Spot the Player!

by   |   14/06/2020  60 Comments  [Jump to last]

With no live Everton games to watch for 3 months, the 5-minute highlights of our inter-squad game at Goodison Park on Saturday was gold dust!

Having watched it 18 times now, trying to get back into the swing of watching a full game, I started playing “Spot the Player” and hoped I could glean some much-desired insight into Carlo’s restart philosophy.

My initial thoughts were that the game was played at a very fast pace or I had set my iPad to fast forward! Apart from that, I struggled to work out if we were playing 3-4-3, 4-1-4-1, 1-2-3-4 or 3-3-3-1. Where are our tactical experts when you need them?

So, going back to the title of this epistle, who did you spot? I guess I have been spending too much time doing online quizzes! But naming the players without stopping the play is a good challenge.

These are who I spotted in both blue and yellow. I started naming the players in each team but got the impression that some may have swapped shirts. The more eagled eyed of you will correct me!

Schneiderlin (in track bottoms!)
Sigurdsson (I think cos I heard his name called out but didn’t actually see him do much. Nothing changes!)
Keane (great headed goal to finish but why wasn’t he marking himself?)
Niasse (looked the sharpest, fastest, keenest but still could not hit the target)
Richarison for some of the game

I think that leaves me a few short. Digne and Kean must have been there? Obviously the following are already injured and did not appear:


Reminds me of taking attendance for my PE classes many years ago “Where are those 4?” “They are all absent sir!”

Well, that’s my attempt at playing Spot the Player! Can anyone beat 20 and fill in the missing 2. Answers on a postcard please!

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Ajay Gopal
1 Posted 15/06/2020 at 09:05:25
I think I spotted Adeniran in one clip, making his way past a few players but then scuffing his shot wide.

Keane looked sharp with his heading – I hope he can bring that threat to the derby game. The forward players all looked pretty sharp – the midfield was pretty anonymous.

I predict a midfield 4 of: Sigurdsson, Davies, Sidibé and Iwobi or Bernard. Will Ancelotti risk playing Schneiderlin when he is on the verge of a transfer? My predicted starting XI:

Coleman Keane Holgate Digne
Sidibé Davies Sigurdsson Bernard
Calvert-Lewin Richarlison

Subs: Virginia, Gibson (or was that huge lad Branthwaite?), Baines, Baningime, Adeniran, Gordon, Schneiderlin, Kean, Iwobi.

Fran Mitchell
2 Posted 15/06/2020 at 09:11:36
Simms, Kyle John, and Markelo where also there.

Don't really understand why we didn't do a friendly against a local lower league team. Seems like we are underprepared, especially considering the opposition and significance of the first game.

Sam Hoare
3 Posted 15/06/2020 at 09:36:48
Schnedierlin is injured. As is Delph. Gomes may have a late fitness test but it looks like Davies and Sigurdsson in the middle for the derby. Lord help us!
Tony Everan
4 Posted 15/06/2020 at 10:24:42
Sam. Doesn't inspire confidence, does it!

But pick any combination of those 5 and the confidence levels don't rise dramatically. Highlights just how badly we need a central midfielder.

I would advocate two, a safer bet (the more I think about Allan, the more I think he maybe is too old now for a long-term contract at his likely fee and wage demands). Carlo needs backing if he wants him but I would rather we invested in a younger quality midfielder on the up. Who we could lure? ... I will leave that to you, Sam, to offer some names. For the second midfield signing, a more speculative buy (Sangare?)

With Gomes as a starter, then Davies, Delph, and Adeniran giving us backup and who knows, stepping up, it gives us some alternatives.

I think we have to factor Gbamin out of the equation all-together and view him as a bonus if and when he returns.

Robert Tressell
5 Posted 15/06/2020 at 10:53:17
It's a dreadful squad to pick from for this game. The midfield is a real problem and we're in danger of getting completely overrun, as with the cup game against their kids.

The "not as bad as we make out" Schneiderlin would ordinarily be our best bet in front of the defence but motivation at the present time may be even more of an issue than usual.

Unfortunately, any variation of your side, plus 4-4-2, involves throwing someone in at the deep end or a very unbalanced formation.

Any result will depend on good tactics, discipline and tremendous hard work. Aren't we also due some luck too?

David Thomas
6 Posted 15/06/2020 at 11:16:34

Heaven help us if that is the pairing on Sunday. That would surely be the slowest pairing you could possibly have. I think Ossie would lap both of them in a race.

Joe McMahon
7 Posted 15/06/2020 at 11:29:22
Sam and David, if that is the pairing, we are looking at a record loss home defeat to Liverpool. Broadcast live to the nation as well.

Hundreds of millions spent and we still have shite like this in the squad. Surely our owner, Chairman and Director of Football cannot be satisfied with the low quality??

Darren Hind
8 Posted 15/06/2020 at 11:31:22
Ancelotti will surely have learned from the Chelsea game. We simply cannot allow ourselves to be outnumbered in the middle of the park.

Their midfield is not super talented but, unless ,he chooses the players who will make us most compact, they will run us into the ground.

We are looking pretty ramshackle I'm afraid to say, but we simply must stay in the game, then let's see if their desperation to win leaves a couple of doors ajar...

Alan McGuffog
9 Posted 15/06/2020 at 11:34:23
Dunno about their sensitivies, Joe, but I, for one, am totally dissatisfied with our owner, chairman and Director of Football (whatever the feck he does).
Conor McCourt
10 Posted 15/06/2020 at 11:48:04
I hope Carlo experiments with the formation and plays a diamond which is long overdue given the talents within the squad.

Gomes holding with Davies and Iwobi either side and Sigurdsson behind the front two where he is best. If he really doesn't fancy Iwobi, then perhaps use Sidibé there for his energy.

Fran Mitchell
11 Posted 15/06/2020 at 11:53:42
I can see a 3-5-2 type system:

Coleman Keane Holgate
Sidibé Davies Sigurdsson Iwobi Digne
Calvert-Lewin Richarlison

Baines could also maybe be an option as a deep-lying midfielder.

Eddie Dunn
12 Posted 15/06/2020 at 11:57:25
Midfield shouldn't matter as Liverpool don't play there. It's the long diagonals into the edge of the box and the counter-attacking of Mane et al that will be the problem.
Darren Hind
13 Posted 15/06/2020 at 12:42:14
Total myth that Liverpool don't play through midfield. You can bet one of their midfield players will get player of the season (probably Henderson). It's where they gain most of their possession.

Their full-backs do hit superb long diagonal balls, but any team thinking that's all they do, or that's all you have to stop, is in for a fearful hiding.

The best way to deal with the long diagonal is to stop it at source – in midfield!

Paul Tran
14 Posted 15/06/2020 at 12:42:27
We need pace, energy and bags of commitment.

Without those three, it doesn't matter what formation he plays.

Paul Tran
15 Posted 15/06/2020 at 12:45:51
Yes, Darren, the big myth that they have 'no' midfield. They have a midfield that chases everything, runs down everyone and does the simple things consistently well.

The obvious danger is up front and they do launch it, but that midfield does all the simple things I expect, and rarely see, from ours. The basics.

Jay Wood

16 Posted 15/06/2020 at 12:52:02
I enjoyed watching it.

Calvert-Lewin and Anthony Gordon both looked very sharp. Dominic bagging a couple as well as running well with the ball. Tidy runs and finish by Gordon also.

Iwobi and Bernard switched off for a short corner between Baines and Gordon, giving the latter time to put it on a plate for a thumping header by Michael Keane who also got a second header later.

Of the fringe players, I think I identified the likes of Feeney, Markelo, Baningime, Adeniran, but no Gibson or Branthwaite, both of whom I would have expectred to feature.

It was confusing because the players appeared to swap bibs also.

I liked one scene when you can hear Baines instructing Gordon about positioning following an attack from the other team.

The crumbs we live on, eh?

Robert Tressell
17 Posted 15/06/2020 at 12:54:10
Eddie, correct. Liverpool often attack through the full-backs and diagonal long balls. However, midfield is where they snuff out attacks before they start, gain a stranglehold on the match and commence an immediate attack on the transition when they are already quite high up the pitch. If we are not in the midfield battle and cannot match the energy of midfield runners we will struggle.

The option is to let our midfield sit and play long balls of our own to three pacy attackers, say Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison and Iwobi. This is probably our best option with what we have available. But to do this effectively we need to win the ball from Liverpool in open play when they are over-commited.

Derek Taylor
18 Posted 15/06/2020 at 12:56:29
Last week, The Athletic published a forecast of finishing places in this season's Premier. These 'experts' had us down to finish ... wait for it ... THIRTEENTH..... our lowest position since Moyes early doors.

Were that to turn out to be an accurate appraisal, I can see the highest severance pay in the history of the Premier League being paid out by our clueless owner!

Brent Stephens
19 Posted 15/06/2020 at 13:29:13
Derek that payout isn't going to happen. No way will they panic.

Trust me, I know nothing.

Dave Abrahams
20 Posted 15/06/2020 at 13:42:13
Derek (18), THIRTEENTH??

I'd jump at that right now.
Derek Taylor
21 Posted 15/06/2020 at 13:49:34
Brent, I imagine most of us will be expecting a higher finish than that termed 'unlucky for some' although there was little to suggest before the break that Ancelotti was any more capable of inspiring this sorry bunch than were his predecessors!
James Flynn
22 Posted 15/06/2020 at 13:51:37
One thing jumped out with all the close-ups of the players moving around is that Calvert-Lewin is some physical specimen.

Watching the games, he appears slim due to his height. But that boy is all muscle. No wonder opponents have such problems handling him.

Tom Bowers
23 Posted 15/06/2020 at 14:03:34
What a surprise, no more injuries to report!!!
Joe McMahon
24 Posted 15/06/2020 at 14:13:34
I suppose when we think of Moyes's 5th & 6th finishes, we most certainly have gone backwards. But there is so much more competition now than there was. Spurs and Liverpool much stronger, but Leicester and Wolves to consider also.

We are jostling with Burnley and Palace due to dreadful and awful additions to the squad on crazy high contracts. The additions of Lukaku and Barry seem a long time ago.

Somehow Carlo and his team have to build a team around Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison, whilst keeping the big boys with there Champions League football carrot away.

Brent Stephens
25 Posted 15/06/2020 at 14:18:15
Derek, is the sorry bunch the players or the fans?!
Phil Martin
26 Posted 15/06/2020 at 14:38:27
@Joe 24, I'm not so sure the Premier League has become stronger since we were top 5 or 6.

Yes, Liverpool, Spurs, Wolves and Leicester are stronger now. However, Man Utd, Arsenal have really fallen away since then. Chelsea are in transition. Also, Aston Villa were our top 5 or 6 rivals for a period. They were very strong back then under Martin O'Neil.

I think it's a measure of how average we've become. We're no longer best of the rest (or close to).

Robert Tressell
27 Posted 15/06/2020 at 16:07:37
We have certainly declined in the past 5 years - position, playing staff & identity.

Acid test, do we think our best, fully fit first 11 could beat either of these 2 sides:

An approximate Moyes 11:

Howard, Coleman, Baines, Jagielka, Distin, Arteta, Fellaini, Cahill, Mirallas, Pienaar and Saha.

An approximate Martinez 11:

Howard, Coleman, Baines, Jagielka, Stones, McCarthy, Barry, Barkley, Mirallas, Deulofeu, Lukaku

Apart from Richarlison, I'm not sure who from the current set up would get into either side.

Tony Abrahams
28 Posted 15/06/2020 at 16:21:42
It's actually seven seasons since Martinez gave us a good go at gaining a Champions League place... but football can change very quickly.

If Brands would have had a decent window last summer, then who knows what would have happened this season? We had 8 clean sheets out the last 11 games, that was definitely something to work on, so let's hope the recruitment improves... otherwise, we won't improve nowhere near enough for where we want to get to.

Joe McMahon
29 Posted 15/06/2020 at 16:46:56
Robert, I'd still prefer Howard back now!
Kevin Prytherch
30 Posted 15/06/2020 at 16:52:42
Robert – you've left Hibbert and Osman out of Moyes's team!
Conor McCourt
31 Posted 15/06/2020 at 17:20:06
Robert 27- great post. I said something similar the other day by suggesting only Holgate, Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison were top six material and personally I would have all three on both teams but only those.
Mike Gaynes
32 Posted 15/06/2020 at 17:35:26
Agreed, Kev #30, they played far more games for Moyes than Seamus or Saha.

That said, however, Robert's point is a solid one. I've been watching some of our "classic" games on NBCSN, including the Man Utd game from 2010 this weekend, and our 7th-place lineup then was much better than today's. Cahill was so damn good... Arteta just left Gomes in the dust..... on and on.

Kevin Prytherch
33 Posted 15/06/2020 at 17:50:55
It's even worse to think of the “big money” signings.

In Moyes's team, you could only really count Fellaini as a big money signing, whilst in the Martinez one there were only really Lukaku and McCarthy who would be considered “big money”.

Now we have Pickford, Digne, Mina, Keane, Schneiderlin, Sigurdsson, Gomes, Gbamin, Iwobi, Walcott, Kean and Richarlison who have all been bought for north of £20million. Barring Richarlison, every one of these still has question marks next to their name. That's one hell of an expensive incompetent first XI.

John Pierce
34 Posted 15/06/2020 at 18:00:34
PT, I'm not sure we do need pace energy and commitment. Perhaps for the first game for obvious reasons, and I'm being a little devilish too. However, with games coming thick and fast, I wonder if teams who keep the ball might do better?

Those teams who are energy based, pressing units surely cannot keep it up in a schedule which is extremely demanding. I think those who rotate the best will do the best, even if you are taking a better player out for a lesser but fresher player, I think that's the way forward. Almost like an extended Christmas schedule.

I think younger players who often find the atmosphere tricky might prosper too. These games have a reserve or youth team feel to them and, as such, maybe Anthony Gordon might benefit? Mix in the inevitable slower pace and lack of contact I've seen in the Bundesliga games, it furthers my instinct that even Sigurdsson and Iwobi might find a niche for the last 9 games.

Eric Myles
35 Posted 16/06/2020 at 03:39:30
Sam #3, I guess we'll just use Big Sam tactics and bypass the midfield altogether.
Eddie Dunn
36 Posted 16/06/2020 at 07:00:08
My point about bypassing midfield is that, of course we should battle and close down their players, but, if we are strangled by their hard grafters, then, when we are in possession, we should simply bypass them with long balls over the top or down the channels. I simply can't see us dominating them in the middle of the park with our fit players.
Paul Tran
37 Posted 16/06/2020 at 08:31:26
You are being devilish, John P, albeit with a grain of truth. Of course I'd like us to keep the ball better. We tend to do that when we play quicker, when players have some energy off the ball to make themselves available, when players actually get themselves into the box.

Robert Tressell
38 Posted 16/06/2020 at 08:55:06
The blanket defence and long ball over the top does spare us the midfield battle and squeeze the space for Mane and Salah to run into. Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison and Iwobi could be effective in such a system. Kean also coming on later and running at them. Maybe even Gordon.

On a related note, is Bolasie now back with us and available to play? Presumably that ship has sailed but interested to know.

Tony Abrahams
39 Posted 16/06/2020 at 09:41:00
Let’s think about it a bit deeper, five subs allows a lot more leg-room for total effort, and should help us to match Liverpool physically.

This won’t be easy, logic says they will be mentally sharper than every other team, but if a player knows he can be replaced after an hour, then this should help them to run their bollocks off, knowing they might not have to play a full 90 minutes, first game back.

Dave Williams
40 Posted 16/06/2020 at 10:25:30
Paul Tran is right. Without pace, energy and commitment we will be overrun. I would hope that Gomes will be fit to start and I would play Baningime alongside him. We have to have wide midfielders who will chase back to help deal with their full-backs. I would pair Digne with Baines on our left and Sidibé on our right and hope that he has one of his “beast” style games. The front two will trouble any defence in the league and we have to get some decent balls in to them.

I don't particularly like that team but I don't think Bernard is strong enough to compete against their athletic players and, whilst I think Iwobi may still come good, he too could go missing in this one.

An option would be to play Kean in a front three but withdraw the two wider strikers to sit deep and break. Trying to select a team really hammers home how poor our midfield players have been this season and, with no crowd to help, I am fearing a rout. Time for Carlo to show what he can do.

Jay Wood

41 Posted 16/06/2020 at 11:31:36
Nice interview with Bernard on the club site

Bernard Interview

Tony Abrahams
42 Posted 16/06/2020 at 11:51:07
In the game at Goodison last year, I thought it was little Bernard who carried the most fight against Liverpool and, although Arnold is both quicker and stronger, I felt that when Richarlison and Sigurdsson came on that Everton looked the stronger team towards the end. The little fella had a big heart that day and sometimes that's the most important thing.
Steve Carse
43 Posted 16/06/2020 at 11:59:26
Dave (40), your second and third sentences seem contrary -- "Without pace, energy and commitment we will be overrun. I would hope that Gomes will be fit to start"
Darren Hind
44 Posted 16/06/2020 at 12:09:07
The RS will not play back of the court tennis with us, by trading long balls. They will believe they are better than us. They will not play a game that suits us, one which will play directly into our hands. They will not trade the long pass for the big hoof into a crowded defence in the hope that something breaks.

Whether we like it or not, this is a fucking good side they have. They would be delighted to think we would be naive enough to go with a simplistic sit deep and knock it over the top plan.

The main reason they, as a team, are so much better than us is, not because the likes of Henderson and Milner are more skillful than the likes of Sigurdsson or Gomes. It's because they play with so much more energy than we do. More hunger and desire... There is only one way to counter that.

Whoever Ancelotti selects has got to be prepared to match or better their lung-bursting efforts and whilst a long ball to Calvert-Lewin could be the key to unlocking them, we can't afford to be too predictable and rely on it or they will murder us. We have got to mix it up.

Sorry, but there is no easy solution; if we sit back, they will abandon their long diagonal and simply overwhelm us. There is no short cut, no lazy way to spare us a midfield battle.

It would be nice to think they will be sympathetic to our plight and play a seven-a-side game, leave the midfield out of it, but if we know we are vulnerable in that area, you can bet your life that they will too.

If we are to have a realistic chance of beating the fuckers, we have got to have and win the unavoidable battles all over the park.

Robert Tressell
45 Posted 16/06/2020 at 12:09:41
In fairness to Moyes, we used to have a few versatile players to prop us up through injury crises. Limited though he was, we could really use a Phil Neville right now. No wonder Tom Davies has struggled to shine in the team.
Paul Tran
46 Posted 16/06/2020 at 12:33:18
Completely agree, Darren. When we play against an obviously better side, the least I expect is that we want it more than they do. Sunday is no exception. Match them with effort and desire, then make the most of the opportunities we get.
David Thomas
47 Posted 16/06/2020 at 13:29:38
Exactly Darren 100% agree
Patrick McFarlane
48 Posted 16/06/2020 at 13:37:44
No passionate Goodison crowd, lots of injuries and Mike Dean to officiate the derby – what could possibly go awry? Are we looking at a record derby defeat or will the footballing Gods smile down on us and allow us to celebrate a narrow victory courtesy of a last-minute wonder strike from Sigurdsson – No? Me neither! At least Dean's lad(s) will be happy.
Jay Harris
49 Posted 16/06/2020 at 13:52:36
FFS, lads, it's 11 v 11 and that shower of shite lost 3-0 to Watford and went out of the Champions League to Atletico Madrid just before the break, so please let's approach this with a bit of confidence in our players. At least we have had time to prepare for this and we know what to expect.

Full-blooded commitment will see us get a result, IMO, the main difficulty being the corrupt FA appointing red-nose Mike Dean.

Tony Everan
50 Posted 16/06/2020 at 20:12:32
Full-blooded commitment is the bare minimum we need to win. The boys on the right-hand side Seamus /Sidibie will come in under a lot of pressure and will need to be completely on their A game. Klopp will be targeting that side. Robertson will be firing crosses in, and they will score from them if we don't take him out.

We have great players in attack and there is a goal or two in this game for us. So there are threads of optimism. Also, the break may have done Sigurdsson the world of good. Since the summer, he has been a different player, distracted and not enjoying his football. A bit of introspection over the last three months could put him back on track.

0-0 until the last five minutes and Sigurdsson scores a screamer from just outside the box. Final score: Everton 1-0 Liverpool.

Yes, yes, I know. I've been locked down too long.

Rob Halligan
51 Posted 16/06/2020 at 20:29:27
According to the official Everton website, Gomes will be fit for Sunday. Mina and Delph are also close but won't be available for Sunday, but Ancelotti is optimistic both will be available for the Norwich game.
Paul Birmingham
52 Posted 16/06/2020 at 20:37:45
1994 Dogs of War spirit, give it to them, healthy respect, no standing off, or fairy tackles.

It's been a long break from football for all teams, the Sky RS propaganda machine will be going into overdrive the next few days as is likely BBC and ITV.

Let's hope the players fight like wolves and get stuck into them. For me, more shooting from 20-30 yards, and let's steam the RS. That's the dream, always is, but EFC is over due a home win versus them.

No VAR, 5 subs, it will keep their officials on their toes, let's hope Everton prevail, and they don't win the title next Sunday.

Jay Wood

53 Posted 16/06/2020 at 21:03:35
Anybody watched this video on a 5-a-side game and shooting drills with Richarlison, Kean and Calvert-Lewin?

5-a-side & shooting drills

For the first two minutes, it's the 5-a-side game. It helpfully flashes up the goal scorer. And who was mustard in his finishing in this game was... Michael Keane!

After the 2 minute mark, you see 3 separate windows with Richarlison, Kean and Calvert-Lewin doing impressive movement and shooting drill practice.

Richarlison and Kean clinical in their finishing, Calvert-Lewin scuffs a couple but still good. Joao Virginia in goal is made to look a mug!

A good watch.

Dan Nulty
54 Posted 16/06/2020 at 22:05:29
Kean looked sharp in the finishing!
Jay Harris
55 Posted 16/06/2020 at 22:15:40

Thanks for posting that – at least Carlo is looking to give them good shooting drills.

Who was the baldheaded player that looked like Delph?

Jay Wood

56 Posted 16/06/2020 at 22:46:37
Delph, Jay!

His name flashed up when he smoked one home.

So either this footage was before his injury, or he isn't badly injured.

Steve Shave
57 Posted 16/06/2020 at 22:49:37
Robert (27) that is a very sobering post especially when you consider the money that has been spent. We've shelled out a fortune in order to go backwards!!
Jay Harris
58 Posted 16/06/2020 at 23:27:58
I thought it was Delph but reports saying he was injured and unavailable confused me.

Let's hope it's the latter. We need all the reinforcements we can get.

Steven Sturm
59 Posted 16/06/2020 at 23:47:16
Thanks for the post. Good to see them playing again if only in practice. Here's to a good result Wednesday and a better one on Sunday. COYB!
Tony Everan
60 Posted 17/06/2020 at 10:23:10
Cheers, Jay, for posting that. The forwards looked quite sharp and the shooting drills looked to be intense and getting them to shoot on instinct first time. I was impressed with the drills and the forwards.

It would be a massive bonus if Moise Kean has come on further since the lockdown. Before that, he was just beginning to show what he can do. He looked sharp in the wee clip there so it will be interesting to see if he can make more progress.

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