Sterling second half effort gets Goodison rocking

By Paul Traill 17/03/2019 54comments  |  Jump to last
Everton 2 - 0 Chelsea

With Gaz unobtainable, out late the previous night celebrating Wales Grand Slam success, Dan drove and we arrived in the pub in plenty of time. We walked in to be confronted by a 6'-3" bar man dressed in as a leprechaun - complete with tights, face paint, clip-on beard, the lot. My poker stare is pitiful at the best of times but I just couldn’t keep a straight face whatsoever and was grateful that Ste got the first round in while I could go and sit down giggling to myself. A leprechaun, because it was Saint Patrick’s Day of course.

Once I’d gotten over that comedy, we could sit down and turn our attentions to the Fulham vs Liverpool match, and while the game stayed at 0-1 you felt Fulham might maybe grab something and they looked to be doing that until Liverpool got a rather soft penalty to get them the points.

We gathered the team news and the only changes to the team which dipped at Newcastle United were defensive - Seamus Coleman and Yerry Mina returning to the team at the expense of Jonjo Kenny and the ineligible Kurt Zouma. For the visitors, Ross Barkley made his return to Goodison Park, and got booed and jeered with every touch, and with players such as Eden Hazard, Gonzola Higuain, Pedro and N’Golo Kante, you know it’s never going to be a walk in the park.

Arriving in the Gwladys Street we were met with a fabulous banner depicting some of our heroes of the past, and there was quite a retro feel about some of the other signage. We were also provided with a blue or white sheet to hold aloft as the teams came out to Z-Cars (preceded by a siren). This was all set up and provided by a supporters group in the Gwladys Street and hats off to them, they did a great job of getting things going.

The task then of course was with the players to rise to this and keep the crowd entertained, but come half time you were relieved that Everton were still in the game. A lot of the guys around us were very doom and gloom at half time. Though I was a bit more positive, it was undeniable we’d been on the end of quite a hiding in the first half. Jordan Pickford had to be at his best to thwart Eden Hazard, and the Belgian was also thwarted by the woodwork.

Pedro had the ball in the net with a smart finish but it was flagged for offside. There were other opportunities for Chelsea in the first half but thankfully Everton stood firm and found a way to stay in the game. At the other end Dominic Calvert-Lewin hit wide with a very good left footed effort and also headed over when well-placed from a Gylfi Sigurdsson free kick. Come the break Everton were not exactly on the ropes but second best by a long way against a good Chelsea side.

Lord knows what Marco Silva said at the break but it sure worked as Everton came out of the traps like they meant business in the second half. Bernard teed up Andre Gomes at the edge of the penalty area and his effort was well saved by Kepa Arrizabalaga. This palpable improvement in effort and end product didn’t go unnoticed by the crowd and the atmosphere went up a good few notches as Everton seized the advantage. Dominic Cavlert-Lewin’s header from a corner kick was saved by Arrizabalaga, and Richarlison reacted pounced to head into the net and put Everton ahead.

Goodison Park was really rocking by this point and the players continued to up their game. Following a drab first-half effort, they were superb after the break, it’s really hard to fault anyone out there on that second-half display. Jordan Pickford saved what he had to – one save from a Pedro drive was particularly excellent, the defence were resilient the midfield and attack worked hard and pressed well and our attackers did so with flair.

The game was effectively sealed when Richarlison won a penalty, I haven’t seen it again yet so I’ve no idea if it should have been given or not. Gylfi Sigurdsson stepped up and before taking made a very deliberate look at his bottom left corner to try and send the keeper the other way. Arrizabalaga wasn’t fooled and guessed right. Fortunately, he could only spill it back to Gylfi who calmly stroked home to make it 2-0. A mixture of delight and relief palpable amongst players and supporters alike. I think they need to reassess who’s on penalties, however. You’re never really confident that Gylfi is going to score.

With still over 20 minutes to go we really had to make sure we didn’t slip up from here but credit to the boys. They did a marvellous job of seeing the game out and maintaining the clean sheet.

It’s nice to go into the international break on the back of a win and hopefully we can continue with our second half showing in the capital at West Ham United in a fortnight.

It’s also nice to have Goodison Park rocking again, the atmosphere at our last three home games has been terrific. With Arsenal and Manchester United both still to visit Goodison Park let’s hope the atmosphere remains vibrant as we celebrate more good results as our season draws to a close.

Player ratings:


Was as good today as he was bad last weekend. Spot on in every department. 8

Digne: Got caught out on a couple of occasions but otherwise did okay. 6

Mina: Did well. Won a lot of aerial duals and got in the way of plenty. Gives Marco Silva a welcome selection headache in central defence. 7

Keane: Swept up magnificently well and was one of few who performed admirably in both halves of the game. A terrific effort. 8

Coleman: A few loose moments in the first half aside, Seamus did just fine. 6

Gueye: You feared the worst as he sprawled around on the floor in the first half but thankfully he was able to get up and carry on. If, as expected, he leaves us this Summer he will take some replacing. 8

Gomes: Grew into the game and kept a calm head for 70 minutes before he was substituted. 7

Sigurdsson: Anonymous in the first half but much improved after the break. He’ll be relieved he got a second bite at the cherry with the penalty. 7

Bernard: An exquisite display and he now seems fully adapted and settled into the English game. I expect a great season from him next term. My man of the match. 8

Richarlison: “His best performance for us yet” remarked Dan after the game and it’s hard to disagree. Got on the scoresheet and, perhaps stung by some of his managers criticism in the week, went the full mile and worked tirelessly until the end. A great effort from Richarlison and much, much more like it from him. 8

Calvert-Lewin: On about 65 minutes I said to Ste that it would be a good idea to bring Dominic off as I thought he looked knackered. Good on him then for galvanising himself and putting in some shift in the final third of the game. Talk about defending from the front. That’s how it’s done. A fabulous effort from Dominic. Well done. 8

Schneiderlin (for Gomes): Saw precious little of the ball but filled a lot of holes. 6

Walcott (for Bernard): A good stint from Theo. Hard working and disciplined. 6

Davies (for Sigurdsson): An impressive little cameo from Tom. 7

Reader Comments (54)

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Bob Parrington
1 Posted 18/03/2019 at 06:17:59
Phew!!! Hard to believe after the first half! Good report Paul. I might have given the MotM to Calvert-Lewin, though. Also, I thought Seamus was worth a 7.

Just shows what a positive approach with attitude can do. More of this, please, manager and players!

Jon Withey
2 Posted 18/03/2019 at 07:00:13
I watched this one on telly – it's been a while since we played well in front of the cameras.

The first half was dire, Chelsea always first to the ball – I'm always baffled how that can happen – surely top six players aren't so much better.

That said, the team didn't collapse and the second half showed that it was about a cohesive mental state more than anything. Tackles flying in and enough quality to carve out meaningful chances.

A special mention to Calvert-Lewin who caused them a lot of problems and is growing in stature – some great old-fashioned centre-forward work and really got the crowd going. Perhaps he'll never have the finishing of Aguero but he has his own strengths. He has quietly chipped in for a couple of seasons now and I'm glad we have him.

Pickford made one particularly brilliant save to his bottom left with a strong arm and did well overall.

I think you were a bit harsh on Digne who really flies around and keeps the ball moving. He did get caught a couple of times like you say.

Bob Parrington
3 Posted 18/03/2019 at 07:16:23
Jon, I was thinking the same as to how they appeared to have so much space compared to us. Other than we weren't pressing their 2 central defenders, the biggest difference I found was they were always on the move. Pass and move quickly, pass and move and so on. We would pass and wait.

Big change in the 2nd half. Seemed like we decided to wake up to it.

Mina had a good game. I failed to put this in #1.

Jim Bennings
4 Posted 18/03/2019 at 08:29:43
Well where on Earth did that result come from?? Best performances of the season bar none.

First half we could have been three down but by luck we went in all square. Second half was what we want to be like at Goodison.

Every player was outstanding in that second half and certain players have staked a claim to get a regular run like Yerry Mina and Calvert-Lewin.

Mina grew into the game and I think we need to stick with him now for the remainder of the season to see what he can do properly. Coleman had his best game of the season also.

A great way to go in to the 2-week break and let's hope we can continue it at West Ham in 2 weeks time.

David Connor
5 Posted 18/03/2019 at 09:51:31
1st half was absolute bollocks. 2nd half was tremendous. Let's see them carry it forward until the end of the season. Lots of players playing for their Everton futures, you would think. Now let's see who gives a shit...

Silva does show he cares, whatever we may think of him. It's now up to the rest.

Dave Abrahams
6 Posted 18/03/2019 at 11:33:41
A good report, Paul, and thanks for making the effort. I agree the way you described the game and how it went but Paul some of your ratings are at odds with mine.

Just different opinions, but to take two of them: Coleman with a 6 and Gomes with a 7.

Seamus, like most, didn't have a great first half but, in the second, he was terrific and much more like the Colman we admired. Gomes was absolutely chronic in the first-half, giving away at least four stupid fouls and contributing little to the game. He had a great shot saved in the second half but was still no better than average, tiring early and had to be substituted along with Bernard, who had a great game as you rightly said, with and without the ball, he must have been close to MotM.

Keep the reports coming, Paul, they are well worth reading and I bet many on here look forward to them along with myself and many overseas readers.

Paul Bernard
7 Posted 18/03/2019 at 11:34:47
If ever a game was this season summed Everton up under Silva then it's this one.

Disjointed, blunt, nervous first half where we didn't get going until the 43rd minute. Second half was more tempo, more effort, better understanding of their roles individually and as a team. Could of been 3-0 down first half but won 2-0?????

Special mentions should be given to Gana Gueye (who I have slated lately), Calvert-Lewin who gives everything to a near impossible task every week, Bernard who worked himself into the ground, and Mina finally showed some sort of ability which prompted us to spend £28m on him.

Terry Underwood
8 Posted 18/03/2019 at 11:44:52
Nobody saw that coming!! Calvert-Lewin is developing well and working hard for the team. I have high hopes for this lad.
Brian Harrison
9 Posted 18/03/2019 at 11:51:18
Bernard MotM??? I can't believe Silva kept him on as long as he did. For me, he gives this team nothing offensively. Yes, he is a nice footballer but sadly with no end product. He is yet to open his account in the league and quite frankly, never looks like scoring.

Yes, he works hard but I am looking for a lot more from a forward than he gives us. He has no great pace so he is reluctant to take anybody on the outside, so he continually stops and turns back, thus slowing up attacks.

Football is all about opinions; for me, Bernard is a luxury player who doesn't score goals. Works hard – but surely that should be a given from every player in every game.

Mark Taylor
10 Posted 18/03/2019 at 12:07:33
What changed at half time that made such a difference? A question I pondered given our first half display was about as rank as I've ever seen.

For me, one big difference is that we closed the ball down with serious intent. In the first half, one of the commentators, maybe Neville, said that we were effectively going through the motions on this. Yes, our player moved towards the player with the ball but more just strolling into the space, not actually shutting the player down and trying to harrass and dispossess. As a result, they were able to play out from the back with consummate ease.

In the second half, we changed that and there was a lot more energy in the press, notably by Richarlison. Neville may be a prat but I think he called this one correctly.

Doing that helped cure one of our other malaises, a lack of movement. How many times did we see our defenders looking up to play a ball only to start waving their arms about at the lack of finding space?

Much of our first half, when Chelsea ran a much more energetic press, consisted of Pickford or a defender eventually punting the ball hopefully towards Calvert-Lewin. I think our assessment of him needs to take into account the pretty impossible situation we so often place him in.

In the second half, this mattered a little less as we tackled higher up the pitch and weren't starting things right from the back with most of the team level or behind the ball. So a player in space was available more easily.

But I think this is a fundamental weakness that we do need to somehow address. If we are to play the ball long from the back, Calvert-Lewin needs someone a little more dynamic than Sigurdsson alongside him. A decade ago it might have been the version of Walcott many thought would evolve. Right now, Lookman maybe, in the absence of anyone else.

If we are to pass it through midfield, then we need players with the aptitude to accomplish that. Other than perhaps Gomes on a good day, we don't really have that player. Guys like Gana and Davies are not really one touch pass and movers, nor is Siggy or for that matter any of our wide men, except maybe Bernard.

A lot is talked about the need for a top striker but I don't think that cures things. Our system is, in my view, pretty cruel to the poor sap who occupies that position. I think Calvert-Lewin is performing better than many think, given what he is asked to do. And I don't think a spirited second-half performance yesterday changes that conundrum.

James Hughes
11 Posted 18/03/2019 at 12:12:22
Good to see Calvert-Lewin finally getting some thanks on these pages. A player I have time for. Not one of the best but has the potential to get there, I think he will.

Bernard was great, he's now finding his feet and will get better and better. Mina needs more game time, Chelsea have a transfer ban and can see them taking Zouma back as cover.

Keane still worries me. At one stage in the first half, Pedro had the ball was on the edge of our box, he was going left to right. I watched Keane, he went the other direction and it was really bizarre.

Steve Ferns
12 Posted 18/03/2019 at 12:20:18
Mark, it could just be confidence?

Scenario I envisage is Silva telling them "everything needs to improve" (using his post match comments), and maybe a few more choice words. Pump the players up a bit more and remind them of the actual game-plan (ie, the way they came out second half was the way they were meant to come out first half).

It could then be, that they came out and put the effort in, and this time got rewards. First press from the kick-off, and Chelsea choked up possession. They went again and again Chelsea choked it up. The players then start to believe and press with more purpose and belief and then the goal happens. It's easier to run and close people down when you think it's working. Your legs are always less heavy and you don't feel as tired. You then start to win those 50/50s and get the bounce of the ball.

I think it's as simple as that, although I might be wrong. I didn't see any real tactical shift. Just people doing their jobs when they were not all doing so, and were certainly not a cohesive unit, in the first half.

John Raftery
13 Posted 18/03/2019 at 12:35:43
A pretty fair report Paul although I too thought Calvert-Lewin was our man of the match.

Yesterday's second half performance and result bought Silva enough credit to see him into next season. We needed to beat one of the top six to instil some belief. In truth there has hardly been a 90 minute performance all season. As Ossie said on MotD the team plays in 45 minute spells. There is no consistency between matches and between halves within matches. Most of the issues with the team remain.

Pickford's inconsistency leaves us wondering how he will perform from game to game.

Coleman did well in the second half but his fitness level is still some way below what he had two years ago. The return of Holgate may put additional pressure on his first-team place.

Mina might be a decent centre back but he seems prone to injury and looks more comfortable on the right than the left. Some of his left-foot clearances lack strength and accuracy.

Keane is what he is: an average workaday centre half but so slow he needs the team as a whole to sit deep so he can be in the last ditch.

Midfield is the biggest problem area, and will be even more so if Gueye departs. Gomes has obvious class but seems to have only half-an-hour per game, lacking the stamina and pace to do ninety minutes in the Premier League. Sigurdsson was a spare part in the first half, as he always is when we have no control in midfield. Who will be our next penalty taker? Digne must be a candidate.

The lack of control in midfield extends to the right flank going forward. Lookman, Walcott and Richarlison have all looked anonymous when required to hold a wide position in front of Coleman or Kenny. Yesterday, in the first half, Richarlison was virtually an auxiliary right-back. All three of the players Silva has employed on the right wing are attacking forwards rather than wingers. They all play better when they can move away from the flank. The problem with that is it leaves us vulnerable on that side, putting additional pressure on Gueye to provide cover but even he can't be everywhere.

One of the positives is that the team has an identifiable shape along with some consistency in selection. The shape is not ideal, with Sigurdsson more of a forward than a midfielder the formation at times looks more 4-2-4 than 4-3-3 leaving us short in midfield. But this is progress compared with where we were in the chaos at the end of the Koeman reign.

Another positive is that Digne and Bernard have settled into the team and work well together, notwithstanding the lack of goals from Bernard. Also, Calvert-Lewin is emerging as our first choice centre forward. His confidence is growing and he is offering the genuine presence up front, lacking since Lukaku departed. Richarlison is proving his worth in respect of goals. He is another who is at his best when given free rein to roam around up front. He is not a centre forward but he has the handy knack of converting chances inside the 6-yard box.

So no hanging out the bunting but things are much better than they were a month ago. Seven points from the last 12vavailable is more than we expected after the defeats to Wolves and Watford. If we end up with 45/46 points and in the top ten, that will be a satisfactory outcome with ‘could do better' added in the comments section of the end-of-season report.

Mark Taylor
14 Posted 18/03/2019 at 13:41:14

Your correct that it wasn't a tactical change as such and I wasn't suggesting it was, unless Marco has a revolutionary new tactic called the no effort press.

It was indeed more about implementation. But I'm not convinced the answer was about confidence, at least not to initiate the change. They had little or nothing to be confident about after that rank first half.

It may have been more about shame or even anger, that they were being made to look as dreadful as they were, playing at home, with the crowd collectively with their head in their hands. This group are not so talentless that this scenario would not hurt, the more so after the previous week's capitulation. Then I grant you, when we got into the game more as a result, confidence rose. It could hardly fall. It's also possible that Chelsea fell off a bit given their midweek game.

Putting tactics and team shape aside, it reveals another flaw in the squad/team, we lack a leader on the pitch who can sort out a mess when they can see it happening in front of them. Pretty much all of our players are either too quiet or too uneasy about and/or focussed on their own form to take the lead in this. And a leader is not just someone who runs around remonstrating, they have to be able to force the team to adapt and alter and possess the character to ensure the rest of the team follow. You see this shortcoming in other sports too- the England rugby team on Saturday would be an example.

Jay Harris
15 Posted 18/03/2019 at 14:01:18
Talking about leaders on the pitch I thought Mina did a good job of organising those around him yesterday and just wondered if he came good and consistent whether he would be a good future captain.
Steve Ferns
16 Posted 18/03/2019 at 14:26:41
I'm fed up of hearing about leaders. Do people forget that we have:

The Captain of Ireland - Seamus Coleman
The Captain of Iceland - Gylfi Sigurdsson
The Captain of Wales - Ashley Williams
The longstanding club captain - Phil Jagielka - I recall he wore the armband for England too (once or twice)

Tom Davies has captained the under age group England sides, as I think Kenny has.

I saw Michael Keane communicating more as the game went on, he was particularly unhappy that Digne was drifting too far to the left as the ball was down our right.

Mina is a massive personality. He just needs to establish himself in the side and learn the language better. Then I think he will take the armband. I would expect to see him be the one to pick the players up when we are hit with a sucker punch. If not a captain, then he is certainly the joker of the pack. He appears to have the personality to bring everyone together.

Tom Davies is a proper captain though. He lacks a regular place in the side and experience. If he can kick on and warrant a starting place then I fully expect him to challenge for the armband as well. He's a natural leader. He never hides. It's something when the youngest player on the pitch is the one trying to lead the side.

Tony Abrahams
17 Posted 18/03/2019 at 14:48:01
Great thread with all the different opinions getting thrown up by your ratings Paul!

Didn’t know Keane was pulling Digne inside Steve, but surprised that such a good player keeps pulling wider when he should be tucking in?

I don’t think Keane is good enough even if he’s improved and I’d forgotten how easily Pedro, beat him with a little bodyswerve (just stand up and keep your eyes on the ball Michael) until James@11, brought it up.

I also didn’t think Bernard, was as good as he’s played in his 3 previous games, but it’s not often you hear someone say a luxury player is hardworking, so the little fella, will do for me, even if I wanted him to go and play inside, because Sigurdson, was struggling badly, and couldn’t get into the game.

I’ve seen Everton play better this season, but Chelsea never scored when they were absolutely dominating the game, and Everton came back strong, possibly once they played with the wind during the second half.

We laughed at Klopp, but the wind, is definitely the enemy of football, and maybe it helped contribute to a game of two halves?

Jay Harris
18 Posted 18/03/2019 at 14:48:19

Thats all true but I think people are looking more for a Peter Reid/ Phil Neville type who will shake their heads quite a bit and should also be on top of his own game leading by example.

As I said I saw signs of that with Mina yesterday but have not seen the same cajoling from Jags, Tom or Seamus.

Steve Ferns
19 Posted 18/03/2019 at 15:21:06
I worry about Keane too Tony. He tries hard. He plays very well at times. He seems a nice lad. But he just seems to either lack consistency or his best is just not quite good enough. I'm not sure which, I hope it's consistency and that he can find it.

Jay, I think most people, and so most players, can show leadership. I think what you're getting a is fighting spirit. I've seen a bit more fight from the players in 3 of the last 4 games, but this is a squad that has lacked the will to battle for a good few seasons now.

The thing is, none of our players have had it easy. From Pickford to Calvert-Lewin, they've all had to battle their way to the elite level (sometimes we forget that's where we are). All of the players should have that fighting spirit. The ones who have had it a bit "easier" should be the likes of Davies and Kenny, who have always excelled at youth level and got in the first team at a young age. Then if you watch them play, no one can question their willingness to battle.

I would disagree on Tom Davies not showing signs of cajoling those around him. You are right that he needs to be on the top of his game, and clearly, he's struggled to do that. However, I often watch him off the ball. These a few guys near me who think he's the devil incarnate. So I tend to pay particular attention to young Tom. The distance the lad covers, the gaps he fills in, and effort he puts in is staggering. He nearly always tries to make something happen. He's never one for the easy pass, which is why he gives it away so often. He's a lad who stands up to be counted and is not afraid to tell more experienced players where to go. This is why I think he's a captain in the making. I'm assuming he continues to develop and does get to the top of his game, gets that experience and matures and then he will be the one who leads, armband or not.

John Pierce
20 Posted 18/03/2019 at 15:29:02
Mina, is a personality I agree with that. It’s clear whatever his ability might be he believes in himself, which I’m my life goes a long way.

I’m not sold on his skills, and if Zouma is not committing, then I’m afraid Silva has to play Mina.

If you watch him in both boxes it is clear he wants to agitate and make things happen. He again thinks he’s a threat, that does have a knock on effect to opposing team.

He is cumbersome so I still cannot see the player we need but there is a sign or two.

I think my overall point is that Everton have signed very few players with personalities that complement each other. Team building is as much about balancing out personality types as it is the skills of the player.

We have in recent times bought what appear to be insular, introverted players; Baines, Jagielka & Sigurdsson for example. That’s okay but there too many, we also bought selfish players who are poor team mates; Williams, Mirallas, Lukaku, Lookman & Richarlison.

Under Moyes that balance between teammates was clear. A designated captain, agitators like Felliani and Cahill, collegiate and selfless like Baines and Pienaar. Most of that team were accountable to each other.

I believe having seen most of the players we’ve spunked money on play well enough, that it is the mix of personalities which is wrong.

That is on the manager for me.

I do wonder how much of their personality traits are considered when you buy a £50m dud these days?

Jay Harris
21 Posted 18/03/2019 at 15:50:36

I agree re young Tom. His workrate and attitude are exemplary but I think he needs a good player alongside him that complements him. Gomes seems to be the best fit but neither Gana nor Sigurdsson seem to gel with him and that is a concern.

I think one of our biggest problems is a lack of the camaraderie that Moyes managed to instil throughout the club but, with so many strangers and loan players, I guess it's more difficult now.

Tony Abrahams
22 Posted 18/03/2019 at 16:02:05
Interesting stuff JP, with all the players signed since Silva became the manager, all offering a little bit of a difference in personality, if you was to try and break it down.

Mina, could eventually become a dominant player, because he definitely tries to impose himself on his opponent.

Zouma, seems quieter, and Digne looks like he cares and has got a bit of fight about him?

Gomes seems quiet, Bernard I really rate, and definitely looks like he plays for the team, whilst Richarlson has been a mixed bag.

He looked like he was brought up on county rd, when he first came, then when his form dipped, he looked like he was a million miles from home, and now it’s starting to come together for him again?

I thought Silva, was trying to make an example of Richarlson, when he wrongly brought him off at Newcastle, but one thing about the Brazilian, is that he’s very strong when he cuts out the diving, so hopefully this penny is beginning to drop?

All better players than what we had, with only Gueye, Pickford and Sigurdsson, players who were already up to scratch, but hopefully Coleman, is slowly starting to get his game back together again?

Some good kids, but it was a very poor squad inherited by Silva, who along with Brands, are hopefully looking for more quality and leadership, from their next batch of signings.

Another thing that I hope keeps on improving is the crowd, because this has always been Everton’s best weapon, and I’m hoping all these new players, and the manager are beginning to realise this as well?

Andy Crooks
23 Posted 18/03/2019 at 16:15:58
Top stuff, Paul. Dominic has been described on this site as a Championship player by some. He will be a top striker for us, a really top striker. Darren Hind has addressed the shit that young players get on here, by some. Well, he stuck two fingers up to them yesterday.
Andy Meighan
24 Posted 18/03/2019 at 16:55:28
Andy @23,

Calvert-Lewin hasn't shown anything to me that will suggest he will become a really top striker. His goal return is poor, his touch isn't that good, and he has no real good shot on him either.

That said, the lad does put a lot of the other players to shame with his work rate which is exceptional. But how long are we prepared to wait for him to become this top striker because time is running out?

Mark Taylor
25 Posted 18/03/2019 at 19:52:15

Leadership is not about fighting spirit, work rate or any of those other virtues. It is about leading. That requires you to recognise there is a problem, because you have a decent football brain, having the personality strength to be able to communicate this and finally but crucially, the respect of the players. None of the players you mention have this.

Siggy? Come on! As for Williams and probably Jags, they are not good enough to get in the side even if they had these three characteristics, which they don't. I don't rate Davies anything remotely as highly as you do, but in any case, he needs to focus on establishing himself in the side first, because on form, he hasn't deserved a place there.

Re your later comment, it is pretty much impossible to be a leader if you have no fighting spirit. You are unlikely to make the big effort to get things to change mid-game. On the other hand, you can have fighting spirit as a player but lack leadership skills.

There is no way, no way at all, a team with a leader on the pitch would have allowed the first half to end, without doing something about what was a very obvious shortcoming in the way we were playing.

I am not alone in pointing out this shortfall. Prats as they night be, all the Sky commentators comment on how we look rudderless on the pitch. Quiet even.

Andy Crooks
26 Posted 18/03/2019 at 20:08:40
Come on, Andy, Calvert-Lewin had a great game on Sunday. His touch was good and the idea that someone who has made it to the Premier League, does not have a real good shot in him is utterly fucking insane.

Do you really believe that someone, on the long testing trail that leads a young lad to the Premier League, might not have thought, actually, he can't kick the ball very hard.

Much to the dismay of many on this site, and I do not count you among them, Andy, Dominic will be a real star for us, or someone.

Mark Taylor
27 Posted 18/03/2019 at 20:44:53
Jay 15

Maybe Mina could become that, he does appear to have a more forceful personality but it's too early to say whether he can read a game, beyond just his own immediate environment and of course you can't lead at all if you are not regularly in the team.

John 20

I think you make some good points. In addition to Cahill, more of an in your face leadership, we also had the likes of Barry and Neville, shrewd readers of the game who commanded respect. We're lacking that right now. As you say, no harm in the quiet types happy to be led – Baines, Jags and I'd include Keane in that too – but someone, ideally more than one, has to lead.

I don't know about the bad eggs you mention. Mirallas for sure, maybe also Lukaku but at least he had some cause to preen himself, even though he is clearly a country mile from the complete footballer he thinks he is, some quite awful basic skills.

Williams I think has just been exasperated by being found out for being as mediocre as he is. Richie and Lookman? Not sure. The latter in my view has every right to be pushing to move.

If you have Walcott brought on ahead of you every time, and you sometimes don't even get on the bench, your manager is telling you he doesn't rate you. Same for Hudson-Odoi and it was the same for Sancho too. There's a wafer thin line between arrogance and ambition.

Dave Harrison
28 Posted 18/03/2019 at 21:04:06
Calvert-Lewin has 6 league goals this season from the time equivalent to about 14 full appearances. Not bad going for a young lad. Similar rate to Wolves' Jiminez, and Firmino from that lot. Not a world-beater, and may never be, but he puts himself about and makes things happen. Hope he leads the line for the rest of the season, and can perhaps change a few perceptions.
Mark Taylor
29 Posted 18/03/2019 at 21:06:44
Andy 24,

Have to say I agree with your namesake here. Of our current crop of successful youngsters, history suggests that only one will really make it at Premier League level. Out of the 'golden' batch of Kenny, Connolly Davies, Dowell, Lookman and Calvert-Lewin, I've always felt Lookman is the most likely followed by Calvert-Lewin but the latter is gaining ground by actually playing.

Moreover he does so in a system that would struggle to make a world class striker look good. There aren't any strikers who could make anything of the dross we served up to him in the first half on Saturday. But when we started getting a foot on the ball, Calvert-Lewin did more than okay against a top 6 team.

I'd be interested in seeing how he did in a team that actually provided him with a bit of support. I think he has better than a 50% chance of making it, ie, playing 200-plus Premier League games, or equivalent. Could he play for England? Probably a better chance than any of the rest of our 'golden' batch, given the wide roles are pretty well spoken for.

As an aside, such a shame as we go from having getting on for half of the U20 World Cup winning team, that our representation at England junior level is now so threadbare.

Tony Hill
30 Posted 18/03/2019 at 21:17:36
We just don't know yet about Mina. He's obviously had problems adjusting and he/his agent may want away. I think that would be a shame; it's far too early, of course, to make any clear judgment on his capacity for the Premier League, and that applies as much to himself as to the fans.
Steve Ferns
31 Posted 18/03/2019 at 22:46:17
If you accept that Calvert-Lewin is not the next Harry Kane, that that was a pipe dream at best, and that Harry Kane exploded in the 2014-15 season in a much better side than we have now, that really got the best out of him, and instead look at other compatriots, then Calvert-Lewin is still on course to be a very good striker. Sure, we have to forget comparing him to Rashford, who is a top forward in the making, and plays for the Man Utd first team for good reason.

So, we are left with Callum Wilson, Danny Welbeck, Jamie Vardy, Dominic Solanke, Daniel Sturridge, Charlie Austin, and Troy Deeney. Sturridge, Deeney and Vardy are all past 30 (or just short). Welbeck is one man injury crisis.

For me, Austin is not good enough and I was shocked at how old he now is. 2 goals all season is simply not good enough. Solanke, Calvert-Lewin and Abraham have always been of a similar level, with different ones adjudged to be the best at different stages.

Calvert-Lewin has scored 11 goals in 72 Premier League games, 316 minutes per goal. He also has 6 in 6 in the League Cup, 54 minutes per goal, and 1 in 5 in the FA Cup, 309 minutes per goal.

Solanke (now a bona fide £20M player) has 1 goal in 26 games, 804 minutes per goal. 0 goals in 1 League Cup games, and 0 goals in 1 FA Cup games.

Abraham has 5 goals in 33 PL games, a goal every 354 minutes. He's 4 in 7 LC games, 1 every 74 minutes, and 2 FAC goals in 8 games, 1 every 274 minutes. He's also scored 44 in 72 Championship games, 1 every 139 minutes.

Callum Wilson will supposedly cost anywhere between £30m and £80m to sign this summer. He's 27 now. Whereas Calvert-Lewin played Premier League football as a teenager, Wilson played in the conference. His first season of note came at the age of 21/22 (the age Calvert-Lewin is now) when he broke in the Coventry first team and scored 21 goals (never scored more than 1 a season before) and earned a move to Bournemouth with his exploits in League 1. He notched 20 the next season at 22/23 as Bournemouth were promoted to the top flight. Then at 23/24 he scored 5 goals in 13 Premier Legue games. At 24/25, he scored 6 in 20 Premier League games. Then last season, aged 25/26 he got 8 in 28 games. This season he has scored 11 in 23 games. He's now 27 and I'm astounded about the figures talked to buy him.

If we had both Wilson and Calvert-Lewin to pick from for West Ham, then I'm sure we'd nearly all go for Wilson. He's a notch at least better than Calvert-Lewin right now. But, Calvert-Lewin has more potential, he is playing at a higher level at a comparatively young age. He's also taller, and whilst not stronger now, he could be, he has the frame for it, if we choose to bulk him up a bit. He's also faster than him.

For my money, we can't sign a Kane. Finding a Rashford is very difficult. Buying a Wilson will cost a lot of money. Calvert-Lewin is better than Solanke. Most of us would argue better than Abraham too, who can score in the Championship, but not the Premier League. I think Calvert-Lewin will be better than Wilson, that perhaps Wilson is more of a flash in the pan, scoring double figures for the only time in the Premier League. I think Calvert-Lewin can do that next season, and perhaps still could this year with 7 left to play and only 4 needed, it's not impossible (though unlikely).

I think Brands needs to be trusted here. He knows the market, and I'm sure he will only move for a first choice striker if he can find someone who is much better than Calvert-Lewin now, or is better than Calvert-Lewin can realistically be. I'm not so sure that we can find such a player AND persuade him to come here. I'm not so sure that not signing a first team striker would be such a disaster as I am more and more confident that Calvert-Lewin can be as good as any striker outside of the top 6, and with a bit of luck, as all strikers need a bit of luck, he could be the one to fire us into the top 6.

Mike Doyle
32 Posted 18/03/2019 at 23:03:07
Clearly a lot of people at the club (better qualified judges of a young player than me and most TW posters) hold Calvert-Lewin in high regard.

Most posters seems agreed on:

1) The more he plays, the better he looks and seems to play.

2) He cannot be faulted on work-rate.

Let's give the lad a chance and get behind him. He's getting better and might turn out to be very good.

David Pearl
33 Posted 18/03/2019 at 23:16:48
You might even be forgiven for saying we could stick with what we have in the summer for the most part. We have had a lot of turnaround in playing staff with more to come. Calvert-Lewin coming into his own now which supports us not jumping into the January market as many of us, if not all, wanted.

I'd like to also see Richarlison played up top again as that's more his position than stuck running up and down the wing. So we have two young players with huge potential. Vlasic, Lookman and Onyekuru (spelling) to come back. Perhaps Dowell too.

On top of them it looks likely Gomes could be signed, not that he's set any fires lately. There may be better options or we could move Bernard inside. Let's hope we make the sales we need to and get just a couple top quality additions because we have the makings of a really good team. With the right coaching of course...

Don Alexander
34 Posted 18/03/2019 at 23:21:59
We've been leaderless since Kenwright took over. Everyone he appoints is in his pocket, literally in some coaches cases, and all the players kow-tow rather than show leadership by trying to improve as a unit. The bloke's long since poisoned our whole club.
Dave Abrahams
35 Posted 18/03/2019 at 00:11:44
Steve (31), I respect your opinions and I really rate DCL and expect him to become a top class striker, hopefully with the Blues. But Steve, he can't do it on his own, so another striker has to be bought in the next transfer window. Tosun, in my opinion, is not a Premier League player and he is the only striker apart from Dominic that we have who is ready to play in the Premier League now, or in the next couple of years.

If we don't buy another striker and a dominant midfield player in the summer, we will continue to struggle as we have done for most of this season and that is simply not good enough for the supporters of Everton. We expect and deserve much more than we have tolerated for the last two decades at least.

Terry White
36 Posted 19/03/2019 at 02:48:33
Don (#34), it doesn't take much for you to bash Mr Kenwright yet again. More accusations without proof, yet again. I wonder how small the coaches must be to be "literally" in his pocket. Give it a rest, Mr Alexander.
Mark Murphy
37 Posted 19/03/2019 at 06:30:22
Ha ha ha – Sammy Lee was literally quite small Terry...

Nice one!

Tony Abrahams
38 Posted 19/03/2019 at 08:25:58
I heard that, when Koeman was appointed, that Kenwright put a block on Sammy Lee coming with him, Mark?

No real proof, loads of Evertonians were disgusted when he joined with Allardyce, but a bad move if true because Ronald just never looked the same without little animated Sammy sitting next to him?

Brent Stephens
39 Posted 19/03/2019 at 08:46:21
Mark #37 –maybe some coaches were "literally" in Kenwright's pockets because he's got such big pockets – literally but certainly not metaphorically!
Kevin Prytherch
40 Posted 19/03/2019 at 08:56:04
David @37,

I disagree about Richarlison going back up front. He's the only winger we have who helps out significantly defensively and, when he does, the team looks far more balanced as a result.

I think it's no coincidence that we went backwards soon after his stint up front when he wasn't helping out as much defensively. His work in a wide midfield role compensated for Sigurdsson's reluctance to drop too deep to help out.

Steve Ferns
41 Posted 19/03/2019 at 09:31:50
Dave, I think we need another option, I just don't think we should spend over £30m on a striker unless it's someone better than Calvert-Lewin now and in 3 years time.
Christopher Timmins
42 Posted 19/03/2019 at 09:41:27
I know I am starting to sound like a broken record but let's judge the manager at the end of the season. There are still 7 games to play, almost 20% of the season, and some big games to come against the top 6.

I am glad that Calvert-Lewin is getting a run of games, how else can he improve. His confidence level is improving week by week. I also think that Bernard is starting to come into his own.

West Ham in 11 days will be another good test.

Kevin Prytherch
43 Posted 19/03/2019 at 10:12:59
It's a difficult scenario concerning Calvert-Lewin now.

He can't do it all on his own next season so will need some support and back up. However, if we buy someone to start instead of him we're back to square 1 with a player full of potential.

It's a shame that Tosun isn't slightly better or Hornby isn't a year or 2 older. Would the solution be a young loan player in the mould of Abraham?? Someone who won't expect to play every game and will only be there for a year, giving someone like Hornby a chance to develop and see if he can be the second-choice striker?

Mark Murphy
44 Posted 19/03/2019 at 11:02:10
Tony, I think your missing the point...

But maybe Sammy Lee was just too fat to literally fit in Kenwright's pockets??

Don Alexander
45 Posted 19/03/2019 at 11:09:52
Terry (#36), the club's deteriorated over thirty years, and the one common factor is we-all-know-who.

He's bullshitted, refused to answer fans' questions, taken "help" from very dubious sources before making himself, not the club, extremely rich off our back, employed several managers or coaches and God knows how many players and left us with the longest post-war period of trophyless dross. Some achievement. He makes Chris Grayling look a star.

I might be wrong. The club may just be possessed by evil spirits I suppose, but I'd like anyone to tell me just how many other Premier clubs take on former players with zero coaching credentials and within just a few years have them as a major factor in the squad's development?

Answers on a postcard please.

Paul Bernard
46 Posted 19/03/2019 at 13:07:56
Kevin #40,

I think if you look back at the season as a whole, it is actually Richarlison who doesn't track back (Sunday he did well), Sigurdsson makes up for it by sprinting back and then when the turnover of play occurs – Gylfi is missing.

For me personally, I would love to see Gylfi just stick around Calvert-Lewin. Richarlison is sulking because he has to play right wing and not left wing where he prefers to cut inside. How anyone can criticise Gylfi's workrate is beyond me!

We must focus on getting Zouma and Gomes signed permanently. If we don't have much to spend but clear out the deadwood over the summer then I'm willing to be patient for another season.

Tony Abrahams
47 Posted 19/03/2019 at 13:19:38
I also think Bernard gets through a lot of work getting back to defend, but this is probably missed because of his size.

I never missed the point Mark, I know Sammy Lee couldn't fit in Bill's pocket, but I don't reckon that Don's postcard would fit either, because I'm sure Kenwright would rip it up, even though he must know, “that you can't kid all of the people, all of the time”!

Dave Abrahams
48 Posted 19/03/2019 at 13:44:19
Steve (@41), fair enough, we definitely need another option. It would be impossible for Calvert-Lewin to carry on playing like he did on Sunday, very, very well, without some help or a rest now and again.
Steve Ferns
49 Posted 19/03/2019 at 14:09:55
Dave, what's your assessment of Hornby?

For me, he's not a natural striker. He used to be a midfielder and that shows. He can crack them in from the edge of the box but he doesn't score in a scramble. He's alright in the air, but you'd expect a bit more from a lad of his comparative size (at that level).

He's also 20 in 6 months. If he's going to make it, it needs a real explosion of goals and more substantial progress. At the time of the Scotland brace, he wasn't exactly scoring for fun for us. He's never been prolific. So, I fear he's going to come up short.

Dave Abrahams
50 Posted 19/03/2019 at 14:22:05
Steve (49), he's got a lot of things going for him. Good control, decent football brain, can hit a ball with both feet, seems a bit lethargic at times and could do with a lot more devil in his game. Let's see how he progresses next season, he's had a couple of injuries to interrupt him this season.
Steve Ferns
51 Posted 19/03/2019 at 15:13:12
At the end of next season, Dave, he’s the age Calvert-Lewin was at the start of the season. So, he’s very far behind in terms of development. I’d release him on loan and see if he can kick on.
Kevin Prytherch
52 Posted 19/03/2019 at 15:38:40
Steve / Dave – this is where I think getting a striker on loan next season might work for us. That way, if Hornby does make progress by the end of next season, we aren't lumbered with trying to sell a striker. And if he's looking like he won't make it by January, we can start planning.
Dave Abrahams
53 Posted 19/03/2019 at 16:22:13
Kevin (52), that makes a lot of sense.
Jay Harris
54 Posted 19/03/2019 at 18:11:43
or alternatively we could try Giroud for a season or two as he is out of contact in the summer and wouldnt cost a signing on fee.

He would also be a good mentor for DCL.

Hornby hasnt yet shown how good he could be at Premiership level which is way above u23 standard so although he shows promise he has a long way to go.

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