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Mike Gaynes
1 Posted 18/08/2019 at 16:01:10
Holgate had a horror pass from a wide-open position that was intercepted and nearly became the tying goal. He gets a 5 from me. At best.
Jim Harrison
2 Posted 18/08/2019 at 16:16:10
Because of formatting I read that you gave Bernard a 5 before I realised it was for Richarlison

I think a bit harsh on Gbamin. He did alright by mind, perhaps I am giving him extra credit because he probably shouldn’t be in the firing line so early on.

Dave Abrahams
3 Posted 18/08/2019 at 16:16:44
Welcome back Paul, agreed with nearly all of your VAR views, I also doubt that VAR will be consistent with their outcomes.

Happy with the three points yesterday but not the performance, the passing and movement by nearly all of the team was woeful, but it is early days.

Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
4 Posted 18/08/2019 at 16:21:24
Sorry about that, Jim. Looks like I missed Moise Kean as well...

Fixed now.

Peter Mills
5 Posted 18/08/2019 at 17:10:41
You’re being harsh there, Mike. Holgate did, dangerously, misplace a pass, but he came into a tough game at a difficult time and held his own.
Derek Knox
6 Posted 18/08/2019 at 19:17:34
Good report Paul, on a game that produced very little in reality apart from a well taken, confidence boosting, goal from our little Brazilian magician.

As others have mentioned on the main thread, good defending mixed with a slice of luck thrown in, ensured the three points were ours. Hopefully this has just been a blip, due to injuries and players not been fully acclimatised or match fit.

A similar repeat performance against some of the better sides, would be a much sterner test, but hopefully that won't happen.

Tim James
7 Posted 18/08/2019 at 19:21:44
Thank you, Paul, always enjoy reading your reports.
Eric Paul
8 Posted 18/08/2019 at 20:10:14
Good report, Paul.

Mike, I think you are being harsh on Holgate, it is very difficult to come on at a late stage, especially in defence at 1-0 up when the opposition are throwing everything at you to try and get back into the game.

I think he played very well apart from the pass you mention but fail to mention the repeat offenders of the same offence who I will not point out because we won which is all that matters. I can only assume you have never played the game based on your comment.

Dick Fearon
9 Posted 18/08/2019 at 21:56:34
Paul, I raise a nostalgic pint of bitter to you and your mates and if only I was there I would gladly shout my round.

I can get pints of bitter in here in Australia but the atmospherics just isn't the same.

Most of my match points have been aired by others but I have not heard a thing about how ridiculously simple was Bernard's goal. It was, dare I say, how similar in its execution to many of those scored by 'top-six' sides.

Martin Mason
10 Posted 18/08/2019 at 22:44:57
There will be no easy games for us this season home or away.
Paul Birmingham
11 Posted 18/08/2019 at 23:01:49
2nd game, 4/6 points and next Villa away, which we can win.

Defensively sound but early days and so we need to find the right balance in midfield.

I’m sure Moise Kean, can run Villas defence ragged and make space for himself and others.

Let’s hope we can win, on a Friday.

NB Good to see Tim Cahill, on MOTD, and the Trogladite, showing his true self, and being out crafted by Tim in the discussions.

Raymond Fox
12 Posted 18/08/2019 at 23:19:29
Good report Paul, I'd be giving Gbamin a 6 buts that's nit-picking.

Villa will be desperate for a win and will throw the kitchen sink at us. You never know that might suit us better, hope so.

But let's not kid ourselves, it's going to be tough as Martin has just said there's no easy games especially away.

We are 5/4 favs to win but I wouldn't be putting my hard earned on at that price.

Eric Paul
13 Posted 18/08/2019 at 23:19:40
All games are easy, winning is the hard part.
David Pearl
14 Posted 18/08/2019 at 23:31:48
Always a good read Paul.

You always provide an unbiased assessment which l like.

I would also give Gbamin a 6, though he faded second half as did Gomes, obviously not entirely fit. We can be very good this season.

VAR. Within the next few months we will all be asking what took so long. Of course we now have the technology. We can take a look forwards and back instantaneously, highlights are not on vhs. Its 2019 people.

Stan Schofield
15 Posted 18/08/2019 at 23:33:20
Last season, we did better against the top, footballing, sides than against donkeys, because of our quality, and the same is probably true this season. The trick is to inject hardness to complement the skill, so as to dispense with the also-rans. This will come...
Mike Gaynes
16 Posted 19/08/2019 at 00:05:44
Fine, guys. I'll give him a 6.

Eric #8, you presume wrongly. I have played the game for 50 years (still in a men's open league at 63) and refereed for 40, up to the minor-league pro level. I do know just a bit about the game. So save your condescension for somebody else.

Andrew Keatley
17 Posted 19/08/2019 at 00:14:59
Mike (16) - I like Holgate, but you are bang on about that one misguided pass. We had broken forward and he played it behind our entire midfield. Richarlison also did something very similar. Lots of players hit wayward passes, but those two gave Watford a run at our defence - much like when Gbamin was dispossessed in bad positions vs Palace.

As for Eric Paul’s assessment that you never played the game, I wonder whether your use of the Americanism “tying” rather than “equalising” is what gave him that wrong impression.

David Pearl
18 Posted 19/08/2019 at 00:49:42
Things get lost in translation. Soccer, footie, soop, soup, Alan Partridge and Ray Hudson

Mike Gaynes
19 Posted 19/08/2019 at 01:31:30
Yep, Andrew, those Yank-isms just slip in there sometimes, and I'll never overcome that west-of-the-pond credibility thing, I guess.

The reason I judged Holgate so harshly for that pass is that when it comes to late-game defensive subs, my coaching philosophy was always the medical slogan, "First, do no harm." Don't come fresh off the bench and get fancy, play it simple and safe until you're into the game. I'm a big Holgate booster (I'm one of the few here not concerned that we didn't sign a CB), but that was a moment of idiocy that could have, and really should have, cost us two points. So I don't think my harshness was completely undeserved.

Not that he cares what I think, of course.

Graeme Beresford
20 Posted 19/08/2019 at 08:24:58
Davies to me is a strange one. A bit like Lookman when you burst onto the scene and score a great goal against Man City but I can't remember him doing much since.

What strikes me about our Tom is his lack of pace. In the modern game where the tough tackler is being replaced by the quick and pacey interceptor, it's hard for anyone to determine what Tom is for us now.

He isn't blessed with pace or composure, so he's never going to be an attacking midfielder... nor is he blessed with the defensive capabilities that make up every good holding midfielder. I unfortunately think his time at Everton is drawing to a close and he will ultimately end up at a team which we are trying to distance ourselves from, Burnley, Palace, or one of the promoted 3, or even somewhere like Derby. I think this may be his level.

I get the whole "He's one of us" but he's now been managed by around 4 or 5 different managers and, again like Lookman, not one of them has seen anything in Tom to give him that starting place, week-in & week-out. I like the guy and you can't fault his commitment but, if you look at the likes of Man City, Tottenham, Liverpool etc, their sentiment went years ago.

Joe McMahon
21 Posted 19/08/2019 at 09:03:15
Graeme @20, 100% agree with everything you have said. Sentimentality and one of us has been an issue for years (Hibbert for example). I'm not from Merseyside and have been supporting since 1976, I'm still an Evertonian though.
Paul O'Neill
22 Posted 19/08/2019 at 09:04:15
Good article, Paul. I also have concerns on VAR. However, your take on the rule changes are technically incorrect.
Dave Abrahams
23 Posted 19/08/2019 at 09:14:51
Eric (13), Life is easy, living is hard.
Mike Doyle
24 Posted 19/08/2019 at 13:52:06
Eric (13) and Dave (25),

As you both cite variations on the George Washington line from Hamilton "Dying is easy, living is harder" can we assume you are both keen musical theatre fans?
Don't be surprised if Blue Bill gets in touch offering you leading roles.

Steve Ferns
25 Posted 19/08/2019 at 13:58:34
Mike, that “booster” term always brings back an image of trying to get over walls to play footy on the fields inside. “Gizza booster!”

I can guess what you mean, but it’s not something I’ve heard before.

Mike Doyle
26 Posted 19/08/2019 at 14:04:27
Sticking with the Hamilton theme... would it be fair to describe Mike Gaynes as one of the Founding Fathers of ToffeeWeb USA?
Dave Abrahams
27 Posted 19/08/2019 at 14:36:04
Mike (24 and 26), Mike Gaynes is the one to go to for musicals, he is part of a choir, possibly does solo sings, I think he is a baritone singer. He toured in parts of Europe last year with the choir, and I've got his autograph, if you're interested, for a few bob like.

Don't know about Eric, but I love watching and listening to musicals but couldn't sing in one unless it was “Cats” and my agent wouldn't let me work for Blue Bill, he can't stand him.

Francis van Lierop
28 Posted 19/08/2019 at 14:51:01
It wasn't a great game, although it started off decently enough. The main thing we got all the points, and kept the nil. Again! You don't hear anybody about zonal marking now.

I have high hopes for Bernard. I used to love to watch Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League, with Bernard & Taison. Anybody still remember Paulo Fonseca?

Lookman was mentioned, I had heard Leipzig trounced the newly promoted Union Berlin (from the East!) 0-4. Mola took no part in it, nor was he on the subs' bench. Injured perhaps?

It looks likely that Kasper Dolberg is on his way to Nice. In effect, he was the third striker, and hardly getting any game time. I was always surprised when several on here wanted him. Sure he looked like a real talent, but hasn't really kicked on.

Mike Gaynes
29 Posted 19/08/2019 at 15:10:10
Mike D #26, thanks for the chuckle, but no. As it happens, both of TW's Founding Fathers, Lyndon and Michael, are situated here on the West Coast of the US. And there were Yanks already on TW when I first signed on around 2005, so no pioneer credit for me!

Dave #27, thank you for the callout. I trust you are receiving those percentage checks as my agent.

Andrew Dempsey
30 Posted 19/08/2019 at 15:42:07
Sigurdsson and Calvert-Lewin set the tempo with work ethic and dedication. They let other players trying to push into the team know that this is the minimum standard/effort required if you want to play in this side. This is all part of the process of building a team.

Bernard's pass to release Kean, late in the second half, shows what the future of this club is going to look like; with Bernie as a 10 and Kean the No 9. Sigurdsson and Calvert-Lewin are great lads/grafters, but they're not elite level footballers.

The sooner Bernard and Kean replace them, the better. I'm willing to wait though. I've got total faith in Marco Silva, and have been impressed with his management, style of play, training. The only way we improve is to stick with this guy and his ideas.

I've got no doubt we'll be a more dangerous side with Bernard moved inside and Iwobi out on the left. But if Alex fails to cut the mustard, we'll get another winger (a skilful, pacy, left-footed one would be my preference, to play on the right with Richarlison shifted to the left). Positionally we'll be more fluid, with the quicker more nimble Bernard being able to turn, run directly at people or pull wide and create space for others to run into.

We'll never be a top 6 side with Sigurdsson and Calvert-Lewin playing, but we are slowly morphing into a highly attacking team (with the emphasis on attack being the best form of defence) while building a solid foundation of clean sheets in the process.

That's why I couldn't be more happy with Silva at the helm. He's doing an unbelievable job, especially after losing key players like Gueye and Zouma, and not letting that affect our momentum and veer us off course too dramatically.

Yes, we haven't played great. But that will come. When you try to play this attacking brand of footy, some weeks it'll click, others it won't, it can even fluctuate within games. But, we must stick with it.

Good times are ahead.

Liam Reilly
31 Posted 19/08/2019 at 16:18:11
Good report, Paul. I thought Richarlison was unlucky; one of those chances goes in, we're singing his praises – small margins. Good to see him getting into positions though; like last season.

Caution on the 'Top of the League' quote; can't recall the year but I remember we had to beat Villa to similarly go top of the league a few years back and got thrashed 6-2.

It will be a tough game on Friday.

Mike Gaynes
32 Posted 19/08/2019 at 16:38:39
Andrew #30, yet another call for our leading scorer to be replaced by a guy who has never played the position in his life.

I repeat, Bernard has never once in his entire career played a central role. He has always played outside. Nor has he ever shown an ability to hold onto the ball under pressure (a required skill when central), make cutting passes between defenders, score goals consistently or "run directly at people" (he gets around them wide).

The guy is a winger, and a good one. Period.

Dave Abrahams
33 Posted 19/08/2019 at 16:52:49
Mike (29), yes those cheques are coming regular, best thing I ever did putting you on my books, thinking of buying a castle in Wales with the money you've earned me. Jamie, your fellow American, doesn't sing does he?
Mike Gaynes
34 Posted 19/08/2019 at 17:04:41
Never met him, Dave, but given that he's an Irishman born in Boston, I presume he's capable of warbling his way through a verse or two of Molly Malone.
Mike Doyle
35 Posted 19/08/2019 at 17:07:33
Mike #29. Thanks for clarifying - I wasn't aware that both Lyndon & Michael are US-based. For some reason I thought both were regulars at The Grafton - with you and Rob Halligan.

Perhaps then you could fill the role of 'British spy in the camp' Hercules Mulligan or maybe the more exotic Marquis de Lafayette.

On a separate issue. I wasn't at Goodison and Saturday and missed both the build up and the start. A couple of old pals who were at the game said that the flags that were given out - coupled with the siren & Z-Cars theme – made for the best atmosphere they'd witnessed in years (one reckoned the atmosphere in the ground was the best he'd experienced since the Bayern Munich 2nd leg in the mid-80s).

I wondered if the TV coverage picked it up – and what the guys at the ground thought?

Brian Williams
36 Posted 19/08/2019 at 17:14:58
Mike #35.

The flags IMO were great. However, the siren went on for too long and drowned out Z-Cars, which was a shame.

With regard to the atmosphere, Goodison went pretty quiet soon after kickoff, which I was surprised at. I have to say that it came absolutely nowhere near to that night against Bayern.

This is an honest assessment from a generally optimistic Blue.

Andrew Dempsey
37 Posted 19/08/2019 at 17:15:31
Mike #32

You're an idiot, and are clearly scared of change. Iniesta began his career on the left, only being moved inside in his mid-20s by Pep after he'd learnt the game/system. Bernard is about 26.

Can a player never adapt or alter his position in his career once the great and highly dismissive Mike Gaynes has seen him play?

It's not even about Bernard. Get another nimble No 10 in; Christian Eriksen would do nicely, and that lad really can play anywhere. It's about pulling people out of position, not just having someone who sits in the so-called ‘hole', and the more mobile this No 10 is, the better.

Since you've ‘shutdown' the Bernard argument, forget about him. I was trying to be polite in my reasoning, but you've really wound me up.

What I was really trying to say was Sigurdsson and Calvert-Lewin are fucking shite players. Absolute dross (that's an angry exaggeration, they're just not top end of the Premier League players). Those who understand the game and have played it to a fairly decent level know what I'm talking about. Period.

I guess I'll be off TW for a while now. Cheers, Mike. Enjoy the season. Enjoy Siggy scoring 12 goals, looking good on MotD every now an then, and generally pulling the wool over people's eyes that he's not a bottom-half-of-the-table player, while actually detracting from the overall dynamism of the team by being too slow and disappearing for 80% of every match.

Steve Carse
38 Posted 19/08/2019 at 17:22:44
I agree with the comment over Davies. How the lad felt at Palace when Silva put Gambin on ahead of him, when Gambin had only been at the club for 5 minutes and was nowhere near fit enough, heaven only knows.

Although we've all heard and read that one of the key principles of our development is youth, there's been scant evidence of it this summer in team selections. Davies and Kenny have been the main sufferers and I expect Calvert-Lewin will be the next. The transfer of Kenny for me was the most unfathomable.

Mike Doyle
39 Posted 19/08/2019 at 17:26:24
Thanks, Brian. I don't think they were suggesting it was as good as Bayern – it was more an observation that, for the first time in a very long time, the atmosphere, for a short period at least, was very upbeat/positive.

I don't get to Goodison that much these days, but they reckon the siren has made a difference and the flag initiative was something different that provided a pre-match lift.

I would say that the atmosphere in most Premier League grounds (especially in London) is pretty poor and any initiatives aimed at providing a lift should be given a chance.

Maybe EFC management can build on this and re-introduce the 1970s half-time demonstration of the police dogs chasing and bringing down a villain? I always enjoyed that one – as did most of the crowd, as I recall.

David Pearl
40 Posted 19/08/2019 at 17:27:36

Name-calling aside, do you honestly think Eriksen is nimble?

I think what we would all like to see is Silva demonstrate the ability to at least try other things. Let's face it, he has the defensive side of things covered but would any change in shape mess this up?

Perhaps he wants to keep things as they are and ask the forward players to simply play better. That includes Siggy... but he is our most productive player who we need to tweak position-wise but certainly not ready to cast aside.

Iwobi, when fit, is his competition in Silva's eyes and not Bernard. It's Silva you have to convince. Not Mike.

Mike Gaynes
41 Posted 19/08/2019 at 17:28:20
Mike #35, ah, Hercules Mulligan, what a name and what a corner of history. He was a character in both the Broadway musical "Hamilton" and a US TV series called "Washington's Spies."
Mike Gaynes
42 Posted 19/08/2019 at 17:34:25
Andrew #37, yep, I'm an idiot. Your faultless reasoning, matchless knowledge and elegant wordsmithing have just shut me right down.
Mike Gaynes
43 Posted 19/08/2019 at 17:52:02
Steve #38, FYI Kenny hasn't been transferred, just loaned, but certainly Sidibe's subsequent signing doesn't augur well for his future at Everton.

It may just be that, after a year of looking over our young players, Brands and Silva have decided that most of 'em aren't going to develop enough to contribute, so they're focusing on outside signings.

Steve Ferns
44 Posted 19/08/2019 at 17:55:01
Mike, according to, Bernard has played as an AMC 12 times. The reason I looked that up is because I saw him a couple of times in the champions league for Shaktar as the central of the very narrow three that fonseca used. And that’s the other point, fonseca’s three were so narrow that they were all central, and their positions so fluid. I don’t think you can be so dismissive.

I would argue, if I were you, that he is similar to Pienaar and that Pienaar similarly appeared to be an AMC (as opposed to a playmaker no10), but he struggled in that role in the premier league. Quite simply, the middle is too congested with five man midfields and double pivots and so there’s more room outside and that’s where Bernard can be more effective and he can come inside from there anyway.

Andrew Dempsey
45 Posted 19/08/2019 at 17:56:31
Sigurdsson is shit. Calvert-Lewin is worse.

In hindsight, that's all I needed to post.

Brian Williams
46 Posted 19/08/2019 at 18:28:50
Mike #39.
That police dog thing's been moved to County Road on most match days mate 😁😁😁😁.

Joking of course!

*Thinks* Sometimes some of those who post.........just shouldn't.

Mike Gaynes
47 Posted 19/08/2019 at 18:44:26
Steve #44, I did see that on Transfermarkt, but eight of those AM appearances listed were many years ago in Brazil. In the past 8 seasons he is listed as making just 1 start and 3 brief sub appearances at AM, and we don't know if he was ever central #10 in those short periods. (Transfermarkt also lists him as playing 28 minutes at AM for us last season, but I don't recall that -- do you?)

I only saw him twice for Shaktar in the CL, and both times he was playing wide. You're right that the three mids would flow through the middle, but Bernard never stayed there long. Maybe you saw different games, but Transfermarkt never lists him as an AM in a CL game.

I think your Pienaar comparison is pretty apt, although Peanuts was physically a lot stronger on the ball and could hold off a challenge, which Bernard cannot. He needs open space.

Sorry, but even as I enjoy his wing work I will continue to be dismissive of the idea that he could play Siggy's position with any effectiveness. However, I strongly doubt we will ever find out for sure.

Danny O'Neill
48 Posted 19/08/2019 at 19:16:10
Tacky flags; no thank you. I prefer natural to staged.

Tom Davies; want him to succeed but always looks a bit "leggy" and lethargic to me. I don't think he's our future.

VAR; massive fan. Nothing will be 100% but I don't know why we fear it as a collective. Perhaps we'd rather have the controversy of incorrect decisions being made and live with the injustice. Sky probably would, but I'd rather take a few seconds / minutes out from a situation where they game has stopped anyway to give the officials more of a chance of making the correct decision. Works well in Rugby so no reason it can't in football. Surely it's just those who are afraid the Kop will lose it's penalty decision making capability that don't want it? I'm personally sick of seeing bad decisions made & being a "bitter blue" we have probably been on the end of those more than most; especially in Derbies!

The City "goal" decision wasn't a VAR issue, it was interpretation of the new handball rule. VAR or no VAR, you can debate that one all night.

John Pierce
49 Posted 19/08/2019 at 19:20:22
Re Hamilton. I’m still left stunned how good it was. I saw it a week last Friday and my awe has not diminished. Proper good that lot.

I could easily cast Toffee-webbers as Hamilton protagonists 😂😂😂

Bill Gienapp
50 Posted 19/08/2019 at 19:28:25
It's not hard to see the allure of Bernard playing at the 10, even if, for the reasons Mike cites, it's probably not realistic - who doesn't love the idea of the pint-sized Brazilian morphing into our answer to David Silva?

The problem, I think, is that people say "Silva should just try it... and if it doesn't work, just abandon it," but I doubt things would just magically click from the get-go. Realistically, you'd probably have to give Bernard a decent run - like 8 to 10 matches - to get acclimated and find his sea legs, and the odds of Silva committing to that (while concurrently parking Siggy on the bench) seem, well... slim.

Francis (28) - I was very high on Dolberg at one point, and would have been very excited if we got him - but you're right, his career definitely seems to have taken a downward turn. Will be interesting to see if a change of scenery can get him back on track.

Peter Mills
51 Posted 19/08/2019 at 19:31:30
Mike #35. I was at Goodison on Saturday, the atmosphere before the teams came out was good but, as someone else has pointed out, the timing of the sirens and the drumroll of Z-Cars was a little out of synch. This irritated me slightly.

Whereas, at the Bayern game, I was scared the Main Stand was going to collapse.

John McFarlane Snr
52 Posted 19/08/2019 at 19:35:20
Hi Andrew [37],

I was present at the Excelsior gathering on Saturday evening and the topic of objectionable posts was raised, there was agreement at the table I sat at, that there were ways to convey alternative opinions without resorting to ill-mannered comments and profane language.

I admire the fact that you tempered your criticism of Sigurdsson and Calvert-Lewin, because your first remarks were uncalled for, anyone who earns his living playing football at any level, is entitled to a bit of respect. To describe someone the way you have in the heat of the moment is one thing, but to sit at your laptop two days after the match and pass such comments borders on the point of unforgivable.

Andy Crooks
53 Posted 19/08/2019 at 19:41:18
Andrew Dempsey, you make some good and, well... strange points. Your post @ 45 is, I hope, sarcastic, or just angry. Mike Gaynes, by the way, is not an idiot.

However, I have had the same thoughts as you regarding Bernard... He is not a winger, not like Bolasie for example. He is a wide player who cuts inside. He reminds me of Pienaar. I think you might be onto something with the notion of him playing centrally.

I hope I won't offend you by saying that name-calling only detracts from any good points you make. I know this because I have done it.

Andrew Dempsey
54 Posted 19/08/2019 at 20:00:34
Sigurdsson is the main problem with our team.

Calvert-Lewin is a striker who does not score goals, so I'm pretty sure he'll be out of the side permanently in a couple of weeks, and then we can eventually send him back to The Blades because that's his level. Nothing against the lad, he's not good enough to play for Everton, that's all.

And neither is Sigurdsson. Swansea City is about his level. He'd do a good job at Brighton now, somewhere like that.

Brian Williams
55 Posted 19/08/2019 at 20:12:49
Andrew #54.

You missed your opportunity there, or rather two opportunities in one.

Danny O'Neill
56 Posted 19/08/2019 at 20:15:50
Hey and just to spin a positive, as on previous threads, I'm pleased with the solid start we've made. 4 points from 6 and no goals conceded. Early season is always tricky and unpredictable. Many get carried away with good and / or bad runs of form.

You really have to let the season settle into its course before really understanding, but I'm pleased with what I see and what may come. I'm always optimistic but this season I just feel that bit more.

Clive Rogers
57 Posted 19/08/2019 at 20:16:00
Andrew, I agree with your comments. Sigurdsson seems to have lost his creativity and also his expertise for free kicks since he came to us. I believe we bought him too late. He is 30 next month. His work rate cannot be faulted, but all his pressing so far up the pitch means it comes to nothing.

Calvert-Lewin is just not a finisher. Although his build-up play has improved a little, he never threatens the goal nowadays either with shots or headers. It's a long time since his last goal.

Also Walcott was again a headless chicken while Holgate proved once again that he can't pass the ball.

William Gall
58 Posted 19/08/2019 at 20:22:40
there seems to be a lot of negativity posted. Why don't we wait until all the new signings are fit, have a chance to integrate with the rest of the team in training, learn the tactics, and then see a performance of the team the manager picks that shows what they were bought for, and who they will replace.

Saturday's game was not the greatest but there were positive signs, from Gbamin from the previous week, and encouraging signs from Kean.

The progress that I believe will happen, is some of the established players from last season will have to improve their game, as there will be competition for many of places in the team and they will have to maintain a high standard.

Don Alexander
59 Posted 19/08/2019 at 20:25:14
Andrew (#54 and several), I'm surprised by your take on Siggi. To me he's got everything a top-class No 10 needs except sufficiently talented players to play to. I'd bet that at Man City he'd be revered in the manner their Silva is, but at City there's a plethora of huge talent right through the entire squad, never mind team, and especially across their forward line.

I'm hoping Iwobi can quickly develop into a proper player able to vie with Richarlison as a very pacy incisive receiver of Siggi's passes.

On another thread I recently posted a website displaying some of the exquisite through-balls played to our forwards by Siggi, all to no avail because of their lack of awareness or skill. It must do his head in.

Anyway, it's all a mere matter of opinion. All the best.

Brian Harrison
60 Posted 19/08/2019 at 20:25:31

I can't agree with your comment about Sigurdsson losing his expertise from free kicks. On Saturday from 2 free kicks he produced 2 precise balls into Richarlison who should have scored from both.

Another poster suggested Eriksen from Spurs. Well, last season, Sigurdsson out-performed him on nearly all counts. that was goals scored, assists, completed passes. Also, let's not forget that Sigurdsson hasn't got Kane, Son, Moura and Alli playing in front of him.

Mike Gaynes
61 Posted 19/08/2019 at 20:31:32
Bill #50, if we're talking pint-sized Brazilians I would have said Zico!

You and Francis weren't the only Dolberg fans. I wanted us to go after him or Ziyech at Ajax instead of Klaassen. Remember that brilliant 23-goal season when he was still a teenager.

Not that he's missed the boat yet -- he's still only 21. I think Nice has done well getting him for €25 million.

David Pearl
62 Posted 19/08/2019 at 20:35:55
Is Eder still playing?

Have it.

Tommy Carter
63 Posted 19/08/2019 at 20:48:55
@38 Steve

I disagree. Moving Kenny away on loan to sign a World Cup Winning Squad player very much in his prime was an excellent piece of business. Sidibe is a superb player and was performing incredibly prior to some bad luck with injuries. To give him 12 months and then potentially have a player of his calibre ready to join us at the age of 28, when he can realistically give us 3 years of his best days is an exciting prospect.

With regards to Calvert-Lewin, I am disappointed that he did not take this opportunity in the opening 2 (very winnable) games to make his mark. I am a big fan of Calvert-Lewin but this was a clear sign to me that he is not going to have what it takes. It's a shame because he has some tremendous attributes. Sadly, none of them are scoring or creating goals.

John Pierce
64 Posted 19/08/2019 at 20:49:22
The Sigurdsson thing isn't a scapegoating, he is and is recognized as a very good player. Perhaps framing the argument that we've had 2 games is not quite were many are coming from. I could be wrong; however, he is our No 10 and, like the debate over Calvert-Lewin at centre-forward, he should be nigh on our most important player.

Sigurdsson has yet to score a direct free-kick for Everton, his penalty reliability has waned considerably since the 2018 World Cup. He should be demanding the ball, prompting, probing. Perhaps his style, he plays in moments, hampers the way we play?

I want my No 10 front and centre, involved incessantly, especially at home. Is Sigurdsson doing that?

Andrew Dempsey
65 Posted 19/08/2019 at 20:57:24
John #64

You’re not wrong, mate.

Mike Connolly
66 Posted 19/08/2019 at 21:02:03
Andrew, you're right about Siggy. When he's not on his game we suffer. To me, he is a bit of a luxury player. Unlike our late '80s team, we haven't the quality midfield players who could afford Siggy to slip in and out of games.

Calvert-Lewin does not seem to be improving at all. The lad who came on is younger than him but seemed to have a lot more about him. Time will tell...

Danny O'Neill
67 Posted 19/08/2019 at 21:21:07
I didn't want to get into it but the Sigurdsson debate is clearly a divisive one.

Personally I think that right now, I'd have him in the team because he can deliver that one piece of magic that turns a game.

I agree with Mike (@66) and others, it can depend on the players in front of him.

I do always remember having interesting debates with my best mate (God Bless) back in the day about Kevin Sheedy. I was an absolute admirer. Dave used to point out his apparent laziness & lack of work rate. We agreed to differ and more often than not, Sheed's turned the game; either via his magic wand of a left foot delivering a precise set piece or by feeding the attacking players with a precise pass. Give a midfielder something to feed and they may well feed it.

Andrew Dempsey
68 Posted 19/08/2019 at 21:24:58
Mike #66

Thank you

Andy Crooks
69 Posted 19/08/2019 at 21:26:18
Mike, I think that Siggy falls into the worst category of "nearly a luxury player". He doesn't quite provide enough luxury but neither does he provide the consistency that non-luxury players should.
John Pierce
70 Posted 19/08/2019 at 21:32:57
By way of a decent comparison from this parish look at Arteta, scored free kicks, a reliable penalty taker from memory. A playmaker in the truest sense. He poked and probed at teams, short and long passes and was often involved throughout the game.

Put Sigurdsson along side him and he deffo falls a bit short for me. That’s what I want from my main playmaker.

Mike Connolly
71 Posted 19/08/2019 at 21:49:43
Got to say, spot on Andy
Andrew Dempsey
72 Posted 19/08/2019 at 21:54:08
John #70,
So true. And people also said Arteta shouldn't be played in the middle, can't be trusted. Needs to stay wide where Moyes had him playing at first.

Clearly, good players can play anywhere. You've just got to be able to control the ball and move it on quickly. So, of course, Bernard can play through the middle.

Andy #69,

Unfortunately, you're bang on the money.

John Pierce
73 Posted 19/08/2019 at 22:03:38
By way of a contemporary comparison, James Maddison at Leicester, gets on the ball and seeks it out, affecting the play. The amounts of touches and passes he generally gets means he's in the game. Siggy's touches and passes are often very low I believe. If Sigurdsson can improve those aspects of his role then his quality will come through. Can he and is how we play going to help that?
Trevor Peers
74 Posted 19/08/2019 at 22:07:30
If Sigurdsson was as good as people expect on TW, he would be playing for a Champions League club, he's easily good enough for the blues though.

Any player with Champions League potential gets off sharpish these days, I'm afraid, as did Gueye recently, so we have to make do with the nearly men.

Tony Hill
75 Posted 19/08/2019 at 22:28:37
Except for when Siggi left him on his arse at the King Power last season, John @73.
Mike Doyle
76 Posted 19/08/2019 at 22:40:29
John #49]. I agree it's very good - probably the best thing on in the West End at present. It's a shame that the UK cast isn't a patch on the original USA production.

ps: The Book of Mormon is well worth seeing too - and getting tickets is a bit easier.

Steve Ferns
77 Posted 19/08/2019 at 22:50:09
Arteta came in on loan for 6 months in the year we finished 4th. He struggled in those 6 months, because he played centrally in Gravesen's position. He then flourished as Moyes moved him wide, and took him out of the middle and away from the midfield battle.

Then he moved back into the middle once he did his knee and no longer had the burst of speed to beat a down and race up and down the wing. I think it was a bit different back then. It was pre-tiki-taka and our midfield was full of battlers. I think today's game would suit him more centrally.

John Pierce
78 Posted 19/08/2019 at 22:59:58
Tony, 😂😂😂. One swallow and all that.
Bill Gienapp
79 Posted 19/08/2019 at 23:10:14
Tony (75) - that was a great moment and, unfortunately for Maddison, the first thing I think of whenever he gets mentioned, though I know he's a very good player.
John Pierce
80 Posted 19/08/2019 at 23:49:58

Perhaps it kind of illustrates the point. Siggy scores a great goal (one moment), vs 10 men in a game we struggled to break them down.

We shouldn't need a ‘worldie' to dig us out of a game, we should be dominating and our No 10 should be all over like a rash. Right?

Jim Bennings
81 Posted 20/08/2019 at 06:40:41
I mentioned about James Maddison when he went to Leicester instead of us, people laughed telling me he's nowhere near the player Tom Davies was.

It's right — he isn't, Maddison is leagues above Davies and in the last 18 months has shown so.

It proves good players can actually be really good players at a young age, and we are far too patient with our lads when basically little serious progress from the likes of Davies, Calvert-Lewin has been evident since the start of last season.

Our young lads seem to be duds when you look at other players like Mason Mount, Maddison, they are having greater impact.

Sam Hoare
82 Posted 20/08/2019 at 07:52:45
Jim@81, you're playing the victim somewhat! I remember those debates and I don't remember anyone laughing.

Also wasn't it Dowell (who'd just had a pretty decent loan with Forest) that people were comparing him to?

Some people rightly pointed out that Dowell had a comparable amount of goals/assists in the Championship so would we not be better off working on our own young talent rather than paying for someone else's?

I was very much in the Maddison camp as he made more key passes and a lot more tackles/interceptions per game than Dowell. In short, he got involved a lot more in the games. You certainly weren't alone in advocating him! He looks a cracking player to me but that boat has sailed. Now I'm interested to see what Iwobi can bring to the table creatively.

Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
83 Posted 20/08/2019 at 08:46:04
I think Steve Ferns called it right a couple of weeks ago.

Sidibe has 12 months at Goodison to show he has recovered from his injuries and provide backup to Seamus. If Coleman gets injured, then he can come in.

Meanwhile, Jonjoe Kenny has 12 months at Schalke (0-0 draw at the weekend when he played) to see how he copes playing top-level football each week.

End of the season, if Kenny has stunk the place out, been dropped by Schalke, then we pay the money to Monaco and keep Sidibe...

End of the season, if Kenny has been voted Schalke Player of the Season and they want to buy him for £10m (this is Germany not England) then we say "No, he is coming home and Sidibe can go back to Monaco as we do not need him as Kenny has proved he can replace Seamus."

End of the season, if Kenny has stunk the place out, but Sidibe has not recovered his previous form or fitness, we bring Kenny back and sell him, tell Sidibe to go back to Monaco, and Marcel Brands continues his search for a Seamus Coleman replacement.

I thought Steve's analysis was perfect sense and the sort of forward thinking that Brands would have done. Chelsea have brought in Abraham and Zouma this season, both having been proved at a reasonably high level to show they can cut it in the Premier League. Kenny was destined for another season of bench-sitting (not in the U23s because of it) and one-off appearances where he did not know the players well enough to fit into the puzzle.

Martin Berry
84 Posted 20/08/2019 at 09:03:12
Enjoyed the report very much and the player ratings.

I certainly agree with the central defensive pairing, they stood firm against a team of long ball bruisers in the second half.

Matt Traynor
85 Posted 20/08/2019 at 09:38:25
Liam #31, that year was 89-90. We had Cottee and Newell up front I think. Finished 2-6 but we were 6 down at one point. Cottee still celebrated his goal - even if none of his team mates did.

I remember it specifically as I watched it at university, in the Common Room, and all of a sudden found 6 of my cohabitants were in fact Villa fans...

It was on ITV I think, and my abiding memory of was of a Scouse Voice trying to get on mic (successfully) saying "Brian Moore, can you 'ear me? You're a cunt"... not sure what Brian had ever done but it gave me a laugh.

To be fair to my Brummie uni mates, they all took me out for a beer afterwards.

John Raftery
86 Posted 20/08/2019 at 10:05:36
I was interested to hear Marcel Brands say in a recent interview that ‘We did not have much competition for Gylfi Sigurdsson and I think we have that now with Alex (Iwobi)’.

Sigurdsson is not a shite player. As an attacking midfielder who can reach double figures per season he has been indispensable in a team of generally erratic finishers. He ghosts into the box and finishes well in the way Martin Peters did in the sixties and seventies. But he is not a modern day number ten. Gylfi works hard but instead of dictating the ebb and flow of our play he flits in and out of the action.

On Saturday, as has happened in many games, he disappeared for long periods. Throw in his penalty misses plus the fact after two years he has yet to score from a direct free kick I think it can be said the club badly needed some competition for his place in the team.

It will be interesting to see how Silva uses Iwobi who as Brands says can play wide and behind the striker.

Brian Harrison
87 Posted 20/08/2019 at 10:25:59
Just to change the subject, last season after the first 6/7 games there were hundreds of posts screaming at Silva to ditch his zonal marking. 12 months on he has made us into one of the best defences in the Premier League.

Funny how none of those posters have come on to say "Silva was right and I was wrong". All the players say how hard he works on the training ground, and Seamus and Michael Keane both say it's no fluke why they are so good defensively – it's because of the work Silva puts in on the training ground.

Jerome Shields
88 Posted 20/08/2019 at 11:14:25
Interesting player ratings taking into account players and in some cases their need for more playing time. In posts, there is a lot of discussion regarding players performance in relation to breaking down the Watford defence and Everton's present tactics as a contributing factor to difficulties in doing so.

I would prefer to look at the match in terms of how Watford defended against Everton. They of course set up shop like Palace to stifle Everton's attack. They maintained their defensive line and pushed up against the high press to give the attacking midfield less space and time.

They knew that Everton's attacking play would be predominately from the wings and played into channels for attacking players to run on to. They also knew there would be a crosses threat from Digne and Coleman. Subs would be used late on to maintain the midfield shape and possibly increase the threat on the right flank. A different type of centre-forward would be introduced. They would have chances late on in the game.

It was first priority to maintain their defensive line, keeping a tight centre and pushing up at every opportunity. The objective of the right and left was to push the attacking play wide and bottle up situations, spoil attacking play at every opportunity. Force shots from far out and limit the size of the available target.

In the centre, push forward, prevent forwards turning, force any attacking midfielders coming on to lay off balls wide. This gives time for central defenders to position for any balls coming in from passes and crosses. There midfield harried and stayed deep protecting the centred defence and helping forcing Everton wide, moving forward in front of the defensive line, pressuring Everton's defensive midfield.

Though Everton had greater possession, Watford dictated the tone of the game. The Digne pass to Bernard and the Kean attempts caught them out with faster movement and an attempt at play through the centre, rather than the wings.

Kevin Prytherch
89 Posted 20/08/2019 at 11:19:51
Jim 81 - I was one of the ones asking what the difference between Maddison and Dowell was.

Despite, with hindsight, there are obviously some differences in ability, Maddison has also benefitted from playing, week-in & week-out, in a team built around his position.

We'll never know but, what if Leicester had got Dowell and we had got Maddison? Our instant success demanding fans would have ensured that Maddison didn't get the run of games he did at Leicester. We might have seen two completely different players.

One of the big differences between any thriving youngster and our youngsters is the ability to play without the pressure we pile on them. It's only since February that the atmosphere surrounding the team hasn't been intimidating and toxic and players are scared to try something for fear of retribution.

Daniel A Johnson
90 Posted 20/08/2019 at 11:22:10
Yet more criticism of Siggy here but who put it on plate for Richarlison to miss?
Steve Brown
91 Posted 20/08/2019 at 11:42:03
James Maddison might make our bench, but he isn't good enough to be a starter. Let's move on as our quality requirement should be higher than him.
Sam Hoare
92 Posted 20/08/2019 at 12:13:48
Steve, I reckon Maddison is definitely good enough to be a starter for us! Think he created more chances from open play than anyone in the Premier League last season or some such.

He could play in the 10 spot or either of the wide spots, maybe even further back too, and guarantee goals and assists.

He's not top class yet but he's not far off and he's very young. Academic anyway as his next move will be to a bigger club than us and probably cost upwards of £65m.

Brian Williams
93 Posted 20/08/2019 at 12:16:13
I watched a piece on Soccer am. (I think) featuring James Maddison and Ben Chilwell and it looked like two fucking race horses having a chat at the starting line of the National!

If their teeth shade was on a Dulux colour chart it would be "Nuclear explosion white as fuck".

Moral of the story? Don't wear sunglasses when you pick the colour of your new £40k choppers!

Eddie Dunn
94 Posted 20/08/2019 at 12:27:02
Brian, if I was manager, I wouldn't pick anyone with teeth-whitening, tattoos, hairbands or gloves. Also would take a dim view of chest shaving, imposing large fines on offenders... including women.

And we would play in cotton shirts.

Chris Gould
95 Posted 20/08/2019 at 12:41:53
Brian #87, that is very true. There were many who were very quick to slate Silva and call for him to drop the 'insanity' of zonal marking.

Shows that Silva knows what he's doing and sticks with his principles in the knowledge that it will benefit us in the long run. He believes in his methods and has confidence in his coaching ability. He's made a believer out of me and, given time, will improve these players considerably.

I still think we are 2-3 players away from challenging top 4, but I think Silva will make the most of what we currently have, and have us competing for a tight battle between 5th, 6th and 7th place.

Phil Greenough
96 Posted 20/08/2019 at 12:54:50
Yeah, Eddy and I'd make them all wear Billy's boots!


*For all members under 50.

Ciarán McGlone
97 Posted 20/08/2019 at 12:58:18
I'm pretty sure we're not zonal marking any longer.
Dave Abrahams
98 Posted 20/08/2019 at 13:00:13
Sam (92), I agree with all of that, adding I think (money-wise) he was the best signing by far by any Premier League club last season... and, as you say, his value has trebled since.
Len Hawkins
99 Posted 20/08/2019 at 13:00:47
Eddie #94

Do some of our women shave their chests? Good job they don't swap shirts after the game.

Tom Bowers
100 Posted 20/08/2019 at 13:04:40
Watching Man Utd yesterday was like watching Everton sometimes. They utterly blew a game they should have won after outplaying Wolves in the first half, they didn't capitalize on it and paid the penalty (so to speak). How many times have we seen that happen?

Yes, Everton may still be a couple of class acts away from top-six material but we should wait until the current new boys have settled in, especially those in the midfield area.

Silva seems to have, at least, gotten the defence playing on the same wavelength which is the best place to start improving a team.

Jim Harrison
101 Posted 20/08/2019 at 14:30:06
So, Sigurdsson's the scapegoat this season!! 2 games in.

He is a streaky player; yes, we could do with alternative players when it isn't happening for him; and yes, his transfer fee was too much (it's been paid now, he didn't set it); and yes he hasn't started this season at his best. BUT!!!! 14 goals last season, when was the last time we had a midfielder do that? Assists often, and had Richarlison (who himself has hardly peaked these past two games) not fluffed two presentable chances, the pundits would be lauding his deadball prowess once again.

We have played two battling teams, very little space in the area he operates best, in front of at least 4 different central midfield combinations so far!! It's far from being a disaster of a couple of matches for him. Hopefully, with Iwobi coming in and offering an alternative, we can see the benefit.

Had Barkley not done one, there would have been two players capable of playing in a similar position but last season he was the only real option. Competition for places is healthy, but also different players with different attributes that are better suited to different opponents.

Iwobi is a big, strapping lad, he can be a bit more of a battering ram. Sigurdsson is a harrier, and a creator with vision. It's not been evident these past weeks, but it has over the span of his career.

Kevin Prytherch
102 Posted 20/08/2019 at 15:29:55
Jim 101 - I wonder if, when faced with 2 tight banks of 4 and no space between the midfield and defence that Sigurdsson operates in, whether it's worth playing Calvert-Lewin as a target man and Kean as a striker on the heels of the centre-backs?

This would obviously require Kean to complete as much defensive work out of possession as Sigurdsson does (I have no idea whether he's that type of player). However, Kean could occupy centre-backs and push the defence a few yards back if they're scared of his movement and pace. This would in turn open up the space that Richarlison and Bernard prefer. Hopefully, then they would have an attacking option with clever running as opposed to Calvert-Lewin.

I don't think this system would operate without Calvert-Lewin, but it could without Sigurdsson.

Against teams that don't defend this way, especially the top teams, I would revert back to Sigurdsson.

Paul Bernard
103 Posted 20/08/2019 at 17:08:30
I completely understand we all have our opinions, but until we replace Calvert-Lewin with someone capable of scoring 12 goals a season (and then some), then Sigurdsson should be appreciated more.

If I wasn't so confident that Sigurdsson is a huge player for us, then I would be saying I hope he gets a strain and is out for a few weeks; we will then see everybody's wish of Bernard as a Number 10 completely flop. Like someone mentioned earlier, Bernard has never been a Number 10, but sure, let's see what he can do.

As for Andrew McDermott (apologies if it's a different name), having a pop at Mike Gaynes for simply stating his opinion is a little OTT. I disagree with your point entirely but as I admitted to, Bernard hasn't played as a Number 10 so maybe I'm wrong and he will be amazing. We will see...

Paul Bernard
104 Posted 20/08/2019 at 17:11:03
Also, Jim Harrison #101, great analysis of Gylfi Sigurdsson. Maybe he should swerve his tracking back and be more selfish as a No 10 linking with Calvert-Lewin (who cannot finish his dinner, if I'm honest) but the system needs him right now.
Eddie Dunn
105 Posted 20/08/2019 at 18:06:48
Phil #96. I could do with a pair of those boots.

Len #99, I was just being even-handed, but I'm open-minded on the possibility.

Darren Hind
106 Posted 20/08/2019 at 18:31:33
Jim Maddison is an attacking midfield player. Tom Davies is a defensive midfield player who has been shoved from pillar to post to accommodate a string of vastly experienced defensive midfield players who were not trusted by a string of different managers to play anywhere else.

Jim Maddison is 22. Tom Davies is 21.

Jim Maddison has played 35 Premier League games Tom Davies has played more than twice as many.

Jim Maddison has never played in a team which finished higher than one Tom Davies played in.

Jim Maddison will have to be ever-present all season, just to catch Tom Davies up.

Jim Maddison cost £20M and Tom Davies is a scouser who cost nothing so deserves to be hammered.

Jim Maddison at 22 is a great prospect. Tom Davies is 21 and should be written off.


Jim Burke
107 Posted 20/08/2019 at 18:58:02
Thanks for the report, Paul. I'm very much in the Sigurdsson camp. He's looked a bit out-of-sorts so far this season, albeit after only two games, but even then you can usually count on a goal threat from him (He laid a couple on a plate for Richarlison against Watford, got into promising positions a couple of times at Palace). He's a terrific footballer, and he'll graft too.

On the atmosphere, Mike Doyle, I'm an exiled Blue so have to make do with NBC. I can pick up the atmosphere on the tele but it's subtle, and I think only because I'm so attuned to Goodison. It's diluted to a large degree, so when she's in bearpit mode, the tele definitely doesn't do her justice. Fiorentina's a good example. I could just sense how electric that would have been, but it would've largely passed the average viewer by. Actually easier to pick up a negative atmosphere.

I'm not one for staging or forcing an atmosphere (anyone remember when they'd play shite music after a goal… probably in the late '90s… I couldn't stand that), but it seems to have done a lot of good since the derby, so hats off to the Originals. Let's mainly keep it organic though, some games will be more atmospheric than others and that's fine.

Andy Crooks
108 Posted 20/08/2019 at 19:20:47
Darren, @ 106, absolutely spot on. Costing nothing seems to be a negative. Dominic Calvert-Lewin worked incredibly hard on Saturday. He is no goal hanger, no one is today. He does what the coach wants, not necessarily what we want, and he does it well.
Chris Gould
109 Posted 20/08/2019 at 20:11:04
Ciarán #97,

We absolutely are zonal marking.

Steve Ferns
110 Posted 20/08/2019 at 20:12:57
Chris, we are indeed. The only thing is we have moved to a hybrid, where a couple of players pick up men. In particular, Gomes is not going for a zone but is on a man. That's been pretty evident from the replays.
Steve Ferns
111 Posted 20/08/2019 at 20:15:50
Darren, spot on.
Chris Gould
112 Posted 20/08/2019 at 20:17:16
Yes, Steve, there seemed to be a slight change in the second half of the season where a couple players started man to man marking. Still zonal marking but with some tweaks. Silva has stuck with it but adapted where necessary. Hats off to the man, he's made us solid, and Zouma waxed lyrical about Silva's defensive coaching abilities. We're in safe hands.
Chris Gould
113 Posted 20/08/2019 at 20:24:19
Is Tom Davies a defensive midfielder? Seems to me that nobody has figured out what his best position is, other than the bench. I don't think he has a future under Silva and will likely be moved on.

James Maddison and Tom Davies are completely different players. But one is impressing every week and the other can't get in our team when we have injuries and suspensions. I'm not knocking the kid. I just don't think Silva rates him as good enough.

Raymond Fox
114 Posted 20/08/2019 at 20:30:01
I also agree with Darren and echo Andy's take on Calvert-Lewin. The lads not played as an out and striker, he's being asked to play a role that reduces his scoring chances and its not as if we creating much in any case.

With regard to the atmosphere at Goodison we could always have someone with a big drum or a full-sized band playing all through the game, god forbid.

While I'm on my soapbox, the media – especially TV nowadays produce instant heroes or conversely villains, nobody can or should judge anything off highlights.

John Pierce
115 Posted 20/08/2019 at 20:35:40
When you have two half-fit midfielders picked ahead of you, that says everything about how the manager feels about you. The pair faded out of the game after the first half.

Credit they did stick in there, fair play, but Tom should know the games up with Silva. Actions speak louder than words.

Ciarán McGlone
116 Posted 20/08/2019 at 20:38:42
A hybrid is not zonal marking. A Liger is not a Lion.. or a Tiger for that matter.

Zonal marking was a complete failure and he changed it. Yet people are crowing about Silva being right. Catch a grip.

I give the man total credit for realising his mistake eventually though.

Jamie Crowley
117 Posted 20/08/2019 at 20:46:05
I have to agree with Ciaran. If you're man-marking two or three players, it's definably not zonal marking. It's zonal marking with a tweak.

And I also agree, credit Marco. He saw a change was needed, and he hopped to it.

We've been very solid at defending set pieces. I personally don't care how it's done, but this hybrid zonal system we're employing is working wonders. Long may that continue.

David Pearl
118 Posted 20/08/2019 at 21:11:52
Chris Gould,

You know something, when I watch Tom Davies play, I think wing-back. The first game l seen him play was in a pre-season friendly. Martinez was in charge I think and he played really well in the right-back position. He is a busy player, high energy, can win the ball, has pace and can cross a ball.

How he has developed is confusing. At times I thought he would be ideal to take over from Gana, l did see a lot of similarities. He's not likely to have the guile to play a sitting position or quarterback role so where does it leave him?

I'm not so sure he has a role in this Silva system so surely he just has to go out on loan to play. He won't improve sat on the bench. He has to play and then he could really come on. Loads of potential that could well be wasted.

Darren Hind
119 Posted 20/08/2019 at 21:17:58
Okay, then: Maddison v Calvert-Lewin.

They're both 22

Madison has played 35 Premier League games; Calvert-Lewin has played twice that.

Like Tom Davies, Calvert-Lewin has never played in a team that finished below the one Maddison played in.

Maddison cost £20M and occasionally catches the eye on MotD; Calvert-Lewin cost £1.5M and is Championship standard "at best".

Maddison is given complete "freedom to roam" (B Rodgers); Calvert-Lewin has very definite instructions from his manager

Maddison is the very player we need; Calvert-Lewin couldnt hit a cow's arse with a shovel.

The deadly Maddison scored a whopping 7 goals last season; cows-arse-with-a-shovel Calvert-Lewin scored err. . more.

Calvert-Lewin was asked to play in about four positions last season; Maddison played in one.

Yeah, we've got some really shit youngsters.

MotD has an awful lot to answer for.

Chris Gould
120 Posted 20/08/2019 at 22:42:26
Ciarán and Jamie, it is zonal marking. Only those who were screaming for Silva to scrap zonal marking completely would suggest that it's not zonal marking. It was always a work in progress, and he progressively tweaked it to make it work. But it's only a slight tweak, and with it he's made zonal marking work. As opposed to ditching it completely like many were shouting.
You two by any chance?

David Pearl, I don't think he has a future under Silva. Look at the players we've brought in, and those like Doucoure that we tried to bring in. Davies is 21, he's not a kid. If Silva doesn't rate him now then he's never likely to. I think he'll leave in 12 months. Which is sad, but I don't think he's good enough in any particular position.

Mike Gaynes
121 Posted 20/08/2019 at 23:07:11
Chris #120, I would argue he has yet to "make it work." Our marking at set-pieces is definitely better than it was last fall -- it could hardly have been worse -- but it's still our biggest weakness IMO. Too many open headers.

Darren #106 and #119, all true, but that said I still believe Maddison is going to be a very fine player. The 7 goals you laugh at are actually not bad for 3000 minutes, especially when you add in the 8 assists. He was second in the Prem in creating chances for others, behind only Willian and ahead of Hazard. This kid has some killer passing skills, and in retrospect €25M looks like a pretty good investment by Leicester.

David Pearl
122 Posted 20/08/2019 at 23:46:15

On Maddison, you are correct. His goals and assists make him a top player. We have Sigurdsson doing the same job but he isn't as easy on the eye. Maybe that's the job he is asked to do and one of the reasons our goals against is sp good.


Spot on with the zonal marking. It was always going to work once the players learnt to keep switched on.

I think Davies has a lot of potential. I hope he goes on loan to prove himself, like the opportunity Kenny has been given.

Chris Gould
123 Posted 20/08/2019 at 23:54:44
Mike, we were 4th in the league for clean sheets with 14 last season.
10 of those clean sheets were from January to May, which suggests we really got it together in the 2nd half of the season. This has continued into this season, and we are the only team not to have conceded after 2 games (against limited opposition, but solid nonetheless).

Of course opposing teams will have some chances, but those stats aren't a fluke. Silva has made it work, and he deserves immense credit for it.

Jamie Crowley
124 Posted 20/08/2019 at 00:07:44
Chris -

I was one who was screaming for zonal marking to stop, that it wasn't working, and was very vocal about how much I detest zonal marking.

But it's not my motivation to justify my call for change, to say what's happening now isn't zonal marking.

I've been wrong before, I've no need to be right all the time.

It's just simple Chris. What's being employed currently is a majority zonal approach, but it's not zonal marking.

Zonal marking is where every player covers / marks a zone.

We have players man-marking on set pieces. Ergo, it's not, in any way, shape, or form, zonal marking. Zonal marking, by definition, doesn't include man-marking anyone!

It's a hybrid system, heavy on the zonal, light on the man.

Sounds like a coffee – Heavy on the cream, light on the sugar.

Just as tasty too, as it's stopping the opposition from scoring.

David Pearl
125 Posted 21/08/2019 at 00:27:12
It really is still zonal marking? The players just do it better now, for the most part. We ain't always going to be perfect. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't mind Millwall in the cup.

Silva is too stubborn (as are most coaches that believe in themselves) to change. A lot of us are calling for 4-3-3 or 4-4-2 (in a diamond midfield, that's just me) but that would have an adverse effect on our defensive shape and so l don't think he will change it. Therefore, Silva will stick with the same tactics and hope our attackers are on top of their game.

We have enough competition now that he can keep it fresh, fresh, exciting.

Chris Gould
126 Posted 21/08/2019 at 00:44:53
Jamie, I remember your outbursts and at the time they were understandable. It was zonal marking then, and it's zonal marking now, but in its progressive form.

Put it this way, at the start of last season, for set plays, we had everyone back defending their designated areas. Silva tweaked it and started using one or two players to man-mark. The rest of the team are still set up for zonal marking, all of them. They each have their designated zones to defend. Therefore, it's zonal marking. Just a slightly tweaked and improved version that pretty much all of the top sides employ.

Every top team uses zonal marking but they all tweak it to suit the players at their disposal and the opposition. All of the managers and coaches would call it zonal marking or mixed zonal marking.

Either way, it was always a work in progress, and he deserves praise for the work he's done.

Jim Harrison
127 Posted 21/08/2019 at 02:13:56
Kevin @102,

Very possibly, and I would need to hear from far more tactically minded posters than myself, but the point is that there are now different options to try in different circumstances. And rather than viewing Sigurdsson as a failure or not good enough accept that he isn't the only choice to play now. Obviously the team is selected by the manager and he is not willing to change it much, but he also hasn't had those options available to him yet

Man City don't always play David Silva, or Aguero. They have lots of options up front and change it about.

Perhaps I am just a bit naive, but I have never been in to panning players for not being at their very best every match, and again it's not the players fault that a former manager valued him so high. Take away the fee and focus on his record and he is one of the best midfielders we have had in recent years statistically. I suppose much like Lukaku, who had many, many faults as a player and seems to be a bit of a tit, but was also our best striker in years. Easy to criticise when performance level drops because you know what he is capable of.

Jamie Crowley
128 Posted 21/08/2019 at 03:44:34
Chris ,

Put it this way, at the start of last season, for set plays, we had everyone back defending their designated areas. Silva tweaked it and started using one or two players to man-mark. The rest of the team are still set up for zonal marking, all of them. They each have their designated zones to defend. Therefore, it's zonal marking. Just a slightly tweaked and improved version that pretty much all of the top sides employ

We agree. We just simply disagree as to what defines "zonal marking".

For me, it's all the players marking a zone. For you, it's a majority zonal system with a few players man-marking; ergo, it's still zonal marking.

Semantics. The important bit is we're both pleased with the results. :0)

Whatever it's called, it's working. And Marco's to credit for that.

Mike Gaynes
129 Posted 21/08/2019 at 03:56:22
Chris #123/126, absolutely and I give full credit to Silva for transforming our defensive performance.

But one of the big factors in that improvement was that we committed fewer fouls in our own end -- Gana was supreme and Gomes got a lot smarter -- so we had to defend many fewer free kicks than we had earlier in the season.

But even during our purple patch in the spring and our first two games this season, I have seen recurrent failures defending set pieces. We've been just plain lucky several times in the past two weeks. Whatever it is, zonal marking or some hybrid, I don't think we're much improved against corners and frees. We're just giving up fewer of them.

Albert Perkins
130 Posted 21/08/2019 at 03:59:21
Regarding atmosphere. I've stood with 70,000 at the Old Lady and have the dislocated collar bone to prove it (not complaining, it's an honour), so I know what a great atmosphere is like. Love the siren, but I'm now living on the west coast of the USA and have attended games at the Portland Timbers, my local team, where they have firework displays and confetti canons when they score. An enormous lumberjack takes a chainsaw to a tree trunk, cuts off a chunk and parades it round the ground after every home goal. A bit too much for me, but they have great support who sing through the whole game.

What really gets to me is the forever chant that goes on and on and on. I have to watch games online, and it's not the same as standing on Gwladys Street where you hear all the amazing comments from thousands of people within earshot. I often have to turn the sound off when we play away because of the annoying non-stop chant. Planning to be over in the Spring and enjoy my beloved Goodison Park again when I can shout myself hoarse to my heart's content.

Jamie Crowley
131 Posted 21/08/2019 at 04:15:54
Albert -


I, for myself only quite obviously, hate continual singing. It's annoying as fuck. Sing away! But do it spontaneously, or when you're trying to lift the team. Continual singing / chanting is just so damn annoying.

As if that weren't bad enough, continual drumming should be banned. We have it here in the states. I watch some games and there's always one dude on a drum, banging away for 90+ minutes. As a public service, and being in the USA, they should take that guy outside, and use him as target practice for their AR-15s. That's a joke, but it drives me nuts.

One thing I really long for, as the bastardized American, TV only viewer, is the banter. I read so often how, one fan shouts "this", and another retorts (usually hilariously) to the first fan who shouted, with "that". Just as you describe above, with 'all the amazing comments from thousands of people within earshot'. It sounds like that happens a lot at Goodison.

It wouldn't surprise me at all, as the witticism of Blues is absolutely off the charts, and the good folks of Liverpool seemingly have a stupendous sense of humor.

I think I miss out on that dynamic of atmosphere, more than anything else.

Go shout yourself hoarse when you're "back home".

Darren Hind
132 Posted 21/08/2019 at 05:00:12

Of course Maddison is a very fine player. I wish to fuck we had him. He was voted Norwich Player of the Season and narrowly missed out on the Championship Player of the Season tittle. Just about every team and every fan in the country gave him a serious look. Leicester were the ones who were prepared to take the plunge and are reaping the rewards.

My point is a simple one: Why are we so many Evertonians blind to the talent within our ranks? They can see everyone else's virtues, but they are completely blind to what's under their noses.

Maddison is a better player than Tom Davies at this moment in their careers, but Davies has been asked to perform about half-a-dozen tasks. Maddison has only had to concentrate on one position. Tom has already accomplished so much yet he is the younger player.... But we should write him off ?

BTW, Mike. I was not laughing at Maddison's goal-scoring rate, I was pointing out the absurdity of completely dismissing Calvert-Lewin for misfiring, whilst fawning all over somebody who has actually scored less.

The basic stats will not give Calvert-Lewin as much credit for goals he was involved in (a great example of why I have no time for such foolishness) but anyone who watched our resurgence last season is aware that, although he may not have often delivered the final pass, we would not have scored the goals if he wasn't on the field and heavily involved in the build up.

We have spent north of £250M on strikers and midfield players since tell-it-like-it-is Koeman and his idiot partner Walsh acted like a pair of drunken sailors a couple of years back. None of them good enough to hold down a place in a top-six side. Yet at 21 & 22 and costing a whopping £1.5m between them, Tom Davies and Dominic Calvert-Lewin have taken more stick than the lot of them put together.

Here's another massive, massive advantage to Madisson: The Leicester supporters encourage THEIR youngsters!!!

Darren Hind
133 Posted 21/08/2019 at 05:23:39

I think Steve F is right.

I was so worried about Silva's determination to persist with Zonal Marking, that I wrote an article about it. Powerful headers of the ball were moving onto the shoulders of our smaller men and we were getting murdered. I suggested if Silva didn't ditch it, he would be ditched himself.

< p>Steve argued that, rather than ditch it altogether, Silva would eventually adopt the Hybrid version employed by the likes of Spurs. I watched and replayed many a corner during the second half of the season and guess what... the bastard was right. Lol.

We do have 1-2 players picking up obvious danger men now, the rest are marking space

Mike Gaynes
134 Posted 21/08/2019 at 05:36:12
Darren #132, quick question... when you say "Tom Davies and Dominic Calvert-Lewin have taken more stick..." do you mean at the games or here on TW? You go to the games, I don't, so if they'd been taking any heat from the stands, you'd have heard it. I'd be quite dismayed if that were the case.

On the other hand, TW is a closed loop and I very much doubt they're aware of the criticism they deal with here.

PS... Calvert-Lewin scored 6 league goals last year... one fewer than Maddison... although he had a higher goalscoring rate (one every 300 minutes vs. one every 400 for Maddison).

Laurie Hartley
135 Posted 21/08/2019 at 06:13:11
After reading through this thread, I am even more confused about what is going to be our best line-up.

In my opinion you can't take Sigurdson and his 13 goals out of the team unless you have a midfielder who is better – and delivers the same number of goals.

I did follow Don Alexander's link highlighting Sigurdsson's excellent through balls into dangerous positions that weren't converted (mostly by Walcott).

As someone above has said he just needs people running into space. I think Kean will be that player and as a result he will add 15 of his own goals this season.

The real problem as I see things relates to the right wing. I am convinced that Richarlison's best position is on the left where he can cut in onto his right foot. The problem is how can you take the spot off Bernard who is playing really well in the position.

The issue is further complicated by the fact that Iwobi plays on the left or in the Number 10 role.

The player who should be taking advantage of all this of course is Walcott. I wonder if Silva will start him against Villa?

Darren Hind
136 Posted 21/08/2019 at 07:08:18

I'm talking about everywhere. On this and any other site. On the radio Phone ins. In the pubs and at the ground

It's a bit like when Ossie and Hibbo were "never in a million years top six players"... even though they probably achieved top six more than any other two players in Everton's history. It seems the less you cost, the more stick you take.

BTW Premier League teams don't only play in the Premier League. Calvert-Lewin scored 8 in 38 last season. Maddison scored 7 in 38 and, as you rightly point out, Maddison spent a lot more time on the pitch.

It would appear that when you put the record of one of the countries top young players up against two of our young "He'll-never-make-it" proteges, the wrong fella keeps coming up short.

Duncan McDine
137 Posted 21/08/2019 at 07:13:34
MG - from my experience, the ‘stick' from several matchgoing fans towards Tom Davies was shocking through most of last season... and it's generally from the young scouse lads in the stand.

Strangely enough, it seems to me that over the years, local homegrown players have received more stick than foreigners (Ossie, Hibbo, Ross etc... not sure if he was through our youth team, but Paul Gerrard used to get so much shit – and as a keeper, you're definitely close enough to hear it).

Calvert-Lewin didn't get so much IMO, but I'm yet to get to a game this season – I'll let you know after Friday night!

David Thomas
138 Posted 21/08/2019 at 07:38:41

At what point in your opinion can Calvert-Lewin properly be judged? After 2 or 3 seasons playing up front or maybe not until he reaches 25?

If Calvert-Lewin continues performing at the level he is now and his goal return remains the same over the next few seasons, will you still be happy for him to be a regular starter?

Ian Bennett
139 Posted 21/08/2019 at 07:57:37
The general direction seems to be that none of the World Cup youths are going to make it into established starters at Everton. Time will tell, but I can see them being sold to make way for Gibson, Simms etc.

I like Calvert-Lewin, but the number of shots troubling a keeper each game is poor. Holgate doesn't look big enough for a centre-back, nor has the concentration for the top level. He's no right-back either.

Davies isn't good enough to displace Gomes, Sigurdsson or play a defensive midfield slot – so he's a lad that will only be a back-up. The midfield player seems to be more specialised then the old all-rounder, and where Tom doesn't have a core strength, he is limited in what he brings to the game.

Lookman has been shown the door, whilst Dowell doesn't look like he will make it either. A big season for Kenny in Germany but, with a World Cup winner brought in, you'd see another going out. Connolly doesn't seem wanted, nor Baningime.

Good money will be made on the lads, but I don't see many making it in the long term.

Michael Lynch
140 Posted 21/08/2019 at 08:36:07
Mike @134,

I'm as a big moaner as anyone, but in the Upper Bullens on Saturday I was suprised to hear quite a few incidences of vitriolic personal abuse, mostly aimed at Calvert-Lewin, though also at others (Holgate for example) when they made mistakes.

I understand that people might groan, you can't help it, but personally I don't think it's helpful, or for that matter acceptable, to hurl abuse at players. I like Calvert-Lewin, he's talented and he works his bollocks off and – as others have said – he's doing what his manager asks of him. I don't really think individual abuse from your own fans is ever called for, but in the case of a player giving his all, I think it's plain wrong.

Geoff Lambert
141 Posted 21/08/2019 at 09:03:08
I don't want a team of 23-year-old prospects who give their all every week. Give me a show pony that can change a game for 45 minutes and bang in 18/25 goals a season.

So many posters on here willing to accept a player who runs their socks off and who might come good next season or in a couple of seasons time. How much time do you give a striker who can't score goals? If you can hear groans in the crowd, that must tell you something... by the way, it was heard in the Main Stand also.

Eric Paul
142 Posted 21/08/2019 at 09:10:26
A show pony who only works for 45 minutes would get slaughtered.
Dave Abrahams
143 Posted 21/08/2019 at 09:21:10
Duncan (137), I'll put my hands up on Paul Gerard, he couldn't hear it, from The Upper Bullens, and that was well before the Liverpool cock up and the McAllister goal, when everyone in the ground could see where the ball was going to finish up, except for Paul of course.

If you ever heard a voice in The Upper Bullens screaming “Get him off”, that was me usually 10 seconds before he made one of his frequent errors, he was pathetic.

I know it doesn't help the players to be given stick, but some of them, making cock-ups week after week, don't help themselves, and I also know they don't make the mistakes on purpose, but why the hell don't they try to eliminate the same basic mistakes they make every game?

While I'm at it, Pickford has saved us in the two games we've played this season. At the same time, he is still sticking to his goal line from centres and corners, witness the header that hit the bar on Saturday from inside the 6-yard area, and the free-kick that whizzed right across the same area with Pickford rooted to his line without making any effort to get hold of it.

Jim Harrison
144 Posted 21/08/2019 at 09:32:06
Calvert-Lewin isn't a top forward. He doesn't score enough goals.

But he is a good forward, and his play up front, working defenders, pressing from the front and working hard for the team have made him a valuable player to Silva.

Lukaku was a good finisher, scored plenty of goals, but ultimately didn't score enough “crucial” goals, ie, ones that won games. This is why, misguided or not, Walsh and Koeman saw replacing him like for like was not essential as improving the whole front line with what they deemed productivity as the aim.

They failed in realising that aim, but M&M seem to have followed on in some respects. Adding Bernard, Richarlison, Iwobi and Kean, there are now multiple attacking players with the potential to score or create. Calvert-Lewin plays a thankless role but, when he is at his best doing it, the team benefits.

Will he get better? Only time will tell. And now we have all the noted players, in addition to Sigurdsson and even Walcott (yes, Walcott!), there will be different options to change the dynamic.

Back to Rom, he was at his best when we played counter-attacking football, 'flat-track bully' is unfair, but get him behind their lines with space to run into and, on his day, in beast mode, he was unstoppable. But often when the box was packed, he would be less effective, even static sometimes.

Watch Calvert-Lewin: he doesn't stop, never seen him do that thing Rom did where he would stand, almost looking shocked as things went on around him.

Don't get me wrong, aside from being a dick I would have him back in a flash, but Dom is a different player whose selfless work rate helps the other attacking players. Sure, he does need to take his chances better, but he is physically developing into and impressive young man.

I agree with Darren Hind, he is unfairly targeted for doing what is expected of him by his coach.

Davies, Christ!! He isn't playing so, in one group of people's mind, he is the saviour we need and the coach can't see it... or to others, he's not good enough and it's clear to all with plain sight, including the coach. Perhaps he just hasn't matured into the player he could be yet, and the management see enough in him to believe it will come, but just understand he isn't there yet.

The worst thing he did was that city goal. Expectations of him, and Lookman, were set high so early on. He hadn't cost anything, and whilst they may not deem him a starter, he is alway on the bench. Purely from a financial point of view, if sold, he would cost at least his transfer fee to replace like for like, so no need. Should he spend the next few years as the perpetual understudy, then fine: he cost nothing and has quality.

Brian Harrison
145 Posted 21/08/2019 at 09:36:25
I don't see how you can compare goal records of Maddison, who plays central midfield, with Calvert-Lewin who plays up front. Strikers live or die by their goal record and sadly, despite all his other attributes, Calvert-Lewin doesn't score enough goals. He has been given a long run in the team and not many young strikers get that run unless they are scoring on a regular basis – which he isn't.

I know many say he is only young and still learning, which is true, but he should have been loaned out 12 months ago to let him learn his trade in a lower division. I personally don't think he will be playing many more games and will eventually drop down a division but I will be delighted if proved wrong.

I have never believed in using age as an excuse: if you are good enough, you are old enough. I have a feeling, and admittedly it's early days, but Kean – who is 2 years younger than Calvert-Lewin – will prove a better acquisition.

Chris Gould
146 Posted 21/08/2019 at 10:12:38
Brian, I'm also baffled by the comparison. Calvert-Lewin plays as a lone striker and Maddison is a No 10 or central midfield. Maddison's primary job is to create chances and he excels at it. Calvert-Lewin's primary job is to score goals, and he's not particularly good at it.

I like him, he's industrious and seems to be a very good professional and decent man, but he will never be a goalscorer. He doesn't make the right runs and lacks a predator's instinct. He doesn't look like he really believes he's going to score. He actually appears scared to put himself in the right positions to score.

Look at the difference between him and Kean. That was a young man who was desperate to score and wasn't afraid to miss. Calvert-Lewin appears to lack self-belief, but he does put in a shift and his tireless running makes space elsewhere.
With Calvert-Lewin and Davies we aren't talking about kids anymore. They are fully grown men and can be judged on their performances like anyone else. They won't get bigger or faster. Their improvements will only be slight.

I think they'll both have decent careers, but I will be surprised if it's with us.

Brian Williams
147 Posted 21/08/2019 at 10:14:59
Brian #145,

I agree 100% regarding comparing a striker's goals with a midfielder's. There shouldn't be a comparison.

I've always supported and championed Calvert-Lewin in the pre- and post-match debate with my matchgoing mates but I watched him carefully on Saturday and, despite the fact his hold-up play has improved immensely, it's his poor positioning in the box that worries me.

Several times on Saturday, there were low crosses into the box and be didn't really attempt to get ahead of the centre-back to the near post where top strikers (Aguero springs to mind) try to get so that often the merest touch or flick results in a goal.

I was willing him to make the right runs but he seems to be in the wrong place at the right time on lots of occasions.

Darren Hind
148 Posted 21/08/2019 at 11:02:57
Oh, I seeeee...

It's acceptable to compare an attacking midfield player with virtually no defensive duties to a forward and a defensive midfielder who has been pushed from pillar to post and claim he is so much better... but when records are put up which demonstrate he is still falling well short, it becomes an unfair comparison. You couldn't make it up.

Anyone who thinks Calvert-Lewin is being deployed simply as a "striker" hasn't understood what he has been watching this season. Do you really think ANY manager in the world (let alone a Premier League manager) would persevere with a striker who spends most of his time 20-odd yards from the box? Really?? Is that why you think Silva selects him? In the hope he will suddenly turn all Gerd Muller??? No wonder you guys are pissed off.

I guarantee you Maddison is given a free role to get into the box at will. I heard Rodgers say so. I also guarantee you Calvert-Lewin is expected to do the job he's selected to do, FIRST and FOREMOST.

Breaking news: the Number 5 doesn't always play centre-half. The Number 27 doesn't always sit in the stands, and the Number 9...

Nah, forget it.

Jim Harrison
149 Posted 21/08/2019 at 11:22:58


And Maddison, free-kick specialist, gets pretty much every chance from fouls in and around his specialist area to have a crack.

To be fair, the discussion is a distraction, and doesn't really look at what they do in terms of the role they play and the job they are being asked to do.

No one is saying Calvert-Lewin scores enough, but that – given what he is being asked to do – he is performing well.

Steve Brown
150 Posted 21/08/2019 at 11:28:09
Darren @ 132 and 148. Spot on - the relentless stick the young and local talent receives from a percentage of our fans is unfair and self-defeating. Calvert-Lewin obviously plays to specific instructions from Silva and does it well enough to get picked regularly.

It isn't limited to fans forums. The tirade is relentless at the match – my brother has changed his seats because he is so sick of the tossers who sat next to him continually slagging Calvert-Lewin off.

Duncan McDine
151 Posted 21/08/2019 at 11:29:54
Dave Abrahams, that cracked me up about Gerrard... my God, he was awful, but it's one thing to think it, another to shout it at the top of your voice.

I might be wrong but I feel like the young English lads get more abuse than the foreign ones; I might be wrong. Thinking back, it has only really been Rooney Mk1 and maybe Michael Ball that didn't get regularly slagged off while playing for us (since I started going to games in 1997).

Steve Brown
152 Posted 21/08/2019 at 11:34:55
As for Maddison... I got confused for a moment and thought posters were describing Maradona.

He is decent, would make our bench, and Davies will ultimately prove himself a better player. Given the way some of our fans view young players, Tom will probably look elsewhere... like Barkley, Stones, Lookman etc.

Amit Vithlani
153 Posted 21/08/2019 at 12:20:34
Michael @ 140 - its a pity to hear the abuse hurled at Calvert-Lewin and Holgate when they made errors, but t'was ever thus, I guess. Barkley and Stones took some fearful stick too if I recall. I remember the lashing Tony Grant ("Grantona") used to receive in 1 match I attended, don't know if it was a trend.

The young player I felt most sorry for was Stuart Barlow. He came on in an away game vs QPR when we were down to 9 men and trailing 0-3. There was what I can only describe as gallows humour amongst travelling blues – expectations of a comedy of misses from "Jigsaw" were high. Held in such low esteem, no-one could be bothered to be gnarly towards him.

Punchline: He scored twice and we came mighty close to an improbable draw. (Rangers lashed in a 4th after Keown narrowly missed with a great header for 3-3.)

Kevin Prytherch
154 Posted 21/08/2019 at 12:24:39
I can't think of many players better than Calvert-Lewin at what he does outside of the box. He often occupies some of the best centre-backs in the league and opens up play for those around him.

I bet if anyone was to compare a Calvert-Lewin and Maddison heat map then they wouldn't be too dissimilar. His role also works perfectly against better opposition where we press high and win the ball in areas that Sigurdsson, Bernard and Richarlison can be effective.

I think the stick levelled at him comes from when we play weaker opposition, where Calvert-Lewin still plays the same game, but the space isn't there around him.

For these games, I question whether we need Sigurdsson in the team and whether we could replace him with Kean. Calvert-Lewin would then turn more into a second striker (which is effectively where Sigurdsson plays in these games anyway), the difference is that there would be a passing option behind him.

In addition, Calvert-Lewin currently does a brilliant job in occupying centre backs, where Sigurdsson doesn't. Imagine if the centre backs who currently only have to watch out for Calvert-Lewin, now have to watch out for Kean as well. They would automatically have to either play with another defensive midfielder (freeing up more space in the middle of the pitch for the likes of Gomes) or drop a bit deeper so not to get caught out (which would free up space in those pockets between the defence and midfield that Richarlison and Bernard like to receive the ball in).

Calvert-Lewin would still be an integral part of the team; however, if Kean is scoring then we would get back to praising Calvert-Lewin for the game that he plays so well, and not criticising him for not doing what is blatantly not natural to him.

He does, however, need to be at least pushing double figures every season.

Chris Gould
155 Posted 21/08/2019 at 12:44:01
Darren, whatever way you try to spin it, Calvert-Lewin is a striker, and it is his job to score goals. The instructions he receives from Silva will more than likely include, "Try and bloody shoot every now and again!"

It doesn't matter if Maddison has a free role, his job is to play their forwards in on goal and create chances. He does it very well.

Sometimes you say you hate stats and prefer to use your eyes, but now you are using stats that don't even stand up to scrutiny. Here's some more stats:

Calvert-Lewin has made 80 (4,367 mins) Premier League appearances: 11 goals, 8 assists, 34 shots on target.

Maddison has made 38 (3,030 mins) Premier League appearances: 7 goals, 8 assists, 28 shots on target.

If you consider the amount of minutes played, then these stats aren't too dissimilar. I would argue that Maddison just about shades it. Now on top of this, Maddison created more chances for his teammates than any other player in the league last season. 2 more than Eden Hazard.

Calvert-Lewin has played over 1,000 Premier League minutes more than Maddison and has only managed 6 more shots (34 shots in 80 appearances for a striker is poor).

Taking into account that Maddison has been busy creating more chances than every other player in the Premier League, whilst also making an average of 1.3 tackles a game, compared to Calvert-Lewin's 0.4, these stats suggest that Maddison is providing far more productivity.

Calvert-Lewin's tireless running is his main strength, and he does so much for the team even when not scoring. But comparing Calvert-Lewin's stats for goals and assists with Maddison's is daft. Primarily because they play in 2 different positions, but also because those stats don't appear to go in Calvert-Lewin's favour. And clearly Maddison's all-round productivity is far more impressive than Calvert-Lewin's.

I don't care how old the players are or where they come from. I only care about what they bring to the team, and whether we can improve by replacing them with someone more capable (and that applies to the entire squad).

At 21, they are not kids. They are fully grown men, and both have played enough games for fans to judge their ability and performances. It would appear that many fans don't particularly rate either of them. Only time will tell if they have judged too soon.

This is the place to discuss these players. Regardless of their age.

Brian Williams
156 Posted 21/08/2019 at 12:55:57
The club officially describes Calvert-Lewin as a striker. When I say 'club' I mean Everton by the way, on the OS, striker.

Collins English dictionary description of a striker: In football and some other team sports, a striker is a player who mainly attacks and scores goals, rather than defends.

Steve Ferns
157 Posted 21/08/2019 at 13:14:38
Brian, you rely on the Collins English dictionary to be up to date with modern football and modern football concepts, and most importantly you rely on the official site to have asked Marco Silva to define Dominic's position. But hey ho, keep finding new ways to bash a young player who is trying his very best, playing as an important part of a winning side.

Meantime, you should enjoy the effort and hard work of Calvert-Lewin before he is usurped by our new Italian hero, who will not put in the same effort and before long will have you saying if only he could run a bit more like Calvert-Lewin, or chase or harry, or close the opposition down more. Because, as good as Kean will be, he lacks that side of Calvert-Lewin's game.

Chris Gould
158 Posted 21/08/2019 at 13:21:19
Steve, read Brian's post at 147. He clearly doesn't bash Calvert-Lewin, but instead merely raises concerns.

His issue was with Calvert-Lewin's goalscoring stats being compared with Maddison's, when one is a striker and the other an attacking midfielder.

Darren Hind
159 Posted 21/08/2019 at 13:22:20
I didn't start making the comparisons. (You did see that bit?) I simply put up the records and Leicester's boy-wonder repeatedly comes up short against our total no-hopers.

I don't have to dress anything up. Calvert-Lewin is not a striker simply because a handful of people on TW think that's what a Number 9 should be.

If Silva and his staff have spent all this money on goalscorers and are still persisting in playing a guy who barely anticipates a cross as their lone striker, then it is only a matter of time before they are sent packing.

Personally. I don't think there is a hope in hell of them getting sacked. If they do, it won't be because some fans don't seem to see the massive difference between Calvert-Lewin's role and that of an out-and-out striker.

Ray Robinson
160 Posted 21/08/2019 at 13:25:39
Irrespective of the role that Calvert-Lewin is asked to play, and I am a big admirer of him, he simply is not a natural finisher with his feet (better with his head). I doubt whether this can be taught – it's instinctive.

That's partly why as a striker he gets so much stick. He needs to be more Ashley Barnes than Shane Long – ie, continue to bother the central defenders and bring others into play – but still hit the bean bag a bit with a bit more regularity.

Dave Abrahams
161 Posted 21/08/2019 at 13:29:20
Duncan (151), not to go on and on about Gerrard but nearly everyone knew he was going to make a mistake. There was one game against Leicester, a night game I think, we were winning 1-0 when Paul obliged with his usual howler, made it 1-1, cue for me to give him loads.

A few minutes later, we made it 2-1, cue for loads around me to give me loads, mostly all taken in good fun. I shouted back “There's still plenty of time, Paul won't let me down.” Give him his due, he didn't, another complete and utter cock-up by him made it 2-2.

If you got caps for making errors and cock-ups, Paul would have more than Shilton and Clemence combined.

Chris Gould
162 Posted 21/08/2019 at 13:30:52
Darren, did you just choose to ignore the stats that I put up? Maddison clearly doesn't come up short.

But I have no intention of continuing to argue against Calvert-Lewin as I like the lad. Comparing his goal ratio with Maddison's doesn't stand up to scrutiny, but I don't understand why the comparison was made in the first place.

Calvert-Lewin is our furthest man forward and many would assume he's playing as a striker. Maddison isn't the furthest Leicester player forward and most definitely is trying to feed the striker, not play as one.

Steve Ferns
163 Posted 21/08/2019 at 13:42:43
But you guys ignore the facts as well. Silva's system gives goals to wide forwards and attacking midfielders. The Number 9 at most of his teams has not been the main goalscorer.

We are winning, it is working, so what's the problem? Can't you guys ever be positive?

Chris Gould
164 Posted 21/08/2019 at 13:57:18
Who are you referring to, Steve? I am often positive about Silva and the team. I believe that the majority of Brian's posts are also positive.

This is the place to discuss the ability and performances of all the players, Calvert-Lewin included. It seems to me that most appreciate his efforts and industry, but don't see a natural goalscorer. I also think that most are wise enough to appreciate what he brings to the team, even if they don't believe he is the long term answer.

My issue was the comparison with Maddison. It made no sense.

Tony Abrahams
165 Posted 21/08/2019 at 14:05:57
You was right about the tequila, Dave, it's kept me away from the ToffeeWeb stats for days!

Jamie C, you got me thinking about the banter at Goodison, mate, and the best shouts I ever heard (amongst hundreds) was when there were rumours going around that James McFadden was in a relationship with Will Young.

McFadden came on as sub, replacing Marcus Bent, and someone shouts, “Fuckin hell, we have just replaced Bent, with a bender!!” And the next shout was right behind, which was “McFadden, I think you better leave right now” which was a song sang by Young and was in the charts at the time! Funny.

Steve Ferns
166 Posted 21/08/2019 at 14:09:01
The guy can finish, Chris. On your own stats, he has a better conversion rate than Maddison. 11 goals from only 34 shots on target. Compare that to Harry Kane.

The issue for Dominic is not his finishing, it's that he is not pulling the trigger enough. Sometimes, he wastes a good opportunity without shooting, but more often than not, he is just not getting the opportunities.

He lacks confidence, as confident players get their shots off early. He also lacks the composure that comes with age. The lad could suddenly score 20 goals this season, plenty have done so in the past. Let's not write him off yet.

Brands gets a lot of credit on here, and he rates Dominic very highly, so why not put your trust in him? Silva also rates him highly, certainly more than Tosun or Niasse. The lad is playing well, the team is winning and the goals will come.

Steve Ferns
167 Posted 21/08/2019 at 14:11:44
Tony, Jimmy Mac was in the lounges on Saturday, unfortunately, my uncle had my ticket (I was in the Main Stand) and so I never got to see him.

Apparently, he still looks in good shape. The Scottish Rooney was a disappointment but I'll never forget that goal against Charlton, what technique!

Jay Wood

168 Posted 21/08/2019 at 14:18:08
Now THAT, Tequila Tony, is what armchair Blues can never catch from their match day streamed feeds: the sharp wit and instant retorts between the faithful at Goodison.

There has never been a game at the Old Lady I'm sure when even the dullest of games has not been made memorable for those in earshot of some truly tear-inducing witicism which has people still chortling minutes - hell! Hours, days, YEARS even - after they were uttered.

Non-PC? You betcha! But bellyachingly funny.

Andrew Keatley
169 Posted 21/08/2019 at 14:22:30
Maddison has licence to roam, but he also has Jamie Vardy ahead of him. Defenders are wary of Vardy - his pace, dynamic running and tenacity make him a constant threat behind, which not only gives Maddison passing options but also that precious yard or two of extra space in the pocket as the defensive line drops deeper to counter the threat of Vardy.

I think if Sigurdsson was afforded these extra benefits, then he'd be delighted. I think Maddison is a terrific young footballer, but sometimes team-mates help make players look even better.

Ray Robinson
170 Posted 21/08/2019 at 14:36:50
Steve, your faith in Calvert-Lewin is heart-warming. He is very good at what he does and does not warrant all the criticism that he receives but, in my view, even if he tries to shoot more often, he will never become a natural predator. I truly believe the Fowler, Owen, Defoe, Philips (Kevin), Cottee etc are instinctive. I hope that Kean turns out to be one of those naturals and takes the weight of Calvert-Lewin's shoulders.

Calvert-Lewin and the club have done him no favours by giving him the No 9 shirt. Yes, I know numbers and positions tactically mean nothing these days but there is a significant tradition to uphold with that shirt – one of the prerequisites being that you hit the net frequently. Every time I watch Calvert-Lewin, I can see a Shane Long Mark II.

Regarding his finishing, I really hope that you're right and that I'm wrong.

Steve Ferns
171 Posted 21/08/2019 at 14:45:31
Ray, where would Fowler play in the modern game? Would Cottee even get into a Premier League squad? Owen would be on the wing for sure.

Look at Vardy, the lad scored 5 goals in his first season in the Premier League, no one would have argued that he looked like someone who could bang in 24 and fire his team to the title.

Send Calvert-Lewin out on loan, some have said. Tammy Abraham has been on loan twice. 23 for Bristol three years ago, 25 for Villa last season, but in the Premier League he can't get close to Dominic, and this season, despite having the opportunity he could only dream of, as the main striker in a side with creative players like Jorginho, Mount, Kovacic, and Barkley, he is yet to score and looking far inferior to Calvert-Lewin. So what good has the loans done him? He had a loan to Swansea as well and only scored 5 then.

The Premier League is tough, and you need to be patient with young strikers. Calvert-Lewin is in a winning side, so right now, does it matter he is not scoring? Did it matter that no one was scoring for Everton in '87 when we won the league and everyone was injured?

Right now, we are 2 points off top, we can be top on Friday night, and when's the last time we could say that after three games? We should beat Villa, and we can sit high in the table for a good few games before the difficult fixtures come. Enjoy it; don't be so negative.

I'm just glad that the people I see at the game are far more positive than you miserable lot.

Mike Gaynes
172 Posted 21/08/2019 at 14:47:37
Brian #147, you have touched on my only real concern about Calvert-Lewin's game. I first noticed it last season as Bernard in particular got better and better at pulling balls across goal. Calvert-Lewin just doesn't seem to have the instinctive opportunism that you see in Aguero, and I see in less talented but productive strikers we've chased like Giroud and Costa, to see the moment where you just lunge for the goal and tap in a chance.

It's neither lack of talent or lack of effort, it's a lack of predatory instinct. I don't know if you have to be born with it, or it can be developed, but you're right in noting that it's not there in him. And it's important to note also that you can be a fine goalscorer without it -- Vardy, for example, doesn't have it either. He scores his goals in other ways, mostly running in behind, which is definitely a learned skill that Calvert-Lewin has the ability to develop.

Chris Gould
173 Posted 21/08/2019 at 14:55:00
Steve, his conversion rate is good, but 34 shots in 80 appearances is poor for a striker. My point was that we shouldn't compare his stats with Maddison's. They play in a different position and have different roles. I still don't understand why the comparison was made in the first place.

I agree with everything else you say about Calvert-Lewin. I just don't share your optimism that he will find that self-belief that he appears to lack. He has to get into more threatening positions and shoot more. He needs to take on more responsibility as I don't believe for a second that Silva isn't demanding it from him.

His age should not come into the discussion. He is a fully grown man who is playing as a lone striker for a top Premier League team. He has to make the adjustments this season. It's now or never as we are a club on the up and have huge ambitions.

Let's hope he finds the net on Friday!

Mike G, I don't believe that you can teach that predatory instinctiveness that Calvert-Lewin lacks, but you're right in saying that he may still be able to work at what he's good at and become more effective. Vardy has done a fantastic job at making the most of his attributes, and is a great example of a player turning his career around. But it takes a certain type of individual with a fierce competitive nature and work ethic to do it. Time will tell if Calvert-Lewin has those traits.

Brian Williams
174 Posted 21/08/2019 at 15:21:07
Steve #157

Never mind your fucking "hey-ho." Read my post prior to the one you're he-hoing, mate, and you'll see what is obviously NOT Calvert-Lewin bashing, quite the opposite, I'd say.

If he's not a striker, then what do you call the player who plays in the middle of a front three with a winger either side of him, ffs?

He's a striker and I've never said he was shit or moaned about him, again quite the opposite, but I notice something he doesn't do which, if he did do, he'd score goals.

Brent Stephens
175 Posted 21/08/2019 at 15:26:09
Mike #172 "Calvert-Lewin just doesn't seem to have the instinctive opportunism that you see in Aguero".

Mike, this was the very point that the guy next to me made on Saturday – that on a number of occasions it was not Calvert-Lewin but somebody else who was busting a gut to get on the end of a ball.

I do think the guy improved in the latter half of last season. I think the development in the positives have been glossed over by some. I do want him to come good as one of our own. But the comparisons with Kean, in terms of overall contribution and hence selection, will now be interesting.

Andrew Dempsey
176 Posted 21/08/2019 at 15:32:53
Calvert-Lewin is a fucking shite footballer. A great athlete, and a great lad... but seriously, wake up! Those in denial about his lack of abilities, just let it go: he's crap. Move on.

Kean is here now, and Calvert-Lewin will be on the bench soon enough.
Where, I actually think he's most effective (and I'm not being sarcy here), he's always looked dangerous coming on in the last 10 mins as part of a front-two, with his boundless energy and enthusiasm. Those who agree with me, stop pussy-footing around the discussion. He's crap. Not good enough for Everton.

What are these mysterious instructions Silva is giving him? "Don't you dare ever look like a confident, swaggering goalscorer out there, son. I'd be delighted if you could leave the goalscoring to everyone else, please. In fact, if you put it in the net, I'll fine you three weeks wages!"

Calvert-Lewin would be more use to the British Olympic track team next summer, than Southgate's Euro squad.

Steve Ferns
177 Posted 21/08/2019 at 15:34:35
He's a centre-forward. The traditional striker has all but gone from football, there's not been a proper one since the likes of Robbie Fowler hung up their boots.

There is no room in modern football for a goal-poacher. Even Sergio Aguero changed his game to fit in with modern tactics and become a more complete forward. There's no room for passengers in modern football, no matter how many goals they score.

If your striker starts running about, closing down, working the channels, tracking back etc, then he ain't playing as a striker.

There was no striker for Silva at any of his previous clubs, note he preferred to leave Deeney on the bench for the harder working André Gray at Watford.

Steve Ferns
178 Posted 21/08/2019 at 15:40:18
So Andrew, who's Southgate going to take to Euro's? Solanke? Abraham? Or Callum Wilson (never got double figures in the Premier League until last season)?

Should we just go with Kane and stock up on wide forwards who score goals like Sterling or Sancho, without playing guys like Calvert-Lewin for them to play off? Ever noticed that Sterling is far less prolific playing off Kane?

Calvert-Lewin is very far from crap. If he was so crap, why would Silva have gambled his job on the lad at the end of last season, and why would he put his eggs in the Calvert-Lewin basket again this season? Why would Brands let him? Why would Brands go on about Calvert-Lewin being a special talent in interviews?

Brent Stephens
179 Posted 21/08/2019 at 15:42:31
Steve #157 "[Kean] before long will have you saying if only he could run a bit more like Calvert-Lewin, or chase or harry, or close the opposition down more. Because, as good as Kean will be, he lacks that side of Calvert-Lewin's game".

Steve, what's your take on the number of goals Kean will score and make compared with Calvert-Lewin? I'm not sure if you are predicting that Kean's contribution will be worse than Calvert-Lewin's in terms of goals scored and assists? And / or that our goal ratio per game will be no better with Kean?

Brian Williams
180 Posted 21/08/2019 at 15:44:16
Unsworth's take on Calvert-Lewin:

Jay Wood

181 Posted 21/08/2019 at 15:50:08
Andrew Dempsey,

Ever considered anger management therapy?

Brian Williams
182 Posted 21/08/2019 at 15:52:24
*Whispers* Give us a number Jay!
John G Davies
183 Posted 21/08/2019 at 15:55:31
Not into giving any of our young players stick. Only way they flourish is with the support of the fans.

Tom is not shy either!

Mike Gaynes
184 Posted 21/08/2019 at 15:58:03
Chris #173, I didn't say it can be taught, but I do believe it can be developed. One of my favorite players ever, Miroslav Klose, was a lower-division player who finally made it to the Bundesliga at age 26 (€5m transfer!) and developed into one of the greatest goal poachers in the world. Scored all his goals right around the 6-yard box.

In England, I believe Lambert didn't do shit until his late 20s when he suddenly developed the knack of getting on everything that fell within 8 yards of the goal line -- and lifted Saints up two divisions in the process.

So it can happen. Whether it will happen with Calvert-Lewin, I have no idea. But there seem to be two contradictory things true about Calvert-Lewin in almost every game we play -- one, he's not going to score; and two, with him in the lineup, we win!

Darren Hind
185 Posted 21/08/2019 at 15:58:23
I think expectations and comparisons with natural finishers demonstrate the folly of expectations that Calvert-Lewin should become one of them. There is more than one way to lead an attack:

Mark Hughes scored 63 times in over 300 Premier League games. He is considered an all-time great.

Giroud - who was the object of many an Evertonian's desire a couple of years ago - averages less than 10 Premier League goals a season.

Emile Heskey was hammered throughout his career for his lack of goals (about 60 odd in 300 Premier League games). Generally by fans who didn't understand his role... but it didn't stop him getting an awful lot of international caps, earning wonderful accolades from his playing partners (some of whom were world class) and being picked time and time again by some very very good coaches. These three players would cost something approaching £200m in today's market.

Instead of constantly bashing Calvert-Lewin, why can't Evertonians encourage him to become one of them? Blinkered isn't the word...


Sorry, but yes I did ignore your stats. I always do, mate. I am comfortable with me or anyone else being wrong when offering honest opinion based on what they saw and I'm all for official records as back up for an argument... but "stats" are often little more than a stranger's opinion. They nearly always contradict each other (depending on the compiler) and they're not something I tend to lend much credibility to. They're not for me, mate.

Andrew Keatley
186 Posted 21/08/2019 at 15:59:25
Andrew Dempsey is a fucking shite football analyst. A great ranter, and a great lad, but seriously, wake up. Those in denial about his lack of abilities, just let it go, he's crap. Move on. Steve Ferns is here now, and Dempsey will be on the bench soon enough.

Where, I actually think he's most effective (and I'm not being sarcy here), he's always looked dangerous coming on about 200 posts into a thread as part of a two-pronged takedown with his boundless energy and enthusiasm.

Those who agree with me, stop pussy-footing around the discussion. He's crap. Not good enough for an Everton fansite.

What are these mysterious instructions his brain is giving him? "Don't you dare show any insight when appraising a young, highly-rated goalscorer, son. I'd be delighted if you could leave the valid insights to everyone else, please. In fact, if you manage something half-sensible, I'll fine you three weeks wages!"

Andrew Dempsey would be more use as a Dyson Airblade than a balanced online discussion...


Steve Ferns
187 Posted 21/08/2019 at 16:00:44
Brent, I think Kean is a very special talent. I think he could be one of the very best players in the world. His potential should be of a level that we have not seen at Everton for a very long time.

Of course, he is going to score more than Calvert-Lewin this season, injury permitting. But his target for himself is only 7. Calvert-Lewin scored 6 last season in the Premier League alone, 8 in all competitions, so perhaps I am getting very carried away?

I liked what I saw from the lad last season and I think Juve have bene extremely short-sighted to let him go.

Rob Halligan
188 Posted 21/08/2019 at 16:06:46
No professional footballer is shite, otherwise they wouldn't be a professional footballer. They might not reach the required standard, or be good enough to play in the Premier League, but they are not shite.

Simple question to anyone who thinks a professional footballer is shite: Have you ever played football, and do you think you were good enough to be a professional?

Calvert-Lewin had the trust of Silva for Everton and Aidy Boothroyd for the England U21s; if they thought he was shite, they wouldn't pick him.

Given time, Calvert-Lewin will produce the goals, but most fans want that now, and to a degree, I agree with them. However, in order for Calvert-Lewin to score, he needs the service, and in the 2 league games so far, he's had no service at all. For me though, his overall play is excellent, apart from a bloody lack of goals.

Mike Gaynes
189 Posted 21/08/2019 at 16:11:08
Andrew K (#186), you just made my morning. Thanks for the belly laugh.

Darren (#185), I do believe you're mellowing. When you expressed your distaste for stats to me, you phrased it differently. VERY differently.

James Hughes
190 Posted 21/08/2019 at 16:18:51
Mr Keatley ~186, many thanks for that mate gave me a belly laugh.

I think Andrew D has been watching too much Rab C Nesbit


Andrew Dempsey
191 Posted 21/08/2019 at 16:20:52
Andrew #186

That's funny, mate. I love it.
More of that on TW, please.
Steve Ferns = zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

I'm not a football analyst, Andrew.
Football analysis and football nerd/stat culture is what's killing the joy of the game. VAR included, that can fuck off. Or at least change it to an appeal system like the cricket/tennis, adds more of a fun, game element to it.

And yes, I am angry about certain things. Mediocrity for Everton being one of them. Is that not allowed anymore? Sorry if I offended anyone's sensibilities. I'll be more balanced from now on. It's all in good fun.

We've all got opinions we feel convinced about, regarding whether a player is shite or decent. It's just an instinctive response to watching someone play.

Brent Stephens
192 Posted 21/08/2019 at 16:33:55
Steve, if I read you correctly then, you think, other things being equal, Calvert-Lewin will run more than Kean, that Kean (despite the target he has set himself) will score more than Calvert-Lewin, and (?) that Kean, on that basis, will generally get picked ahead of Calvert-Lewin(?).
Mike Gaynes
193 Posted 21/08/2019 at 16:37:05
James #190, that guy is hilarious. Didn't understand more than three words, but he must have American cousins, because one of them lives next door to me.
Brent Stephens
194 Posted 21/08/2019 at 16:37:35
Andrews (K and D) - crackers. You can express yourself like that here - TW is just like a bar.
Steve Ferns
195 Posted 21/08/2019 at 16:54:01
Brent, I believe Kean will be on the bench for a good while, until he scores a flurry of goals. Clavert-Lewin and Kean will be used a double act with Calvert-Lewin being used to wear defences down and Kean being sent on when tired to finish them off.

I think once Kean displaces Calvert-Lewin, we will still see a lot of Dom as he is then used from the bench. I do not anticipate either of them playing the full 90 with any regularity, and I expect them to be getting at least 20 minutes each game.

Brent Stephens
196 Posted 21/08/2019 at 16:57:54
Steve, I might have misread Kean's body language on Saturday but I thought by the end (and he wasn't on that long) he was really blowing. It might be a while before he's even up to speed?
John Pierce
197 Posted 21/08/2019 at 16:59:01
Emil Heskey is feeling particularly hard-done-to atm...
Mike Gaynes
198 Posted 21/08/2019 at 17:04:41
Brent #196, that has happened to me every time I stepped out on the pitch for a new team. I'm sure his heart was going like a hummingbird's.
Steve Ferns
199 Posted 21/08/2019 at 17:06:40
Brent, he's only 19, he wasn't on long enough, or run about enough, to be blowing! I think he's just like that. He moves about like a boxer, always ready to pounce. We're going to love him for sure. But I don't think exceptional work-rate will be in his list of best qualities.

He was said to work hard in Serie A, but I never saw that. He was like he was against Watford, chased a centre-back down if he had a sniff, but not the non-stop hard running of Calvert-Lewin. Kean might start doing that if Silva deems it necessary, or maybe he will be more like Lukaku and want to conserve his energy to be sharper for scoring goals.

And if you need to have more in the tank to be sharper to score goals, then having run empty, like Calvert-Lewin does every week, does that not affect him?

Brent Stephens
200 Posted 21/08/2019 at 17:10:54
"I'm sure his heart was going like a hummingbird's".

As was mine, Mike! I tell you, the reception he got at Palace was spine-tingling. And he looked sharp in his short time against Watford – robust in getting past a defender, a hard shot. Don't let us down, lad.

Joe McMahon
201 Posted 21/08/2019 at 17:11:05
Steve @195, it's a sad state of affairs isn't it that it has come to this. Years of mainly shite upfront and we still have to rotate a striker that "holds the ball up well" (but doesn't actually score).

It used to annoy me that when Rooney came back he was earning thousands a week more than Salah who notched about 30 goals that season. There are glaring mistakes still made by this club. Brands has a huge task.

James Hughes
202 Posted 21/08/2019 at 17:18:23
Mike #198, that's a very good point. I remember that feeling of your first game. Knackered after 30 minutes when 90 is normally fine.

Brent #196, as you know, coming on as a sub it can be hard to get in the game. Throw in that our league is about 10 times faster than what he is used to.

I have high hopes for him, Gbamin and our much-maligned Calvert-Lewin. That man will prove the doubters wrong. Tail-end of last season when we beat Arsenal, he ran their defenders ragged. It was 2 vs 1 all game and they were happier when the final whistle went.

Andrew Dempsey
203 Posted 21/08/2019 at 18:30:27
The Mark Hughes comparison to Calvert-Lewin is ridiculous. He was a class act, and never played up front on his own, always in a strike partnership – the peak of which was Hughes - Cantona.

I accept Calvert-Lewin has no-one supporting him, and that strike partnerships seem to be over, and I know Calvert-Lewin is playing this new role in football – the Defensive Forward. I know all this, I just choose not to bang on about it at length.

Can a player not graft his bollocks off, and also be a predatory finisher, is that not possible? Jamie Vardy seems to do okay in this role... Calvert-Lewin will never come close to his goal ratio.

Thing is, ‘graftin your bollocks off' is something you can coach or add to someone's game. Being a predatory finisher is something you have or you don't have. And this lad, Calvert-Lewin, doesn't have it. Albeit, a lot of top coaches and managers are hoping he will develop this skill in time. But, unfortunately, he won't.

Eric Paul
204 Posted 21/08/2019 at 19:22:23
So... Where was Vardy sharp-shooting at 22???
Geoff Lambert
205 Posted 21/08/2019 at 19:39:53
One of the two is getting an England call up. I wonder which one??
Mike Allison
206 Posted 21/08/2019 at 19:43:43
Perhaps Calvert-Lewin needs to get lazier and more selfish, then he might be appreciated.

Jamie Vardy lacks qualities Calvert-Lewin has, aerial ability and hold-up play to name two. He is also a very highly regarded player and a Premier League winner; so, if Calvert-Lewin's 'crime' is not being as good as an experienced international and title winner, then so be it.

Also, have you tried coaching lazy forwards to work harder? I bet you haven't. I'd bet it's much easier to coach finishing than working hard.

Our impatient, entitled so-called 'fans' need to get off the backs of our young players.

Geoff Lambert
207 Posted 21/08/2019 at 19:44:22
In the same place, Calvert-Lewin might get a few, Eric. Lower leagues.
Jamie Crowley
208 Posted 21/08/2019 at 19:53:55
All this Calvert-Lewin and Davies banter, I just don't understand the point.

Everton aren't going to let them go. Don't we have to have X number of players rostered who are homegrown?

Keep them. They are young, and they help us with homegrown numbers.

If they come good, and I think they wil,l but that's beside the point, they're serviceable players off the bench, can contribute, and help us hit our homegrown numbers.

That's a thing, no?

Geoff Lambert
209 Posted 21/08/2019 at 19:57:03
"Our impatient, entitled so-called 'fans' need to get off the backs of our young players."

25 years we have been entitled and won sweet fuck all. We need to farm out the non-scoring strikers to the lower leagues and see if they can score there, but if. Only one shot on goal in 2 games is enough for our real fans... God help us.

Our left back has had four shots on goal and works his socks off and our 19-year-old striker has had two shots on goal in ten minutes.
Eric Paul
210 Posted 21/08/2019 at 19:59:03
Vardy could only dream of being a top-flight footballer at 22.
Geoff Lambert
211 Posted 21/08/2019 at 20:01:32
Calvert-Lewin can dream all he wants — he will never be a top-flight footballer.
Andrew Keatley
212 Posted 21/08/2019 at 20:06:35
Geoff #211 – A top-flight footballer is something Calvert-Lewin definitely is. I mean he literally is a footballer who plays in the top-flight of English football – arguably the best league in the world.

Some people...

Jay Harris
213 Posted 21/08/2019 at 20:09:05
Just to add my twopenneth's worth.

Calvert-Lewin is a fine footballer and most fans really appreciate him but throughout his career he hasn't been a goalscorer and, as others have said, you can't coach instinct and finishing.

He may improve, and I hope and believe he will as he matures more, but, right now, we can't go with potential — we need goals now.

Geoff Lambert
214 Posted 21/08/2019 at 20:12:19
Like my red shite mates say, Andrew: "How the fuck does that useless guy who you keep playing up-front get a game even for you?"

Says it all really. We have settled for shite for 30 years now but our luvvy fans keep on putting up with shite.

That is why we are where we are — a mid-table team with lower-league players starting every week.

David Thomas
215 Posted 21/08/2019 at 20:22:58
I'm sure I remember Mark Hughes, at a similar age to Calvert-Lewin, getting something like 20 goals a season.
Andrew Dempsey
216 Posted 21/08/2019 at 20:24:05
Geoff #207 & #209,


Jamie #208,

No-one is saying "Get rid". They should definitely be part of the squad, not the first XI though.

Eric Paul
217 Posted 21/08/2019 at 20:29:06

I think your memory is playing tricks on you....

Geoff Lambert
218 Posted 21/08/2019 at 20:37:12
David #215,

Correct. At age 21, he scored 24 goals in a season for Man Utd. Well remembered.

David Thomas
219 Posted 21/08/2019 at 20:42:04
I thought I remember him being quite prolific in his early days, hence the big move to Barcelona.

David Donnellan
220 Posted 21/08/2019 at 20:57:16
Mark Hughes was a class act at his peak; sadly, we didn't get that Mark Hughes when he had a stint with us.

As for Calvert-Lewin, I appreciate the job he does for the team, the tireless and selfless work rate he puts in. He is a decent player and he has all the attributes to be a great forward, apart from perhaps the most important thing, the killer instinct and ultimately goals.

I don't think he is good enough for where we aspire to be. Although quite frankly, I have seen much worse undeserving players wearing our shirt.

Eric Paul
221 Posted 21/08/2019 at 21:11:28

I apologise if I'm wrong but I didn't think he was very prolific in his first spell with Man Utd.

Trevor Peers
222 Posted 21/08/2019 at 21:14:45
Soon, Calvert-Lewin will become Kean's stand-in, he will come on at the end of games when the Italian has scored two cracking goals and needs a rest.

I also expect Tosun to be sold off and an experienced striker bought in January, so we have a much more rounded squad of goalscoring forwards, which can only improve our position in the league.

Ray Robinson
223 Posted 21/08/2019 at 21:35:49
Steve Ferns, some points that you raised earlier:

"There is no room in modern football for a goal-poacher. Even Sergio Aguero changed his game to fit in with modern tactics and become a more complete forward". — Absolutely right about Aguero but guess what: despite his improved all round game, he remains precisely that - a goal poacher (albeit one who works harder).

"The issue for Dominic is not his finishing" — Oh yes it is! For example, witness his attempt to score against Stoke away a few seasons ago when only a few yards out. Fortunately Tosun was on hand to show him how.

"Calvert-Lewin is in a winning side, so right now, does it matter he is not scoring? Did it matter that no one was scoring for Everton in '87 when we won the league and everyone was injured?" — Of course it matters, the 87 side had players like Steven, Heath and Sheedy who all easily got into double figures. We do not have too many of those players now.

In a recent interview in the Times, Calvert-Lewin himself even admits that he has to improve his goal tally to move to the next level. The lad has so many skills and qualities, seems like a thoroughly decent person, works his bollocks off — but he simply has to improve his goals return. He may never develop a predatory instinct but he so does need to improve his finishing by whatever means he can.

And this is not being negative.

Eddie Dunn
224 Posted 21/08/2019 at 21:36:13
David @220, I am frustrated with Dominic's ability to finish, but he is doing the job of two men. When he played for England Under-21s he had a good strike rate getting important goals in big competitions.

I don't think he will be the next Harry Kane as he lacks Kane's nose for goal, but I imagine, if he played for Manchester City, he would be like Dzeko. We just don't get our midfielders up to support him quickly enough and don't create enough opportunities for him or Tosun, when he gets the occasional game.

It's a thankless task and you only have to look at Morata, followed by Higuain who struggled to score regularly at Chelsea. Big name, expensive internationals, who found the Premier League difficult. Calvert-Lewin isn't doing too badly and perhaps we should look at the formation and uninspiring subs when criticising individuals.

Sigurdsson is one of my favourite players but the coach rarely sacrifices him to go 4-4-2, and yet, the likes of Calvert-Lewin and Tosun need a partner to play off as neither are going to create a huge amount for themselves.

This is probably why Kean will be preferred. The kid has already shown an ability to create for himself. Silva is conservative and one up top is his default format and he will be able to keep Sigurdsson in the equation.

Trevor Peers
225 Posted 21/08/2019 at 21:57:30
Steve Ferns is right – the conventional No 9 is extinct. Experienced strikers usually add goals from the flanks in the modern game, which is probably why we were in for Zaha.

I doubt Zaha was the right fit for the blues, but there's someone out there who will be. What it did prove is the money is available when the right player becomes along. Hopefully in January or next summer.

Eddie Dunn
226 Posted 21/08/2019 at 22:05:58
Trevor, I wonder if Palace will go down and we go back for Zaha next summer?
The price could be a lot lower.
Trevor Peers
227 Posted 21/08/2019 at 22:23:47
Eddie, If Zaha is the chosen one, it would be sweet to get him at a knock down price after the extortionate price Palace put on his head.

There may be better options in Europe though. I'm not that well up as others on TW as to who's available.

David Thomas
228 Posted 21/08/2019 at 22:24:31
Steve 171,

You're not seriously trying to suggest that a young Fowler or Owen would struggle in today's game, are you?

A young Fowler would still have every club In the country wanting him and a young Owen would have every club in the world wanting him.

Andy Crooks
229 Posted 21/08/2019 at 22:36:24
You know this born predator stuff, this instinct that some have, this utter myth that some guys have this born talent to tap the ball in from two yards. I could do it, I did it. It is utter nonsense. Calvert-Lewin does what Silva wants him to do and he does it well.

The top strikers do it because they are confident, because they know if they miss a sitter, the crowd will not be on their back. It is totally about confidence – not this truly cretinous predator shite.

Goal hangers are gone. Calvert-Lewin brings a lot, when he gets some goals and confidence, he will be exceptional. No Premier League footballers are shite. I have friends who played Irish League football. They were incredibly talented but could not have made it in League Two. To call any Premier League footballer, someone who has endeavoured to get that far, shite is fuckwittery of the highest order.

Alex Carew
230 Posted 21/08/2019 at 22:49:33
I have no doubt that Calvert-Lewin has the potential to be a top quality striker. But, if you play him on his own up front and don't supply him anything, with him having to make endless runs out wide to even get the ball, then we will never see his potential.

Can you imagine the likes of Sharpy getting this sort of service? He too would be considered rubbish. We need to play 2 up front or at least play to his potential. Putting in a decent cross would be a start.

In answer to an earlier comment, we know the players are professional and far better than most in the world; however, being able to cross a ball from wing to box should really be a gimme. My blood boils seeing an endless amount of bad long or short crosses. If we had Sheeds and Steven, we would be amazing!!

Sadly, going back to Calvert-Lewin, I think we will see his full potential one day soon – just not with us.

James Hughes
231 Posted 21/08/2019 at 22:56:49
Geoff, I tend not to pay any attention to what the RS fans say, be they friends or family or others. They just like to run us down. We do the same, Salah is diver, Firmino has too many teeth etc.

Calvert-Lewin will do well this season.

Alex Carew
232 Posted 21/08/2019 at 23:03:18
We don’t care what the redshite say
Ray Robinson
233 Posted 21/08/2019 at 23:14:57
Goal hangers and instinctive strikers are two different beasts, Andy. Sorry to disagree but that's why lazy forwards who expect everything on a plate have disappeared but truly great strikers fetch upwards of £50 million. The latter have an instinct which the rest of we mortals do not have (plus the work rate and confidence which you refer to). If you believe that's bullshit, that's fine by me.
Ed Fitzgerald
234 Posted 21/08/2019 at 23:28:00
Alex @ 230

I agree with the vast majority of what you have said. I think Calvert-Lewin is a good player, the issue is the formation Everton adopt which has for a number of seasons resulted in the central striker being isolated. A switch to a 4-4-2 (with wide players) or a true 4-3-3 would I believe help Everton win more games, score more goals and would also help Calvert-Lewin's goals tally.

It is also my view that we have the players to do adopt either formation successfully. I would love to seen Kean play alongside Calvert-Lewin or in a three with Richarlison added to the forward line. I think we would be more entertaining to watch and we would also have a much better chance of breaking into (and beating) the top 6.

That does not mean being 'gung ho' at all times – it means adopting a truly attacking mindset and formation from the outset and modifying the approach if needed within the 90 minutes. Pursuing such a strategy has not done the RS any harm, has it? We also now have the strength in the squad to try this. Is Silva brave enough?

Steve Ferns
235 Posted 21/08/2019 at 23:42:23
Ray, Aguero has completely changed his game, he is unrecognisable from the player at Atletico. He is far more involved in the game and does not stroll around the pitch waiting to put the ball in the back of the net.

If Fowler did not adapt to the modern game, in the way Aguero has, then no, he'd fail to make it at the top of the game. Clubs cannot carry passengers now.

Owen would play for a top side for sure, but he would get into the side as a wide forward rather than a central forward. The role he played is absent from all the top sides and they would utilise his pace from a wider position and allow him to cut inside and get through on goal.

Team after team after team has central forwards who do not score the bulk of the sides goals. Very few sides, especially at the top of the Premier League, have a central striker who scores all of their goals. Most get goals from the wider positions.

And as I keep saying, it is a trait of all of Marco Silva's past sides that the central forward does not score that many, and that the goals come from the wide forwards or an attacking midfielder, such as Doucouré and Richarlison for Watford, Kostas Fortounis (AMC for Olympiacos), Freddy Montero (winger for Sporting), Evandro (AMC for Estoril). Prior to Evandro, it was his prolific centre-back, the giant Steven Vitorria who scored the goals!

Mike Gaynes
236 Posted 21/08/2019 at 23:50:25
Andy #229, there is definitely such a thing as a predatory instinct. Of course you can see it in Harry Kane, a guy who always gets to the opportunity first with complete composure. But even more you can see it in players without Kane's physical talent and quickness.

Watch Giroud and Costa off the ball for example. They anticipate the play, almost telepathically. They move to where the ball is going before anybody else. And once they get there, they are absolutely single-minded -- nothing matters but putting the ball in the back of the net by any means necessary.

The greatest in the history of the game IMO was Gerd Muller. The guy was only 5'-8", but had preternatural anticipation and lightning quickness, and he'd prowl around and then just explode to the ball when it came in range. And when he got a chance, he couldn't miss.

It's a real thing, it exists.

Steve Ferns
237 Posted 21/08/2019 at 23:57:19
They're all world class players too, Mike. That's not something you can teach or coach into someone.

The thing with Kane, though, is he has a very high number of shots per game. When he goes through droughts, the shots per game goes down significantly more than the accuracy.

Calvert-Lewin's accuracy is fine. He simply does not have enough shots. He needs to start shooting on sight. I think he takes too many touches because he lacks confidence. And once he scores a few, the confidence will come and he will get better and better.

Don Alexander
238 Posted 22/08/2019 at 00:25:36
Mike Gaynes, I agree with you on Der Bomber and I'm old enough to remember Jimmy Greaves and Denis Law in their pomp, and (just) Roy Vernon. More recently, Lineker had it too but, in the year we had him, we won zilch.

So, is a predator striker a pre-requisite to trophy winning? I hope not!

Tony Abrahams
239 Posted 22/08/2019 at 00:48:49
I'm back on the tequila, and all's I've got to say is, Andrew @176, "I think you'd better leave right now!"
Tony Abrahams
240 Posted 22/08/2019 at 01:03:18
Mike @236,

I totally agree with everything you just wrote, but that singlemindedness they all possess meant it was always the biggest part of their game.

It remains to be seen if Calvert-Lewin is just a stopgap; it also remains to be seen if he can add goals to his game.

Doing one thing is easy, but doing more is a lot harder, especially when you are being asked to do something which has never been natural in the first place, so watch this space, and let's see if he can start finding it (space) because, although Kean might become a great, what Steve Ferns wrote earlier about his work-rate is a very poignant point.

Laurie Hartley
241 Posted 21/08/2019 at 02:23:06
Steve - if I owned a football club and my manager played Michael Owen out wide I would start looking for a new manager immediately.

Andy # 229 - I have seen some great strikers play for Everton and other clubs down the years and I have seen a few born predators. Here is a link to the daddy of them all.

Jimmy Greaves

It is a gift. George Best as you know had a gift of a different kind but you get my drift I am sure.

Interestingly Greaves was partnered, if I am not mistaken, by two “big men” during his time at Spurs - Bobby Smith and Alan Gilzean.

Perhaps Calvert-Lewin can be the partner for the lad who I am hoping is our born predator, Moise Kean. Of course, that would require Silva to change his tactics.

One way or another, someone will have to start banging them in or we will keep on hearing the cry “We have never replaced Lukaku”.

Laurie Hartley
242 Posted 22/08/2019 at 04:06:56
James Hughes # 120 - thanks for that link. Living outside the UK for so many years, I had never heard of Rab C Nesbit.

He had me in pleats as I listened to his rant which, unlike Mike G, I understood completely due to the fact that my mam (God rest her soul) was a Glaswegian and I had four Glaswegian uncles. It brought back many happy memories from youth – one in particular of a visit to Parkhead with my uncle Arthur (God rest his soul) to watch Celtic play.

I remember when they came down for the wedding of one of my aunties. No-one could understand them but everyone got on like a house on fire. They like scousers - probably because we have a lot in common.

Darren Hind
243 Posted 22/08/2019 at 05:08:40
Mark Hughes was often the first name on Fergie's team sheet. He scored 60-odd goals in about 300 Premier League games. The Man Utd fans (and everyone else) could see what he brought to the game. He scored 4 in a season with Barca and 5 with Bayern,

If a modern-day Mark Hughes walked into the Everton dressing room, many of today's razor sharp Evertonians would dismiss him. "He's meant to be a fucken striker, la, fuck him off and play Tosun or Walcott... or some other twat who cost £25m. That'll sort all our problems."

Many of Calvert-Lewin's critics were screaming for Giroud's signature when he was leaving Arsenal a couple of seasons ago. He was hardly prolific with Arsenal, but they'd probably heard Arsenal fans singing his name to Hey Jude. That would have been enough.

We could have paid a fortune for him and maybe those five goals he scored in two seasons could have been for us instead of Chelsea... Imagine the abuse.

Did Chelsea fans scream for him to be dropped? Na, the knowledgeable ones understood what he brought, besides they were too busy applauding as he played a major part in delivering the Europa League trophy.

Giroud didn't score a single goal in the World Cup either, if memory serves me right, and didn't he play in every game? Imagine how that would have gone down with the footballing intellectuals on this thread... "What, a centre-forward who doesn't score? ... fuckimoff!!!" The French manager knew better... Virtually everyone knew better.

Is Calvert-Lewin the full package? Nowhere near it. It would be lovely to have a "show pony who only played for half a game and banged in 25 goals" (Did somebody actually post that?) but he is far more than somebody who just "Works his bollox off". If there is anybody currently playing who has a better first touch when under extreme pressure with a man/men up his arse, I haven't seen him.

Personally, I'm far more concerned with the ability of some of our fans to take on board the value of players like this. I'm even more concerned that some are prepared to throw Tom Davies to the scrap heap at 21.

These two no-hopers will still be earning millions out of the game long after their extremely knowledgeable and discerning critics have found new targets to hammer.

I used to dream of playing for Everton. I didn't even have to be asleep. When I finally gave up my dream (I think I was 40) I dreamed one of my lads would do it.

Now? If by some miracle, one of my grandsons proved good enough to play in the Premier League, I would do everything in my power to ensure they went to another club. One where the fans would give them half a chance.

Terence Leong
244 Posted 22/08/2019 at 05:24:50
From what I can see, our frontline is far from being fluid yet, ie, from the left or right wing, the No 10, and the striker. That contributes to the chances created, as well as how much we are able to play to the players' strength.

Whether the lack of fluidity comes from a lack of stability, or chemistry, the fact is that, eg, Richarlison is more likely to try to go for goal than pass the ball to someone else to shoot, or to pass and move to get back the ball. And so on.

For Calvert-Lewin, I think we are not sufficiently playing to his strengths. In the old days, in a front two, he'll do well to be a highly mobile target man. I still think we can improve in crossing the ball early into the box for him to attack the ball.

Whenever we cross the ball early into the box, he more often than not wins it. He can be more clinical, but from last season, there are sufficient examples when he doesn't require too many chances to put the ball into the net from headers.

When we expect him to hold up the ball, or hassle the defenders for the ball, I don't quite see how our attackers are taking up spaces for him to release the ball back to them.

While it is likely that Calvert-Lewin will be replaced by Kean as first choice, if we continue to play the way we do, I still believe that a tighter / more fluid frontline movement will allow us to tap into Calvert-Lewin's strengths. And he will likely score a few more than before.

Ray Robinson
245 Posted 22/08/2019 at 10:07:06
Steve #235, I completely take your point on Aguero having modified his game but you have again missed my point. Despite upping his work rate, going out wide to collect the ball, being involved in build-up play etc, he remains a predator and instinctive finisher. Just watch his movement in the box. That tells you everything about where Calvert-Lewin needs to aspire to.

And, I know that you're going to come back with the number of chances that City create compared with us. Nevertheless, DCL has to learn to get in those same positions and hit the net for when the chances do come.

David Thomas
246 Posted 22/08/2019 at 19:32:09

Hughes was scoring a hell of a lot more goals when he was DCL’s age.

Dave Abrahams
247 Posted 23/08/2019 at 09:18:21
Laurie (241-2), thanks for the link to Jimmy Greaves, the best British goalscorer I ever saw.

Regarding the Glasgow - Liverpool connection, I spent a lovely weekend in Glasgow, could have been in Liverpool, only the accents were different, the people I met were just the same as Scousers. Andy Crooks reckons Belfast is the same as Glasgow and Liverpool.

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