Ante Up

by   |   19/09/2018  20 Comments  [Jump to last]

Owning a Premier League club with aspirations for the top six is like joining an elite high-stakes Poker club, as Moshiri is finding out. Guided by charlatans and investing in 'yesterday's men' (Walcott, Sigurdsson, Bolasie, Williams, Rooney) and players who simply don't cut it (Niasse, Tosun) has and will hurt us hard until the nettle is fully grasped.

I would hope that, after recent games, the following is absolutely beyond doubt: we messed up regally in our transfer spending over the last two years and we must now wipe the slate clean. The process of cleaning up that mess appears to have started in the Summer and needs to continue post-haste. That doesn’t just extend to the players but the management personnel, as Walsh found out.

However, any professional poker player will tell you that angrily chasing losses from previous matches is fraught with doom. We just have to accept we had our pants pulled down on certain occasions (Swansea) and move on; it happens. There is hope in the form of Brands and the players recruited in the Summer but we cannot overlay these onto a team that doesn't match their standards and expect immediate results.

As optimistic as we all were before the Huddersfield & West Ham games, we've had a chastening reminder of the turnaround and scale of job required. You would hope that, after Sunday, the likes of Silva and Brands will be poring over the analysis and saying “not good enough, needs to go”. However, all the analysis in the world will account for nothing if we’ve no plan to put it right.

To take the sobering view when we reflect on the disgustingly ridiculous sums already spent (£45 million here, £30 million there) requires the most hard-faced poker player imaginable with the requisite balls of steel. I can only hope that Moshiri’s silent takeover is all about readying a seat at the table for the sort of player who can brush off the hardships in a heart-beat and has the financial clout necessary to take on the big hitters.

вы должны взломать несколько яиц, чтобы сделать омлет — As they say in Russia!

[To make an omelette, you must break a few eggs...]

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Pat Kelly
1 Posted 19/09/2018 at 17:00:53
We're going to need deeper pockets than Moshiri's to build a top four or even top six squad. Silva is essentially starting from scratch in this regard. Richarlison, Bernard, Digne, and hopefully Mina, are a good start. Zouma and Gomes are only on loan and could be gone end of season.

Add Pickford to the four signed and that leaves less than half a top team. The rest aren't good enough. That's the scale of the task.

Don Alexander
2 Posted 19/09/2018 at 17:35:51
Good article, Anthony. The hard part for most of us is wanting to support the team but having to tolerate how sadly ordinary many of the players are, allied to their weakness mentally and physically.

Just how we ended up over several years with such a short, puny, paceless bunch as have been infesting Finch Farm for years is beyond me. It's not as though most of them were/are loaded with skill either. They were only good for seventh at best and by definition they're not up to what's now needed to progress, unless they reveal new ambition and graft.

Physically they should be at their peak and Silva has the responsibility to ensure that. Mentally ain't as easy though. Do they have a "winner" mentality at all? Hopefully the new arrivals can galvanize the rest of the squad but, with so many failed ex-players still permeating Finch Farm, I fear cliques could easily develop. I hope I'm wrong though.

Steve Barr
3 Posted 19/09/2018 at 18:15:27

I think the answer to your question (2nd para) is Bill Kenwright and the rest of the board.

Just replay his praise of Martinez when he was appointed back in 2013:
“I met some of the finest individuals in football. The finest is sitting alongside me here today.”

“It gives me great relief, joy and excitement to welcome Roberto Martinez as the next manager of Everton Football Club,” he added.

These are the custodians of our club and have consistently let us down with their appointments and lack of professionalism which permeates throughout the club (and I base this observation on experiences of EFC across the board, eg, our merchandising, marketing, PR etc etc, and based on many posts from ToffeeWebbers who have worked at Goodison).

The only things we seem to do well are the charity work in the community and the support the club gives to the ex-players — neither of which addresses the real issues on the field.

Alan J Thompson
4 Posted 20/09/2018 at 07:09:28
In the same way as people are asking that Silva is given more time than five games, pre-season seems not to have existed; we must be a little more circumspect with regards to this summer's signings.

Zouma has played two games, one where he looked rather good and another almost quite the opposite.

Bernard has just about played half a game but has impressed.

Richarlison has spoilt his bright start by a needless sending off but it is similar to his start at Watford which seemed to have fizzled out.

Digne is another who looks promising but he, too, is part of a very leaky defence.

Mina hasn't trained or played since getting injured at the World Cup and it could be at least a month before he is available/fit for selection.

Gomes might not make the park this side of Christmas, if then.

They all might turn out to be aces in the hole but at the moment it is nearer to playing a blind hand and it is a game where we have to play the hand we've been dealt rather than hoping to draw something better. Folding is not and never will be an option but we are hoping that our dealer is at least running his fingers along the side of the pack.

Jim Bennings
5 Posted 21/09/2018 at 09:26:42
We haven't been able to bring in the absolute quality that Man City did when they first came into the money back in 2008.

They bought players that gradually made a difference: Robinho added flair, Kompany and Zabaleta were simply inspired signings brilliant for that club, and then Yaya Toure and Aguero were added to stealing Carlos Tevez from neighbours Manchester United.

Since we came into the money, we have possibly signed too many players from clubs at the bottom of the Premier League, players that were not really going to push us on to another level, players far too familiar with relegation battles coupled with players from weaker leagues abroad that haven't been up to it.

Williams, Bolasie, Schneiderlin, Gueye, Sigurdsson, Klaassen, Tosun, Sandro, Martina, Keane (so far) — none of whom you could expect to take you on to another level.

We have wasted an awful lot of money so far of poor players.

The fact remains we go into a game on Sunday against a far from vintage Arsenal team already resigned to our fate of another likely hammering or at least defeat, this despite spending pretty substantial amounts of money.

Sooner or late,r something will have to change at Everton.

As I say, Moshiri isn't here at this club to simply challenge for 7th or 8th every season surely?

Jay Harris
6 Posted 21/09/2018 at 10:08:42
That's all very true, Jim, but you don't need to splash big to get winners.

Look at the Leicester side that won the league. I wouldn't mind a punt on Drinkwater even now.

Every team needs one or two dogs of war and we haven't even got a puppy. Our midfield is a cobbled together ensemble of straw men who have no synergy whatsoever. Hopefully this along with a proper Lukaku replacement is high on Silva's agenda.

I actually don't think were far off but we lack that bite and determination and heads go down too easily,

Jim Bennings
7 Posted 21/09/2018 at 10:58:50

I couldn't agree more with you on the desperate need for more work ethic.

The biggest gripe I've had for years now is our lack of high pressing and work rate when we haven't got possession, we just don't work hard enough to win it back.

The best teams – from Manchester United in the 90s, Guardiola's Barcelona, this current Liverpool team under Klopp and as you say, Rainieri's title-winning Leicester team – all have that one thing in common, high energy pressing and defending from high up the pitch.

We haven't done it for years, we haven't really adopted it since the Merseyside derbies of the 1990s when we ratted around Liverpool and never gave them a moment's peace, as Joe Royle once said “if a crisp packet moves on the pitch tackle it”.

We have been far too easy to play against for years now and it's something, if I was manager, that would be the first thing I'd be working on, never mind the zonal marking.

Mike Allison
8 Posted 21/09/2018 at 11:02:42
Conclusions on this season are being drawn far too early.
Derek Thomas
9 Posted 21/09/2018 at 11:09:32
True, Mike...

It's much worse than it seems at first glance.

Brian Harrison
10 Posted 21/09/2018 at 11:12:36
As much as it pains me to say it, I have to acknowledge what a great job Klopp has done with the other lot. I know some say you have to spend big to be able to compete with the top 4. But when you look at their team apart from Allison and Van Dijk, we could have bought any of their players. Robertson, Henderson, Milner, Winauldam, Mane and Salah.

But Klopp knows how he wants his side to play – quick, counter-attacking and aggressive, and buys players both in midfield and attack to fit his style of play. They move the ball from back to front very quickly, also the front 3 play quite narrow and all with pace.

I think Silva also wants to play this way but at this moment with injuries and only 1 transfer window he doesn't quite have the players to play this way. But I think, given time, you will see Everton play in a similar style to our neighbours.

Michael Lynch
11 Posted 21/09/2018 at 11:22:54
Bernard @10,

If Silva wants to play the Klopp way, I'd say we need an entirely new midfield, and a replacement for Tosun, unless Marco's brave enough to play Richarlison at No 9 with Bernard to the left and Walcott to the right. We also need Mina fit asap for the Van Dijk role. Maybe next season, eh?

Mike Doyle
12 Posted 21/09/2018 at 13:51:26
Have to agree with Brian #10. Credit where it's due – over 3 years Klopp has massively improved their team.

I work with a number of Chelsea fans who certainly regarded Salah as an okay to average squad player at best during his spell at 'The Bridge'. They have a similar view of Ross Barkley. Wonder how that will work out??

Craig Walker
13 Posted 21/09/2018 at 14:23:18
When we sign a player, I always question whether that player will go to grounds like Anfield, Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge, the Emirates, and perform or will they be overawed? That for me is a measure of a good signing.

Very few times over the years have we signed a player where I've thought they'd make a difference in those types of games. I thought Duncan Ferguson, Andy Johnson, Cahill and Lukaku would. Only maybe Big Dunc and Cahill have consistently performed against the better teams. Too often we sign players who can look good against lesser teams, especially at home, but don't show up when it matters. Already our hopes are pinned on Richarlison and that he can get us the goals to kick start our season.

I bought into the view that Silva would improve every player. I really think he has his work cut out from what I've seen in the Huddersfield and West Ham games. There are problems all over the pitch. Worryingly, we are conceding goals too easily, not taking chances at the other end, and lack craft in midfield. How many years have we been saying that? I'm sure that we could and should have had a better starting XI based on the massive amounts of money we've squandered over the past 2 or 3 seasons.

Yet again, we are watching Everton go to the Emirates in hope rather than expectation. I can only think of two good performances at their place in recent times (Martinez's team getting a 1-1 thanks to Deulofeu and Pienaar chipping a goal to put us 1-0 up but only drawing, under Moyes).

Sometimes you wonder why we bother. It looks like a long hard season already and we're not into October. What will make it worse for me this season is that I think Liverpool are genuine contenders and have addressed areas of the pitch where they were weak. This holds a mirror up to us and makes it all the more disappointing just how much money we've squandered.

Jim Bennings
14 Posted 21/09/2018 at 17:41:15
We know and have known given our recent history spanning back a decade or so that whilst there are 38 fixtures each season we effectively can only win 32 if those.

Apart from the one-off win at Old Trafford in Martinez’ first season (when anything seemed posssible) as a general rule we don’t win away fixtures anymore at the top six it’s almost become one of life’s certainties.

Pat Kelly
15 Posted 21/09/2018 at 19:04:42
Aside from the difficulty beating the top six, Everton's wins in the past 3 seasons were 13, 17 and 11 out of 38 games per season. Everton's PL wins overall are 363 out of 1005 games.
Jim Bennings
16 Posted 21/09/2018 at 20:38:28
Yep Pat

Pretty average really isn’t it?

Always the thing that’s held us back is the lack of wins and I might be right in saying the only time in the Premier League era that we have reached the 20 mark in terms of wins was in Roberto Martinez first season, the record points total an all that.

It’s always been too many draws which was a bugbear under David Moyes, hard to beat but not enough victories to show.

In recent years the good solid home form (until recently anyway) has been held back by the shocking away form which has yielded just three wins from the last thirty away games stretching back to January 2017, that’s an appalling return.

Until Everton manage to find a good balance of home and away success then those problems will always persist and I’ve never understood those who say “win your home games and draw the always”.

We aren’t good enough to win 17 home games, usually we muster 11 or 12 wins at Goodison which means we need to start reaching a target of at the very least 6 away wins, surely not asking much given you play 19.

Pat Kelly
17 Posted 21/09/2018 at 20:47:52
Goals win games Jim. We won't get many from Tosun, DCL or Niasse.
Jim Bennings
18 Posted 21/09/2018 at 20:54:28
That’s true Pat.

That’s why despite having spent so much money in the last three years we have failed to address the loss of Lukaku.

Unless Richarlison is going to be deployed as a centre forward and take the chance when (or if) it comes then as far as I’m concerned we don’t have a striker worthy of the clubs name.

Trevor Peers
19 Posted 21/09/2018 at 22:01:41
All comes under the heading ' badly run club ' Jim.
Until we have excellent, talented and gifted football people at the very top, we will be always be perennial also rans, or even worse.
Money without having the best brains is no better than having any money at all.
Clarence Yurcan
20 Posted 22/09/2018 at 15:25:38
Jim #5 completely agree (though I will say I'm pretty sure they bought Kompany before the Emriati takeover), I've heard people say Moshiri is a "false dawn" but we have actully spent money, I think we're in the top 4 in Premier League clubs in spending over the last 4 windows.

But when Man City first got money they brought in the likes of Aguero, Silva etc and Chelsea as well when they got moneyed. Instead of spending £25m here and £30m there on the likes of Klaassen, Keane et al, we should have spent £90m on a top striker, £50m on a top central defender et al

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