Reader Comments (192)
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1 Posted 20/07/2020 at 17:04:18
2 Posted 20/07/2020 at 17:07:05
3 Posted 20/07/2020 at 17:07:40
4 Posted 20/07/2020 at 17:14:11
5 Posted 20/07/2020 at 17:19:11
Who would you start instead of Davies? I was a fan of Bernard for a while, and Iwobi at Arsenal but both were terrible in the last game. That leaves Beningame
6 Posted 20/07/2020 at 17:25:24
7 Posted 20/07/2020 at 17:26:09
You repeat your visit, same thing happens. Dentist can't cure it, and the toothache worse again.
Why do we keep going back to that same dentist, prolonging and exacerbating the agony?
Probably because we're Evertonians and masochists!
8 Posted 20/07/2020 at 17:33:13
9 Posted 20/07/2020 at 17:35:22
Not looking good for him, probably won't be here next season
10 Posted 20/07/2020 at 17:36:06
11 Posted 20/07/2020 at 17:39:02
12 Posted 20/07/2020 at 17:50:01
13 Posted 20/07/2020 at 17:51:27
Still, We have players who should be able to perform much better and be able to get a result if they matched Sheffield for sheer determination and desire.
Prediction ; Sheffield Utd 1 The Toffees 1
14 Posted 20/07/2020 at 18:02:34
15 Posted 20/07/2020 at 18:54:54
It was poor and sporadic last time, this time non existent.
16 Posted 20/07/2020 at 18:56:51
Give the forwards a chance and get the ball forward.
Siggy is known for one thing, shooting from range and yet has refused to take a shot when in good positions. If he's not going to shoot, get him off the field.
Captain.. terrible decision.
17 Posted 20/07/2020 at 19:05:15
I always use this site. You have to click and close a few things as per usual with these sites, but once up you get uninterrupted HD quality image.
And...what a start to the 2nd half. Get in!
18 Posted 20/07/2020 at 19:07:01
The amount of time and effort he must have put into picking my card and then sending it must have been above and beyond.
He must have left himself no time to train.
19 Posted 20/07/2020 at 19:23:39
20 Posted 20/07/2020 at 19:59:14
21 Posted 20/07/2020 at 20:00:12
We can't return to the 4-4-2. We have to control midfield. Carlo's change to 4-2-3-1 / 4-5-1 makes a world of difference for the players we have.
Branthwaite is an absolute beast and should start moving forward.
I said a few times on the Live Forum, dropping Rich back to midfield out wide and playing one up top, along with possibly playing Holgate at CDM? We'd be so much more formidable.
Great game. Very happy.
22 Posted 20/07/2020 at 20:00:16
Great result and sounded like a much better performance. Branthwaite sounds pretty impressive so far.
Could have scored again by the sound of it.
23 Posted 20/07/2020 at 20:04:39
Can't believe some joker expects us to believe we won away at Sheff. Utd.
Come on get a grip!
24 Posted 20/07/2020 at 20:06:52
Clearly the better team. Created more. Defended superbly.
Branthwaite impressing again. He can both pick and play a pass. And not just a 10 yard short pass rolled square to his fellow centre back. Passes that turn the opposition and sets us up to go forward with purpose.
Yes, one or two passes were underhit, but it's noticeable that every player in the team is happy to play the ball to him in any situation, confident he can handle it.
Michael Keane a rock alongside him. Pickford was protected all game. Long gone are the Silva days when you feared a goal from any corner, free kick or cross into the penalty area. Carlo's zonal marking (mostly) working a treat.
That was also the best 90 minutes Andre Gomes has played all season. On a standard similar to his 30 minute cameo appearance in his return game v Arsenal. When he plays like that he is an asset. We need to see more of the same, more consistently from him, across 90 minutes and game to game.
Even Sigurdsson and Walcott had their moments. There was some lovely link up play with them and DCL and Richarlison at times, only for the final ball being played behind the forwards or just a tad too far in front of them.
Our play merited a second goal at least, but I'll take the win against a very thorny opponent on their own ground.
25 Posted 20/07/2020 at 20:08:13
26 Posted 20/07/2020 at 20:08:32
27 Posted 20/07/2020 at 20:09:25
Correct on all calls. Very solid performance. Branthwaite superb again. And we merited more than a single goal.
28 Posted 20/07/2020 at 20:11:42
But this result didn't matter. We must start to win when it does matter and not just once but in telling sequences.
29 Posted 20/07/2020 at 20:13:58
30 Posted 20/07/2020 at 20:14:24
31 Posted 20/07/2020 at 20:15:25
The result mattered quite a bit to Sheffield United. We played a team that has been playing well, had a lot to play for, and we were the better team.
But I take your point. Everton need to win when it matters for Everton.
32 Posted 20/07/2020 at 20:15:41
The most biased commentary team in the business were well pleased and were particularly impressed with Gomes, although all their geese are swans!
Decent result in the cricket too.
33 Posted 20/07/2020 at 20:19:52
Seems like Ancelotti has had a word with players to tell them they could be on the transfer list. Funny how the lazy fuckers suddenly seemed to find an extra yard.
But too little too late for me. I'm done with these useless bastards. Most of em need to go. Had it to easy too long that lot. Here's hoping.
34 Posted 20/07/2020 at 20:21:29
Other than that I thought everyone looked much more at home in a 4-2-3-1. We had width on both flanks. Sigurdsson was quietly effective and Tom + AndrÃ© played as well as I've seen them in a while.
35 Posted 20/07/2020 at 20:23:54
The high point for me apart from the win though, is the emergence of Jarrad Branthwaite, who apart from his introduction has settled in well and looks like he could easily carry on there.
Still, not getting complacent we still need a few reinforcements, thought SidibÃ© and Davies were our weakest links, but didn't do the 'Walk of Shame', should have been subbed well before the end.
Put the razor blades, pills and rope to one side till next game, let's hope they can go out in style, and send the Cardboard Cut-Outs home happy.
36 Posted 20/07/2020 at 20:24:32
Decent performance (only saw second half). Richarlison is the real deal. Our passing in the final third is still poor meaning we create few chances. Gomes and Sigurdsson don't create, and Davies is just maddening, occasionally looks good, occasionally looks awful.
Hoped to see Simms on at the end, but fair enough. A good win which should lift the mood for the pre-season break.
Hopefully Calvert-Lewin can break his drought vs a doomed Bournemouth.
37 Posted 20/07/2020 at 20:24:55
Everybody contributed, but Davies went a bit anonymous. I'm usually a Walcott non believer but his pace and willingness to run with it gave us an outlet. I thought Calvert-Lewin was back to his pre-lockdown form and I liked the fact when they started kicking us they got a few back. Fire with fire!
Bit of a mystery where the intensity came from second half â€“ bit of a mystery where it went as well â€“ but was grateful for it. Please, no more 4-4-2 with this group, we just don't have the personnel.
Bring on Bournemouth, and let's pop those cherries!
ps: Welcome back Mr Ruane, please hang around, it's always great to read you!
38 Posted 20/07/2020 at 20:24:57
Damn shame this level of commitment hasn't been shown since reopening from lockdown. Consistency, commitment and desire every game henceforth.
Now to do the same again on Sunday. Funny old game, a week ago Sheffield Utd smashed Chelsea 3-0, and we've made them look very ordinary.
Could have been 3-0 or 4-0, to us. The ref, was the worst this year, he isn't fit to be a referee.
39 Posted 20/07/2020 at 20:28:54
Branthwaite a close second, but I think he needs to put his foot through the ball a bit more when passing out of defence. There were three, maybe four passes in the first half when he just stroked the pass along the floor straight to one of their players. Other than that he had a great game, played well alongside Keane, and protected Pickford to such an extent that Pickford had hardly anything to do.
As for Sheffield United, two disgusting tackles in the first three minutes which could have easily caused serious injury They posed no threat whatsoever, and I'm backing them to be relegated next season.
40 Posted 20/07/2020 at 20:31:03
41 Posted 20/07/2020 at 20:31:13
Keane, Branthwaite and Digne were all excellent. Keane and Digne have been the best players since re-start.
There's still a player in Gomes, if we can get that out of him more often then he's got skills that are hard to find. Great player to watch when he's on form.
42 Posted 20/07/2020 at 20:31:46
I'll take these crumbs of comfort as Everton haven't given me anything for the last couple of seasons.
43 Posted 20/07/2020 at 20:32:44
44 Posted 20/07/2020 at 20:35:26
45 Posted 20/07/2020 at 20:39:14
A little bit of adventure and the spoils are ours.
Gomes and Keane excellent.
Branthwaite despite being let down by team mates unforgivably not expecting his passes in the first half. maintained his composure, kept passing and finished the match looking very accomplished. Again.
No more from me on him. Softly softly does it.
Where's she hidden that Mahatma?
46 Posted 20/07/2020 at 20:42:29
As the first half progressed we started to show more enterprise going forward. Keane and Branthwaite stood up well to the aerial assault while Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison kept the home rearguard busy. In between the midfield trio of Gomes, Davies and Sigurdsson knitted things together very well with constructive passing and movement. All three had their best games in months.
47 Posted 20/07/2020 at 21:04:03
Walcott and Calvert-Lewin seem to both suffer from making the wrong decision virtually every time. Davies just poor; I want him to do well but he was just way off the level required.
48 Posted 20/07/2020 at 21:04:32
And an away win against what has been, this season, a much better club than us.
49 Posted 20/07/2020 at 21:06:36
Branthwaite also had another strong performance. What a signing! We need a few more like that.
50 Posted 20/07/2020 at 21:12:49
With Carlo Ancelotti and the expected 2 or 3 targeted signings we can, and should, mount a serious challenge on the top 6 next season. Along with a serious challenge for a cup.
There is just a faint whiff of change in the air. Things could be looking up for us now, and we could have a very big season 20-21.
Enjoyed watching our defenders too, Keane, Branthwaite, Digne all on their game tonight. An excellent clean sheet. We have got a young diamond in Branthwaite, the lad needs to keep it real and work hard. He's still very, very young for a centre-back and developing but he's got 'first team' written all over him.
With regards Richarlison, he is a match-winner and any team in the league would love to have him... enough said.
51 Posted 20/07/2020 at 21:16:31
52 Posted 20/07/2020 at 21:17:24
53 Posted 20/07/2020 at 21:19:47
Branthwaite is a great find and Digne continued his excellent form since lockdown.
Our front two gave as good as they got against a very physical team. They didn't flinch, they didn't back off and in fact looked like they relished it and reminded me very much of Sharp and Gray in their prime.
It does beg the question as to why it has taken so long for a performance like this?
54 Posted 20/07/2020 at 21:21:01
55 Posted 20/07/2020 at 21:24:05
Richarlison is great but he's more of an attacking midfielder. Calvert-Lewin needs to work on composure and finishing.
56 Posted 20/07/2020 at 21:24:14
In the first, we were poor in a poor game; in the second, we played well and showed much more desire and had more control. Whether Carlo changed anything with the tactics, I could not tell but something worked.
I thought the defence played well as a unit and young Branthwaite looked composed and grew into the game, he could have an immense future, as could Gordon.
As for Richarlison, what a superb goal. We'd all best enjoy him while we have him as I see the Spanish vultures circling for him very soon; expect 𧴜M fee to be put about.
57 Posted 20/07/2020 at 21:26:46
Euro qualification could have been a possibility, but it's the Jim Bowen Bullseye scenario again 'Look what you could have won!' Be interesting to see if they can go out with a flourish in the last home game, albeit too little, too late.
58 Posted 20/07/2020 at 21:31:01
In the first few minutes when Dominic put their defender over the touchline, he ran back onto the field shouting at the referee, letting him know he had been fouled. Dominic never got many decisions going his way after that, from another useless official. He booked Dominic for next to nothing and, where was VAR used on some of the tackles on Everton players, Norwich had two sent off when it was used on Saturday.
Not criticising anyone after that away victory and clean sheet. As John Rafferty says, they are very rare commodities where Everton are concerned. Let's hope we finish the season with another win and hope the team is bolstered with some good signings in the close season and we say goodbye to as many of deadwood and dross as we can.
59 Posted 20/07/2020 at 21:32:29
60 Posted 20/07/2020 at 21:37:41
He is not up to the job, mind. And a high-quality winger is a must this transfer window.
61 Posted 20/07/2020 at 21:37:58
62 Posted 20/07/2020 at 21:40:27
What should be noticed is that with all the praise that Sheffield Utd have been given this season, with a manager who is being tipped as manager of the year, they only have 5 more points than Everton.
Praise is rightly given to Branthwaite as I think it was only 6 months ago he was playing for Carlisle and this is a large step up from that division, and you can see why Ancelotti and his staff think so highly of him.
The positive from this game is that it gives hope for next season, if Ancelotti brings in the type of player he wants and gets the team playing in a system that the players feel comfortable in.
63 Posted 20/07/2020 at 21:42:29
Not sure where you get your info from, but that was another excellent pre-match shout. Ancelotti did ask his troops to attack more.
Not perfect by a long way, but still a massive step in the right direction
64 Posted 20/07/2020 at 21:51:04
Let's get over the line and reset for next season. Hey, if Darren's positive, then I'm feeling optimistic!! Tongue-in-cheek, Darren â€“ and take that as a compliment!!
65 Posted 20/07/2020 at 21:52:59
Credit where it's due, the midfield played the ball forward a lot more today, and the tempo with the passing was better. Still not great, but better.
The defence was rock solid, and Calvert-Lewin really put himself about up front and unsettled their back 4. But we still need better midfielders, can't rely on Sigurdsson and Walcott etc when the going gets tough.
I like Tom Davies as he never hides, but I feel we need better than him. We played some good football at times second half, but we are still too easy to play against in midfield.
66 Posted 20/07/2020 at 21:55:07
67 Posted 20/07/2020 at 21:55:44
To be honest, I didn't think we would win another game after recent performances. We made Sheffield United look very limited and ordinary.
68 Posted 20/07/2020 at 22:01:47
69 Posted 20/07/2020 at 22:08:27
Gomes had his best game since his injury and was my MotM. No really poor performances but Davies continues to put the side under pressure by his irritating habit of conceding possession in the middle of the field.
Midfield obviously needs strengthening and, if there's any spare cash, left we could do with a proven goalscorer.
70 Posted 20/07/2020 at 22:11:20
By the way, I agree with you about not going overboard about young Branthwaite. I was made up with him, how he reads the game and uses his body weight getting his tackles in and heading battles. But let him progress nice and slowly, he's only played three times. He will get plenty of chances in the future, but I am keeping my fingers crossed that he could save us a lot of money in the future.
71 Posted 20/07/2020 at 22:21:55
But it was good to see the usual whipping boys putting in a shift. If a player is out of form or simply not good enough, the least he has to do is put 100% effort in.
Today, Sigurdsson came off the field knackered after chasing everything. Walcott made a few strange decisions but was consistently a threat and did his defensive work well. Gomes was back to his pre-injury mastery.
Last but by no means least, I think we must have finally seen the last of the slagging off of Michael Keane. Since the resumption, he has been as good as any defender in the league.
That said, we still lack some creativity and a natural striker. Calvert-Lewin puts in great work, but his judgement and finishing still need to improve. I'd like to see Richarlison playing wide and a real finisher alongside the centre-forward.
But if we can play from the start like that on Sunday, it should send us off to the back garden for the summer break with smiles on our faces.
72 Posted 20/07/2020 at 22:22:22
Kenny  Keane  Branthwaite  Digne 
**new signing Holgate 
Gordon  Gomes  Richarlison 
Bench / Secondary players - Pick from: Davies, Bernard, Iwobi, Mina, Walcott, Sigurdsson, Kean, Simms, Coleman, Baines
Basically, the suspect "disappearing" players on the bench forced to continually compete for their spot. A young, energetic, full-of-effort starting 11 in the correct formation to succeed.
I've seen it 1000 times on TW â€“ it really, really is the hope that kills you.
We need a central midfielder. Either a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-1-4-1 will work just fine. I can't ever remember needing a position player that could change our fortunes so drastically, as where we are right now needing a central midfielder of real quality.
The Lukaku signing was the closest thing for me â€“ we needed a striker so badly at that point in time. We're in the same situation with a centre-midfielder right now in my opinion. We get that right, and we'll be okay moving forward.
73 Posted 20/07/2020 at 22:23:59
74 Posted 20/07/2020 at 22:27:34
Defence solid and dependable, midfielders got on the ball more which compensated for their well-known frailties. Gomes a lot better in this formation, Sigurdsson still weak on forward passing and Davies in possession. Team did try to play in the final third for a change, link play hot and cold. Calvert Lewin did lead the line well, but weak as a finisher, missed two great chances. Though Gordon played well when come on. Great set piece play by Everton. Walcott kept the team shape well, as he always does, have a 70 percent performance. Pitchfork no mistakes, but not really challenged.
A lot more confident that Ancelotti knows what he is doing. Well done Everton, looking forward to next season.
75 Posted 20/07/2020 at 22:31:45
Our best player scores a great header to win the game but it doesn't change the fact that we were really poor in the first half.
The early second half goal really helped the players put a bit more effort into defending the lead and credit to our wide men who helped massively in a defensive capacity.
Sheffield Utd like to attack the wide areas and out-number the full-back / defence. Walcott and Richarlison both defended well and, although Sheffield Utd put a lot of good balls into the box, Keane (main strength) and Branthwaite defended them well.
Branthwaite, who's a big lad too, showed he's no pushover and was excellent. Against better or faster forwards (Man City, Man Utd, Liverpool, Leicester) the pair would be murdered but most defenders are.
Keep a deep line, defend the long balls and crosses we can do. Play a high line or don't have all of our midfield coming back leaves us wide open. Obvious and simple but this hadn't dawned on previous managers.
76 Posted 20/07/2020 at 22:33:40
Playing Sigurdsson in the middle made all the difference. Game was better: Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin & Walcott all involved.
At least something for our manager to build on and he can see more clearly where we need to strengthen the most. He needed that, and so did we.
77 Posted 20/07/2020 at 22:40:03
Maybe you are right but I believe you have jumped the gun by making such an early assumption.
78 Posted 20/07/2020 at 22:48:00
Everyone did their job, and stayed away from any critical errors. Based on the chances should have won the game 2-0 or 3-0.
Sadly winning games that don't matter counts for nothing unless we build from it. Will it be different this time?
79 Posted 20/07/2020 at 22:57:32
80 Posted 20/07/2020 at 22:57:40
Not spectacular but able to demonstrate that we are a far better team than Sheff Utd. Branthwaite was excellent, particularly when you consider that he is only 18.
Justin (75)... To be an Evertonian requires positivity, patience and the ability to realise that sometimes football is not always what we want and accept the bad with the good.
Generally, we did okay today and we were definitely not "outplayed" as you suggested. Far too often, you appear to be "Doone in the dumps". Yes, I have read your previous posts.
81 Posted 20/07/2020 at 23:11:12
I'm not being critical in terms of Branthwaite, he looks far more comfortable on the ball than Keane and Mina which is great for us if the manager insists on 'trying' to play out from the back.
Most central defenders would be outpaced and done like a kipper against better, faster forwards. I was simply pointing out Carlo is more confident in our defenders playing deep, leaving less space in behind our slow defence.
At 18, I can only hope the next 4 years are injury-free for the lad and he can keep learning and gaining experience quickly to help us to really push on to challenge the top 4.
I would still bring in a quality centre-back with pace, same for centre-midfield, winger and striker. Our weaknesses have remained the same for several seasons. A promising young player, especially a centre-back, does not change that.
82 Posted 20/07/2020 at 23:20:22
We all build players up after a couple of games, but Branthwaite is looking very promising and one hell of a signing.
Special mention to Michael Keane as well today who seemed to win nearly every header coming into our area.
Looks a good partnership; it's going to be interesting when Mina and Holgate are fit again.
83 Posted 20/07/2020 at 23:23:15
I just don't think a few positive results means players are now great and a defeat doesn't mean they are rubbish.
A good example is Davies who I'm a fan of. He may lack pace but his work rate and reading of the game are very good. He puts in challenges, closes down and passes forward at most opportunities.
That's right, he tries to pass forward, play through balls and spread the ball. But in doing so his passing stats may not be as high as others but I like the positive forward effort.
He's not a great player, but at 22 he's learning and improving. IMO always better than Schneiderlin and more consistent than Sigurdsson.
84 Posted 20/07/2020 at 00:21:23
If we're now thinking about two or three quality signings that could transform the team for next season, that position is essential.
A World-Class central midfielder with pace and an engine would be nice as well. Maybe two of them, one more creative and one more destructive.
A right-back is probably needed, unless Kenny is the man to push Coleman for a place?
Don't buy too many players, four maximum, wait and see who steps up or down next season and then fill the gaps with three or four more quality additions next Summer.
85 Posted 21/07/2020 at 00:38:20
The team was much closer together, even Sigurdsson tried, and Gomes had a shot! In our previous four games, we've defended so deep that, even if a player beats a man or two, he's still on the halfway line; Carlo had nullified us as an attacking force.
It simply outlines the need to move Keane on. He has been a model of consistency since the restart, a deep structured defensive set-up suits him perfectly and, let's be fair, he has been pretty good, especially in the air.
However, it must evolve and cannot do so with him on the team. Perhaps he stays for games like this as a squad player? If we buy defenders who are not quick, then we need to be able to keep the ball and build play up. Let's hope Carlo gets it right.
86 Posted 21/07/2020 at 01:10:13
Dross this was not. Wasn't world-beating but a well organised, fighting away win, clean sheet against well-coached overachieving big strong lads (and dirty bastards) is most welcome.
It is against teams like these with no world beaters/match winners where Carlo can make the difference. He set up to counter their overloading in the inside channels and defend their hopeful balls. Still requires everyone to put in a shift which happened today.
We might have conceded off a set piece as we've conceded a few due to being camped around our box too much.
Since the restart, we haven't been as bad as some of you drama queens make out. Beat 2 teams above us. Unlucky vs Spurs, abject against Wolves. Que sera. Over to Don Carlo for the off-season.
87 Posted 21/07/2020 at 01:49:22
Funny you mention Davies. He had mixed reviews on here. I only saw the highlights and his only highlighted involvement was giving the ball away twice.
But weirdly, given the general consensus that the first half was dire, the highlights had 7 minutes of first half action and only four minutes of second half. Not sure who does the NBC highlights but they but they often include minutes of nothing moves that peter out then quickly stick in the goals.
88 Posted 21/07/2020 at 02:37:50
There is no need to mention where we need strengthening but I am sure Ancelotti already knows. Today's game to me showed what good coaching with some poor players can be achieved.
We as supporters are fully aware what a challenge Ancelotti has, and hope he is able to strengthen the squad in the transfer window. Something I noticed today was, all the praise that Sheffield has had from pundits, with a manager that the media consider a candidate as manager of the year; we only trail them by 5pts.
89 Posted 21/07/2020 at 02:59:30
The cynic in me might say that, once the pressure was off, the bottlers could come out of their shells.
On calmer reflection, it would appear that Ancelotti did a rock, paper, scissors on Wilder, by putting round pegs in roundish holes... played with a No 10 which fitted Sigurdsson... maximised the little he had and while simultaneously both blunting the Blades and wrapping them up.
I don't think Pickford had a serious save to make, while, with better finishing and some better final balls into the box, three or four might have gone in at the other end.
I still can't rule out the bottlers came out of their shell though for part of it.
90 Posted 21/07/2020 at 03:32:33
Davies was given defensive duties, and Sigurdsson got back behind Gomes when the Portuguese struggled to get back. Gomes always looks much better in a 3 man midfield, as does Sigurdsson.
The team was bought for a 4-5-1 and it's no surprise they played better in a formation that suited them more. Carlo should have been using this since the restart. He could have switched to a 4-4-2 in the summer when he had a chance to buy players to fit the system.
91 Posted 21/07/2020 at 03:41:41
Christy #79, we don't know yet if Branthwaite has speed, because we haven't yet seen him in the open field or playing a high line. Carlo has his centre-backs playing deep right now.
Dave #70, yes, I've commented on the same thing several times on the Forum. Sure he's a strong kid, but what impresses me most is his fundamental positioning. He puts himself in the right spot and uses his physicality well.
92 Posted 21/07/2020 at 05:49:22
93 Posted 21/07/2020 at 06:11:23
Second half transformation was almost incredulous, but I suppose you would have to see a bit of the first half, to recognise the vast difference and contrast between the two. Hope for the future has been temporarily restored!
94 Posted 21/07/2020 at 06:18:44
Move Keane on?
I can only think you mean Moise Kean. Michael Keane has been one of our best players since lockdown. He showed in his partnership with Zouma a few years ago that he is a capable defender.
The last thing we need to do right now is move on one of our better performing players! Let's concentrate on shifting the deadwood shall we?!
95 Posted 21/07/2020 at 06:34:28
I love the regular mixed bag of comments on TW. Sometimes, reading all the comments, an outsider could be forgiven for thinking we were discussing two or even three different games, and such is the beauty of the game that we all see and take something different from a simple game of football.
We can agree and disagree on individual performances and on the team as a whole, but underneath we are all Evertonians and want the best from our team.
As for last night and my view of the last hour of the game, it was obvious to me that Carlo had managed his resources well for this one. Sheffield Utd have had a remarkable season and had they won last night would still have had a chance of European qualification, so a win on their turf was no mean feat, however it was achieved.
We seemed set up to match them man to man and completely stifled their offensive capabilities. Our much-maligned midfield for once had the measure of the opposition and Gomes had his best game since the restart.
Despite some criticism from some quarters, I thought Tom Davies did okay. Yes, he misplaced a few passes but they were at least forward passes, trying to get the attack moving. Remember a certain French midfielder, recently departed, who, in Tom's position would have been playing all those passes square or back towards our own goal? Statistics don't always tell the whole story, as I learned many years ago, while serving in the RAF.
Richarlison as usual came up with a moment of Brazilian brilliance to score the winner, and SidibÃ© had a good game.
Branthwaite looks a natural and with more game time could prove to be a real asset.
The referee had a poor game, twice awarding free kicks to Sheffield Utd that I was convinced should have gone in our favour. VAR could and should have stepped in to recommend a red card to one of their defenders, but was obviously taking a tea break and missed that one. Enough said!
96 Posted 21/07/2020 at 08:00:37
That goes with the territory of trying to attack and trying to put the opposition defence and midfield on the back foot. Playing ultra conservatively and sideways all night may yield fantastic pass completion stats, but to what end?
A boring boring game with no attacking intent, and we may still lose from a set-piece or an intercepted sideways or defensive pass.
This slightly more attacking game suits us better, but its success relies on big responsibilities from the whole team when we inevitably lose possession throughout the match. That is tireless workrate out of possession and a rabid desire to harry, close down and tackle to win the ball back.
I thought we did well last night because this all, to a large extent, worked. We attacked more, committed them more and bent them out of their uncompromising defensive shape that their season has been built on.
I want to see more of this attacking verve from us through the midfield; we will be getting reinforcements in the midfield to augment that. But yesterday the work that all of our current midfielders put in will have really pleased Carlo and will give him some food for thought.
Brands is right when he talks about 2 or 3 quality, targeted signings could really be enough to see us make a significant advance and challenge the top 6 under Ancelotti.
97 Posted 21/07/2020 at 08:17:51
Read John again, he says sell or keep him as a squad player if we want to evolve â€“ something Silva wasn't allowed to do when the pace of Zouma wasn't replaced last summer.
I also wonder why Ancellotti hasn't played to this squad's strengths by playing five across the middle, Steve F, because it's obvious we haven't been strong enough in the middle of the park.
It changed yesterday: less gaps, less distance between each player, and we looked more solid because of this tactical switch, so the biggest question in my mind is why has the manager continued to play 4-4-2?
It's not because he's a fool â€“ everyone in football talks about the astuteness of Carlo Ancelotti â€“ so hopefully he's just been looking into each players character?
It's easy to win with the best players they say and Ancelotti, being the type of man he his, would probably agree!
98 Posted 21/07/2020 at 08:23:39
- It got Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison working as a partnership; and
- The two banks of 4 gave a simple but effective defensive shape to a team in a mess.
However, after the novelty wore off, you're right, it exposed the midfield numerically and particular individuals in midfield having to do unfamiliar jobs.
4-2-3-1 or 4-5-1 last night was much better for the personnel.
Personally, I prefer a three-man midfield these days because otherwise we're outnumbered. I also think it's the easiest way to fix the squad.
But I suspect the recruitment will be for a 4-4-2 double 6.
99 Posted 21/07/2020 at 08:38:52
100 Posted 21/07/2020 at 08:45:29
101 Posted 21/07/2020 at 09:13:27
I have to agree with James @100, the title of the article is misleading. I was very impressed with our application and endeavour. I can forgive the mundanity of the first half as we stood toe-to-toe with a top-six team in their back yard, matched them for aggression and showed our quality in the second half.
The formation will be interesting against (nearly-gone) Bournemouth.
102 Posted 21/07/2020 at 09:46:44
Get paid. I thought nobody would mention the fact that we finally went 3 v 3 in midfield.
Sigurdsson, Gomes or Davies don't have a defensive bone in their collective bodies. None of them sense danger, none of them can tackle and none of them have the lateral movement required to protect the back four.
The "experts" have murdered our midfield players, but they have been hung out to dry by a manager who has let them be outnumbered on a regular basis.
We still need to add some genuine quality and aggression to our midfield, but hopefully "the wily old fox" has realised that getting seriously immobile players outnumbered is not conducive to getting possession and playing a little bit of footy ourselves.
BTW; "Branthwaite will be murdered" by the top strikers??? That's about as daft as saying he is the new Bobby Moore. This kid's performances have lifted the spirit, but FFS â€“ can we let him enjoy this opportunity and learn his trade???
103 Posted 21/07/2020 at 09:50:57
Despite all the doom and gloom, Ancelloti has made a huge difference. I'm actually looking forward to next season.
104 Posted 21/07/2020 at 09:51:35
I think, after that went in, I was looking for us to build on it, and we did in terms of both solid defence and forward play, but the quality of the final ball, the set-up and the finishing for the rest of the match was just as poor as ever. Hence 'dross'.
I try not to mention him too much because he drives me seriously mental, but Calvert-Lewin is the biggest culprit. His poor play has the biggest impact on my mood – yes I admit it. The missed opportunities scream out at me every game. Hence more 'dross'.
The poor body position, the seeming inability to judge the flight and pace of the ball, the dreadful control, the complete failure to direct his headers properly using his whole body – but especially his neck muscles – he literally just lets the ball bounce off the top of his head. And (not demonstrated yesterday) his inability to the strike the ball cleanly, accurately and with force.
But I'm supposed to ignore all this and purr quietly, admiring his 'fantastic work rate' and 'putting himself about'? Pffttt!
"We haven't been as bad as some of you drama queens make out." – We have. We have been abysmal. But one half of better football wipes that right off the slate?
"Richarlison as usual came up with a moment of Brazilian brilliance to score the winner" — as usual??? Err... no. Not very usual at all. Pretty rare... although that's two since restart. But great when he does.
But we won. That's all that matters really...
105 Posted 21/07/2020 at 10:12:16
These are Professional Footballers in what is generally regarded as the top League in the World, and they can't control a ball?
While on the subject of annoying faults, the passing of some of our players (not all) is deplorable! I'm talking of simple 3 yard passes being either over or under hit, which are both bad enough, but when it's not even getting to the same colour shirt is inexcusable.
Not naming and shaming but Tom Davies is one of the worst culprits. Oops!
106 Posted 21/07/2020 at 10:17:23
Peter Mills said he even had thoughts of a team developing, which is quite natural because we have got some good players, “if they are used correctlyâ€.
John Pierce@78, called it right for me, everyone did their job and stayed away from critical errors, which always makes a performance more professional.
Everton won, I'm happy, but Justin is correct, in my opinion, because Branthwaite would get murdered by better faster players, at least whilst partnering Michael Keane!
If that's viewed as a criticism, then I'm pleading not guilty, because I'm just wanting better for Everton. I also think that's why I think the wily old fox has had us playing so deep, because Keane turns like the Royal Iris.
107 Posted 21/07/2020 at 10:18:28
We were a lot better going forward than we have been in our previous games; he has also given game time to Gordon and Branthwaite, so he is quite prepared to give youngsters a try, something his previous managers failed to do.
Branthwaite and Gordon look excellent prospects but the time to judge is after they have both had a full season in the team. I have seen far too many bright 18- or 19-year-olds start off brilliantly but fail to make the grade as they got older.
Apart from the Wolves game, our defence has looked pretty solid, something I am sure Ancelotti will have worked on.
Since the return, Calvert-Lewin hasn't looked the same player, he has had chances to score since the return but just hasn't put the chances away. I think we need to go and get a top quality striker â€“ that's not to say Calvert-Lewin won't come back better and stronger next season, but when strikers aren't scoring, it affects their whole game.
Let's not forget, he has started a lot of games this season. I think what Lampard has done at Chelsea is a good example: Abrahams was scoring goals for fun then they dried up, as happens to all strikers, but Lampard had the luxury of bringing in a seasoned striker in Giroud, which we don't have.
I thought Walcott made a difference last night; he was good going forward and defensively, and added energy to our attack â€“ something that is sadly lacking from Iwobi and Bernard.
I thought Digne had another very good game, seemed to get into more forward positions last night which is one of his strengths.
Richarlison always a threat and I have always criticised him for going down to easily but he has taken some stick in the last few games. Superb headed goal and good delivery from Sigurdsson.
I thought Gomes looked more like his old self and hopefully has been able to put that horrific injury behind him.
108 Posted 21/07/2020 at 10:29:28
Unlike some, who thought Ancelotti would be a failure if we didn't get to Europe this season with this lot, I thought he would try systems and players just to see what he actually had available to him.
He has tried things; some working, some not.
Hopefully next season will see a vast improvement.
109 Posted 21/07/2020 at 10:50:39
When we played with one striker, Calvert-Lewin was starved of service and it was hailed a genius move to play 2 up front. The result: we scored more and both strikers were scoring regularly.
When we played 2 up front, the strikers were starved of service because of the midfield. So we played 1 up front and controlled the midfield better.
When we play a high line, our slow defenders get exposed; when we play a deep line, there is too much of a gap between defence and attack.
Maybe we should accept that we should use different tactics and formations depending on the opposition instead of clamouring for a particular system because it's the current flavour of the month?
110 Posted 21/07/2020 at 10:57:16
111 Posted 21/07/2020 at 11:14:36
So when Ancelotti was getting his midfield two outnumbered every week, he wasn't getting outwitted by younger progressive managers. He was merely experimenting?
Here's me thinking he only changed things because he realised playing ugly football will only be accepted when you are winning.
Can we please stop apologising for the football this guy has served up and dispel the ridiculous notion that these players can't play football.
112 Posted 21/07/2020 at 11:21:24
113 Posted 21/07/2020 at 11:21:55
In this game, a 4-5-1 enabled the midfield to get more on the ball, because there was more support and options. Sheffield Utd were still able to cut out defensive distribution, particularly in the first half.
The frailities of midfield players, particularly Sigurdsson and Davies, Gordon improved the situation, still prevented Everton engineering a goal from play, though the formation did improve play in the final third.
Gomes improved a lot in the second half in this formation. But it did expose Calvert-Lewin who helped a lot in link play in the final third, as not being a natural finisher in positioning, never once got to the near post in front of the defender, technique (controlling the ball) and shooting. Richardson got more into the game in this system and was more effective.
It is now more obvious how Everton need to improve, either by developing existing players or bringing in new ones. There are no hiding places in an Ancelotti team.
Even before the transfer window, Ancelotti is pushing competition for places, by the introduction of young players. Something that Silva often talked about, but was never able to do. He will want to give Simms a run out in the last game to give Kean something to think about other than partying over the Summer.
Mina will have to put more effort into recovery now, with the emergence of Branthwaite. Holgate is still secure given his all round ablity. Keane is confident at last and SidebÃ© has improved positionally.
Walcott is good positionally, but could do proverbially better as always. Even the commentators commented on the lost promise of Walcott.
To be in and Ancelotti team next season, players will have to work hard at their fitness, tactical awareness and technique over the Summer and they will find that pre-season will not be a holiday camp as it was before.
114 Posted 21/07/2020 at 11:37:21
Bear in mind that Ancelotti only needed to look at our position in the table to know that he would need to recruit in the summer to seriously improve the squad, so I would think it was pretty obvious that, before deciding what precisely he would need in terms of new recruits, he would look to see how his current personnel performed in the various roles that they might be asked to play in different formations.
For example, it didn't take him long to decide that Schneiderlin had no future at EFC and, depending on how the summer recruitment goes, who knows who else out of the present first-team squad will either leave or become nothing more than a bench warmer next season?
If his preferred formation is 4-4-2, then presumably he will recruit accordingly â€“ but at least he now knows who, in the current squad, can, or cannot, comfortably fit into that system.
115 Posted 21/07/2020 at 11:38:31
Bottom line is we need better players and neither Ancelotti nor Duncan would have changed that without a transfer window. Duncan did a great job in instilling some pride in a demotivated team but it was already clearly wearing off. The performance again Chelsea was good, against Man Utd it was okay, and against Arsenal it was crap. Not his fault given the players, but that's the reality.
116 Posted 21/07/2020 at 12:09:28
117 Posted 21/07/2020 at 12:25:17
And Derek, #105:
"One thing that stuck out for me in yesterday's game, and is basically not only unbelievable, but also unacceptable, is the inability to control a ball passed with pace."
YES! Contrast that with the way Man City, for example, ping the ball about and still manage to both pass and receive with control.
118 Posted 21/07/2020 at 12:34:10
Ancelloti has been an advocate of 4-4-2 in previous roles but being Italian, he's probably going to be a tinkerer based on opposition or players available - the latter being his problem right now. I'm comfortable with that as I've always maintained you set the formation based on the players you have available rather than making the players available fit the formation you want to play (within reason, injuries dependent etc). We've had our fair share in recent years who simply wouldn't change formation regardless of the players available. Even Moyes rarely strayed from his trusted 4-5-1.
Personally I'm not a fan of 4-4-2 in the modern game. I get the attraction of having an additional striker, however more often than not, you get overrun in midfield. If you can't control the game in midfield, your defence gets put under pressure and your 2 strikers do not get any service. Personally (again), I've said for some about 18 months now, that with the squad we have, I'd probably opt for 4-3-3 most of the time, but that's just me.
I think the defensive / deep set up worked well against Liverpool and Leicester. Those 2 teams tend to hit you in the space behind, so sitting deep denies them that. Always risky, particularly against this Liverpool team, but less risky than a high line, especially with the likes of Keane, who is much more comfortable in a deep lying, compact formation.
Finally, to echo our discussion on your own thread Darren (I know, I said no names!!), I agree, this team does have ability. I think we both agreed, what they lack, as a collective and amongst too many individuals, is the mentality & desire. Passion alone doesn't win consistently, neither does ability alone. Both are required. Apologies for stating the obvious.
119 Posted 21/07/2020 at 13:11:55
If Ancelotti has taken all this time to realise that its not a good idea to get two immobile midfield players outnumbered he is worryingly slow on the uptake.
Around about Easter last season, we were having the same argument. People were saying these players couldn't play open attacking football. Others claimed Silva was our "worst manager ever". Some experts were stating with absolute certainty that we would not get another point... with 11 games to go !
From there on in, We were unlucky not to beat Liverpool and Spurs. we beat Arsenal. Twatted Chelsea and Man United, accumulated 21 points scoring 18 goals in the process.
I don't want to hear daft arsed claims that these players cannot play football. It's like keeping a greyhound in its kennel and saying it can't run.
Leicester were scoring goals like they were going out of fashion. They scored two and bossed the game in the first half. By the time the whistle went, it was their highly talented midfield players who were desperately trying to control ours.
120 Posted 21/07/2020 at 13:14:09
We have mostly looked very poor playing in this system but, if we could get the right players in, who knows?
I'm sure Simeone looked at the wealth and talent, of his major opponents, before deciding to play the way he does? If not, it was obviously a system he knew inside out, so let's give Ancelloti a bit of time; maybe he wasn't getting out-witted, maybe he had another plan? Only time will tell us the answer, let's just wait and see.
Leicester strolled through Ferguson's midfield, Darren, it was blood, guts, a screamer from Baines, and the Everton crowd, which got us back in the game that night.
121 Posted 21/07/2020 at 13:17:04
I actually thought it was one of our best performances of the season. Away from home and restricting the home side to no shots on target for the first time in 4 years. We seemed to have control of the match to a degree and added some better use of the ball in the second half creating a decent number of openings that we should have done better with.
I actually enjoyed watching it! Though maybe that was because it counted for so little.
Clearly 3 in the middle suits our current squad a little better and Gomes especially looks better when there are two other central midfielders helping him with the pressing and defensive work.
The remit remains the same. Cull the deadwood. Buy a midfielder. And find a system in which we can remain organised and hard to score against but also manage to hold onto the ball for more than 3 seconds and actually create chances.
It seems every year there are more and more teams capable of competing with us for those 7th-ish spots. Next year, I expect Sheffield Utd may fall down a bit but Southampton will surely move up and maybe Leeds Utd will fancy their chances of top ten with a little investment and Bielsa at the reins. Having said that, Spurs don't look all that and Leicester seem average when Maddison is not on form.
It will be an interesting if truncated summer.
122 Posted 21/07/2020 at 13:21:24
123 Posted 21/07/2020 at 13:30:29
None of those players were big signings. Martyn and Distin were considered finished. Cahill came from the second tier, Gueye had just been relegated and Mirallas was playing in Greece. So, it's not as if I've gone for the more lavish transfers of our recent past like Lukaku and Kanchelskis.
124 Posted 21/07/2020 at 13:30:31
125 Posted 21/07/2020 at 13:46:18
Two things I noticed yesterday:
1. We block a hell of a lot of shots. This has to be coached. It's like U5s playing and they get a lollipop every time they block a shot.
2. We finally were back to counter-attacking yesterday. When we gained possession, it was so clear we would try to immediately hit them on the counter. I hadn't seen that in the last 2-3 games. It's like it disappeared from our repertoire.
The one thing I had enjoyed about Carlo was we attacked quickly and with intent. When things were going well, we had a ton of shots, and we defended well. The shots and the attacking intent almost disappeared the last 2-3 games.
Let's hope #2 continues ad infinitum. Break with pace and purpose.
126 Posted 21/07/2020 at 13:46:41
And if I added William Ralph Dean, Southall, Labby, Harvey, Ratcliffe, Reid and Sheedy we'd be challenging for the champions league title. And if my dad's brother was a woman she'd be my aunty. And if I was better at picking winners I'd be wealthier. And if today was Saturday it would be the weekend.
What an odd and asinine statement to make.
127 Posted 21/07/2020 at 13:52:13
Maybe Brands's much-vaunted joined-up approach to recruitment could bear some fruit in the upcoming window. For all his fuckwittery, even Martinez realized the value of a speed merchant like Deulofeu. It gives the team an outlet and a threat that other teams have to account for.
Over to Brands. again.
128 Posted 21/07/2020 at 14:04:15
Those players you mention don't need to run.
Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin, Walcott, Gordon, etc â€“ the wide men, the striker(s), and the No 10 need to run. We can counter â€“ Keane is a centre-back, he's not germane to the conversation.
But I do agree with you â€“ we need a few more pacy players. Speed scares opposition defenses.
129 Posted 21/07/2020 at 14:06:08
Calvert-Lewin has hardly been on fire since the restart and was expecting Kean to get minutes in the last few games at least.
130 Posted 21/07/2020 at 14:15:51
I'm fearing Kean's days are numbered. There's something wrong there.
131 Posted 21/07/2020 at 14:21:08
We're very light up front if Kean left. Simms isn't yet ready, is he? And Tosun will only stay the summer because he's injured...
132 Posted 21/07/2020 at 14:23:38
We definitely need more speed Jamie. I grew up watching Ratcliffe who was phenomenally quick. Having a centre-back with jets enables you to play in different ways â€“ like with a higher line â€“ and gives you a chance to erase mistakes in the backline. As it stands, we all know if they get behind Keane it's somebody else's problem at that stage.
But Ancelloti will know how we wants to set us out, and thus who will be required to do so. My big fear is Brands won't be able to get the job done adequately and the Italian walks. We really need this time to be the beginning of a brave new era, I don't think we have another false dawn left. It's sink or swim time.
133 Posted 21/07/2020 at 14:54:58
And your paragraph describing Richarlison's goal was erotic, what were you doing when you wrote that!!!
134 Posted 21/07/2020 at 15:43:12
My issues with the Portuguese as you know are one of consistency and suitability. Clearly he has not been consistent enough this season, though injury may well have a large part to do with that. Also, I still don't think he's suitable for a midfield 2. He's not mobile enough and does not do enough defensive work.
As part of a 3 though, as you say, he can be brilliant when on his game at protecting and distributing the ball; which is enough if others are making the tackles and scoring the goals.
It was a much better performance from him. Though we've still not seen peak Gomes, the Benfica & Valencia Gomes that contributes goals and assists to the team.
As for Moise Kean, he got a knock. Carlo's already come out and said he will be a bigger player for us next season and is not leaving. I think he may well start the last game if fit.
135 Posted 21/07/2020 at 16:16:23
All he needs now are decent midfielders that can win a ball, not give it away, and score goals.
Then we will see this manager's true worth.
136 Posted 21/07/2020 at 16:26:11
Yes, to me it looks unpromising and bad. As Derek says at 132, reminds me a lot of Lookman. Something isn't right with Kean.
Derek @ 132 -
I have to bow to your knowledge about Ratcliffe. Alas, before my time.
I was thinking of how Leicester won the league with very pacy, counter-attacking players, but two centre-backs slow as tar. Morgan and Huth. Two hulking, fantastic players who just sat home and did their flipping job.
Couple of ways to skin a cat, but your point about being able to play differently with centre-backs that are quick and move is taken.
137 Posted 21/07/2020 at 16:49:14
138 Posted 21/07/2020 at 17:15:04
Ratcliffe was probably the only defender in the league at the time that could recover against Ian Rush, which says something. With the defenders we have now we can't, hence sitting deep. It's a safety mechanism.
If I recall, and please do call out my ageing memory, wasn't Ratcliffe converted from left-back to centre-back??
139 Posted 21/07/2020 at 17:49:31
If we put Tosun upfront, the laughing coming across Stanley Park would shatter glass.
As I've said on this thread earlier, the top 6 teams score goals, we absolutely don't and I'm assuming an astute man such a Carlo also knows this.
140 Posted 21/07/2020 at 17:54:15
Yes, Ratcliffe's early games were as a (very average) left-back.
141 Posted 21/07/2020 at 18:00:28
142 Posted 21/07/2020 at 18:08:12
Marco Silva, win rate was 29% in 24 games... why did we chase him? Unbelievable!
143 Posted 21/07/2020 at 18:10:12
144 Posted 21/07/2020 at 18:11:32
I did some analysis for a fan article a couple of months ago. By my crude reckoning we need:
1. To get back to our defensive meanness of a couple of seasons ago; and
2. Add at least another 20 goals
Only then will we be competing for top 6 places.
It sounds obvious but it has implications.
1. The two strikers need to equal and better this season'stotal. No mean feat esp for Calvert-Lewin
2. A supersub striker needs to chip in with about 5
3. A midfielder needs to contribute about 10 (or it needs to be shared out â€“ noting that Gomes and Davies almost never score). This means recruiting someone who scores
4. We keep Sigurdsson but use him as a tactical option and only play him in his correct position. This might generate about 5 goals. Which may be more valuable than selling him.
5. The set pieces need to ve better, with Mina and Keane getting about 8 goals between them
6. Playing 4-3-3, because it's easier to find a goalscorer to play wide right than in a 4-4-2. Eg lozano, BNneres or Malcom.
So sort of obvious but quite interesting too.
145 Posted 21/07/2020 at 18:49:11
On that basis, I've got doubts about a few of them. If we're truly ambitious, we need to be buying players who have more than one good game in four.
146 Posted 21/07/2020 at 19:03:37
Fuck Watford. I seriously want Villa to stay up and Watford to go down. The goal differential is closing. Villa win on the final day and keep it close this afternoon, they have a serious chance.
I'd so prefer to see Villa stay up. Watford, firing Pearson, just lost it for me. Nasty, shitty, club run by idiots.
If Everton do the business against Bournemouth, I think Villa have a real shot at avoiding the drop.
147 Posted 21/07/2020 at 19:37:50
I've been vocal on here about the inadequacies of that generation of British Manager; the Mike Basset brigade, so I'm no fan of Pearson, but what a ridiculous decision at such a precarious point in the season.
148 Posted 21/07/2020 at 19:38:00
149 Posted 21/07/2020 at 19:53:40
Whilst 4-4-2 has been a default formation, it isn't rigidly so. There are numerous examples on the Italian's watch that with substitutions and tactical tweaks - even starting XIs - that has morphed in to 3-5-2 and/or 5-3-2 depending on who is in possession of the ball and whether we are attacking or defending, and other combinations in between.
On arrival he picked up where Duncan Ferguson left off, playing a basic 4-4-2 which was a radical change from Marco Silva's rigid set up which only served to isolate DCL.
He played Richarlison alongside Dominic and both players and the team benefited from their close interchanges.
There have been two distinct Everton's under Carlo Ancelotti. Pre-lockdown and post-lockdown. The numbers show pre-lockdown we were scoring more and getting more shots per game.
Post-lockdown, possibly as a result of the trauma of the 4-0 hammering away to Chelsea in the last game before the season was paused, Carlo put greater emphasis on defence as the numbers again clearly show.
Less shots on goals, 3 clean sheets, 4 games with a single goal against (and two of those fortunate deflections in the Spurs and Leicester games) and only the non-performance at Wolves where we were deservedly taken to the cleaners.
This came at a cost to our attacking prowess as DCL once again became too isolated alone up front.
Yesterday for the first time since the restart there was a greater emphasis on closing that space between the midfield and our forwards. Yes, defensive discipline was maintained - the one and only time this season the Blades have failed to register a shot on goal in a home game. DCL continued to largely plough a lone furrow, with both Walcott and Richarlison tracking back to make it 5 across the midfield.
That forced United to play it wide and get behind us down the flanks as their passing lines through the middle were choked off. When they did get in behind us and got the cross in, Keane, Branthwaite and Pickford between them mopped up everything.
This morphed into a 4-2-1-3 on the offensive with Gomes and Davies playing the deeper midfield roles, Sigurdsson more advanced and Richarlison and Walcott more advanced in the wide positions to better support DCL.
At times on the offensive, whilst Sidibe largely stayed at home on the right, Digne on the left got forward more with Davies playing the full-back covering role.
The win should have been more comfortable given some excellent positions we found ourselves in only for the final ball to be passed behind the players, or just too far in front of them.
As I said at the final whistle yesterday, when he plays like he did last night Andre Gomes is an asset. But I have to agree with Sam Hoare that the problem is his consistency over 90 minutes and over a string of games.
I can't follow the logic of Steve Ferns @ 122 when he says if Gomes had quality behind him, an upgrade on Sigurdsson and a better option to pass to wide than Walcott, then he would look better and the team would benefit.
Surely, for the investment made in him, HE should be making the difference to the team HIMSELF and IMMEDIATELY. Not ONLY when we sign 3-4 new players. That he clearly hasn't made that great an impact in two years might just suggest he was a signing we didn't need.
151 Posted 21/07/2020 at 20:06:21
Back to my preference with this Everton squad of a 4-3-3. That wouldn't be a "Subbuteo" of "Fifa" 4-3-3, more a solid 3 midfield with an "arrow head" in front of them. A point man (the striker), with wider playing forwards to the flanks. When play breaks down, that would likely morph into something more akin to a 4-5-1. Rigid formations are not what most teams do now.
152 Posted 21/07/2020 at 20:12:11
153 Posted 21/07/2020 at 21:21:41
He also converted from a “badâ€ player to one who became a fabulous defender and a captain amongst some very strong characters. It's worth remembering when young lads get criticised.
154 Posted 21/07/2020 at 22:11:34
This argument keeps shifting. Many posters have excused Ancelotti's ultra-negative approach by claiming he has no option. We were told these players can't play.
When the argument was put up that Ferguson got them playing, his stint was denigrated. It was just a short burst which had petered out, they said. So I've used the last third of last season to demonstrate that, with the shackles off, these players can play. We are talking about a dozen games here. Is that not consistent enough?
If the "worst manager we've ever had" could get them doing it over a dozen games, surely the best manager who ever lived can?
I'm not saying they should be challenging for the league because they are simply not that good. What I am saying is the excuse for abdicating responsibility to entertain by surrendering possession in the middle of the park in order to pack the defence is just plain wrong.
By not playing 5 across the back, we were able to match numbers in the middle of the park last night. This meant possession and initiative was not surrendered from the off.
The players look like they are finally enjoying their game and the crackpot excuse for cowardly football was once again knocked out of the park.
155 Posted 21/07/2020 at 22:23:07
It's tight, goal diff -26, -27, -27. If Bournemouth beat us, and the others lose Bournemouth survive. I hope Villa win just cause I've no time for Watford's owners and Bournemouth have had their fun, time to go back down the ladder.
156 Posted 21/07/2020 at 22:32:40
157 Posted 21/07/2020 at 22:42:35
I'll judge him when he's had time to put his stamp on things, just like I would have done had Duncan Ferguson been appointed manager with an inherited squad that he didn't choose.
158 Posted 21/07/2020 at 22:48:39
Don't forget “Evertonianâ€ Eddie Howe is also a Watford fan, however that works. He will be a conflicted soul this Saturday... lol!
159 Posted 21/07/2020 at 22:51:51
Everton are probably no more inconsistent than any other team in the Premier League. How on earth did Watford deservedly beat Liverpool 3-0? Chelsea battered invincible Man Utd after losing to Southhampton. Nothing seems to make sense.
Forecast: Everton 12 Bournemouth 0.
160 Posted 21/07/2020 at 22:52:11
Four months is long enough unless you're talking about a player, of course.
Tom Davies, for example â€” for whom 100 starts is no indication he should be judged or criticized in any way.
161 Posted 21/07/2020 at 22:57:21
162 Posted 21/07/2020 at 23:00:12
163 Posted 21/07/2020 at 23:32:45
I'm pretty sure that, if we'd have kept Silva, then we'd be firmly in Sunday's relegation mix â€“ if not already down.
164 Posted 21/07/2020 at 23:36:00
165 Posted 21/07/2020 at 23:39:45
I'm glad Leeds utd are back, I hope West Brom make it too, and I'd like Nottm Forest to make it up through the play-offs. Let's really reduce the numbers of southern sides, it's a northern game after all.
166 Posted 21/07/2020 at 23:55:11
Mike @164, you wouldn't like Bournemouth if you had to sit on a coach for five hours each way!
167 Posted 22/07/2020 at 00:35:31
I'll also be rooting for Brentford. I know there are too many London sides already, but a close mate of mine is a Brentford supporter.
168 Posted 22/07/2020 at 00:39:38
I've no love for Northeasterners either. Keep West Ham and Arsenal and get rid of the rest south of Birmingham. Keep a couple of Midlands teams and fill it out with Lancastrians.
169 Posted 22/07/2020 at 07:37:21
"I don't have an option about whether Carlo gets more time or not." â€” If you think he should be given a free reign and not be held accountable in any way for what we have seen, that's your prerogative. I believe the Everton manager should be accountable from the very minute he signs on the dotted line and starts drawing an enormous salary.
The season is all but over now. So I'll take your advice. I'll wait to see if this guy really can attract top players, as so many have claimed. If he does and he ditches the anti-football, I will be first on here to hold up my hands.
In the meantime, perhaps I can offer a little advice in return: Disagree with criticism of the manager by all means, but Ignore foolish attempts to divert it. Especially when it comes from somebody who hasn't quite worked out the difference between verbally abusing a young academy player and legitimate criticism of the tactics used by a man who has been in the game for nearly half a century.
No more from me about Ancelotti until next season, when he will be given the opportunity to showcase the sort of quality a man of his standing in the world game was able to attract...
170 Posted 22/07/2020 at 07:48:20
Trips to Goodison are a nightmare these days (post-Covid) â€“ never mind the search for the Holy Grail (a ticket!).
171 Posted 22/07/2020 at 08:12:07
I enjoy my trips to Goodison too; it's only 2 hours on the train out of Euston these days.
172 Posted 22/07/2020 at 09:18:12
I assume your post was very much "tongue in cheek"?
If you haven't yet seen the Netflix series "The English Game", which appears to be historically well researched and for which Sam Hoare (134) was a scriptwriter for one episode, I suggest you watch it.
You will then see that football is not a "Northern Game", but was controlled and first codified by the "Football Association", that had its roots and membership dominated by the "old boys" of Eton college. Very much a "southern based" institution.
Northern sides (of which "Blackburn" were the focus in the series), had to fight and struggle for a number of years in order to gain admittance to the then elitist FA.
The rest, as the saying goes, is history.
173 Posted 22/07/2020 at 09:22:43
You won't be criticising the evil non-Evertonian who is out to fleece our club until he has had the benefit of a transfer window. Next season at the earliest?
I've got 25 quid (to a charity of your choice) which says you won't be able to do it.
174 Posted 22/07/2020 at 09:35:39
Add in a one-way ref and I cannot understand why you think that adds up to the usual dross, Michael. I know you went on latter to expand your view but, if we played like that consistently, with the same stand out individual performances, we would have a real base to build on with new quality additions.
I for one would be really excited for the future; consistency though is not our style, that's the problem we can't solve ever, sadly.
175 Posted 22/07/2020 at 09:40:09
Just adding my preference: I want West Brom to come up (always loved them since days of 3 degrees) and Bournemouth (damn that means Everton losing). I used to live there, and it's a great place for long coastal walks, and had some great Rock pubs, back in the day.
176 Posted 22/07/2020 at 09:44:37
If I travel up there, it's usually 2 or 3 of us so hugely cheaper to drive but 5Â½ hours each way (without traffic) from where I am, and a 600-mile round trip. A long day.
177 Posted 22/07/2020 at 10:42:02
We did put a decent amount of attacking play together in the second half, as well as mounting a very effective defense, and perhaps my one-liner summary should have reflected that... something along the lines of:
A moment of superb genius amidst the usual dross was all that was worthy of note in a dreadful first half; then Everton mounted a solid defense to protect their lead, dull those nasty Blades, and strung together a few promising forward moves to suggest they can do better than in recent dreadful games (but without actually scoring).
178 Posted 22/07/2020 at 10:53:07
Football is a northern game. Over half of the league titles have been won by (old) Lancastrian clubs. The league was started by a coming together of Lancashire and the midlands elite:
Preston North End
West Bromwich Albion
179 Posted 22/07/2020 at 10:53:58
I think google is remarkable giving out such information, and I've often wondered why the founder members have never had any little emblems, emblazoned onto their shirts, maybe wondering if the pompous FA, have got anything to do with this?
180 Posted 22/07/2020 at 11:13:10
It's a thankless task reporting on a game of football, especially without time to reflect, and although Everton looked more compact, and more in control, I could understand where you was coming from, especially with the previous few performances obviously fresh in the mind?
I also agree with David, because the professionalism shown at times was encouraging, but football is all about consistency, because it's the only key to success
181 Posted 22/07/2020 at 11:17:41
182 Posted 22/07/2020 at 11:26:52
Rovers made the first final, and lost as depicted. Then Olympic won the final the year later. Then Rovers did. The series pretended the Olympic final never happened or that it was the Rovers side that did.
184 Posted 22/07/2020 at 13:15:00
You are tremendous (unintentional) comic value.
185 Posted 22/07/2020 at 13:38:48
Your incredibly long winded attack on all those imaginary people who think Carlo has stuck "rigidly" to 4-4-2 had me in stitches.. Another classic Wood own goal. You didnt even get beyond the first sentence this time.
I wonder how many people scratched their heads and wondered who the hell you were talking about ?
Richard Dunn must be willing you to keep posting so his unwanted record goes.
Mind you. he took an entire career to score ten OG`s. You look like your going to do it in a fortnight
186 Posted 22/07/2020 at 15:07:46
You love to create an imaginary enemy. A photo-fit, an avatar, a profile of 'all' those who waiver just slightly from your own absolutism on all subjects.
'This argument keeps shifting' you claim. What is this 'argument' of which you speak?
Different posters post different opinions on all things Everton. And some how you weave disparate opinions, on multiple issues, from multiple posters, and try to pass it off as something singular rather than what it is - diverse.
'Many posters have excused Ancelotti's ultra-negative approach by claiming he has no option.'
Not true on various levels. This implies all our games under Carlo have displayed an ultra-negative approach. They haven't. You just choose to ignore and filter out the games in which we played very well.
It further implies that 'many posters' were forgiving of the team's poor performances in the 4 games v Spurs, Saints, Wolves and Villa. They weren't. I didn't see anyone sugar-coating those performances.
'We were told these players can't play.' Yeah, by some doom-mongerers - including yourself. But there were plenty more who said the players are not performing to their full potential. That on occassions they HAD shown what they are capable of, but too sporadically. And that has been the case under all recent managers since Moshiri came on board, not just under Carlo Ancelotti.
As for this, 'When the argument was put up that Ferguson got them playing, his stint was denigrated. It was just a short burst which had petered out, they said.'
This is the total inverse of what the overwhelmingly majority view was of Duncan's short stint. TW overflowed with admiration, gratitude and respect for the Big Man, even from his self-confessed detractors.
You choose to filter out Duncan's own words that he wasn't ready for the full-time job and that the club should appoint a world class manager. They did.
You also contrive to filter out that in 1 1/2 of Duncan's 4 games Everton were poor. Very poor. Didn't get started in the 1st half v Leicester in the League Cup quarter-final and found themselves 2-0 at half-time, followed by a great recovery in the 2nd half (but still eliminated).
Duncan's final game v Arsenal you have previously tried to dress it up as something heroic, two ex-Everton players slogging it out. It wasn't. It was a dreadful 0-0 borefest of little quality, low on energy. If that performance had been under Carlo Ancelotti, I have no doubts how it would have been described by you. And 'generous' it wouldn't have been.
You say you used the last third of last season under Silva to demonstrate that, with the shackles off, these players can play.
Why refer to last season when you could have demonstrated the same by taking the FOURTEEN league games this season (more than a third of a season) following Silva's dismisal, up to the final game before the lockdown away to Chelsea? 3 under Duncan, 11 under Carlo. The last 14 games of last season under Silva yielded 21 points. The 14 games pre-lockdown this season yielded 23 points.
So these players can play well under any manager. But they don't always.
What's your point on this one, 'Dazza'..?
Nor are you alone in stating since the restart we have set up too defensively. What you won't acknowledge is others putting up perfectly legitimate reasons why this has possibly been the case.
One being that the memory of our last game before lockdown - being totally overrun by Chelsea - made Carlo think 'I'm not having that!' It is very apparent to me and others how much more solid we look when defending these days. Zonal marking is extremely effective under Carlo whereas under Silva there was trepedation whenever teams attacked us, both from open play and set plays.
I and others acknowledge the pendulum in some games since the restart has swung too far in favour of defensive rigidity to the cost of our forward play. DCL has suffered in particular as a result of this and has once again become too isolated.
Then there is the first opposition we played on re-start. 'Them'.
My recall of the game and the reaction on TW is that it lacked the usual pace and intensity of a typical Mersey Derby, but the free-scoring runaway leaders didn't really threaten our goal, whereas we most certainly threatened theres and had good opportunities to win it.
You can further factor in the unique and extreme mitigating circumstances of restarting the league after a 3 month hiatus, playing games in the summer months, travelling to and playing away games on the same day and the intensity of completing so many games in a compacted time span.
You can throw in team selection too. With injuries, with who is available, there are not many variations to radically shake things up.
But again, you filter all this out, determined as you are to argue against the photo-fit 'enemy within' you need to create.
'Crackpot excuses for cowardly football?'
Hyperbole. A total misrepresentation of what multiple posters are saying in a measured, balanced, legitimate way rather than the hysterical doom-filled manner others choose to react with.
187 Posted 22/07/2020 at 15:22:55
188 Posted 22/07/2020 at 15:30:20
Darren shouldn't really be a football supporter, especially on the Everton site as he doesn't have the psychological make-up to be able to see a big picture. Like you, I really don't understand what his point is as he never actually makes one â€“ just a series of whinges.
190 Posted 22/07/2020 at 15:40:21
191 Posted 22/07/2020 at 16:05:58
It was my elder brother who first tipped me off about this site many many moons ago. He told me there was a site with an enormous and diverse range of opinion, some really smart analysis, outspoken opinion and most importantly lashings of scouse humour that make it special. At that time there was a fellow named Eugene Ruane writing some very funny stuff at the fag end of the Moyes era.
Our Ashley no longer bothers to come here sadly. Minus the Eugene Ruanes, Tony Marsh, Ken Buckley and even Richard Dodd it had just become an iteration of Everton Reddit he reckoned.
In my view, this place is still special. We should all seek to keep it that way.
197 Posted 22/07/2020 at 17:35:01
198 Posted 22/07/2020 at 17:39:54
So Ancelotti's tactics suited him, as well as Gomes. I was wrong in my observations. Credit where credit is due.
I wouldn't analyse Darren and Jay's handbag spates too much, just all part of Toffeeweb.
199 Posted 22/07/2020 at 17:52:15
205 Posted 22/07/2020 at 19:01:23
Derek your brother was spot on.
When Eugene, John Daly and others posted invariably it was cutting but with no malice and also funny at the same time.
Unfortunately now certain people get personal and there's a nastiness to it.
A lot of people either leave, like your brother, or just give up on the thread which usually ruins some good conversation.
A shame really, ruins it for many
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