No fans, no passion or drive

By Lyndon Lloyd 09/07/2020 95comments  |  Jump to last
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Everton 1 - 1 Southampton

If the mantra of “football is nothing without fans“ has become a bit of a cliché in recent weeks it's with good reason because these behind-closed-doors matches, at least where Everton are concerned, are becoming something of a chore. And if this evening’s performance was any indication, the players cannot find the drive within themselves to produce anything more than the lacklustre which leaves you at the final whistle wondering why you bothered tuning in.

For the final half an hour of this game, having hauled themselves back to parity with a brilliant goal, fashioned by Lucas Digne and finished emphatically by Richarlison, Everton had the platform from which they could go on and win this game.

Instead, they ambled their way through the final stages of a contest that was officiated abysmally from start to finish and which deserved its billing as a meaningless end of season affair... because in the context of the Blues’ season and the now vanished hopes of Europe, that’s what it was.

The goal aside, the only thing that raised any passion among Carlo Ancelotti’s players was typically horrendous refereeing from Lee Mason, who seems to be in a perennial race to the bottom with Jon Moss to see who can be the single worst official on a PGMOL roster stuffed full of incompetence and inconsistency.

Mason awarded a penalty that shouldn’t have been at one end — thankfully, James Ward-Prowse missed — waved away a stone-wall shove on Anthony Gordon at the other, had both decisions upheld by Video Assistant Referee, Andy Madley (seriously, what is VAR for?), and then gave a questionable foul against Jan Bednarek on Richarlison but mystifyingly only booked him when his decision was based on an infringement that denied an obvious goalscoring opportunity.

Had Bednarek been given his marching orders and Southampton been forced to play the final half hour with 10 men, it’s possible that Everton might have won but given how insipid they were over the preceding 60 minutes, it’s not something that was all that likely or that it would have been deserved.

On balance, Southampton were quicker, sharper and more coherent than their hosts; the hours that Ralph Hasenhuttl has spent on the training pitch since that 9-0 humiliation at the hands of Leicester in November were obvious in the passing patterns and movement that skirted around Everton’s ponderous midfield with ease at times, particularly in the first half.

The home side were, by contrast, almost as lifeless as they had been at Tottenham on Monday evening, with the exception of their left flank where Gordon, rightfully reinstated to the starting XI, and Digne were energetic and purposeful until the teenager was withdrawn with 15 minutes to go having outshone the majority of his more senior team-mates.

Gylfi Sigurdsson was the only player dropped following the debacle against Spurs as André Gomes and Tom Davies kept their places but the Portuguese spent much of the first half chasing shadows while his younger midfield partner was unable to dictate the game in any meaningful fashion.

It became clear, though, that Gomes wasn’t fit — truth be told, he may not have been fully so at any point since the post-shutdown restart — and it was little surprise when he sat down on the turf in the 41st minute unable to continue and had to be replaced by Sigurdsson.

Everton were trailing at that point and deservedly so, although Alex Iwobi did warm the palms of Alex McCarthy mid-way through the first period with a half-volley after a nice interchange between Gordon and Digne.

The Toffees had come close to conceding the opening goal when Stuart Armstrong turned the ball in from close range after only seven minutes but he was, correctly, adjudged to have been offside when Che Adams fired the ball into the six-yard box.

And Danny Ings came within inches of scoring in the 27th minute after Jordan Pickford had tipped a Ward-Prowse free-kick over. The striker glanced the resulting corner on with his head, the ball hit the bar, Pickford appeared to bat it back onto the woodwork and then away to safety.

The danger wasn’t cleared, however, and when the ball was worked back into the box to Ward-Prowse and the midfielder collapsed into a challenge that Gomes was clearly pulling out of, referee Mason awarded a penalty. Justice was done when the same player rattled his spot-kick off the top of the crossbar but there was injustice just seven minutes later when Gordon was flattened in the Saints area in what was more than a mere shoulder-charge. The officials were having none of it.

In between, Southampton had taken the lead and it was with the kind of incisive running through the centre of defence that Everton seem incapable of consistently producing. Armstrong was allowed to drive just inside the area, cut the ball to the unmarked Ings who managed to drag it with one foot to wrong-foot Pickford and then stab it home with the other while the Blues’ defenders appealed in vain for offside.

Everton did equalise, though, shortly before half-time with what was far and away their best moment of the match. Michael Keane Sigurdsson found Digne near the halfway line with a pass out of defence, the Frenchman spotted Richarlison waving for a knock over the top and he raked a precision ball to the Brazilian who took one touch before belting it off the advancing keeper’s glove and high into the Park End net.

Ancelotti withdrew Iwobi at the interval and introduced Djibril Sidibé as a more orthodox wingback but it was Southampton who continued to look the more dangerous after the restart. Adams tried to bend one around Pickford but he pawed it away and then the Blues survived a seemingly interminable schoolboy-esque goalmouth scramble before Dominic Calvert-Lewin had a golden chance to put Everton in front.

Davies picked him out with a lovely flighted ball but the striker lost track of the trajectory and with him only needing a sure contact to guide it past the stranded McCarthy, the ball ended up bouncing off his hip and out of his control.

Five minutes later, Richarlison was put into the clear and looked odds-on to score when Bednarek slid in to toe the ball away from him with a last-ditch tackle. Television replays suggested it was a legal challenge but Mason, having decided it was a foul, was duty bound to send the Pole off but only showed him a yellow card.

Sigurdsson hit the wall with the free-kick, Sidibé’s follow-up shot was easily saved by McCarthy and despite a really promising moment when Everton found themselves with space and superior numbers but Gordon’s pass was too weak to find Digne, the Blues ran out of impetus and ideas in the final 30 minutes.

Bernard and Moise Kean both came off the bench offering hope that they could make something happen but while the Brazilian was, like Sigurdsson, tidy enough, he wasn’t able to create anything and the young Italian striker was a wasted presence up front.

Instead it was Armstrong who had a chance to pinch the points for Saints but he blazed over the bar with four minutes to go.

Ancelotti blamed fatigue and a lack of energy for his team’s lethargic display and if playing a second game in three days was the issue, it showed. In that sense, the fact that the manager only made one change that wasn’t forced upon him by injury from the team that started at Spurs was a little surprising.

There was a case for starting the likes of Kean and Bernard and, perhaps, giving someone like Beni Baningime a run-out but Ancelotti has retained faith with a core team these past few weeks. It’s not clear much is being learned, though, from this bunch other than the fact that the team is desperately lacking in quality.

Again, thoughts turn to the transfer window and the fervent hope that a couple of real difference-makers can be added to the squad but you find yourself fearing for the standard of entertainment if, as looks likely, 2020-21 kicks off in empty stadiums. The Goodison “12th man” was conspicuous by his absence this evening.

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Reader Comments (95)

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Alun Jones
1 Posted 10/07/2020 at 03:05:51
Incredibly disappointing performance and a correct summation by Lyndon on the final 30 minutes which was mind numbing to watch.

Our ponderous midfield paring means we can rarely impose ourselves in any meaningful way. Credit indeed to our left flank and Richarlison's tireless effort to keep us in the game.

I cannot see any reason we cannot experiment a bit now with the centre mid paring in these final few games as our faint Europa league hopes are now gone. Certainly if some of the other youngsters can perform as creditably as Anthony Gordon then its worth trying out.
Derek Thomas
2 Posted 10/07/2020 at 03:11:25
Southampton's away form is very good, so having no fans didn't seem to stop them playing a very effective pass and move game to great effect.

If we played like that nobody would moan...well yes, obviously they would, we'd want them to play better - this is Everton after all.

What ever Evertons problems are, lack of Fans is not on top of the list...just ask the teams that are playing well.

Mike Gaynes
3 Posted 10/07/2020 at 05:52:53
One correction, Lyndon, if I may... it was Sigurdsson who neatly pivoted away from a defender and found Digne with the outlet pass that started the goal move.

And I would consider Digne's ball to be the finest pass of the season by any Everton player. It was sheer brilliance.

Jim Bennings
4 Posted 10/07/2020 at 06:42:33
Forget the fact we have a bunch of international footballers.

This is the worst blandest most characterless Everton team throughout the Premier League era.

Worst side since the likes of Madar and shovel foot Farrelly stepped out wearing pale blue in 1998.

Absolutely nothing at all there worth getting excited about.

Dan Nulty
5 Posted 10/07/2020 at 06:48:58
I can't believe the penalty for Southampton was awarded. He was diving before an Everton player touched him.

I completely disagree that it should have been a penalty to us. If you watch it back the camera angle from behind shows Gordon actually leans towards and tries to barge into walker Peters but is just not strong enough and gets knocked over. My view anyway. Slightly better performance. Still pedestrian. Thought Keane played well. Not sure what pickford was doing for their goal.

Rob Dolby
6 Posted 10/07/2020 at 07:19:42
I don't think I have seen Mason have a good game.

Both incidents not penalties.

Unless the rules have changed about the last defender fouling a player clean through on goal, Bedneraks's foul on Richarleson was a stone wall red card.

Their goal had a touch of luck. Armstrong tried to shoot and scuffed it straight to Ings for their goal.

Our goal was as probably our goal of the season and pass of the season.

The refereeing at this level is abysmal. Every game the refs and var seem to get it wrong and create a spectacle that is killing the game. The pundits by and large don't want to upset the apple cart. Players shrug their shoulders as they are still getting paid and the fans get a shit sandwich.

The evidence is starting to stack up with the amount of favourable decisions that the big boys are getting via var. Some of the pens Man U have had this year are a joke.

Sam Hoare
7 Posted 10/07/2020 at 07:23:46
The only positive I can take other than Digne’s sublime pass and Richies sumptuous finish is that once again Carlo made an effective tactical change that improved us in match.

Switching to 352 gave us at least a modicum of control in the middle and perhaps we’ll see more of it until the time when we have central midfielders able to pass and tackle consistently.

Calvert-Lewin was poor again. All effort but not enough substance from him currently and seems to be struggling to get into games properly and to link up with Richarlison, can barely recall a pass the two played to each other last night; though of course their service was minimal.

Steve Pugh
8 Posted 10/07/2020 at 07:27:56
Is nobody else fuming over Digne's booking?

All those supporters who complain over Everton player's getting round the referee and objecting decisions. Well, that's what he did...and he got carded. Could only happen to an Everton player.

Sam Bowen
9 Posted 10/07/2020 at 07:28:22
Playing way too deep at the moment.

Obviously a tactic to try and protect the back four and make us more compact and harder to score against but it’s massively crucifying the midfield. They are awful and it does need a massive overhaul but these tactics certainly aren’t helping. There’s such a massive area in there for teams to exploit and we know we haven’t got the legs in there to cover it. We’ve got Iwobi playing as a second full back, Gomes and Davies chasing shadows and the the odd bright spark in Gordon.
It’s no coincidence that Keane has stood out since the restart as we’re playing the game he likes, defend the edge of the area and he’s very good at it but it’s not helping the team at all. That’s not a criticism of him at all by the way.
I understand why Ancellotti is using the current tactics but I think it’s time to move on and start planning for how we’re going to play next season now. Time to ditch the 442 and plan for a proper 433.

Robert Tressell
10 Posted 10/07/2020 at 07:49:43
This is not unlike how it felt to support a team managed by Sam Allardyce. We can only hope that signings are on the way and that Gomes is not fit.
Ken Kneale
11 Posted 10/07/2020 at 07:58:55
Jim I am with you there all the way. This side epitomises the sad decline of our club. Has any current PL club got such inept midfield options than Everton - Lyndon's headline sums it up.
Rennie Smith
12 Posted 10/07/2020 at 08:03:27
Painful to watch as predicted, Saints should have been out of reach by half time. A little better second half, but nothing to shout about.

Ref bottled the red because I think he realised he'd made a mistake by giving the foul, so did VAR so they didn't overturn.

I thought Sigurdsson put in a better performance when he came on, give him some due after all the stick, but still not anything special.

As for Iwobi, don't get me started.

Mal van Schaick
13 Posted 10/07/2020 at 08:08:32
In his interviews after the game Ancelotti says we will get better. I don’t think so with that midfield.

The worrying thing is that Ancelotti appears to be resigned to keeping the bulk of this squad, when we need a clear out, if we have any real intention of a top four place next season.

As for the game, they dominated it, until 60 minutes, and looked like the home team, until we were able to get some possession and build some attacks. Ward Prowse should have been sent off.

We are missing a team leader with passion for the club and fans. We haven’t had once since Ratcliffe. This needs to be sorted

Ajay Gopal
14 Posted 10/07/2020 at 08:08:58
Well, at least the PL has come out with an official statement today (which I read on BBC) that VAR was at fault for 3 decisions yesterday - one of which, of course, was the penalty awarded to Southampton.

Having said that, here are my comments about the Refereeing, Southampton, and finally, Everton:

Referee: That was one of the worst refereeing performances that I have ever seen in my life, and that is saying a lot. Richarlison got absolutely NO protection from Mason, who I honestly believe has an agenda against Everton. How Ward-Drowse did not get booked for 3-4 bone crunching tackles on Richarlison, I will never know. I am firmly of the belief that referees award a penalty based on the reputation of the player (I hear many mutter 'no shit') - Gordon was fouled 2-3 times, but he did not get the foul because he is a 'rookie'. Horrible, horrible - unless the PL changes the way they select, train and hold accountable the referees appointed by them, the PL's credibility will gradually erode, which would be a real shame.

Southampton: What a transformation Hasenhuttl has brought about in the Saints! From that terrible 9-0 thrashing, he has completely turned things around, and as Lyndon correctly points out, it is obvious that they have put in tremendous amount of work in the training ground to become a team who are very comfortable on the ball - something that I have only otherwise seen in the much more expensively assembled Liverpool and Man City teams. No wonder they call Hasenhuttl the Austrian 'Klopp'. My respect for Southampton and Hasenhuttl went up several notches after yesterday. With a few god additions, I believe they could seriously threaten one of the European spots next season.

Everton: I think I saw for the 1st time, Ancellotti looking frustrated after coming here and I think he now realises the enormity of the task in front of him. However, I don't want to go down the road of getting too down on our boys. If you look at the mitigating circumstances - 3 of whom Silva/Brands thought would be our main midfielders - Gbamin, Delph and Gomes were either out or unfit for a majority of the season. Schneiderlin, Iwobi, Bernard, Walcott have all been unavailable for parts of the season. Silva, Ferguson and Ancellotti have had to shoehorn Davies and Siggy into the defensive midfield role when clearly they are more suited to a more attacking role. It is no wonder that we have struggled to impose ourselves or dominate ANY game this season (as far as I can recall). On the other hand, I consider the emergence of Holgate, DCL and Gordon as VERY positive for Everton. The rediscovery of form by Keane, Coleman, Digne and the continued maturing of Davies are also positives. I see some green shoots of optimism that we could see the emergence of Moise Kean next season. Richarlison is blossoming into a megastar, and I wouldn't be surprised if a MONSTER bid were to come in this summer from the likes of Barcelona/Real Madrid/Man United. I am afraid if Everton do not (1) fight for him to get more protection from the referees and (2) do not significantly strengthen the squad, I can see Richy wanting to move away, and I wouldn't blame him for that. The goalkeeping and defence are not the priority in need of strengthening this season, IMO. Ancellotti and Brands should put in all their efforts to find 2-3 gems to drastically overhaul our midfield - and offload at least 2-3 out of Siggy, Bernard, Walcott, Delph. From my limited PL television viewing this season, I like Buendia of Norwich and Hojberg from Southampton (out of the names mentioned by Sam Hoare in his excellent clouting report a few weeks ago). I think they could significantly improve our midfield. In the meantime, I like what Ancellotti is trying to do with our rag-tag squad and hopefully, we can see 1-2 more academy boys being given a few opportunities - I am still hopeful on Beni Baningime, and maybe Branthwaite will get a run around as well.

Sorry about the long post, thank you for your patience in reading it.

Graham Coldron
15 Posted 10/07/2020 at 08:21:59
My step son is a referee in the local leagues and we have had many a heated discussion recently about the standard of refereeing.

He was adamant that there should have been a sending off and then naively said " VAR will award a penalty for this".

He was shocked to see it denied.

Needless to say I wasn't and when he questioned this I merely shrugged and said " it's Everton I fully expected that"

The only explanation is that where Everton are concerned there is a hidden agenda regarding VAR.

As for the team, the time to judge Carlo is after a couple of transfer windows when hopefully we will have some players in midfield that can pass and run.

Steve Hogan
16 Posted 10/07/2020 at 08:28:27
Major major surgery needed on that team/squad. As said on many occasions, midfield is simply non existent.

The two forwards were starved of any service, and I have to say, DCL seems unable to create or fashion any chances for himself. Both Richarlison and DCL literally had only two clearcut opportunities during the game, one finished like the natural striker he is, and one lacked any sort of basic control.

Maybe DCL just had an off night. Although Moise Kean shows plenty of pace, and energy, he hasn't convinced me he can become a regular goal scorer and I'm not sure we have the strength in depth in that department to allow him the time to develop.

I'd cash in if there are any suitors in Italy and use the money to add real quality to the squad.

No quick fixes with this squad I'm afraid, I see a couple of years of slowly rebuilding a team bereft of real talent, and of us having to wait for the 'high earners' to run down their contracts.

One final word, the £35m spent on Iwobi was an act of criminal negligence, slow, can't tackle, creates nothing, and shows no stomach for a fight.

Christopher Timmins
17 Posted 10/07/2020 at 08:37:26
Performance wise it was in line with Tottenham, Leicester and Norwich.

I suppose we are better able to get results while playing badly since Carlo arrived, unfortunately we are getting plenty of practice at perfecting this particular art.

After 34 games the table does not lie!

Trevor Peers
18 Posted 10/07/2020 at 08:53:20
Brands should be sacked immediately, most of his signings have been a disaster and he doesn't justify the huge salary he's being paid.

Let Anceolliti buy his own players or we will never move forward as a club. The director of football role has been a total failure at Everton.

Jim Bennings
19 Posted 10/07/2020 at 09:35:10
Trevor

Completely agree!

Director of Football doesn't suit Everton Football Club and quite clearly nor does having bucket loads of cash to piss away on other teams rejects that are laughing all the way to the bank having joined Everton.

Moyes scoured the league's and brought in canny signings more often than not for cheap fees, even the potshot he took on Fellaini at 15 million seemed like a lot at the time but he more than paid that fee back and was sold on for a good profit.

We should be scouting the Championship clubs for hungry eager players that want to play in the top level.

Too many risks on unknowns from abroad or rejects from other teams, players that couldn't make it at those clubs for a reason.

Derek Taylor
20 Posted 10/07/2020 at 10:06:58
Having recommended Moshiri to spend multi millions on building our present squad, Brands & Co are obviously desperate to prove that there is some genuine quality among the Everton roster. That a string of managers have failed to demonstrate such has obviously been put down to the limitations of these managers and their myriad of coaches.

We can only suspect that desperate to get a return on his generous investments, Moshiri has moved to a 'tried the rest now try the best' policy in his appointment of the proven expert, Ancelotti. Quite possibly influenced by his old partner, Usmanov, our man has 'gone for broke. 'And so far, it just ain't paying off - almost certainly because our DoFs have not been up to the job and have signed a load of shite just because the price tags attaching indicated they were 'STARS'.

So what's to be done ? All I can think is that if Carlo can't fix it, we are done for. Personally, after more than 70 seasons, I'm about to give up on Everton - football's perennial Jolly Promisers - more because of the leaving of Goodison than the teams' constant failure. But my heart will be with you whatever !

Colin Glassar
21 Posted 10/07/2020 at 10:09:57
Stones, Coleman, Cahill, Holgate etc cost us pennies and turned out to be absolute bargains. Then we have the likes of Tosun, Bolasie, Iwobi, Sigurdsson etc... I rest my case. Over to you Jim
Jerome Shields
22 Posted 10/07/2020 at 10:13:53
Sam# 9

OMO Gomes is going deeper to try get on the ball. In games he is that deep he is on the back defensive line. This is dragging the whole midfield line deeper and leaving both Iowbi and Davis under pressure and isolated, with limited options. Clubs are tactically taken the decision to pressurise Gomes, seeing him as a weakness. This also causes the two wing backs to stay as backs with few options in front of them.

What Ancelotti did in the second half was to sub Gomes and change from a 442 formation to a 352 formation bringing the midfield line back into central midfield. The goal resulted from this. The perennial weaknesses of Everton pass completion in the final third prevented Everton going on to win the games. Calvert Lewin and Richarlison are both poor at this, in that the rarely attempt a forward pass or complete one. . Kean contribute was to run to the races, rather than his customary trot, but never looked like getting there. The only now recognised Everton striker in terms of goal attempts is Richarlison.

If Ancelotti had have started with a 353 Everton would have got beat, the opposition needs to tire themselves out in the first half against a 442 formation, for the 353 formation to be have the space to be successful, due to the lack of pace in tackling and forward movement in midfield.

I just seen highlights of the game, but the pattern is the same as previous games, the difference is the increasing successful tactic of pushing Gomes deep, which he is prone to do under pressure, that all opposition teams have learnt.

Jerome Shields
23 Posted 10/07/2020 at 10:20:37
OMO there has been interference in Transfers even under Brands. This was the case with the last Summer Transfer window and I am suspicious of who is the Barcelona contact on the Everton Board, who should have learnt with his experience with Man U over the years. Walsh had the same problem.

I think Brands will be more effective with Ancelotti in charge and may have more control over contracts.

Brent Stephens
24 Posted 10/07/2020 at 10:21:30
Mike #3 Siggy did indeed make a nice turn in the lead-up to the goal, passing to Keane, who then passed to Digne.
Brent Stephens
25 Posted 10/07/2020 at 10:28:13
Lyndon " Television replays suggested it was a legal challenge but Mason, having decided it was a foul, was duty bound to send the Pole off but only showed him a yellow card."

Yes, my outrage at the free-kick not leading to a red is tempered by my (and your) impression that it wasn't a foul in the first place. Whichever way, Mason really has missed school lessons during the pandemic.

Rob Dolby
26 Posted 10/07/2020 at 10:35:59
Jim #19

I couldn't agree more but with Ancelotti and Brands in charge we won't be looking at championship players.

It's a big 2 transfer windows for Brands and Ancelotti. If we keep buying expensive cast offs and passive nice footballers we are only heading one way.

Martin Mason
27 Posted 10/07/2020 at 10:40:03
We are simply not good enough in midfield to compete anywhere above the level we are at now. Carlo can't change this with the current squad or with a few typical "Everton" additions who will be no better than we have.
Jim Bennings
28 Posted 10/07/2020 at 10:49:30
The key is getting proper character references done on signings before buying them.

In many ways we resemble Newcastle from around 2005, when they were nicking in ahead of us to sign the likes of Emre, Scott Parker, mercenary type players that Moyes arguably had lucky escapes from.

That's us now, signing players on astronomical wages and fees but they come here with baggage or off-field issues.

We need the go back to the days of careful signings and ones that want to wear the shirt with pride.

Colin Hughes
29 Posted 10/07/2020 at 10:52:08
Don't know who's happiest in this city, the redshite because they have won the title or our fans because they can't go the match anymore.
Sam Hoare
30 Posted 10/07/2020 at 10:55:32
Jerome yes, pass completion in the final third and indeed in any third is a real issue. Difficult to coach any team that can't make passes accurately.

I'm loathe to get on the back of Tom Davies as at least he was trying and showing for the ball but his pass completion last night was 57%. Even worse than that was Calvert-Lewin's whose completion was 41%! By contrast Ings managed 91%. I know DCL is suffering from lack of service but he's got to hold the ball up better than that. His completion rate for the season is 63%. Contrast that with someone like Joelinton who has played lone striker alot in a similarly mediocre team but has managed 77%; Calvert-Lewin works very hard but if he can't retain possession for our team better its a real issue, especially if he's not scoring either.

Southampton pressed us hard and we had no answers really. Depressing stuff.

Tony Everan
31 Posted 10/07/2020 at 11:09:09
It’s concerning that our midfield couldn’t get close to Southampton’s. There were spells in the first half when Southampton were having 80-90% of possession and creating regular chances. 1-1 score line at half time was an anomaly.

This non-midfield simply cannot go on. Yesterday and against Tottenham only Anthony Gordon looked like he should be a starter next season.

The numerous others may improve massively alongside the new signings, may rise to the challenge, or may sulk like a spoilt kid. Who knows? we’ll see.

Whatever happens we need quality signings and a midfield worthy of the name.

Carlo is long in the tooth with peerless experience. He will know more than anyone what’s needed. We have to give him his head and let him sign who he wants.
I want to see a new Everton next season. A new look midfield and a new mindset.

Good luck Carlo, and don’t let Brands off the hook, bang on his door at 9 am and bang again at 5pm everyday. Make sure he delivers.

Nick Page
32 Posted 10/07/2020 at 11:21:55
One of the most embarrassing performances I’ve ever seen that first half last night. Until that fat parasite Kenwright and all the other hangers-on are removed from this football club, and it starts being run professionally with a view to actually winning, nothing will change. What a sad and sorry state of affairs.
Jack Convery
33 Posted 10/07/2020 at 11:39:10
Jack Convery
34 Posted 10/07/2020 at 11:39:10
How many of this lot would you want in the trenches with you.

Pickford - No he would give the position away as he arsed around
Coleman - Yes Deffo
Digne - Yes
Keane - only in a siege
Holgate - Deffo
Siggy - No way
Gomes - would deffo try to help even when wounded
Davies - No
Iwobi - No way
Richy - Deffo ( He's lead the charge )
DCL - sort off
Sidibe - No
bernard - No
Walcott - No
Delph - No
Baines - yes Sir.
Gordon - appears to be a trooper and ready for battle
Kean - ?????

Now remember these ?
Ratcliffe - every day of the week
Reid - He'd pick off the enemy if they got one of yours
Gray - He'd take half a dozen of the enemy with him as he lay down
his life.
Southall - none shall pass
Watson - over my dead body

Get my drift.

Fran Mitchell
35 Posted 10/07/2020 at 11:46:54
Southampton were running circles round us in the first half, it was pathetic. Their passing was quick and accurate, their pressing was constant, and in Ings they had a top striker and played to his strengths.

We were the polar opposite, slow and poor passing, our players were contstantly about 1 metre away from theirs when they had the ball, and our strikers (principally Richarlison) was isolated and made to come backwards to receive the ball, giving the opposition plenty of time to get 2-3 players in him. Only once was a forward pass made for him to run on to and we scored.

Sidibe showed how much we need a winger. We improved with him giving an option down the right and stretching the opposition, but he is not good enough. I actually believe we miss Walcott, and he'd be a heck of an improvement in Iwobi who is too slow, and incredibly lacklustre in possession. But a winger (or rampaging full back should 3-5-2 prevail) must be too if the shopping list.

Then replacements for Gomes, Delph and Siggy in midfield. Davies can still improve.

And Kean is a lost cause. Sell him and go for someone who can really compete with DCL.

Mark Tanton
36 Posted 10/07/2020 at 11:53:50
I would like to Kean involved from the start. He is certainly flawed in some ways but he is direct and powerful and tries to go forward. Coleman, Calvert Lewin and Gomes only seem to move any potential attack back to the half way line or Pickford.
Jerome Shields
37 Posted 10/07/2020 at 11:54:52
Correction #22

352, of course.

Joe McMahon
38 Posted 10/07/2020 at 11:55:31
Colin @29, it's a good job as the NHS don't have extra capacity at the moment for all the heart attacks.

Sunday I'm not even bothering, decided on a day out with my wife instead. Everton just drains you without fail.

Dave Williams
39 Posted 10/07/2020 at 11:58:26
Sam #30 I think the reason why DCLs pass completion is low is that when he gets the ball there is no Everton player anywhere near him so he has to try to hold on with two or three opponents hanging onto his back.
Our movement off the ball is shockingly bad and I don’t understand why as Southampton showed last night that this can indeed be coached into a team. I can only surmise that it is because Gomes, Siggy and Iwobi do not work hard enough or put in the grit and determination required in order to be allowed to play at this level. Certainly what the last two games have shown is that we cannot play a midfield four as we have too many passengers and get swamped.
Sam Hoare
40 Posted 10/07/2020 at 12:12:00
Dave @30, that certainly used to be the case. But we've been playing two up front for a while which usually means that DCL and Richie are not often too far away from each other.

Certainly having a more mobile midfield and being able to play a slightly higher defensive line would help give our forwards options but even so I think their hold up and retention skills since the restart have been poor. Richie and DCL look on a totally different wavelength, sometimes going for the same ball and often failing to read each others flicks ons etc.

Rennie Smith
41 Posted 10/07/2020 at 12:24:15
I think it's a bit harsh to call out DCL for pass completion rate, his job is to pass the ball into the net. You may say that's the same as Ings, but he's a different sort of striker, one that buzzes around between the lines, laying off short passes, turning and running into spaces. Not to say DCL doesn't run, he's constantly at it, but unfortunately it's chasing down defenders when we don't have the ball (which is most of the game at the moment).

Another fair point as someone pointed out, the gap between DCL and the midfield is huge, so where are these easy passes going to come from? Him and Richy aren't going to be playing neat 1-2's.

Sam Hoare
42 Posted 10/07/2020 at 12:31:08
Rennie, why can't him and Richie be playing neat 1-2's? That's exactly why you play two strikers up front. They have to link up a bit better.

I'm a big fan of Dom's and of course the service and movement from midfield has not been good enough but equally his use of the ball needs to improve if he's going to become a top level striker. Part of it may well be coaching as it looked to me like him and Richie were not sure exactly where they should both be at times. Ancelotti has said in the past that he likes to let forward players have freedom rather than set systems but maybe that freedom is not helping them currently.

Rennie Smith
43 Posted 10/07/2020 at 12:38:17
I agree he's still got a lot to learn, and I think he's come on bundles in the last year. He doesn't seem comfortable receiving and turning in one movement at the moment, something he can learn off Richy who is excellent at it. Their partnership will continue to develop but at the moment, they don't seem like Cole & Yorke if you know what I mean.

Anyways, we're talking about the attack which as we know, is not the problem area.

John Pierce
44 Posted 10/07/2020 at 13:02:18
Technically Calvert-Lewin needs some improvement. The ball from Tom Davies, quite a pass by the way, which lured McCarthy out should have been punished with a looping header but equally a side footed lob would have done. His technique let him down badly, it came off the outside of his thigh/knee! Given his skillset the header was the obvious choice, he got his footwork completely wrong.

But his pass completion is poor because of how deep we defend. The balls he gets are not into his feet but to battle for. Any duel he wins is a generally a flick on, and as we sit deep with no breaking midfielders it goes to opposing side almost all of the time. Even if he retains the ball, the lack of support means he has no short passes but more difficult ones to attempt.

Richarlison is much better at bringing the ball down, technically better and can dribble so often creates a foul or draws support because of his ball retention. However ultimately sitting deep is the reason, over protective of our slow back line and passive midfield, is draining the life from both our forwards.

Equally the lack of spark from Kean is exactly the above, he can finish, but how many opportunities does he get? In the last two games has he had one clear chance? I believe because he’s starved of the ball, because we sit so deep is to dribble and power his way through, he almost did moments after coming on. It makes him look callow and greedy.

Until Ancellotti moves the average position of the team at least 10-15yds upfield its this fayre until we get new players in. Our creativity therefore comes from Digne and only him, forced to do 70yd doggies, take the corners and free kicks. He’s looking fatigued too.

We are due a walloping playing like this because the team gets no respite because we don’t hold the ball and dictate tempo. I think Sunday we will get our ass handed to us unless he’s changes formation and personnel.

Sam Hoare
45 Posted 10/07/2020 at 13:09:33
John, yes. There's multiple problems.

We did look a bit better in the 352. It allowed Digne and Sidibe to get forward and crucially for one of the central players, usually Davies, to move forwards trying to support the front 2. As awful as he's been in the last two games i'd be tempted to try Iwobi in that sort of a role, a box-to-box 10 hybrid; not that he deserves it but we've got to find some way to get the best out of player we invested so much in. Him and Gordon could maybe play the forward thinking midfielders whilst Davies (or Gomes) sits.

It could be that this is the way forwards till we can get a midfielder worth the name.

Something crazy like this:

Pickford

Mina Keane Holgate

Sidibe Iwobi Davies Gordon Digne

Richarlison Calvert-Lewin

At least on paper that team gives us a little more energy and athleticism. Relies on Iwobi and Gordon working hard but i think they can do that.

Trevor Powell
46 Posted 10/07/2020 at 13:15:17
We have four non-games to complete this bastardised season. Four games to give the old guard another turn or four games to give some promising youngsters a run out?. At least, we would see energy and desire. I am not suggesting a full youngsters XI but maybe four or five with the right sort alongside them for guidance! I would rather see four losses and a some promising yougsters than a few scaped points as a result of tedium!

Let's get something out of these games, PLEASE

John Pierce
47 Posted 10/07/2020 at 13:20:39
Sam, I’m in compete agreement. The changes Carlo made stemmed the tide and gave us the best spell in the game.

That team you mooted has enough energy to complete and the back three could include Baines or Coleman. I’d play Baines for balance, and ability to pass out. We lack good passers, so I’d find a way to shoe horn Leighton in without putting a huge physical toll on him. That can only help Iwobi and Gordon to the on the ball, in turn get the forwards into the game. Change it he must!

Trevor Powell
48 Posted 10/07/2020 at 13:20:50
Jack @34 How many of this squad would have got into the mid-eighties team and how many would have got in the squad that finished fourth under Moyes? I think we all know . not a lot!
Tony Everan
49 Posted 10/07/2020 at 14:32:47
Sam 45

I don't think it is that crazy. Something's got to give and the 442 isn't working with the players at our disposal. We may even get a tune out of Sigurdsson in a no10 role instead of Tom in the middle. He has to try something different it is a complete waste of time otherwise.

Dave Williams
50 Posted 10/07/2020 at 14:40:11
Sam- DCL tends to play the left channel and Richi the right- they need an attacking MF behind and between them to facilitate a pass and at the moment there is no one anywhere near them
I like your suggested team in a 3-5-2 and it should suit Iwobi in particular
Mike Doyle
51 Posted 10/07/2020 at 14:46:26
... and just when you think things can’t get any worse Carlo drops bombshell at today’s press conference. “Delph won’t be fit for the Wolves game”
Jay Harris
52 Posted 10/07/2020 at 14:53:44
Apparently Holgate will be fit for Sunday while Gomes is fit for nothing.

I would play Holgate defensive mid in a 4-3-3 (4-5-1) with Sidibe and Davies, front 3 of Richy Gordon and DCL.

Bill Gall
53 Posted 10/07/2020 at 16:00:46
The most depressing thing about these end of season games, is having to read from supporters the same consistent reports of how slow lethargic lack of desire and no sort of pattern of play from an Everton side that is playing just as bad if not worse than under its previous managers who were fired.

It seems that the whole football side of the club are resigned to just turn up and see out the rest of the season regardless of results. Southampton have a team that early in the season were very poor and at 1 time had 9 goals put passed them but with a couple of signings and a manager who has given them what Everton have not got and that is a desire to win.
they turned it around.

What happens at F.F. are the players coached in mini games with no contact unless they hurt themselves,? why after all the managerial changes it was D.F. in a temp position who was able to fire up the players to fight for every loose ball and win the 50-50 exchanges.?

I was, and most probably quite a number of other supporters, was surprised when Everton signed Ancelotti as manager, and thought finally we have a manager who can compete with the best.
I realize that he needs time and another couple of transfer windows to show what his team will look like, but at the same time, a manager with his reputation that supporters have read about, should be able to show, instead of reading about it, he has the ability to at least have the players fit and have the desire to wear the Everton shirt and badge and install some desire and effort in their games.
He picks the team, he provides the tactics and formations, he works with the coaches and he is responsible when the players play with no desire or effort.

We have about 5 players who are willing to fight for their places, so that leaves 6 to be replaced, so next season is going to be interesting as we also have at least 2-3 players that the club maybe pressured into selling.
The 1 thing that supporters have no time for, and that is what has been on display for the last couple of games, that is lack of effort and desire to win, change that until the end of season' it is at least Ancelotti and his coaching staff can do to get the supporters back on their side,

Mike Gaynes
54 Posted 10/07/2020 at 16:21:53
Sam and John, agreed. I'd also tend towards the Baines alternative John suggested, at least for a game, in order to get Digne more advanced.

BTW, Sam, what do you think of Marc Roca as a possible transfer target for our midfield? Espanyol just got relegated and will have to sell him. Doesn't score much but a lovely distributor (sorta like somebody we have who isn't getting it done).

Joe McMahon
55 Posted 10/07/2020 at 16:35:38
Bill@53 absolutely correct. On the whole we have seen mind numbing slow boring tepid low scoring football since 1997. Kanchelskis and Limpar are light years in the past. How the greatest Evertonian in the world could be proud of this being misty eyed about 60s is a mystery. I'm 50 and I seriously wonder if I'll see us winning anything again, and I'd like to see us in a new stadium fit for this century before I'm 60.
Patrick McFarlane
56 Posted 10/07/2020 at 17:10:02
Does this current squad believe they are untouchable and have realised that the manager (regardless of his reputation or ability) will always be the fall-guy when they under perform?

Is there a malignant force at work behind the scenes at Goodison?

I can fully understand the team being inconsistent and for some players being out of their depth, but I cannot understand a lack of appetite or determination shown by the vast majority of the squad - not only for a couple of games, but for almost their entire Everton career.

The owner, the board and the management have to sort out whatever lies behind this issue, because it's beginning to get on supporters nerves.

Football with or without fans seems to mean too little to too many of the current Everton squad.

Brian Murray
57 Posted 10/07/2020 at 17:15:12
Patrick, post 56,

C'mon... what's with all these excuses? With or without crowd we bottle it even when just one goal in it. No character and very little talent or challenge to the top four.

"Kenwright Out" would be a great statement of intent.

Stephen Meighan
58 Posted 10/07/2020 at 17:22:24
Out of the entire squad of players we have got, I would probably keep 6 of them: Coleman, Holgate, Digne, Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison and Gordon. The rest can do one.

We've seen some proper dross off the rest of them since the restart. Sigurdsson, Davies, Iwobi, Gomes have been awful. Some fans say Gomes would be good in a 3-in-the-middle midfield but I don't go along with that. Although Gomes is a good footballer, he doesn't get about the pitch enough and the game just passes him by.

Ward-Prowse of Southampton would be a good addition to our squad. He's full of energy, not afraid to put a tackle in, and got a bit of bite in him – something our entire midfield is totally lacking.

Bill Gall
59 Posted 10/07/2020 at 17:33:44
Joe # 55 I understand were you are coming from and I wonder if I will ever see them win anything again and move into a new ground. As I will be 80 this October my chances are never and doubtful. But I have at least seen them win the league and F.A. and European Cup so at least my age had some rewards before I was 60
Rennie Smith
60 Posted 10/07/2020 at 18:03:29
I don't usually stand by the "end of the world is nigh" comments on these forums, although my patience is being tested by this lot, but we are forgetting that we've been in, and still are, a completely surreal situation where the world has been turned upside down.

So maybe we need to cut some (not all of them) a bit of slack and hope that when life returns to normal, they'll be a different beast.

Just trying to grasp a few straws of reality folks!

Sam Hoare
61 Posted 10/07/2020 at 18:09:17
Mike@54 I like Roca a lot but he’s too like Gomes. Fine distributor but not the most mobile and not the best defensively. The two things we need in the new CM is athleticism and ball winning.

That being said if I could choose between Roca and Gomes; well I’d tend to go for the youngster.

Jerome Shields
62 Posted 10/07/2020 at 18:25:50
Sam#30

You can't replace 4 unsuccessful Managers and the players they have brought in for there various systems and expect a proven Successful Manager in three quarters of a season to turn things around and challenge for a top six place, with the same players. The problems of pass completion are not new. What Ancelotti has done is sort out the defence helped by the emergence of Holgate, who could not get a start under Silva. He has made the Schneiderlin holding position in front of the back four redundant , and given Gomes enough rope to hand himself by playing too deep, and probably make him more responsive to what He wants. He
has shown the type of player he wants in the emergence of Gordon and also shown that when players like Davies and Iowbi are pushed forward in th final third they can beat markers they can play to quite a high standard. He also has shown the weaknesses of our forwards in doing the simple things that a good forward should do. Richar!iron has learn't, though because others haven't, especially Calvin Lewin, he is being targeted for special attention, with a impact on Everton s attack.

Ancelotti is doing a good job and he is leaving no hiding places in the Everton team he puts out, where as before there was.

Since the restart due to his team management he has got two draws and a win. I doubt the previous managers could have done it. He has done it with their players.

Terry Farrell
63 Posted 10/07/2020 at 19:09:54
Believe we may have chance of getting McKennie from Schalke. This lad will drive us forward and change the sterile and slow method of our play. Buy him! Rather have him than another top earner failure in James Rodriguez
Sam Hoare
64 Posted 10/07/2020 at 19:15:01
Jerome, yes, I remain relatively optimistic about Ancelloti. These are early days still and his points haul with an imbalanced and injury decimated squad is very respectable so far. He’s certainly made us more organized.

Will be very interesting to see who comes in this summer. Will it be the likes of Allan and Thiago Silva or Todibo and Sangare. Maybe a mix of energy and experience. At some point next season we will expect to see Everton move beyond ‘organised’ towards hopefully playing some coherent football the likes of which we saw from Southampton last night.

Tom Bowers
65 Posted 10/07/2020 at 19:40:02
Everton are crying out for a Kevin Debruyne type player and that should be Carlo's top priority.
Soton had a lot more desire to win that game yesterday and how they didn't is beyond me, They are not world beaters but they made Everton look stupid at times.
Carlo has big decisions to make and hopefully he will get the financial backing to move this club forward.
Joe McMahon
66 Posted 10/07/2020 at 19:42:38
Sam and Jerome, in many ways this is by far the biggest test of Carlos managerial career. When you think of some of the players he's worked with it's fair to say no midfield player at Everton is absolutely anywhere near the quality of Clarence Seedorf, Pirlo or even Frank Lampard.

Compariing to Zidane would just be unfair.

Phil Wood
67 Posted 10/07/2020 at 19:50:02
No Fans, No Passion, No Drive, No Midfield!
Mike Doyle
68 Posted 10/07/2020 at 20:52:35
Sam, Jerome & Joe. Of course Carlo needs time and most reasonable supporters know that any top manager would struggle with the group he has inherited.
I’ve also no doubt he knows what needs to be fixed - and the players who can be brought in to improve things.
My concern is that if the assurances we all suspect he was given before signing on are not delivered he may decide to walk. He doesn’t strike me as they kind of manager who will hang around waiting for a pay off while flogging a dead horse. The pressure therefore moves to Brands. I hope he’s listening to Carlo as most of his recruitment hitherto has been dire - comparable to Walsh.
John Keating
69 Posted 10/07/2020 at 21:28:18
The title of this article describes me perfectly when it comes to Everton the past few seasons.

I will readily admit to not watching one single game since the restart.
However, I have read the match reports and spoken to my family, all Blues, to get their take and reaction.

Everton is my team and in a way my life.
I was without doubt either up in the week after a win and down in the dumps after a loss.
The last few seasons I have felt neither up or down after a result.
Does this mean I am becoming less of a fan???
Less passion or drive??
I really don't know.

I was, and still am pissed off with the Club and players since the season was curtailed.
After all the intimations about what players should and should not do for the Club, NHS and community, what really have they done? Does anyone actually know?
The Club were only interested in one thing, follow the herd and chase the money.

Anyway next season I will be reading and maybe contributing to the live forum.
I have just purchased a season ticket for my second Club, Hibernian.
They're shit too by the way, but at least they know it!
I always have a good time when I go there as all the wife's family are from Leith and I am sure it will be far more enjoyable than Goodison, until Ancelotti gets to grips with this lot.
Oh yes, the pies are better too!

Jerome Shields
70 Posted 10/07/2020 at 21:35:29
Sam#64

I expect Ancelotti to keep working on the players he has and try to improve them. They will be very aware by now that Ancelotti has a overall playing objective and he is prepared to let players sink or swim within it. Obviously this is Ancelotti way of getting those egoed and highly paid players who where brought in for different systems to do what he wants. The players that have not played well, have had a torrid experience even without howling Everton fans at them.

There will be a few players brought in, as Brands has said, but I think they will be more in terms of your list, rather than the media speculation. More players will be moved on though. I think Sigurdsson will be quaking in his boots after the Schneiderlin transfer. Ancelotti will be also looking for emerging player from within like Gordon.

The test I will be watching for, is when Moshiri releases money at the end of the transfer window as he has done in this past two seasons. This will let me know how much Ancelotti and Brands have control over transfers. I do believe Brands is good at his job, but he has to follow the Managers instructions and it seems he was not given contracts responsibilities, which has lead to interference in transfers from other parties, making his job more difficult.

Ancelotti has to have a midfield line that stays within the parameters of midfield with mobility and pace and is able to link up( as you have pointed out). I expect someone to come in, with this objective and existing players, including Gomes to worked on to accommodate this objective. I also think he will want more interplay in the final third. He will want players like Iowbi and Davies to engage more in the final third. In attack he will be looking for improvement. Richarlison and Bernard (prior to the break, seems to have personal issues ) did improve. Calvert Lewin looked promising, but has regressed imo. It will be interesting to see what he does with Kean, he needs a lot of work.

The defence has really improved and this is Ancelottis biggest achievement and is the source of a good points tally. It was pointed out by a very observant Poster how Colmans play had changed and I think other defensive players have also developed.

Your Coherent Football is a wise objective and will gradually take shape over the coming season.

Joe#66

I hadn't thought of the players Ancelotti had managed. I get the impression he is actually challenged and that he had being eyeing Everton for some time. I am certain that Ancelotti tenure will be remembered by Evertonians for years to come.

Dennis Stevens
71 Posted 10/07/2020 at 22:45:11
Interesting points, Jerome. Ancelotti certainly won't want to leave Everton with his tail between his legs like previous managers. He's not going to want Everton to be an ugly blot on his career. All of which is to the great benefit of Evertonians for whom even a modicum of success is long, long overdue.
Jerome Shields
72 Posted 11/07/2020 at 07:16:03
Dennis #71,

All you have to do is look at the new trim and fit-looking Ancelotti. He looks younger and as if he means business.

Karen Mason
73 Posted 11/07/2020 at 11:12:43
I know that the team under-performed by some great margin, against a team running into some great form who are high on confidence. I am not making excuses for our lack-lustre performance, but FFS, what is Lee Mason doing wearing a referees shirt at all??? I've seen Sunday league refs do better. This was not one appalling game by him, he is consistently appalling.

It's all very well the VAR people saying he & we got it wrong about the Ward-Prowse penalty and the Richarlison decision (or lack of). What if Ward-Prowse had scored the 'penalty.' How do they compensate us for that? What if Richarlison had got a penalty when chopped down en route to goal and we scored the pen. I believe that many of the comments on here may have been less critical if the scoreline had read 2-1 to us. I know the performance still wasn't anywhere near good, but a win and 3 points does ease the pain of watching.

As for the folk calling for a wholesale clear-out... I used to look at Southampton in the first part of the season and think: Why are they down at the bottom of the league? They have some good effective players, yet can't seem to quite get it together. Now they are on a roll. Same group of players, but hugely improved performances and results.

Let's face it, Klopp took over a pretty average group of players and made them into a pretty efficient squad over the 4 years he has been there. I know he bought in some, but those he bought in were not ready made superstars. The backbone and many players are those he inherited. Pochettino took over a group of players at Spurs which under-performed season after season and look what he achieved with them. Now, the same group of players are once again under-performing under Moanreen.

So, I guess my point is, that while we don't have all the best players on the planet, much more can be done with the squad we do have. Despite all the disparaging remarks posted on here, on just about everyone in an Everton shirt, at one time or another, there are some decent players in this squad. Clearly, they are in need of more help, and a big dose of confidence. Perhaps some confidence may have been gleaned with a 2-1 win vs Southampton, but Lee Mason put paid to that. Did we not see just a glimpse of what these players can do when Big Dunc was at the helm?

It's such early days for Carlo, and we have all known, all along, that the vision is to build our club into something good, strong and sustainable. I think that gaining Euro football for next season would have come a season too early for us. Having a clear out every time things are not going well, in my opinion, is not sustainable. I would much prefer to see a Manager who can transform the group he has into a squad that is valued by the Everton fans and feared by other teams. I am a wishin' and a hopin' that Carlo is the man to do just that. COYB.

Patrick McFarlane
74 Posted 11/07/2020 at 11:43:24
Karen #73,

I don't think that a win would have reduced the reaction on here and elsewhere, it was a dismal display albeit against a team running into good form.

A victory would have papered over the cracks that have been evident for a very long time. I agree that Lee Mason is inexplicably poor as an official but there seems to be no officials that meet the standard we should expect.

As for a manager it's his job to try and improve the existing players in the squad and slowly but surely replace some of them with better quality.

Klopp inherited a squad which had come close to being champions before he arrived, therefore his starting position was far better than what Carlo has to deal with.

We probably won't know until Christmas time whether Carlo can turn this club around or not - many of us would accept defeat in some games if we could see a steady improvement on the pitch, it's not completely about results, if a discernable improvement can be seen, but positive results can buy time and lift the pressure.

Jim Bennings
75 Posted 11/07/2020 at 17:30:47
The two things we need in the centre of our midfield is an athletic domineering ball winner (Gana type?) and a pacy lad in there that can carry the ball, we have not had one since Barkley departed.

A decent direct right winger wouldn't go amiss either.

Tony Hill
76 Posted 11/07/2020 at 17:49:36
Karen @73, you make a very strong point about Southampton. I thought they were superb in the first half on Thursday, Hasenhuttl has them playing confident one-touch football and we were bewildered.

That's where our hope lies, as you suggest. If we played with the style and spirit and speed of Southampton then we'd all be happy even if some bad results happened along the way. Leicester and Wolves have shown similar.

It can be done; the last two Richarlison goals have shown that we can do it too. We're miles away from where we want to be but let's start behaving like a proper team: get fitter, get a few hard and skilful players in and get some momentum. You're right, Karen, there can be transformations. We all have to believe it, however distant it may seem.

Tony Hill
77 Posted 11/07/2020 at 18:07:42
ps: Let's get in players who understand what they're representing and what their duty is to the name of Everton. Schneiderlin's narcissistic comments on his departure sum up a good part of what's been going wrong.
Sukhdev Sohal
78 Posted 11/07/2020 at 18:36:19
#77. As far as I know, all Morgan said was that he wanted to leave a year earlier but Everton said no and stuck to their word...
Tony Hill
79 Posted 11/07/2020 at 18:45:28
#78, "I have to say it, playing again in a top 5 club was no longer possible for me so when I accepted that, I had the desire to be able to leave." Just full of commitment and awareness was good old Morgan.
Brent Stephens
80 Posted 11/07/2020 at 19:09:09
Sheffield Utd 3-up on Chelsea. Love them. No big names. Total commitment and passion. 7 players pressing when Chelsea in possession just 15-20 yards inside Chelsea half.
Brent Stephens
81 Posted 11/07/2020 at 19:11:09
And almost 4-0. Love them.
Tony Hill
82 Posted 11/07/2020 at 19:12:56
Yes, Brent, and you have to give massive credit to Wilder. Hard as nails.
Brent Stephens
83 Posted 11/07/2020 at 19:13:23
Aye to that, Tony.
Tony Everan
84 Posted 11/07/2020 at 19:15:19
Yes Brent. They are a shining example of a 'team'. Fighting for each other and the team only, no prima-donnas there. Hats off to them, they have been a credit to English football this season.

We need to get that team spirit magic back somehow.

Brent Stephens
85 Posted 11/07/2020 at 19:18:25
Sheffield Utd packed with big names on the bench. Brought on Lundstram and 37 years old Jagielka.
Anthony Murphy
86 Posted 11/07/2020 at 19:32:44
Wilder - great manager and would be on the radar of big clubs if German/Portuguese
Brent Stephens
87 Posted 11/07/2020 at 19:42:10
I'm afraid Zouma was looking so slow in that game. The great thing about Sheffield Utd is that they don't just hit long balls and hope. They break fast, in numbers, with passing football.
Tom Bowers
88 Posted 11/07/2020 at 19:50:42
It all comes down to the system you play and the right players in it. They need to have the right drive and commitment which I have seen a lot of from teams playing against Everton and not just the top four.

Everton don't seem to have these kind of players throughout the team and that makes them an easy mark, as Southampton showed the other day. Wolves will be another serious examination of the Blues character tomorrow so I am not expecting much.

James Flynn
89 Posted 11/07/2020 at 19:57:32
I just went and looked: 5 Sheffield Utd starters today were players for them in League One.

Sheffield Utd, Leicester, Wolves, the RS too. When you have good ownership and are run well at the upper management level, you can put together a first-rate team.

It's never easy, but we can see it's not THAT hard.

Trevor Peers
90 Posted 11/07/2020 at 20:03:54
Everton should psychologically vet players for a winning mentality. The club must be blamed, far more than the crap players we sign, for relentlessly signing losers time after time after time after time.

Players will always take easy money and that's what they receive at Everton we have no standards or disipline anymore. It's all too cosy. Supporters are being sold short, the end product is devoid of entertainment.

Joe McMahon
91 Posted 11/07/2020 at 20:21:57
Trevor, many of us have been saying that for a while, and I agree. The record at Anfield speaks volumes in itself, and the fact we kept a manager who never won there in 11 years says it all. The result in January to their academy team was as bad as it gets.

Kenwright has lowered all expectations, and just being in the Premier League is enough for him (and still being at Woodison). Now we have seen a new rise of teams acting like professional units and overtake us. Leicester, Wolves, Sheff Utd and even Burnley (at the moment).

Only on a thread yesterday someone was praising Bill for being our chairman stating he is a true blue and continues to support our club and fans" – Exasperated is an understatement, why do we bother eh, just why!

Alex Winstanley
92 Posted 11/07/2020 at 20:30:59
Totally agree with the previous threads. I think in football all players these days are technically good, fit strong etc. If not, they would not be professional in a sport where a very small percentage actually make it.

What separates really good players (there are always exceptions like Messi, Ronaldo etc who are on another level) is how strong their minds are. Sadly we seem to have more than our fair share of weak-minded players. Happy to be professional footballers and all the trappings it delivers.

Give me a Reid, Gray, Ratcliffe, Southall type of player above a technically good player. We need winners who will bollock team members who are not performing. These snowflakes wouldn't hack it playing in that mid-80s team.

Mike Doyle
93 Posted 11/07/2020 at 20:32:46
So Sheffield Utd – with too old Jagielka & not-good-enough Lundstram on as subs (& Rodwell on the bench) – turn Chelsea over!
Derek Taylor
94 Posted 11/07/2020 at 21:11:10
All our recent managers aspire to have Everton playing like Barcelona. Trouble is, those who can do that already play for the Spanish kings or their ilk!

Wilder has neither players nor the money to have such lofty aspirations – he is in the situation that Moyes was faced with at Everton. And adopts the same approach by fashioning the tactics within the skills (or lack thereof) of the players he can trust to put in a good shift for him. Jagielka typifies the breed and still showed it in his cameo tonight.

To be frank, I doubt if more than 3 or 4 of our current team would meet Wilder's criteria – or cost a tenth of what they are robbing at Goodison!

Ian Riley
95 Posted 11/07/2020 at 21:44:21
When we had no money, players worked harder. Our players were lower division standard but desire to tackle, run, and battle for the cause was not questioned. Today, we have players who either don't see it as their responsibility or can't battle for the cause. This is not an empty stadium excuse, but player recruitment.

The manager must get two midfielders to drive the team. A player who does the dirty work. Keeps the back four protected, never ventures into the opposition half. A Carsley, Horne, or Parkinson. Then a player who can press going forward, link midfield to attack. At present, we don't have such players.

I want my friends to say "Bloody hell, Everton Saturday..." I want us to be difficult to play against. If this doesn't happen, then mid-table is all we can expect and nothing else. If boring means a win comes from one-nil and a last-minute goal, then so be it. No desire equals no success in any industry. At any level of football, hard work is a starting point. Going back to basics would be a start.

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