Fabian Delph returned to training this week but is still ruled out while Morgan Schneiderlin is suspended and André Gomes remains a doubt through injury
Everton kick off their home programme of Premier League fixtures for the new season with the visit to Goodison Park of Watford this weekend as Marco Silva's team bid to improve on last weekend's goalless draw at Crystal Palace.
[Note the following preview and predicted lineup have been updated following injury news from Marco Silva's pre-match press conference.]
In an encounter that was hugely reminiscent of the same game back in April, the Blues struggled to break down the Eagles' shape and had to be content with a point from a largely impotent display but in the familiar environs of home, Silva will hope to see his players spread their wings a little more.
Silva will have to contend with some early-season selection concerns in midfield where André Gomes is a significant doubt given the silence on his prognosis from the club this week and Morgan Schneiderlin is suspended.
The Frenchman picked up two bookings and was given his marching orders with a quarter of an hour to go at Selhurst Park last week while the Portuguese sustained an ankle injury at the end of the first half. Silva says that Gomes will be included in the squad but it is unclear at this point if he will be able to play any part in the game.
She he prove unable to, Gomes's likely replacement, Jean-Pierre Gbamin betrayed some predictable unfamiliarity with the fast-paced English game and also looked to be lacking in fitness which would place question marks over the wisdom of pitching him into his first start just seven days later.
Silva had a potential option in Fabian Delph who returned to training on Wednesday having recovered from a muscle injury he picked up in the friendly against Werder Bremen but the former Manchester City man is still ruled out.
Assuming the manager doesn't elect to drop Gylfi Sigurdsson back into a deeper role, Gbamin could make his full debut alongside Tom Davies in central midfield. Davies made an impressive cameo in tricky circumstances last Saturday following Schneiderlin's dismissal and he will see this as an opportunity to stake his claims.
Meanwhile, Sigurdsson could have competition for No.10 position he has occupied behind the front two and his rather lacklustre display at Palace won't have helped him much in that regard. With the benefit of another week's training following his involvement in the Africa Cup of Nations, another new signing in the form of Alex Iwobi offers a different option behind the striker -- less playmaker and more of a direct, trickier presence on the ball capable of unsettling defences.
He could, of course, unseat Bernard from the left flank, a position he often played for Arsenal and Silva will be grateful for the Nigerian's versatility, not least because it will push some of those attacking players to work all the harder to keep their spots in the line-up.
Then, of course, there is the matter of the centre-forward role itself. Dominic Calvert-Lewin played a role last week with which he is all too familiar — that of a physical, disruptive presence spearheading the attack but one which had few goalscoring chances. Indeed, the young striker had just one touch in the opposition penalty area in 90 minutes and while there will almost certainly be an element — perhaps a dominant one — of the way in which the team attacked at play in that statistic, Silva will be mindful that Moise Kean offers something very different.
The 19-year-old will no doubt be as desperate to start as the Goodison faithful are to see him get some meaningful action and while it's tempting to let your imagination and excitement over the recent arrival from Juventus get the better of you, you have to be mindful of his tender years and respect the manager's desire to introduce him slowly if that is what Silva decides to do.
For their part, the visitors will travel to Merseyside looking for some quick redemption following what would have come as something of a shock in their own home opener last Saturday. Brighton & Hove Albion under their new boss Graham Potter thumped the Hornets 3-0 at Vicarage Road, dealing a surprisingly heavy blow to Javi Gracia's hopes of getting off to a winning start.
The Spaniard's new striking acquisition, Danny Welbeck, who wasn't considered for the Brighton clash, will have a late fitness test while winger Ismaila Sarr, a deadline-day signing from Rennes, is also a doubt but Nathaniel Chalobah should be fit.
Despite the disappointment of the result at Palace, there will be optimism among the home crowd this weekend that they can generate the kind of atmosphere that carried the Blues to such impressive results as those which saw them go from mid-February to mid-May without conceding a goal at Goodison.
Watford played spoiler in this game last season, however, holding Everton to a 2-2 draw in a fixture that the Toffees felt, in tandem with the visit of Newcastle a few days previously and on the basis of their form prior to the Merseyside derby at Anfield, as an opportunity to put three points in the board. Instead, it needed a stunning free-kick from Lucas Digne to salvage a draw.
As such, there will be nothing easy about this game but it's one where Silva and his men need to lay down a marker and statement of intent for the season by getting the win.
Kick-off: 3pm, Saturday, 17 August, 2019
Referee: Lee Mason
Last Time: Everton 2 - 2 Watford
Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Coleman, Keane, Mina, Digne, Davies, Gbamin, Sigurdsson, Bernard, Richarlison, Kean
Originally Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Coleman, Keane, Mina, Digne, Davies, Delph, Sigurdsson, Bernard, Richarlison, Kean
Full coverage: ToffeeWeb Match Report page
Reader Comments (104)
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1 Posted 16/08/2019 at 06:39:39
These lot were unlucky not to take all 3 points last season; I fear they may just do that tomorrow.
2 Posted 16/08/2019 at 07:34:53
I can dream at least, Kean hat-trick?
3 Posted 16/08/2019 at 07:38:13
Watford were quite poor for the final third of last year. And very poor against Brighton. You're right to point out Doucore and Capoue as they are probably their best two players who will look to press quickly and aggressively when we get the ball. It could be another baptism of fire for Gbamin. Or perhaps Delph will be fit.
If we can beat their press then we should get opportunities, so much may depend on who can hold up and link play better out of Gray/Deeney and Calvert-Lewin/Richarlison.
Both teams have full backs that like to push up so there could be space for the wingers.
Will be interesting to see Silva's team selection and much may depend on who's injured and who is fit. I'm not sure Iwobi and Kean will yet be fit enough to start after limited training time. Nor Gbamin ideally though if Gomes and Delph are both out with Schneiderlin then perhaps there's no choice. Unless Adeniran gets an unexpected call up?
After last week's draw, there's even greater need for a win here. Watford will be smarting after Brighton and obviously there's bad blood too. I think we are a more cohesive team than last time we played them and I'm hoping for a 2-1.
4 Posted 16/08/2019 at 07:52:20
Personally I'd play 4-4-2 with Tosun up the middle and Kean in support and go all out for the win. Davies would be the odd man out. Iwobi and Gbamin should figure at some stage as well. A defeat would be a big set back, even at this early stage of the season.
5 Posted 16/08/2019 at 08:13:03
Therefore expect Calvert-Lewin to do his usual job, working his socks off and hope that Kean trots on with 20 mins to go to run at tired defenders.
A draw is on the cards.
6 Posted 16/08/2019 at 08:13:14
Hopefully Silva has been working on a solution in training this week to combat the midfield battle. Wonder if Iwobi might well be used to play centrally perhaps?
7 Posted 16/08/2019 at 08:15:30
Dunno about Gomes. Hes upbeat on Twitter but no news from the club. I suspect he will miss this one. This opens the door for Delph. I suspect Davies will take the other slot.
The blue faithful will be in full voice and I expect the snake shakers to be beaten in a cagey game.
8 Posted 16/08/2019 at 08:31:59
I do share your concerns for tomorrow and we will do well to win that midfield battle. But in all other areas I believe we should be superior if all goes to plan. I never take any game in the Premier League for granted but our home form should give us grounds for confidence. I'd very much like to see Iwobi play centrally but I'd imagine it will more likely be from the bench.
Could be a big match for Davies. He's got to find a level up on his last season if he's to get much game time this season. If he can get the upper hand against Capoue and Doucoure, it would be an impressive marker laid down.
10 Posted 16/08/2019 at 08:46:31
Those saying '4-4-2, play Tosun' – I do wonder what world you guys are from really. 4-4-2 is what Hodgeson plays. 4-4-2 in the modern game is sit back and counter. Funnier is to suggest 4-4-2 with Tosun. Jesus wept. Tosun is the worst option for 4-4-2: no pace. And then what about Richarlison, Sigurdsson? Iwobi? Bernard? Going to play where in this 4-4-2?
Big game for the current whipping boy – Calvert-Lewin. He will lead the line again, and will be desperate for a goal. Most people who pay attention to my posts know I rate the lad, I think he has the tools – but there are no guarantees. Games like this are where he needs to raise his game.
And a big game for Sigurdsson too. He was nothing short of awful at Palace.
And finally, Mina and Keane vs Troy Deeney will be an interesting battle. But I'm sure they'll win it. Confident we have one of the league's top centre-back pairings.
11 Posted 16/08/2019 at 08:50:43
12 Posted 16/08/2019 at 09:08:43
13 Posted 16/08/2019 at 09:09:10
A great day to look forward to, nothing like the opening home game of the season, I expect the roof to come off with a resounding Everton win!
14 Posted 16/08/2019 at 09:18:30
The lad is meant to be one of the hottest properties in Europe and I don't recall players like Wayne Rooney, Robbie Fowler or Michael Owen being “eased” in to things at 19?
If a player is that good then he needs to be on the pitch, let's be honest it's not like we've got Harry Kane keeping him out of the team is it?
No disrespect to Calvert-Lewin or our other striker options but it's all more toil and sweat without ever actually looking like threatening that big bloody white thing between the two posts, called a goal.
Start Kean and give him a baptism of fire, new country or not, the pitch is the same colour here as in Italy and the ball is the same shape, let's see what the lad can do.
15 Posted 16/08/2019 at 09:43:52
Coleman Keane Mina Digne
Richarlison Sigurdsson Bernard
Davies, Siggy, Bernard and Calvert-Lewin will be under pressure to deliver, they are running out of chances before Silva decides to replace them in the starting XI. I like the idea of Iwobi and Kean coming in for Sigurdsson and Calvert-Lewin in the 2nd half to inject some pace and unpredictability.
We need to start banging in the goals - the pre-season and the Crystal Palace games were abysmal in terms of our goal scoring ability.
3-1 would be a nice score, I would like to see Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison and Kean scoring.
16 Posted 16/08/2019 at 09:47:03
If it comes down to Delph and Davies, which looks likely, I hope that the untried pairing will be able to cope with the physical presence of Doucoure and Capoue. I believe they have it in their respective lockers from a footballing aspect, but the disparity in stature hopefully won't see them outmuscled in midfield.
These are the games, if we have serious ambitions, that should yield an almost certain 3 points, but believing that last Saturday at Palace didn't produce exactly that. Mind you, the conditions were not the best either, but having 65% possession should have produced at least a goal.
17 Posted 16/08/2019 at 10:20:23
Silva has to come up with something different or you have to ask why he bought Kean in the first place. We will learn a lot tomorrow anyone expecting an easy victory will be in for a shock.
18 Posted 16/08/2019 at 11:15:24
If he does, I hope the crowd gives him the support he deserves (and I'm sure they will), it might not happen for the first 6 - even 12 games, but I think he can be the striker we've been looking for.
I hear comments about Iwobi being strongest in the middle, does that mean Brands sees him as a long term solution behind Sigurdsson, and actually going for Zaha would mean a front 4 of Richarlison, Iwobi, Zaha and Kean? We'll never know I guess, I doubt we'll be in for him in January and I expect other clubs will be looking to sign him. What could have been.
19 Posted 16/08/2019 at 11:54:47
Even his substitutions are generally like for like, which is okay if we are in a commanding position, but if it's backs to the wall, or crying out for change, it's a very damp squib with little chance of any ignition.
Each time you think we have turned a corner, it's back to the 'old clothes and porridge routine' he now has better tools at his disposal, but those tools are no good stuck in the cupboard, use what you have at your disposal to defeat the enemy.
No generals in history ever won a battle with a feather duster!
20 Posted 16/08/2019 at 12:09:08
They basically wanted him to play as an out and out winger, and he came under criticism from a section of the Gooners fans, for not scoring or creating enough.
Having said that and from what I have gleaned from listening to interviews, he has been brought in to vie with Sigurdsson for that Centre slot. I suspect that Sigurdsson will start and then be (depending also on how game pans out against Watford) swapped in the second phase to give Iwobi his introduction, and baptism in front of the Goodison Faithful.
Last week, as many have mentioned and also in pre-season Sigurdsson has been well below what we have come to expect from him, so as I said above, if he is having another anonymous stinker, his substitution could be earlier than the 45/60 minutes.
If Sigurdsson has a blinder tomorrow, and the result looks to be in the bag, I can also see Alex being introduced as an auxiliary attacking midfielder with Sigurdsson staying on too.
21 Posted 16/08/2019 at 12:17:10
22 Posted 16/08/2019 at 12:37:44
Regarding the failure to get a centre-back, I completely agree with Brands's comments, there's no point in spending money on a player you don't want or who is below the standard. You can see the thought process: go for Rojo or Smalling on a season-long loan and then go for Zouma again next summer.
The big headline was Man Utd wanted too much money (for Rojo) @ £25M but I've heard we never wanted him on anything other than a loan. Bit silly of Man Utd for not letting one go as they have 7, although I expect they are gambling on either or both moving to Europe before the end of the month.
23 Posted 16/08/2019 at 12:48:01
24 Posted 16/08/2019 at 13:00:50
They should have scored very early last week which may have made things a lot different but they didn't and the same could happen tomorrow. This will test the depth quality of the ''new'' squad with other people getting an opportunity to prove the selection in a starting eleven.
Davies, Delph and a few others will be battling to stake their claims and that should create a healthy competition for places which should help the team get results.
25 Posted 16/08/2019 at 13:21:54
Personally I don't think the season would be wrecked by dropping some points in the early games whilst the team must still be gelling, although I'd obviously prefer we get up to speed ASAP.
Do the successful managers change their formations and tactics that frequently or do they simply find the players that can deliver results for them when playing the way they want to?
26 Posted 16/08/2019 at 13:34:40
We have midfielders who can pass the ball decently and Kean looks like he's got bags of pace and knows which runs to make behind defences. He's also got that youthful excitement so let him at it. Along with Richarlison, that'll keep defences tied up.
I don't want to hear any excuses about injuries, every club gets them and that's what a squad is there for. It's Watford at home, not Barcelona, so I fully expect 3 points tomorrow – anything but will be a failure in front of a full Goodison Park.
27 Posted 16/08/2019 at 14:05:31
Looks like Gomes is out so one would assume it'll be Gbamin with Davies and possibly Sigurdsson sitting deep in a three. Iwobi could be an option in that three as well.
28 Posted 16/08/2019 at 14:19:18
I think Delph is a far better competitor than either - and Davies is becoming increasingly tenacious over time (although is still relatively lightweight). Be surprised if Gbamin is given a start, but hopefully he'll have learned a great deal from his hour at Palace, and will be more resolute in possession. Always the off-chance that Sigurdsson could drop deeper into the Gomes role, allowing someone else a shot at the Number 10 role (Iwobi, Bernard, Davies)
I'd like to see Iwobi given a start tomorrow, with Kean on the bench. Interesting to see what side Watford put out after being turned over in their opening game; could be debut appearances for Ismaila Sarr (lightning quick) and Danny Welbeck.
29 Posted 16/08/2019 at 14:21:25
30 Posted 16/08/2019 at 14:28:04
I expect three points. Anything less for our home opener, against a "pretender side" who is attempting to put themselves in Everton's "tier" needs a sound, bare-bottom spanking.
Be brave Marco:
Coleman Keane Mina Digne
Bernard @ 10
Iwobi Kean Richarlison
Bench: Sigurdsson, Calvert-Lewin, Gomes, Holgate, Lössl
32 Posted 16/08/2019 at 14:36:23
33 Posted 16/08/2019 at 14:41:06
34 Posted 16/08/2019 at 14:51:33
36 Posted 16/08/2019 at 15:00:53
37 Posted 16/08/2019 at 15:04:52
Coleman - Keane - Mina - Digne
Gbamin - Davies - Sigurdsson
Richarlison - Kean - Bernard
1-0 to the Blues. Richarlison, of course.
38 Posted 16/08/2019 at 15:15:27
Expect Watford for give us a bit more space than Palace, and hopefully the weather conditions will be better too.
The only changes I expect will be in central midfield.
Iwobi and Kean will both be second half introductions.
2-0 or 3-1.
40 Posted 16/08/2019 at 15:37:17
41 Posted 16/08/2019 at 15:39:57
Silva's not the adventurous type so I'm expecting a safety-first selection. The defence picks itself, he'll pick Sigurdsson and Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison is a given and then it's anybody's guess. Depends how the new boys have been going in training, I suppose.
We are 8/11 favs to win which is saying we are expected to win but we are no certs. We are not producing enough chances to be a good thing.
42 Posted 16/08/2019 at 15:46:15
We're not producing enough chances, you are spot on.
That's reason enough, for me, why minimally Kean must start. We have to put the young, raw, talented kid up top and see if we can change our scoring fortunes.
Bernard at the 10 is a pipe dream for me. While I think it would be a revelation, I don't ever expect it to happen. It's clearly not in Marco's plans, for my eyes.
But Kean on the pitch could be seen. And frankly we have to do something. We're just not creating enough chances, and when we do, we're not clinical enough.
Kean's got to play from the start. We need to see if he can help the squad put the ball in the back of the net.
43 Posted 16/08/2019 at 15:54:19
I see Iwobi getting a start with Richarlison, Sigurdsson and Kean ( n at some point if not to start).
I am looking for a strong start and a good win with a clean sheet. Let's show this shower we mean business this season and they can all throw their snakes in the bin.
44 Posted 16/08/2019 at 15:57:03
My feeling is that when both Kean and Iwobi are ready to start we'll see Iwobi get a chance at No 10 (his preference is to play central). Iwobi's running and through balls would be perfect for Kean.
45 Posted 16/08/2019 at 16:00:06
46 Posted 16/08/2019 at 16:17:00
Up the 4-2-4 Toffees.
47 Posted 16/08/2019 at 16:18:51
I agree that we are not making enough chances. But Kean is unlikely to change that. All statistics on his time in Verona and Juve point to someone who is a decent finisher but does not link play brilliantly or create much for his teammates.
If we are making (and missing) chances, then that is the time to play Kean. Iwobi is much more likely to solve creativity issues and unlike Kean has experience of this league.
I'd rather Silva finds the best system/balance that creates opportunities before pitching Kean in for starts. He's so young, he's got plenty of time. I'm worried if you start him in this team he will lose the ball frequently and not get enough chances to finish. It could damage his confidence and get the crowd on his back.
Currently we should bring him on to run at tired defenders on the break and let him start games once we are creating better.
48 Posted 16/08/2019 at 16:40:20
Running at tired defenders is a very valid point. I'd counter with starting one of Europe's great young prospects, jacked up with a rapturous and frenzied Goodison behind him, is just as dangerous and mouth-watering a prospect.
I still think he should start. If he doesn't create, as you say, then let him finish. Whereas our opportunities to score aren't as plentiful as they should be (not even close to be honest), then the handful of chances we are creating we need to finish. And it's time, based upon the previous game and a woeful preseason, to see if Kean can contribute to that cause.
Yes, he's 19. But a young black Italian surely is made of stern stuff?! That's not a PC thing to say, but for my eyes the Italians can be awfully racist at times. There's evidence to back that up, and I'm not painting a broad stroke as I'm sure it's a minority in Italy. But it exists.
Kean's surely had challenges. If he comes in and doesn't convert, from what I've read, I'm not worried about this kid's resolve in the face of adversity.
So for me, create, finish, or some other term, he has to start from the off.
And if you truly want to create chances, put Bernard at the 10. ;0)
49 Posted 16/08/2019 at 17:00:01
I'll admit not as a starter or with the burden of a club on his shoulders, so that is fair comment.
I think at home especially you can start him. His personality is also a good indicator, very bullish and confident.
My concern is how we play. He deffo looks better running onto the ball, not with his back to goal. The way we are set up at the moment that, I agree, might be a problem for him. He'd thrive in a 4-3-3, less so in a 4-2-3-1.
I actually think bizarrely that Calvert-Lewin behind/under him would've better than Sigurdsson. Siggy slows the play down, that's a problem for me and it stifles attacking play. Perhaps into Calvert-Lewin gives Kean a better chance of running into things.
I expect even with some tricky selections a win. Last weeks poor performance already has lobbed additional tension on this game. Go 20 mins without a goal and we may have some nerves creeping in.
50 Posted 16/08/2019 at 17:08:25
For me, that's a gradual introduction initially before some starts once he knows the system and his teammates; and we are up and running as a creative entity.
Jamie, I have a feeling Iwobi might be the No 10 alternative. He has a similar skill set to Bernard (who I'd also be interested to see there) but has played there more often. I think we also might see 4-3-3 sooner rather than later.
51 Posted 16/08/2019 at 17:16:39
I hope we start with Iwobi, Kean and Richarlison up front, but I think Silva will give Calvert-Lewin and Bernard another start and possibly bring on Iwobi and Kean later on.
52 Posted 16/08/2019 at 17:25:14
I have a crazy idea that maybe against teams playing a more sitting game we should try him back at left-wing. I realise that he has played there before to mediocre effect but the thought retains that we could keep his goals, set pieces, intelligence and work rate whilst having a more dynamic attacking central midfielder able to find space. Gylfi cutting in from the left should give him ample opportunity to use than cannon of a right foot too.
I wouldn't want to do it against teams that we need to counter-attack with but at home to Burnley or Brighton for example, or possibly even Watford how about:
Coleman Keane Mina Digne
Richarlison Iwobi Sigurdsson
Kean or Calvert-Lewin
Am I crazy or might that retain Sigurdsson's goals whilst mitigating the effects of his inability to control a game from the middle?
54 Posted 16/08/2019 at 17:48:22
Start him LW, he gets sucked towards the centre anyway. But a very valid point is his crossing, last time he crossed a ball from open play? You forget how good that can be.
Brian, you have to ask does the way Siggy plays inhibit the game of other team mates? Id argue it does. As such it stops creatively and patterns of play Id prefer to see. At the moment for Everton to win he needs to have a good game. For a player who the side anchors around does he really have that many good games? Im not sure he does.
On a wider point we need much more attacking variations, to mitigate injury suspension etc. If Im an opponent I shut Siggy down thats pretty much it over. Sure Richarlison can create for himself.
But tell me were the other elements of chance creation come from and why are they not prominent? Thats why Ive suggested a different path.
55 Posted 16/08/2019 at 18:24:07
Coleman Keane Mina Digne
Richarlison Sigurdsson Iwobi
Subs: Lössl, Davies, Gbamin, Calvert-Lewin, Bernard, Holgate, Sidibe.
56 Posted 16/08/2019 at 18:29:08
We need a solid midfield and everyone else playing as one attacking force. It's up to Silva to tweak his tactics and get the players knowing 100% what they have to do. The pace we have up front is more than enough so no excuses there anymore. Time to start banging 'em in.
57 Posted 16/08/2019 at 18:36:15
Get a goal early and if he tires, the rest can take us over the line.
Midfield? I think we may be playing games re team selection, and Gomes is fit... at least for the first half.
58 Posted 16/08/2019 at 19:15:27
When players make runs, Siggy puts killer passes behind the defenders... but if nobody is making a run, he has to stand on the ball or turn and play it back.
I am hoping to see us on the front foot tomorrow and all the Siggy haters will be amazed at how good a player he really is.
59 Posted 16/08/2019 at 19:26:03
60 Posted 16/08/2019 at 19:29:27
61 Posted 16/08/2019 at 19:33:25
62 Posted 16/08/2019 at 19:47:16
63 Posted 16/08/2019 at 19:52:57
64 Posted 16/08/2019 at 19:53:24
65 Posted 16/08/2019 at 19:58:47
But I expect Marco Silva will start with more or les same team that started at Palace, with Tom or Fabian, playing with Andre, if hes fit.
Its a must win game for EFC.
66 Posted 16/08/2019 at 20:15:11
He is at a pivotal moment. He can play safe and die; or he can go for it and if he fails, no-one will blame him for honouring our spirit. I think he will do the latter and I can't wait to watch it unfold. That is why last week's damp effort was so irritating - but I'm confident that isn't the real Silva.
Kean is going to be mighty and so are our other main signings. Hold on to your hats.
67 Posted 16/08/2019 at 20:54:07
68 Posted 16/08/2019 at 21:32:38
69 Posted 16/08/2019 at 21:49:33
70 Posted 16/08/2019 at 22:19:27
71 Posted 16/08/2019 at 22:34:33
We had some new signings last season who didn't really figure in the early games for one reason or another although the first few games didn't go too badly.
Whilst they should have had three points last week, I, like everyone else feel that tomorrow's home opener will produce the goods this time and start the ball rolling on what we hope will be a much better season once the new blood has settled in.
Much depends on Silva who, hopefully knows what his best starting eleven will be and also his strategies.
There cannot be any excuses this time around.
72 Posted 16/08/2019 at 22:58:06
It will be a real battle and could go either way. Hopefully the Goodison roar can help us score with a bonus clean sheet to boot.
73 Posted 16/08/2019 at 23:21:41
They also have a blond haired centre halve who is very dangerous at set pieces so we have to be careful not to give any free kicks in dangerous areas.
I think it will be a close game. From what I saw of the Watford defence I would start Kean with Bernard and Richarlison either side of him.
My tip is that if Kean starts Sigurdsson will have a field day. If he doesnt then I would put Richarlison on the left and Walcott on the right.
74 Posted 16/08/2019 at 23:47:18
I thought the same. Theyre good offensively and weak defensively but do we have the cutting edge to exploit that?
76 Posted 17/08/2019 at 00:41:10
We must start believing and the season can start.This game is a must win and as long as we win, I will be happy.
Time for EFC to make a spearhead and lead from the front, play Keane, from the start and he will score, its written in the rain clouds, this night.
77 Posted 17/08/2019 at 03:12:21
Coleman Keane Mina Digne
Richarlison Sigurdsson Bernard
Subs: Lössl, Holgate, Baines, Gomes/Davies, Walcott, Iwobi, Kean
Kean needs time to adapt – not only is he new to the league but he's still a teenager – we need to be patient. Calvert-Lewin will do a job & work really hard. I hope he sneaks a goal this game.
I cannot wait for the day that Iwobi is fully fit & has settled into the team and tactics. He will be FAR better than Bernard. I think Bernard can offer a lot off the bench though – both on the wing & in the Number 10 position.
I am really excited for this season – yes, we are a couple players short – but I'm sure we'll get them in January.
78 Posted 17/08/2019 at 03:31:57
79 Posted 17/08/2019 at 03:46:01
As for those killer balls he allegedly plays, I just don't see enough of them. I can't remember the last time I saw him really dominate that midfield and he rarely ever does it against the top teams.
Having said that, if he goes out and hits the net for us, along with producing a magnificent performance, I will be delighted.
80 Posted 17/08/2019 at 03:58:14
Nevertheless, if DCL starts then I would like to see Kean on at some stage - he will be far to clever for them with his movement and positional sense. I dont think he is too young - if he has started for Juventus against Italian defenders (masters of the dark arts) he knows how to look after himself.
One thing I will say - the match going fans have to make him feel loved from the get go (and any of the other newcomers for that matter). The importance of this was really driven home for me by Marcel Brands in getting Gomes to sign.
Here is a link to Brands interview - look at his face light up when he is asked about Gomes and his comments about the part the fans played in getting this cracking footballer to come to us and not another premier league club(s).
Even though I am twelve thousand miles away the nerves will start settling in shortly. Lookinging forward from a cosmic comment from George later on.
Up the Blues !!!!!
81 Posted 17/08/2019 at 06:14:50
Centre mid is a worry. I would think that Sigurdsson, if he plays, will be expected to play a bit deeper to help out whoever is playing there and Calvert-Lewin will be starting up front with task of pressing and disrupting their centrebacks, at least until there is a breakthrough.
Going to be a cagey opening and I would expect feisty.
82 Posted 17/08/2019 at 08:00:05
83 Posted 17/08/2019 at 09:10:32
I also predicted 0-0 last week and am also going for 1-0 this week, while hoping for more. Great minds
84 Posted 17/08/2019 at 09:37:30
85 Posted 17/08/2019 at 09:41:52
Davies and Sigurdsson could play slightly ahead as part of a midfield 3, and the front 3 being the same: Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin and Bernard. Some may consider this too conservative, but it may actually give a chance for Digne and Coleman to bomb forward more, and create good crossing opportunities for Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison to run into.
86 Posted 17/08/2019 at 09:57:14
Here We Go.
Its already a very dramatic looking day from my windows. Big beautiful clouds with a blue background, set against the Metropolis from my front window - - The Liver Buildings in all their splendour standing up big and proud against this Courbet like back drop sky - - I walk into the top corridor and look over The River to Bramley Moor - - directly in front of me - - and behind I can see the white roof of Goodison - - - what a start to this glorious day.
Sitting in my writing room - - Van The Man in the background - - surrounded by postcards, photos and Everton stuff including a little snowflake thingy with Goodison Home of the Blues inside - - give it a shake - - there you go.
Just put my new Season Ticket on top of my wallet - - I had left it in its lovely Blue Box until now - - wanted to open it today - - like Christmas Morning:
“By and by when the morning comes
Jazz and blues and folk, poetry and jazz
Voice and music, music and no music
Silence and then voice
Music and writing, words
Memories, memories way back
Take me way back, Hyndford Street and Hank Williams
Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet on Sunday afternoons in winter
Sidney Bechet, Sunday afternoons in winter
And the tuning in of stations in Europe on the wireless
Before, yes before it was the way it was
More silence, more breathing together
Not rushing, being
Before rock 'n' roll, before television
Previous, previous, previous
See me through”
Filling myself with Van, The Beatles bit of Erik Satie and more - - getting myself ready for my trip across The River - - or under The River to be precise - - - all the sights and sounds of my youth come flooding back as I make my way down Scotland Road, Smith Street and onto Westminster Road - - what wonderful memories - - - I used to walk from the house in Smith Street to Goodison - - kicking an old ball - - believing I was Alec young or Roy Vernon - - getting to the game at 1.00pm to get a good speck - - - my generation will remember when you could walk around the ground and get behind the goal Everton were attacking for each half - - but mainly I stayed in my speck - - in awe at some the men - - never ever forget good old “Evertonski” with his shirt open to the waist and his chest full of red hair and all he would shout was “Evertonski”:
Take me back, take me back, take me back
Take me way, way, way, way, way, way, way
Back when I, when I understood, when I understood, yeah
Oh, ah, take me way back, when, when, when, when, when, when
“When, when, when, when, when, when, when
I was walking down the
Walking down the street and
It didn't matter
Cause everything felt, everything felt, everything felt
Everything felt, everything felt, everything felt, everything felt
Everything felt, everything felt, everything felt so right, ha
And so good
Everything felt, so right, and so good
Everything felt, so right, and so good
Everything felt, so right, and so good, ah
Everything felt, so right, and so good
Everything felt, so right, and so good, so good
In the eternal now, in the eternal moment
In the eternal now, in the eternal moment
In the eternal now
Everything felt so good, so good, so good, so good, so good
And so right, so right, so right, just
So good, so right, so right, in the eternal
In the eternal moment, in the eternal moment
In the eternal moment, in the eternal moment
When you lived, when you lived
When you lived, in the light”
On my way soon to The Dark House - - friends and compatriots - - where we talk Everton and discuss our dreams and visions for the future - - new shirts on display - - Blue and White everywhere - - the kids playing “footie” in the street and listening to their Dads and Mums and Grandads talking football and dreaming of what might be and feeling part of a big beautiful family - - I find it hard to believe that I will be 70 soon - - I remember coming down Wessie Road in the 50s and early 60s never believing that I would be in one of those pubs with my children and grandkids - - I am sending out a message of Blue Love to all those “older” contributors on TW who remember these days - - too many to list here - - but I have just sent a cloud of Blue and White Confetti to be dropped over your heads (all of you) wherever you are watching Everton today:
“Well on the way
Head in a cloud
The man of a thousand voices
Talking perfectly loud
But nobody ever hears him
Or the sound he appears to make
And he never seems to notice
But the fool on the hill
Sees the sun going down
And the eyes in his head
See the world spinning 'round”
I can barely wait for this day to open and flow. I will ride on top of the crest. I love going to the game and watching Everton:
“And I will stroll the merry way
And jump the hedges first
And I will drink the clear
Clean water for to quench my thirst
And I shall watch the ferry-boats
And they'll get high
On a bluer ocean
Against tomorrow's sky
And I will never grow so old again
And I will walk and talk
In gardens all wet with rain
Oh sweet thing, sweet thing
My, my, my, my, my sweet thing
And I shall drive my chariot
Down your streets and cry
Hey, it's me, I'm dynamite
And I don't know why'”
Just listening to Van - - Sweet Thing - - stopped typing for a few moments - - went on a little flying tour around The House - - up there on Astral Plane 7 - - out through a crack in the window - - up and over the roof - - into the Blue - - saw Goodison in the distance - - flying - - free - - - like the beginning of Ivans Childhood - - - letting myself go - - and back now to my desk and finish this post and the shower and shave and onto TDH:
“I awoke this morning
Love laid me down by a river.
Drifting I turned on upstream
Bound for my forgiver.
In the giving of my eyes to see your face.
Sound did silence me
Leaving no trace.
I beg to leave, to hear your wonderous stories.
Beg to hear your wonderous stories.
He spoke of lands not far
Or lands they were in his mind.
Of fusion captured high
Where reason captured his time.
In no time at all he took me to the gate.
In haste I quickly checked the time.
If I was late I had to leave to hear your wonderous stories.
Had to hear your wonderous stories.
Hearing your wonderous stories.
Hearing your wonderous stories.
It is no lie I can see deeply into the future.
And were you there to stand
So cautiously at first and then so high.
As he spoke my spirit climbed into the sky.
I bid it to return
To hear your wonderous stories.
Return to hear your wonderous stories.”
So Fellow Blues - - Travellers and Explorers - - I am sending you my pure Posso waves - - cosmic Blue waves - - Love and peace and Harmony to us all - - We are The Lucky Ones - - - see you all soon - - Keep It Cool - -But Mainly - - Keep it Cosmic.
4 - 0 - - no problemo.
Your friend in Blueness - - George
87 Posted 17/08/2019 at 10:11:53
Sorry, I can't make the Excelsior, all the best to all you guys who turn up, have a great evening putting our great club to rights.
Really desperate for a victory, don't want to be feeling down for our anniversary celebration this evening. COYB.
88 Posted 17/08/2019 at 10:12:22
As for Deeney, just a thug who should be playing in the beer league! Lost any respect for these after the shambolic attempts in the Cup Final v City. Laporte and Kompany schooled that 'Beast' Deeney and ended up pushing him about like a little kid!
Everyone connected with Everton should have higher expectations – keep the ball rolling, move and you will batter this lot. Right, off to the beach!!
89 Posted 17/08/2019 at 10:15:25
Great start to the day lad, some fantastically positive vibes there, I'll have half a pint of whatever you are on by the way.
So reasons to be cheerful part 3, we've been here before but lets get behind the blues and roar them on to greater and better things.
I believe they have it within them but don't underestimate our on roles as fans
90 Posted 17/08/2019 at 10:21:28
91 Posted 17/08/2019 at 10:29:55
Have a great day and 4-0 to the Blues will do me just fine.
92 Posted 17/08/2019 at 10:29:56
Our new signings will fit into Silva's system but also offer him a chance to change it. Haha errrr
Kean up front feeding off scraps doesn't fill me with confidence either. Is he expected to do it all? Maybe he might work better with Sigurdsson but without Calvert-Lewin there goes our out ball.
I also remember Watford all over us last season so l expect a tough game. I have left us off my bet slip this week (but keeping the usual Mina 1st scorer, 33/1).
93 Posted 17/08/2019 at 10:36:05
Today, I am hoping for goals. With the new signings making a major contribution. We know that there is no such thing as an easy game in this league and we know that Watford will be well organised but if we are aspiring to finish in the top six we need to win these games.
With the players we have we should be scoring more goals. Calvert-Lewin does everything apart from scoring surely his luck will change. Kean should play alongside him to make our attack more potent. I like Bernard as he is a clever footballer and I just wonder if he is being played in his best position?
I hope we don't miss Zouma and Gueye too much as they were very impressive last season. Yerry Mina I believe will become a major player once he has featured on a regular basis. Gbamin is the unknown, if he is anywhere near as good as Gueye then we will be fine.
Iwobi again has a lot his game but does he have goals?
94 Posted 17/08/2019 at 10:47:23
Schneiderlin looks an awkward partner to play with. However, I think we will struggle to get more than a draw. I hope to see Kean later in the second half, but I wouldn't be surprised if Walcott gets a run-out.
95 Posted 17/08/2019 at 11:29:38
Up the Blues !!!!!
96 Posted 17/08/2019 at 11:32:46
Davies, Gbamin and Sigurdsson feels impossibly light and naive, I think he is definitely going to want to put Iwobi in the team and put him wide with a brief to drift inside to support the other kids. In view of Watford's power, I think Calvert-Lewin is nailed on to start.
97 Posted 17/08/2019 at 11:36:03
Matchdays wouldn't be the same without your thoughts in prose and verse, long may it continue, let's hope your usual 4-0 is reality at 5 o 'clock George.
Hope to see you later at the Excelsior!
98 Posted 17/08/2019 at 11:48:36
99 Posted 17/08/2019 at 11:59:48
100 Posted 17/08/2019 at 12:00:04
101 Posted 17/08/2019 at 12:05:19
The modern man has become so bloody pampered and catered too, thats not me having a go at young Moise, hes just a victim of modern day society.
Bloody hell I wish when I was 19 I was being paid mega bucks to go and play football, doing something I love, new country or not, Id have been on cloud 9.
102 Posted 17/08/2019 at 12:08:38
103 Posted 17/08/2019 at 12:16:33
104 Posted 17/08/2019 at 12:17:54
105 Posted 17/08/2019 at 12:22:23
Ajay (85) "Might Silva be tempted to start Holgate alongside Davies in front of the back 4 to keep things more solid?" No, no, no.
106 Posted 17/08/2019 at 12:55:52
No need to tell you to keep smilin
107 Posted 17/08/2019 at 13:12:26
This is a cert. Enjoy fella.
109 Posted 17/08/2019 at 13:26:42
110 Posted 17/08/2019 at 13:45:18
111 Posted 17/08/2019 at 14:01:53
1-0 Everton my prediction. Hope it's 4-0. Let's see if today is the day we start to score for fun.
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