Transformed Everton Deliver a Statement of Intent

Lyndon Lloyd 14/09/2020 153comments  |  Jump to last
Tottenham Hotspur 0 - 1 Everton

2013 — the last time Everton won away at a “big six” team; 2012 — the last time Everton beat Tottenham; 2008 — the last time Everton won on Tottenham’s home turf. All three of those unwanted statistics tumbled this afternoon and while there is a discussion to be had around the extent to which the absence of fans reduces home advantage, take nothing away from this performance, the magnitude of the result and the transformation this Blues side has undergone since this same fixture just seven games ago.

This was night and day from that miserable display in early July when a pretty awful Spurs edged an utterly dreadful Everton thanks to a Michael Keane own goal. A defeat that effectively ended any notion of the Toffees sneaking into a European qualification place was attributed on these pages to “a black hole of a midfield, one devoid of guile, imagination and drive, where the first instinct is to go backwards because of an inability to play through an opposition press”. Today, victory was founded on a completely revamped mid-section, with three new signings making stellar debuts in royal blue.

If Carlo Ancelotti appeared a little helpless in the run-in to 2019-20 as a number of players exhibited signs of either having lost their way or were simply “phoning it in” over the final nine games, the Italian knew exactly what he needed to strengthen this team and get it moving in the right direction again. Had he and Marcel Brands had their way, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg would have been first through the door during the close season; instead, after the Dane had unequivocally chosen North London over Merseyside, they turned to Allan and Abdoulaye Doucouré. And while Højbjerg might be younger, there was strong evidence today that the two men who ended up at Everton are much better players.

Højbjerg was part of a Tottenham team made to look largely toothless and ordinary by an Everton performance that was high on octane, organisation, cohesion and which ensured that Ancelotti’s men comfortably won the battle in midfield. Indeed, the former Southampton’s only notable contribution was an ugly, borderline-red tackle on Richarlison late on that rather summed up the hosts’ frustrations.

Jose Mourinho bitched after the game about the spot from where Lucas Digne took the free-kick that led to Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s majestic headed winner and he eschewed the opportunity to give the Toffees any credit but he will know that while the visitors had Jordan Pickford to thank for two top-drawer saves in the first half, this could and should have been a heavier defeat for his Lilywhites. His Spurs side were on the whole out-played and dominated on the day.

With better finishing from Richarlison, Ancelotti would, indeed, be toasting a bigger victory but when your star attacker can still emerge from a game winning plaudits for his tenacity and his role alongside Calvert-Lewin in simply wearing the opponents down, you know it was a good day. And it was a very good day against what is normally a very good team.

From front to back, this was an Everton that looked hungry, determined but also finally confident in its own ability thanks to the new boys and they dominated the early exchanges. Mourinho admitted in his pre-match press conference that on the back of their transfer business, he now considered the Blues genuine rivals for the top six but even he might have been surprised by the way Ancelotti’s men set about controlling the ball until Spurs finally got to grips with them to a degree as the first half wore on.

Everton should have been a goal up after a quarter of an hour, though when Richarlison’s opportunism created a gilt-edged chance when he sprinted onto Ben Davies’s wayward pass, beat Toby Alderweireld to the ball and then rounded Hugo Lloris. His last touch took him a little too far wide, however, and with Calvert-Lewin free in the centre waiting to tap it in, the Brazilian went for glory and sliced an off-balance effort well off target.

Tottenham showed their own attacking threat in the 24th minute when Son Hueng-Min curled a wicked ball over the Everton defence and in front of Pickford but it just eluded the out-stretched boot of Harry Kane.

Eight minutes later, Spurs broke at speed in a two-on-two situation where Dele Alli had a chance to slip Kane in for a clear chance on goal but went for it himself and Pickford reacted brilliantly to push his shot over the crossbar.

For Everton, Allan was efficiently going about his business closing down spaces, winning the ball, and handing it off with the minimum of fuss and Doucouré was covering ground, claiming second balls, driving forward with purpose but was also alert enough to put in an excellent stretching tackle to stop Lucas Moura from racing away. James Rodriguez, meanwhile, was oozing class with every silky touch and pin-point accurate cross-field pass and he would create more chances in a game than any Everton player has for two years. After choking a shot earlier on his weaker right foot, he collected the ball following a Doucouré interception and bounced a trademark left-foot shot inches wide of Lloris’s right-hand post.

Despite the Merseysiders’ superiority, it was the Londoners who fashioned the best move of the half when their other debutant, Matt Doherty, played a one-two with Kane, latching onto the latter’s scooped ball over the top and aiming a shot for the far corner of the goal but Pickford was equal to it, making an impressive save with his foot to divert the ball away to safety.

Perhaps acknowledging that his team were being bested in midfield, Mourinho withdrew Alli and introduced Moussa Sissoko at half-time but it did little to alter the pattern of play. This Everton is a much more formidable proposition and once again it was they who had the better chances early in the half. Calvert-Lewin played an inviting ball across the area to James but he uncharacteristically scuffed his shot before the Colombian floated a teasing ball to the back stick where Richarlison had time to chest it down and perhaps bury it past Lloris but he attempted a header instead and failed to make proper contact.

The goal, when it came, was not from the cultured boot of Rodriguez or the mercurial Richarlison but emphatically from the head of a man about whom questions were raised at the tail end of last season when he failed to score at all during the nine games of “Project Restart”. When Richarlison was fouled wide on the left and Digne whipped the ball behind the defence, it was Calvert-Lewin who rose powerfully and purposefully in the image of his Finch Farm mentor, Duncan Ferguson, and despatched an unstoppable header high into Lloris’s goal. It was a thumping finish worthy of any Everton No.9 and a worthy winning goal.

Everton became a little sloppy with the ball at times after the goal and they invited a little more pressure than was necessary as a result but Tottenham would barely trouble Everton in the second half. When they tried, Pickford displayed pleasing command of his box with two fearless punches to clear his area.

Lucas Moura and Son were shackled and stymied by the imperious central defensive pairing of Yerry Mina and Michael Keane and a terrier-like, wind-back-the-clock display by captain Seamus Coleman; Kane cut a frustrated figure up front; and Doherty tired visibly before being withdrawn later in the half having failed to cause the Toffees any further grief.

Instead, it was Richarlison who would rue a couple of near misses with near-carbon-copy efforts in the 69th and 72nd minutes, both right-foot shots searching out the far post but which lacked the requisite curl to bring them inside the upright. Coleman, meanwhile, sent a speculative 25-yard volley at Lloris that the goalkeeper safely gathered.

Other than a late chance for Calvert-Lewin to double his tally off Doucouré’s smart ball forward that ended with another shot too close to the keeper, the finale was merely about Ancelotti using his substitutes’ bench to kill the game. André Gomes, who had looked much more at ease relieved of his defensive midfield duties and deployed further forward, made way for Gylfi Sigurdsson on 68 minutes before Calvert-Lewin and then Rodriguez were taken off in the final few minutes in favour of Moise Kean and Tom Davies to kill the clock.

Ancellotti promised that his Everton team would be more competitive this season and his players delivered on that pledge in spades. Combative, resilient but also confident and composed, they bossed this match at times and were more than deserving of the points despite Mourinho’s churlishness. It was notable that Rodriguez, the stand-out player on the pitch in the first 45 minutes, was largely peripheral in the second period, able to play a “Messi-esque” role of only exerting himself when needed to ping another delightful ball to the opposite flank or nonchalantly flick the ball past an opponent before gliding away from him to set up another attack.

Allan was the recipient of the man-of-the-match award from Sky Sports but, in truth, there were half a dozen or more candidates for the accolade in the Toffees’ ranks. With the addition of Allan’s bite, Doucouré’s industry and the mesmerising talent of Rodriguez, Brands and Ancelotti have completely re-made the midfield and dramatically upgraded the effectiveness of the team as a result.

Granted, this was just one match at the start of a long season and Evertonians are more than accustomed to disappointment, heartbreak and false dawns but this feels different — the effect of a top-class manager stamping his will and class on a team with targeted acquisitions and a touch of magic. If this is to be the platform from which this side gets better as the new players settle in and attain full match fitness and results like this breed confidence, then these could be the beginnings of exciting times at Everton... if so, we haven't half earned them!

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Reader Comments (153)

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John Boon
1 Posted 14/09/2020 at 04:02:10
Glad to be one of the first to comment on a first class report about a first class team lead by a first class manager. The game has been over for over 12 hours but I have already watched it again to make absolutely sure I wasn't dreaming. Yes, I was wide awake and I watched Everton's best display in a long time.

Your report was exactly as I saw the game. Our three new champions playing their first game as Blues were superb. However so were all those who wore the shirt proudly and so efficiently.

I have been watching Everton since 1947 and what I saw today gave all supporters a glimmer of what might be our team for the 2020s. I really hope so. CYOB

James Flynn
2 Posted 14/09/2020 at 04:13:58
Like that action photo on the main page. Calvert-Lewin bossing it.
Alan J Thompson
3 Posted 14/09/2020 at 05:26:08
Does anybody still question Mr Ancelotti's pedigree? It is only the first game but it does fill you with more than optimism.
Santa Krsh
4 Posted 14/09/2020 at 06:11:34
Couple of Points... credit where it is due to some of the older players.

Did anyone notice Pickford's starting position during one of the corners? He was actually in the middle of the 6-yard box, which gives him a split second more to catch the ball instead of letting it come into the box and haplessly watching it being nudged into the goal, which was the case till last season, when he was rooted to the line!!!

The next point is about André Gomes, there were some in the live forum who were moaning about him but what I saw from him was a delicious through ball to Calvert-Lewin. If he had let it through instead of stopping it in the blocks, he would have been one-on-one with Lloris.

Also, some of his crossfield balls to James and Coleman got lost in all the euphoria around our new "Scousetico". He was also the first press at times which again points to Carlo's tactics to try and use him further forward where he seems to be more at home.

The last point is a bit of a greedy one. Is there any chance we could get Coutinho? He has one the sweetest curlers with his right foot, and he could actually bang in a few with James supplying some delicious crossfield passes!!! I know it's difficult... but can Carlo work his magic one more time?

Rick Tarleton
5 Posted 14/09/2020 at 07:04:07
A midfield with an engine! This was a concept we have not seen at Everton for a long, long time. The three new players were simply effective and it changed the whole ethos of Everton's performance.

Doucouré's running, Allan's reading of the game and ability to recycle the ball, and Rodriguez's touch, they not only provided the forwards with good quality ball, but they gave the defenders cover, so that Keane and Mina looked rock solid.

I was truly impressed and I'm a "glass half-empty" kind of guy.

Jay Evans
6 Posted 14/09/2020 at 07:29:15
One word - unrecognisable.

As they say, one swallow doesn’t make a summer so I won’t be getting carried away too much but even so, how enjoyable was that ?

I noticed Carlo switched Keane and Mina around which seemed to help the Columbian when he was in possession. It also meant he was closer to his fellow countryman, James, throughout the match. Only a small thing I know but it seemed to work.

Also, keep up the good work Pickford. 2 great saves at important times as well as catching and punching crosses appropriately.

Onward Evertonians. Salford next. Don’t ring the changes please Carlo.

As you were blues, as they say.

Jerome Shields
7 Posted 14/09/2020 at 07:43:19
I am glad, Lyndon, you called out Mourinho reaction to defeat for what it was. His team were technically and tactically out-played and he used excuses blaming his players.

The three additions' play was neat, positive, direct and unwasteful. That's the example that needs to emanate from Everton's midfield. It needs to catch on more amongst the younger players. . . and the old players that don't, need to know that the previous dross is not acceptable for selection.

On to the training ground this week for this message to be pushed further.

Joe McMahon
8 Posted 14/09/2020 at 07:47:32
First game I know, but if there was ever evidence needed (CV says it all) that Carlo knows what he is doing, the 3 new additions is the evidence. I just loved how all of a sudden there is more fluidity with our play.

When you have worked with the midfield players Carlo has (some of the best in the world), he knows what a class midfield looks like.

Bob Parrington
9 Posted 14/09/2020 at 07:56:36
Delighted to watch us look like we knew what we were doing from minute 1. Massive difference to the previous 'n' seasons. Take-outs for me in particular are:

Gomes looked completely in place with this group of midfield players. All three of the new midfield group performed really well.

Pickford was much calmer if not yet 100% right - but much improved.

Keane was really composed and commanding.

Mina was just about error free

We could have scored 4 or more! Such was our dominance.

James may not have scored but showed his class with his passing, his ability to move effortlessly away from and beyond opposing players and Allan broke down so many Spurs moves.

I hate to state this but, even though Seamus did some great defending, I think we need him to be No 2 to a world-class right-back if we are to be in the top 3.

Well done, team, and well done, Carlo and staff!

Phil Lewis
10 Posted 14/09/2020 at 08:04:13
Spot on Lyndon, a very thorough report. At last, a bright new dawn is finally emerging, please God.

I've been screaming for a new keeper for such a long time but, if Pickford continues to perform as he did yesterday, I will be happily silenced. The team transformation was nothing short of miraculous. The new players have raised the bar and their teammates responded perfectly.

It is a long season, one or two more new signings, of similar quality to the recent acquisitions, are still required to bolster the squad in times of injuries, suspensions, loss of form etc. And the real deadwood still needs to be shifted.

But it may well prove to be the case, that certain supposedly talented individuals who have justifiably been criticised in the past for dismal performances, could at last find some consistency in their play. Something which we have only seen flashes of in the past. We all know who they are. The new players have provided them with a platform to finally shine.

Sam Bowen
11 Posted 14/09/2020 at 08:25:37
Man for man from one to eleven all played well. I couldn't find a fault with anyone apart from Richarlison's finishing but he was also superb and, on another day, he gets a couple of goals. Such a threat and James was looking, and finding him every time. Instant relationship.

Big performance from Pickford, that's how you do it. Make the big saves, command your area and no stupid mistakes. Long may it continue.

Fantastic start. Now's the time to really capitalise on the positivity and I'd go all out for Zaha before the window closes. Think we could still use another attacking option and in some games a front three of Calvert-Lewin, Zaha and Richarlison with James dropping into midfield would be perfect. Wishful thinking but I think it would really enable us to compete all season.

Phil Lewis
12 Posted 14/09/2020 at 08:40:34
Just read Ancelotti's comment: "Last season, we had players who looked good on the ball. In football, you have to play without the ball."

What a perfect summing up of Everton's past deficiency in one short simple sentence.

I have to confess that I had serious doubts about you, Carlo. But please accept my apology, I take it all back.

Neil Cremin
13 Posted 14/09/2020 at 08:43:23
This was a terrific performance, hard work, will to win, with a touch of class from James.

However, as usual, my biggest worry is that Pickford is still a ticking bomb and the weakest link in this team. He made two brilliant one-on-one saves (which are his trademark) but that's his job. He did improve in the second half with his dominance of the 6-yard box, even catching a cross. However, he terrifies me when we play the ball back to him, yesterday he thought he was James when he twice tried to dribble around a forward to create space to kick out. He still puts his defenders under pressure in tight situations.

Finallly my biggest moan of all is his kick outs where he put at least 5 kick outs directly out of play. A rugby half-back would be proud of that return.

Chris Williams
14 Posted 14/09/2020 at 08:48:23
There is an ingrained Evertonian reticence that prevents too much effusiveness, understandably, given serial false dawns and disappointments.

I'm left with the feeling that there is clearly a plan in place and a promise that this team will improve as it beds in, and some of the established players raise their game to match all three of the new players.

A breath of fresh air, some lovely football and some hope. More please!

Dan Nulty
15 Posted 14/09/2020 at 08:56:20
Agree with most of the comments above.

Lots of positive signs. Unfortunately, we don't have that much time to work on training ground with a game Wednesday and again at the weekend. Looking ahead, we have 3 international fixtures in a week in October. Ridiculous.

I just hope our best players are not over-worked as, whilst undoubtedly our starting eleven is significantly stronger, the bench looks weak to me and not many on there that could change a game if we needed them too.

Really chuffed but not getting ahead of myself. Going to be frustrating days as well as good ones. Hopefully, more of the latter for a change

Ray Roche
16 Posted 14/09/2020 at 08:57:04

If a stranger were watching the game there’s no way he would think that Seamus needed replacing. He was terrific, playing against Son who is still a top forward. Doherty has been mentioned as ‘one who got away’ but Seamus was head and shoulders above him yesterday.

Rennie Smith
17 Posted 14/09/2020 at 09:09:52
I disagree Bob@9, I thought Seamus had a great game, and I was one who was hoping Kenny might be the right-back pick. Ok he's not going to be up-and-down as much these days but it looked like he got forward when he needed to.

To echo many comments, the 3 new recruits were excellent, particularly like Allan's organising. James is obviously going to get the headlines with his profile, and he clearly is a talent (strange how left-footed players always seem more naturally gifted?).

Nice to see Pickford having a solid game as well, should silence some of his doubters on this site for a while. Well the next game at least!

Steve Ferns
18 Posted 14/09/2020 at 09:11:58
Alan, did anyone really question Ancelotti's pedigree? No one has won more Champions League trophies as a manager. He's in the triple club with Paisley and Zidane.

I did have doubts over his hunger and whether his methods were now old-fashioned and dated. I also thought he needs a top class coach to do the training ground work for him, as at every major club he's been at, he still might. But so far he's dispelling all those doubts and long may it continue.

I was also highly critical of Michael Keane, saying he can only play well in a low block. Whilst it was not a high line yesterday, it wasn't far off and with proper midfielders in front of him, he was not exposed and had a good game. Looks like, to use Gaynes's expression, I might have to “eat some crow” on him!

Chris Green
19 Posted 14/09/2020 at 09:17:34
As everyone above has said, only a first game, but such a transformation.

Pickford, two excellent saves and more dominance of his box. Coleman dealt with Son well, especially first half. Keane and Mina looked excellent. Digne was his usual self and a delicious delivery for the goal.

Allan was immense, tidy, efficient, moving the ball constantly. Doucouré, what an engine and pace. Gomes, looked confident and the passing with the other midfielders was a joy to watch.

James looked comfortable, with time and you can see the creativity. Richarlison worked his socks off, should have scored at least 2 but never stops. Calvert-Lewin... beautiful header. It's what he should do more. Big strong powerful lad and has all the attributes. I really want him to succeed.

Just a wonderful performance, enjoyable to watch football and more to come. Well done, Carlo and team!!

Christopher Timmins
20 Posted 14/09/2020 at 09:22:52
Just a completely different team to the one that finished last season. We now have a presence in midfield and we owned the ball. As a result our central defenders looked more at ease and were rarely under pressure. With a bit more composure up front we might have won by two or three goals.

Let's hope that yesterday marks the start of something really good, however, we have to bear in mind that Spurs were very poor and it's only the first game of the season.

Mike Manchester
21 Posted 14/09/2020 at 09:33:36
A little strange but. James Rodriguez reminds me of Gareth Barry. No pace to speak of but the technique and foresight means that he looks like he has more time on the ball than others and never has to panic.

I've been watching since 1996, and don't remember too many team performances as accomplished as that. COYB

Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
22 Posted 14/09/2020 at 09:39:53
What is this need for Zaha?

Who of Gomes, Doucoure, Allan and Rodriguez has to drop out of the team to fit him in? Do we really want to go 4-3-3?
Or do we want to put him on the bench as an impact sub?

Given Moanrinio's complaints about another forward, then I think he may be off to "3 points lane". Football is all about having the best players for the formation you are playing. Remember those dark days of Gerrard and Lampard in the England team and playing the best players but sacrificing the best formation simply to shoehorn them in.

Yesterday, we had the best formation with the best players playing to their strengths in the formation set up by the manager. Good day to be a blue. Thanks, Carlo.

Danny Broderick
23 Posted 14/09/2020 at 09:40:38
The one thing I was confident Ancelotti would address is our midfield. He has won the lot, firstly as a midfielder but also as a manager.

Brands also seems to have had a good window after 2 years of ups and downs - mainly downs. He seems to have worked in sync with Carlo and our recruitment has been very precise. We’ve paid good prices as well.

Lots of positive signs at the moment. Stiffening up the midfield seems to have transformed us. And Rodriguez looks like a potential superstar.

We need to hope some clubs get desperate towards the end of the window and take some of our deadwood off us. That will round off a great window and pre season for us.

Dan Nulty
24 Posted 14/09/2020 at 09:41:22
Understand what you mean with the comparisons to Barry but they are worlds apart.

I genuinely cannot believe how good he was. No fear, quick over 5 yards to get himself in space or away from trouble.

I do wish Richarlison would play with a smile on his face. Doesn't fill me with confidence when he looms miserable the whole time.

Is it just me that thinks that playing without crowds actually benefits us? I think taking away that pressure when low on confidence as we have been for years allows the players to just express themselves. Hopefully, a good start and then fans coming back in to grounds will lead to a great run.

Paul Tran
25 Posted 14/09/2020 at 09:43:21
Anyone who questions Seamus's performance will need to consider how James left, and will continue to leave, him exposed to counter-attacks.

We'll find a way around that, because I'd just let James float around and do what he wants after yesterday.

I'm looking forward to seeing how consistent we can be. And I'm genuinely looking forward to watching us next game, out of joy & anticipation rather than duty. That shows me what a very good start yesterday was.

Brian Harrison
26 Posted 14/09/2020 at 09:44:33

You can't question his pedigree; it's there in the history books – only 2 other managers have won 3 Champions Leagues.

But you questioned whether he still had the desire or whether his methods were outdated. Yet you backed our previous manager to the hilt and he couldn't hold a candle to Ancelotti.

Mind, you weren't alone in questioning Ancelotti. This was before he had even bought a player. Yesterday was only one game and there is a long way to go to turn this club around, but I feel more confident in Ancelotti being able to do this than most managers in our history.

Just a pity Moshiri couldn't have got him when he took over the club, imagine if Ancelotti had a budget of £450 million. If he had we would be talking top 4 or even better.

Rob Halligan
27 Posted 14/09/2020 at 09:47:07
As far as I'm concerned, I'm still waiting for us to win away at a so-called big club, as I don't class Spurs in that category. Seriously, what have they done to justify being called one of the elite Premier League clubs?

Their record in winning trophies over the last 20 - 25 years is as bad as ours. They may have spent a few years in the Champions League... so what? But, in my opinion, it will be a good few more years before they get there again.

If anyone can convince me they deserve to be classed as one of the so-called big clubs, then fair enough. As Jim Royle would say, "Spurs, big club? My arse!"

Anyway, onto the game. A fantastic performance, and great debut for all three new signings. The service provided by Jmaes looks promising for the season, as Richarlison could have easily scored a couple from his crosses. Defence looked solid and Pickford appears to have had a rocket shoved up his rear!

The midfield looked unrecognizable, with some great challenges put in by Allan to break up their play, well aided by Doucouré. The only downside for me being we could, and probably should, have won by a bigger margin, but 38 1-0 wins and hey ho!!

Brian Murphy
28 Posted 14/09/2020 at 10:26:46
Great report Lyndon. Normally I would say after winning a game that I need to bottle this feeling as next week we will be back to normal and the air will be let out of my balloon. Yesterday somehow felt so different. After 15 minutes on the clock, I was genuinely excited. This was football that I haven't seen in such a long time for the Blues.

I am amazed how quickly these new players integrated and they have only been with us for a week. There was so much excitement and I can heap praise on the new signings but the effect these new players seemed to have on the rest of the Team was amazing. The level of performance of everybody was a number of steps up on last season. Richarlison probably had a poor enough day but got better as he went along.

One thing I will say is with that midfield I think he will get 20+ goals this season no problem. Calvert-Lewin... it remains to be seen but, if he chips in with 20, then we are really are off the to the races.

There were lots of standout moments in the performance but one that really stood out for me was the Doucouré interception in the first half where he came flying through the middle and won the ball in front of the Spurs player, he then laid it off to James who had a shot just left of the far post.

That right there was exactly what we have been missing in midfield with the pedestrian nature of the last few seasons. You of course need guile but you do need energy in this league also and that was there yesterday.

Early days but my cup of Joe is tasting better than it has for a long time this morning after the opening day of the season.


Tony Everan
29 Posted 14/09/2020 at 10:31:43
Lyndon, excellent match report. It is a delight to read such a joyous article from yourself after these long years of dissecting failure and mediocrity.

One swallow does not a summer make, but there are 37 dots above the horizon. When I look through my binoculars I can just make them out, they are all swallows.

Michael Lynch
30 Posted 14/09/2020 at 10:49:33
Presumably, Carlo told the board that he needed to sign the finished article this time around, rather than promising youngsters. He got his way, and we have an instant midfield that looks as good as any in the league. My only concern is that we have very little depth in the squad - although being able to bring on Siggy for Gomes is good.

Once Richie finds his shooting boots, I can see us running up a few big wins this autumn, hopefully starting with WBA.

How great would a full-house welcome for the new boys have been at Goodison? Doesn't bear thinking about.

David Connor
31 Posted 14/09/2020 at 11:09:36
That was a top class performance all be it against a meek Spurs team.Compared to last seasons garbage this was like night and day and long may it continue.I would still like to see a decent striker added to the squad before the end of this transfer window.

Let's not forget this was Carlo's first transfer window and what a triumph it's been. Onwards and upwards. Heads down. Keep grafting and get stuck into every team we play against and we could be right up there.

Can't wait to get back to Goodison to cheer this lot on. Great times ahead blues fans. Enjoy.
Rennie Smith
32 Posted 14/09/2020 at 11:09:51
Mike@21, not sure James would be pleased with being compared to Gareth Barry! They're not quite in the same frame, but I get your point. Sometimes you need that luxury player, although Seamus will need more protection occasionally. He is going to be the main supplier this season as per the stats:

"The first Premier League debutant to create at least five chances since Alexis Sanchez for Arsenal in August 2014."

Jamal Paktongko
33 Posted 14/09/2020 at 11:29:09
All we need to do now is to figure out a way to get rid of Sigurdsson, Besic, Bernard and the rest of the dead woods.

Keep the young un's for development now they have the right role models

Simon Jones
34 Posted 14/09/2020 at 11:48:07
I'm expecting our defence to look a million times better this season as we won't continually lose the ball in dangerous positions and will occupy the opposition further up the field.
Mal van Schaick
35 Posted 14/09/2020 at 12:17:27
Great result. The midfield was the problem last season and we still have some of them on the books that I would like to be rid of. The three we brought in were excellent and if we can add another two in midfield and a striker we have a chance of top six.
Bob Parrington
36 Posted 14/09/2020 at 12:52:31
Sorry to TWebbers but need to go off subject for a mo. Chris Williams - Glad to see you back on line. I was getting a bit worried not seeing posts from you.

With your 50th wedding anniversary coming soon, how are you coping with making it the special occasion?

in regards to the win at Spurs (keeping on target) - what a superb start to our season?

John Pierce
37 Posted 14/09/2020 at 13:01:29
Seamus did have a good game, clearly targeted too by Spurs using Son to expose him and Ali to double down on him.
In part because we kept the ball, he was never under huge swathes or pressure but he did handle most stuff.

He’s shown he can still do it, but not for 38 games. That’s why it’s still hugely important we get a younger right back who can compliment James, to cover and allow him to drift. Typically yesterday Allan filled the hole when James was left upfield, but encouraging signs our veteran can still hack it, because honestly I thought he was done. Nice one Seamus!

Michael Jones
38 Posted 14/09/2020 at 13:08:51
Please stop undermining our goalkeeper. Southgate obviously rates him and if Jordan ever reads some of the posts on this page it would seriously undermine his confidence.
He has never been responsible alone in some abject displays last season
Tony Abrahams
39 Posted 14/09/2020 at 13:10:18
Seriously John? I’d say he his the best defensive defender at the club, and I don’t think Jonjoe will let us down defensively either? That’s a bold shout I know, because if Rodríguez continues to play on the right then this is definitely an area that teams will try and expose, so a full-back who can defend is imperative.
Alan McGuffog
40 Posted 14/09/2020 at 13:26:27
Absolutely delighted with the performance yesterday. Next weekend will be a statement of intent. On paper we play a weaker side than Spurs and we'll be in front of our own fans, both of them.
I've lost count of the number of times over the years we've done the hard part and then disappointed in the next game. The dreaded false syndrome.
I, for one, will be made up to grind out an ugly one goal victory over the Baggies.
Forza azzuri!
Mike Gaynes
41 Posted 14/09/2020 at 13:28:02
Lyndon, terrific report. I'm particularly interested in your statement that James "would create more chances in a game than any Everton player has for two years." Details please? How many, and who created more two years ago?

Phil #12, my ears perked up at the same statement, and it's clear that Carlo will be emphasizing that aspect of our play in training throughout the season. Seeing the ball on James' foot should make any player want to run into space.

Neil #13, Jamie C. was moaning about the same thing on the Forum yesterday, and I think it's just a very unimportant gripe when compared with stopping shots and controlling the box as Pickford did yesterday. A keeper's first responsibility when clearing the ball is to put it where the opponent cannot bring it right back at him, especially when we're defending a one-goal lead with tired legs. Pickford was aiming for DCL and Rich along the touchlines, and a few times it sailed beyond them, resulting in a Spurs throw-in 60 yards from our goal. I'm absolutely fine with that. Any counterattacks Pickford can initiate with his distribution are a nice bonus, but certainly not a requirement.

Steve #18, wish I'd invented the term, because the residuals would be terrific for my finances! But I agree with your point, and it emphasizes my previously expressed views that the three new additions would help our defense as much as our attack because they wouldn't lose the ball in midfield as we have so often in recent seasons. That proved out as Mina and Keane were able to play the higher line with less fear of sudden counterattacks resulting from errors in the middle of the pitch. And I don't know if anybody else noticed, but Mina's passes out of the back were faultlessly accurate.

Michael #30, I have no such concerns. Assuming Carlo gives Sunday's midfield starters the day off, we will start at Salford this week with Siggy, Iwobi, Davies, and either Bernard or Gordon -- our starting midfield for much of last season. That's superb depth. We lack strong reserves only up front and in goal.

Phil #22, agree. Zaha to me is not a priority at all, especially given his still-inflated price tag.

Mike #21, aside from the cultured left foot, it would be hard to think of two more different players than Barry and Rodriguez!

Gary Reeves
42 Posted 14/09/2020 at 13:33:13
Great performance yesterday,hard to pick a MOTM but I'd go for Pickford who looked like he finally knew there was quality in front of him and visibly raised his own game.

Nice that we can critique on the back of a victory but here's mine for what it's worth. . We've spent a couple of seasons developing DCL as a traditional centre-forward and now it looks like we've assembled a midfield that probably won't be looking to feed a traditional centre-forward! True he buried the one cross he got like Nat Lofthouse,and boy did I jump off my sofa but DCL is going to have to learn to adapt (again!) to those 'slide throughs' à la Fernando Torres,which I'm not sure is his game.

But anyway it's a small point and hopefully I'm worrying unnecessarily. Well done,great start,nice to get up on a Monday feeling positive. COYB.
Kieran Kinsella
43 Posted 14/09/2020 at 13:46:40
It is interesting how many away teams won this weekend in the top two tiers. The thing to remember though is the lack of fans doesn’t give the away team an advantage it removes an advantage the home team ordinarily had. So it’s essentially a level playing field where the best team wins. But players apart, I think it’s refs who are more impacted by crowds. So many get intimidated at Anfield when fans react as if “how dare you give a call against us.” Somehow refs at Goodson seem to adopt a more belligerent view of “I won’t be bullied by the crowd.” But anyway as I say it’s presently a level playing field and clearly we were by far the better team
John Pierce
44 Posted 14/09/2020 at 13:47:53
Tony, I’ve pontificated about it a bit. Please do not get me wrong Seamus was superb and you are right to say the style of right back needs to be more defensive to compliment James. This something Seamus can do. James is most likely to play from the right and drift inside, the right back will effectively play with little cover.

If we keep the ball well, and it looks like we can, we will get caught less in transition.
However last 15 minutes James was only notionally involved and gave Seamus nothing to help out. A couple of times he waved the Spurs player through. Now, sure James is only 80% fit, so improvement is needed. But I want James to feel like he can gamble.

The crux for me is the right back needs to be technically gifted. We are still ponderous at the back and the ball speed slows down often when Seamus receives the ball, in part the distribution, but most he isn’t that good technically often bobbling the ball. The angle gets closed off, it more often than not goes backwards.

A better technician handles bad balls better and most importantly get the ball to James quickly.

Last word to Seamus for the way he handled the Moura/Kane breakaway in the first half. Gave them nothing when outnumbered.

Paul Baxter
45 Posted 14/09/2020 at 13:51:41
Players that are a step above the rest always seem to have more time and look like everything is in slow motion. I noticed a few on the live forum saying this about Rodríguez yesterday and it is so true, he just glides past players and picks the pass out.
Chris Williams
46 Posted 14/09/2020 at 13:56:47

Bob, thanks for your good wishes and concern. I’m ok thanks, as are the rest of my family. I refrained from posting because I wanted to give TW a rest from my COVID obsession. It’s not really the place is it?

We’d hoped to have a big get together on 26th September, but it had been obvious for a while that wasn’t happening, so we’ve deferred the big do for 12 months, and in the hope that a viable vaccine is available. Instead we’re just having a socially distanced get together of close local family, part of which will be in the back garden weather permitting. Rule of 6 will apply! Special present and cake arranged, but that’s a secret! I’m doing the cooking too.

The display on Sunday was heartening wasn’t it? Everybody stepped up and performed, and the 3 newcomers were each superb.

Most people on here would be unsurprised that sorting out the midfield was the priority, but the impetus going forward, and the solidity in defending was a bit of an eye opener. They treated the ball with respect, keeping possession and passing with care. But they passed progressively, what Carlo called vertically. Allan looks like the Gueye replacement we needed and with Doucouré allows the likes of Gomes( and dare I say Sigurdsson ) the time and space to do their best work. Pace, power, tenacity and skill. James looks like a throwback to previous times to me. The first couple of yards are in his head, and he has a mental picture of where everyone is. Sheedyesque left foot.

It just feels that the plan is in place and we’re back on track after a series of detours. Time will improve the cohesion, and a couple of judicious deals or loans for a pacy central defender and one other won’t harm. But a few outgoings as well I’d guess.

Fingers crossed for a good season replete with silky soccer!

Take care Bob

Jamie Crowley
47 Posted 14/09/2020 at 14:06:18
Neil Cremona @ 13 -

I couldn’t agree more! Jordan, despite marking some absolutely brilliant saves and some punches Mike Tyson would be proud of, still gives me a heart attack when he’s on the ball.

And out-kicking everyone on the pitch or kicking it into touch literally drives me mad. It’s just giving the ball directly back to the opponent. Drives me absolutely crazy!

I’ve been hesitant to post on it because we played so, so well yesterday why would we focus on any negative? Including Jordan! Without him it’s a whole different ballgame. Great couple of saves he made. He’s just as responsible for three points as James, Allan, Doucoure, DCL, all of them.

But it is absolutely an area of improvement Jordan needs to make.

Neil Cremin
48 Posted 14/09/2020 at 14:06:25
If he was accurate he could put it into space for DCL and Richie to attack, they are fast enough.

I am also very nervous everytime a ball is passed back to Jordan. I only think it is a matter of time before he gets too cocky again and we get caught out. He played with fire on a number of occasions in the first half and that worried me.

Believe me, I hope I am wrong but I have to express what I feel watching a game and almost everything else in yesterdays game was so encouraging, even Jordans second half dominance of the 6 yard area.

Thanks Jamie

John Pierce
49 Posted 14/09/2020 at 14:12:06
Neil, I think you know I’m not a fan of a Jordans and still believe he’s a medium term problem to resolve.
I’d agree his much vaunted distribution still needs improvement. Those long kicks were often under little pressure and they are not just a little awry they were off the radar!
In his defense I’d ask you to look at his demeanor yesterday, it was by his standards, calm and unfussy. No histrionics, no ridiculous gestures. He looked focused and solid. It’s the kind of base performance I want from him, don’t you agree?
Robert Tressell
50 Posted 14/09/2020 at 14:12:51
I don't doubt that Rodriguez will start in the number 10 position from time to time. However, we benefited yesterday from quantity as well as quality in the midfield. Having 3 bodies in there gave us a grip on the match.

While we're bedding things in, I like Rodriguez starting on the right but drifting around as a playmaker as opposed to someone playing up and down the flank.

A pacey dribbler would be good too - but we must be just about done on spending now. Maybe Dalot on loan as an adventurous option at RB rather than the very expensive Zaha.

Brian Murphy
51 Posted 14/09/2020 at 14:21:54
John 44: I disagree slightly on Seamus. Look firstly he has been immense for the club. A huge servant on and off the field, a real credit to himself. In truth he’s not been the player he was since that prick Taylor broke his leg playing for Ireland, the bastard should have got jail time for that.

Secondly though while he hasn’t been brilliant the last 2 seasons, he and the rest of the defence have been constantly under the pump sitting behind that midfield we had. The entire defence looked better yesterday, Jesus big Yerry looked like Baresi at times. All because they were protected much better and had more time on the ball. Also, Seamus’s decision making in defensive situations as you alluded too was top class on a few occasions. Seamus certainly isn’t Cafu but is technically decent.

Now we all know his best days are behind him but with Kenny there also (if he stays or if we get Arias) I'm not too concerned about right back. I would be more worried about left back as we have no cover for Digne at all.
Anyway its all good. Nearly 24 hours on and I’m still happy as a pig in shit.

Neil Cremin
52 Posted 14/09/2020 at 14:30:54
Yes, I agree John.
Much calmer. If you look through my comments, there has been a noticeable improvement in areas which I was previously nervous about. Six yard box dominance and organising the players in front of him. However, I still worry about the teams tendency to pass the ball back to Jordan as I worry what he will try to do with it.
Next job for Alan Kelly to focus on and maybe we will get a sensible composed keeper who doesn’t put his teammates under unnecessary pressure.
Jamie Crowley
53 Posted 14/09/2020 at 14:35:00
AND I just read Mike Gaynes' comments.

He's accurate, I was moaning. It just drives me batshit crazy, Jordan's distribution.

But to be crystal clear, he was fantastic yesterday in doing what keepers must do - stoping the damn ball from going in the back of the net.

Jamie Crowley
54 Posted 14/09/2020 at 14:42:21
Neil -

Auto-correct butchered your last name. Apologies, Mr. Cremin.

We're on the same page regarding Jordan. If he can just work out that nuclear foot of his and his distribution, as well as his head (which he absolutely did yesterday!) we've got a phenomenal keeper.

Mike Gaynes
55 Posted 14/09/2020 at 14:44:00
Neil #48, putting it "into space for DCL and Richie to attack" was exactly what Jamie was complaining about on the Forum yesterday. When you've got about two seconds to look up and make a decision, communication from 60 yards away isn't easy. So several times Picks did play the ball long down the middle over the Spurs defenders, and neither DCL nor Richie made the runs into that space. So he, and they, changed tactics by moving the target zone over to the touchlines. And he gave away a few throw-ins in Spurs' half of the pitch. So what? Completely unimportant in my opinion.

I know you don't much care for the guy -- Jamie and John P don't either -- but he did all the important things well yesterday. And his distribution in his own end was flawless as we played the ball out of the back -- every pass right on somebody's foot where it needed to be. No mistakes, nothing coming back at him. So if some of his long 'uns went awry, why does it matter?

Jerome Shields
56 Posted 14/09/2020 at 14:50:01

I am also concerned by Pickford. The objective of passing back to him is to maintain possession.

Pickford is over confident sometimes when the ball is being played from the back, though was ok with his throw outs in this game. But I too have the same fear as you, Had

I was not impressed with his kicking out. He lost possession four times by over kicking to the ball to the wings, with the ball going out. Some of his passing was very heavy and he also kicked the ball out in two occasions straight to a unmarked opposition player. All. of these instances where after sterling teamwork to maintain possession, only to see it wasted by him.

He did his goalkeeping job well, but his distribution was woeful. No wonder Ancelotti preferes playing out from the back.

John Pierce
57 Posted 14/09/2020 at 14:59:10
Mike, not a fan of marginal gains? That’s really what is and key is the kicks went out under little or no pressure.

Andrew Ellams
58 Posted 14/09/2020 at 15:05:30
A couple of things from yesterday.

Allan's superb backing up of Seamus time and time again meant James wasn't constantly tracking back and so being caught out of position when we came forward again.

If your goalkeeper's distribution is more accurate then the ball wouldn't come straight back as often as it did yesterday so less pressure in him and his defence.

The team played well as a whole, but the defence was too deep again and a team more on their game than Spurs could have taken some of the chances they had.

Stephen Brown
59 Posted 14/09/2020 at 15:07:34
After Sunday’s game I cannot wait for Wednesday’s game to see a few of these players performing again and hopefully a few squad players like Sigurdsson, Walcott, Kean try to take their chance to impress!
Rob Dolby
60 Posted 14/09/2020 at 15:15:49
That was as good an away performance since Roberto's first season. Spurs have gone backwards since Potch left. Mourinho has killed their movement and flare.

Haters will always hate.
There is no such thing as the perfect performance but 2 great saves at nil nil. Being noticeably more dominate on crosses and punching clear. Keeping a clean sheet.
Not sure what else people want from a goalie?

I can see this being a long season for Seamus on the pages of tw. Keeping Son quiet for most of the game and defending manfully isn't enough. Not sure what else he has to do to convince people that he is still a top class player.

Without the 3 new lads we would have been turned over yesterday. Will Ancelotti go for Zaha?

Mike Gaynes
61 Posted 14/09/2020 at 15:16:14
John P, what's most important to me in a keeper's distribution is that he doesn't give the ball away in his own end. We saw several examples of that in other games this weekend -- the keeper kicking the ball straight to an opponent or playing an awkward pass to a teammate under pressure, resulting in a quick counter and a goal. Pickford rarely commits those errors -- his passing on the ground is generally excellent. So if his long kicks sometimes go sailing, no, it doesn't bother me.

Keepers who regularly launch attacks with deadly long balls are few and far between, and Pickford ain't one of them. He'll never be Ederson. That's OK.

Mark Burton
62 Posted 14/09/2020 at 15:17:54
Seeing Dacoure getting back to stop the Spurs breakaway was enough to tell me the new boys are in town. In with the new out with the old.
Jamie Crowley
63 Posted 14/09/2020 at 15:23:40
Rob "in" Dolby "Stereo" -

Haters will always hate.

To be clear, I think I and a few others are being complimentary to Jordan, while pointing out a major deficiency in his game. Despite the fact Mike doesn't see it as a problem, I'd quote Andrew @ 58:

If your goalkeeper's distribution is more accurate then the ball wouldn't come straight back as often as it did yesterday so less pressure in him and his defence.

That's a real thing.

Not hating, looking for improvement. Loved the game yesterday, and as I've said previously, Jordan Pickford was a massive part of that three points. We most likely wouldn't have gotten three points if it weren't for Jordan, credit where it's due.

Not hating. Nit-Picky? Maybe. But not hating.

Tony Everan
64 Posted 14/09/2020 at 15:24:45
An alternative 4-3-3 vs Salford City on Wednesday

Kenny Branthwaite Gibson Nkounkou
Davies Delph Bernard
Bolaise Kean Gordon

Only in jest, but that team would do the business. In reality expect 4 or 5 changes

Chris Locke
65 Posted 14/09/2020 at 15:25:48
I think we are all going to have to accept that it will take time for Pickford to get his passing range back.
We shouldn’t forget the team that has been in front of him for the last few seasons.
He would regularly look for a positive shorter passes to a defender/midfielder only for the ball to reappear seconds later (with an opponent attached) because the our lot couldn’t trap a sandbag.
The lack of ability and confidence in the team led to Pickford trying to bypass the midfield with hollywood long balls, probably happy in the knowledge that worst case he wouldn't see it again for at least 60 seconds.
Now that the midfield has been improved and we have players able to receive a pass under pressure I expect Pickford’s distribution to improve with his long balls reserved for urgent clearances and quick counterattacks
Jamie Crowley
66 Posted 14/09/2020 at 15:31:47
Completely off-topic -

I was listening to the 606 phone-in yesterday, as I wanted to hear the calls regarding this transformed Everton as well as the pundits' take on our game, and some American dude named Josh (pretty sure it was Josh?) called in. I would guess he lives "over there" and was very, very funny and knowledgable.

Any chance this Josh is on TW? Dude was hilarious. You could tell Robbie Savage and the other host (?) were challenging him, probably down to the American accent and the immediate English reaction of, "Let's challenge this Yank, he clearly won't know shit." And this kid completely held his own and was an entertaining call-in.

Josh, ya there in TW cyberspace?

Mike Gaynes
67 Posted 14/09/2020 at 15:42:08
Jamie, the other host was Chris Sutton. Thanks for the head's up on that segment... I'm listening to it now!

Andrew Ellams
68 Posted 14/09/2020 at 15:43:30
Chris Sutton, the least knowledgeable football pundit on UK TV. And he has a lot of competition.
Jamie Crowley
69 Posted 14/09/2020 at 15:45:00
Mike -

The kid is hysterical, wholly American, and witty as hell. If I could draw up the Yank Blue we want to clone to take over the universe, he'd look a lot like that kid. 😜

Rob Halligan
70 Posted 14/09/2020 at 15:45:59
Tony # 64. You might not be far wrong with that team. It's a game our U23's should be able to win. Don't forget man Utd U23's tonked Salford 6-0 in the Johnstone paint trophy, or whatever it's called nowadays, so I would fully expect that team you've chosen to comfortably do the business. Don't forget we have potentially another five games before this month is out, as I fully expect to beat Salford then Fleetwood or port vale.
John Pierce
71 Posted 14/09/2020 at 15:47:17
Pickford has a long way to prove himself to many. That doesn’t constitute hate nor should it, I don’t know the guy and let’s not conflate improvement with vitriol. It’s okay if he’s not my cup of tea.

He gets a hard time because he’s extremely talented and the bar he set is one he would concede he’s failed to get anywhere near on a regular basis. I think players who have massive talent and frequently fail to maximize it are the ones who get it in the gut the most. I’d include Rom in that debate. He is a beast, he has more than goals in his game, in-fact he is Didier Drogba ‘respawned’. I’m digressing but Pickford has the ability, I want to see continual improvement and consistency, the minutiae which Andrew (58.)alludes to is exactly what that entails.

Seamus is a different matter, surely we can all see the way Ancellotti wants to go, building the team around James. Why not, everything I read screams he wants to be the main man, a talisman. So it’s really important the players he links with frequently are ones who best improve the team. James’ most frequent passes were Doucouré & Coleman. Doucouré clearly will be James’ legs and Coleman has to provide the ball efficiently and offer a decoy on the right. James never once went outside and probably never will. Coleman is a good player imo, not the style of player who will support James the best. Accepting that he’s not going to pull that performance out every game is fair at his stage in his career surely? Moreover getting a new right back in means less games for Seamus and a much higher chance his performance level stays high?
These posts are reflections, in the afterglow of a superb effort yesterday. It’s the cycle of TWer poster!

Brian Harrison
72 Posted 14/09/2020 at 15:51:24
Tony 64

I like Rob think you are spot on with that team selection, if our fringe players cant walk all over Salford then they arent good enough to be our fringe players. There is no way Carlo will risk any of his first team playing, he wouldnt want any of them to get injured, especially Mina and Keane while Holgate is out injured.

Mike Gaynes
73 Posted 14/09/2020 at 15:58:09
Jamie #69, I think Savage had it right when Josh first called in. He asked, "Have you been to the pub, Josh?"

The kid may not have been a full three sheets to the wind, but he was certainly hove-to in a stiff breeze. Sutton and Savage must have been chuckling off-mic. Especially when the kid advocated selling Richarlison.

Jamie Crowley
74 Posted 14/09/2020 at 16:01:03
What the hell’s wrong with that, Mike? 😂
Jonathan Oppenheimer
75 Posted 14/09/2020 at 16:07:14
Jamie, I’m not the American you’re looking for, but this seems as good a time as any to introduce myself, since I’ve been reading nearly every TW comment for a few years without commenting myself. As for being funny, my 4 year-old, who wears his Everton kit almost every day and knows all the players and storylines, certainly thinks I am, but I won’t guarantee my puns on here will land. As for knowledge, I’ve been playing at a decent level for about 30 years, but what may be useful on here is that I’m a pretty high-level referee here in Minnesota — so I’m happy to give my take on questionable calls and try to explain what the referee is thinking and their rules interpretation, especially when everyone thinks the refs have it in for us. And especially because most casual fans have little idea what is going through a referee’s head most of the time.

The most important thing for now, having been a pretty big fan for a few years, is just how sweet the last 24 hours have been. It’s a real joy to share with you all in the excitement of this season, our new additions, and yesterday’s splendid match. I’m proud to continue the tradition of the past couple decades of a strong American connection to the club — at least in terms of players, but hopefully the fan base over here will continue to grow as well.

Francis van Lierop
76 Posted 14/09/2020 at 16:13:36
Got to agree with most posters, that our midfield has been greatly improved with our new players.
Marcel and Carlo had clearly been listening to Mike Gaynes: Midfield, midfield, midfield.

Beforehand I would have taken a draw, as an away match at White Hart Lane is a tough start to the season.
It was wonderful to see our players stroking the ball around the pitch with such ease.
We deserved our win, and can look forward to the coming season.

One thing that will have helped our new players, they have all a compatriot at our club who can help settle in quicker in their own language.
As we could see yesterday, it worked dividends!

Gerry Quinn
77 Posted 14/09/2020 at 16:16:27
Get in there and vote:

Dave Abrahams
78 Posted 14/09/2020 at 16:17:09
I’ll be honest over Pickford, he was terrible last season, with stupid mistake after stupid mistake, complete lack of concentration, he didn’t have a good season and was lucky to be selected for the England squad, luckier still to be selected to play in both games.

Maybe Jordan has had a good look at himself, or started listening to his coach, whatever, going on yesterday’s game, he was fully aware, realised he’s didn’t have to be glued to his goal line, made two good saves, I believe, I only saw the second half, made two terrific punches, taking no prisoners, one of his kicks annoyed me, straight to the opposition, but he’s allowed those sort of mistakes, in my eyes, not that serious.

It was only one game, but if he really has learned from his mistakes, then I hope he continues as he played yesterday, we can all relax and enjoy.

That just leaves Keane, can two leopards change their spots? I’d love to think so.

Mike Gaynes
79 Posted 14/09/2020 at 16:17:31
Hey, Jonathan #75, special welcome to a fellow Yank and fellow referee. John Pierce and I are both longtime refs here in the US... happy to have somebody else to field the questions. Where in Minnesota?

Jamie #74, nothing wrong at all. It's just my sober assessment.

Kieran Kinsella
80 Posted 14/09/2020 at 16:20:12
Chris Sutton is second only to Chris Waddle in being utterly miserable and over critical. Funny considering one was a huge flop and the other cost England a World Cup final.

Talking of overly critical people, I think some expect too much of Pickford. Now that he got his goalkeeping together we are criticizing him for not being Tom Brady and launching 60 yard balls that land on a dime. Obviously he could improve but every player could improve: No one is perfect, even James is slow. I’ve been frustrated with Pickford but now we are being kind of unreasonable for n our nit picking

Jonathan Oppenheimer
81 Posted 14/09/2020 at 16:21:31
Mike #79 thanks for the welcome. Always enjoy reading your posts (and those of many others), but didn’t realize you were a referee — forgive me if I missed that along the way. I’ve been in St. Paul for the past 10 years, originally from western Massachusetts.
Mike Gaynes
82 Posted 14/09/2020 at 16:23:19
Dave #78, except for that one horrendous pass, I thought Keane acquitted himself quite well yesterday. Good positioning, good marking on Kane and also on Alderweireld when he came forward on set pieces.

Jonathan #81, cool. Feel free to jump in when John P and I disagree, which happens often (especially on VAR). I got my first badge while living in Austin, Minnesota in 1980.

Dave Abrahams
83 Posted 14/09/2020 at 16:30:24
Mike (82), I only saw the second half, but let’s leave Michael for another day, let’s stay happy for now, while disagreeing with each over his performance yesterday!!

It could only happen on ToffeeWeb, Mike, three Bluenoses based in America and all referees,did you ever find out who your dads were!!!

Kieran Kinsella
84 Posted 14/09/2020 at 16:33:18

Make it four, I’m also a ref based in the USA though I’m one of those immigrants Trump loves not a Yank

Jamie Crowley
85 Posted 14/09/2020 at 16:35:28
Johnathan -

Hello Yank! 32nd Ave and Colfax in Uptown is where I called home for 14 months of my life in my mid twenties. Great area, great city / cities. Enjoy the Great White North - too freaking cold for me now.

I used to grab the skates, head to the outdoor rink at Lake of the Isles, and play hockey for HOURS in the winter there. Love your area of the country.

Cheers. Post. Respect the Scousers. If they tell you to shut it, shut it. Simple. ;0)

Si Cooper
86 Posted 14/09/2020 at 16:39:14
I agree with Mike G that people are verging on demanding consistent perfection from Jordan Pickford before they will accept he doesn’t need replacing.
I’d say it was a case of one of our players being over scrutinised and compared to much less critical analysis of potential alternatives. Plenty of outfield players can’t deliver the ball with the consistent accuracy that is apparently expected for Pickford, never mind the vast majority of goalkeepers.
Unfortunately I don’t think the guy will ever get a truly impartial comparison with his peers from the people who have been appealing for his replacement to be a priority.
Mike G, hope things are okay in Oregon. Has Albert posted recently?
Jay Harris
87 Posted 14/09/2020 at 16:39:54
Fun link posted by a Spurs fan:-

Mike Gaynes
88 Posted 14/09/2020 at 16:43:14
Kieran, my apologies mate for not including you in the whistle fraternity! Show me a yellow, I deserve it.

Dave, I think it's something in the water over here.

Si #86, just smoke and ash at my house, no fire danger, but I haven't seen another post from Albert since he posted about possible evacuation last week. He's pretty close to one of the big fires, so that's concerning.

Steve Shave
89 Posted 14/09/2020 at 16:45:13
Jamie 66 I heard that phone in call too, made me laugh alot! I also wondered if he was on TW. Josh? Don't be shy pal, let's here some more!
Jonathan Oppenheimer
90 Posted 14/09/2020 at 16:46:54
Jamie — there’s enough awful toxic discussion on the internet, the last thing I’m going to do is pick a fight on here, especially with a Scouser. I come on here to get away from that nonsense. That said, tell me to shut it anytime — I probably deserve it. All I ask in return is that y’all show me and my family a good time when we finally make it to Goodison.
Kieran Kinsella
91 Posted 14/09/2020 at 16:48:46

No worries VAR said you never deserved the yellow

Tony Abrahams
92 Posted 14/09/2020 at 16:55:15
Makes sense John P, but those technically gifted players usually want to go bombing on, and until we get pace at the back, then I’d prefer our fullbacks to sit. I think Jonjoe Kenny, is decent with the ball at his feet, but Seamus is the better defender, but both have got big hearts, and both love playing for Everton, so either of them will do for me.

Neil Cremin
93 Posted 14/09/2020 at 17:09:59
Lets agree to disagree.
I have never been a fan of Jordan. Great shot stopper, probably the best in the business but for me a top class keeper is more than that. He needs bring authority and calm in front of goal.
He still makes me nervous. Sorry.
And if you check the live forum from yesterdays game, I gave Jordan full credit for the way he played.
Hopefully, I will be able to watch the next few games where I am not a nervous wreck when the ball is passed back to the keeper.
Nil Satis Nisi Optimum.
Don Alexander
94 Posted 14/09/2020 at 17:11:30
Jordan P made two brilliant saves and bossed his box effectively. I accept his long kicking in the second half was somewhat erratic but after a moderate season I hope this year he regains his status as one of Europe's top goalies.

If he does he'll join our three new signings already in or near that category, Richie, Digne and, dare I say it, DCL also being there or thereabouts.

This season we should be confident, for once in many many seasons, of going to any ground with a sense of purpose that'll prevent any other manager fielding a team of sprogs against us.

The knives-to-a-gunfight decades are mercifully over aren't they?

Tony Abrahams
95 Posted 14/09/2020 at 17:35:28
A question for the three/four refs. (Nearly forgot about you then Kieran) Do you think that an indirect free-kick sometimes being given, instead of a penalty for every foul that happens in the box, might stop the clever players diving?

I thought Liverpool’s second penalty was harsh, because although the Leeds player was silly and got it all wrong, I’m not sure there would have been contact, if Fabinho, hadn’t cleverly brought his knee into the defenders leg.

Then we had the second Leicester penalty, which hasn’t drew that much attention because the game was already won, but a player going away from goal, actually taking the ball out the box, got a penalty, leaving me feeling that football has got a lot of laws, that have not properly been thought out, and is also a sport that is encouraging cheating.

Sorry for being a bit to serious and boring, but I hate how the game I love is now full of cheats, and was wondering if you had any decent suggestions from the other side of the game, that might help to get rid of the cheating?

John Pierce
96 Posted 14/09/2020 at 17:38:36
Mike - that offense is just a stern talking too. Not card worthy mate, stop throwing them around like confetti.
Sukhdev Sohal
97 Posted 14/09/2020 at 17:41:24
Brilliant performance, and these players aren't up to speed yet. If it weren't for Pickford we'd have lost 2 0 because he made 2 vital saves at the end of the first half. Maybe I'm being greedy but a powerful and well roundedRB and skillfull winger with end product (maybe both on loan?) should still be targeted for this window.
Mike Gaynes
98 Posted 14/09/2020 at 17:59:15
Neil, sounds good. Hope he keeps you calm for a few games.

Kieran and John P, thanks for letting me off the hook.

Tony #95, I know you're convinced that pen was "harsh" but it wasn't. And it wasn't deliberately drawn, either. It was a clear, stone-dead, no-dispute pen. Perhaps you noted there wasn't a word of complaint from Rodrigo or his teammates. Any referee not calling a pen that obvious would be pulled from the rotation for the following week.

As to indirects, they are almost never given anymore for anything except offsides, and, it's been decades since I've seen one given in the box for anything besides the goalkeeper picking up a backpass. Obstruction, as it used to be called (now "impeding") wouldn't apply, and dangerous play these days is almost always given as a foul and a direct kick. So I think your suggestion just isn't possible in the modern game. The cure for diving is VAR and a yellow. But players are going to fall down. That's part of the modern game too.

Kieran Kinsella
99 Posted 14/09/2020 at 17:59:17
Tony 85,

Yes, I imagine it would. When the rare scenario of the keeper taking too many steps is called in the box, that rarely leads to a goal. Usually someone whacks it at the wall on the line.

The problem is that, in their infinite wisdom, the powers that be seem to favor anything that leads to goals, even if it's highly dubious. That's led refs to giving so many fouls in the box that would never get called elsewhere on the field.

So, like you, I'm in favor of more fair play but I don't think the money men will ever do anything to create fairer play if it potentially means fewer goals or less controversy. The VAR for example, I don't like its implementation but I think the Premier League see the controversies as generating interest so they're content for its poor implementation to roll on.

Darren Hind
100 Posted 14/09/2020 at 18:01:56
I think comparisons with players of the past are inevitable. James certainly gave a Sheedy-esque performance and if the can do it with the same regularity he will deserve his place next to him in Evertonian affections.

Allan has his work cut out to be classed with Reid, but what he showed yesterday was unmistakably a Reidy attitude. That'll do for me. More of that will see us put up much a greater defiance against the teams who have brushed us aside in recent seasons.

Doucoure did what I expected him to. The consistency he has searched for may come with playing on a bigger stage with better players. Whether you like comparisons to past players or not, they are inevitable. He will almost certainly be compared to Bracewell.

MOTM was a close call all round, but I would go for big Yerry. No crowd meant we were able to see and hear he was the one doing all the talking, kept his passes simple and accurate too..

Pickford still worries me. He did make an eye catching save, but I suspect Rob Hal would tell you it was one he should have made, because it was a very nice height for a goalkeeper...He cant keep aimlessly hoofing it down field. Its embarrassing

Made up with the over all performance, but as I said before the game it is still only 1 x 38/th of the season and the health of our players will be rigorously tested in the coming weeks.

That said I will make one prediction even at this early stage; If we are going to launch an assault on the top five this year. I would not consider Spurs as one of our rivals. Something not quite right there. If they don't make a couple of signings, yesterday will prove to be only the start of their troubles.
I suspect Arsenal, Leicester and Wolves will all be thinking the same thing.

John Pierce
101 Posted 14/09/2020 at 18:10:25
Tony, I thought the second pen was a poor call. You are right it drew practically no attention, yet I was off my seat yelling at the box.
The player had lost the ball and was already on his way down, the contact didn’t change that.

Jeeez, I sympathize with the mechanics you’ve thought through regarding indirect free kicks. They are a messy, unsatisfactory way to resolve a situation. They will fade from the game soon enough. The law as you want to stand in your description just doesn’t exist. But as I’ve said many times before the game has changed and the laws haven’t kept pace with it. However you do want the award of direct free kick to remain consistent across the entire pitch, it’s the action you want to change. I’ve long thought unless it’s a foul in the act of shooting fouls in the box like the one you describe should be resolved with a free shot a goal from the top of the D much harder, not a guaranteed and reflects where the foul is in the box. Getting free shot a goal for some of the fouls we see is pathetic.

But I think you are dead on if you change action then players would think twice about their actions in box.

Chris Williams
102 Posted 14/09/2020 at 18:18:24
Reading Alan Myers earlier, and he has an interesting take on MOTM. After sleeping on it, he reckons the Team was MOTM, because it’s the first time in ages he’s seen them play so effectively as a team.

He’s probably got a point.

John Pierce
103 Posted 14/09/2020 at 18:23:29
Tony, I forgot to add I’ve also long thought the player fouled should take the pen. That would certainly make players think when they go down.
Mike Gaynes
104 Posted 14/09/2020 at 18:23:40
A lovely bit of writing from Jonathan Liew at the Guardian:

Of Everton’s three new signings on the pitch, Allan was probably the most effective: quietly fighting fires, snapping into tackles, disrupting Tottenham’s attempts to play on the break. Abdoulaye Doucouré was probably the most dynamic: leading the press, nurturing and progressing the ball in the most crowded areas of the pitch. But the most eye-catching by some distance was Rodríguez, the fallen prince-in-exile with a left foot of pure silk and a left knee made of a very similar substance.

Though it is now almost a week since Rodríguez joined Everton from Real Madrid, there was still something deeply surreal about seeing this genuine A-lister on the same right wing once patrolled by Steven Naismith. Somehow, for all our overexposure to them, great players still have a habit of catching the breath, of taking the touch or making the shuffle that marks them out from their peers.

Kieran Kinsella
105 Posted 14/09/2020 at 18:24:12
Chris Williams,

I would agree. Total team performance but not in the patronizing, bodies on the line, plucky little Everton way but in a totally professional, confident way.

John Pierce
106 Posted 14/09/2020 at 18:28:41
Until James scores a perfect hat-trick against Chelsea, the Scottish Messi will forever reign supreme.
Mike Gaynes
107 Posted 14/09/2020 at 18:28:47
John P #103, would you apply that to all fouls anywhere on the pitch? I would.

In basketball, Aussie Rules footy and even hockey (penalty shot), the player fouled is the one who takes the freebie. Seems logical to me.

Jamie Crowley
108 Posted 14/09/2020 at 18:34:36
Tony, I forgot to add I’ve also long thought the player fouled should take the pen. That would certainly make players think when they go down.

That ^^

Never, ever understood why you get to pick a player to take the PK. Whomever was fouled should take the kick. That's a really weird rule for me.

John Pierce
109 Posted 14/09/2020 at 18:45:45
Yup Mike I think that’s entirely logical. It wouldn’t stop Salah or Mane diving but it would stop Fabinho going down like he’s been shot like a sniper.

John Pierce
110 Posted 14/09/2020 at 18:50:16
Fellow yanks! The best penalty shot I’ve ever seen was veteran Blue liner Andy Green in over time against the Sabres.

Given he never scores full stop watching him waltz down the ice and slot like Crosby was tremendous and truly unlikely. Imagine Hibbo or Keane slotting in the last minute. would be epic.

Tony Abrahams
111 Posted 14/09/2020 at 19:20:37
Mike G, we could disagree all day mate, with my take on it being that I’m not sure there would have been contact if Fabinho hadn’t put his knee into the Leeds players leg, which he had every right to do because he knew the Leeds player had been stupid, got himself caught in a very bad situation, and this is modern day football, with clever players using this to their advantage.

The Leeds players never argued, what’s the point? Their player had been careless, if he didn’t dangle his leg Fabinho wouldn’t have went down, and they knew they’d been done by a clever player. Welcome to the big league - those that learn the quickest, get on the most. Well that’s my take anyway.

Good points John, I’d love to rearrange loads of the modern day laws, especially the one where a player is running away from the goal and out the box to retrieve the ball, gets a penalty, but a player clean through on goal who gets tripped six inches outside the box, only gets a free kick.

Modernise football and stop the cheats prospering, VAR, is a tool, (Doesn’t the human race, realise that’s it’s unintentionally preparing itself for the robot?) but something is not quite right with so much of it, simply because different refs have different interpretations, which takes consistency out of a lot of these decisions right away imo.

To be honest I never thought it was a foul on Richarlison, for the free-kick that led to Everton scoring, but wasn’t it lovely to see Martin Atkinson finally give us a metre after all these years, I couldn’t believe it!

Agree with that Kieran, controversy keeps people talking, even if most of it is a load of shite. I’ll finish on that now!

Paul Ferry
112 Posted 14/09/2020 at 19:23:16
Jamie (C), Josh is a regular on 606. He's from Canada, Toronto, I think (a city I love), where there's a good blue presence. Agree, he ought to be on ToffeeWeb.
Patrick McFarlane
113 Posted 14/09/2020 at 19:28:15
Mike #104,

What a refreshing change to read some proper journalism albeit slightly romantic and with flowery prose, but the sentiment I think was shared by all Evertonians and I do hope that Mr Liew has many more opportunities to wax lyrical about Everton this season.

Brian Harrison
114 Posted 14/09/2020 at 19:31:05

I agree with everything you say in your post, and I thought Mina had his best display since coming to the club. I see Peter Reid has tweeted to give a big thumbs up to Allan, so even the great man himself likes the look of Allan. I also agree with your comments about something not being right at Spurs, they seemed rudderless on Sunday, no real clear way to what style they are trying to achieve. I have my doubts about Pickford but he made 2 very good saves, and if they had gone in it might have been a different game.

Again you are absolutely right to say this is game 1 of 38, and lets not get to carried away, but it was a very promising start.

Finally you have been a critic of as you call him " the wily old fox" maybe displays like this may turn you into a believer. I love Ancelotti and everything about him a real class act, probably had to bite his lip when he took over looking at some of the dross his predecessors had bought. But within weeks of the window opening has brought in 3 quality players that has completely changed the mindset of the club. Early days I know but even a sceptic like you Darren must have been impressed with the first outing of Carlos buys.

Steve Shave
115 Posted 14/09/2020 at 19:38:39
It feels strange getting such plaudits from the media, obviously we've had good games over the last few years but not the widespread praise we received yesterday. One commentary soundbite in the 2nd half yesterday raised a huge smile for me "Everton look like a top European team". I could hear that all day.
Andrew Dempsey
116 Posted 14/09/2020 at 19:41:45
It looks like we're going to win every game now, up until the derby, which we'll also win, therefore extending the winning run up to Christmas time. We'll be so confident by then, we'll beat City on the 28 December to stay top of the table going into the New Year.

Why not, eh? What could go wrong? Don't answer that.

I'll leave that nightmare scenario to the ‘once a season' Tony Marsh comment which will arrive once we hit a bad patch of form.

Jason Li
117 Posted 14/09/2020 at 19:48:14
Top performance all round.

Jordan is an interesting one, and I think it's like this with some players who are really talented and in an average team...

Jordan's range is higher than up in potential than most Prem goalies, so when he's on it, he is top class. That's why Chelski and Man U were rumoured to be watching him, as he can makes saves up there with De Gea and Alisson, when he's on it some days. Also proved it in the World cup with some worldies too.

This year, knowing there's a great chance to challenge for 1st in the league with ambitious Carlo (less than 38 games to go and counting down to do a Leicester) and at least a very good chance for Champions League, he will be back to his best this season as there is a point to this season with world class players in the squad, compared to last season.

Patrick McFarlane
118 Posted 14/09/2020 at 20:58:26
The title may seem a little insulting but the article is not as bad as the headline suggests. Plus there's a two-minute video of James' best bits in the middle of the page.

Too Good For Everton?

Mike Gaynes
119 Posted 14/09/2020 at 21:16:56
Patrick, great catch. Thanks for posting. The author's reflections on how James came to find himself in our shirt are thought-provoking.

I've been saying since his name was first mentioned how much fun we would have watching him play. I cannot wait for next weekend.

James Flynn
120 Posted 14/09/2020 at 21:35:53
Thanks Patrick - Liked this Evertonian's response in the comments from Fake Cade McNown:

I guess you can't read too much into 90 minutes of football; history is littered with fans getting ahead of themselves based on slim evidence. But what you can definitely say is that:

(a) Everton look better than at the end of last season,
(b) Pickford seems a bit less of a liability, and
(c) we're definitely going to win the Champions League next season after winning the Premier League at a canter this season.

Mike Gaynes
121 Posted 14/09/2020 at 22:09:19
Yep, James, that made me laugh too... and it's safe to assume Mr. "McNown" is not only a Yank but hails from my hometown of Chicago.

Of all the lousy quarterbacks who ever played for the Bears (and there have been so many), Cade McNown may have been the worst. 20 years after his last crappy pass, the bitterness still lingers in some Bears fans.

Danny O’Neill
122 Posted 14/09/2020 at 22:27:28
Interesting how that performance, influenced by the right signings has brought many together despite varying views over the past months and years. We all want the same; to see Everton play well and compete.

Prior to the match, I stopped myself from going Moyse-esque and playing down expectation. Expect the new lads to take time to settle and don't expect much from today I thought. In a similar almost contradictory vein, I would now add caution amongst the optimism with the sentiment that it is just one match from 38 and there is a long season ahead. That said, how encouraging to see such a difference in our team's mentality.

To compliment the Guardian quotes above, I read from the Telegraph today. Had you blanked out the word Everton, no way would you have believed that's who they were reporting on:

On Rodriquez: "sublimely classy performance"
The debutants in general: "remarkable debuts for Allan & Doucoure"
On Allan: "was irrepressible with his determination to win the ball back, recycle & start again" . the Brazilian Peter Reid (that's my one)!!
On Mina: "at last Yerry Mina looked like a leader in defence and was maybe trying to impress his Columbian team mate Rodriquez" . the influence of having better players surround you.
On Everton: "they wanted it more, were better organised and more positive".

My word, if you'd have predicted those quotes last month let alone in May I'd have put you in the delusional category.

I won't go over old ground too much, but it's how you spend, not what you spend. There is nothing wrong with buying established experience to compliment existing youth. Games are won and lost in midfield. Last year our midfield was spineless and void of creativity. The obvious problem was to replace the midfield. We've done that and whether some like it or not, the manager we have influenced those signings.

Our defence hasn't changed, but it was less exposed because the midfield protected them both in terms of defensive duties and going forward (we outnumbered the home team by 15 shots to 9). That chimes with my previous views that we can cope with this defence if we put a decent midfield in front of them. And Pickford, although still a loose cannon with his eagerness to punt like a Rugby Union player, was much improved (credit where due).

I'm rubbish on observing or commenting on Everton during or just after the match as I get too emotionally involved so it clouds my view. But what I do know is that yesterday I saw a team play with confidence, aggression and lack of fear. I go back to my earlier point, I won't get carried away on the basis of one result and appreciate there may be many ups and downs yet to come in a typically Everton way. However, that was the best start to a season I can remember for a long time and gives you hope. The type of hope that I appreciate kills us!!

Final point. I was amused by a comment by someone on a broader, non-Evertonian forum regarding James Rodriguez. He said he'll wait to see if he can do it in the winter. Clearly the guy has never experienced Munich or wider parts of Germany in winter like James did for 2 seasons! What is our obsession with thinking players can't play in cold weather when they clearly have anyway? Do some people think the UK is the only country that has winters??

Derek Knox
123 Posted 14/09/2020 at 22:29:45
James@120, having read your poignant post, which in essence is so very true, and we have had false dawns at Everton before, in fact, more than I care to remember.

Furthermore, I have watched every game up to now, and appreciate that the 2 Mans, U and City haven't played yet, but I haven't seen any early signs, of any team, who is capable of destroying us.

I am not getting carried away either on the back of a good performance, but do realistically think we could do well this season. The Transfer Window hasn't closed yet, and I believe there will be a few outgoings and another couple at least, coming the other way!

Peter Mills
124 Posted 14/09/2020 at 22:46:02
I liked the kit on Sunday, rather reminiscent of Bally’s debut in 1966 at Fulham (search “Alan Ball, George Cohen, Ray Wilson”).

Were the debuts of Allan and James the best since then? (Cottee’s was pretty good. Keeley’s was not).

Danny O’Neill
125 Posted 14/09/2020 at 22:53:05
Good shout Peter. Cottee's was indeed a good debut and a good day!

I think it's just been so long that we've seen players of this genuine quality in blues shirts. When Cottee made his debut, we had been champions a year earlier, so we expected that. Unfortunately generations have been denied seeing Everton with the level of player we have just purchased.

Again, not got getting carried away, but just feel that we can now at least compete. Even if we don't win, we will compete and that is all Evertonians ever ask for.

Kieran Kinsella
126 Posted 14/09/2020 at 23:03:09

Funny thing about Cottees debut was all the hype about Brazilian Mirandinha making his debut for Newcastle who we thrashed that day. Years later similar hype about Shearers opening day Newcastle debut v Everton and once again we pooped all over their party.

Jay Wood

127 Posted 14/09/2020 at 23:05:21
Peter @124. I'm on my jollies as the missus finally gets some free time in what has been a terrible year. Frustratingly, we are in an internet dead zone, but re-con work on Saturday identified a restaurant with wifi and - purely by accident, of course, we returned there for Sunday lunch.

I was duly entertained as were the staff and clientele by the gringo's in-game reactions. They were all on board once I explained Richarlison and Allan were playing for us.

I wanted to address you because of a post you jokingly made yesterday adding to quoted stats about Allan's performance: the number of times he got his arse 'twixt opposition player and ball.

Well spotted! The previous week in answer to some surprisingly ill-informed comments about Allan's game, this is an attribute I flagged up: his unique way of getting his knee, thigh or arse between the player and the ball so the only way to win it back from him is to foul him.

Get used to it. He is going to be the glue that holds us together this year, I'm confident.

Danny O’Neill
128 Posted 14/09/2020 at 23:27:08
Gary Speed (God bless) Kieran
Phil Lewis
129 Posted 14/09/2020 at 23:30:28
Mike #104,

The Guardian article was a joy to read except for one point, that was its mention of Steven Naismith in a detrimental way.

Naismith gave his all for Everton and was a better player than many gave him credit for. In fact superior to many high earners still on the books.

I can only assume that the writer was exercising artistic license and not factual observation. He did Naismith a grossly unfair disservice.

Julian Wait
130 Posted 14/09/2020 at 23:49:18
Phil @129 - I commented on that Guardian article as well, because I was unhappy with the dismissive tone toward Naismith who I sad to see leave, even if it was the right thing for all parties. And I wasn't the only person to take the author to task.

To add insult to injury, the author had to the temerity to give criticism of Naismith for playing out of position in right-midfield as well, on top of the fact that he was a good striker, had a decent record in a declining Everton team, and is an all-round good human.

Mike Gaynes
131 Posted 15/09/2020 at 00:20:44
Good point, Phil and Julian. He could easily have cited VDM, Simon Davies, McGeady, Enner Valencia... so many that would have been more appropriate than Nais.
Jamie Crowley
132 Posted 15/09/2020 at 00:27:10
Paul Ferry you Ol’ Codger @112 -

Firstly how in the hell are you? I hope well!

That Josh has some dedication, calling overseas from Toronto to London to discuss the Blues. Had no idea the kid is a regular. I’ve not listened to a 606 podcast in ages because they never, ever talk about anything Blue. With this last game I just knew they’d talk about us, as the improvement was immense, then adding in the James factor they were bound to talk about us.

And having just mentioned Toronto, Sir John Pierce @whateverthefuck regarding hockey and Andy Green’s penalty shot - solid. Green scores, we riot. “Slot like Crosby” I about fell out of my chair.

James Flynn and Mike Gaynes - Hilarious post by McNown. Whom, Mike, I adored. Best QB the Bears have ever had! Says the Packers fan.

Darren Hind
133 Posted 15/09/2020 at 01:39:24

I think criticism of our managers clearly upset you. That is not my intention.

I confess to getting irritated by comments like "We are lucky to have him". I always imagine the person saying it is rolling his hands doing a very humble impression of Uriah Heap.

Just as criticism upsets you, all this undying gratitude shown towards people who have come to our club pisses me off. Big time. We are a massive club. We may have been run by a charlatan for the past few decades, but we are a still one of the oldest and finest institutions in world football.

We were here 100 years before the current staff and we will be here 100 years after they have gone. As a club, we have offered every foreigner on the books a better deal than anybody else was prepared to offer them. That's a fact. They are the lucky ones. They earn a fortune to play for Everton FC.

To answer your question: none of the players surprised me yesterday with their performances. None of the newcomers anyway. They all did pretty much what it says on their tin. What I have loved, has been their attitude. No strutting from them (at least none of the wrong kind) and they haven't just fed us the usual soundbites. They have already shown us they want to play for this club.

Carlo? I was sceptical about him before he even got here. Still am, if I'm honest. I hated the way he approached the second half of last season. Yeah, I've heard all the excuses, but he was getting paid £5.5M for performances you or I could have gotten out of these players.

Last season is last season. We have to look forward. Carlo is the man entrusted to realise the dreams of the faithful.

I saw a different man yesterday from the Frankie Howard look-a-like who stood dead-faced as we stunk the gaff out last season. When Carlo stepped out yesterday he immediately spotted Jose, he gave him a very warm smile and hug. The sort of smile and hug Alex Ferguson used to give opponent managers as they stood like lambs to the slaughter. I immediately logged onto Bet365 and put 20 quid on us. Ridiculous as it sounds. I just knew we would win.

His ability has never been in question. There is some evidence to suggest his tactics are outdated, but some of the stuff he said yesterday reaffirmed my belief that football is a simple game and too much emphasis is put on tactics. He sounded like – Dare I say it? – Bob Paisley.

Do I still question his motives and commitment? Yeah, I do. Sorry that isn't the answer you were looking for, but most of his work since he got here has appeared (to me at least) just plain lazy.

I don't criticise anybody at Everton on match days, not ever, but if we see more of the stuff we were forced to endure last season, I guarantee you I will be screaming the house down. On the other hand, if we witness more performances like yesterday. I will be front and center handing out the plaudits.

I only love Everton unconditionally. Managers have to win stuff or at least make me proud of the team before I feel any semblance of gratitude towards them.

What I will say is: I can't wait for the next game. It's been a while since I said that.

Kieran Kinsella
134 Posted 15/09/2020 at 01:45:04

I’d second that. Naismith was a good time player not a great one but a good one. Heart of gold on and off the pitch and he took Chelsea to task.

Jonathan Oppenheimer
135 Posted 15/09/2020 at 02:05:43
Tony #95, I’d agree with Mike that a yellow card and VAR are the primary tools to deter diving, but I’d go further and say they should be suspending the worst offenders. Of course that brings us back to 2017 and how they completely bungled what was a decent idea when they suspended Niasse when, if I recall correctly, he actually did get some contact and did what anyone else would do and went down. If they used suspensions judiciously it might help. But they could never implement it properly after the Niasse suspension, because it was messed up so badly from the get-go.

I’m not a fan of indirect kicks or non-penalty kicks for anything that’s otherwise a direct kick in the box, but maybe that’s the traditionalist in me. I’m more open to the idea of making the player fouled take the PK, but the reality is that penalties on the outskirts of the box or going away from goal are just part of the game, and over the course of the season, they shouldn’t matter much. That’s different from just making bad calls like the one last season against Brighton where Keane stepped on Connoly’s foot accidentally, which they belatedly admitted was a mistake.

One last thing I’d add is that Richarlison has greatly reduced his theatrics over the last few months, because he wasn’t getting calls when rolling around all the time when he first came to the league. I love the guy for his heart and skill, but it’s much more enjoyable to watch him now, and I’d bet there’s no way he gets that call that led to the goal yesterday if he was still acting like he did last year (didn’t look like much of a foul, but we never got a clear look). That’s not a defense of referees allowing him to get destroyed at times, but clearly he’s gotten the message to tone down his antics — and we’re all better off for it now.

Bill Gienapp
136 Posted 15/09/2020 at 03:09:04
Darren (100) - I agree that Spurs could be in for a rough season. They built a very good squad that, after a few years, just seemed to stagnate under Pochettino for whatever reason... and now they already appear to be chafing under Mourinho, whose inevitable flameout seems to accelerate with each new gig.

I was also gratified to see more than a few posters on Spurs message boards saying "Why are Everton signing Allan while we settle for Højbjerg?" There just doesn't seem to be a lot of unity or team spirit there at the moment.

None of which detracts from the quality of the performance or the satisfaction of the victory, of course, which were both tremendous.

Mike Gaynes
137 Posted 15/09/2020 at 03:37:27
Jamie #132... Packer fan. Why am I not surprised. The RS of the Midwest.

Paul #112, nice to see you check in, hope you and The City of The Big Shoulders are both hanging in there.

John Pierce
138 Posted 15/09/2020 at 04:42:59
JaC you’re a packer?! You nasty boi! Note the lack of a capital P, that’s how much they are despised.


Tony Abrahams
139 Posted 15/09/2020 at 08:20:22
A sensible post John@135, it’s the diving that is killing the beautiful game, and not just in the box, it’s more when a team is winning, and they just keep going over to stop the flow of the game.

The most enjoyable thing about watching Everton for me on Sunday, is how well the game flowed, that was the biggest difference, it’s been a very long time since Everton played flowing football.

Darren H, love that post mate, it’s people like you that make those horrible fuckers across the park hate us so much. Won nothing for 25 years, but you haven’t gone away, your still here believing Everton are the greatest club in the land; Brilliant mate - we shall not be moved!

Paul Tran
140 Posted 15/09/2020 at 08:27:31
Darren #133, we're in full agreement here. Just wrote something similar on another thread.

I saw the hug and look - 'It's my team now, I've come to do you' and took 6.2 off some poor sap on Betfair.


Michael Connelly
141 Posted 15/09/2020 at 09:22:59
What's the basis for the scepticism on Carlo, Darren? If last seasons midfield was a Texas Hold'em hand, he had 2 clubs and 7 diamonds in his hand. Not much you can do with that, except try to bluff your way through. Without him we don't have this season's midfield, which in it's first game has resulted in a first away win against the so called Big Boys in 41 attempts. In Carlo we trust would be my attitude. We are fortunate to have him.
Jamie Crowley
142 Posted 15/09/2020 at 13:33:05
Mike and Sir John -

When I was 16 we moved to Wisconsin. It took two years until I was 18, but living in Wisconsin I absolutely fell in love with the Packers.

The only divorce I’ve ever been through in my entire life - my divorce with the New England Patriots - was amicable. I still “root” for them as a second team. I was young when it happened. ;0). But the Pack are #1, have been for over 30 years, and will be until I die.
Go Pack Go.

Tony Abrahams
143 Posted 15/09/2020 at 14:50:27
Spoilt yourself with that Jamie, even if your honesty is very admirable!
Eddie Dunn
144 Posted 15/09/2020 at 15:19:57
Darren- wholeheartedly agree with you on the "lucky to have him " nonesense. We offered him a job, pay well and he took it on.
We may have been lucky in the timing of him being free and we being in need but that is all.
On the subject of diving, I watched Fulham attackers fooling the ref on a couple of occasions, which in my opinion should be reviewed after a game. Clearly attempts were made to deceive the ref. They luckily did not benefit but on another day?
John Boon
145 Posted 15/09/2020 at 16:02:17
I am a born and bred scouser who now lives in Canada. I find it interesting AND amusing so many Yanks are now posting on TW. Great to see we are followed by those from overseas, wherever that might be. However please never forget that this is an EVERTON sight. I also follow the NFL although everything EVERTON takes first place by a mile and even more again.

I am sure most posters often wonder why New England and Packer fans etc etc sometimes show their allegiance to certain NFL teams. Sometimes it is a bit too much. I do appreciate having Everton fans from far off lands but it MUST be Everton first and ALL other sports a distant second.

I don't like to mix sports with politics but those fans in the US must surely have enough to worry about with that Lunatic who is ruining everything in their country, including sport. I hope Trump is a Liverpool supporter so I can dislike him even more than I already do. I live too close to the Border to ever feel completely safe from his madness. COMMENTS ???

Martin Mason
146 Posted 15/09/2020 at 16:07:06
We were a middle to low ranking UK Premiership team on the way to long term oblivion and not massive by any current measure. That is apart from our actually very chequered history which is modest compared to that of United and Liverpool. I believe that the opinion that we have been lucky to get the board and manager that we have now is by any definition correct. Lucky is the correct word as we were the one from thousands of clubs in the world that actually got this investment. There was nothing inherent about the club that should have attracted the money that was eventually brought in unless you believe that trading as insolvent and having zero potential are great characteristics to attract investors and a top manager?
Tony Abrahams
147 Posted 15/09/2020 at 16:11:40
Reviewed after the game is a good point Eddie, especially if it’s by a honest and transparent panel.

I watched Steven Gerrard, getting interviewed by Gary Neville, whilst showing loads of past clips the Liverpool player had been involved in against United. It was a very good show and they showed Gerard, winning a penalty once at Old Trafford.

I knew I was getting a pen three seconds before everyone else said Gerrard, and he talked about being deceptively quick. It was a pen, he got there before Evra, who slid in and tripped him up, just like Fabinho got there first on Saturday, with only one thing on his mind, and when the Leeds player never tripped him it didn’t matter, because he was clever enough to still make it happen?

I’m like a scratched record I know, and I also know loads don’t agree with me, but there is a difference, and I don’t think big games of football, should be decided on such contentious decisions, or maybe I’m wrong and we’ve just got the game that the masses want.

John@145, I’ve heard Trump supports CSKA MOSCOW!

Don Alexander
148 Posted 15/09/2020 at 16:55:46
Jamie (#142), interesting to hear you're from Wisconsin. Only went there once, in summer, and thought Milwaukee, Madison, Baraboo and the Dells were sensational.

And the Wisconsin State Fair topped the lot. Insane!

Mike Gaynes
149 Posted 15/09/2020 at 17:12:32
John #145, our Bleach Boy supports Zenit St. Petersburg because Putin told him to.

Putin has been known to complain that his hometown club has too many foreigners, and of course Bleach Boy feels the same about America.

Mike Gaynes
150 Posted 15/09/2020 at 17:20:32
Happy Birthday (tomorrow) to Big Nev, and congrats on his new book:

“I’m scared for this country. We’ve got two of the most dangerous leaders in the world causing havoc. Johnson and Trump are loose cannons. In the past we used to think the loose cannons belonged to North Korea or fellas like Saddam Hussein. You don’t expect loose cannons to take over your own country.”

I had never heard this story about after the '95 Cup final:

'He was halfway home when he saw that a car, carrying United supporters, had broken down. Southall pulled over, told them to jump in and then drove to the closest garage. Were the United fans shocked to be rescued by the man who had cost them the FA Cup? “I don’t think they even knew who I was. We didn’t have much of a conversation. It was just: ‘Where do you wanna go? OK. I’ll drop you off there. See ya later.’ That was it. They probably wouldn’t expect a player from the opposition to stop, would they?”'

Chris Locke
151 Posted 15/09/2020 at 17:45:03
I don’t understand the argument about Carlo’s performance during project restart. It was obvious to everyone that the players we had could not achieve the level of football needed to get anywhere near European football.
With that in mind I think his tactics were two fold.
One was to get the team playing his way, irrespective of results, in preparation for the new arrivals and knowing full well that there would be no pre-season.
Two was to show those in charge once and for all that our midfield was the problem.
I reckon this plan worked a treat and the evidence was clear to see on Sunday.
Derek Moore
152 Posted 15/09/2020 at 19:27:52
We played well, really well at times and definitely deserved all three points. All of the new boys contributed positively, and the midfield almost instantly seems to have width and shape. Pickford was really good and it was only some poor finishing from Richarlison that prevented a more comprehensive victory.
I agree with those who pointed out Spurs did not play to their ability and may be set for a further poor run of form. I would add that there is quite probably something badly wrong there. The way the Spurs players gave up on Pochettino and the speed at which they did it very alarming considering he had literally just guided them to a champions league final. Whatever happened, it was not addressed and the not so special one anymore would appear to be an unlikely candidate to fix things on the fly as well.
The real test is putting these sorts of performances
together on a consistent basis though. It's a nice problem to be pondering.
Sukhdev Sohal
153 Posted 16/09/2020 at 11:00:00
I love the elite vocabulary in these match reports. Well done ToffeeWeb.

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