Continuing set-piece failings undermine improved Everton display against City

By Lyndon Lloyd 07/02/2019 54comments  |  Jump to last
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Everton 0 - 2 Manchester City

While there may not have been a consensus on where Evertonians wanted the points to go tonight — bitter local rivalries make for uncomfortable dilemmas sometimes! — there’s no question that every Blue wanted to see some kind of reaction from their team after Saturday’s defeat to Wolves.

The result against title-chasing Manchester City may have been fairly predictable in that Pep Guardiola’s men duly ran out the victors and reclaimed top spot in the Premier League on goal difference from Liverpool but, led by skipper Tom Davies, a much-changed Everton side at least showed some glimmers of fight even if they didn’t find the net.

Indeed, Everton managed just one shot on target all evening and were effectively undone yet more calamitous defending at a set-piece but for a side that has barely been able to string three passes together at times in recent weeks, they produced some of their best football for a while even if there was precious little by way of end product.

The word via the media prior to the game that Marco Silva was going to lean more on his younger players over the remainder of the season added more weight to Farhad Moshiri’s conversation with Jim White on Monday evening attesting that the manager needs time to fashion a team from those youthful elements.

While some consideration was probably given to the fact that come Saturday evening the Blues will have played four games in 11 games, the decision to play soon-to-be-30 Theo Walcott wide on the right while Ademola Lookman was absent from the squad completely aside, that focus on youth was reflected in some of the alterations made to the starting XI. Jonjoe Kenny started at right back in place of Seamus Coleman, Dominic Calvert-Lewin was deployed up front in place of Cenk Tosun and Davies retained his place in the side while Gylfi Sigurdsson was named among the substitutes.

With Richarlison also on the bench, it meant that Everton started without their two top scorers and, given that fact and the caliber of the opposition, it wasn’t surprising that they got to half-time not having tested Ederson in the opposition goal at all.

The Blues were, on the whole, better, more organised and hard-working than they had been against Wolves and their energy and commitment, epitomised by Davies, Idrissa Gueye and Kenny, was in large part why City had also failed to put an effort on target either as the game ticked into first-half stoppage time.

Aymeric Laporte really should have put the visitors ahead with a quarter of an hour gone when Jordan Pickford ended up in no-man’s land trying to defend a corner but the Frenchman put his header wide at the back post and lkay Gündoğan struck the crossbar as David Silva got around the back to cut the ball across from the byline.

Laporte atoned for that miss seconds before the interval, however, after Idrissa Gueye committed a foul in a dangerous area and a stutter-step free-kick from David Silva that wrong-footed Kurt Zouma found the head of the unheeded City defender who guided a header back across goal and past Pickford to make it 1-0.

The yawning gap between Zouma and André Gomes who offered a token jump with his eyes closed rather than making any attempt to attack the ball offered more stark evidence of the lengthy work Silva and his coaching staff must do to eradicate these persistent failures at defending dead-ball situations because they are resulting in goals for the opposition on a weekly basis.

At the other end, Everton had fleetingly threatened to carve out a clear goal-scoring chance but only really came close when Walcott centred and Bernard’s header deflected behind off Kyle Walker

It was Gueye who would force the only save Ederson would have to make all evening with a speculative drive from 25 yards that was well struck but too close to keeper while Lucas Digne drilled a direct free-kick disappointingly into the defensive wall.

Meanwhile, Sergio Agüero went close to doubling City’s lead when Pickford flapped at a high ball in his six-yard box and the Argentine striker was only able to overhead kick it wide and Kenny denied Raheem Sterling a goal off the substitutes’ bench when he deflected the former Liverpool forward’s shot inches over the crossbar.

Silva introduced Sigurdsson in place of Gomes but in moving Davies back into a deeper role, the change blunted what edge Everton had had with the young midfielder enjoying a similarly effective performance as that which he put on at Huddersfield last week.

Richarlison and Tosun would later come on for Bernard and Walcott but apart from one moment where a better pass from the Brazilian would have put the Turk in with an excellent chance to score, the subs didn’t offer much and City were seeing the game out comfortably before they added a second goal, also in injury time at the end of the half.

Kenny’s clearance to the halfway line was sent back into Everton’s half by Nicolas Otamendi where Kevin de Bruyne held off his marker and played Gabriel Jesus into a one-on-one situation with Pickford that the England man appeared to have won when he blocked the Brazilian’s dink shot but Jesus was able to nod the loose ball under the crossbar to seal the points.

Nothing short of a surprise win over the reigning Champions was likely to move the needle on the debate surrounding Marco Silva and his faltering charges but for Blues looking for some evidence that the Portuguese will be able to turn this poor run of form since early December around, there were some sporadic but encouraging signs.

Yes, there is merit in raising the fact that Newcastle, a club enduring far more off-the-field ructions than Everton this season and under genuine threat of relegation, were able to beat City just eight days ago by scoring two goals where the Blues couldn’t muster one but piecing back together the shattered confidence at Goodison Park is going to take time.

It’s going to be almost impossible without fixing the defensive issues, however; Silva can foster more confidence on the ball in midfield, a more settled passing game and a more effective attack but if he isn’t able to eradicate the schoolboy defending at set plays, the pressure on his shoulders will remain.

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Reader Comments (54)

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Rob Marsh
1 Posted 07/02/2019 at 00:50:20
Marco, this zonal marking is lunacy.

Have a look at the videos of all the goals we've conceded from set plays, you'll see the tallest men of the opposition next to our shortest men and our tallest men marking empty space.

It doesn't work, stop it!

Alun Jones
2 Posted 07/02/2019 at 00:57:55
Great to see Tom Davies playing so well last night. A much improved combative performance from the Blues which we need to carry forward into the Watford game.

I was again disappointed with Theo last night... seems his speed of foot is a lot better than his speed of thought and I don't see him being the player we need in those key moments in any game.

I think Bernard was again ineffective, either falling over at key moments or just unable sometimes to deal with the physical aspects of the Premier League.

David Pearl
3 Posted 07/02/2019 at 02:19:07
Well Zouma isn't too short Rob. They are now tentative in those situations.
Remembering the days of Moyes when after a bad result they'd always bounce back. Largely because we had a talented squad that had good coaching. Now we don't know what we have.
The only togetherness shown is the finger pointing at Walcott when he is surrounded by nothing special. He has never been and never will be a winger. Bernard and Charlie continue to flatter to deceive as does Gomes, who like Walcott has misplaced his swagger.
So it's time to roll up our sleeves and fight till we start to score and pick up points again. Maybe then we can see the best of the players.
I'm pretty certain that if we don't pick up a fighting spirited win at goodison over the next few home games it will hi ho Silva feck off.
Jerome Shields
4 Posted 07/02/2019 at 02:29:42
The problem is that Silva has problems coaching Zonal marking.

A player is allocated a zone and must challenge any movement in that zone and the ball if it enters that zone. In most cases, in the Everton team, the player does neither.

It's like being told to stand in a doorway with the aim of not letting anyone through, but not being told to do so.

It repeatedly happens every time Everton play against set-pieces or similar type play. It has done since the start of the season.

James Hill
5 Posted 07/02/2019 at 07:00:13
Let's be realistic, we were lucky not to have conceded 3 by half-time. Yeah through luck we stayed in the game and Zouma really put it on the line.

In reality, we were completely outplayed but hung in there. Still piss-poor... Sílva is useless – get rid.

Noleen Daya
6 Posted 07/02/2019 at 07:32:52
From where I was sitting in my lounge, I at least saw some fight and movement instead of our usual inertia. We still have our problems, but we need the team to show some gumption and not just roll over and play dead! I think there was a glimmer of spiritedness last night. And yes, I'm not overjoyed with the loss but I'm married to a red ., so any chance to see him furrowing his brow and shaking in his boots is bliss!
Jim Bennings
7 Posted 07/02/2019 at 07:33:15
It hurts to have to accept that all we can get excited about is a performance after another home loss, the third home defeat of the year so far.

The sad thing about it City don’t look all that confident and you could possibly see why Newcastle beat them a week ago and a month earlier why Palace and Leicester turned them over, I don’t think they are vintage this season although I’m hoping they pick up to win the league, I’ve got doubts.

It’s the same old failings for Everton however.

Failure to do basic defending at set pieces (doesn’t look like we are ever going to learn now)

It’s also another game where our attack looked simply punchless and toothless.

Another game in which we fell behind in that we get nothing out of.

It’s difficult really to see many positives and it’s embarrassing really that we are given confidence because we worked a bit harder, that’s what Southampton have been doing on a weekly basis under the new gaffer!

The bare minimum EVERY WEEK should be that level of work ethic.

We all know at Watford it will be us failing to get out of first gear (ala St Mary’s and The Den all over again).

11 defeats already this season, 8 defeats since the start of December and just 4 wins from 15.

It’s nowhere near good enough and major questions and autopsies will need doing come May.

Harry Johnston
8 Posted 07/02/2019 at 08:55:19
I do believe that a lot of our set-piece problems come from lack of the goalkeeper not commanding his area. Pickford is a brilliant shot stopper (one of best around), but does struggle with crosses, particularly with opposing giants nearby. I feel it's an area he needs to develop to assist his defenders more.
Steve Ferns
9 Posted 07/02/2019 at 08:59:21
Harry, add in that our players are shite in the air.

Who's marking up in a man-to-man system? Zouma on their best, then Keane, then Calvert-Lewin (if he's playing), who else?

Is it any wonder we're getting murdered on set-pieces? We still would be on man-to-man, why can't people see that?

Watch City's goal and our best player (on the pitch) in the air has Laporte perfectly for man-to-man. He's just rooted to the floor. It's nothing to do with tactics or systems. Zouma made an error and we need better from him.

Dave Evans
10 Posted 07/02/2019 at 09:40:47
Err... on a positive, I thought the youngsters played well. For a 20-year-old the display of Davies was excellent. In my opinion, Calvert-Lewin, Kenny and certainly Davies are all future England prospects given a couple of years.

But will they still be Everton players or be slagged off down the road like those other one-time 'shite' young players, Stones and Barkley?

If some of the ball-scratching armchair nihilists on here get their way, probably.

Chris Gould
11 Posted 07/02/2019 at 09:44:32
Steve, I agree. Zouma panicked and ended up losing the flight of the ball. He fell for their dummy free-kick routine and then got a sly shove in the back from Laporte. The combination got him into a panic and he didn't recover.

Sometimes it isn't the coaching that is the problem, it's the players. It wasn't very long ago that Liverpool and Klopp were getting criticised weekly for their defensive frailties. Their centre-backs were getting crucified, both their goalies were ridiculed.

They went out and bought Van Dijk and Allison. Nobody criticises Klopp's defensive methods or coaching now. The only thing that changed were the players.

Rob Dolby
12 Posted 07/02/2019 at 10:12:18
Steve, I, like many others, would love to see us man-mark and leave a couple to attack space. Just try something other than what we are doing now. It's beyond pathetic.

As I said on another thread, Allardyce would have the exact same players defending set-pieces better.

Saying none of them are good at heading is too easy a cop-out.

Derek Taylor
13 Posted 07/02/2019 at 10:49:54
So Moshiri is happy with Silva and Silva sees many positive signs in last night's performance. The latest set-piece goal he puts down to 'individual' error which is a bit like saying we all die of heart failure. True but lazy diagnostics.

If 'the establishment' are really happy with what is gradually turning into a season from hell, then so be it. After all, gates are at their peak and Moshiri's fortune is by no means all spent. Let's do as we are told – stop moaning and accept that supporting Everton was always a test of patience and will so be for evermore.

Jimmy Hogan
14 Posted 07/02/2019 at 10:58:47
Good piece by Phil McNulty today on the BBC Football site. I think it sums up our frustrations. I can't see that we have any other option but to stick with what we've got. People forget that under Moyes, we finished 17th in 2004, so sometimes it has to get worse before it gets better.
Steve Ferns
15 Posted 07/02/2019 at 11:00:51
No he wouldn't Rob. Keane is crap in the air. He never wins a duel at corners. Zouma is decent but when he's up against the opponents best, decent is not good enough.

Beyond them too, we've got Calvert-Lewin who is usually sub. Then who? Richarlison who closes his eyes? Gomes who doesn't use his strength or size? Man marking or zonal, it makes no difference.

Tony Everan
16 Posted 07/02/2019 at 11:10:44
The problem for Marco now is that every team who is about to play us will be training and drilling for set-pieces. They will be playing for fouls around the box, hoping one of our players is suckered into a rash challenge.

They will be playing for corners too, they will know that a corner is a major chance of scoring against us. We have to have the mental toughness and system to tackle it. More now than ever, our weaknesses will now be targeted by all relentlessly every week.

Some big tests now coming up for Marco and the team. Midfield Weakness, inability to control a game for any length of time.

Playing Bernard and Walcott out wide is too expansive a set-up, it leaves us exposed and generally in a state of panic and crisis management. They both are struggling to create anything or have a shot on goal .

The midfield set-up must change. It must become more compact and combative, at the moment we are too easy to play against; we have an attacking line-up whilst offering virtually no threat. It is too easy to criticise Calvert-Lewin as he is getting almost no service of any quality. Aguero would suffer a similar fate.

Eddie Dunn
17 Posted 07/02/2019 at 11:12:36
Steve, Keane is not crap in the air, I've watched games where he gobbled-up everything. In that Burnley defence he was dominant in the air. It's laughable to say we are shite in the air.

It is down to individual errors and the system that they haven't quite got to grips with.

David Graves
18 Posted 07/02/2019 at 11:22:02
I've just posted on another thread it's not just the zonal marking it's how high the defensive line is. Last night was a perfect example. Zouma's first movement is backwards towards his own goal. It changes his body position and has him moving away from the ball. No wonder Laporte got the run on him. Schoolboy football I'm afraid.

Zouma and Keane can defend set pieces and it is ridiculous to even suggest that professional defenders can't head the ball. Keane was player of the year at Burnley wasn't he and do you honestly believe Dyche would have a center-half who can't head the ball? Absolute nonsense.

They're being undone by how they set up for set pieces. Look at Keane's response to the bench after Man City scored last night. It's a shambles alright but don't just blame the players.

Brian Harrison
19 Posted 07/02/2019 at 11:29:32
Well its a long time since those of us left at the end applauded an Everton team that had just lost 2-0. The youngsters were the best players for me last night Davies worked tirelessly as did Calvert-Lewin and Kenny did very well at full back.

But with such an ineffective front 3 we are going to struggle to win many games. Bernard although a nice neat player, you can't keep picking a player who hasn't scored a league goal all season. On the other flank we had Walcott who has scored 1 league goal since August. I would love to know how many shots on target Bernard and Walcott have had this season.

As I said Calvert-Lewin worked very hard but at this moment he should be coming on for 20 minute spells not be the main starting striker. that's not to say in year or two he may be the main man.

Again undone by a free kick, unless Silva sorts this problem it could end up his downfall. City have one of the smallest teams in the league, so if they can score a headed goal from free kicks we are in trouble.

But last night for me Fernandinho was a class apart from everyone on the pitch. He broke up most of our attacks before they got going and he was always in space to receive the ball from his back 4. The times he picked the ball up in midfield and moved forward with purpose was a joy to watch. I can see why they struggled when he was out the side.

He reminded me of Tony Kay, Peter Reid, Bremner and Souness, you very rarely see these type of players in the modern game. Yes, and just like the players I have named, he also used all the tricks in the book when defending, but his play for most of the game was imperious.

Steve Ferns
20 Posted 07/02/2019 at 11:48:50
Eddie, he can head the ball perfectly well. It's his complete lack of aggression. He has every skill he needs to be a decent centre-back (except pace) and yet his lack of aggression undermines everything. He needs to learn to pump himself up and get onto the pitch angry. There's a few others like that too.
Mark Murphy
21 Posted 07/02/2019 at 12:10:37
For me last night the two weak links were Pickford and Keane.

Look again at the chance Aguero narrowly missed after Pickford's lack of height meant he couldn't reach the ball whilst Keane just stood there watching it come down to Aguero.

Personally I think first on the shopping list should be a commanding keeper. Doesn't have to be the best in the country – just a lot more commanding than Pickford. Then the defence will gain confidence and perform much better.

Eddie Dunn
22 Posted 07/02/2019 at 12:24:08
Steve, fair enough, I have seen him put himself about but I take your point. Too often he is the one appealing for offside instead of getting to the second (or third ball).

Mind you, there was plenty of ball-watching in our box last night. What is wrong with Pickford, like a rabbit in the headlights? He needs to show more dominance of his area.

Rennie Smith
23 Posted 07/02/2019 at 12:33:19
Brian @19

Walcott 3 goals, 29 shots, 15 on target in 25 appearances

Bernard 0 goals, 12 shots, 0 on target in 22 appearances

Not exactly the stuff of legends is it?

Brian Williams
24 Posted 07/02/2019 at 12:39:33
Didn't Bernard score against Lincoln, or are those stats in the league only?
Rennie Smith
25 Posted 07/02/2019 at 12:42:29
League only.

I like Bernard, I think he's a good player with quite a bit of spirit, but the stats don't lie on his goal threat.

Walcott is the original manager's nightmare, you know he's got something in him to win a game single-handed, but it rarely shows up. So do you keep him on waiting for the flash of brilliance? Not for me.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

26 Posted 07/02/2019 at 12:51:46
Steve Ferns @ various.

"Our players (particularly Keane and Zouma) are crap/shite in the air?"

Don't be silly Steve. It sounds like blame shifting because the manager's desired zonal marking is not working smoothly.

There have been ample examples from this season alone when all our centre-backs have repelled all and every aerial bombardment.

You are on more solid ground if you want to say those same players are not tracking the ball, or reacting well to the opposition's movement with any incoming.

Keane, until very recent games, has been one of our best players of the season, a huge improvement on last season when it looked as if we had been sold a pup. We only discovered very recently a major contributing factor to that with his serious foot injury.

What he is not and never will be is a leader. He is a follower who needs to be led with a strong personality and vocal partner alongside him.

It is disappointing on one level he does not have that within himself, but that alone does not make him a bad player or, as you claim, someone lacking in the necessary aggression for his position in the Premier League.

He is also the most composed of our current centre-backs on the ball and the tidiest passer of them with many an accurate, perfectly weighted and inventive pass forward.

Brian Harrison
27 Posted 07/02/2019 at 12:54:50
Rennie,

Thanks for those stats, I just think it underlines our lack of firepower.

Fran Mitchell
28 Posted 07/02/2019 at 13:00:04
It doesn't matter whether it is zonal or man marking, the problem lies in coaching.

The problem is not that zonal marking can not work, of course it can, or it would have been discarded long ago along with the 2-3-5 formation of old. The problem is that the players are so badly coached, that they are failing in all departments.

Silva was apparently a great coach; well, this is nowhere to be seen...

Kevin Prytherch
29 Posted 07/02/2019 at 13:48:46
David 18. I posted something similar after the Millwall game.

We set up on free kicks with a high defensive line, then, just as the ball is being played, we all drop off and retreat back to the goal. Therefore we are running backwards, while the attacking players are running forwards or sideways, they will always have the run on our defenders. I don't get the point of this.

If we play a high defensive line, surely it's an offside measure; however, we then retreat before the ball is played and almost never catch anyone offside. Surely by lining up 3-4 yards further back, it would give the defenders the chance to actually attack the ball.

It shouldn't cause much of a difference in crowding the penalty area as we almost always retreat to that position anyway. We'd probably be in a better position to get to the second ball if we lost the first.

Kevin Harnan
30 Posted 07/02/2019 at 14:43:18
Basics:

1 goalkeeper
2 centre-halves
3 centre-midfield
4 centre-forward

We have none — there's our problem. Then fill in the rest... it's not rocket science (remember) who said that???
David Graves
31 Posted 07/02/2019 at 14:49:40
You're right, Kevin, it's basic stuff isn't it. Any set piece in the defensive third hold the line on the penalty spot!

The way we are set up makes it so easy for the opposition. Watch how many times the opposition play balls in from the left with right footers and vice versa and drop the ball in between our retreating defenders and Pickford. The best defenders in the world would struggle with that.

Gavin Johnson
32 Posted 07/02/2019 at 14:56:45
Marco Silva isn't going to abandon zonal marking, so while he's manager we need to get used to that.

I think we also need to accept that on the evidence Silva was bottom and 2nd bottom respectively with Hull and Watford he isn't able to implement this system in English football. We could have Van Dijk playing at centre-back and we'd still be shipping goals in at this rate.

Kieran Kinsella
33 Posted 07/02/2019 at 16:43:29
The Echo dusted off old Prenno and gave him an oil change so he was able to submit a coherent article today as opposed to the rubbish usually written by their schoolboy YTS writers.

He had some pretty damning statistics about zonal – not for Everton but for Marco Silva. Essentially, goals from zonal defending on set pieces have been his Achilles heel at Everton, Watford and Hull. The stats for Everton are worst of all. The inference being that everyone has cottoned onto his glaring weakness so the problem is getting worse and worse.

I realize many have defended zonal marking, including Kevin Ratcliffe who said Everton used it throughout the golden era. So I am not suggesting it is a rubbish system. But, perhaps Silva himself doesn't fully grasp it and understand how to implement it.

I don't buy the notion that our players are all just thick. Mina, Digne, Gomes, Bernard, Zouma are all continental and presumably versed in zonal marking from their pre-Everton days. Coleman, Baines, Keane, Davies do not seem like players who would willfully defy a coach but not implementing his plan. <{P>So I have to assume that the problem is not with the players or the system but it is with how the coach is "coaching" it.

Kieran Kinsella
34 Posted 07/02/2019 at 16:48:24
Steve Ferns,

Sorry, but I totally disagree. Keane's relative strength is in the air. He never had issues at Burnley both defensively and offensively with the aerial game. If we could sort out our organization he could be a long-term key man much as Jagielka was.

As for Gomes etc. Yeah not any good in the air. But Pep himself said after the game that his team are pretty crap in the air so it was unusual for them to get a headed goal. Nonetheless, they don't give up a goal a game from corners or set pieces.

John Pierce
35 Posted 07/02/2019 at 17:18:16
Shite in the air Steve? Now come on, a coach as whip-smart as our Marco will have surely figured that out?

Then instructed our aerially moribund rag tag tail outfit to mitigate their deficiencies

Perhaps get the right side of their player to stop stupid, cheap free kicks? Maybe even block and interfere with the players runs at corners and free kicks? Play a compact formation to get the opposition in front of you?

The list of tactical variations to limit the team's vulnerability are plentiful, l but Mr "tactically astute" Silva shows none of that awareness.
His tactically advanced brilliance exposes the team and they aren't up to it. He is setting them up to fail!

You've over-egged the pudding to the points the eggs are scrambled like our team. 😵😵😵

Jay Harris
36 Posted 07/02/2019 at 18:21:37
Totally agree with you, John. History doesn't lie and Marco has previous for this.

I also cant understand why we have such a high line because the CBs are then running towards their own goal instead of moving forward to counteract the incoming.

Added to that he puts all our big lumps on zonal and the diddymen like Bernard on man-marking their tall players.

Schoolboy tactician but at least he changed his 4-2-3-1 setup last night to better effect. Let's hope he doesn't revert to type against Watford.

Paul Burns
37 Posted 07/02/2019 at 18:37:42
Don't know the stats but is this season shaping up to be the worst home record in the history of Everton FC, another proud fact for Kenwright to hang on his belt of club record worsts?

And people on here can't see past team formations. Jesus!

Chris Leyland
38 Posted 07/02/2019 at 18:54:06
Paul Burns – our worst home record is in Martinez's last season when we got 23 points. We've got 21 points so far this season. Burnley home might just take us over the line!
Gavin Johnson
39 Posted 07/02/2019 at 18:54:34
I'm not having it that Michael Keane is weak in the air. It's one of his main strengths. I'd go as far to say that he is one of the better CB's in the league for this. When you take into consideration the rate Watford and Hull also conceded from set-pieces, you have to wonder whether Silva knows what zonal marking is.
Stan Schofield
40 Posted 07/02/2019 at 20:24:53
In my opinion, all our defenders are decent defenders. The problem is organisation, and team cohesion that depends on organisation. Without being organised well, the players have an uphill struggle, their confidence erodes, their anticipation goes, they don't want the ball, they don't know what to do with it when they get it, they increasingly make daft mistakes, and they look shite when in fact they're not shite.

We haven't been organised consistently for 5 years, apart from brief spells. We haven't got the best players in the league, but they are very good players and capable of achieving a lot better. We seemed to have some progression and organisation until after the derby, but at that point it just evaporated. We need to get it back and improve on it, pronto.

Alastair Donaldson
41 Posted 07/02/2019 at 21:45:25
I'd like to comment on the goalie... and goalies in general nowadays.

They mostly all stay rooted to their line, and don't even attempt to command their 6yds...why is that??

I thought that was one of the final undoings of Tim H, but it seems endemic.

Has it been coached out of all of them? It's not like their gloves aren't big enough or they don't get enough (too much) protection from the officials when there's any collisions. I just don't get it.

It really does root the defence far too deep on set plays and corners imho.

What does Big Nev say on the subject...? I would love them to let him coach Pickford for a week and see what effect that had.


Paul Birmingham
42 Posted 07/02/2019 at 22:22:09
It’s got to be start again and with the players we have, and we know, we have potential and misfits, but the season salvage starts on Saturday.

I’ve genuinely no hope in seeing the next win as we rarely make chances and so score very few and have no system or shape in defence nor going forward.

I don’t see how the current coaches are coaching this team as there’s no signs of improvement. The players broke sweat, some got stuck in, quite a lot didn’t and the usual KeyStone Kops defending and another game lost.

Everton made it hard for City to play, but in doing so , had no outlets for genuine creative play themselves.

Let’s hope they play like their jobs depend on it this Saturday.

It will be another test of mental strength and for the rest of the season.

Just been to see my brother in hospital at The Walton Centre, and the doctors and nurses busting their guts and hearts, to make the patients lives good. They pay for their own parking and no subsidised meals.

In context, of life for the people who slog their guts out at work, to support and watch Everton, this shower of players need to take a hard look at themselves and decide if they take playing for EFC seriously.

They don’t know what hard work, team play and spirit means. Let’s not dwell on the basic ethics required in any sport, and this season perhaps 5 games home and away, when they’ve had a good go.

We we lucky at home to Soton, Cardiff, Huddersfield, Lincoln, Burnley was a rare day, the rest of the games-we’ve never put a full 95 minute shift in, and that’s going back a few seasons now.

Lets hope by hook or crook we nick a result at Watford, but they will have done their homework.

Let’s hope we regain some pride and fight in the EFC cause.

Paul Swan
44 Posted 07/02/2019 at 23:02:59
Could not go to the game last night after the late change to the fixture meant I was in Germany but tried to follow the game on the BBC website and the so-called fans forum on this site.

I was not able to post any comments last night but I was absolutely pissed off with the forum with basically almost a solid 45 minutes of piss poor cat related smart-arsed comments and worse than that, apparent happiness from some of the posters that city won to overtake Liverpool.

Absolute fucking disgrace to take any delight from Everton getting beat. Hang your heads in shame the gobshites who were posting those comments.

Tom Bowers
45 Posted 07/02/2019 at 23:06:59
Watford will be just as tough to win at as most games this season simply because the offence is so inoffensive.

There is no real leader who can control the ball quickly and wait for support or lay it off to a teammate who is up there with him.

Calvert-Lewin nor Tosun have that quality and without the occasional score from Gylfi there is nothing coming from midfield goalwise.

Watford are strong and will keep coming at Everton for 90 minutes.

Unless the slightly improved performance against Man City was a sign of better things, then it's useless to feel optimistic.

Rob Halligan
46 Posted 07/02/2019 at 23:11:12
It seems everyone is discussing our feeble attempts at zonal marking. The press, BBC and even The Debate on Sky Sports. Is the message still not getting through to Silva that it's not working?

As Andy Townsend rightly points out, once the ball has cleared any defender, it's almost like that defender saying, "well that's my job done, it's down to someone else to try and clear the ball".

As I mentioned on another thread, when I played Saturday and Sunday football I played in goal, and I always instructed my team mates to mark big on big and little on little, and always goal side, really tight on the player they were marking so as to prevent any free run to attack the ball. If that attacker started moving around, in circles of whatever, then go with him, do anything to stop him getting to the ball before you. If the player your marking doesn't score, then you've done your job, but FFS don't pass him on to somebody else to deal with.

Surely Marco Silva and his coaching staff must see that it's not working, so why not change it? As pointed out on The Debate, is it a stubbornness by Silva, that no matter what, we are going to persevere with it?

Jerome Shields
47 Posted 07/02/2019 at 23:15:50
I think the defensive players Kenny, Keane, Zouma, Mina and Digne are good enough. It's poor coaching and organisation that is causing the problems in defence.

The other weakness is a static midfield that allows a high defensive line, which provides support to opposition attacking players. The high press is ineffective because of the inability of the forward to retain possession. These two weaknesses put more pressure on the Everton defence.

These are glaring weaknesses that have been in place since the start of the season and still have not been addressed on the training ground.

Silva's agenda seems to be to ignore (maybe he doesn't know) the weaknesses and try to now cover them up by giving youth a chance. He would say he is developing these players, but this will never paper over the glaring weaknesses he has failed to address.

Jay Harris
48 Posted 07/02/2019 at 00:03:07
Rob,

Totally agree. You could never accuse any of our mob of holding or blocking because they either get wiped out or are miles away.

Eddie Dunn
49 Posted 08/02/2019 at 00:21:18
Paul — the live forum was full of utter shit. Such rubbish about cats. Christ the cat was the previous game... I had to switch it all off.
Derek Thomas
50 Posted 08/02/2019 at 00:34:54
Eddie; Cat's obviously not got your tongue then. If you 'feeline it' google gallows humour.
Mike Gaynes
51 Posted 08/02/2019 at 00:37:30
Whatsamatter, Eddie, did that rub you the wrong way?
Derek Thomas
52 Posted 08/02/2019 at 00:58:17
Eddie; tongue*

Pat Kinsella x 2 correct. It's the coach. Further more I would hazard the Keane and Shane Duffy are similar, except we paid for one and let the other go.

Stones and Otamendi and great centre-halves in a flying Man City team but, if the players in front of them have a bad day, they will struggle, because defensively they are not that hot and would get slaughtered in our team.

Mike Gaynes
53 Posted 08/02/2019 at 05:14:55
Off-topic but fun: ESPN's nightly SportsCenter show always ends with the Top Ten plays of the day. More often than not, it includes the best goal from footy matches around the world. Tonight, for the first time I can remember, it featured a spectacular save.

In a Copa del Rey game, the keeper for Real Betis went full-length to preserve a 0-0 draw with Valladolid.

That bleached-blond keeper is one Joel Robles.

Andy Meighan
54 Posted 08/02/2019 at 08:12:48
Paul @44,

Well said. I've never wanted us to lose any game and anyone wanting us to lose the other night needs to take a look at themselves.

Paul Cherrington
55 Posted 08/02/2019 at 15:12:26
I took the time to look at myself and also took the time to think about how absolutely horrible it would be if Liverpool win the league and it was us beating Man City that was the difference.

We will finish in about the same place, regardless of the City result — the only glimmer of fun and excitement left in this dismal seasons was making sure that (hopefully) the other lot bottle it again

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