passing skills hasn't been paying close attention to Everton's games and Gana's performances this season.

It's a lazy, but common error on TW, to deride other posters who can support empirical evidence (what they see) with statistical evidence (that which confirms the empirical evidence).

Sam Hoare
60 Posted 12/12/2018 at 11:58:44
Amit @ 52, great post. And interesting that we have achieved that with relatively little rotation. I do think our first XI is a little tired.

One thing I noticed from the last two matches is that we were dispossessed a lot more frequently, 17 times vs Newcastle and 19 vs Watford; almost twice as many as the teams we were playing against. Compare that to 12 times vs Liverpool, 12 times vs Cardiff, 10 times vs Chelsea and 12 times vs Brighton. Players simply losing the ball more often and inviting pressure back onto us.

Particular culprits against Watford were Richarlison (5 times), Gomes (3 times) and Walcott (3 times). Particularly at the start of second half we had to work harder at keeping possession. Richarlison is especially guilty of this over the season as is Theo. Interestingly, Bernard coughs it up a lot less and has the same dribble success as Theo whilst losing it about half as often.

Darren Hind
61 Posted 12/12/2018 at 11:59:43
Oh, so when you were moaning about our performances against the top boys, Jim... you were including Newcastle and Watford?

Anyone who has watched and commented on Everton games will have noted they way we have footballed our way out of situations against the best teams in the country and we have done so by fizzing balls into feet even in and around our own area.

Teams like Newcastle will pose a different problem by putting eleven men behind the ball and working their arses off. We may well have struggled due to lack of creativity or lack of cutting edge, but rolling out the tired old 'mental fragility' claim is nonsense.

Criticism should be thought out. This cliched 'one size fits all' nonsense isn't criticism.

What next? "We should be looking for a pacey winger with an eye for goal"?

Ray Roche
62 Posted 12/12/2018 at 12:13:15
Laurie @55,

Balotelli? No thanks, not in a million years. He is to team spirit what King Herod was to Child Welfare. He's the epitome of a bad apple and would stink the gaff out. Not for me, Laurie.

James Marshall
63 Posted 12/12/2018 at 12:55:39
Balotelli would provide entertainment but it's likely none of it would prove terribly fruitful in the short-, medium- or long-term. I'm a fan of his, for what it's worth, but then I always did go for the maverick types, players who are a bit different and don't give a fuck. Robin Friday & all that...

Aside from liking players who are a bit different, he would be a terrible choice at Everton.

Liam Reilly
64 Posted 12/12/2018 at 13:08:00
Amit #52,

"We are, under Silva, in the top 4 for distances covered."

Some may argue that's from chasing Pickford's aimless punts into the channels or chasing back after Richarlison has fallen on his arse again and lost the ball.

Seriously though, the last two performances haven't been great but there's no strength in depth yet and overall it's light years from watching last season's horrific football.

Brands and Silva will need some time and I think the majority support that.

Tony Abrahams
65 Posted 12/12/2018 at 14:58:51
I reckon that you get dispossessed of the ball a lot more when you are tired, Sam @60. I have to agree with Liam and say there is not enough strength in depth, which seems to be the biggest factor right now.
Michael Kenrick
66 Posted 12/12/2018 at 16:03:57
What is this absolute tosh, Tony?

"Most foreign players are given time to adapt, but we had four on the pitch last night all getting bedded at the same time."

What the Fuck??? It's December!!! Surely they're not still getting "bedded in"? Or is it this dubious rule spouted by some that no foreign player does well in the Premier League in their first season?

These pathetic excuses for poor performances from players at the peak of their professional careers are getting more and more ridiculous.

Tony Abrahams
67 Posted 12/12/2018 at 17:54:44
Michael how many games have Bernard, Mina and Gomes, played in the blue shirt of Everton between them mate?

It's a new team, playing without a proper centre-forward, and if you don't expect little drops in performance after a little while, if new players don't get rotated, then I see a totally different game to you.

Some foreign players do well right away, Michael, some take a bit of time, and some will never adapt, like Klaassen

But if you are saying what the fuck to 3/4 players all coming from abroad into English football, and expecting it to be great all the time, especially playing in a team without a real focus point, then I'm not sure?

Richarlson is a new player playing out of position, with his goals masking his overall general play at the moment, and Mina, Gomes, and Bernard have probably played no more than 20 games between them.

Digne has done well but I think he could also do with a rest, to get his second wind, or is this also absolute tosh?

I thought some players lacked belief the other night, and this sometimes happens when new players are starting to find out about each other. Things are easy when it's easy, but you don't really find out about someone until things get tough, and if I sound like I'm trying to make excuses, then all's I can say is, that it's not my style, because an excuse is still an excuse, and nothing will ever change if people have got an excuse.

Mike Gaynes
68 Posted 12/12/2018 at 18:36:41
Ray #62, is that King Herod line a Roche original, or did you borrow it from another source?

It's a beauty.

Laurie Hartley
69 Posted 12/12/2018 at 21:24:57
Ray # 52 - yes you got a smile out of me with the King Herod quip and I have to agree. It's a pity though - he could be a world beater if he had the right attitude.
Tony Everan
70 Posted 13/12/2018 at 11:31:56
Paul is right, the derby has affected us badly. Our mental strength to cast it aside as a freak occurrence has been lacking.

The test for a great side is always how it reacts to adversity; with regards that, we are still a work in progress. It is not only the players, it's something that the manager and his team need to more attentive to and nurture.

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