Stale Bread

Martin O'Connor 09/10/2019 51comments  |  Jump to last
As we head into the second international break of the season, the Blues lie in the bottom three… which leaves me wondering: Where do we stand on the Toffees' start to the season and the position of Marco Silva?

The start of the season has – to put it lightly – not been great, and – to put it more forcefully – has been downright terrible! The team is playing football from side to side, lots of possession with no cutting edge, while at the back, apart from Yerry Mina, the defence has looked incredibly vulnerable. For every game, we can name the starting eleven and who and when the substitutions will be made, while playing 4-2-3-1, which has been our de facto set-up forever and a day. The Blues are looking like a team that has become like a lump of stale bread. So what are the solutions to this state of affairs? Let us look at the players first and then the Manager.

The Defence

A minus-seven goal difference from the first eight games of the season shows that all is not right in this department. The set-piece problems, which haunted the team for two-thirds of last season, have come back with a vengeance. The Jeff Hendrick goal for Burnley against us was criminal and shows the lack of communication and cohesion the team has on set-pieces. You could see Hendrick all alone from down the other end of the pitch, where we were stood, before the corner actually came into the box.

Zonal or man-to-man marking makes no difference when we are defending set-pieces this badly. Only training-ground practice can solve this issue, and it is not only the defenders but the whole team who are culpable on this issue.

As for the defensive players, only Yerry Mina can hold his head up and say he has put in any sort of performance so far this season. Jordan Pickford has been okay and made crucial saves down at Crystal Palace and in the home wins against Watford and Wolves. But errors are still in his game and need to be eradicated quickly.

Pickford was at fault for the own goal against Sheffield United and also for the Mahrez free-kick scored for Manchester City. A good goalkeeper but flaws which were apparent at times last season, none more so than the 3-2 defeat at Newcastle United, are starting to reappear and need to be cut out as quickly as possible.

As for the full-backs, nothing good can be said for any of them so far this season. For all his past service, Seamus Coleman’s position in the team really has come to an end. Granted, he picked up in the final third of last season but his performances this season (Manchester City aside) have clearly shown he should no longer be a starter for the Blues. Wondering "Would Jonjoe Kenny have done any better?" is a moot point with him out on loan for the season at Schalke.

However, I still have doubts on Jonjoe Kenny. As well as he has started in the Bundesliga, he has been at fault for two goals scored against Schalke so far this season, at home to Bayern and away to Paderborn. Which brings us to Djibril Sidibé, brought in from Monaco on a season-long loan to be back-up and to push for Coleman’s starting berth.

I wrote on Sidibé in an earlier article “Marks On a Window”, that he switches off in games, has been injury-prone over the last few seasons, and has regressed since playing in the 2016-17 Monaco title triumph in France. Nothing in the two Carabao Cup games he has played in has shown this assessment to be wrong but, at present, he seems the better option over Coleman and will now get his chance with Coleman suspended.

We are clearly weak at right-back as we are at left. Lucas Digne is a wingback; good going forward… but a stand-out defender? I think not. The hype around him from a large section of Evertonians last season was totally over the top. Did he have a good season? Yes. Was he Player of the Season? No, he was not; that was the large hole in our team — now plying his trade at PSG.

Digne has to a certain extent been found out after last season. He was torn apart by Adama Traore in the Wolves game last month and was totally caught out for Manchester City’s first goal, also last month. He was culpable for all three of Millwall's goals in that disastrous display at the New Den in January. Digne is also very weak in the air while, this season, his deliveries into the box (the wining cross against Wolves apart) have been abysmal.

I am not going to damn him totally; he can get forward and deliver good balls and can work on his defensive play but, at the moment, he has lost form and the team is suffering. Why? Because we are unable to take him out of the side for even one game as we only have Leighton Baines as back-up — a player well past his sell-by date. Baines is constantly unfit these days and should never have been given a 1-year contract extension.

At centre-back, as I said above, Yerry Mina has been the only player to come out with any sort of credit so far this season. After an injury-hit first season in England, it is hoped he will continue to progress, as he has not been anywhere near perfect. Michael Keane, on the other hand, has reverted back to what he is — a slow average Premier League player. Yes, in the final third of last season, he played well alongside Kurt Zouma, but this I would put down more to the form and pace of Zouma rather than Keane himself.

The long, drawn-out, fruitless chase of Zouma this Summer has started to bite. Would Mason Holgate be any worse than Michael Keane? I say he can’t be any worse and, if we don’t give Holgate some league time, we are never going to know if he will reach the potential many, including myself, thought he had. Surely he deserves a chance.

The Midfield

To say we have been sluggish in this area is an understatement. We move the ball side to side and backwards with no real purpose and no great speed. There are mitigating circumstances here in that Gbamin, who seems to be the one to fill the giant hole which Gana has left, has been injured.

André Gomes has also had an injury-hit start to the season (although he has not exactly set the world on fire in the games he has played), but he is clearly the creative spark for the team. So, in the absence of Gbamin and Gomes, and with Tom Davies not really being given a chance, we have carried on with a midfield of Morgan (safe pass) Schneiderlin, Fabian (Mr Leadership) Delph and Gylfi (over-priced) Sigurdsson.

No matter what my opinions on the player’s performances so far this season, the one player who every Evertonian will agree with me on is Morgan Schneiderlin. I wrote when we signed him that it was an awful transfer. A gutless player whose whole lookout is to play the safe pass (lots of them to make his stats look good) and get silly red cards. He should be nowhere near the team.

Which brings me on to Fabian Delph. For his price, I thought he could turn out to be a good signing and he has looked okay in some games, but was also totally at fault for the second goal Bournemouth scored against us last month.

It is his injury record, which is a concern; the number of games he misses through injury is rather large. He missed the start of the season through injury after coming off in the friendly game at Werder Bremen and is at present injured again, but hopefully will be fit by the time the West Ham game roles around.

Also, with the team being in such a bad run of form, where is the leadership quality on the pitch, which Delph in part has been signed for? He needs to up his game… but, to be fair, he has been by far the better player out of the three who have been playing in the absence of Gomes and Gbamin.

Which brings us to Gylfi Sigurdsson. He is a player who, at present, is totally out of form and is not producing anything on the pitch; yet, like Schneiderlin, he is persisted with. I have never been a big fan of Sigurdsson and said when he was signed I would never have taken him, and that he was over-priced by a good £26 million at least.

Sigurdsson slows the play down in midfield and has never really offered the killer balls, free kicks and or corners, which were his trademark at Swansea City. Bernard, Iwobi. Gomes and Tom Davies can play in the Number 10 role; gvien the form of Sigurdsson at the present moment, anyone of that four would do a better job.


First thing here is to say Richarlison needs to up his game. We all know how good he is but he has not produced so far this season, except against Wolves. Iwobi has produced some good moments, as has Bernard, but not on a consistent basis. Six goals scored in eight games is frankly nowhere near good enough which leads us to our strikers (except Niasse — he is not in this conversation).

Of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Moise Kean and Cenk Tosun we have one in Tosun who – no matter how much you want him to succeed – is not up to Premier League standards. So we are left with 22-year-old Dominic Calvert-Lewin and 19-year-old Moise Kean.

Calvert-Lewin is an improving player but, with the best will in the world, he is not at present, and may never be a 20-goal-a-season striker. Calvert-Lewin has a great leap and is capable of holding the ball up, which brings us back to the sluggish movement of the team. When Calvert-Lewin does win or hold the ball up, there is never anyone near him to receive the large number of flick-ons he wins.

While in young prodigy, Moise Kean, when he has been on the pitch, he has been starved of service, or the team has been incapable of playing to his strength by playing through balls for him to run on to. Without this service, we are negating one of Kean’s main weapons. We need to start feeding the right balls through to Kean and give him a run in all of the games between now and the November international break.

In all, it is a damning view on the awful performances from the Blues but, as bad as the players have been, they are given tactics and trained by the Manager and his staff.

The Manager

As outlined above, we have a team that is woefully underperforming and is persisting in playing the same way, week-in & week-out. This has allowed teams to work the Toffees out and to set out a game plan, which our tired stale formula has no answer for. The buck ultimately for this lies at Marco Silva’s door… so what should he do?

Silva needs to look at the system we are playing; if he is to persist with 4-2-3-1, look at the personnel to fit into that system. As outlined above, neither Schneiderlin nor Sigurdsson are offering anything at present (and, in my view, they never will). Gbamin is some way off a return to fitness, but would Tom Davies do a worse job then Schneiderlin alongside Delph?

Davies would at least try some forward passes and give us work rate and deserves his chance at the moment. But, with André Gomes now back fit, it would be the best option for him to fit back in alongside Fabian Delph.

Which leads us to Gylfi Sigurdsson. I have made my views on Sigurdsson clear but, if you think he is an Everton player or not, at present, he is offering nothing in the team and needs to be benched. Bernard or Iwobi need to be given the Sigurdsson role. Whichever takes this role, the other can play out wide. Or give this role to either Gomes or Davies, with the other one playing alongside Delph.

Silva has also claimed his preferred option is 4-3-3 and it would seem that he had this in mind for this season with the midfield three consisting of Gbamin, Delph and Gomes. With Gomes now coming back from injury, why not go to 4-3-3 with the midfield three consisting of Davies, Delph and Gomes until Gbamin returns?

Finally, we can also go with two up top in a 4-4-2 formation, allowing Calvert-Lewin and Moise Kean to play as a pair, with Richarlison and Bernard or Iwobi out wide, along with Delph and Gomes as the middle two.

A final point about systems is that Anthony Gordon has moved on incredibly fast since the start of the season and needs to be brought in from the Under-23s and given a place on the bench in place of Tosun.

There are plenty of options for Silva to play to enable him to arrest the abysmal form and turn the season around, but will he have the nerve to do this? Surely it has dawned on him that, at the moment, we are a tired non-functioning team and, if he persists with the players and style of play we have been producing since the start of the season, then it will ultimately end with Marcel Brands handing him his P45.

Marco Silva came to the blues on a 3-year contract, a progressive manager offering the hope of front-foot football after the dross we had been watching since the first good season under Bobby Brown Shoes. We had glimpses of the Silva vision last season from the win away at Leicester City up to the Pickford brainfart at Anfield. Again we showed glimpses in the final part of the season, although I think we may have thought we were getting better than what we actually were by the end of the season.

Should Silva be ditched? My answer is: No. It is too early for panicked reactions after just 8 games. We are in the bottom three, yes, but we are also only 4 points off 7th.

The next block of fixtures leading up to the November international break are pivotal for Marco Silva and the team. We have four Premier League games: West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur at home, and Brighton and Hove Albion and Southampton away, plus the Watford Carabao Cup game at home.

I think Silva can turn this around with the options outlined above during this period but he has to start now by making these changes and baking some fresh bread.

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Reader Comments (51)

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Derek Thomas
1 Posted 10/10/2019 at 03:38:03
The game is won and lost in the midfield. We don't have one; all we have is a gaggle under-performing players in individual positions... No 10, No 8, 2 defensive midfielders etc.

Until we get a midfield unit, be it 3, 4 or 5 that play and function as a whole, the defence will always be under presure and the attack starved of chances.

Kieran Kinsella
2 Posted 10/10/2019 at 04:40:43
Nice of you to not “damn Digne completely” in an article when you say Gomes is a creative spark and Silva should stay. Not quite in line with my views on things.
Ken Kneale
3 Posted 10/10/2019 at 07:27:46
"Marco Silva came to the blues on a 3-year contract, a progressive manager offering the hope of front-foot football after the dross we had been watching."

What in heaven's name is 'front-foot' about anything Silva offers.

Derek – you sound like Harry Catterick - and he knew a thing or two about midfield units.

Steve Hogan
4 Posted 10/10/2019 at 07:35:12
Martin, enjoyed the article, but I just don't believe Silva has the ability or player motivation to turn things around, either in the short or long term.

Eight games in and were talking about a new manager. None of the fans or Directors of the club wanted this scenario, but I can't see it ending in anything but tears.

The real dilemma is choosing the next guy, whose is available, who would come til the end of the season, possibly on an interim basis.

Another season wasted really, even at this early stage.

Dick Fearon
5 Posted 10/10/2019 at 07:44:20
One of our problems is, when one of our wingbacks is charging down the wing, the other wingback does not drop into a defensive role. The two centrebacks have to cover the full width of the pitch thus creating huge gaps that opponents penetrate using long balls that drop into the space between our backline and our keeper. The keeper's reluctance to come off his line only adds to the problem.

As for facing free kicks the main thing that's missing is communication. Until that improves, all the advice in the world is a waste of time.

Our problem in that department is not zonal marking but how to use it.

Joe McMahon
6 Posted 10/10/2019 at 08:18:53
It's all been stale football apart from 1 season of Martinez and 2 of Joe Royle since Colin Harvey (he tried and signed some good players). The midfield has been an issue for donkey's years lacking pace and creativity. We've always struggled with forwards so much so that Ferguson somehow is heralded a legend. Could you imagine in the same era if we had Ian Wright.

Like many after decades of it I find Everton exasperating. Until we have a fresh manager and removing the past which Kenwright gushes over, I can't see anything changing. I'm not a season ticket holder but go when I can, and after Saturday's pitiful performance, I'm prepared to sit out and wait.

Derek Knox
7 Posted 10/10/2019 at 08:59:39
Stale Bread! What do you normally do with it?

Bin it, or feed it to the pigs and ducks!

While we're at it we knead a new recipe, and a new baker. :-)

Scott Robinson
8 Posted 10/10/2019 at 09:06:48
We have had a dream opening to the season against the majority of the teams in the lower half of the table, and we have failed miserably. Leadership is about accountability and the buck stops with Silva.
Trevor Peers
9 Posted 10/10/2019 at 09:27:13
Anything can happen in football, Silva could spark a mini revival, it has to start against West Ham and it might save his job for now.

Overall, though, I think he's a weak manager and another big losing run is always just around the corner with Marco. Is that what we really want/

John Keating
10 Posted 10/10/2019 at 09:29:21
The West Ham game is pivotal and I think will determine our season.

Silva, by his own admission, says it's a must-win. The players obviously know the situation, performance-wise, individually and collectively. Management and players must know the importance of the game. If the players don't perform then it will show they really don't support the manager.

If Silva persists with the same dour insipid set-up and tactics and does not get a result surely senior management will be forced to act.

Yes. the Club has failed over a period of years but lately, we have gone backwards, and that is down to one man.

Jerome Shields
11 Posted 10/10/2019 at 09:30:04
This is a good realistic assessment of the squad and Manager. I will look again at where my opinion may differ on certain players, but I think the difference is my optimism anyway. Your suggestion on where improvement in levels of positional performance and movement are spot on.

What you have set out for the fixtures after the international break is reasonable and achievable. Everton should be able to lift themselves up to perform. You would think that the disappointment of there previous performance, would spur them on to adapt and increased effort, but you would have expected something on the immediate rebound after each individual team disappointing performance.

I have often hoped that international breaks would allow extra time for those available to improve tactics and organization, up their game and stake their claim for selection. This has never happened.

In my opinion, the doubts I have on it actually panning out, points to deeper problems in the Club. But, your article is reasonable for what should be achievable, and expectations in the field.

I agree that Silva should be allowed to continue to try to achieve in the direction you have outlined. I can't see any other Manager available making a difference. The danger is another wasted two seasons in developing the Club.

Niall McIlhone
12 Posted 10/10/2019 at 09:33:16
I've always advocated sticking with Silva, Martin, on the basis that we will never build anything without persisting with a style of play until it bears fruit, with the players not having to think twice about their role in the team. The evidence on the pitch, however, is that this current crop of players can't hack it, and of course, about a third of the 1st team squad could easily be farmed out to the Championship and that would be about their level.

I am afraid stale bread is, indeed, on the table. The fans see it, and recent performances have been woeful, I think this season will be, at best, one of consolidation, but I have now moved on and I don't think Silva is the man who can get us out of this mess?

Tony Marsh
13 Posted 10/10/2019 at 09:40:46
Article is way too nice. The Everton fanbase is also way too nice. I often wonder where our fans get the audacity to call Kopites Gobshites yet put up with the garbage we've had at Everton for almost 30 years. That Gobshites across the park wouldn't put up with Kenwright for this long and Silva would've been gone straight after the Sheffield Utd game.

Once Silva dipped his toe in the waters of the bottom 3, he should've been toast but here we are – a laughing stock again, languishing in the relegation zone, a small fortune wasted on shite players — and sections of our support are okay with it.

Everytime I hear Evertonians singing Kopites are Gobshites, I cringe. Those Gobshites across the park get rid of owners and managers who aren't up to it quicker than you can say "12 years of Moyes". Sorry to say this, guys, but it is in fact we Evertonians who are the Gobshites these days. I include myself in the last comment as I bought in to the Moshiri dream that is now a nightmare. Having said that, I soon realised Moshiri is a Kenwright stooge and once again we are being lied to.

Silva Out! N to Moyes!!! And let's move on from this cycle of ineptitude, apathy and a delusional state of well-being. All is not well at EFC.

Clive Rogers
14 Posted 10/10/2019 at 09:50:16
Personally, I have been disappointed with Davies's cameo appearances this season and don't think he is ready.

I would prefer Gomes to replace Sigurdsson, who looks to be on his last legs, and Gbamin to partner Delph when fit. I would give Kean a run of games instead of Calvert-Lewin, who never looks like a striker to me, unfortunately. Sidibe also should now have a run although there are concerns about his defensive qualities.

I have a feeling Silva will be gone if we lose to West Ham.

Jerome Shields
15 Posted 10/10/2019 at 09:57:39
Additional note.

There has been some improvement over last season, but the expected push on this season has not materlised. Two wasted seasons isn't an accurate description.

Sam Hoare
16 Posted 10/10/2019 at 10:06:43
In summation: Most of our players are pretty crap, so is our manager but we should probably stick with him for now!

Feels a fairly negative take to me but maybe hard to disagree too much given our current position. I think Schneiderlin (much as I hate him) and Sigurdsson have become the whipping boys this season. The former has been doing the job asked of him as well as any and the latter is still in the top 5 players in the league for chances created, it's not his fault we don't put any of them away! I'm not saying they would definitely be part of my starting XI but they alone are certainly not the problem.

Our defense has been better than you'd think from open play, conceding among the lowest amount of chances in the league. Set pieces though has obviously been a total disaster. Despite Silva apparently spending ages working on them!

The attacking systems have been terrible with far too much dependance on crosses and not enough going through the middle. No variety and not enough movement in behind. I presume that comes from coaching rather than the players but something is not working.

All in all, I think Silva has become terrified with conceding and we seem to be playing with far less confidence than before. Perhaps due to the lack of mobility at centre-back we are playing a deeper line with less bodies getting forward. Hence the football has been less exciting this season. Stale bread indeed.

Jerome Shields
17 Posted 10/10/2019 at 10:47:03

I agree with most of what you say. The play in the final third is very weak and has been most of last season as well. The midfield is not mobile enough and is too static in a positional sense, probably as a result of instructions. I agree with Martin's assessement regarding Calvert-Lewin and the lack of support play for forwards and the need for more central play as you suggest.

In defence Coleman is a yard short and I would prefer giving Sidibe a run. Digne is getting pinned back and caught in two minds. His crosses I believe have suffered, because of forwards not being aware of the position they have to be in to receive them. They rarely get in front of their marker and rarely attack the near post. It's the same from the other wing. A scatter diagram shows how accurate Digne crosses are positionally.

Mina looks good when the play is in front of him, but has difficulty defending on the turn and can lapse in concentration. Keane is okay if his partner in defence leads well. They are both carthorses getting forward and both prefer to p!ay deep. Holgate is miles better than both of them on distribution.

It is possible with the players Everton have, to turn things around, but there has to be a wholesale change in attitude and motivation. I don't think the Manager is confident on this front.

Rob Dolby
18 Posted 10/10/2019 at 11:03:37

Like many of us, the glass is half empty at the moment and it reflects in your judgement on players.

We have a first team full of internationals. I actually think we have a top keeper and a very good defence.

In the midfield we have talented players though as a post above stated they are not a unit that dominates games. Upfront we are toothless with a lot of potential.

The manager seems happy with possession, low risk football. He has proven his system and formations don't have resilience. He will not move away from zonal. Even Lincoln sussed that one out.

It is only a matter of time before he gets the sack unless he fundamentally changes his style.

If he gets to January and that's a big if. We need more goals in the team otherwise it will be the same old stuff.

David Pearl
19 Posted 10/10/2019 at 11:30:36
OMG Bring on the next game, we have another 9 days to go. Can l make it without cracking up? More...

What gets me is we have a split on ToffeeWeb with who sees what problem and who cant because they don't have the knowledge or knowhow or have never played or never trained with any semi pro or pro team and they just mimic the masses.

Our shape is to blame. He can't see the simplest thing because he is scared to play and trust a £450M squad. We have good players. Schneiderlin and Sigurdsson are two such players being made to look mediocre by the managers tactics. This manager of ours is making (pause and place little finger in my mouth)... 1 Million Dollars... 1 Billion Dollars?? He's making a shit load of doh and doesnt have the ability to tweak his tactics ever.

Zonal marking... Is NOT the problem.

Goals?? We have them in the team already if we could get more than 1 player in the box and we play with any kind of confidence.

We had a great run last season?? Yes, we did. What good did it do? Answers on a postage stamp, please. We didn't build on it so it papered over the cracks. Any amount of pressure and we fall to pieces.

I'm going back to bed.

Jerome Shields
20 Posted 10/10/2019 at 11:46:26
David, I feel that way as well I feel we are going to die in circles on ToffeeWeb. Hopefully we won't get a Stadium announcement as the PR Department feels the need to fill the gap. I also feel that they are all having their fry up and feet up at Finch Farm, not giving a Flying Fuck!
Tony Everan
21 Posted 10/10/2019 at 12:09:31
Marco Silva could have made life so much easier for himself if he was more switched on to changing his ineffective 4-2-3-1 formation and having the balls to drop ineffective out-of-form players that cost a lot of money.

There is not one Evertonian on the planet that didn't groan when they saw the teamsheet against Burnley. It is infuriating that there is a stubborness to stick with the same system, and players within it, that produces the same results.

It is also alarmingly worrying for the future that we have a manager who is not creative or pro-active in times of adversity. And, in football, adversity lurks behind every corner (literally with us!).

To be given a stay of execution and the West Ham game is undeserving, is Marco the golden child? Unless the manager can change his stubborn ways pretty damned fast, he will be sacked by the avalanche of fans who won't accept any more of it.

Jamie Crowley
22 Posted 10/10/2019 at 12:19:51
I think Silva can turn this around with the options outlined above during this period but he has to start now by making these changes and baking some fresh bread.

They'll be day-old bread coming.

The return to health of Gomes will result in Morgan being dropped from the line-up. That one move alone will help us immensely. We'll look better, and the ball will go forward more quickly.

Unfortunately for Marco, he's as stubborn as a mule. Sigurdsson will still start and be ineffective, and the system of play will never alter as we play the ball wide constantly, and our young talented strikers will remain starved of service. We won't score goals at any acceptable rate.

The end game of this is only two outcomes:

1. Marco doesn't win and is fired

2. Marco actually starts winning some games, probably a few 1-0 or 2-1 scorelines, and we kiss our sister all season, accepting mediocrity while we run down the manager's contract.

Neither outcome gets you excited, does it? Which is why the board should be flayed for allowing this to go on, and not showing real bravery and leadership by making a needed change.

Dennis Stevens
23 Posted 10/10/2019 at 12:27:51
Stale bread? Only good for making toast — that would seem ominous for Silva!
Derek Taylor
24 Posted 10/10/2019 at 12:32:44
Nobody at the Club can be happy with how we have started this season. But 'they' don't pick the side and tell them how to play. As ever, that's down to the manager and I'm sure the owner, his Board and senior executives are as worried as we are about Mr Silva. Probably more so.

So what can we expect them to do about it ? Well, as so many indicate on here, they can sack the guy who is causing them and us so much angst. But will they take that step right now?

I think not... for, whilst Moshiri has shown himself to be quick on the draw, it's cost big bucks to change managers after a few bad results and then to find each appointment is worse than the one before.

But what's different now is that the hiring and firing is on the recommendation of the Director of Football - or so we are led to believe - and I suspect that worthy will want/need to be very confident in who he puts forward as our next saviour for fear of his own job.

So, once again, patience is called for, and so is prayer. Prayer that, just for once, he/they get the man – and the timing right. Not too much to expect for £3M a year is it?

Jay Wood

25 Posted 10/10/2019 at 12:48:00
Sorry, Martin, nothing personal against you and your article, some of which I can agree with; some of which I disagree with.

But the plethora of articles on the subject matter – as highlighted by the 'More Recent Articles' links under the opening post – is getting tedious now.

Maybe the hiatus brought on by the international break means with no immediate Everton games to reflect on, the dead space needs filling somehow.

It's a measure of our latest crisis – and four consecutive league defeats, sitting 3rd from bottom, negative goal difference of -7 after just 8 games, only 6 goals scored – IS a crisis, that the columns of TW are filled with apocalyptic articles, but pretty much everything has been said now.

This is just one more regurgitation of all the similar articles that have gone before. In summary, either Silva starts winning games or he will rightly be dismissed.

At least that will change the subject matter to either upbeat and how far up the table we can climb, or crystal-ball gazing as to who the new manager will be.

Mike Kehoe
26 Posted 10/10/2019 at 13:11:43
Jamie 22,

"We win 2-1 and kiss our sister all season"?!?

I've not heard that expression before.

Are you from Tarleton perchance?

Tony Everan
27 Posted 10/10/2019 at 13:13:25
There's also the factor that Mr Brands cannot get in any of the managers he would choose as being good enough for the club.

I don't think he will want to try for someone he thinks is second best. And hence, Marco is given more time to prove himself.

That can only be for so long though. If we hemorrhage more points against West Ham and Brighton, then, at the very least, a competent caretaker will be installed until next summer.

Stan Schofield
28 Posted 10/10/2019 at 14:34:29
You can use stale bread to make bread pudding.
Jay Harris
29 Posted 10/10/2019 at 14:56:00
Talking about stale bread, Mourhino is apparently claiming he is lined up for a Premier League job.

To my mind, that can only be us, Spurs, or a return to Man Utd.

Tony Hill
30 Posted 10/10/2019 at 14:58:10
Spurs, Jay, I would imagine, if this is true. Lord knows how he'd get on with Levy.
Gerard McKean
31 Posted 10/10/2019 at 16:53:42
I tend to agree with Jay #25 that there’s not much else to say regarding Silva at the moment. What I did like in your article though, Martin, was your examination of the players’ performances thus far and it’s hard to disagree with your conclusions.

I’m always reticent about putting in my sixpence worth on tactics and set ups as there are many TW’ers who do this much better. But for the sake of argument and using your own findings maybe Silva needs to explore other ways of getting the most out of the players at his disposal?

I’m thinking of the “five at the back model” which would a) allow Digne and Coleman/Sidibe to play to their main strengths as wing backs, and b) bring in the pace and tough tackling of Holgate in between Keane and Mina. Jumping ahead I believe those two young lads DCL and Kean need to play TOGETHER up front and let’s see if they can bond into a complementary partnership.

That leaves 3 places in the all important engine room. I’m not a fan of two defensive midfielders and with a back five it’s arguable that you don’t need one at all. A good midfielder should be able to defend and attack, see passes and get about the pitch. It looks to me like Gomes is the lynchpin and I’d go for any two from Bernard, Iwobi or your suggestion of young Gordon.

I know this leaves out some big money buys but I agree again with your analysis: Richarlison, Sigurdsson and Schneiderlin have not turned up this season. Delph brings a leadership that I admit is lacking in my team, apart from Pickford but I never like GK as captain, but I’m picking a more offensive set up and he doesn’t make my First XI. The jury’s out on the lad who’s injured and I’d like to see Davies get some more playing time off the bench. People forget that Kendall/Ball/Harvey we’re only young men of 21/22 when they first came together.

Mike Gaynes
32 Posted 10/10/2019 at 18:44:47
Gerard, if more offense is the objective, I like the idea of DCL and Kean together up front, but I would point out that your lineup subtracts our two leading goalscorers from last season while adding another defender who contributes nothing in attack. We would thus have no one on the pitch with the proven ability to score more than six goals a season, and no one in the midfield capable of more than three.

I'm not sure that accomplishes the objective.

Jay Harris
33 Posted 10/10/2019 at 19:03:08
Im with you Mike I think Siggy and Richy's form is more symtomatic of the lack of confidence and movement throughout the team and either is worth puttin on the pitch because if they get a chance they are more likely to score than anyone else in the squad.
Gerard McKean
34 Posted 10/10/2019 at 19:23:11
Fair points, Mike and Jay, but maybe the shock of being dropped might help them? The squad is lopsided, I don’t think Brands covered himself in glory during the Summer in leaving Silva with big gaps and so the manager has to work with what he has. Unfortunately his apparent inflexibility means that he isn’t doing anywhere near well enough.

I just chose a team and formation based upon Martin’s player analysis. The offensive potential also comes from a midfield packed with pace and attacking intent and from wing backs free to support offensive movements. I’m sure DCL and Kean would thrive much more in this system than in one where they are the offence alone in the absence of any serious support from the likes of Richarlison and Siggi.

Mike Gaynes
35 Posted 10/10/2019 at 19:55:08
Can't argue with the isolation argument, Gerard -- there's no cohesion to the attack at all, and like you'd I'd love to see two at the top. But I haven't noticed Digne and Coleman having any trouble getting forward, and frankly I don't think there's more they can add right now even if Holgate is added to give them more freedom.

And personally, I don't think what Richarlison needs is a "boot up the arse" as they say here, but just less exhausting defensive responsibilities. I think playing, not sitting, will return him to form faster.

Steve Ferns
36 Posted 10/10/2019 at 20:14:13
The problem with the extra centre-back is that when all is said and done, we don't need an extra centre-back as we have more of the ball. So playing with one will mean one of the centre-backs is spending a lot of time in positions a midfielder would be in. Effectively, he would be where Schneiderlin is. And as shite as 90% of you think Schneiderlin is, none of the centre-backs can pass the ball even half as well as him. You need a midfielder in this position unless you are playing someone like Man City, but we did well enough against City without one.

Sorry, but I really, really hate formations with 3 big centre-backs. The only one I have seen that I enjoyed watching was Bielsa's 343 but he took Gary Medel (played in the PL for Cardiff) and effectively played a defensive midfielder as a centre back, with Ponce sweeping behind. It didn't work at club level (for Bilbao) so he ditched it, pushing the position back into midfield and bringing back fullbacks.

Ian Pilkington
37 Posted 10/10/2019 at 22:19:58
I agree with most of Martin's article except the main point: Silva does not deserve to remain in charge for another moment, never mind 3 or 4 more matches; he should never have been appointed.

I am thoroughly sick of the appalling way our club is being run and totally agree with Tony Marsh.

Joe Corgan
38 Posted 10/10/2019 at 22:54:29
The root of the problem is Silva. That's the start and end of it. Sure, some of the players haven't been great but they're low on confidence. I'd actually put our squad up against most in the Premier League.

Regardless of what anyone thinks of Schneiderlin or Sigurdsson, they're better midfielders than anything some of the teams that have beaten us have.

We have fast, young, pacey players, including Iwobi, Kean and Richarlison. You can add Bernard, Walcott and Calvert-Lewin to those. Then add attacking full-backs like Digne and Coleman and you've got the basis of a team which is absolutely made to player fast, counter-attacking football.

Players like Gomes and Sigurdsson can play on the counter-attack too, by moving the ball forward quickly to runners.

But no. That clueless idiot in charge decides we're going to try and play possession football. Never mind our defensive frailties, the fool can't even see the bloody obvious. Get on the training ground and coach our players into breaking the offside trap, finding space and making runs to pull defenders out of position. Get them working together. Teach them how to “sit-off” to create space in behind before all working together to win the ball and hit on the counter.

The other option – if Silva is adamant we need to play possession football – is to sell half the squad and bring in players who suit that style of play.

I truly believe our defensive problems could sort themselves out. Clearly more work needs to be done defending set-pieces, but from open play our biggest issue seems to be moving the whole team up the pitch than having a new arsehole torn open by a single pass to a lone runner.

For me, it's not a case of hoping Silva can turn it around. He's already shown during his 16 months he hasn't a clue. Even if we do pick up a few wins somewhere, he's a nothing man. He's not a manager who we'll achieve anything with in the long term – so get rid now and save us all the agony.

Jerome Shields
39 Posted 11/10/2019 at 04:04:33
Steve #36,

It could be argued that Silva has Schneiderlin playing as a extra centre- back anyway. With Mina everyone in the defensive line appears to be deeper.

Filipe Torres
40 Posted 11/10/2019 at 08:35:35
I believe it's not all about tactics and formations. With Keane, Schneiderlin and Sigurdsson on the pitch, there's no Guardiola, Klopp or Allegri in this world that would get us results.

We got rid of Klaassen, but these three are pretty much in the same league here: passive, numb, non-aggressive and very average.

They represent one-third of the starting eleven and still people here say we have a team???

Paul Burns
41 Posted 11/10/2019 at 10:27:03

Everton isn't stale bread — it's a corpse. There's far more wrong than shit players and a crap manager.

This whole charade started roughly 25 years ago when that clown Kenwright walked in the door and the fact he's still here spreading his poison despite being a proven liar tells a lot about how gullible our fan base have become.

The Blue Union exposed his crimes and tried to force change and, incredibly, became the focus for abuse, probably by some of the very "supporters" whinging about the sorry state of the club now.

Well, you had your chance to put a stop to the annihilation of Everton FC, because that's what we're witnessing, and you sat on your hands and chose Kenwright so you deserve as much of the vilification and more that Silva, Brands etc are receiving for their part in this unfolding debacle.

Bill Fairfield
42 Posted 11/10/2019 at 11:46:21
Might get a few results to improve our league position but can't see this manager taking us to the next level, we will just limp on through the season again
Rory Grant
43 Posted 11/10/2019 at 13:06:21
The choice is that Silva somehow gets a slightly better grasp on things, we limp into safety and keep wondering what next, if anything.
Or we lose more points and get into a serious gamble with relegation.

If the news about giving Silva three more games are true, there has to be serious questions about the overall club management.

Does it mean that they seriously expect Silva turn into a top manager in two weeks?

Or do we conduct "little bit negotiations" with potential replacements, to be ended in case Silva manages to get some points in the coming matches?

Or hope for the best and only start to look for a new manager after losing potentially nine more points?

Scary stuff.

John Boon
44 Posted 11/10/2019 at 20:08:38
We need to take advantage of the speed of Kean, Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison. Unfortunately what is behind them is the major problem. We also have a defence that is far too delicate and prone to make mistakes.

Just came in that England have just conceded a soft goal. Mistakes between Keane and Pickford from what I hear. To Evertonians, this is far too familiar.

Paul Richards
45 Posted 13/10/2019 at 16:50:53
Paul @#41,

I can understand frustrations with Kenwright's reign of temerity this past 30-odd years, and how it has inculcated this club with a backbone of jelly.

But your contention that somehow us dumb fans (dumber than you, at least) contrived to 'choose' Kenwright when we apparently had a choice to get rid? Well that one's got me stumped.

Care to explain to us mere mortals when we ever had a morsel influence on the situation?

Allan Board
46 Posted 13/10/2019 at 17:54:56
Silva's had 18 months, loads of money, and we are no better than Allardyce. I absolutely disagree that he should have more time and should have been sacked after Sheff Utd. He can't even see that this team needs to play quicker to compete, and will continue with the ponderous, predictable garbage.

Everton have some decent players, good enough with a little luck to threaten 6th or 7th but no more. I don't buy this he has injuries to thank for this, all teams have them, it's just excuses.

He also looks a right miserable sod, what is it with these blokes on big dough who look completely pissed at life? Do they appreciate how fortunate they are?

Everton-get real, we are in deep shit this season with this bloke, it is so obvious that the brains of the operation has gone to Portugal. They should have give him the job!


Paul Burns
47 Posted 14/10/2019 at 18:57:04
Paul (45).

Surely you remember the marches organised by the Blue Union, a group of fans assembled by various groups and websites about 15 years or so ago, with the intention of removing Bill Kenwright from his position as Dictator at Goodison.

These were met by a degree of hostility from fellow supporters who unbelievably swallowed Kenwright's proven lies, his (successful) attempts to stifle any dissent at AGMs and his suicidal effort to move us to a trading estate in Kirkby (the club would be dead already if that ploy would have come off).

I went on the marches and was bitterly disappointed with the numbers and gobsmacked by the apathy of the majority and incredulous with the abuse.

Roll on to now, Kenwright's dead hand still taints everything about the club and look at the state of us.

You didn't need to be Nostradamus to predict that time would catch up with us and all the lies, false promises and bullshit would one day have repercussions – and haven't they just? It gives me no pleasure at all to say I and others like me told you this would happen years ago if something radical didn't change and we were right.

Paul Richards
48 Posted 15/10/2019 at 02:45:50
Ah... thanks for the explanation, Paul.

I understand better your contention now that a stronger and more unified rebellion against the prolonged rule of Kenwright under the auspices of The Blue Union would have seen the end of Kenwright – just as Peter Johnson was ultimately ousted a decade earlier.

I guess a point for debate would be if a strong enough fan revolt would have created the desired result? And what then?

At least Kenwright was there for the long haul in terms of wearing down Johnson from his initially ridiculous demands for something like £150M for the club — he eventually settled for a paltry £20M, inadvertently setting Kenwright on the path to untold wealth and profit on the back of an unsuspecting Everton fanbase who had little 'choice ' or influence on proceeding that would come to define the mediocrity of the next 20 years.

So I guess I can't agree with that contention: if the fanbase had been united behind the Blue Union, then Boys Pen Bill would have been ousted. Although one of the more interesting efforts I remember from back then was Everton Fans Trust — but I think they also suffered from apathy and a lack of belief by the large majority of the apathetic fanbase. I think it was Darren on here who first cruelly likened them to happy-clapping seals.

So perhaps you have a point, but it is entirely unprovable. Kenwright, through the mechanism of True Blue Holdings, purchased total control of the club (minor and effectively powerless shareholders notwithstanding). Only in recent years, with the advent of Moshiri, has he come even close to relinquishing that level of control.

And yet... he's still The chairman. Go Figure!

Dave Abrahams
49 Posted 15/10/2019 at 09:34:32
Paul Burns and Paul Richards, never forget the impute of Kenwright's apostles, local media and former Everton players who ridiculed the Blue Union and helped to turn plenty of fans against the protest.

The Blue Union were mostly genuine Evertonians who cared and worried which way the club was heading under Kenwright.

Kenwright with Moyes and Cahill were on one photo telling us how good the move to Kirkby would be, an Australian and a Scotsman telling us Scousers a load of cobblers, they were well looked after by the chairman then and after.

Derek Taylor
50 Posted 16/10/2019 at 13:12:10
I've no doubt Moshiri is delighted Bill Kenwright wished to remain in the Chair. At least he deflects attention from the owner who, so far, has proved such a disaster in all matters football.

I wonder if he will be persuaded to give BIll his 'own end' when / if the new stadium ever gets built?

Jay Tee
51 Posted 16/10/2019 at 22:17:26
Unfortunately I see 10 outfield players with no direction or cohesion. If you look at the top teams they all move up and down together, defending and attacking. We have single person movement and it looks like a Subbuteo Game with players waiting for the ball to come to them before they can move.

There is no game plan, no forward thinking, no runs into space, hardly any shots, no partnerships and it's been like this since the 2nd season of Martinez's tenure.

We need new coaching staff that are up to date with technique, formations, can plan games and how to defeat opponents. Oh and players who can play football and a Manager who knows what they are doing.

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