The wolves are at the door for Marco

By Paul Traill 03/02/2019 38comments  |  Jump to last
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Everton 1 - 3 Wolverhampton Wanderers

It feels like forever since we last had a 3pm Premier League game and it was good to have the full quota of us at the match for Everton vs Wolverhampton Wonders, all of us congregated in the pub in good time and all reasonably, maybe cautiously, optimistic of an Everton win. A place above us in the table but this was Wolves at home after all, and we are Everton. I guess that used to mean something once upon a time.

It was nice, at the time at least, to see that Leighton Baines had made the game and was to start at left back. Sadly, only seven minutes into the match his lack of fitness perhaps was our downfall when he managed to get himself into a bit of a tangle with Matt Doherty. Ruben Neves converted and Everton, after only seven minutes, had to do this the hard way.

There were no complaints from Leighton and he looked devastated afterwards. I was watching him closely and he looked as though he couldn’t get over it. This may have contributed towards him feeling his injury more perhaps and he was substituted on 37 minutes for Jonjoe Kenny. The question begs of course, if Leighton wasn’t fit, then why did he begin the game?

As has often characterised our first half performances, we couldn’t really get going and were hindered by frustrating gamesmanship from Wolverhampton Wanderers, and more crowd-irking decisions by another one of our favourites, Lee Mason… the pulling us back to re-take our quickly taken throw-in from more or less the exact same place my biggest annoyance in the first half.

Before André Gomes’s wonder goal, things could have gotten a lot worse when we were sliced open and Leander Dendoncker forced Jordan Pickford into a handy save, Gomes too doing well to win his tackle after that.

Things already felt rather desperate but Goodison Park roared to life when Gomes picked up the ball, wriggled past a few challenges and hit an unstoppable drive past his compatriot Rui Patricio. Game on… you hoped.

Alas not, as again, Everton conceded at the worst possible moment in injury time at the end of the first half. Go in level at the break and who knows how we might have done second half. Michael Keane needlessly fouled Jota, and I’ll bet most of the crowd nervelessly sensed what was to come as we lined up to defend the free kick.

Joao Moutinho, who had to have some involvement of course given how much he was courted by Everton under David Moyes, placed a perfect ball into the box which Raul Jiminez headed masterfully into the corner giving Pickford no chance. Great ball and great header it was, it was all far too easy, and Everton seem to have learnt nothing from the Millwall debacle only a week ago. We went in behind when we really should have been level.

The second half was horribly frustrating to watch as Everton couldn’t muster a response. Wolverhampton even lost their best player on 49 minutes but we failed to capitalise. When Seamus Coleman gave the ball away you sensed straight away that Wolves would pounce, and it was a surprise to nobody and annoyance to everybody when Leander Dendoncker eventually found the net.

There was still plenty of time left, even more so once the cat made its way onto the field (that being the highlight of the game), but Wolves had us sussed and though a lot of huff and puff, we couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net. Tom Davies came close amidst a bit of a scramble, Gylfi Sigurdsson had an opportunity but failed to connect and Dominic Calvert-Lewin should have scored with a great headed opportunity but Rui Patricio saved comfortably, and Richarlison I felt should have had a penalty very late in the game when he was palmed off neck height by a Wolves defender, but let’s be fair, for all Richarlison’s antics on the pitch, I probably wouldn’t give him much as a referee. He really needs to wind it in.

And that was that. Many had long since dispersed prior to the full time whistle. We stayed until the bitter end before trudging back. The good thing with so many leaving early was that at least the journey home was a lot quicker.

U

nder David Moyes, Ronald Koeman and even Sam Allerdyce these games were our bread and butter, games we would generally, comfortably win. I overlook Roberto Martinez from that list as come the end of his tenure our home form was unbearably poor. Now it’s so hard to figure out which Everton will turn up as this turgid season meanders from disappointment to disappointment, with the odd win thrown in from time to time.

It really is a wretched time watching Everton. What we have to do to score a goal, compared to what opponents have to do to score against us is laughable. All three of their goals were very preventable, while ours was unstoppable. We give things up far too easily and need to find a way to defend better ASAP.

Many around where I sit have turned on Marco Silva and want him out. I’m not in that camp. The reality is we can’t afford to. I mean, yes we can financially afford to sack and replace HIM, but then the next manager needs funding and we have far too much deadwood in our squad. We need to clear out who he doesn’t need and allow him to grow his team. Stability is the key. The blame is more with the players than the manager for me right now. Only a few of them take responsibility. They aren’t playing with enough courage. Play with fear and much more often than not you won’t get the result.

Onto Manchester City then and the jury is very much out amongst supporters what result they would prefer. Some want Manchester City to win to give them a helping hand with their title challenge, others can’t bring themselves to go against their beloved Everton. Myself, I couldn’t give a monkeys what the result is, I just want a performance. I want us to be proud of our team’s effort on Wednesday and for them to have earned applause as they leave the field. Another sorry display against Manchester City would leave us in a terrible state going to smug Watford next weekend - they’ll be up for it to get one over on Marco and Richarlison. And with the Merseyside derby looming, the knives really could soon be out for Marco.

Player ratings

Pickford: Couldn’t be faulted for the goals I don’t think and didn’t do much else wrong, a few bits of stray distribution aside. 7

Baines: What a sorry sight that was. I really hope that isn’t our lasting memory of Leighton Baines given how key he has been to us over the years. He should never have started the game. 2

Zouma: Did OK in defence I thought. As the game moved towards it’s final stages he was at least trying to take responsibility, albeit with bad decision making. 6

Keane: Made some good challenges and interceptions first half but lost his way after their second goal I thought. 5

Coleman: Bad mistake for their third goal but he kept on going before being substituted. I don’t think right back is the problem position many make it to be. We could do a lot worse than Seamus and Jonjo. A striker is the biggest priority surely. 5

Gomes: One of the bright lights in a poor team effort. Following his goal, Andre finally seemed to get his swagger back. If he can keep that it could be vital for the remainder of the season. Great goal also. My man of the match. 7

Davies: Had a solid enough game and at least took responsibility. A shade unlucky not to score also. A good effort. 6

Sigurdsson: A really poor display from Gylfi. It wasn’t for lack of effort, but nothing went for our Icelander. 4

Richarlison: While Gylfi was poor, at least he was trying. That was pathetic from Richarlison. A really lame effort and my patience with him has worn thin. Yes he is capable of excellence, but I’m seeing this petulance far too often now and he really needs to focus on what he can do rather than trying to make sure everyone has seen that someone has given him a little kick. He needs to man up. 3

Walcott: It seems popular to dislike Theo but at least he tries. At least he gets back and defends. He was at least getting past his man a few times and getting balls into the box. Offered far more than Richarlison. 6

Tosun: A good effort from Cenk who was desperately starved of service throughout. 6

Kenny (for Baines): Did OK. Was positive and kept on going. 6

Lookman (for Walcott): He tried but it became increasingly difficult for him as the game wore on, especially once Wolves had their two goal cushion. 6

Calvert-Lewin (for Coleman): Credit to Marco for being brave enough to try something a bit different with a makeshift back three… almost a back one at times, as he stretched Kenny to right wing back and Zouma to the left. It could easily have backfired and Wolves could have broke in for a fourth so at least he tried something else, and it should have worked for one goal at least as Dominic should have scored his headed opportunity. Otherwise, Dominic did OK and worked hard. 7

Two upfront anyone? Our play is so sluggish I wonder if a more direct approach might bring a bit more out of our strikers at least??


Reader Comments (38)

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Jim Bennings
1 Posted 03/02/2019 at 18:22:01
Collectively, Everton are just a nothing team these days.

I can't even be arsed rating the players because for me we big up players too much too early, when you watch Wolves players spraying passes, running forward (not sideways) and passing and moving, oh and even defending set pieces, then you realise just what a bunch of jokers we have had wearing the blue shirt over the last 18 months.

For me we lack energy all over the park, our midfield has to be one of the most static I've ever seen, players just hook the ball on without any idea of where it's going.

Why do we bother playing with wingers when we don't get them running in behind?

Walcott has deteriorated badly and the man behind him Seamus Coleman has sadly just faded into a sorry shadow of his old self.

Lookman comes on and basically just plays like a younger version of Bolasie, beating himself with step-overs.

Baines should never have been selected as it was clear he was nowhere near right.

Keane and Zouma are a joke for big bustling defenders, bullied easily every week. (God help them when they play Troy Deeney next Saturday!)

Strikers, what strikers?

Collectively we are just nothing.

We never won anything under Moyes but at least we had some identity back then.

Where are the players like Pienaar, Cahill, Fellaini, Arteta?

Where are the leaders like Carsley or Alan Stubbs?

Where's the physical powerhouse like a Sylvain Distin?

Jesus, we had an identity back then, we were hard to play against, as fans we could at least see what they were trying to achieve.

Andy Crooks
2 Posted 03/02/2019 at 18:28:19
Paul, I respect your view. Do you think Silva should be sacked?
Paul Birmingham
3 Posted 03/02/2019 at 18:28:35
Paul, thanks for your well-balanced perspective.

If ever there's a time true grit, character and stomach for the battle, then it's this week starting with Man City.

Based on the past two months I'm more or less certain that this squad has nothing in the tank, and are playing with fear and zero confidence.

A performance and a full 95-minute shift from Everton would be great but, if we are all honest, the days of Everton putting in full shifts consistently are in history.

Time for this squad to stand up and be counted, rather than timidly fail, without trying, and bring more angst and despair to Goodison Park.

Gordon Crawford
4 Posted 03/02/2019 at 18:41:47
Jim I have to agree with you mate, spot on.
Ajay Gopal
5 Posted 03/02/2019 at 18:42:58
Coleman, Richarlison and Sigurdsson need to be rested. The youngsters need to be given a chance. I would play :

Pickford
Kenny Keane Zouma Digne
Davies Gueye Gomes Bernard
Calvert-Lewin Tosun

4-4-2 will hopefully bring some solidity and at least make Man City work for their win.

Paul Traill
6 Posted 03/02/2019 at 18:55:56
I didn't mean to give Calvert-Lewin a 7 by the way. Probably should have been a 6.

Andy #2 - no. We won't get anywhere if we keep sacking managers and don't give them any time.

John Raftery
7 Posted 03/02/2019 at 18:57:33
This performance, like so many of late, spoke of a deep, collective malaise at the heart of our team. In the circumstances, there is little point in criticising individuals for their shortcomings.

Collectively, our players continue to look ponderous at the back, pedestrian with their build-up play, weak with their midfield tackles, guilty of committing silly fouls and no more capable of dealing with set-pieces than they were six months ago.

I agree, our best performer on a desperately disappointing afternoon was Gomes who scored an excellent goal and tried to keep our play flowing.

Bill Griffiths
8 Posted 03/02/2019 at 19:17:05
I'm glad somebody else thought Gomes was our MotM. I've seen a lot of posts saying he was rubbish again but I thought that he, along with Kenny, were our best players by a mile.
Mike Doyle
9 Posted 03/02/2019 at 19:17:33
I know his injury & lack of match practice didn't help, but I wonder if that sad 30 mins will prove to be the final act of Bainesy's Everton career. At his peak he was an excellent footballer – and always gives 100%.

ps: I agree with others who had Gomes and Kenny as our best performers... if only for their (generally accurate) forward passing.

Brian Harrison
10 Posted 03/02/2019 at 19:42:16
I thought Gomes was back to his best and Davies and Kenny weren't far behind. Every time Davies got the ball, he always looked for a forward option, and Kenny did very well having to play at left back not his normal position.

What I would like is to let our fullbacks sit and let the midfield players play a further 10 yards further forward. At present, we send both full-backs up to the half -way line so, if Keane or Zouma misplace a pass or lose possession, the opposition are deep in our half with a free run on goal.

Let's also mix up our goal kicks – some long, some short – but don't telegraph what you are going to do with both centre-backs on either side of the box. Surely if our full-backs took up these positions even if the lost possession or misplaced a pass they would have both centre-backs there to help?

But our front 3 are really pretty average, whether its Tosun, Calvert-Lewin, Walcott, Bernard or Lookman. And, despite his goals, Richarlison's general play over the last 6 weeks has been no better than our other attackers.

I also think Sigurdsson is a good footballer with goals in him but, in this system we play, we really struggle to get him on the ball enough. Now either change the system to a 4-3-3 and leave Sigurdsson on the bench, or find another way of getting him on the ball more.

Gordon White
11 Posted 03/02/2019 at 19:49:10
I agree with Jim.

It's not the time to be sacking Silva. A significant number of these players are simply not good enough, or are no longer good enough for a team with Champions League aspirations.

Coleman.
Baines
Davies
Tosun
Calvert-Lewin
Keane – jury is still out
Lookman – jury is still out

It must be frustrating if you're half-good to be in a team like that.

And there are more on the subs bench or on loan that need to find a future elsewhere. Or move over to a support role.

Gordon White
12 Posted 03/02/2019 at 19:52:43
Gomes was my MotM.

It must be difficult when you're virtually surrounded by mediocrity.

John Malone
13 Posted 03/02/2019 at 20:12:10
Brian 10, great point about the full-backs, it's something I've noticed since Silva arrived which I'm guessing is meant to be a strength, giving us more of an attacking threat but without decent hold-up and link-up play from the forwards, it becomes a weakness leaving your centre-halves exposed.

I felt much better and thought we looked a lot more solid away at Huddersfield when Baines started and was playing and using the ball rather than just bolting up the wing.

Digne has done well but I think Silva's tactics are the problem: he is trying to play an attacking style with the players who aren't good enough to do it.

Mike Oates
14 Posted 03/02/2019 at 20:40:05
There are so many problems at the moment, it's difficult to assess what is the main cause. Is it just a total lack of confidence, lack of responsibility on the pitch, lack of any sign of leadership, lack of tactics, lack of pace and movement?

Our 3 upfront get shocking service, the ball takes an eternity to reach them, and when it does they are outnumbered, with no space to move into. When do Walcott, Richarlison, and Lookman ever have just a full back to beat or 20 yards of space around them – never!

The main area of concern for me is our non-existent defending. The ability to score goals is obviously crucial, but that doesn't happen every game, and top teams don't give goals away. We give goals away repeatedly, either from set pieces – 16 this season – or giving the ball away in areas which lead the opposition to develop a goal scoring opportunity, Leicester, Wolves, West Ham etc etc. It's clear Silva has a real problem in setting up the defences of the 3 English teams he's managed, Hull, Watford and now Everton all had/have atrocious defensive records.

Forget zonal or man-to-man or whatever else is around, our players are too static in our own box, there is no blocking, no picking up runners, no communication between players. Pickford stays glued to his line, he's either told to stay there or does it as he doesn't fancy getting clobbered.

Until Silva and whoever else is his defensive coach sorts out the shambles at the back, we will be sliding down and down and down and it wouldn't surprise me if we finished in the bottom 6 this season.

Goodison is no longer a fortress, no longer a den of sound, it's becoming our own graveyard – why? Because Silva is desperate to entertain the crowd and, with the current set of players, he can't deliver, and the defence can't cope with the pressure placed upon them.

A few 0-0s might go a long way in restoring some confidence everywhere.

Andy Meighan
15 Posted 03/02/2019 at 20:56:24
Brilliant that, Paul, and I've got to say, your best report yet.

I missed it yesterday as I was away for the weekend. That, coupled with just losing my dad only last Monday, so you can just imagine how I'm feeling. But he was 86... still loved his football. He rang me every Monday morning and normally his first words were "Awful, weren't they, lad?" and by God have I heard them same words the last few years...

Anyway, although I missed it, going by who I've spoken to, brothers and mates etc, they all seem in agreement with your ratings of the players. It's an awful time to be a Blue.

Regardless of how we want them to do on Wednesday, I personally want Everton to win every game. It won't make an iota of difference; they'll win with room to spare because we just cannot defend. I just hope it's not an embarrassment!

Dave Evans
16 Posted 03/02/2019 at 21:20:17
Brian @ 10, I agree.

Gomes was our best player.

Given he is a 20-year-old, Davies deserves a lot of credit for always looking to pass or move forward with the ball. More experienced players in our team pass the buck, so it is they that are less likely to make a mistake.

Brian Hennessy
17 Posted 03/02/2019 at 21:50:02
Very sorry to hear about your dad, Andy, may he rest in peace.
Bob Parrington
18 Posted 03/02/2019 at 21:55:01
Paul, Great report. Thanks. You're right about Richarlison. I point to him being lazy as the cross came in. He just let Jiminez have a free header. Jiminez was the player immediately in his sights but he just couldn't be bothered to go with him. Even if he did just enough to distract Jiminez it might have been enough.
Andy Meighan
19 Posted 03/02/2019 at 22:04:49
Thank you, Brian. That means so much; really appreciate that.
Bob Parrington
20 Posted 03/02/2019 at 22:15:47
Jimenez was the player (sorry, my clumsy fingers!!)
Bill Watson
21 Posted 03/02/2019 at 22:38:33
I agree Gomes was our best player followed by Kenny and Davies, despite a few errant passes in the second half.

We have some half-decent players in that team but they are playing as if they have no confidence, either in themselves or the way they are being asked to play.

We are now into the third month of appalling form, not forgetting some earlier lamentable home performances against Huddersfield and West Ham.

Nothing is learned and the same errors are repeated game after game. The same desperate substitutions are made trying to retrieve lost causes but the following game is set up exactly the same.

Silva has had time to, at least, give some clue he has the answers but he's lamentably failed to do so.

I think the only question, on Wednesday, is how many City will score. They have a great opportunity to improve their goal difference!

Hopefully, he'll be gone by Thursday.

Gordon Crawford
22 Posted 03/02/2019 at 00:49:28
Andy, sorry to hear about your dad. I hope you find peace and comfort at this time and for the days to come.
Don Alexander
23 Posted 04/02/2019 at 01:02:28
Best wishes Andy. Stay strong.
Jay Harris
24 Posted 04/02/2019 at 04:59:30
Condolences Andy,

I know how you feel. I lost my dad last July and although he had a great innings (he was almost 92) I still miss him telling me about Dixie Dean and Tommy Lawton and his all time favourite TG Jones.

If only we could have someone of their calibre and character now.

John Boon
25 Posted 04/02/2019 at 05:16:13
A really accurate report. I thought Gomes had a good game with a superb goal and lots of excellent moves. However he, along with most of the team, was also guilty of errant passes. As a team we really don't seem capable of passing a simple ball to our own players.

Like all supporters I was more than disappointed at such a lack lustre display. I still think we have decent players if they play up to their potential. I also think we are playing scared and a complete lack of confidence seems to be very obvious. Nobody seems to want the ball which is always a sign of a team that is unsure of any sort of plan even before the game starts.

As regards Wednesday I really fear for the worst, particularly after watching Man City today. And as much as I would hate to help the RS by losing I still always want Everton to win. I ALWAYS want us to win.

I don't like to see criticism of Moshiri, only because he has given us plenty of financial backing. I also don't expect him to be a football genius. I just don't know who is guiding him to appoint such a load of rubbish as managers. I honestly think most Evertonians could have signed far better players than the three stooges, Koeman, Allardyce and now Silva. All three have provided us with a disastrous brand of football. It is a long time since we have played so badly at home, week after week.

Bob Parrington
26 Posted 04/02/2019 at 05:18:35
Sorry I missed your post about your dad, Andy. My condolences, too!

My own dad passed away back in 1974, when I was 26. He lived then in Adelaide and I was in Blyth near Newcastle when I got the news.

I'm sure you will have fond memories of your dad as you go through your own life. Chin up!

Jamie Crowley
27 Posted 04/02/2019 at 05:34:14
Andy -

My best. Thoughts and prayers from an ocean away.

Brian Porter
28 Posted 04/02/2019 at 06:14:40
Andy #15, condolences on the loss of your Dad. Some things do take precedence over football.

Lost my Dad 42 years ago but he's never too far from my thoughts.

As for the game, I don't want to reiterate what most other posters have said. I think Silva was always a high-risk appointment and has proved he doesn't have the credentials or the necessary managerial skills for Everton, but whether we sack him or keep him, someone has to get through to him that his job is seriously at risk if he is unprepared to mix things up.

Try different tactics, formations. Anything to make us less predictable, and for heavens sake sort out the defence. If we get nothing from the next five home games, I can see him being handed his P45 at the end of the season.

Paul Traill
29 Posted 04/02/2019 at 07:51:51
Andy #15 - that's sad news, sorry to hear that. Let's hope Everton can give you something to smile about soon. Best wishes and thanks for nice comments.
Eddie Dunn
30 Posted 04/02/2019 at 08:49:09
Andy, may I add my condolences to those above. My old man is still about at nearly 88 but when they get to that age you always fear bad news. Best wishes, pal.
Dave Bowen
31 Posted 04/02/2019 at 08:56:35
Interesting stat on MotD: Silva's 3 teams in the Premier League have all had the most goals conceded from set-pieces in each of the last 3 seasons. It would appear he doesn't learn and stubbornly sticks by his version of the zonal marking system.
Tony Everan
32 Posted 04/02/2019 at 10:41:52
Dave, That's the problem, isn't it. Marco sees is as a weakness to change his footballing philosophy.

Most would see it as a strength if he could learn from past (and current) mistakes.

Danny Broderick
33 Posted 04/02/2019 at 11:18:12
Shoring up the full-back and centre-mid positions would be a start on Wednesday night. We need to get back to playing solid football.

Let's face it, us trying to play this expansive way isn't working. 4-5-1 would be a start, and let's have a good go at Man City at least.

Nicholas Ryan
34 Posted 04/02/2019 at 11:57:22
Losing matches is not necessarily bad, in itself. If you come out of the game, thinking: "Well, we lost, but things are improving" or "We lost, but we dominated the game", then it's not so bad.

But we are losing matches and it seems to be getting worse every week. That's the problem!

Michael Lynch
35 Posted 04/02/2019 at 12:13:08
Whatever else happens between now and August, Keane has to be sold. While some of our other under-performers are clearly capable of better, Keane is sadly beyond repair. He simply cannot turn, and I really don't think he is capable of acquiring that most basic of skills now.

Yet again, he was done by a player nipping past him and, so aware of his own lack of ability is Keane, that he pulled the attacker back even though Zouma was covering. Hence, the free-kick and inevitable free header for the second Wolves goal.

He's not a bad defender otherwise, but that one flaw makes him Championship level at very best. Shame.

Clive Rogers
36 Posted 04/02/2019 at 12:34:47
Paul, I agree with most of your assessments, but strongly disagree with some.

Walcott, awful. Runs into trouble, not one decent ball into the box, miscontrols the ball, was hooked straight after half-time. He won't be playing Wednesday.

Lookman, just not trying as he didn't against Millwall. Strolled about at half pace. Gave the third goal away (not Coleman) as he was asleep. When Seamus told him, he argued back, “Who me?” Bad attitude, doesn't want to be here, get rid.

Calvert Lewin. Good athlete, will never make a footballer. Poor technique, struggles to control the ball. His assets are pace and height, but that's it. Never be first choice.

Sigurdsson, past his best, bought too late, slow, can see why Spurs got rid. An average player at best. Never gets a tackle in. Used to be a dead ball specialist but poor now, can't get them over the wall. Needs replacing for next season.

Don't get me started on Silva. His goal-kick tactics are a joke. The wrong man for us.

Matthew Williams
37 Posted 04/02/2019 at 14:26:12
The difference in post-match press conferences speaks volumes to me, with Silva on MotD, it sounds drab and monotonous, whereas with Wilder on Quest it sounds clear, concise and to the point, with good humour too.

We have the wrong man to inspire our squad. If Silva goes in the Summer, Brands will no doubt bring in his old mate Cocu, as Steve Ferns suggests, whereas Moshiri will probably want Rodgers, as a "Man that wins trophies"... sigh.

We need to rip it up and start again, sort this club from top to bottom.. real soon.

Andy Meighan
38 Posted 04/02/2019 at 14:27:36
Thank you so much, lads, for all your kind words and thoughts.

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