Everton end awful season in typically dour fashion

By Lyndon Lloyd 26/07/2020 56comments  |  Jump to last
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Everton 1 - 3 Bournemouth

An empty Goodison Park, another weak and uninspiring performance and a fifteenth Premier League defeat of the campaign that condemned Everton to their lowest league finish since 2004. Hardly a fitting occasion for one of the finest players of the modern era to bow out and yet a result entirely in keeping with this wretched season.

Leighton Baines came on as a 70th-minute substitute, made one last goal-denying tackle and then called time on his magnificent career after the game. He will leave the Blues having never won a trophy but he departs with the adoration of Evertonians everywhere.

Baines won’t be a part of what comes next at Everton but in some ways he might feel like he’s better off out of it because unless Carlo Ancelotti is able to effect more than just the “evolution” he promised this week, there is more frustration ahead with this collection of players.

Granted, the Blues had little to play for beyond the £2.5m in merit payments on offer if they could hold on to 11th place but you’d have hoped that mere pride or one last chance to impress the manager would have inspired a bit more than the pedestrian display they served up.

By the end, fans will have solidified the list of players they would love to see jettisoned this summer but they’ll be all too aware that a number of them will still be around on 12th September when the new season starts because few teams will either want them or be able to afford them.

In the final reckoning of this match, one that condemned Bournemouth to relegation despite them recording the league double over Everton for the first time in their history, the only positives came from a trio of youngsters. Jarrad Branthwaite, deputising again for Mason Holgate, again exhibited poise and cool beyond his tender years; Anthony Gordon came off the bench to inject the urgency that had generally been lacking at that point of the second half; and Moise Keane showed some lovely touches and distribution while also notching his second goal in Royal Blue with a simple tap-in late in the first half.

On the other side of the coin, despite playing in a more favoured role, Gylfi Sigurdsson ambled his way through 90 minutes of pointing and generally slowing everything down; Theo Walcott weighed in with an assist but wasted almost every other opportunity to make something happen in the final third; Tom Davies never ascended above adequate; and André Gomes reverted back to the deeper-lying, ineffective presence in the centre that has made him such a disappointment since the post-lockdown resumption of play.

Then there was Jordan Pickford, once again playing Jekyll and Hyde in goal; a seeming lost cause but a millstone around Everton’s necks unless another club comes in for him during the upcoming transfer window. England’s “number 1” — that title looks highly tenuous now — pulled off another excellent save in one half but committed another glaring error in the second, weakly allowing the ball to slide underneath him for the Cherries’ third and decisive goal with 10 minutes left.

In his post-match interview, Ancelotti explained that he had told the players who will remain this summer — hope springs eternal from that statement! — that they will need to show more motivation next season but you can’t help but feel that the avuncular veteran boss won’t quite be able to light the requisite fire under the backsides of players like Sigurdsson who don’t appear to have any remaining desire.

If finances are to be as tight as many expect, the Italian won’t be able to replace almost all of his midfield, sign a new goalkeeper and fill the other roles that badly need attention this summer, but if he and Marcel Brands can add some genuine quality in key areas, it will help. Whether it will be enough to build a bridge to the top six in 2020-21 remains to be seen and may depend to a large extent on Ancelotti’s own managerial talents.

If there were players playing for their Goodison futures it didn't look like it. Bournemouth, on the other hand, were fighting for top-flight survival and, not surprisingly, that was largely reflected over the 90 minutes. The Cherries began on the front foot and were ahead inside 13 minutes, not long after Pickford had pulled off a terrific stop to deny Callum Wilson what looked to be a certain opener with a strong outstretched hand.

Josh King had already prompted a more routine stop from the England international and Aaron Ramsdale had parried away an effort from Seamus Coleman at the other end but it would be King who opened the scoring via the penalty spot. Richarlison was penalised for an obvious handball defending a free-kick and after a check by Video Assistant Referee, Graham Scott, the on-field official, Chris Kavanagh, confirmed the award of a penalty. Pickford guessed the right way but couldn’t reach the shot and the visitors had the lead.

Bournemouth appealed for a second spot-kick just three minutes later when the ball struck Lucas Digne’s hand but this time the officials, rightly, waved them away and it was at that point that Everton briefly came to life.

Kean was displaying some lovely touches and purposeful running and when he chased down a long ball towards the corner flag and picked out Richarlison, the Brazilian was unfortunate to see his effort charged down. A minute later, Kean dinked a perfect pass into Walcott but the winger couldn’t force the ball past Ramsdale.

Despite some sloppy distribution at times — it’s amazing how careless this Everton team is with the ball — Ancelotti’s side were enjoying the better of the contest by this stage and they counter-attacked promisingly 10 minutes before the break but Sigurdsson blasted a decent chance to test the keeper well over the crossbar.

Still, six minutes after that, the equaliser arrived. Sigurdsson passed to Coleman on the edge of the Cherries’ box, Walcott held his run until the Irishman flicked the ball into his path and then rolled it across the face of goal for Kean to convert simply at the back post.

Two minutes after that, Kean was handed a great chance to double his tally but he despatched a disappointing header into the keeper’s arms and then, in first-half stoppage time, Bournemouth reclaimed the lead.

Davies committed a foul in a dangerous spot outside his own box, no one managed to adequately track Dominic Solanke or Jefferson Lerma and the former was the one who got his head to Diego Rico’s free-kick to steer the ball into the far corner.

If there was a collective urge in the Everton ranks to salvage the game and avoid losing to three of the bottom four clubs on home ground this season, it was rarely evident. Wilson had a chance to further the visitors’ lead a couple of minutes after the break but his half-volley was pushed away by Pickford and Kean put another tame header into the keeper’s arms but there was very little in the way of goalmouth incident in the second half.

Everton should have at least had a potential penalty incident reviewed by VAR for a rather obvious-looking handball in the Bournemouth box but it didn't look like there was any communication between Kavanagh and Scott. Par for the course where Everton have been concerned with VAR so far.

Gordon came on and immediately gave Bournemouth more to think about on their left side than Walcott had provided, although the teenager’s cause wasn’t helped by Djibril Sidibé who did the defensive stuff well enough but routinely let the side down with his final ball in attack. The pair almost combined 15 minutes from the end but the Frenchman slightly overdid his cross and Gordon couldn’t get proper purchase on it.

Instead of a late push by the Blues after Dominic Calvert-Lewin had replaced the tiring Kean and Bernard had come on for Davies, it was Bournemouth who scored next. Everton had cleared an 80th-minute free-kick after Keane had chopped Wilson down outside the box and picked up a yellow card for his troubles but Eddie Howe’s side retrieved it and it ended up at the feet of Junior Stanislas.

The forward loves scoring against Everton but even he couldn’t have anticipated the gift he would receive from Pickford as the keeper flapped over his fairly innocuous shot and it ended up in the back of the net to make it 3-1. And that was mostly that.

You would think that a team bearing Ancelotti’s fingerprints can’t possibly keep playing this badly but they have managed it right up to the final game and it doesn’t bode well for a 2020-21 campaign that will also start without fans inside the grounds.

The Italian’s post-match assertion that, "I want a better team. We want a better team. We will have a better team. I want to see more fight,” represent all the right noises but it’s hard from this current vantage point to believe it until there is evidence of it from the players.

Competition for places will help, as would the sale of certain players who currently take up valuable space in the squad. There is ability there but a combination of low confidence, poor decision-making and simple lack of heart make an injection of new ideas and fresh talent as important as ever. Once again, Everton go into a vitally important transfer window, with long-term irrelevance beckoning if they can’t get it right.

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Reader Comments (56)

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Bob Parrington
1 Posted 27/07/2020 at 04:09:52
Richarlison's touch was awful today, as was Walcott's. Davies was lethargic, as was Gomes. Coleman looked listless and Sidibé forgot how to cross the ball.

Highlights were Branthwaite and Michael Keane. Moise looked sharp early on a was in the right place to take the goal. Sigurdsson showed sometimes but also looked confused, particularly in the second half.

Let's hope we can shelve the players we want to shelve within the next couple of months and bring in the ones Carlo wants.

Dave Evans
2 Posted 27/07/2020 at 07:58:49
In the past we had mediocre teams but opposition fans did not like playing us, because they knew the game would be difficult.

Now, we are the team that rolls over. The team who haven't a clue. A disgraceful indictment to all associated with the club.

Rick Tarleton
3 Posted 27/07/2020 at 08:05:37
We had nothing to play for except the much-vaunted pride, they were playing for their Premier League lives (and wages).

That said it was a fairly typical display and without a jeering crowd to goad Everton into life, the season petered out with a whimper.

I'm sure Ancelotti knows what's needed, whether the resources will be available or more likely whether such players will want to come to Everton remains to be seen. If nothing changes, I fear that next season will be similarly disappointing.

Mark Burton
4 Posted 27/07/2020 at 08:24:14
Ancellotti is not the only one who knows what has to happen. Deadwood to be put out to pasture, mercenaries sold off even at a loss and the old Tim Cahill type passion installed into players.

A couple of skillful players brought in so that Kean and Richalson can get the type of midfield we need for them to show their skill. Then we can win the Premier League and maybe even beat the RS for a celebration.

Peter McEvoy
5 Posted 27/07/2020 at 08:57:34
What can you say about that performance? Simply awful... so frustrating.

I previously stated that we need at least six new players. The only ones I would keep are: Digne, Holgate, Gomes, Richarlison and Gordon.

If we do not bring in more quality players who want to play for the club, I fear for next season... depressing!

John Raftery
6 Posted 27/07/2020 at 09:11:11
Our squad has been vastly overrated over the past three seasons. Sometimes they have been described as inconsistent and under-achieving but in truth they have more often than not been totally inept. Any thoughts of challenging for the top six always seemed fanciful.

Ancelotti's task has been to extract what he can from a bunch of experienced but average talents, augmented by Richarlison and a few of the younger players who have broken into the team. Bearing in mind we collected only 14 points from the first 15 matches under Silva, there has been a significant improvement under the new manager who has gathered 30 points from his 20 games in charge. Over a full season, that would equate to 57 points which would have taken us to 8th in the table.

Brands has previously indicated there will only be a small handful of new arrivals in this window. Plainly two of those will be a keeper and a central midfielder.

Presumably, Kenny will return from his loan period to cover the right-back slot but we now also need cover for Digne. Ideally we would add strength, especially goals, in the wide attacking positions but obviously there is no point in bringing in another expensive player unless the club is sure he is an upgrade on what we already have; namely Walcott, Bernard, Iwobi and Gordon.

Any thoughts of a radical transformation of the squad can be cast aside. Ancelotti will see a few new bodies arrive but by and large he will have to work with what he already has. Realistically we have a chance next season of returning to 7th or 8th but no higher.

Drew O'Neall
7 Posted 27/07/2020 at 09:19:58
We had 70% of possession and had a couple of decent moments.

The midfield isn't productive enough generally and I'm interested to see if Gomes can come back after he's had a long rest or whether he is on the scrap heap now too.

I think Davies has shown glimpses that he's a baby to remain when the toxic bathwater around him is long gone, maybe after a confidence building year-long loan.

Derek Knox won't mind me pointing out Josh King's man of the match performance, including a goal and an assist, and my restating that he and Calum Wilson would be powerful reinforcements in areas where we are lightweight however the priority obviously has to be the midfield.

I hope Don Carlo can solve this conundrum but, based on his attempts so far, I am concerned he cannot. Of all the problems on a football pitch, the lack of a midfield should be one the tactician can most easily overcome.

Let's hope that, while he has been forced to rely on the loyalty of a few ageing campaigners to meet his responsibilities this season, he remains objective enough to make some cold, calculated moves in the close season based on hard stats and facts, chief among which should be age and injury record.

Christopher Timmins
8 Posted 27/07/2020 at 09:24:57
Let's hope the next 7 weeks produce the improvements that are badly needed. With the benefit of hindsight, last summer's ins and outs were a disaster.

I accept that Gana was probably promised a transfer to Paris and Kurt went back to Chelsea after his loan spell but the ins were a major disappointment, pure bad signings and an unfortunate series of injuries.

We are definitely a worse team now then at the end of last season.

Tony Everan
9 Posted 27/07/2020 at 09:31:03
“Ancelotti explained to the players who will remain this summer”

A very interesting statement. What has he said and to whom?

I interpret this as he has told 3 or 4 players that they are not part of his plans. Sidibie is the obvious one as he is on loan, Besic, Bolaise, Sandro obvious too but who else has he told to find a new club because they are not in his plans?

Carlo could be now getting serious and wielding the axe on players who he has seen are well below the standards he requires. I suspect there are others he wants out Sigurdsson, Walcott, Pickford, Bernard, Delph, maybe Mina due to his unreliability, but has to be a bit more nuanced with their transfers and try to get the best fee possible.

I hope Mr Brands hasn’t booked any holidays yet. He can go to Barbados or wherever on October 6th, the day after the transfer window ends.

Tony Everan
10 Posted 27/07/2020 at 09:59:10
Sorry, forgot about Tosun , there’s so bloody many of them!, add him to that list.
Ajay Gopal
11 Posted 27/07/2020 at 10:03:02
It was a decent performance by a few of the players, but unlike against Sheffield United, where the entire team seemed to be up for it, a few of our players did not seem to be fully switched on.

As I mentioned on another thread last week, I would like to see the following moved on:

Pickford (if we can get a decent fee)
Sigurdsson
Kenny
Bernard
Iwobi
Mina
Bolasie
Sandro
Tosun
Martina
Besic
Sidibe

Get in a cheap, solid, no-frills goalkeeper - Forster, Romero, etc types
2-3 high energy, fast athletic, no-nonsense mid-fielders - any among the names we have been linked with or proposed by our in-house experts - Højbjerg, Buendia, Luiz, Allan, McKennie, etc
Right-back - either on loan (with an option to buy) or a ready to play player like Aarons from Norwich
Centre-back on loan - to cover injuries
Forward - someone like Troy Deeney - leader, experienced, bully defenders

We have some good players in our squad - but most of them are lacking confidence. Once they see a better, more dynamic set of players around them, and with Carlo's expert guidance, they will flourish.

John Raftery
12 Posted 27/07/2020 at 10:03:54
Christopher (8) I agree with your last sentence. Holgate and Calvert-Lewin have progressed while Branthwaite and Gordon have shown some promise. Richarlison and Keane excepted, most of the rest have gone backwards.
Tony Abrahams
14 Posted 27/07/2020 at 10:23:28
Good post, Ajay, I'd only keep Kenny, out of the twelve players on your list, and agree that we need better players to bring the belief and confidence that‘s needed to help bring the others on.
Andrew Ellams
15 Posted 27/07/2020 at 10:33:41
The first XI needs a keeper, right back, central defender, a ball winning midfielder, a midfielder with legs and a bit of pace and a wide player that can consistently go past players and knows where the goal is. That's a big ask for one summer.
Robert Tressell
16 Posted 27/07/2020 at 10:55:11
Ajay, I agree with you that the team is in need of upgrades all over the pitch. Only Holgate, Digne and Richarlison have shown their worth. Calvert-Lewin, Branthwaite, Gordon and Kean show promise.

Alas we cannot rise above mediocrity by buying lots of players who are just a bit better than the present lot.

Buying lots of players unsettles team dynamics. So we need a bit of restraint to improve a fairly rotten morale.

We should also buy only players who are champions league quality. Otherwise our first 11 is always inferior.

Since Neymar et al are not likely to head our way, we have to develop potential. 18- to 22-year-olds with the quality to play Champions League.

Buendia and his ilk will improve us a bit. But he's a fairly marginal gain on Iwobi and would be expensive too.

It would be better to persist with Iwobi while we groom a young world class talent like, say, Veron or Hlozek. That is what Dortmund would do.

Jon O’Dell
17 Posted 27/07/2020 at 11:04:32
I know it's wrong of me, but in a way, I'm glad we lost.

The game summed up our season. With the exception of Baines when he came on, and Branthwaite, all of our players looked like Bambi on ice. Couldn't control the ball, giving possession away too often.

I really, really wanted Pickford to succeed but, let's face it, he's not England No 1 anymore. Pope is the better keeper. Too many mistakes from Jordan and the final goal I think will be the nail in the coffin.

Same can be said for Sigurdsson. He can show flashes of genius but is not consistent enough. Carlo and Marcel need to clear out the deadwood and bring players in with passion.

Branthwaite is an interesting one. In the 3 or 4 games he's featured in, he looks so composed and I hope he gets plenty of game time next season. Makes me wonder if a central defender is still a priority.

We haven't seen anything of Gbamin to judge whether he's going to be anywhere near as good as Gueye. If there was an opportunity to bring Gueye back I'd take it.

Priority next season has to be goalkeeper, a 20+ goal-a-season striker, right-back, a good backup left-back to replace Leighton, and some wingers. I think we need to cut our losses on Kean. It's not working out and, for me, the jury is out on Calvert-Lewin.

I'm sad that Bournemouth went down, but glad to see the back of King and Stanislas who always seem to score against us for fun. I'd take King if he was available.

Ian Pilkington
18 Posted 27/07/2020 at 12:04:03
I've finally given up on Pickford. Pope from Burnley would be expensive but it may be possible to persuade them to take Pickford on loan with a buy option as they did with Hart from Man City.

The two players I absolutely never want to see again are Iwobi and Delph. Both will have to be loaned out as neither will attract purchasers.

Mal van Schaick
19 Posted 27/07/2020 at 12:07:25
Unfortunately for the players, 'dour' is not acceptable to the fans and hopefully the owner and board. Had there been a stadium full of supporters, they would've been spurred on to do better, but the body language of a lot of players appeared to be that of looking for a leader or an orchestrator in order to invigorate the whole of the team.

Top four or five teams would've put Bournemouth away with little fuss given home advantage, so this result and performance shows us where we are with this squad.

No last-minute panic buys, and please don't think signing Zaha will bring about a resurgence. I hope that there are no panic buys as the new season will of started and the transfer window will still be open. Get our business done early, ins and outs or I fear another bunch of misfits scratching around, lacking ideas, confidence and results.

Tom Bowers
20 Posted 27/07/2020 at 12:15:45
Yes, Pickford made an error, but Allison and De Gea have also made errors but are protected much better than Pickford.

Is there any guarantee that someone like Pope won't make an error now and again??

Hardly surprising that Pickford's confidence may be affected after having this poor bunch in front of him all season.

Remember that Everton were second best by a mile right from the whistle and the stupid move by Richarlison gave the penalty away giving Bournemouth even greater confidence.

Keepers always get blamed when things go wrong but they are only human. By the way, I have never been a keeper.

Colin Metcalfe
21 Posted 27/07/2020 at 12:26:58
Tom #20, I think you are very generous about Pickford, we need a calm competent keeper behind our defense, not a bag of nerves on speed!

I appreciate what your saying and every keeper is going to make the odd mistake which is usually costly hence they are under the spotlight when they do 2/3 in a space of a few game but Pickford has been poor for about 3 seasons and he needs to be moved on.

Tony Abrahams
22 Posted 27/07/2020 at 12:28:57
In which position should he be played, Robert, if Ancelotti is to persist with Iwobi?
Ian Pilkington
23 Posted 27/07/2020 at 12:30:18
Tom @20,

Pickford actually had a very good game until his error for the third goal. Unfortunately, since the restart his errors have become more frequent and he has been lucky not to have conceded more goals.

I would like to think that in a much improved (Everton) team he could go on to become a great goalkeeper, as new midfielders are a priority in the transfer window, but is he really capable of applying himself?

Rob Halligan
24 Posted 27/07/2020 at 12:44:15
Tom,

I said exactly the same thing about De Gea and Allison yesterday regarding mistakes they've made, very recently in fact, which have led to goals being conceded, and in Man Utd's case, their place in the FA Cup. Every goalkeeper will make mistakes, they are, as you rightly say, only human.

Regarding Nick Pope, if you can think back to when Burnley played at Man City not long after the restart, in my opinion, he made two mistakes which led to goals. He tried to stop two shots on goal with his feet, rather than trying to use his hands.

Both shots went across his body, so it was not like he was wrong-footed or the shots were deflected and he had no alternative but to use his feet. I'm not saying he would have saved either shot by diving, but I just thought at the time he made the wrong decision in trying to save them.

Christy Ring
25 Posted 27/07/2020 at 12:49:42
We're totally in a Catch-22 dilemma, there's no way we can get rid of Iwobi, especially as he signed a 5-year deal, and no-one would give even half of what we paid to Arsenal.

Sigurdsson's going nowhere either, because of his massive wages, and Delph, another disaster, has 2 years left on his contract @£80k a week, going nowhere either, and none of them good enough to wear the jersey.

We need to bring in 2 top defensive midfielders, one as back up, because we won't see Gbamin play again, until next year. Hopefully Gordon, Kenn,y Calvert-Lewin, Kean and Branthwaite will save us buying, in those areas, but we need a right-winger instead of Walcott.

Robert Tressell
26 Posted 27/07/2020 at 13:00:23
Tony @22. Iwobi will probably feature on the left and right of midfield, sharing his role with Bernard, Walcott & Gordon. That's on the assumption we play 4-4-2.

Bernard may leave. Walcott will probably see out his contract. Either way, likely to see a fair bit of Iwobi next season. In a 4-3-3 similar situation but with Iwobi playing more centrally.

It does not delight me. I'm just being realistic.

Tony Abrahams
27 Posted 27/07/2020 at 13:10:49
It's this kind of realism that makes me realise how difficult Ancellotti's job is, Robert. He's clever, is Carlo; at least he decided to see what he had before he decided what he needed. But Gordon, Walcott, Bernard and Iwobi, playing on the flanks in a 4-4-2 formation, would only help to send us even lower down the table next season, imo, so I sincerely hope you're wrong mate.
Steve Carse
28 Posted 27/07/2020 at 13:40:35
Unless we purchase some drive and energy in the next 7 weeks, I fear for our Premier League future should the season start behind closed doors. The standard of performance, collectively and individually, has been atrocious in the 5 games played at Goodison Park in the restart.

Over this period, there's been no sign that Ancelotti can stir the players he inherited, and that leaves the crowd to do the job.

Christy Ring
29 Posted 27/07/2020 at 13:49:22
Apart from getting a defensive midfielder, when we play 4-4-2, we need 2 wingers, who can go by the full-backs, and can cross a ball.

Walcott is the only winger we have, and he's past his sell-by date, Iwobi, Gordon and Bernard are not wingers, so we're trying to put square pegs in round holes, which doesn't work.

Jim Harrison
30 Posted 27/07/2020 at 13:57:09
Pickford had a good game, yes, up until the point he let a soft goal in that took any chance of getting anything out of the game.

One off can be accepted. A couple of cock-ups same. But he has consistently made critical errors this season, too many to not be under serious scrutiny. His place was safe as there was no real alternative.

In fairness, he can also point a finger at the defenders as for the third goal Stanislas waltzed through with little resistance. But then he didn't do his job either, and not for the first time

Neil Cremin
31 Posted 27/07/2020 at 14:10:18
Since Day 1, I have never been a fan of Pickford's as is well documented in these threads. His only quality as a goal keeper is his is very good at spreading himself on 1 v 1, in other words, a shotstopper. However in all other aspects of goalkeeping he is woeful.

And I would look at it from a different perspective than Tom #20, if I had Pickford behind me who has a far better view of the dangers approaching. I would be a nervous wreck as I do not know if he will come a claim a corner, pass it to me in a tight situation or hoof it out over the sideline.

Going back to his first season when he clattered into Ashley Williams, he showed how erratic he was and despite all the "coaching" he has not improved. Unfortunately, everybody else sees his limitations also so we are stuck with him but we need a calming influence between the post and alas Jordan will never be that.

Eric Myles
32 Posted 27/07/2020 at 14:24:06
Tom #20, are our poor bunch in front of Pickford better or worse than the poor bunch in front of him when he was at Sunderland?
Robert Tressell
33 Posted 27/07/2020 at 14:59:06
Tony we might buy a winger. Just depends on what else we buy. Only 2 or 3 first team slots will be upgraded. The first 11 next season will include players we don't like, one way or another.
Jay Harris
34 Posted 27/07/2020 at 15:16:26
Neil,

I totally agree with you.

Top goalkeepers make the penalty area their own and organize and cajole defenders into position.

Pickford cant even organize a wall for a free kick and every time a cross comes into the box he is a nervous wreck and refuses to go for the ball, standing rooted to his line.

He may have brought off some showstopping saves and his ditribution used to be a plus but that is now very wayward too.

I just wonder if he is doing a Gazza with his lifestyle and celebrity status.

Ralph Basnett
35 Posted 27/07/2020 at 15:18:49
For the individuals who won't go, we have to take a stand and leave them out of the squad.

If they want to play they make themselves pickable (is that even a word?) or go!!!!!

John Pierce
36 Posted 27/07/2020 at 15:27:13
It's a sad reality that I've given too much time to who and what position we need to strengthen. Ideally, in a limited financial position, I'd sell and use that money to upgrade little by little. We have neither the squad (assets) nor the liquid capital to make a big leap.

We clearly cannot in 7 weeks clear the decks and start again. So it strikes me the players we buy have to complement, by that I mean enhance, the better players we have in the side.

For example, I'm no fan of Gomes because he's one dimensional, needing legs around to service him the ball. He's horribly exposed without the ball. They used to say in cricket a test player needed to be able to do 2 or 3 disciplines or they weren't worth picking.

We have too many one-trick ponies who only work well when everything around them is suited to their needs. Outside of this ideal situation they flat out fail.

Keane, Sigurdsson & Gomes are those guys.

So we need people that can be decent on their own right but improve these players, because sadly all three will be first-teamers next season.

Jerome Shields
37 Posted 27/07/2020 at 16:18:24
Roll on next season and Ancelotti changes with it. There is nothing new in this performance against Bournemouth from this squad of players. They have been beaten like this by most of the lower half of the league using the same tactics for at least 5 years.
Robert Tressell
38 Posted 27/07/2020 at 17:24:12
Depressing as it is to watch and support Everton, we have a good manager, some good players and some money. That means our form next season should be a bit better than our form since Christmas. That is top 6 form.

Carlo will be quietly confident of grinding out some dreadful wins as the transition goes on.

There might be some signs of free-flowing football next season – but it'll take a couple of transfer windows to sort things out.

Tony Abrahams
39 Posted 27/07/2020 at 17:48:14
I like anyone that tries Robert, but Iwobi never looks like he his enjoying his trade. I can't see this changing because he doesn't appear brave enough, but hopefully I'm wrong because I can see a decent footballer if he ever gets played inside, but he's got to show the manager he really wants to do this.

People talk about managers improving/not improving players, but the first steps have always got to be taken by the players, they're the only ones that can really change how they play.

Robert Tressell
40 Posted 27/07/2020 at 18:13:29
Iwobi is not a bad footballer. He's failed to flourish in a dysfunctional team, after no pre-season to acclimatise, with 3 managers in one season. He's shown glimpses – as well as some very poor efforts. We probably need to judge him on next season's showing.
Ian Horan
41 Posted 27/07/2020 at 18:21:45
We may actually benefit from the euros being pushed back till next summer. Players not involved in the first team squad will need to be playing for their club to get selected for their national team.

Also Delph signed a 2-year contract with an option of a 3rd year, we won't get a fee for him so loaning him out for the last year to a newly promoted club could also be a winner. Bolasie could be a wild card, squad player who has speed similar to Oumar Niasse – nuisance factor for teh last 20 minutes. Alternatively, use him as part of a package to get Zaha... throw in Tosun and £30M. Easy this isn't it??

Tony Everan
42 Posted 27/07/2020 at 18:28:42
There's definitely some quality about Iwobi but, not unlike Bernard, it seems to be a flickering lightbulb. He is a bit too loose a player for want of a better expression. Doesn't get close enough to challenge when doing the essential defensive work. A bit of a stand-off merchant.

He strikes me as a nice player, another one who needs an edge and to learn how to apply controlled aggression. Maybe it just isn't in him? But, as Robert said, this season has been a disjointed joke, he still has a chance to prove he can do it.

Neil Cremin
43 Posted 27/07/2020 at 18:45:36
Thanks, Jay.

I will even go as far as saying that, if we don't get rid he could well contribute to us going don next season. I also do believe that Ancelotti agrees it's me (sic) and will address the problem.

I would also forget about Marquis signing, just buy hungry, fiercely competitive players with engines who have the basic passing skills, and who hurt (like we do) when we lose.

Robert Tressell
44 Posted 27/07/2020 at 19:42:29
Ian - I also think Bolasie has something to offer in his final year. He's a weird player but he can cause problems. However I strongly suspect he will be on loan next season before his contract expires. Or possibly sold for pittance. Doubt we'll see him in blue again.

The silver lining. Sheff Utd, Burnley etc have good managers. They have vastly inferior players. We now have a good manager. Don't be too downhearted at what Pickford, Keane, Mina, Davies, Delph, Sigurdsson, Iwobi, Walcott etc might achieve in a well structured team with a few extra stars. Just brace yourselves that it might not be pretty.

Sukhdev Sohal
45 Posted 27/07/2020 at 22:11:57
Iwobi is a bad player. 5 years at Arsenal and his largest goal return is 3. Pretty sure Mirallas had 8 twice (with 2 goals taken off him) and 11 assists but people act like he was atrocious for us.
Jerome Shields
46 Posted 27/07/2020 at 22:14:33
When Kean played, the Everton attack had shape to it with a clearly defined targetman. Kean laid off the ball well and got into good challenging positions in the penalty area and was a threat.

At the time I could not understand why he was subbed. Prior to being subbed, Ancelotti, when Kean was near the touchline, made the point of going over too him. I thought he was encouraging him, but now know Ancelotti was doing him the courtesy of letting him know that he was going to be subbed.

In my opinion, Ancelotti subbed Kean so as the see how the attack would perform. He got his answer. The attack lost shape and effectiveness and Calvert Lewin was two yards short of where Kean would have been had he stayed on.

David Thomas
47 Posted 27/07/2020 at 22:23:24
Robert @40,

Iwobi is crap. He is going to be 25 before the end of next season so it's not like he's just some kid breaking through. We paid a massive amount of money for him and after approx 125 league games he averages a goal every 10 games and an assist every 8 games.

John Pierce
48 Posted 27/07/2020 at 22:32:03
We can get stuck into Iwobi and Bernard all we like. However, both are completely ruined by deep set tactics Carlo has employed. I'm not gonna write they are world beaters but they are risk-taking players who have under Ancellotti been asked to play far deeper than their skill set will handle.

Iwobi is a dribbler and often wants to drift inside, getting the ball in his own half, just runs into the rocks and coughs the ball up. Bernard relies on holding the ball and feeding runners because he hasn't the pace to beat players. He gets zero support other than Digne.

How often do we see them in the final third? Both need the ball; without it they offer little. When the team spends 20 passes around the back and into midfield, they are starved and wither, they and others who are asked to do this job are frequently the ones substituted first. Why? Because they are not in the game. Until that changes and we play higher up the field the plethora of ‘wingers' we have will look as bad as they've been.

I have a lot of sympathy for them because the tactics hurt this type of player. Higher up the pitch!

Sukhdev Sohal
49 Posted 27/07/2020 at 22:44:04
Iwobi is not a good dribbler. I've seen him for 5 years in this league and he has never had the ability to go past more than one person at once.

Just go back the 12-13 Goodison derby. Mirallas was on the halfway line then went past 6/7 players at once and nearly forced an own goal. In a Merseyside derby too where we have underperformed for years. That's what you call a good dribbler.

Iwobi is an atrocious player and should be sold for anything over £5 million. I was infuriated when we signed him and even more so now. Not his fault, of course, it's our clubs.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

50 Posted 27/07/2020 at 22:54:01
Lyndon opens his report with the words 'An empty Goodison Park'.

Some attribute the absence of home fans as a cause of our limp end to the season.

Would-be season ticket holders could be in for a frustrating wait to return to the ground judging by a senior government adviser today:

Entire 2020-21 Season Could Be Played in Front of Reduced Capacity Crowds

Kevin Dyer
51 Posted 27/07/2020 at 00:03:25
Pickford, bit of an eccentric goalkeeper, not a good trait. Has concentration lapses. I'd sell while he's still England #1 if a big (£30M+) bid came in; otherwise, he stays as we have lots of areas that need improvement.

Unless Schalke offer a big chunk (£15M) for Kenny, start him next season with Coleman as cover. If he goes, then Dalot on loan with a buy option looks smart.

Branthwaite shows huge promise on limited viewings. Good size, quick, good on the ball, composed. Set-piece defending needs work as he's been beaten twice in 2 games but should be providing cover next season. We need a starting calibre centre-back alongside Holgate as Mina is a bust and Keane too slow.

Kean showed a lot yesterday, enough to give me hope that Ancellotti will get him going. Calvert-Lewin will continue to improve, 15 league goals and better all-around play.

Walcott isn't the answer on the right but has scored and assisted last 2 games and has good character. I'd keep him unless we get an offer (unlikely) and ship out Iwobi who offers nothing.

Bernard seems not favoured by Carlo, which is a shame but I can see him leaving on loan. I like Gordon, though he played better on the left than the right but we need starters on both flanks.

Centre-midfield is a disaster. Gomes needs relieving of his defensive duties because he has no instincts and, when playing deep, lacks pace to get forward. Sigurdsson has been awful all season and looks devoid of confidence. Davies has gone backwards as our midfield has collapsed in effectiveness. Gbamin, if he ever plays for us, that's a bonus, Delph needs to be offloaded, probably on loan.

We need legs and energy in midfield (not Doucouré though, ungainly and overrated). If we only bring one in, they have to have an impeccable fitness record. Some creativity would be useful also.

Tough job for our manager putting together an effective unit for the new season. We somehow have to bring in 4-5 starting calibre players and will need shrewd manoeuvring in the market.

Graham Hammond
52 Posted 27/07/2020 at 00:09:43
SS #49, You are right, Mirallas was class, particularly in his first three seasons, with goal stats and assist stats to back that up. He got an injury which took him down a bit, shit happens.

Even in his later Everton career, I remember Mirallas being the best player on the park for an hour at Old Trafford before Koeman hauled him off, Mirallas starred too in the 4-0 pasting of Manchester City. Lukaku was helped too by having Mirallas alongside him.

Mirallas is hated on ToffeeWeb for striking a penalty against the post against West Brom when it should have been Bainesy taking it. I prefer to look at the big picture, his goals and assists.

One season, Mirallas outscored Lukaku when you strip out Rom's penalty goals and adjust things for time and minutes played and people still weren't happy!

Mirallas was a one-in-three / one-in-four guy in his first three seasons with us and then we went and paid nearly £30M for one-in-ten Bolasie! We are a joke. I would happily take a young Mirallas back any day of the week.

Ian Horan
53 Posted 28/07/2020 at 00:55:07
Interesting views on our needs and wants.

If we are after a centre-back, Zouma. Been here, played well and defensively covered by his pace. Go 3 centre-backs: Zouma, Holgate and Keane or Mina rotating.

Digne is a wingback. Add Kenny and Coleman in alternate games. Allan, Gomes with Gbamin or a quality central defensive midfielder. Richarlison and Kean or Calvert-Lewin alternating.

I love Gylfi Sigurdsson but he doesn't fit what we need now. Offload Pickford or bring in a top Keeper. Even go big for Donnarumma.

It's going to be a long 7 weeks... probably have a different view tomorrow, even try Bernard in the ACM in front of Gomes and Allan... It's great this fantasy football lark.

Mike Kehoe
54 Posted 28/07/2020 at 07:56:46
All keepers make errors, that is accepted, but I look at Burnley when crosses come in and Pope commands his area and the defenders know what to expect: that is never going to be the case with Pickford. I use the example of Pope because he is not going to stay where he is, but coming for crosses and being reliable are definitely essential ingredients to build success on.

I hope to be pleasantly surprised by Carlo, not in some horrible Peter Johnson way, but three good acquisitions would generate momentum and then good things can happen. Quality in goal, Cm and a winger and the tide changes.

Optimism: may it once be justified.

Kim Vivian
55 Posted 28/07/2020 at 08:34:33
It's interesting reading these threads after a game without live spectators.

Usually, week after week, we see posts from fans who have been at the games and those who have had to rely on subscription broadcasts or erratic streaming. The two sets often have quite differing views of the game – the one set being able to watch players' off-the-ball movement, see actual perception of space (it's only when you watch live football that you realise how little space and time players often have on the ball, which does provide more appreciation of the skill of these guys playing at this level), and the other set (myself included) who watch more 'broadcast' than live matches which is one reason I do not tend to post my opinion too often post games - particularly if it has been abject. On occasion, the TV viewers will see the game in a better light, on other occasions, less favourably.

Since the return to football, obviously we have all been reliant on what we can see provided by TV coverage and what the producers want us to see, think we want to see, or hear from some moronic commentator or pundit which can make it hard to be as objective about the game compared to actually being there.

If you're at the game, you can see what's going on on the touchline, see what's going on at opposite ends of the ground from where the action is etc, and this observation is what adds, in addition to the obvious, to the appeal of actually attending.

Jerome commented above about Ancelotti having a word with Moise Kean prior to the sub and formed his own opinion about the reasoning. I liked that post, being optimistic about the lad's potential but watching on Sky Golf did not notice that happening. I'm sure more people would have seen that and commented had they been there.

My subjective view is that the guys attending the games tend to have a more measured opinion, for better or worse, of individual performances. We can all see on TV, for example, the ball bouncing off Calvert-Lewin or his combative performance when being delivered long balls from Pickford, and criticise/congratulate accordingly, but we cannot see what he is actually doing the rest of the time or how Pickford might be behaving when unchallenged or out of camera shot.

I know that there has been plenty to critisise, but I do think that, because of all this, we are all being even more critical than usual. I am missing the insights and debate from the seasoned and knowledgeable match goers (you know who you are) and clearly Ancelotti has a mountain to climb but what we have seen (certainly in the fishtank in my front room) are some real signs that we have a squad which can metamorphise with a couple or three shrewd signings into serious contenders for trophies and/or European competition.

We have a very good and experienced manager. I am an eternal optimist and I remain encouraged that, the year before winning the championship, Leicester were, on the face of it, in a hell of a worse situation than we are now.

It's been done once – can we do it again?

Nicholas Ryan
56 Posted 28/07/2020 at 14:08:34
Rob Halligan.... As your brother Mike was the best amateur goalkeeper I ever saw, I wonder what he thinks of the great Pickford?!
Sukhdev Sohal
57 Posted 28/07/2020 at 21:32:12
Graham Hammond 52 - Everything you said is correct. Don't forget we got him for £7 million too, a brilliant deal.

I don't understand how Mirallas missing the penalty in a league game (in a season which we are atrocious) is more hated upon than Lukaku missing a penalty in the FA Cup Semi final when Baines was on the pitch. We would've played Palace in the final too.

Also, I still despise Martinez for dropping Mirallas for Cleverley on the left just because he was his Wigan boy. Same with Kone A and Lennon too.

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