There may be trouble ahead

By Dave Williams 22/09/2019 29comments  |  Jump to last

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

I hope he gives the likes of Gordon or Evans a chance because last season in our slump it was the youngsters who played best. Tom has to start as he will give us the energy and bite that’s we lacked in midfield. Don’t start Kean unless he has another striker with him which has to be DCL or Richi. Give Holgate a game. Why did he let JJK go out on loan- crazy to allow such a good young player to go when the first choice is suspect. JJK would give us the dynamism and crossing ability we need but no good crying over spilt milk.We need to find our balls as Gordon Ramsay would put it. Let’s see some desire- at two down we visibly chucked in the towel. Sheffield Wednesday is lookin a must win now as a defeat will really set us up for a pasting next Saturday.Our trip home was fine and I encourage anyone living in the South a West to support West Country Blues and book your seat on the coach. They are a nice bunch of people and can only survive if people use them.Even after the disappointment of yesterday, typing this I am already looking forward to the next one.

Reader Comments (29)

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Dave Abrahams
1 Posted 22/09/2019 at 17:32:50
Very disappointing for most Blues watching the game yesterday, more so for fans like yourself, Dave, who travel great distances to watch our team.

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.

Mike Galley
2 Posted 22/09/2019 at 17:52:24
1st of all Dave, we’ll done travelling that sort of distance to watch this rubbish. I have to travel from Kirkby and sometimes wonder if it’s worth it!!
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 don’t think we should sack him. But I’m having a hard time coming up with reasons to keep right now!
Pete Fishwick
3 Posted 22/09/2019 at 18:41:10
If ever there was a season to start on the front foot it was this one with how the fixtures panned out and Sheffield should have been another scalp yesterday- This just isn't good enough - Agree with previous posters respect to you and other Evertonians who travel them sort of distances to be served that - you deserve a refund, the players and the manager don't deserve their wages this week. The pressure is surely building After what City did yesterday fear for that game, but as we all know Everton can often turn up for these types of games and then detract from the cores issues.
Joey Crawley
4 Posted 22/09/2019 at 18:45:44
I’d say we need to remember how we finished off last season, not how we started it, then remember how our DOF is responsible for bringing the players in and letting ones go, Silva is working with what he has at his disposal, and though we look stronger on paper, we have not replaced Gana, don’t think we ever will, we should have kept Jags, we should have bought a beast of a striker with credentials to work along side Keane, we shoulda woulda coulda done a lot of things differently this summer and now I suspect too many cooks are spoiling our broth, Silva may be the head chef so he needs to get all Gordon Ramsey on his lot and start gettin the f’in orders out the kitchen before his ingredients start spoiling, Nil Satis Nisi Optimum you bafoooons!
Michael Williams
5 Posted 22/09/2019 at 18:53:33
Thanks for the positive comments David, and as always good to see you in your suit!

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 will decide that EFC!

Mike Williams
Tkt Sec Westcountry Blues


John Keating
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.

Darren Hind
7 Posted 22/09/2019 at 19:06:37
Nice post Dave.

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

Graham Coldron
8 Posted 22/09/2019 at 19:07:15
Fair play to all those Blues who travel a long way to the game.I drive down from Blyth in the North East and generally get home around nine.Needless to say after a performance that we all witnessed on Saturday the drive home seems never ending unlike when we win when it's a doddle.Lose on Tuesday and the pressure on Silva will increase ten fold.I've a sneaky feeling Mourhinio will be strongly linked if things get worse.
Bill Watson
9 Posted 22/09/2019 at 19:19:09
Joey #4

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.

Dave Williams
10 Posted 22/09/2019 at 19:21:00
Darren- it really was surpringly good- very cold and a lot livelier than the team was!
But you’re right, the price did it!!
Derek Knox
11 Posted 22/09/2019 at 20:02:17
Good article Dave, I do admire you guys who travel all that way to see our beloved blues, but what a let down, if only the team could match your efforts (collectively that is) maybe we would be seeing more wins.
Andy Crooks
12 Posted 22/09/2019 at 21:20:28
Great post, Dave. Well done to you and the others. I just wish every player and their utterly lamentable coach were forced to read it.
Frank Wade
13 Posted 22/09/2019 at 22:06:07
I can empathise Dave as I travelled over with my son and daughter from Dublin on Friday afternoon flight to Manchester and home from John Lennon late last night. Flight is only 30 mins so probably an easier journey than the long stretch by bus but result and disappointment were the same, a very frustrating performance. Lucky that a couple of fans were no-shows in our row, so we could move a few seats and see the pitch rather than look at a pillar. I only get over twice a season so was anxious to get a look at the whole picture and not just what is visible from streams and TV and when you've seen one pillar, you've seem them all. It's an expensive weekend for what's on show. I spoke to another fan on the plane and he said that unfortunately his view was not restricted this time.

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.

Jerome Shields
14 Posted 22/09/2019 at 22:15:00
Was at Torquay last week for the first time, found it disappointing, prefer Minehead, Don't know about the nightlife way past my bedtime, Glad your daughter enjoyed it , You deserve credit for your dedication and as suggested the players and Manager should hold their heads in shame for serving you up that display,

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,

Frank Wade
15 Posted 22/09/2019 at 22:32:44
Jerome, the official site has a match centre and the player stats were available to see there for past few seasons. However this season, when you go in to select the individual player stats, the display disappears. I flagged this. Maybe it's a new club mushroom based strategy for the fans. One stat you could never see is the running off the ball, into a position to receive a pass when we are in possession or in covering runs when the opposition has the ball. Would like to see those stats for Sigurdsson.
David Pearl
16 Posted 22/09/2019 at 22:51:09
Ouch. Long trip to watch that Dave. Its funny how we see the game "from my seat' or armchair. Whether we look and follow the movements of certain players or see the transitions from attack to defence. Do we see anything that's come straight from the training ground. Or does it look like the players have even met before. Was l dreaming or did we score a goal from a free kick last season from a well worked training ground routine... l think Walcott scored it or had a hand in it. Anyway... hope the next trip you take Dave is more fruitful. It took Silva 2 months to fix our last slump. Moyes would have us out of a funk in a game or two. Lets see how long this one takes.
Dave Williams
17 Posted 22/09/2019 at 23:27:13
Jerome- Torquay as a town is sadly in decline and has been for years. The sea front promenade is still nice but nightlife is rougher than the likes of the Babalou and Beachcomber which I used to frequent in Liverpool. Emily is five feet nothing and a Kylie Minogue build so it’s always a bit of a worry. Driving to the game would have been a big no-no after 3 hours kip so thank heaven for the supporters club which makes it easy.
It’s 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.
Jay Harris
18 Posted 22/09/2019 at 00:19:44
Oh Dave,
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.

Ron Marr
19 Posted 23/09/2019 at 02:56:48
I went to the Babalou, and the Grafton, Toad Hall in Ainsdale, Somewhere Else club in Southport and Wigan Casino. Toad Hall was frequented by players from both teams. I saw Joe Royle, Keegan and Toshack at the club.
Jack Convery
20 Posted 23/09/2019 at 03:56:50
Bring Fuzz with you next time and let him run a cross the pitch - would bring some light relief to desperate Evertonians needing something to smile about. I admire your loyalty and passion for EFC I just hope its not being taken for granted by the powers that be. Also you live in a beautiful county - many a holiday spent in Devon / Dorset way - particularly love East Devon, the pubs, the food, he River Exe, Beer, Sidmouth great memories.
Dave Williams
21 Posted 23/09/2019 at 09:25:12
Jay- Toad Hall was a fave of mine. I was living in Bromborough on the Wirral and Toad Hall was around an hour drive but a great place to take a new girlfriend to impress- as you say a lot of the players would go there after a game.
Samantha’s 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!
Phil Lewis
22 Posted 23/09/2019 at 09:45:20
I am perpetually fascinated when people eulogise with statistics, tactical critique and deep analytical formulae of certain players performances.
Allow me to make mine of Sigurrdson...
He has no brain and he's got no balls.
Dave Williams
23 Posted 23/09/2019 at 09:57:12
#21 I think it was 1-0 down and we equalised very late on?
Jerome Shields
24 Posted 23/09/2019 at 10:42:17
David #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,

Steve Hogan
25 Posted 23/09/2019 at 12:42:30
Dave, I can't argue with anything you have put in your match report/day out. Silva got almost everything wrong on the day, team selection,tactics, substitutions, the full monty.

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.

Steve Hogan
26 Posted 23/09/2019 at 12:53:19
By the way Dave, one small consolation is you live in the best part of the UK as far as I am concerned. I/we have been travelling to the West Country for 40 years, I've pretty much travelled all over the UK in my work and Devon/Cornwall still remains our favourite UK region.

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.

Dave Williams
27 Posted 23/09/2019 at 16:16:50
Steve- Totnes is certainly a different world!
I’m 64 but can’t recall Martins Inn and should do if it was a place for Top Totty. Where was it?
Steve Hogan
28 Posted 23/09/2019 at 17:06:04
Dave, i'm 63 and me and my mate Steve used to drive there in his lime green (hand painted) Triumph Herald on Sunday night's.

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

Dave Williams
29 Posted 23/09/2019 at 19:25:57
Steve, I never heard of Martins but went to the Sands several times. My best mate hit it off with a young lady there one evening and drove onto Ainsdale beach for some “peace and quiet”. Having done the deed, he found that he had a flat tyre and of course his car jack was useless on the sand – you could say he couldn't get it (the car) up!!

An embarrassing call to the AA ensued and he never made that mistake again!!

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