Watford 1 - 0 Everton
I met Stuart at the bus stop and arrived at Lime Street for the 8:34am train to Watford Junction, via Birmingham New Street. Stuart bumped into a gaggle of Evertonians who he knew and we all got the train together. A good laugh it was on the rattler. A lot of banter which helped the journey go quickly and before we knew it we had arrived at Watford Junction.
A friend, Dan, who’s a Watford fan, met us at the station and took us to a decent pub called Molloy’s, where we watched the Fulham vs Manchester United match with some food. Dan was quick to clear something up with us, about a so-called Watford supporter's rivalry with Everton. I frankly find an Everton/Watford rivalry absurd, and there is apparently no such thing; their issue is with Marco Silva, not Everton. “All invented by the media” said Dan. I think you’ll also find many Evertonians' issue is also with Marco Silva but more on that later.
A few other Southern-based Blues joined up with us and there was quite a crowd of us making our way to Vicarage Road at about 2:30pm. We’d had the team news by then and Cenk Tosun led the line this time with Gylfi Sigurdsson deployed out on the left. It felt like Marco was trying to accommodate Gylfi when I’d have prefered to have seen Ademola Lookman given a go. That said, Gylfi and Richarlison are the only ones in the team who score any goals so I can see why they were both wanted in the team.
It was nice to hear Z-Cars ring out pre-kick off and we attacked the opposite end in the dire first half. So little happened on the pitch that I spend most of the half having a good old chat with Ian who was stood next to me, while keeping an eye on proceedings. Watford had the best chance of the half when Etienne Capoue was thwarted from close range by Jordan Pickford. Though I haven’t seen it since (I seldom put myself through the misery of watching Match of the Day these days) we felt Capoue may have been offside but, nevertheless, it was an excellent save from Jordan.
Otherwise, I’d say we probably had more of the play. Cenk Tosun forced Ben Foster into action and Kurt Zouma had an effort at goal but that was about all. There was one moment when Gylfi Sigurdsson put a ball into the box but Cenk Tosun criminally didn’t attack the space and it came to nothing. At the break we went off goalless which was all the turgid game deserved.
Into the second half and the game followed a similar pattern. Watford did have us pinned back for a little while with a succession of corner kicks but just when it looked as though we had withstood it, Will Hughes was set free down our left and his inviting ball was put into the net by half time substitute Andre Grey. I didn’t know why at the time but, refreshingly unusually for Everton, four of our players were incensed with Lee Probert and remonstrated with him for some time.
As it turns out, and I haven’t seen it since, the original corner kick should not have been such, as Jordan Pickford didn’t touch the ball so it should have been our goal kick. When you’re in a struggle, these things work against you I suppose. Credit Javi Gracia for making a positive change at the break and putting Andre Grey on I suppose. Watford with the goal which proved to be enough to win the game.
That said, and I guess The Hornets were swarming all over us once they had an advantage, but I’m not having it that they were better than us. We didn’t play well. Actually we were very poor but so too were they. We definitely should have got a point out of the game. Things don’t quite run for you when you’re struggling, and I’d say Gylfi Sigurdsson deserved better with some outstanding improvisation which saw his dinked effort clip the top of the crossbar and bounce away. Somehow it didn’t clip the bar twice and bounce back into play to our waiting striker.
Lucas Digne also pinged the top of the crossbar with an exceptional effort which also might have deserved better. Cenk Tosun hit wide when he should have done better, and substitute Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s header was wayward when he really should have scored. He also missed another presentable chance later in the game; as too did Cenk. He didn’t know he was offside but he really should be putting that into the net. He seemed pretty upset about that miss at full time.
And therein lies our problem - we just can’t score goals. If you’re strikers miss chances as good as those ones, and you don’t quite get the rub with your more high quality efforts, I don’t really know what Marco is supposed to. Couple that with a bad decision at the other end and he and the players must feel a bit like the world is against him. Have negative vibes and negative things will happen. They need to get that feeling out of their system somehow. That doesn’t defend our playing style or Marco’s tactics but, at the end of the day, if you pass up chances as easy as them it’s difficult to get something out of any game.
I’ve only just found out that Kurt Zouma was sent off after the game also. Obviously I’ve no idea what he said to Lee Probert, but is the referee really going to make that same decision if it’s Vincent Kompany, or Virgil van Dijk, or David Luiz et al? Of course he isn’t. There would be uproar. I don’t know about the fitness of Yerry Mina and Phil Jagielka, but with a 17-day spell between now and our next game away at Cardiff City, you’d assume at least one of them can get themselves fit in time.
These 17 days are a really key moment. It gives us a lot of time to work on our next two games against Cardiff City and Liverpool. I’m not normally a fan of their little getaways to Dubai or Qatar around this time of year when we’re out of the cups, but maybe a change of scene for a few days might do the players morale some good at least as they seem so flat. Maybe even get a friendly against ATV Irdning to bang 22 goals in again.
We have to be targeting 6 points from these next two games. We just have to. Back-to-back wins, including a long overdue Merseyside derby victory, would make us feel a lot better about ourselves. I don’t think I’m being too dramatic when I say this is a critical time for Marco. He’s losing support with the fans rapidly and we’ve already seen how trigger happy Fahred Moshiri is. I personally don’t see the value in sacking him now. I just don’t want more players coming and going and don’t want the next guy lumbered with more players he didn’t sign and doesn’t want. While things are awful now, I’d like Marco to be given the opportunity of the summer to get it right.
That viewpoint may change should we crash and burn in these next two games of course. Our form may make his position untenable. Players, Marco and his staff – it’s time to stand up and be counted. More so now than ever before.
Pickford: I haven’t seen the goal since but I thought he had a solid game. His popularity seems a bit divided amongst supporters but I think we’ve got much bigger problems on the pitch myself. 7
Digne: Maybe he was sliced open a bit too easily for the goal but I thought he had a solid enough game otherwise and was unlucky not to score. 6
Zouma: Had a good commanding game. I’ve no doubt he will be missed at Cardiff City. 7
Keane: Did okay. 6
Kenny: Coped with Gerard Deulofeu pretty well but maybe didn’t get forward quite enough. 6
Gueye: My man of the match. Made countless tackles and his passing contribution was above par. Kept going until the end. 7
Davies: Worked hard. Not everything worked out for him but he kept on plugging away. He’s a better option than the others at the moment I think. 6
Gomes: Did nothing. 3
Richarlison: I can’t be doing with him. I’m sick of this wimpish attitude. He needs to man up. I wouldn’t have started him in the game as he doesn’t strike me as someone who can override the boos and jeers and he doesn’t respond well to be being kicked. He was always going to get that treatment today. 2
Sigurdsson: He worked hard and was very unlucky not to score but I don’t see his value out on the left. He probably would have done okay playing central instead of Gomes. 6
Tosun: Not enough movement for me and you never felt he was going to score. 4
Walcott (for Gomes): Did OK down the right. I’d have started him over Richarlison for sure. 6
Bernard (for Richarlison): Didn’t impact the game. 5
Calvert-Lewin (for Sigurdsson): I like Dominic, he seems a good lad and he works hard. Managers must see something in him because Ronald Koeman, Sam Allardyce and Marco Silva have all utilised him. However, at some point a player has to move on from ”promising” to “established”. I don’t like to criticise a 21-year-old but he really has to lose this habit of missing great headed opportunities. There were two against Watford, one against Wolverhampton Wanderers, one against Apoel Limassol and that’s just off the top of my head, I’m sure there are more if I think long and hard enough. There was also that sitter in the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park last season which he skyed into the Gwladys Street. Dominic has now played 99 league games. Everton are desperately missing a striker. There is an opportunity there and unfortunately he isn’t taking it. If and when we finally get a striker in there may still be room for Dominic as back-up, but unless he goes on an unlikely scoring spree, surely that will be all we can offer Dominic. The opportunity is still there, Dominic. Grasp it! 3
Reader Comments (38)
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1 Posted 10/02/2019 at 15:35:29
Following in the pattern of other shit shows at Southampton, Brighton, Leicester at home in which we just looked abject.
I still can't believe the striker issues are remaining a problem since flogging Lukaku nearly 2 years ago now.
Tosun will never ever be enough of a threat and the amount of sitters the guy misses is unreal, earlier in the season fans were going on about a lack of service but he's had many chances and not taken enough of them over the course of the season, defenders must love playing against him.
Calvert-Lewin is 22 next month and after 99 appearances is anyone convinced that he's an out-and-out striker?
I'm not convinced and it wouldn't shock me if over the next 18 months or so his position was altered to a winger/wide player, he just doesn't possess the strikers instinct.
Defensively we still have too many players that simply switch off after the first action thinking the job is done only to fail to react to the second motion which yesterday resulted in the goal.
That's the big problem with too many of our players though.
Too many are reactive rather than proactive.
2 Posted 10/02/2019 at 15:36:56
Regarding your suggestion about a break for them in this 17-day period I couldn't agree more.
I would recommend a two-centre holiday: A week in the Brecon Beacons training with the SAS and a week on Ainsdale beach. All paid by themselves, of course.
Failing that, two weeks of 12-hour shifts at Alder Hey which might make them realise what the real world is like.
3 Posted 10/02/2019 at 15:38:32
There again, I have no idea what any of this team is thinking, especially when they have the ball!!!
4 Posted 10/02/2019 at 15:48:57
And chances are it will be the usual mid-table finish, points somewhere between 45 and 60 (at the lower end this season), and many suggestions on how to get out of the cycle and return to glory.
As far as I can see, we can get out of the cycle and return to glory only by having someone like Usmanov here, with money to attract the very best players.
5 Posted 10/02/2019 at 16:10:25
He's not ditching zonal marking on looking to make any effort tightening things at the back. I can't see any upturn in results over the next dozen games.
I would let him limp on until the summer, between now and then the club and Brands have identified the next man and fire Silva after the Spurs game.
6 Posted 10/02/2019 at 16:16:15
7 Posted 10/02/2019 at 16:29:50
8 Posted 10/02/2019 at 16:55:26
9 Posted 10/02/2019 at 17:33:14
10 Posted 10/02/2019 at 17:39:27
11 Posted 10/02/2019 at 20:45:09
Don't get your hopes high for the next 2 games because we'll be lucky to get one point out of them and it certainly won't be against you know who. Then again West Ham and Leicester should have beat them so maybe just maybe there's a glimmer.
Andy, Andy, wake up. Medication time. Keep them coming, Paul. Love reading your reports. Need cheering up indeed.
12 Posted 10/02/2019 at 22:22:43
This lot are seeing out their days - at least Jags and Baines gave us good service for several years prior to now. What about all the shite we have got out on loan, whose wages we are still contributing to:
How do you sort out this lot? Some of them are earning mega bucks for doing fuck all. They are in no rush to leave. What must Gana Gueye think when he looks at this lot? Or the young lads, like Kenny, Davies and Calvert-Lewin?
Spot on about Richarlison too. Him and Sigurdsson both cost £45 million, and though they get the odd goal, general play just passes them by.
It's going to be a painful few years sorting out this lot, whoever is in charge.
13 Posted 10/02/2019 at 00:10:58
Pickford; did okay but his first half overhit balls to the right wing were wasteful.
I thought Davies was easily our best player despite a few overhit passes in the second half.
Kenny had an excellent game and has a great chance to make the right back berth his own. His defence-splitting pass to Walcott was the best of the game but Walcott wasted the opportunity.
Walcott: 6 and did okay? His usual ineffective game and 4 at best.
Siguurdson: 4 at most. Peripheral for most of the game until finally hooked.
Gomes warranted a much higher score than 3 despite still looking a bit off the pace. He got the ball out to the left side at every opportunity.
I agree, Richarlison is becoming really irritating with his play acting and, at Brighton, it really roused the home crowd to our disadvantage. Yesterday, he was rolling around on the half-way line when we had the ball in their penalty area. Surely, Silva has a responsibility to instruct him to cut it out.
Calvert-Lewin: I agree that at 22, and with 99 games under his belt, it's obvious he's never going to make it as a goalscorer.
Silva: his team selection, tactics and substitutions were as mystifying to me as they obviously were to the players. 2.
14 Posted 11/02/2019 at 04:37:33
Watford just played as they should against those tactical weaknesses and Everton's reply didn't exist.
What's more, the Walcott substitution saw the total abandonment of Silva's solution, with another tactical faux pas.
Richarlison seems to have been selected to show Watford, as Silva said earlier in the week, the Troy Deeney outburst resulted in the team picking itself; I wonder if Tosun was picked for the same reason? There was no rhyme nor reason to this forward selection combination.
I really thought that Silva would finally learn and have posted comments recently to this effect, I am now coming to think that Silva has totally lost it, after seeing this terrible match>
The Watford goal was the usual set-piece debacle. Silva definitely can't coach defence.
Silva is plain and simply hopeless and seems to have abandoned any semblance of a tactical philosophy.
15 Posted 11/02/2019 at 09:28:38
I'll be the first to admit that losing the game at Anfield the way we did was a flattening blow which took a good few days or week to get over but, by mid-December, we should have been back at it. If that is the case and the derby has broken them then what does that say for the mentality of this group?
It concerns me greatly that they haven't been able to show any forms of recovery when going a goal behind, no resistance when backs to the wall (Millwall away late on).
Rather than just blaming Silva, it's a collective problem here at this club that's gone on too long.
16 Posted 11/02/2019 at 09:42:31
17 Posted 11/02/2019 at 09:47:05
To say it won't happen is crazy when we are only on 33 points without a win in us. Get rid of Silva now and get in someone who knows how to win games and make us tough to play against.
Forget about this obsession with style of play or how many pretty passing triangles we can complete, we need someone who knows how to win.
Funny thing is this was always bound to happen – we tried this route with Martinez and it failed... yet some fans seem to have very short memories on what happens when you put a philosophy ahead of results.
19 Posted 11/02/2019 at 09:50:49
I'm not trying to defend Silva (I'm pretty apathetic about him at this point) but I do think we have been pretty hard done by these last 2 month or so. I don't think we've played well but equally I don't think our opponents have often been that much better than us, except for Spurs.
I think the margins have been relatively small but. in each game. we have missed chances, had decisions go against us, had individual mistakes etc. I'm not sure what it is. Whether its bad luck or fragile mentality but the little 'moments' have not gone our way.
I think it may have a lot to do with confidence and self belief; the players just snatching at chances or overhitting passes out of desperation.
At the beginning of the season, I had the sense of the players enjoying themselves, enjoying whatever Silva was trying to get them to do. Thats's gone now. And I think its probably Silva's job to try and get it back. Top managers get their teams out of the inevitable ruts. We've been in this one too long already.
20 Posted 11/02/2019 at 09:54:31
Gomes was a 5, and it was no coincidence that as soon as he was withdrawn, they carved us open.
21 Posted 11/02/2019 at 09:56:26
I have been utterly gobsmacked over the atrocious officiating this season. We have had the shit kicked out of us in so many games, and put up with horrendous decisions. Unless I'm missing something, this is bound to have an effect on players. We were playing decently against top-6 sides, but had to endure dirty play and bad decisions in those games as well. I have this image in my mind of that terrible tackle on Sigurdsson in the Chelsea game, which went unpunished, as an example.
It strikes me that the cock-up in the Derby could well have been the straw that broke the camel's back. The players are not robots, and no amount of money they get paid can make them immune from the kind of shit that we're witnessing, the continual cheating and biases that are ruining the so-called beautiful game.
None of this is an excuse for poor performances, and Everton do appear to have problems right through the hierarchy that we'd all love to identify clearly and remedy, but progressing from this situation is not made easier by the shit that's happening in the modern game.
When Koeman came here he said we were too nice. No doubt he was right in that. We do not go round kicking the shit out of other teams, it's never been the Everton way. We're not Angels by any means, no team is, but we don't do what many other teams, including top-6 sides, do habitually, which is cheat, foul and get in the face of officials. And ironically, the authorities appear biased towards those sides that commit all this shit, particularly the top-6. So not only are the authorities doing fuckall about it, they're effectively encouraging it.
I don't know about you Jim, but this whole thing is putting me off watching football, regardless of how well Everton play. Even the World Cup last summer was won by cheating. It's gone too far.
It seems that we'll never achieve better things unless we join in the circus of cheating and have officials biasing decisions in our favour. But if that happened, I for one would lose interest in Everton as well. I don't expect the Corinthian spirit of Brian Labone to prevail, that would be far too much to expect, but perhaps EFC could be more vocal in raising concerns about what's happening. In this respect, Marco Silva was absolutely correct to raise questions about the referee on Saturday, and I believe we should all support what he's said there.
22 Posted 11/02/2019 at 10:06:46
Zouma commits a nothing foul (his first of the game?) and gets booked. He and Keane both booked before Wolves got a card (and that not until the second half).
I'm not a one-eyed blue; I think I'm honest about when we deserve a card etc (some of our fans can't accept when we justifiably are penalised) – but I can't believe some of the decisions against us.
23 Posted 11/02/2019 at 12:35:50
He is a good athlete but not a good footballer. He has poor technique and very poor positioning. No football brain. He is 22 next month. I have never seen him take on a defender on the edge of the box or try to turn him. He just doesn't have that in his locker.
24 Posted 11/02/2019 at 12:44:18
We are not talking about borderline decisions but blatantly obvious ones that everyone can see apart from the officials who just seem too gutless to call some of them particularly in the box.
25 Posted 11/02/2019 at 13:06:12
Aguero at Manchester City is a prime example or Kane at Tottenham. You need an outstanding centre forward if you are to ever have any hope.
One of the reasons we finished 7th in Koeman's first season was best because we had a striker who scored 25 goals and bailed us out in many home games against the average sides in Spring 2017.
Would we have finished 7th in 16-17 with Calvert-Lewin and Tosun? No we wouldn't.
26 Posted 11/02/2019 at 15:52:24
I hope Marcel Brands is on the case every day now for the best striker available to us in June. I don't want to see any protracted nonsense which collapses on deadline day.
We have absolutely no chance of any progress without a top class, centre-forward goalscorer.
27 Posted 11/02/2019 at 16:21:11
28 Posted 11/02/2019 at 16:53:06
Arsenal (A) – blatantly obvious offside not given for one of their goals in a close encounter.
Spurs (H) – harshly disallowed goal which could have enabled us to control the game.
Brighton (H) – the corner leading to their goal was taken outside the arc.
Watford (A) – Gylfi was elbowed in the throat in their area. Nothing given. Plus the corner that wasn't.
Liverpool (A) – There's an argument to say the ball went out of play before Pickford scooped it back in before the goal.
Manchester United (A) – penalty awarded for a dive by Martial then Smalling not sent off despite being on a yellow for bringing down Richarlison during a clear goal scoring opportunity.
Millwall (A) – need I say anything?
Bournemouth (A) – Richarlison sent off for an offence which you see go unpunished every week
City (A) – Fabian Delph not red carded for exactly the same dangerous challenge he would be sent off for only weeks later.
Chelsea (A) – Jorginho not red carded for what most people agree was a shocking challenge on Gylfi
Now many of these you could say happen across the season and that's life. I agree. But it is quite a charge sheet isn't it? Even if I discount the Brighton, Liverpool and Spurs incidents (which are the more tenuous examples) the woeful officialdom at Man Utd, Arsenal, Man City and Chelsea undoubtedly protected those sides.
29 Posted 11/02/2019 at 20:33:49
30 Posted 11/02/2019 at 21:01:01
I was one of the gaggle of Evertonians him and Stuart bumped into in Lime Street Station, and Paul had a supply of ale for the train down. We got down to Watford at about 11:45 so there was plenty of time for a good few pints to be sunk. Where were you on the return journey, Paul?
[Only joking about him being a pisshead, by the way.]
31 Posted 11/02/2019 at 21:11:56
I might be paranoid, but I think Ive got my reasons, and I reckon we get nothing off referees, because the present main man, (maybe unofficially?) is Martin Atkinson, and he fucking hates us.
Some Evertonians somewhere, have definitely terrorised this man wherever, and weve been paying the price ever since!
32 Posted 11/02/2019 at 21:25:40
Got to credit Benitez: despite spending sod all, he has them pretty well organised under the circumstances.
33 Posted 11/02/2019 at 21:52:52
34 Posted 12/02/2019 at 00:53:12
No other industry can you be rewarded the way our players (perhaps Chelsea) are, give so little to the fans, produce utter dross, week-in & week-out... And they are still given all the perks of the good life.
They should all be on performance-related pay (thus saving the club millions), taken to Ainsdale Beach, ran up and down the dunes until they get a bit of fitness and stamina. Instead, it will be golf, swimming and relaxation in Dubai.
I live near La Manga in Spain... if they come here, I will be sure to pass on all our good thoughts and thanks for their efforts to date. So wrong!
35 Posted 12/02/2019 at 06:42:36
36 Posted 12/02/2019 at 14:16:10
Hahaha very funny. I thought that being suitably drunk is the only way to get through an Everton game these days. :-)
I went back via Wolverhampton. You guys headed in to Euston, didn't you?
Nice to meet you fellas. Catch you next time.
37 Posted 12/02/2019 at 14:33:40
I can't do West Ham as wouldn't make Euston in time for the last train, so it's coach instead.
38 Posted 13/02/2019 at 08:33:53
A terrific strike by Oviedo though, I still get a warm glow recalling that night, COYB.
39 Posted 14/02/2019 at 22:51:50
I just felt that the gloom descending on our club was becoming more and more stifling and needed to be lifted a little.
Hopefully the current farce will not be allowed to continue for much longer.
Bit by bit, the club, its players and by association ourselves are losing the respect and dignity of other clubs' fans.
Once again lads, my previous post was just a weak attempt at lifting the gloom that is grinding myself and I suspect Paul and others down.
I may be 12,000 miles away but I also feel it.
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