I spent Friday evening ferrying Emily and her mates around, dropping them in Torquay at 930. As anyone who has teenage daughters will tell you it is difficult to get to sleep until they are home safely and when she rolled up at 2:30 am she was in the mood to tell us all about her night out. I must have finally dropped off at 3 am or worse and the alarm went at five to six! Thank goodness I was booked on the West Country Blues coach rather than having to do the 550-mile round trip myself.
I managed to get out without disturbing the dog (a great guard dog is Fuzz!!) and, after a 40-minute drive, I climbed on the 54-seater coach which was full. That’s 54 people doing 500 miles minimum and paying a lot of money over the course of the day to be entertained by their beloved football team!!
The journey was excellent and we parked up opposite Meccano City across the park with plenty of time for a beer.
I was in my suit and club tie as I had been provided with a hospitality ticket and cut a ridiculous figure sat outside the pub with my beer where everyone else (and I do mean everyone) was wearing a replica shirt. Did I feel self-conscious? You bet… but the compensation was a very good pint of Carling for £2.80 – it costs £4.40 in my local down in Devon!!
Into the ground for my first experience of the siren in the flesh and what a ghostly, atmospheric sound that is! It really raised my anticipation levels and I settled down to watch what I expected to be a comfortable win – how wrong was I??
Now I am no fan of Sigurdsson, having been quite vocal on this site about him and how you can’t play him, Schneiderlin and Delph together. Well, Marco Silva didn’t pay any heed and picked all three; for the first 20 minutes or so, I thought he may be right.
Sigurdsson was finding little pockets of space, Schneiderlin was neat and playing a few forward passes and just as I was admitting to myself that Sigurdsson was looking decent, he stopped playing! No reason, he didn’t suffer a heavy tackle or anything like that but the whole cohesion which had been there in midfield just disappeared. Delph continued to buzz around and probed up to the final whistle but the unity was gone and would not return.
Sheffield Utd were very well organised, two banks of four and with our ponderous build-up and tendency to play across the pitch and back again we made it easy for them. I was a centre-half and nothing was easier than when the defence was given time to shape itself and have a good look around to see where the opponents were. We did this throughout the match rather than hit them on the break when we had the chance. This system is too easy to play against and Silva could do with having a conversation with Herr Klopp to find out how to attack with relentlessness and speed.
The goals were poor. I couldn’t see the first very well but wondered if Pickford should have cleaned out both Mina and the attacker and punched to ball away. The second he stepped forward towards the attacker then stopped and was unable to set himself to be ready to try to save it. Jim Bennings points out on another thread that that’s what he did for Bournemouth’s third goal and he is right – very poor and his standards have slipped again since he let in a few for England.
The substitutions were bizarre because it stripped away any remnants of structure from the team. Iwobi in particular (who should have started at No 10 in my view) clearly didn’t know whether he was to play No 10 or wide left. Walcott as a regular substitute bewilders me and as for Tosun?? Cenk charges onto the pitch like a dervish, pumping up Kean, looking like he really is going to put it to the opposition in no uncertain terms and then fails to touch the ball for the rest of the match. He isn’t quick, he isn’t strong, he isn’t good in the air and he can’t beat a man.
Calvert-Lewin was tailor-made for this game – he can put himself about, he can win balls in the air, and he could have given Kean the physical support the poor lad so badly needed. I’m not one of the Coleman lovers – I like him but I can see his frailties – yet I thought he played fine and couldn’t understand taking him off as he was making progress down the right.
So a dreadful result, poor performance, and the coach home cancelled the regular Man of the Match poll due to the general paucity of the team as a whole. I can’t remember Goodison emptying as fast as that with ten minutes to go for a very long time; unless Silva can sort this he will be on his way. We have a 52,000-seat stadium to fill in a few years and we won’t be filling it with performances like this or like the previous games we have seen this season (apart from Wolves).
My take on the players:
Pickford: poor – 3
Coleman: okay but dreadful delivery – 6
Digne: quiet and poor delivery – 5
Keane: okay – 6
Mina: decent I thought – 6.5
Delph: passing errors but best player – 7
Sigurdsson: disappeared again – 4
Schneiderlin: limited but okay – 5.5
Bernard: bright – 6
Richiarlison: tried and our best threat – 6
Kean: not out of his depth as some say; he isn’t a back-to-goal player and needs someone to play off. A few lovely pieces of skill – 5
Iwobi: no impact but should be on at the start as he is a good player – 4
Walcott: chased a loose pass and caught it but no end product – 4
Tosun: Niasse would be better – 3
Silva:- poor team selection, poor use of substitutes, no plan, lost all structure – 3
Reader Comments (29)
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1 Posted 22/09/2019 at 17:32:50
I hope your next trip is much more rewarding but Silva seems to be a very stubborn man and it doesn't look like he will change his tactics, which are not working and his substitutions seem to puzzle most of us including the players, and they rarely alter the result, except maybe to make it worse.
Glad you got home safe.
2 Posted 22/09/2019 at 17:52:24
There may be trouble ahead? I think the trouble is here now. The fan base seems to have turned on the manager. I initially thought when Marco was appointed he should be given three seasons and I still dont think we should sack him. But Im having a hard time coming up with reasons to keep right now!
3 Posted 22/09/2019 at 18:41:10
4 Posted 22/09/2019 at 18:45:44
5 Posted 22/09/2019 at 18:53:33
It was a long day yesterday not helped by the blip by our coach operators on way home. I have raised this with their management team and hope for a resolution of sorts or an apology at worst.
I got in just before midnight having been up since just after the time you fell asleep at 3am as it happens as I have to walk my dog before her indoors lets me out the door. He hates it and tries to snuggle deeper into his basket when he sees me don the headtorch!
It is a bloody long day travelling from the West Country to Goodison and it is made even worse by such a display.
48 of us will be on our coach next Saturday again full of optimism. how will our journey home be.....you will decide that EFC!
Tkt Sec Westcountry Blues
6 Posted 22/09/2019 at 19:03:09
well done to you and all the other boys and girls who travel from all over t great expense and time to watch these wasters. I don't think I would have lasted.
There well may be trouble ahead unless Silva has a good look at himself.
His tactics, team selection, substitutions and demeanour leave a lot to be desired. His reluctance to change what is surely a defunct system is not only pathetic but amateurish in the extreme. You wouldn't see substitutions like that in the park on a Sunday.
I mentioned during the Martinez and Koeman reigns and I believe it is even more apt with this present idiot...… losing like winning becomes a habit.
Having no obvious leaders on the pitch and a manager who can't motivate himself let alone his players, is a recipe for disaster.
7 Posted 22/09/2019 at 19:06:37
I would probably take 1 off most of your player marks, but that was pretty much the way I saw it too.
Just one thing; "A good pint of Carling" ? are you sure ?
I suspect you are letting the price go straight to your taste buds
8 Posted 22/09/2019 at 19:07:15
9 Posted 22/09/2019 at 19:19:09
Yes, I remember how we finished the season and the signs were good that Silva had sorted himself and the team. But in amongst those good results were the capitulations at Newcastle and Fulham and that's the form we have brought into this season.
Silva seems incapable of changing so the poor team selections and chaotic substitutions (which never work) will continue.
I'll be there on Tuesday, as I was at Bournemouth last week, but I'm done with this manager. He's nowhere near good enough.
10 Posted 22/09/2019 at 19:21:00
But youre right, the price did it!!
11 Posted 22/09/2019 at 20:02:17
12 Posted 22/09/2019 at 21:20:28
13 Posted 22/09/2019 at 22:06:07
Consensus was that we were too one-dimensional, predictable and moved the ball much too slowly to unduly discommode a well organised defensive set up, who had little interest in committing numbers forward. Our tactic of moving the ball from wing to wing, often back via the back four to swap wings is very tedious. A better solution would be to mix it up with movement up the middle from time to time and move it quicker. At one stage in the first half Richarlison moved smartly up the middle, was confronted by a Sheffield player about 30 yards out and rather than press forward by taking him or or trying a one two with Kean, he elected to play wide left to Bernard. Then, as with most crosses, we are vastly outnumbered in the box when the cross eventually arrives and the ball is cleared. This is Plan A. I didn't see a Plan B. Plan B is when we are playing a top club who commit men forward and we can hit them on the counter.
I would agree and disagree with your evaluation of Sigurdsson. I kept a close watch on Sigurdsson when we had the ball at centre back, full back or midfield. Yesterday, he made several little runs into the 'hole' finding himself space to do damage, but the ball never came as the passer was anxiously pursuing Plan A. True, he didn't have much impact on the game, but he was trying hard to influence matters. This is the kind of movement that's hard to spot on TV.
In Richarlison, we have a Brazilian international. He was up against Enda Stevens who was playing for Shamrock Rovers a few years ago. Richarlison should be able to put Stevens under constant pressure, but it never happened. I'd like to see him move infield or through inside right channel more and leave more space for Coleman on the wing, or move wide later in the move rather than reduce the space as he seems to do.
I see your comments on delivery from Coleman and Digne, but we were outnumbered two to one on most crosses. If it's going to be all about crosses against these cautious teams, we have to play DCL up front, with a man playing off him and make sure we have a forward getting across the first defender. No point in having a No 10 as he is starved of possession no matter what positions he takes up. In fairness to Sigurdsson, he is by far the hardest worker in the side, now that Gana has moved on.
14 Posted 22/09/2019 at 22:15:00
Interesting your observations on Siguardsson and suggesting his disappearance is unexplained, I thought he was denied space by the opposition backline pushing up and failed high press , but that might not be the case, Also interesting comments on ineffectiveness of Tosun and Walcott , Three players missing during a game isn't good , I wonder if stats of a game are discussed with players and are they asked to explained their performance,
Thank you for your informative analysis,
15 Posted 22/09/2019 at 22:32:44
16 Posted 22/09/2019 at 22:51:09
17 Posted 22/09/2019 at 23:27:13
Its bad enough doing the trip a few times a season like I do but most of the people on the coach have season tickets so do the trip every fortnight. Some are off to Sheffield on Tuesday then back up to Goodison for City on Saturday. These are truly dedicated fans and put the players to shame.
18 Posted 22/09/2019 at 00:19:44
The Babalou and the beachcomber now that brings back fond memories.
The Bab used to shut at 1am so we used to then go to the Beachy which was open until 2am.
I would much sooner reminisce about them than when we were a successful club as it pains so much to see how far we have fallen since Sir John passed away.
19 Posted 23/09/2019 at 02:56:48
20 Posted 23/09/2019 at 03:56:50
21 Posted 23/09/2019 at 09:25:12
Samanthas playground was good in the city, the She was great for a stag night and Rupert in Birkenhead was my local club where I would go 2/3 times a week.
I remember being in Rupert relatively early one night when we were replaying the league cup final against Villa. We were 2-1 down when we left the car and ordered at the bar all very depressed at having lost the final. Just as the first beer was on its way down we equalised, the whole room erupted, my pint went over my girlfriends dress and absolute pandemonium ensued ( mostly from my girlfriend with her soaked dress). What great days they were, when Bobby Latchford walked on water!
22 Posted 23/09/2019 at 09:45:20
Allow me to make mine of Sigurrdson...
He has no brain and he's got no balls.
23 Posted 23/09/2019 at 09:57:12
24 Posted 23/09/2019 at 10:42:17
I thought Torquay was over developed, whilst Minehead had not developed as much and maintained it's traditional nostalgia, Southport would beat both of them,
Torquay isn't the only place where the nightlife is rougher, most places are now, I use to worry about my daughter who is 9 st, until she told me she had to sort out some guy and bring him to the bouncer to throw out, She is a teacher now and as no trouble with class discipline,
The Supporters Club do get work and deserve better,
25 Posted 23/09/2019 at 12:42:30
The worrying thing is, virtually everyone in the ground could see it, except our highly qualified, experienced, UEFA certified manager.
I'm just not sure he has the ability or perception to change things, £319m spent in last three season's and we don't seem to be anywhere near our objective of challenging for a 'top six' position.
I'm not sure where we go from here.
I take my hat off to you and the rest of the coach party in taking in a massive day trip in terms of time and mileage.
Keep the faith.
26 Posted 23/09/2019 at 12:53:19
We often stay in Dittisham (not far from you) and still love the dwindling number of 'old hippies' who frequent Totnes market on Saturday.
Ooopps, getting all misty eyed just thinking about it.
By the way, think your a similar age to me, did you ever get to the Martin's Inn on a Sunday night? Top totty night.
27 Posted 23/09/2019 at 16:16:50
Im 64 but cant recall Martins Inn and should do if it was a place for Top Totty. Where was it?
28 Posted 23/09/2019 at 17:06:04
It was an old pub right out in the sticks between Ormskirk and Scarisbrick. Failing that, we used to go the Sands opposite Pontins in Ainsdale, now I'm pretty sure you will remember that, all around circa 1977.
We used to have to disguise our 'scouse' accents to get in
29 Posted 23/09/2019 at 19:25:57
An embarrassing call to the AA ensued and he never made that mistake again!!
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