Spurs deliver savage dose of reality for Silva and Everton

By Lyndon Lloyd 24/12/2018 56comments  |  Jump to last

If Everton had teased at what they were capable of at times in their five previous meetings with the top five this season, this afternoon’s meeting with Tottenham in front of the Sky Sports cameras was supposed to be the moment where they finally fulfilled that promise on home turf against a “big six” team.

The attacking adventure at the Emirates ultimately let down only by poor finishing and the fine form of Petr Cech, defensively robust displays at Stamford Bridge and Anfield where, again, chances to score went begging, not to mention some promising spells at Old Trafford… it all hinted at what the new Everton, the positive, attack-minded Marco Silva Everton, could produce.

With the backing of the Goodison Park faithful and fuelled by the determination to make up for the significant disappointments of the Anfield defeat and the twin failures to beat Newcastle and Watford, it was hoped that the Blues could finally put together a complete performance. Instead, a veritable nightmare before Christmas unfolded at a stunned Goodison as Spurs meted out a thrashing of unforeseen proportions.

It left any notion that Silva’s nascent Everton revolution was at the point where it could keep the top five within reach and capitalise on any continued upheaval at Manchester United this season in tatters for the time being. This team is miles away from being able to touch that elite clutch of clubs and there can be no doubt about the scale of the task required to bridge that gap.

This was an agonising result on a weekend where supposedly inferior teams like Crystal Palace and Leicester achieved what Everton couldn’t do in recent weeks and that was win away against a top-5 team. It’s now 23 games since a Toffees side recorded a win over England’s six richest clubs and if they play like they did today, it’ll be a good deal longer before they get another.

Once again, this was a game littered with poor performances up and down the Everton ranks with only Lucas Digne, Gylfi Sigurdsson and, perhaps, Dominic Calvert-Lewin emerging with any credit. Sigurdsson helped create one goal with Calvert-Lewin and scored with a brilliant solo effort of his own while the young striker was hugely unfortunate to have a header disallowed which, when coupled with the episode of Keystone Cops at the other that would follow shortly afterwards, proved pivotal in the contest.

Where the rest are concerned, it’s hard to know where to begin. Jordan Pickford added another howler to further tarnish the glowing reputation he took from the World Cup in Russia; Richarlison was anonymous save for two off-target headers; Theo Walcott converted the opening goal with aplomb but did nothing else for 90 minutes; Tom Davies, André Gomes (before he went off injured) and Morgan Schneiderlin (after he had come on for the Portuguese) cut gallingly vulnerable figures without the injured Idrissa Gueye when they didn’t have the ball; and, with a black hole of a midfield in front of them, the rest of the back four simply caved as Spurs romped through them seemingly at will at times.

The players’ collective display, as bad as anything the Goodison faithful were forced to endure last season under three different managers, only told half the story, though. The other component of this pitiful collapse was breathtakingly naïve tactics by their manager and a stunning inability or refusal to make any alterations to address a midfield being badly overrun.

Seemingly trying to play Spurs at their own game with an attacking bent, a dangerously high defensive line, and the (inconsistent) high press, they invited one of the most dangerous teams in the country to pick them off with balls over the top or into the channels or simply parted the waters to allow the visitors to stream through.

Harry Kane helped himself to yet another brace, the hugely impressive Hueng-Min Son bagged two of his own and there were crisp first-time strikes from Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen to underline the talent that has been assembled at Tottenham in recent years. They stand as the example that Everton must follow but it feels like an awfully long road on days like these.

Silva was rightly aggrieved by the decision from Paul Tierney to chalk off Calvert-Lewin’s accomplished header that arced over Hugo Lloris and into the corner of the net in the 23rd minute. Had it been allowed to stand, it might have led to a very different result because two goals to the good, Everton might have adopted a very different posture.

In truth, even though it was the hosts who created the first real chance which Richarlison couldn’t steer on goal, Tottenham had already shown how threatening they could be before Everton took the lead, largely against the run of play.

Kane was put in behind the Blues’ defence in the 12th minute but chipped his shot into the side-netting, Son benefitted from a marginal offside non-decision and an awful call not to flag the ball as being a foot over the byline before cutting the ball back to Kieran Trippier but Pickford saved well, before Kane drove a direct free-kick wide.

Everton produced what would prove to be a rare piece of quality to go ahead shortly afterwards, though. Sigurdsson capitalised when a Harry Winks mis-judged a high bounce and threaded a beautiful pass through to Calvert-Lewin who held Trippier off expertly before cutting the ball back to Walcott to forced it home with a first-time finish.

It should have been 2-0 after just minutes later after Kane had flashed a shot just inches over Pickford’s bar and had Everton not been robbed by another awful refereeing decision, it might have been a different game but in the context of the Blues going forward under Silva, what followed was hugely instructive and contained a raft of lessons that will or won’t be heeded in the coming months.

The match was 27 minutes old when Kane pinged a first-time pass over the top which Kurt Zouma looked to have under control before Pickford arrived on the scene five yards outside his penalty area. The pair got in each other’s way, the ball broke to Son who curled it expertly inside the far post with unerring accuracy.

Then, in what would become a theme of the afternoon, the visitors cut through Everton’s midfield and defence with ease twice in the space of a few minutes. In the first instance, Kane placed his effort wide but in the second, no one had tracked Alli as Son tested Pickford and saw his shot beaten back towards the penalty spot by the keeper and the England midfielder stabbed a low drive home.

And things went from bad to worse three minutes before the break as Trippier lined up a direct free kick that struck the base of the post, rebounded to Kane who tucked it into the empty net to make it 3-1 at half-time.

Whatever Silva tried to do, if anything, at half-time to stem the white tide, there was barely any time for it to bear fruit before Tottenham scored again three minutes into the second half. Again, it was so easy for Pochettino’s men: a dinked ball down the right channel picked out Kane who took it in his stride before putting it into the centre of the Blues’ area. Seamus Coleman stooped to head clear but only succeeded in guiding it straight to Eriksen who had been left completely open to deliver a well-struck shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the D.

Everton got one back three minutes after that, briefly threatening to make a game of it as Sigurdsson collected Richarlison’s pass, dribbled his way across the edge of the box to evade two defenders before cutting a shot back across Lloris who, diving the opposite way, could only help it into the net.

It felt very much like a consolation even at that early stage as there was an air of futility about Everton and after their misery was compounded by an injury to Gomes that saw him limp off to be replaced by Schneiderlin, Spurs tore through them again on the hour mark.

Erik Lamela, himself recently introduced in place of Alli, powered past Davies and bore down on the home defence before playing in Son who again escaped the assistant’s flag before beating Pickford with his shot to register the away side’s fifth.

And the South Korean turned provider with another embarrassingly simple goal with 15 minutes left when Ben Davies knocked the ball down the line, Son crossed to Kane who had drifted off Zouma and slid in to steer the ball inside the far post and round off a six-goal display from Spurs.

Richarlison was withdrawn in favour of Bernard, no doubt with the Boxing Day trip to Burnley in mind, and the tricky Brazilian had some nice moments but the only thing Everton really produced in the closing stages was a Sigurdsson shot that deflected to Lloris while Eriksen went very close to adding a seventh but his effort took a nick off a defender and went wide.

This was a game and performance that coldly and starkly reset expectations of this Everton side at a stroke and posed serious questions of Silva, ones he needs to answer in the coming weeks of these sorts of results aren’t to be repeated against the best sides.

The Blues’ high line and defensive ineptitude were ruthlessly exposed by a team worthy of being considered in the title reckoning and Gueye, a player maligned for his passing weaknesses, was sorely missed as the disruptor in central midfield.

The belief following the previous games against the top six that all we needed was a striker was exposed as fallacy — there are deeper, more fundamental problems that begin with the manager and run right through a squad that looks light years behind the Premier League’s six other ever-present clubs, all of whom look significantly stronger and better organised.

It is now not just a question of recruitment but one also of coaching and the need for a young manager to quickly learn from the error in judgement of trying to take the game to a dangerous and superior outfit while leaving the back door wide open.

A 6-2 drubbing is bitter-tasting medicine but in tearing down the illusion that a few months’ worth of transfer business and a more positive approach from the dugout has propelled this Everton side to the brink of the top six, it could end up being a useful reality check… but only if the lessons are learned and the mistakes put right.

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Reader Comments (56)

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Rick Tarleton
1 Posted 24/12/2018 at 08:54:27
I argued last week that, because of the need to accommodate at least two and probably three of the wide men we now have (Bernard, Walcott, Richarlison and Lookman) we have an unbalanced and lightweight midfield.

Yesterday, without Gueye to provide some cover for the back four, it all became glaringly obvious just how unbalanced a team we are. We must have a midfield four with Richarlison playing on the left and a central attacking player. Sigurdsson has many gifts, but providing the energy to galvanise a midfield trio is not one of them.

By the way, is Silva beginning, despite his gloomy manner, to sound and manage like the Catalonian Wigan man?

Ian Bennett
2 Posted 24/12/2018 at 09:18:16
Where to start?

Pickford howler; Coleman finished at the top; despite playing in our own third we got punished with far too many balls played behind. Our passing was terrible with the ball countlessly given away by the front 6.

I don't think anyone comes out of the game with any credit which is a huge worry. £200m plus spent and not one leader on the pitch. Post Moyes, we have signed mercenaries who couldn't give a shit.

The alarm bells should be ringing that this team has no fucking character.

John Keating
5 Posted 24/12/2018 at 09:25:52
It's the manager's job to give the players the tactics to beat the opposition. It is also the manager's job to motivate the team and individuals. It is also the manager's job to ensure the players are fit enough to at least match the opposition. From the Wolves opener we have yet to see any of the above.

The support, backing and understanding Silva has received so far will soon evaporate if he does not learn and adapt his vision to suit the players he has.

Ajay Gopal
6 Posted 24/12/2018 at 09:30:08
A well analysed post-match report, Lyndon. I however, take issue with you letting Pickford off the hook very lightly. The opening goal was squarely his error, he needn't have come off his line, Zouma had that one well covered, at worst, he would have conceded a corner, more likely a throw-in.

As Alan Shearer correctly mentioned, Pickford seems to enjoy being in the spotlight, making unnecessary dives, punches which go straight back to play. He needs to be rested and a we need a more calm and composed keeper – Stekelenburg is not a great option, but he will have to do. When Robles was with us, he got a lot of stick on these pages, but the only error that I remember him committing was giving away a penalty, after which he was dropped by Koeman to accommodate his countryman.

Already this season, Pickford has committed 2 howlers which have cost us points. I would go so far as to say that his first one has effectively derailed our season.

Coming back to the game, I agree that Silva's tactics were hopeless, against one of the very best in the world. What a team Tottenham have become! It was only a few years ago that we used to match them and finish above them – they had a long list of failed managers – Rednapp, Villas Boas, Juan Ramos, etc (like what we are currently going through) and then they finally got it right with Pochhetino – an inspired choice if ever there was one.

I desperately want Silva to succeed, because we cannot afford any more 'trial and errors', another flirtation with relegation would be disastrous for the club, and makes laughable the silly debate that has been going on in the other thread — '52,000' or '62,000'? Hopefully, Brands will have a sit-down with Silva and work out a strategy to slowly start getting tough to beat again, start winning games again, get the respect back from the rest of the league.

Neil Pickering
7 Posted 24/12/2018 at 09:39:58
The most worrying thing about the last 2 games is how Silva has set us up. Against Man City he had clearly told the players to try and play from the back and through City's press, which is the best in Europe, rather than mixing it up and playing off Calvert-Lewin. Which I think is just suicide.

Yesterday, after only 5 mins of the match I said this will be 4 or 5 here, you could see it a mile off. I heard Silva say that the game changed when Spurs equalised, well if he really thinks that he's worried me massively.

Keane and Zouma got left exposed big time there. Both full-backs bombing on together, and no midfielder protecting them. Gomes is good but doesn't sense danger, Davies is poor anyway and offers nothing, so why doesn't Silva see that Spurs just stretched the pitch with Kane and Son, and then had a very narrow shape which enabled Eriksen and Alli to get on the ball in spaces that our midfielders weren't able to pick up.

Its becoming clear to me that we are light years away from top 6, and despite all the investment we have again picked a manager and players who will get us between 7th to 11th in the Premier League. We are what we always have been a potential 'best of the rest' and I'm just a bit bored of it now.

When city got their money in 2008 they literally went out and got the very best you could get, and then built on that. We, on the other hand, have spent an amount probably similar to what they did on 3 managers, and a collection of players; some that weren't even good enough for the division, and the rest that are mid-table Premier League quality.

Moshiri has been great, can't argue with the commitment he's made, but boy have we pissed it up the wall. We say we have all this ambition to do this and that, but our actions and appointments say otherwise.

Gareth Williams
8 Posted 24/12/2018 at 09:43:43
A terrible performance.

I still don't think Marco Silva is the man for the job.

Danny Broderick
9 Posted 24/12/2018 at 09:55:33
A bad day at the office.

This game was won and lost in midfield. Without Idrissa Gueye, we couldn't protect our back 4. They played lovely little triangles all around us, and Davies and Gomes couldn't cover the ground. This was exacerbated when Schneiderlin came on – just when we thought things couldn't get any worse...

I'm not going to overreact based on yesterday's game, but I was slightly disappointed that Silva didn't change the system when we were clearly getting battered. He made a like-for-like sub when he brought on Bernard for Richarlison on about 70 minutes. I was baffled by that.

Idrissa Gana Gueye is our only defensive midfielder who can protect the back 4. Without him, the team was all over the place. Let's hope he's back sooner rather than later.

Jon Withey
10 Posted 24/12/2018 at 10:07:14
Pretty rubbish really. And after a run of pretty rubbish results.

I never had any doubt Spurs would beat us – but it was so comprehensive you have to wonder whether we are any better off than Martinez and Moyes, Koeman and Allardyce? – The answer is no really.

I'm glad we have attacking intent but that isn't going to make up for such a dreadful defensive set-up – and I include our midfield in that.

It's difficult to see Silva lasting beyond the summer at this point.

As for the players... it's pretty stressful watching Davies and Walcott miss passes. Kouma and Keane were left exposed time and again by the midifield and wings.

Not the best Christmas present – that said, it's pretty easy to stop caring about the club when you see that... Who'd support Everton worldwide after watching that?

Over-reaction? Well, it underlined how far away we are from being a competitive force for me.

John G Davies
11 Posted 24/12/2018 at 10:10:31
Great and fair report, Lyndon.

Those that denigrate Gana as a tackling machine can see the value he gives the team after yesterday's performance.

And your right again, a big part of the disappointment is that many fans kidded themselves by thinking we could challenge top 5 this early into Silva's tenure; that was not going to happen.

The mistake he made yesterday, for me, was going toe-to-toe with a far superior side. You play, we play. We have one player who would get in the Spurs side.

Now, you can say he should have kept it tight or you can say we have been asking for a manager who is prepared to go at the big teams. My take is somewhere in the middle until he gets his own squad in.

A lot of fair-minded fans understand it is a big turnaround squad-wise required; on the back of that, they are prepared to give him a couple of seasons to get it right. Let's not press the panic and self-destruct button just yet.

Daniel A Johnson
12 Posted 24/12/2018 at 10:16:44
Pickfords need to get involved is now comical. He is fast becoming our biggest problem, error prone with a constant need to put himself in the limelight with even the simplest things.

You could argue Robles would probably have cost us less points thus far. For a player of his supposed calibre, he's an accident waiting to happen. His quick kicks out either go to the opposition or into touch and just concede possession.

Why with the ball about to be dealt with by his 6ft-3in centre-half did Pickford come running out? He's simply brain-dead with a reckless arrogant streak that will likely continue to lead to errors and goals until someone stops indulging the idiot.

Stan Schofield
13 Posted 24/12/2018 at 10:23:06
Only a month ago, the overall tone on ToffeeWeb was that we were much improved, playing attractive football, a team showing togetherness and character, the new signings having good starts, and existing players being rejuvenated. The deficiencies were known, ie, a new striker or two, plus added strength in depth needed, which could be addressed in the next one or two transfer windows, which (if as good as the last transfer window) would bring even more improvement. Onwards and upwards.

A month on, and the overall tone on ToffeeWeb is the reverse: a team in disarray, players who couldn't give a shit, a useless manager, problems that will take years to sort out, if ever.

We have the same personnel as a month ago. There is absolutely no reason in principle why our form cannot revert to what it was, the form of a team at least functioning together, at least coming close even if not winning.

Everton still seems fragile. What happened in the derby seems to have shaken us, both the team and the supporters. It's almost like we've given in, that failure to score more goals, that the bad form of one or two very good established players, and that a small number of random cock-ups, and some dodgy refereeing decisions that have gone against us, have finally taken the wind out of our sails.

It doesn't have to be like that, but it will if we let it. We surely cannot let this get to us. Enough is enough. We surely cannot be calling for changes in personnel yet again. Let's just sort out what we have and get on with it. Let's get some momentum again, and improve the squad in the few transfer windows. It's not rocket science.

Mark Taylor
14 Posted 24/12/2018 at 10:26:42
Having avoided singing Silva's praises a month or so ago, I'm going to avoid an overkill reaction now. He is not the messiah, but a decent young manager who, with a decent helping of luck, may well improve us over time. Better to set expecations at a realistic level.

Before Gomes arrived, one very obvious fact we found out was that you cannot play Gueye alongside Schneiderlin and/or Davies and have anything resembling a creative midfield. You just end up with headless chickens.

What yesterday demonstrated is that you cannot play Gomes without a decent defensive shield like Gueye. He is below avergae defensively and doesn't track back properly. On paper, Davies should be able to do this but he seemed to just stroll around to no effect, basically offering all of Gueye's drawbacks but none of the redeeming features.

Schneiderlin inevitably stunk the place out when he came on but having those two as your central midfield is never going to lead to good things. My conclusion? Sell Gueye to PSG at your peril – we actually need a back up and we don't seem to have one, other than 'Biscuit' McCarthy, who cannot be relied upon.

The defence was a mess. Coleman looked horribly exposed by Son and his days at the very top appear numbered, but the entire back 4 were poor, not helped by our kamikaze goalie.

One thing that needs to be done urgently is to have someone 'de-hyper' Pickford. He is an accident waiting to happen, judgement sacrificed on an altar of over intensity. The first goal was bad enough but that 'save' against Dele Alli showed a player who is just not right in the head.

Going forward, we discovered much less that is new. Walcott has his moments, but he flits in and out of games and has never become the player some thought he might. I can only imagine Lookman was injured because he has consistently looked a much more dangerous attacker. Richie, sadly, looks like he is about to do a Watford here and fade away. It might be my imagination, but he looks to have lost a couple of yards of pace, very laboured.

Calvert-Lewin tries hard but, at this point in his career, is not a front man for an aspiring top-6 club. Still, he's a better back-up than either Niasse or Tosun. Sigurdsson is a good player if you play him in his best position, but I think that ends up with us having a formation not designed to resist fast counter-attacking teams like Spurs.

We're probably good enough to finish top half but that's about the sum of it. Whether that is enough for Moshiri is moot – another ToffeeWebber posted an insightful comment piece on our financial position; unless Moshiri is an awful lot richer than I thought, or has Usamov onboard behind the scenes, the position is really quite ugly. It may well be a case of stick or twist; if the former, then you will tell because we will start selling whatever marketable players we have to balance the currently very unbalanced books.

Merry Xmas all!

Anthony Murphy
15 Posted 24/12/2018 at 10:28:11
A great analysis and some great posts.

Lack of leaders bothers me. We struggle to hang on once we take the lead and our heads go down every time we concede. Virgil van Dijk is a great footballer but also a great leader – you can see him organising and disciplining the players around him. We need a midfielder with similar leadership qualities.

I hope the PSG rumours are just that and Gana really does have a minor injury – otherwise, we will struggle.

Tactically, Marco has to be more risk-averse in the next few games. We need a clean sheet against Burnley and that should be a priority.

I think Burnley are due a win and will be grateful that they've got us at home, so a real test for the mental toughness of the manager and team. Do we think they'll pass?

Paul A Smith
16 Posted 24/12/2018 at 10:31:42
Remember the trendy line under Allardyce.? "It's the brand of football" with Martina left-back, Kenny in and out, Gana & Davies centre-midfield, Calvert-Lewin up front.

We actually have a country full of people that have preconceived ideas they can't let go of. They refuse to and expect answers to come elsewhere. These people believe Bolton played the same way with Okocha Djorkaeff and Gudjohnsen as they did with Kevin Davies up front.

Now let's face it, Fat Sam is what he is; he's a corrupt joker that gets results for his teams. Now, we are playing lovely football with the players Sam needed — and not getting results.

John G Davies
17 Posted 24/12/2018 at 10:33:57

That is a seriously good post.

And you're right, of course, it's not rocket science.

Paul A Smith
18 Posted 24/12/2018 at 10:53:44
Stan is right about windows. If we don't use every window to improve the 11 (which is the only way to do it) you won't see miracles or form. Just a team in and out with a couple of shining players that will move on.

Stop building, stop improving. Its what every manager needs in today's football. Allardyce Moyes Silva etc etc.

Eddie Howe was going stale a year ago. Look at them now they have spent much bigger for the first time.

Just to add to all my moaners that hated me for noticing Pickford is dodgy. I am well on for my prediction in the summer he would cost us 10 goals.

I only post for the good of the team, though; please remember that.

Michael Lynch
19 Posted 24/12/2018 at 11:08:35
Yes, we've looked worryingly brittle since the derby but, to be fair, we've rarely looked comfortable since the season began. Sure, we've played some half-decent and entertaining football in fits and starts, but we've still struggled to kill off some very average teams.

The mental fragility and lack of leadership could put us in a very precarious position unless it is addressed. If we carry on in January the way we've been playing in December, the pressure on Silva and the players will be huge. And as we have no depth at all in the squad, we could be in big trouble.

Gana is injured and we get Davies. Gomes is injured and we get Schneiderlin, and we're back to the Allardyce days but with a manager who seems to have problems with whole defending aspect of the game.

I think we'll know by the spring whether Silva is for us or not. Unless he can show that he has more in his locker than we've seen so far, I'd be surprised if the board give him another season.

Ian Jones
20 Posted 24/12/2018 at 11:27:34
On MotD, there was an interesting but brief analysis of the recent Southampton vs Arsenal match which showed the difference in how Southampton approached the game as opposed to their previous ones.

They defended from the front, closing down the goalie and the Arsenal defence at every opportunity, with this closing-down approach mirrored by the rest of the team. Result: a terrific 3-2 victory. I imagine all the Southampton players were exhausted.

That effort has to be the bare minimum.

Paul Goodchild
21 Posted 24/12/2018 at 11:30:46
Great post, Stan.

Pickford is still raw and inexperienced. He needs a really good goalkeeping coach.

Sadly, Coleman is not the player he quite was. He is an ok defender but we sadly miss those marauding runs down the flank. Not sure Kenny is quite good enough. I think we need to buy another right back. That lad at Palace looks really good.

I think time is right to play Baines at left midfield. He would link up well with Digne and he can retain possession and pass. Something we have been lacking greatly in recent games.

Walcott does not do enough for me. I think time is right for Lookman, if fit, to play in at least 2 of the next 3 matches.

Matt Melia
22 Posted 24/12/2018 at 11:33:02
How come we always get sucked into public auctions when we go after a manager or player? Then, never know when to pull the bid, thereby paying way over the top for whoever we get, along with long-term ridiculous salaries, leading to massive pay-offs when they depart.

Therefore, it's obvious that Silva was never my choice. What had he achieved over here? Hull relegated and not much more with Watford.

His persistence in zonal marking leaves our players watching the opposition glide past them and scoring at will.

He continues to favour attacking full-backs, but plays wide midfielders who haven't a clue in how to support their defenders.

Wide men thrown in as makeshift centre-forwards and hopeful that one creative midfield player can be our perpetual match winner.

Sorry, Tom Davies has made zero progress, even gone backwards in his play, shouldn't be considered to start a game.

Coleman has not and will not be the player he was. Lo pport for Seamus and he appears to have got that”Couldn't give a shit approach to every game”.

Pickford needs dropping, if keepers still wore caps you couldn't get one big enough for him. His ego is massive and his attempts to be a player rather than keeper, ridiculous punches, very poor distribution, along with basic school boy errors is affecting the whole team.

After a reasonable start to the season, points wise, we had snooken into the top six, Pickford's stupid attempt to catch the ball off the cross bar at Anfield has become our nemesis, from a position of earning a well-deserved point, we walked off the pitch totally demoralised. This inexplicable error has taken the wind right out of our sails and we're shipping water at a fast rate.

Gueye is and will be greatly missed. I know he has his faults, but he harries the opposition for 90 minutes and you know he's on the park, I thought we were playing with six during most of Spurs attacks.

Why does he persist in bringing in Tosun, I think you can get 100/1 at Paddypower for him to score and he contributes zilch, at least Niasse (who is no Premier League centre-forward) at least works his nuts off when on the park.

And, without doubt, we're screaming for a real captain on the park, we so needed a leader to respond yesterday. Schneiderlin, good Lord there's a total waste of space and money, give one of the young lads a go.

If Silva continues in this mould I agree with a previous contribution, he'll be wearing brown shoes and we'll be fighting off relegation. What were our tactics supposed to be? 10 players wandering around like a load of 10-year-olds, clueless.

Before the derby, comments were; A centre-forward and another creative mid-fielder and we're on our way. Well, I think the shopping list is now considerably longer.


Matthew Williams
23 Posted 24/12/2018 at 12:21:41
It seems we're at a crossroads here, maybe a major re-think is needed. We need players with fight, a bit of bottle who will scrap and battle for the cause and will have pride in the shirt...

Maybe it's time to look at other leagues further down from the Premier League. and save ourselves a few quid in the process... or continue in the same vein and keep splashing the cash and hope a real team emerges.

I believe, if we take the latter route, nowt will change apart from our long standing in top-flight football and our future ground move will be pointless as we'll never fill 52,000 in the Championship.

Mark Taylor
24 Posted 24/12/2018 at 12:22:41
Matt 22,

"His persistence in zonal marking leaves our players watching the opposition glide past them."

As some wag on the live forum pointed out, zonal marking worked well because zonal didn't score.

Paul Birmingham
25 Posted 24/12/2018 at 12:25:12
I hope the riot act has been read and arses kicked, and some should be licked into touch.

no doubt, Sean Dyche will have his team tuned and ready to steam into us on Boxing Day.

It's a litmus test to show what Silva and this squad is made of.

No more Chrimbo Pantomines, Everton, as you've given us too many of late.

The shirt must. Be worn with pride and passion, too many shirkers, drifters and couldn't be arsed frauds out there yesterday. The difference in class, style, manner and professionalism, was light-years between these teams.

There's no doubt we've lost 4 years on Spurs, and whilst defeat wasn't a surprise the cowardly and lacklustre performance will rank as one of the mega bad days at Goodison Park, in recent times.

My lad's increasingly resilient but conscious more than ever of the RS, and why Everton, can't be relied on. It's tough to explain to a 9-year-old to take the rough with the smooth.

There's not been many good days this season and at the halfway stage, there's loads to improve on, but I can't see many takers for our deadwood, albeit at a decent price and conversely which top players, will opt for us bearing not much hope of Europa League next season?

The rot must stop, at Burnley... and Pickford must get back to basics and be a keeper rather than a sweeper.

Big Neville would have saved a few of them yesterday, but this is now, and if we don't stop The Keystone Cops defending and unforced errors, we will be making up the back end of this league.

The RS, doing so well, it's become purgatory, this season, but let's keep the faith, and hopefully grind a result out at Turf Moor.

Merry Chrimbo, Evertonians! 🍀👍🍻

Paul Birmingham
26 Posted 24/12/2018 at 12:31:24
Sorry, I meant to say kicked into touch. My iPad, typing skills are getting worse; apologies to all and no offence meant.
Andy Crooks
27 Posted 24/12/2018 at 12:32:51
Good balanced posts from both Stan and Mark. We don't have a leader in the team. Seamus thinks he is but he shouldn't be in the team. There is a niceness about the club that doesn't go with winning. Can you imagine Roy Keane after that?

How about getting some staff in who DON'T get Everton? There are common denominators in the dross of the last number of years and they are still there, stealing a living.

Joe McCormick
28 Posted 24/12/2018 at 12:39:07
To misquote Jim Royle. "Top 6? My arse!!"

Now don't get me wrong — I am not asking for Marco's head, but I do believe, after an embarrassing capitulation like that, he should offer some real apologies.

The next three games are crucial or it could turn toxic. Where is Fat Sam?

Mark Tanton
29 Posted 24/12/2018 at 12:40:12
We need a reaction, but we have not seen one in recent weeks, despite poor results. As so many others have intimated, this club is limp-wristed, seemingly happy to settle for mediocrity.

I really don't think changing manager is the answer though, for how long can you keep bringing the new guy in and giving him money? It isn't working. We have to accept that something is wrong deep within, and we have to stick with Silva and Brands. We've brought a handful of decent players so now we have, well, a handful of decent players.

Coleman, Jagielka, Baines, Schneiderlin, Tosun, Walcott and many others are not at the level all of us on here want to be playing at. The squad is going to take window, after window, after window, to put right. So much dross, so little heart. Many of these are men who have spent their whole career losing to anybody above halfway in the table.

Paul Birmingham
30 Posted 24/12/2018 at 12:41:30
Good points about the coaching staff, and what they bring to Finch Farm. It seems there's no discipline and basic communication plan on the pitch.

There's no winning mentality and it seems an acceptance of pretending to care when, based on yesterday's game, most of that team didn't care.

Fine them, but they should be made to feel the pain and anger that's the burden of all Evertonians.

Ralph Basnett
31 Posted 24/12/2018 at 12:50:37
Pickford – needs dropping
Coleman – sell
Keane – to slow
Zouma – buy him
Digne – lacked cover from Richarlison
Walcott – drop
Gomes – tired and now injured
Davies – just not good enough
Sigurdsson – slow, overated
Calvert-Lewin – tries hard but just not good enough

Stekelenburg – same as Davies
Bernard – headless
Tosun - his name should be 'Tosser'
Niasse – useless but fun to watch
Schneiderlin – fookin woeful
Baines – finished

Not good reading really, no heart, passion or just a bit of something!!!!

Last time I felt this low after yet another defeat was 1-4 to Bolton when season tickets where being burnt at the main entrance, didn't see any this time but sure it was pretty close.

Why do most teams have a youngster on the bench and we don't? Do we not have any? At 2-6 down with 15 minutes to go, throwing a kid on cannot do them any harm, and maybe embarrass the so-called first teamer who is pulled?

Unfortunately, we all have our own ideas for what needs to be done but none of us is in a position to do anything about it, which might not be such a bad thing.

Boxing Day and Burnley are rubbing their hands; just bully Everton, they will just fold.

Frank Crewe
32 Posted 24/12/2018 at 13:00:37
What annoys me more than anything is Silva's hangdog expression. Even when we are winning, he looks like we are 4-0 down.

We have been in this position so many times, it's become par for the course. A few early successes and then the rot sets in. Wins become draws and draws become defeats.

Outside of dropping Pickford, I have no idea what we should do. It is hard to make too many changes because we have no strength in depth. Maybe change the shape. Plainly 4-2-3-1 isn't working. Try 4-3-3 or 4-4-2. Trouble is the next game is only two days away with Xmas in-between so there isn't much time to really do anything.

I know this much: Xmas should be cancelled at Everton until the players start earning the enormous wages the club lavishes on them — because, at the moment, it's money for old rope.

John Keating
33 Posted 24/12/2018 at 13:10:14
As so many posters on various threads have alluded to, Silva needs time and windows to bring in the players he wants.

However, while we are all awaiting the final piece, is it not possible he and the rest of his coaching staff can try some tactics that fit the players we presently have?

Some have mentioned "transition"; others that we need a "reaction" against Burnley. The last team we need to play against next is bloody Burnley!! They will be desperate to get us on the park. Easy pickings.

We needed a "reaction" after Wolves – fill in any team we've played so far this season - and haven't had one.

Like most, I don't know too much about Silva, what I do know is that so far his motivational skills appear to be zero, so if any reaction is needed, it is doubtful he can generate it.

Ray Said
34 Posted 24/12/2018 at 13:12:27
I think these are 10 basics we do not do:

1. Our lads do not get tight enough to the opponent – we stand off and give them time and space to get set and turn.

2. Defenders don't sit deep enough – a simple ball behind takes out the defence – I watched Son get free behind Coleman time after time yesterday.

3. We play the ball into feet instead of a yard ahead so the player can take it forward – this loses any momentum.

4. We don't get enough crosses in – Coleman, in particular, has started running forward then turning and playing it backwards – loses momentum and slows us down.

5. We don't have a midfield shield who sits and stops the opposition but also drops in when the centre-backs move forward with the ball.

6. When we get an attacking throw-in no one goes to the thrower – this loses momentum.

7. We don't beat the first man on corners – we have centre backs who are big and can head and yet we can not hit them with a corner.

8. We seem to have forgotten how to tackle – did anyone see a good challenge from our midfield yesterday.

9. The defenders have forgotten how to clear it to touch – every headed clearance or save by the goalie seems to go straight to the opponents instead of out of play.

10. We don't shoot enough – midfielders and attackers having shots causes problems for defenders who don't know if they should try to close you down or back off.

Paul A Smith
35 Posted 24/12/2018 at 13:26:16
I think people are looking for the easy tactical explanation. Easy because we lost.

I believe Silva is a good manager. He's setting out a stall early and it's been easy to see how he wants us to play. Everybody presses and plays positive.

To blame tactics is a bit naive. Mistakes and lack of concentration cost us today, not the idea of trying to beat Spurs.

Those players got spooked by Pickford's madness and worried everytime Spurs pressed. No amount of coaching can change a players emotion on the pitch.

The only thing that does annoy me is how often we pass a free kick backwards. Time after time we refuse to put it in their box and fight for 2nd balls.

Jay Wood

36 Posted 24/12/2018 at 13:27:46
I broadly agree with Stan @ 13 with a couple of caveats.

I wrote in similar vein to Stan yesterday on Silva's post-match quotes thread: that going into the derby game at Anfield we were on a good run and the majority were happy with the progress we were making.

We had conceded just 4 goals in seven games, performed well away to the likes of Arsenal, Man Utd and Chelsea, kept 4 clean sheets and, until the 96th minute at Anfield, looked like making that 5 clean sheets and a well-deserved point.

Knowing Everton (as we all do), in the wake of that defeat, I said it will tell us a lot about the team how we react in the next 2 home games with Newcastle and Watford. It wasn't good.

Dropping points in those two fixtures brought greater pressure to bear on both the manager and the players and the difficult fixtures away to Man City and home to Spurs.

Now before the City game, for me, Silva had only got one game badly wrong, selection wise and tactically: the League Cup defeat to Southampton. To that, you can now add the City and Spurs games.

I have previously written how too many fans base their opinion on the 'immediacy' of the most recent game(s), rather than balance out their views against all games over the course of the season.

Just four games ago, as Stan writes, there was a buoyancy and growing optimism at how things were shaping up. Now, many are projecting the poor results and performances of the last four games and convincing themselves that is how our whole season has been. It is simply not true.

As Stan wrote, in principle, the manager and the players are the same when, just four games ago, the fan base felt a growing optimism about Everton's future, so we are capable of better performances and results than delivered since the derby game.

However, as I said in my opening paragraph, there are a couple of caveats that need to be considered in that hope:

Firstly, very much central to the debate of the merits or de-merits of recruiting Silva in the summer was 3 key factors:

● His poor managerial record in the Premier League;
● His sides conceded lots of goals;
● When his teams went on winless runs, he seemingly struggled to arrest it.

We are now in that scenario, with 12 goals conceded in 4 games, 3 of those at home, 2 points garnered from a possible 12.

Against Newcastle, his substitutions appeared pre-determined, rather than pro-active as to what was needed in reaction to events in-game. Against Watford, his subs made no impact. Against City, his selection and tactics torpedoed us before a ball was kicked, only changing to what was needed after going 2-0 down which improved us only for individual errors to hurt us at critical times.

Yesterday, even a casual observer could see what the problem was and Silva did nothing tactically to play differently from minute 1 to minute 90.

This run of results only serves to heap ever more pressure on the manager and the players. It befalls to them to find a way to stop conceding goals, start scoring more and to start winning, by whatever means possible, rather than being overly concerned with the aesthetics of our football.

Because the Premier League in a very unforgiving place. If your strategy is found out, you have to find a way to counter the opposition's counter.

For sure, Burnley away will be a really tough test. They have recently played Liverpool, Spurs and Arsenal and yes, they lost them all. But, if you saw anything of their games, then by 'eck! They gave everyone of them a reet good battle.

Does Everton currently have the stomach for the fight we are undoubtedly going to face at Turf Moor?

The optimism of four games ago has been pricked and deflated and replaced with a tad of trepidation that will only be expelled by getting back to winning ways.

Steve Taylor
37 Posted 24/12/2018 at 13:40:09
Ray Said @34. Everton would be better employing you (no doubt you would do it for nothing). It's not rocket science marking and closing spaces are basic. The defence and midfield might as well have been traffic police waving Spurs players through.
John Pierce
38 Posted 24/12/2018 at 13:44:11
The manager deserved the praise 4 weeks ago and equally deserves the criticism for his team's performances in the last 4 games.

He has been exposed tactically in the last 2 games albeit by two very good sides. He was also outmanoeuvred by Watford and Newcastle but they didn't punish us in the same way. we could easily be looked at 5 defeats on the bounce with little room for complaint.

Whilst progress is there, he has to find a way to arrest alarming trends in his team's efforts. I cannot allow him to drift without rebuke. Whilst there are personnel he'd like to change he cannot send teams out there to play a type of football several players struggle to put together.

His team must be defensively more sound, the team is riddled with collective and individual errors which lead to very soft goals. For a manager who is lauded for his detail, this seems to be at odds with that. That goes for the better performances too, we've conceded some horrors this season.

Pickford as an individual needs some help. He has a mounting charge sheet of errors which have most of us having kittens. Three goals directly from his errors? I have no doubts on his skill; decision-making is a recurring theme which needs addressing. His need to intervene and be 'in' a game should be reined in.

Three much tougher games before the Lincoln game. Silva needs to show the fanbase he can see the issues and arrest them, or it's a long winter ahead.

John Raftery
39 Posted 24/12/2018 at 14:02:00
We now have five games against teams outside the top six plus the FA Cup tie. Can Silva drag a team out of a trough of poor form? Can he manage a team through a full Premier League season? I think we will have our answers after we have played Southampton away. We can just about afford to wait until then.

The manager can be grateful that the home wins against Southampton, Fulham, Palace, Brighton and Cardiff together with the unlikely win at Leicester against ten men have given him some breathing space. He now badly needs to instil the basics of defensive play throughout the team and set us up not to concede goals so easily. The Fancy Dan stuff can wait until we have the players to do it.

Perhaps the biggest worry is that he is still saying ‘we need to keep playing our way'. That does indeed smack of Roberto.

Frank McGregor
41 Posted 24/12/2018 at 15:37:35
As I have posted previously, we need to get to 40 points ASAP; however, I feel the task will be too much for the present team and manager.

Before the season started in August, I predicted that the three relegation spots would be taken by Huddersfield, Watford and Everton. My post was ignored by most on ToffeeWeb. I still believe this to be the case... except for maybe Watford.

Stan Schofield
42 Posted 24/12/2018 at 17:02:49
Jay @36: A neutral looking at ToffeeWeb, and not bothering to watch any games at all, would conclude that, in the space of a month, the overall tone has plummeted dramatically, despite the fact that we have the same team and manager.

It just seems to me that Everton in total, everything about the club, seems fragile, susceptible to the slightest setback. Rather than seeing a setback as a new challenge, it seems to be seen as a portent of doom, as if the current set-up needs to be abandoned and replaced (magically) by new personnel and a new culture.

It seems to me that Everton needs to pull itself together, and I mean the whole lot, from the club to many of its supporters. If we don't do that, we have no chance, no matter how much money is spent on new managers and players.

And I doubt that changing the manager every 5 minutes is the answer. Everton is the problem, not the current manager or players. The manager and players might not be good enough to take us into the top-6, but they are good enough not to mentally collapse when there are setbacks.

It's crazy that four weeks ago we had a midfield that could compete with the best, that was better than Liverpool's midfield. Suddenly the midfield is apparently shite. Four weeks ago we gave Liverpool a real test at Anfield, so much so you would have thought they'd won the league with their reaction at the end. Spurs are no better than Liverpool, but now apparently Spurs are a class apart from us.

None of this change in mentality, in the perceptions of us supporters and in the reactions of the players to some setbacks, adds up. The change in the tone of ToffeeWeb, for example, just goes against common sense. There's no need for any of it.

By all means, let's have more money pumped into getting better players. But that will not solve any problems unless this fundamental problem of mentality is sorted out. Until it is, we cannot be winners at anything.

Lennart Hylen
43 Posted 24/12/2018 at 17:44:50
Everton play tennis nowadays...

Sorry it only was one set, 2-6. If it had lasted three sets, we might have won. :)

Paul Tran
45 Posted 24/12/2018 at 18:00:59
Stan, you said most of what I intended to say.

Up until the 96th minute at Anfield, I was generally happy with how things were going this season. Physically strong centre-mid and goalscorer needed to bridge the gap.

Right now, it's about Silva's ability to get the players performing to those standards again. And the players' ability and mental strength to deal with a bit of adversity.

Jack Convery
46 Posted 24/12/2018 at 20:07:01
Can we give 2019 a miss. I reckon its not a year us blues will remember fondly but rather with horror.
Dave Abrahams
47 Posted 24/12/2018 at 20:21:18
Stan and Paul, quite a bit of truth and common sense in
your posts, same with Darren Hind, Jack (46) lets see what the NewYear brings: we're worried a bit now, but we won't be worried long: look on the bright side.
Don Alexander
48 Posted 24/12/2018 at 21:25:30
I hope 2019 brings the improvement towards achieving what Moshiri stated was his three year project erm, (and ahem), three years ago. Others have rightly pointed out the lack of enduring winning psychology throughout so many players at the club and to me it's asking a helluva a lot from the manager and mere six new arrivals to turn that mentality around. Sadly, I wonder whether another six in January and another six next summer would be enough, so deep is the FF malaise to me.
Paul A Smith
49 Posted 24/12/2018 at 21:57:25
Don its funny you say that because I had forgot about the 3 year plan.
I honestly believe if your not going to do what City done and throw loads of money at it then you certainly have to improve your starting 11 in every window.
Now obviously we couldn't spend as much as City and players inflation has risen big but surely he has wrote his first year off anyway.
It was disastrous. 2nd not much better.
I don't know if it was bad advice or they truly believed in what they were doing.
I didn't and made it clear on here. He was selling our best to CL clubs and buying from relegated teams.
For a shrewd accountant and wealthy businessman that is obsurd.
He is still paying the price now and he can only hope he recoups some of the poor deals back and spend it where it really matters.
Grant Rorrison
50 Posted 24/12/2018 at 22:04:10
Hard to believe it's still less than 2 years since we beat Man City 4-0 with a team containing Robles, Williams, Davies and Funes Mori. Can anyone see us equalling that feat anytime soon?

Do we look any better for the hundreds of millions of pounds we've spent? Have we made any progress towards cracking the top 6 – let alone becoming a Champions League outfit? Have we fuck.

Ian Riley
51 Posted 24/12/2018 at 22:10:38
We are in it. A relegation scrap unless we pull our finger out. Unless we bring a grafter into the midfield to give the defence some protection.

Sorry, Davies is not a Premier League player yet. Too fragile and perhaps has believed the hype. A season in the Championship would be great experience for the lad.

Gomes is a luxury but no protection for the defence. Gueye does his best but has struggled with this role but has improved. Sacking Silva is not the answer.

Where to? Silva needs to tighten things up. Three points is three points. We need to work harder. Burnley will prove if we are up for the fight. The players need to halt the slide quickly.

If not, get the cheque book out in January. I believe in Silva but his record of halting a slide is not good. Keep the faith. It's all we have left.

Jerome Shields
52 Posted 25/12/2018 at 06:42:41
I agree with your analysis that a centre-forward is not the only problem with the forward line. The coaching of play in the final third has been abysmal since the start of the season.

Gueye, Gomes and Sigurdsson are the midfield trio that are of the standard required; any of the available replacements are not good enough. Everton, as in the West Ham game, were undone by a midfield trio. On that day, it was Rice, Noble and Giang.

Tottenham's midfield trio of Alli, Wicks and Eriksen did the same job, with additional help of Sissoko who didn't have to do box-to-box, he just stayed in midfield, harried and moved forward. The inadequacy of Everton's high press meant that Tottenham where confident that they could outscore Everton. Even Trippier, the right-back, was able to get forward with alarming frequency. Digne and Coleman were pinned back or left in no-man's land if they moved forward. All the pressure was on Everton's poorly coached defence. Tottenham's midfield just dominated and Silva either didn't see it or didn't know what to do.

Tottenham's attitude could be summed up in this quote from a Tottenham Community website prior to the game:

"Statistically, Everton are the same as they've always been, even under new manager Marco Silva. They are 8th in the table in both points and xG. They're 7th in goals allowed, 6th in shots/game, 5th in shots-allowed/game. They're tricky without being frightening, better than the mid-table but nowhere close to the top four or five teams in the league. They have a puncher's chance against any team in the top six, but their biggest result to date is a scoreless draw at Stamford Bridge. Sunday's match will be their first home match against the top six this season. In other words, they are perfectly, wonderfully Everton, despite everything. "

Unfortunately, this sums up ' progress to date. Though he has improved Everton, he has failed to address weaknesses and, after this game, he has been exposed as tactically naive. Newcastle showed the way and every team since has followed, including Tottenham.

In other words, no way Tottenham are not title contenders after beating Everton. Enough said; over to you, Mr Silva – Everton have a problem.

Martin Berry
56 Posted 25/12/2018 at 08:24:43
Yes we were beaten by a very talented team but it was not a 6-2 game.
In fairness we should have been 2-0 up but a perfectly good goal was disallowed. We then had Pickfords calamity plus a push out from him and a shot of post both going to Spurs for two their goals,on another day they could have gone to an Everton player.
Also they had a player in Son who can run any team ragged not to mention Erikson and Kane.
Where do we go ? well we need someone to give us a "dogs of war" midfield as we are being overun there and of course a striker, however DCL can score if he gets the service, and any new striker will need the same.Silva and Brands will sort it out and its still early days in their partnership.
Keep the faith and don't let it spoil your Christmas its just a game of football !
George Cumiskey
57 Posted 25/12/2018 at 11:38:42
Martin @ 56, my god – what match were you watching? Spurs should've scored a baker's dozen.

Talk about blind optimism.

John Boon
58 Posted 25/12/2018 at 22:41:23
Sorry, George (57), and although you may be right in many ways, I would much prefer to be a blind but hopeful optimist such as Martin (56). Being an Evertonian, you have to look for a glimmer of light, even in a dark tunnel.

While Spurs eventually ripped us to shreds and even had more possession before we scored, we did score a very good goal and, if Calvert-Lewin's goal had also counted, we would have had a different game. Plus Everton lost more than a goal with Pickford's calamitous mistake. They completely lost any sense of perspective and had the stuffing knocked out of them.

You could say that they needed to show more heart, effort and desire. While we lost confidence, Tottenham were given a totally unexpected boost.

I know I am struggling to find excuses for a very poor display but, as a 79-year-old fan, I have always tried to look on the bright side. For my own sanity, I just need to. Perhaps Martin feels the same. I am also sure that you are both loyal frustrated Blues.

John Wells
59 Posted 25/12/2018 at 23:56:40
Pickford needs to ‘cop the fuck on' — he's making terrible mistakes... mistakes the very top keepers don't make. He needs to sort this.
Dave Bowen
60 Posted 26/12/2018 at 00:07:13
Martin @#56.

Calvert-Lewin will score if given the right service? Er... no he won't. 2nd to every ball, powderpuff on the ground, he is admittedly good in the air, but is simply not enough for a team with Champions League aspirations.

Eric Paul
61 Posted 26/12/2018 at 00:37:21
Dave @60

Did you not notice Calvert-Lewin's work for his assist? Not to mention the outstanding header for the disallowed goal? And our goal against Man City? So I'm with Martin: give him the service and he will score.

Jim Harrison
62 Posted 26/12/2018 at 02:02:05
What more does DCL need to do? Best goals to game ratio at club I reckon so far, great assist for our goal. Very unlucky with the disallowed one which was an excellent header.

He isn’t setting the world alight, but he is scoring when he has the chances. Physically he is filling out. He bullied Sanchez the other day and was just note cute enough to get away with it.

He is probably in the top 5 young English strikers at present and is still very much in the development stage.
Is he the forward we need for right now? No. We need a proven, regular goal scorer. But he can play a big part now until we get that player and develop into a quality player over the next two seasons or so. It’s not his fault the club haven’t been able to secure a stand out, ready made striker.

Geoff Lambert
63 Posted 26/12/2018 at 02:06:59
Dave #60 with you all the way, Just not good enough.

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