Dire Blues can't escape the ghosts of Everton past

This was Marco Silva’s Everton and the worst of “Project Restart” reborn… from the team that began this round of matches sitting on top of the table.

Lyndon Lloyd 01/11/2020 127comments  |  Jump to last

It was fun while it lasted, eh? Just for a few brief weeks up to the derby, we had the temerity to dream a little that, in these unpredictable times of no fans and crazy results, a team backed by someone as astute and experienced as Carlo Ancelotti, might be able to put together the kind of confidence-fuelled run that could carry them to a top-four finish.

That certainly looked possible over those first four games, while Everton also scoring a hatful of goals in the Carabao Cup to advance to the last eight, but doubts over the strength and depth of the squad once selection problems started to bite were only ever just around the corner. And how costly that rush of blood to Richarlison’s head, combined with James Rodriguez succumbing to injury so soon, has proved to be.

The Brazilian’s importance to this team can’t be understated and the fact that Ancelotti had to publicly urge his players to prove they would win without Richarlison ahead of this game merely underlined the fact. His pace, power, versatility, creativity and goal threat have been hugely conspicuous by their absence over the last two defeats and it’s hard to see Everton overcoming an unpredictable Manchester United next week without him as well.

This dreadful loss to an utterly ordinary Newcastle wasn’t simply about the absence of Richarlison, though. This was about a questionably narrow, defensive posture from the outset from the manager; about a lack of imagination and tempo for almost the entire 90 minutes; about a lack of any kind of real response to the disappointment at Southampton; about a dearth of speed of movement and thought in the ranks; and an increasingly worrying lack faith in a young player in Anthony Gordon who might have provided an antidote to the dirge but who never made it onto the pitch.

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This was about the isolation of the country’s most in-form striker and a galling lack of urgency and joined-up attacking football until it really was too late. And, finally, it was about seasoned professional midfielders proving incapable of consistently stringing together enough forward passes or conjuring a genuine goalscoring chance between them to cause a middling opposition defence any real problems until very late in the game. In short, this was Marco Silva’s Everton and the worst of “Project Restart” reborn… from the team that began this round of matches sitting on top of the table.

What Ancelotti witnessed at St Mary’s had clearly rattled his confidence that without his age-defying captain and three most creative players in Richarlison, James and the suspended Lucas Digne what was left of his team would be able to take the game to a Newcastle side that had been taken to the proverbial cleaners by United in their last home fixture. The Italian packed his line-up with five central midfielders — Allan, Abdoulaye Doucouré, André Gomes, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Fabian Delph — with Delph often dropping back into the left-back role to allow Niels Nkounkou license to bomb forward.

The young Frenchman got precious little opportunity to do so, however. Delph consistently looked backwards, sideways or attempted lazy cross-field balls aimed in Jonjoe Kenny’s general direction; Gomes kept missing blue shirts with the kind of quick five-yard passes that should have been used to try to open the Magpies’ defence up and Gylfi Sigurdsson’s persistent desire to take one too many touches meant that there was no tempo to anything Everton did.

The result was as moribund a first half of football as any Evertonians have been forced to sit through in recent memory, with the home side going closer to breaking the deadlock with an early chance for Callum Wilson that he fired wide and a big moment for debutant Robin Olsen when he came up big to foil Allan Saint-Maximin as the home side counter-attacked off a corner at the other end.

Olsen had been a surprise replacement for Jordan Pickford, with Ancelotti saying beforehand that he simply want to give the Swede some minutes but it was hard to ignore the media fallout from the England international’s incident with Virgil van Dijk a fortnight ago and the fact that he has had to hire security in the face of threats to his family.

Doucouré technically registered an effort on target when he stabbed the ball tamely at Karl Darlow but much more was hoped for in the second half, particularly after the hour mark when it was expected that Ancelotti would try and introduce some creativity having effectively aimed for keeping things level for the first 60 minutes.

Unfortunately, Everton fell four minutes short of that milestone. Gomes caught Wilson’s leg as he tried to clear the ball following a corner and, under the new rules where intent is irrelevant, referee Stuart Atwell awarded Newcastle a penalty. Wilson took it himself and sent Olsen the wrong way to make it 1-0.

Olsen made an important intervention almost immediately after the restart, however, when he made an excellent save to prevent Sean Longstaff from quickly doubling Newcastle’s lead.

Gomes appeared to injure himself in the incident with Wilson and was withdrawn three minutes later in favour of Bernard but, in truth, the Portuguese had had another turgid outing and should have been hooked regardless. The diminutive Brazilian was followed into the pitch nine uneventful minutes later by Cenk Tosun who made an unexpectedly early return to action but he would make almost no direct impact on the game.

Instead it was one of Steve Bruce’s substitutes who effectively killed the game. After Dominic Calvert-Lewin had headed straight at the keeper and Sigurdsson had deposited a long-range shot into Darlow’s arms, the Magpies countered again quickly, with Ryan Fraser out-stripping Yerry Mina for pace and sending a cross off the Colombian’s boot to the far post where Wilson just had to touch it over the line.

A frustrated Calvert-Lewin came very close to making a game of it sooner than he eventually did after Alex Iwobi came on with impressively quick feet and a snap-shot that just flew the wrong side of the post but the arch poacher was there in stoppage time to plunder what would only prove to be a consolation goal.

Iwobi fired a dangerous ball in towards the near post and the striker stole in ahead of Darlow to prod it past him and give Everton faint hope of pulling off the kind of rescue act that Newcastle did at Goodison Park earlier this year.

However, even though the Toffees forced a last-ditch corner and the 6’ 5” Olsen was sent up to bolster the aerial attack, Sigurdsson floated a harmless dead ball into Darlow’s arms and the game was up.

Having had a 100% record in all competitions going into the international break, Everton are now winless in their last three and have dropped eight of the last nine available points. The optimists will point to the fact that the Blues remain in second place for now but, in the knowledge that Ancelotti won’t always be able to field his strongest side, this was a poor result on the back of an even more depressing performance. Questions will rightly be raised over the Italian's team selection as well, one which either paid Newcastle way too much respect or betrayed a disconcerting lack of faith in his own players' ability to take the game to the Barcodes.

Supporter frustration with Sigurdsson is well documented. A Talisman for his country, the Icelander seems incapable of being a driving force in any capacity for Everton. Though ponderous and ineffective, his manager continues to talk him up in the press, presumably in an effort to coax more out of him on the pitch when it seems, as has been remarked on social media this week, that he’s only in the side because no one else can take a set-piece if Digne and Rodriguez aren’t there… which makes that injury-time corner all the more galling.

The fans’ faith in Gomes is rapidly evaporating as well. The player many hoped would make the most of his recall after watching on from the bench last weekend, he, too was incapable of offering any leadership in deed this afternoon and it’s got to the point where you have to ask what it is that he offers this side on recent form.

Then there is Delph, a player who was signed for just this kind of scenario — to come in as a replacement and use his experience and supposed leadership to be a force in midfield to push the team forward against sub-standard opposition but, played out of position, he robbed the team of width and was patently not any kind of answer to the lack of creativity in the middle of the park.

Instead, while Bernard, Allan and Doucouré tried manfully to make something happen but often ran into brick walls, it was Iwobi, the man criticised more than more for his display at Southampton, who provided the spark late on to create the goal for Calvert-Lewin. While Gordon remained on the bench, no doubt wondering what he has to do to get a game, the Nigerian at least provided the width and trickery to carve out a genuine opening and DCL pounced. Too bad the striker’s reward for his own industry came so late in proceedings.

So, with the bubble well and truly burst, thoughts turn to the clash with United next week, one for which the Everton of last month would have had little fear but will now await with some trepidation. Digne will be back and, perhaps, Mason Holgate will be ready but it’s further up the pitch where the bulk of Ancelotti’s work needs to be done. In that sense, he will be hoping James is passed fit but even he won’t be enough without significantly better productivity in the rest of the midfield.

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Reader Comments (127)

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Paul Jones
1 Posted 01/11/2020 at 20:32:41
Todays game proved that the manager preferred first eleven can be a match most teams this season but behind that their are very few reliable replacements.
A team made up predominantly of legacy buys from our Directors of Football (DOF) is shit, hence those who managed in such circumstances were sacked. When our first team squad is depleted the consequences are predictable.
A team of not wanted Arsenal, Man City, Man United, Barcelona squad players bought at massive expense by our DOF's was no recipe for success so things are only likely to further change for the better when the remnants of that become extinct.
We've taken a few steps in the right direction but as we've seen when the crutches are taken away we fall flat on our face.
Tony Everan
2 Posted 01/11/2020 at 20:41:09
Thanks for a great report Lyndon.

A shocking performance and a shocking defensive line up. Five central midfielders and no support again for DCL. I think most of us probably looked at that team selection and said “what the fuck!“. I am all in for the Carlo Ancelotti project but on occasions I just can’t fathom his team selection.

Today’s selection was a midfield devoid of pace or attacking dynamism. Slow and sideways, no one bursting through the defensive line, no creative balls and no one making the runs that Richarlison does naturally. Someone please tell me what’s going on? I am cracking up with it all.

Today I think the manger was more culpable than the players for the way the game went. The team selected and tactics deployed stank the place out.

Without Richarlison we are mid table team 8th-12th, with Richarlison a fully fit James Rodriguez we are a top six challenger.

On another thread we we discussing Isco. He would add quality. That said, the priority to me is we need a back up forward with some electric pace to support Richarlison and DCL throughout the season. Ismailia Sarr , Sam H suggested Diatta , someone in that mold who can get behind defenders.

Letting Kean go and not getting a threatening forward in with some pace and goals has been another almighty balls up. What would we let him go and not get a replacement? I am hoping we can get someone decent in January.

Anthony A Hughes
3 Posted 01/11/2020 at 20:53:13
Gomes can only play as a sitting playmaker in front of the back four. He doesn't have the legs or fitness to play anywhere else on the pitch

Colin O'Keeffe
4 Posted 01/11/2020 at 20:59:24
I was completely unsurprised by the result and performance today. We are heavily dependent on 3 consistent creative outlets, Digne, Richarlison and James to supply Calvert-Lewin. Richarlison is fundamental to creating our tempo as well with his high energy approach. The lack of form / consistency from Iwobi and Bernard means at present there are no viable alternatives (Gordon doesn’t seem to be considered ready), hence today’s conservative set up with no recognised wide players and 5 central midfielders. Next week should be better with Digne and James (hopefully) returning. It’ll be interesting to see how he deals with two problem positions, not just Richarlison’s but also the left of the midfield 3, bearing in mind Gomes’ issues. On the plus side, Man Utd look devoid of confidence again and there is an opportunity to fix these issues and get a result next week. Up the Blues.
Jay Woods
5 Posted 01/11/2020 at 21:25:16
I never even saw DCL's goal and have no interest in seeing it; 2-0 at 90 mins, I knew we were done for. (Well, we were done for long before then).

Wrong personnel again today, primarily in attacking positions, but no need to repeat what everyone else has said about that.

The penalty was never a penalty, but we're in no position to belabour that point after our own jamminess in that regard against Palace.

On the plus side, we can calm down now and stop kidding ourselves that we're contenders.

Danny Broderick
6 Posted 01/11/2020 at 21:36:26
The heat needs to be on our creative players. Bernard and Iwobi weren’t selected because they have been rubbish. Sigurdsson has been rubbish even longer than Bernard, but somehow he was selected. Ditto for Gomes. Most of the passes from Sigurdsson and Gomes today, when they weren’t giving it away, were backwards or sideways, and they were playing behind the striker!

Gordon is about the only viable alternative at the minute, but he’s very raw. It’s a big ask to give him the responsibility of being our creative force in this team.

Our creative midfielders have been bought for a fortune. They are mainly earning top money, over £100,000 a week. What are we getting for that money? How many assists do they produce? How many goals do they score? Are they improving and adding value? We all know the answer!

Walcott failed. So did Lookman. The current lot have all failed - Bernard, Gomes, Sigurdsson and Iwobi, although the jury may still be out on Iwobi as he is the newest recruit.

Our creative midfielders are all failing us, (with the obvious exceptions of Rodriguez and Richarlison). We need to pick creative players - the trouble is they are all shite, and it doesn’t matter how Carlo (or Silva? Or Koeman?) shuffles them, or what formation we play, they always let us down.

Don’t blame the manager - blame the shithouses who fail to deliver! Who suddenly start playing when the pressure is off! Who shit themselves every time we play the top 6! Who have failed to deliver under 3/4 managers now! Who disappear away from home! Who are stealing a living!

John Davies
7 Posted 01/11/2020 at 21:47:25
Anthony #3. Based on today's performance he doesn't have the desire to play anywhere either. He was, again, dreadful today.

But what the manager was playing at today? His team selection and tactics (were there any?) defied logic.

1. Five central midfielders!? None of them getting forward at any time and no tempo to anything they did with the ball.
2. Picking Olsen in goal and then stating no matter how he played Pickford would be back in sticks for the next game!? Based on what he did today he should surely keep the shirt next week.
3. Sigurdsson as team Captain again!? It simply beggars belief.
4. Bringing on a second centre forward in the second half who hasn't played for months!? And then having no-one on the pitch to provide either with crosses from wide!? What has Anthony Gordon got to do to earn a chance to start.

Ancelotti was poor last week at Southampton and today was worse than even the perpetually useless Sigurdsson & Gomez. It's not just the players who are performing badly right now - and it's time for him too, to step up to the mark.

Danny Broderick
8 Posted 01/11/2020 at 21:54:39
Sigurdsson: 11 apps, 1 goal, 3 assists.
Bernard: 10 apps, 1 goal, 1 assist.
Iwobi: 8 apps, 1 goal, 2 assists.
Gomes: 6 goals, 0 goals, 0 assists.

These stats are damning for creative players playing in a top of the table team alongside players in great form like Digne, Richarlison, Rodriguez, DCL.

Gomes is finished. He can’t defend and he can’t attack. He’s a chocolate fireguard.

Brent Stephens
9 Posted 01/11/2020 at 22:19:23
Some dire individual performances today. How can a manager deliver on his strategy if the individual pieces don’t do their bit?
Nigel Munford
10 Posted 01/11/2020 at 22:30:07
Olsen or Pickford - Discuss
Geoff Cadman
11 Posted 01/11/2020 at 22:40:00
Poor as today's performance was, another major concern "since the alleged assault on St Virgil" is how keen officials are to punish us for minor offences. 4 Yellows for 10 fouls today, if Atwell hadn't pointed to the spot VAR wouldn't have given the penalty a second glance, even Bruce thought it harsh. It was Similar last week at Southampton. It would have been better if Pickford had received a ban on review, it could well have helped to defuse this situation.
Alex Gray
12 Posted 01/11/2020 at 22:46:33
After a few hours sulking after that dross i’ve tried to pick out a few positives. DCL took his goal well after literally zero service all game. Olsen for me took his chance and can’t be blamed for either goal.

The negatives start with the selection. Five cms completely nullified our midfield and there was zero space to create any form of chance. Players also didn’t know their roles or simply didn’t stick to them.

In particular I thought Kenny was atrocious today. He found himself in space on the wing four times and instead of trying to carve an opportunity, he passed backwards snd for me isn’t good enough. I’ve tried to defend Gomes since his return from that horror challenge but the facts are he’s not the same player.

The fact we haven’t won without Richarlison speaks volumes. He’s our only player who can carry the ball and turn defence into attack quickly and for me is our most important player. The only other player in our squad that does it is Coleman when he’s at his best. We have plenty of players who can pick a pass but there is zero movement or athleticism to get the ball up the pitch and our attacks happen at a snails pace which was why we hit two banks of four consistently today.

A lot of todays squad need to go. Theres too many of the same player and subs make no impact as they don't solve our actual issues.

Our fully fit first eleven is an effective force and well balanced. Two or three injuries derail our season and we need some squad depth with variety massively.

Digne and James coming back next week is a plus but I don't expect much until coleman and richy are back.

James Head
13 Posted 01/11/2020 at 22:47:30
Sigurdsson was dreadful, Gomez was terrible, Delph was awful, I can't understand why Doucoure was sitting deep and not driving forward as there was no one else capable of going past a Mags player, We must have the least pace of any team in the division and like everyone else I also don't know why Gordon can't get a look in. We're scraping the barrel bringing Tosun back but the squad is so poor that it wouldn't surprise me to see headless chicken Bolasie back in contention. Tenth place finish at best for this shower of over payed over the hill plodders, lets forget Europe and throw everything at winning the league cup.
Dick Fearon
14 Posted 01/11/2020 at 23:03:18
From Guardiola and Klopp down to managers of relegation zone sides all play active sideline parts in the game but it seems we have been cursed with a long list of those who think their job ends on the training ground.
I am done with the likes of Walter Smith, Moyes, Martinez, Koeman, Silva and now Ancelloti who inhabit the sidelines with barely a glimmer of enthusiasm.
I prefer managers who show some same kind of emotional connection with the game as the average fan.

How could Carlo suffer all bar the final few minutes of pointless pass the parcel between our defenders.
One attempt at goal in 70 minutes of dull as ditchwater garbage sums it up.
The much maligned Iwobi was the only sub worth his place. With goals required and Gordon champing at the bit where was his logic of bringing on Tosun and Bernard?

Kase Chow
15 Posted 01/11/2020 at 23:05:50
Awful selection from the manager. Honestly this was a worse game plan than the days of Moyes, Keep it tight and nick one

At least in those days we didn’t play with 5 central midfielders incapable of going beyond the striker (if we played Cahill or Fellaini they would actually provide an attacking threat)

Today’s performance from tactics to execution was so so bad

Olsen - very good. Please keep him in

Nkoukou - okay for a debut. Not great but not awful

Keane - did okay. No mistakes and tried to provide an ariel threat

Mina - this guy is a joke. We’ve been had by Barcelona. Cost us against Liverpool and cost us again today. He’s not good enough

Kenny - not good enough. I don’t understand Evertonian’s saying to give him a chance... he’s one of us. He may be a nice guy but he doesn’t excel at anything

Delph - can’t stand this guy. Offers nothing going forwards. Not sure he breaks up the play particularly well either. Distribution is average. What does he bring?

Allan/Doucouré - it’s like they have caught the Everton disease 4 matches in. Allan was crap against Liverpool and has been anonymous since. I thought he would seek and destroy but now he just sits. We won the first 4 matches because we won the midfield and played on the front foot. We actually engaged with the opposition midfield and bullied and beat them. But now Allan and Doucouré seem to sit off and it’s all gone to pot again. What’s going on? At this rate we don’t need them we have enough ineffective midfielders already

Gomes - since his injury he was excellent against Arsenal and that’s all I can remember. He’s been rubbish all this season and especially against Liverpool and then again today. Barcelona have done again on this signing

Siggy - at least he tried to make something happen. However, as usual, nothing did happen. He just isn’t very good. And somehow can’t take good set pieces consistently. What have we bought here?

DCL - tried hard but it was in vain. At this rate he will out grow us and leave at the end of the season. Such a shame

Bernard - usual ineffective and weak performance

Iwobi - surprisingly decent

Tosun - why put on an immobile and weak striker? Why not even try Gordon and / or Simms

Carlo - this was terrible mate. This is your team and your construct. Just as you took compliments for the start of the season then you must take severe criticism for this rubbish

Oh to be a long suffering blue

Jerome Shields
16 Posted 01/11/2020 at 23:29:03
It was a display that could have been predicted once the line-up was announced. Obviously Ancelotti hasn't watched all the videos of the pass five years of the matches we had to watch in there full depressing glory.

He would have known that Sigurdsson would piss about just outside the penalty areas back and sideways passing, often one touch on any hint of a challenge, pointing useless instructions, with bullshit stats. This got worse where it was realised that Gomes was a forward playing shallow. With Kenny and Nkounkou pushing forward with few taking up a position in the penalty area to receive a ball. With Calvert Lewin marked by most of the defense.

The second half with a well motivate and confident Newcastle as a result of how Everton played pushed on through midfield. it was difficult to play out of defense with few available for a pass. Delph ineffective deep. Subs made little difference, though Iowbi did look the part.

We have seen this type of display more often than Ancelotti. He now knows how we feel.

Rob Young
17 Posted 01/11/2020 at 23:59:30
What do you think, Nigel #10?
Jason Wilkinson
18 Posted 02/11/2020 at 00:38:23
Gomes is not the player we thought he might become. Delph is average at best. A good pro but little impact. Siggy is a shadow of the player he was. For some reason he doesnt seem to want to get into the box anymore. Allan and Docoure were ineffective today. Possibly because of the overload of similar players on the pitch along side them.
Surely Gordon and the recently maligned Davis should be seen as replacements.
Bernard is frustrating. At his best he causes the opposition a major problem. At his average he is lightweight and a passenger. Kenny is better than today's performance and Nkoukou will get better with minutes on the pitch.
Mina doesnt inspire me with confidence. His temperament is also at question. The days of a hard man at CB are long gone.
DCL is missing Richy. There is a lack of creativity and space when he is played up front on his own. I doubt Ellis Simms is ready but to put Tosun on was laughable.
Another year of mediocrity awaits I'm afraid. Prove me wrong Carlo.
Derek Thomas
19 Posted 02/11/2020 at 00:40:34
All the usual suspects put in the usual none performance.
I've said before Gomes is a liability if he has to tackle anywhere, nevermind in his own box.

Siggi - legs gone, head not of the inclination to even try,
Bernard - lost what little mojo he had.
Iwobi - Arsenal did us good style.
Delph - not even worth the pittance we paid for him.
Allen & Doucoure - not at the races today.
Kenny - poor today, Germany beckons, If they still want him.
Nkounkou - did enough to play in front of the returning Digne next week.
DCL - zero service but scored a sniffers goal in injury time, speaks well of his commitment and concentration.
Mina - done for pace by Frazer...but he does that to those faster than Mina too.
Tosun - some say he was there on the pitch...I must've blinked or turned over to see how the women were doing.
Olsen - did ok...but so did Pickford last week...all the other offences got taken into consideration I think. Olsen has it until...for whatever reason...he doesn't.
Kean - steady

Ancelotti - got it a bit wrong maybe?? but if just one or two of the sows ears he had to pick got anywhere near some sort of...not even silk...maybe a nice brocade type performance we might have come away with something.

Gordon - he's either turned shit or really upset somebody.

Jason Wilkinson
20 Posted 02/11/2020 at 00:46:14
Derek #19
I can only think Gordon has pissed Carlo off or he doesnt show in training what we see on the pitch during matches. He would be in my team next week. Starting not on the bench.
Jason Wilkinson
21 Posted 02/11/2020 at 00:53:52
Talking of the past. Remember when our full backs used to score goals?
Midfielders got 8-10 a season.
Centre halves would get 4-5.
We are so reliant on DCL and Richy its embarrassing.
Nicholas Ryan
22 Posted 02/11/2020 at 01:30:19
"Doomed, Mr. Mannering, doomed... "!!
Bob Parrington
23 Posted 02/11/2020 at 01:30:29
Jay@5 and John@7 - Agreed, agreed! I was disappointed to see Bernard in the starting line-up. He and Iwobi could do with playing a few games for Unsworth's team.
Ridiculous penalty decision by the ref didn't help either.

But, top and bottom of it is that we had zero inventiveness, were lazy off the ball and, on top of all this, Carlo seems to have lost it just just now!

I would like to see Anthony Gordon start a few games!

John Hall
24 Posted 02/11/2020 at 01:47:53
Need to stand up Carlo and take responsibility for the dire performance that we had to sit through. The formation after 15 minutes could clearly be seen to be static and going nowhere, passing sideways and back which lasted for almost all of the first 45 minutes. It never changed after half time and was still evident on the hour. What did you say at half time ? Obviously there were no harsh words dished out as there was no improvement. Raise your voice and man up as being the gentleman obviously has not worked these past two games. Lack of effort is not acceptable and should be met with a stinging rebuke. The guilty culprits and there were many yesterday know who they are.

These are supposed to be professional footballers, but they resembled a bunch of mollycoddled prima donnas who don't give a shit about the club but who garner massive rewards for jogging around for 90 minutes once per week. Makes me utterly ashamed to be a blue.

Don Alexander
25 Posted 02/11/2020 at 01:56:22
The match was a testament to the inertia introduced to the club for the past thirty years by you-know-who. Jeez, Moshiri when he last went public about him, even emphasised his newly re-established role in the club, making him the fucking chairman of a totally witless board, Brands possibly excused given the tsunami of shite our board/owner regularly spout.

Moshiri has fucked up, massively and demonstrably, ever since he bought in.

Yes, he's spent, but those he's sanctioned are largely the polar opposite of the ambition he so winsomely espouses to Talkshite's Jim White. It'll take several windows from now to rectify the problems Moshiri has sanctioned, if we're lucky.

If we're even luckier the very few gems among our squad will (bizarrely) put aside their personal future fortune and success by staying in a bid to try to obtain success led by an owner/boardroom devoid of any aptitude to make their dreams valid, all the while paying huge public respect to the club's charitable enterprise of course.

Everton - one of the world's most desirable clubs for seasoned loafers, on and off the field

John Hall
26 Posted 02/11/2020 at 02:10:48
Any bets on which player will be the one to come out and tell us this week on here and in the Echo that it was an unacceptable performance. Yawn Yawn.

How many times have we heard that one

Kieran Kinsella
27 Posted 02/11/2020 at 02:16:54

You let Doucoure off lightly saying he “manfully” tried to make things happen. Essentially he seemed frustrated watching Keane and Mina playing sideways passes to each other so he dropped back and demanded the ball. The problem was that instead of doing anything productive he became the third wheel in the endless pass around outside our own penalty box. Allan really did nothing at all. I know he’s mostly a destroyer but against Spurs he was showing for the ball and make some nice quick passes. Today he basically stood on the center spot for 90 minutes.

Simon Dalzell
28 Posted 02/11/2020 at 04:01:18
Doomed before a ball was kicked. Negative selection and tactics. Not for the first time by any stretch..
Derek Knox
29 Posted 02/11/2020 at 04:19:55
Brent @ 9, totally agree with the first part of your post, however I do appreciate that Carlo has inherited so many white elephants, it must be perplexing what to do with them, they have still got to be fed exercised etc.

I must hasten to add, although he has had little to choose from since we have lost our best players, he sees the others every day at Finch Farm, so must know who is capable of producing something that resembles joined up football.

Yet when they get on the pitch, they look like football is a game they have rarely participated in before. Furthermore, I have noticed on several occasions even when we do have most of our recognised first choice, if one player or two, has an off day, it seems to spread like wildfire, and they all catch it.

I watch a lot of football as you are probably aware, and other sides that have gone through bad spells with their so called senior stars have no hesitation in bringing in the youngsters who have something to prove, and that also delivers a wake-up call to the so-called senior professionals.

Jack Convery
30 Posted 02/11/2020 at 04:50:29
Everton: Pickford, Coleman, Holgate, Mina, Digne, Sidibe, Sigurdsson, Schneiderlin, Walcott, Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison. Subs: who came on during the game - Delph, Bernard, Kean.

The above line up is the one that in my opinion gave the worst display ever by an EFC XI - lost to the RS youth team plus Llalana.
Today 3 of that lot started, Mina, Siggy, DCL, plus Delph and Bernard who came on as subs. Only DCL has actually improved as a player from that lot. Mina, Siggy, Delph and Bernard are still stinking the place out. 2 others have gone Sidibe and Schneids, whilst 2 others have gone on loan Kean and Walcott who will not return.

The rest are still with us - Pickford who has his moments good and bad, Coleman who though in the autumn of his career is playing very well, Holgate injured, Digne suspended and before the International break playing as good as I've seen him in a blue shirt, DCL a revelation and Richarlson who after the last 2 games is now indispensable. Please Richy leave tackling to others - we need you on the pitch.

We added Allan and Doucoure in midfield during the summer and before the International break they were excellent, however since it nowhere near as good. I believe Allan is playing with an injury, so he has an excuse. James came in and has been bloody marvellous for us but VVDs marker certainly did leave its mark and his contribution markedly reduced as a result.

After today its blindingly obvious that either some players are not capable at this level or are deliberately not putting the required effort into their performances. If that's the case, they are a disgrace to their profession and the shirt they wear. I get the feeling they aren't actually bothered about losing. That FA Cup defeat by the RS kids has left a long lasting scar on me and I want the following players out of EFC as soon as possible - I said it after the FA Cup defeat too - I'm referring to Siggy and Delph. Others who should soon depart for varying reasons are Iwobi, Bernard and Mina as we will not become a top team with them.

I fear there is a split in the squad, those playing like crabs when called upon and who most probably think they should be in the team every game and those who played in the 1st XI for the first four EPL games and others who are desperate to join in the fun of playing well and winning games. I would ask Carlo to please, please give Gordon playing time before the usual suspects in future. Play him against MU in Richys position but please, please leave Siggy and Delph out and show them the door asap.

PS: I thought Olson played well today - good job wasn't it.

Derek Moore
31 Posted 02/11/2020 at 04:53:31
Poor. Selecting Olsen appears to have predictably caused more problems than it has solved. That's poor managment.
We have such little cover at fullback it's galling. The French lad did okay, but Delph seems to have replaced Walcott in impersonating an Everton player. Kenny certainly looked up for it, but on that showing he is a very limited player for this level.
Gomes is the sort of player that looks great on the continent in a good side; the string puller in the middle of the park that has two water carriers to win and funnel him the ball. These sorts of players usually struggle to make an impact in England, the game is rougher and at a higher pace and the game can often pass them by. Unless Gomes can recover a yard or more of pace he looks finished in the premier league.
We've gone from the sublime to the ridiculous in typical Everton fashion. At least the cup run came during our little purple patch, but until the familiar names return to this team then we're going nowhere.
John Boon
32 Posted 02/11/2020 at 05:04:28
To me quite simple. We have theBEST header of a ball in the premier league. He requires fast wingers on both sides of the field who can cross balls to take advantage of this asset. Yesterday we showed a complete inability to get up the wing swiftly and cross balls into the penalty area. We are so lacking in speed.

There are so many aspects of yesterday's game that need to be looked into, but most have been covered in previous posts other than what I have suggested above.

Derek Knox
33 Posted 02/11/2020 at 05:33:07
John @ 32, hope all okay with you John, amidst all this Covid-19 mayhem, I think it has already caused more damage, and financially brought nearly every country nearer to dire straits, than either of the World Wars.

I was really looking forward to meeting you before you had to cancel your trip to Liverpool, due to the aforementioned. Still, I live in hope that it may still happen in the future. Hope is a thing we Evertonians know a lot about, having had it dashed on so many occasions, but I suppose it keeps us going.

Anyway, take care John, and all the best to you and your family.

Jerome Shields
34 Posted 02/11/2020 at 07:11:37
This was a game where the last thing Everton needed was one goalkeeping error. I wasn't worried with Olsen in goal. He also pulled off some great saves. What's more he actually caught the ball in the penalty area. Showined himself as being in command, by instructing players where to stand , so as not get in his way should be have to leave his goalline at Corners.


CL was completely marked out of most of the game. The Newcastle defenders had loads of time to do it.

Steve Shave
35 Posted 02/11/2020 at 07:20:46
At least we have a glut of players back for Utd who are unpredictable currently. Digne, Coleman? James. how much longer for Holgate? I'm eager to see Holgate and Keane in the middle again, I think that will tighten us up. I'd like to see us try and shift Sigi or Bernard (or both?) in January and sign a right winger.
Mal van Schaick
36 Posted 02/11/2020 at 07:56:13
We haven’t got the strength in depth. There are a number of substitutes that are not good enough quality to take us to the next level. Fix that with another good goal scorer and a couple of quality midfielders and we should see further progress.
Tony Marsh
37 Posted 02/11/2020 at 08:09:26
I believe Carlo Ancelotti is past his best and is a fragile manager these days. At times, Carlo's judgement is flawed and at times he is just a puzzling as Koeman and Silva. The Anfield derby in the FA Cup last season exposed Ancelotti and there's been plenty of disastrous decision-making since.

Yesterday's performance and team set-up was a carbon copy of many of last season's pathetic showings. We have some shockingly bad players at this club, some of the worst in living memory. Yet, for some reason, our current manager – just like the previous two – keeps playing these inept performers. I can't see any point in persisting with Sigurdsson, Iwobi, Pickford, Kenny, or Gomes, who hasn't yet recovered from Son's friendly tackle.

Carlo Ancelotti has had his day. The golden years are over. Carlo is a nice guy but there aren't many managers in the world aged 60+ who are actually winning stuff. I can't think of any. Football has changed, as have players.

Everton never changes: we just keep treading water. 10th place finish, here we come – unless January brings in some help. I mean how long has it been since we had more than one recognised striker? (I don't include Tosun.) It's a joke.

John Cook
38 Posted 02/11/2020 at 08:11:50
No pace whatsoever in the team.,it's been the main problem for a number of years now.With pace you can smother a team and set up lightening quick counter attacks,a la Fraser yesterday.The
RS Spurs,even Man U have it in spades,we don't.
Jon Wit
39 Posted 02/11/2020 at 08:21:58
We just passed the ball in front of them and the defensive posture did us no favours for the second goal - but I guess we were chasing the game by then.

The crab-like congestion in the middle of the pitch was mind-numbing at times. Did we really need Delph on ? Wouldn't it have been better to let Gomes sit back with Allen and let Doucoure move further up ?

To be fair I felt we were slowly getting on top before the second goal but we were done by something we didn't have on the pitch - pace.

Positives ? Doucoure is a good player. Olsen seemed fine. DCL scored again. No more red cards (although Allen was getting frustrated and I was beginning to wonder). We now have 5 CBs to choose from...

Worst of the lot ? Mina for that second goal and the manager who needed more aces up his sleeve.

It was rubbish to have have my post-Southampton fears realised - this team is a few missing players away from being lower mid-table again.

As frustrating as it is, we might be better off focusing on a clean sheet with Manchester United - perhaps that is what he thought for Newcastle but it unravelled.

Eddie Dunn
40 Posted 02/11/2020 at 08:42:59
0ne observation worth considering is our goal scoring. DCL was isolated but nicked one. For england Grealish was his provider, but without Grealish in his next game he drew a blank as the defensive midfielders provided nothing. Everton have scored more headers than anyone else. most of these are from corners or free kicks, DCL and keane the main benificeries.
Without James and Richarlison we simply are not forcing corners or free kicks.
We actually haven't been that creative even with our South Americans.
The overlapping of Digne and Coleman have been missed as much as our Brazillian and Columbian.
Carlo thought he could strangle Newcastle perhaps unleashing his wide men once the fight had gone out of them. He got it wrong.
For such an experienced manager he has got it wrong too often.
Hat's off to Iwobi, I slagged him off and had given up on him, but he showed more verve than all the others put together.
John Keating
41 Posted 02/11/2020 at 08:45:56
Ancelotti said after the Southampton game that we had to lose sometime but it was how we responded that mattered
Well yesterday answered that
Not only did the players not respond but neither did the management

I found the team selection a bit strange with both the out if form Gomes and Sigi picked, however, on paper still capable of besting Newcastle

Once the game started and Delph and Dacoure dropping deep to allow the full backs to go up and it failing miserably Ancelotti persisted
Sigi contributing nothing, Gomes unable to pass to another Blue shirt, no width, no service to DCL who was playing in midfield, Ancelotti persisted

Width and pace were needed at half time not after we went one down.

The subs were strange, however, the one time we got both a bit of width and DCL in the 6 yard box at the same time we scored.

Regards the goalie, next week I’d drop both if them. The best keeper we’ve got, by far, is the young kid playing for the Ladies team.
Ancelotti might regret saying before the game Pickford will be back for United.
Play like the last two games and we’ll need all our keepers between the sticks

Derek Knox
42 Posted 02/11/2020 at 09:04:38
Having read most of the comments highlighting our lack of strength in depth, I wholeheartedly agree and even a couple who are considered regular first team regulars, do not escape either.

Without naming names, but you don't have to be a latter day Holmes, ably assisted by Watson, to figure out who. Barcelona don't let players go if they consider them to be reasonably good, okay there may be the odd exception.

Having said that, I have always been a believer in ' horses for courses ' and some do buck that trend however we have a couple of horses and don't have the right course for them. Any takers?

Fran Mitchell
43 Posted 02/11/2020 at 09:09:00
Not being able to shift Bernard, Iwobi, Sigurdsson and Delph has meant that we have to use them - their wages are just to high to not use them, and we have no chance of signing anyone (i.e. King, Benhramha) who could replace them until their wages are off our books.

But they are failing time and time again. None of them are good enough.

Kenny was poor, bu maybe unfair to write him off already basically as it was his first start, he only just got back from injury, and down the right he had nothing to work with. But, if he doesn't improve, then that is clealy somewhere we need to strenghen.

The failure to use Gordon seems shocking. Playing with 5 central midfielders, of which only 2 have played at any decent standard this season, was an odd decision that Ancelotti has to answer to.

There was literally nothing out wide, and made us incredilby easy to defend against.

I'd rather play Bolasie to Sigurdsson, at least he give width and pace. And Gordon was the natural replacement for Richarlison and has been completely left out.

Very disappointing, and a sense of back to reality. This time round, the International break will be welcomed. Time for a rethink, we can't spend a season so dependant on Richarlison and James. When those two are on it, yes, we can beat most teams. But we need to learn to play without them.

At Utd, We should go with Digne/Nkounkou on the left and hopefully Coleman is fit again and partner him with Gordon down the right.

We should then put James if fit in the middle ahead of Allan and Doucoure.

Phil Lewis
44 Posted 02/11/2020 at 09:13:34
Excellent appraisal Lyndon.
In short, Delph slows movement with his negative approach, devoid of creativity. Gomes is nowhere near the player he was. The only mitigation being he is not physically or mentally over his injury. Sigurrdson offers nothing other than the occasional dead ball delivery. The team overall, sluggish and ponderous in their approach.
Finally, what on earth possessed Ancelotti to replace Kenny and move Dacoure to full back? That manoeuvre led to their second goal.
After such a wonderful start to the season which promised a new dawn, the dark clouds of last year have returned. Let's hope there's a cloudburst and there are still bright days ahead.
With the players mentioned, I doubt it.
Ken Kneale
45 Posted 02/11/2020 at 09:13:36
Lyndon - as ever a fine summary of the further frustration we endure and the betrayal by many players of the pride we feel about our club.

Sigurdsson and Gomes are finished in a blue shirt - both are cowardly players who will always play safe and in doing so simply pressurise themselves or a team mate into a mistake over the duration of a game - both a liabilities and will never allow us to reach higher if their services are retained - they sadly encapsulate all that has been wrong at Everton for many, many years.

Delph for me similarly captures the final big pay cheque mentality - remember when we had so called 'squad players' of the calibre of Kevin Richardson - a player who given a sniff of opportunity took it with relish despite knowing that the place in the team may never be his own.

I keep repeating myself on different threads, but Walsh and Brands should be hung out to dry in shame for the unbalanced, overpaid and characterless squad of players this club currently employs - meanwhile we are sadly suffering the ongoing and oft repeated performances their scouting and fiscal incompetence deserves.

Andy Crooks sums it up for me on another thread - after decades of support I have never felt so divorced from the club we all love.

Sukhdev Sohal
46 Posted 02/11/2020 at 09:42:47
You guys need to remember Sigurdsson was playing RM and Gomes LAM. Of course, their performances weren't good enough, but if you played Sig in the middle with pace around him he would've looked good. There's no lack of effort from him but he just isn't a wide midfielder. In the Southampton game he played at LCM, a position where theoretically he should do good and he couldn't. It looks like for the future we will only keep one of Sig or Gomes, and hopefully replace one of them with a proper winger that has real pace like Bailey. Not these average link players like Iwobi and Bernard.
Brian Harrison
47 Posted 02/11/2020 at 09:49:25
I am a big fan of Carlo Ancelotti, but yesterday he seemed to have completely lost the plot. Yes we had some players missing but we were playing a very poor Newcastle side, yet we set up as though we were expecting to be defending for large parts of the game. To play Sigurdsson and Gomes either side of DCL, what did Carlo expect neither has got any pace and very rarely do they go past people. So it was little surprise to see DCL get so little support.

I realize his choices were limited with neither Iwobi or Bernard deserving of a starting position, given their poor displays so far this season. Why didnt he start Gordon who has pace and could have provided some much needed support for DCL. I think the commentator said yesterday that Everton havent won a game since 2018 when Richarlison hasnt played, what a sad indictment for the rest of the squad that statistic is completely embarrassing.

The performance yesterday was reminiscent of performances we saw regularly under Allardyce, Koeman and Silva, I thought this season we had put that back and sideways passing to bed, but clearly not.
Carlo there is still a great deal of belief in you from most Evertonians, please don't let this become another false dawn. I hope that having won what you have won this display would have disappointed you as well as us fans. So I would hope we see a very much improved performance against Man Utd. We as a group of fans have had so many false dawns over the decades that another false dawn will be neither here or there in the great scheme of things. But I and many others believe in you but there are some who will be only to ready to start a Ancelotti out campaign, if results don't improve and quickly. Most Evertonians didnt expect to go from bottom half of the table to challenging for a top 4 spot in 1 season, but we do expect when we play to see a pride and an endevour in our play and both of those have been sadly missing in our last 2 games. So as the master of the ship the onus is on you to turn it around and I believe you will, otherwise whats the point of supporting a club if you don't have some belief that things will get better. Rant over.

Brent Stephens
48 Posted 02/11/2020 at 09:51:34
Derek #29 "I watch a lot of football as you are probably aware, and other sides that have gone through bad spells with their so called senior stars have no hesitation in bringing in the youngsters who have something to prove, and that also delivers a wake-up call to the so-called senior professionals."

Would love to see a few of our youngsters come through; I'm just not sure if any are ready yet to be given minutes. Except in an "emergency". Maybe yesterday was such a moment to give Simms some time instead of Tosun? Who knows? If that hadn't paid off, the view would then have been that we should have brought on Tosun instead.

Gordon is a different matter, of course, but he's also yet to show for the first team what he has shown for the U23s.

I wouldn't do Carlo's job for the money he's on. OK, maybe...

Andrew Ellams
49 Posted 02/11/2020 at 10:06:56
What does yesterday mean for Tom Davies? 5 central midfielders start the game and he doesn't even get a kick.
Sukhdev Sohal
50 Posted 02/11/2020 at 10:23:32
There was only 1 outcome playing with 5 CMs, and it's a flat boring game. It reminds me of when Koeman played 5 CMs in the 3-2 away loss against Spurs. With more attacking impetus, such as Gordon and Bernard, we probably could've got a goal in the first half and wouldn't have had to waste all that energy trying to put more pressure on them in the 2nd. It would've also made Newcastle come out more which our wingers, even though they aren't great, could've exploited.
Derek Taylor
51 Posted 02/11/2020 at 10:32:31
No place in an Ancelotti team for the locally developed Davies and Gordon and constant fibs about who is fit, injured or scarred by publicity.

The Italian will probably fulfil Moshiri's ambitions for the team as long as the stadium build is 'not inconvenienced' by a shock relegation beforehand.

Just the latest chapter in the history of a 'know nothing' billionaire who has brought little but scorn on the club 'he saved'. That's when we're top four - just wait until Xmas !

Len Hawkins
52 Posted 02/11/2020 at 10:41:47
What must Gordon be thinking sat on the bench whilst the usual suspects, preferred to him, take us to another failure.

The confidence that was running through the club has been allowed to dissipate what the hell is it with Everton that drags everyone down to a level of crap that is endemic in Everton Football Club Ltd.
I know the whole world is against Everton thanks to the devil worshippers and their media cronies but that is the big chance for Everton to say F*^" You and give 150% to show them what we can do. But NO the current whipping boy Iwobi is described as being decent speaks volumes for the rest.
I saw Tosun run on as a sub but he then seemed to vanish into thin air Turkish he may be Delight he is not.

According to the fawning press the RS played a young centre half as a replacement for God Almighty and he apparently played out of his skin. Good old Everton replace class with dross not eager young players who will be off to pastures new the first chance they have.
Wearing a hair shirt and whipping yourself until you bleed is nearly as bad as being an Evertonian.

Stan Schofield
53 Posted 02/11/2020 at 10:45:54
I don't buy into this business of saying we need to get rid of certain players like Gomes and Sigurrdson. Season before last, those two with Gana were one of the best midfields in the PL. We lost Gana, but we've now got Allan, who from the first few games looks an adequate replacement for Gana. On this basis, the midfield yesterday could have been cooking on gas. The fact that they weren't must be down to bad form, plus Gomes still trying to get back to normal after the injury.

Things have gone tits up since the derby, with injuries and stupid suspensions not helping. Even with the absentees, we should have been doing better, and it seems typical Everton to fall off the cliff as usual. But getting rid of a bunch of players and trying to replace them is not a short-term answer, and possibly not a longer-term answer if the issues are to do with the mentality at Everton.

All that can be done is to try to get through this big blip, and recover the form we had before the international break, rather than proclaim it's all a disaster and we need to reset again. Keep calm and carry on. But it's all very frustrating.

Dave Abrahams
54 Posted 02/11/2020 at 11:07:43
Stan (53) “ The season before last, Gana, Sigurdsson and Gomes were one of the best in the premiership” I would have loved to see that Stan, Gomes has only ever given decent performances every so often, each one a few games distant from the last one, Sigurdsson had a good first season when he came,he’s been on a par with Gomes since then. I’ll give you Gana, he gave energy, effort,and determination for ninety minutes in every game he played. Gana’s gone and we are stuck with two very poor players who provide little for the£10M a year they are costing the club between them, very little indeed.
Nick Page
55 Posted 02/11/2020 at 11:11:27
What happened to Gomes? Is it the same curse that befalls all at Everton? This is a player we were desperate to sign...and now the TW masses are calling for him to be sold! Same thing happened with Schneiderlin. I would love to see the back of Iwobi and Sigurdsson but surely not Gomes?
Duncan McDine
56 Posted 02/11/2020 at 11:30:18
For all the excellent qualities that Carlo has shown during his managerial career, the lineup on Sunday was baffling and he deserves to be criticised. I wasn’t alone in seeing the obvious limitations in that group of players when the lineup was announced. The entire game played out exactly as I’d imagined - slow and predictable with meaningless possession, completely toothless up front despite DCL putting on another assured performance. Not once did we get behind them or even manufacture dangerous crossing positions. It is not acceptable that we can become this shite when two or three of our best players aren’t on the pitch.
Jim Bennings
57 Posted 02/11/2020 at 11:34:59

Gomes came with a bit of a reputation at Barcelona for being a tad flakey at times and clearly didn't possess the mental strength to succeed under their demands.

Even when he first arrived, yes he put in some stellar performances but I always felt he didn't really have enough to change the dynamic of a team, always the type to need energy besides him.

Gomes, you look at his goal return, creativity and overall nuisance factor for quite a big physical fella is also disappointing, for me he should win more physical and aerial duels.

For me he's not the answer now, we have waited long enough.
Same with Delph, Sigurdsson and quite a few more.

Christopher Timmins
58 Posted 02/11/2020 at 11:45:43
Thank God we are not on the box next Sunday. After two woeful performances against Southampton and just could not bear another one. All the good teams react with a much improved performance after a bad one but that was not the case EFC.

Any manager who picks an eleven that includes Gomes, Siggy and Delph is just asking for trouble. Against a bang average team we were dreadful. Given the way we played the only surprise was that we actually scored one. There has be a reservation about the manager after this. I expect him to make the best use of the resources available to him but that was not the case yesterday. Some of the younger players like Gordon must now know that they have no long term future with the club when they see who started and came on ahead of them.

One positive from the game, Olsen, any talk of him not starting next weekend is laughable.

Eddie Dunn
59 Posted 02/11/2020 at 11:53:17
Gomes is one of those fellows who looks good on the ball, can stroke it around a bit but as others have said he has virtually no goals in him. His main problems is that he lacks pace. He didn't have much before the injury but now he looks like he has Bostick on his boots.
The silly kick to give them a penalty was typical of a guy who was tiring. When you tire, your brain and muscles get less oxygen and you make mistakes. Add to this a drop of frustration and you have the man who gets crotchetty and picks up needless yellow cards.
In his defence, it took Seamus ages to get back to his best, and I doubted that he could. But hopefully Gomes will get his finess back and then he might be the guy of a couple of years ago.
Ken Kneale
60 Posted 02/11/2020 at 11:53:49
Jim - you are correct with Gomes - and if you add in the quantity of free kicks he gives away with rash challenges, a number of which have led directly to goals, his sum contribution is in the negative column for me
John Hammond
61 Posted 02/11/2020 at 11:54:44
Players obviously need to take some of the blame but most of that defeat is on the manager. He literally picked the most uninspiring lineup possible. No pace or creativity. Not sure why Gordon isn't getting a game but surely his direct running from the left and Bernard on the right would've given Newcastle more to think about. Sigurdsson literally offers nothing and Gomes's position was bizarre. With such a leaky defence surely the number one priority is to lavishly service DCL especially the form he's in. Lost for words.
Rennie Smith
62 Posted 02/11/2020 at 11:57:36
Not much point in going over similar comments. Basically, when they scored the ref might as well have blown for full-time, it was 11 behind the ball, we didn't have the craft to break through, game over.

- Delph thinks he's far better than he is.
- Gomes comes from the Paul Scholes School of Tackling.
- Mina needs to focus rather than trying to play stupid games with attackers, he could learn a lot from Keane.

But I don't believe Carlo sent them out to play the way they did and for some, you can't polish a turd.

Tony Everan
63 Posted 02/11/2020 at 12:02:34
Ward-Prowse, Harvey Barnes, Mason Mount, are examples of midfielders bursting with zip and energy, pass it quick and move. Close down well and always look to get behind the defence with a well timed run.

Did any of our 5 midfielders possess any of those absolutely necessary attributes if you want to do well in the PL ? Gomes Delph and Sigurdsson are half-way line midfielders. That line of paint is like an electro-magnet that doesn't let them get 10m from it.

We never, ever, play well any more with Sigurdsson in the team. If Carlo wants to try to get a tune out of him it is as a no10. Playing him anywhere else should carry a health warning.

Iwobi should have started on the right in a fluid 4-4-2 to support DCL, attack the full back or switch inside. Sigurdsson should have been on the bench. Or Gordon could have been the option to try to create something. Or both either side of DCL in a 4-3-3.

The amount of knee-trembling fear and total respect we showed to a limited Newcastle with our starting line up was mind numbing and an act of cowardice. What a bitter disappointment yesterday was.

I just hope that defeat was the enema that has cleared the bowels of our blocked system.

Rick Tarleton
64 Posted 02/11/2020 at 12:29:39
Not sure where to start. Gomes and Sigurdsson together in the midfield is a definite no-no. Neither has an engine and to play the two of them instantly hands the midfield battle over to the opposition.
Yesterday Sigurdsson was marginally the more effective of the two, but that isn't saying a lot. What Davies and Gordon must think of this constant favouring of two static players who rarely affect a game positively.
When Barcelona get rid, there's a reason. Mina is prone to schoolboy errors, Deulofeu had the feet,but not the brain, Gomes lacks the spirit for the fight and even Digne is not as defensively sound as he could be.
Bernard strikes me as an irritant, but lacks substance. Without Richarlison and Rodriguez Calvert-Lewin is feeding on scraps and how it has shown in recent games.
If Richarlison and Rodriguez can stay fit and on the pitch we have an attack. Holgate could bolster central defence and Gordon deserves a run in the starting lineup.
But we do not have a squad a la Liverpool or Man City. We have a good first eleven, but take out, as we had on Sunday, four of that eleven and we have a huge problem.
Jim Bennings
65 Posted 02/11/2020 at 12:30:51
We never seem to overload opponents when we go forward, we break at snail pace and it's just DCL and one other if you are lucky bursting forward.

Look at other teams and they break forward in numbers of six or seven men swarming into the penalty box.

Now I know people will say to me players like Allan, Delph ect are defence minded but my answer to that is why keep playing or signing this type of player when you know that you lack pace going forward in the team and one or two injuries and you completely lack goal threat?

I'm not going to criticise Ancelotti but he knew that we were really short up front, it's all on Calvert-Lewin let's be honest, we have no genuine proven winger at the club and you look across the entire squad and it still looks like one of the slowest in the Premier League.

Allan would be a good signing if we had players in front that were fast, but it's like when Martinez signed Gareth Barry, he'd have been ineffective at his job without the likes of Barkley, Lukaku, Deulofeu, Mirallas in front of him.

Doucoure, we seem to have trained the box to box style from his game in less than six weeks look at his performance at Spurs in the opening match, brilliant full of energy but sadly he's been "Evertoned" already.

Ray Jacques
66 Posted 02/11/2020 at 12:40:28
Normal service is resumed.

Nothing else to add unfortunately.

Stan Schofield
67 Posted 02/11/2020 at 12:47:36
Jim@65: I think there's something in your last paragraph. We could change the entire team, and I suspect the same issues would arise sooner rather than later. This has been happening during the entire Moshiri era, and it's difficult to see it ending. The derby was a big test, which Everton failed yet again, and the sequel was almost inevitable.

I believe the current squad can compete at the top. But now (after the derby) it's difficult to see this happening, and if I had to put money on it I'd bet on the usual ups and downs ending in a midtable finish, in which case we'll probably then lose some of our better players to other clubs who can provide the Champions League. Because it seems the Everton way, even though we keep expecting better.

Rennie Smith
68 Posted 02/11/2020 at 12:59:16
Rennie Smith
69 Posted 02/11/2020 at 12:59:16
If you look at the stats yesterday, Delph had 126 touches and made 102 passes with a passing accuracy of 94.1%. Now that sounds pretty good on paper, but I could put my old Copa Mundial's on and play 5 yard backward passes to the CB and FB under no pressure all day long and pick up those stats.

Compared to the rest of the team and he's way ahead than anyone else (Allan 74 touches, Doucoure 80, Siggy 76, Gomes 34).

The point I'm making is if you're putting yourself forward as the boss of the team, the creator, I'm in control, then fine but don't waste our time and the club's money by going through the motions. A player of his experience should have been able to control that game yesterday and drive the team on. But he's happy to live off an old, and out-dated, reputation.

Rennie Smith
70 Posted 02/11/2020 at 12:59:16
If you look at the stats yesterday, Delph had 126 touches and made 102 passes with a passing accuracy of 94.1%. Now that sounds pretty good on paper, but I could put my old Copa Mundial's on and play 5 yard backward passes to the CB and FB under no pressure all day long and pick up those stats.

Compared to the rest of the team and he's way ahead than anyone else (Allan 74 touches, Doucoure 80, Siggy 76, Gomes 34).

The point I'm making is if you're putting yourself forward as the boss of the team, the creator, I'm in control, then fine but don't waste our time and the club's money by going through the motions. A player of his experience should have been able to control that game yesterday and drive the team on. But he's happy to live off an old, and out-dated, reputation.

Craig Walker
71 Posted 02/11/2020 at 12:59:59
My sentiments exactly, Jim @65.

I've seen quite a few teams this year and it is noticeable how much faster and fitter teams look. Even outside the Sky 6, teams like Leeds United, Villa, Wolves, Southampton, Leicester look far faster than we do. We also never get centre midfield players who can shoot or score.

I'm back to the mindset of hating myself for going along with the optimism. We have some good players in Digne, Richarlison, DCL, James, Allan and Doucoure. Keane has improved massively. Coleman is defying the years. Holgate could potentially be a good player for us at centre-back and Godfrey hasn't been tested in that position yet. Nkounkou and Branthwaite are ones for the future. Other than that, we have a lot of players who are nowhere near good enough. The only optimism I have now is that we have taken big strides to get rid of a lot of deadwood and brought in a better calibre of player in just one transfer window. In two or three windows, we might be in a position to challenge but the league doesn't stand still. We can't keep giving chances to the likes of Sigurdsson, Iwobi, Bernard, Delph (and Gomes can be included in that category now). They simply aren't good enough.

Andy Peers
72 Posted 02/11/2020 at 13:00:35
I agree about losing our better players if we don't obtain a top 6 finish. Richarlison pretty much said it, and that's why Ancelloti said give it one more year. Well this is that year and after the great start we are looking average again.
John Boon
73 Posted 02/11/2020 at 13:21:46
Derek at (33)...Thanks for your concern, Despite the last two games I am still in good health. Covid did postpone our trip back home to see Everton in the March Derby. However we still have three tickets for myself, my son John Everton, and my Son in Law.

We hope that the magical vaccine is on the scene sometime in the next year to be able to see an Everton game live at a packed Goodison. I was able to take my other son Andrew "Goodison" to see the Derby game in 2018. By the time we make the next trip Ancelotti may have had time to weave some magic. I still have hopes but we need speed speed and more speed. Against Newcastle it was back to slow motion football.

All the best Derek and the same to all patient Evertonians. We will Overcome SOME DAY. very soon hopefully

Ian Flanagan
74 Posted 02/11/2020 at 13:21:52
We should seriously look at Holgate for a midfield spot ahead of Gomes and Sigurdsson, he is comfortable on the ball and can see a decent pass, just look at some of his passing when playing out from the back. Gives added protection in front of the back four. We cannot afford to carry players in midfield, which is what we have been doing recently. We now seem to have good cover in central defense at the moment.
Barry Rathbone
75 Posted 02/11/2020 at 13:49:37
Only Leicester have "built" a team of any consequence over the past few decades Howie's team of the 80s being the only other example. Clearly "building" a successful team is nigh on impossible people falling for false dawns in the face of such overwhelming evidence are delusional.

In my lifetime instantaneous transformations (which is what we have needed for decades) have been accomplished by mass clearouts - Docherty at Utd, Keegan's Newcastle, Clough's Forest and Shankly at Monkey Island.

Until someone comes in and grasps this basic truth AND acts accordingly we will continue along the road of middling cack.

Geoff Williams
76 Posted 02/11/2020 at 14:16:20
I feel the last two pathetic performances are down to decisions made by the manager. Richarlison was having a poor game against Liverpool. He looked tired and out of sorts and he should have been substituted, he wasn't. His frustration got the better of him and he made an awful tackle which resulted in a three match ban. James gets injured in the same game and was clearly unfit for the Southampton game. He shouldn't have been selected but he was and further aggravated the injury resulting in his absence yesterday. Neither fullback impressed yesterday in the attacking third but they weren't the worst players. Gomes, Delph and Sigurdsson didn't contribute anything there either and were better candidates for substitution. I have no issue using Bernard coming on although he proved to be as ineffective as the three I've mentioned. Why was Tosun brought on? Tosun hasn't played a game of football for months whereas Gordon looked good post lockdown. Iwobi had an assist but what else did he do? What does he ever do? Simms should have been brought on before Tosun or Iwobi. I am one who is highly critical of the lack of forward passes but if there is no movement up front to whom are the passes supposed to find. Gordon and Simms would have offered suport to DCL.

It is time to earn your money Mr Ancelloti

Joe McMahon
77 Posted 02/11/2020 at 14:27:36
Geoff @76 agree with every word. The shite reality is our squad is lacking in quality, and certainly strikers. Bernard, Sigurdsson, Gomes and Iwobi are taking a combined approx half a million a month in wages, and contribute nothing. The appointment of Koeman, Walsh and Brands early worked have done us good and proper. We still have Tosun at the club and Kean was sent on loan, its baffling. Without Richarlason we would have already been relegated, he is a huge miss. I know Carlo had bog all to work with these last 2 matches, but has failed.
Brent Stephens
78 Posted 02/11/2020 at 14:50:38
We have a squad that is still limited in quality, and we had some of our top players missing at Southampton. In addition, the manager might have been able to squeeze more out of the limited resources he had but didn't. Both can be true at the same.

Next game, please.

Brian Harrison
79 Posted 02/11/2020 at 15:21:32
I see the Echo have published pictures of a group of people firing more rockets into the Liver Buildings on the 31st October.
Ajay Gopal
80 Posted 02/11/2020 at 15:22:47
The article headline says it all, really. I won't be honest if I did not admit that my 'Kitap1' Starting XI was close to what Carlo put out yesterday - of course, Olsen fo Pickford wasn't something anyone had predicted, plus I had Davies instead of Gomes, because at least he is hard working and sweats blood for the Blues.

I have a genuine question: If our most expensive signing of the summer (Godfrey) is not even on the bench in the midst of a crippling injury/suspension crisis, then does it not indicate that that was a position which we should not have spent so much money on? I mean, when every one of our CBs is fit, we will have 5 players vying for 2 positions (not counting Gibson who is out on loan). We had 2 games when we had a bit of a RB crisis, in which Godfrey played, but in a worst case scenario, we could have played anybody else (Davies/Delph) with a similar result - 1 draw, 1 loss. In hindsight, it might have been better to spend the money on a genuine right back or right sided midfielder - like Max Aarons from Norwich or Sarr from Watford. That would have genuinely improved our squad.

Next game, I would like either of Gordon or Bernard given a chance to start (I prefer Gordon, but Bernard when he gets a chance to set the tempo of the match, does much better than when coming off the bench).

Also, Holgate and Branthwaite give me more confidence than Mina, any day. If Holgate is passed fit, I would play him at Right Back in place of Kenny.

Holgate Keane Branthwaite Digne
Davies Doucoure Allan Gordon

Iwobi and Siggy are better coming off from the bench. I wouldn't give up yet on Kenny, Nkounkou and Tosun. Beni Baningime is involved in all the practice sessions, I would dearly love to see a miracle - him coming back to what he showed a couple of seasons ago in a few cameos - I really thought we had the next Viera in the making! :-)

Ray Roche
81 Posted 02/11/2020 at 15:55:11
Brian, are there no Police in Liverpool anymore? How can these fuckwits get away with such lawless behaviour?
Jim Bennings
82 Posted 02/11/2020 at 16:35:41

It's todays brain-dead youth for you mate, they want their five minutes of fame and the "look at me, I'm that bellend in the middle" behaviour.

I can't stand today's problematic society in Britain, think criminal damage is funny.

Trevor Peers
83 Posted 02/11/2020 at 16:48:13
Very difficult to understand the lack of striking personnel in our squad. We loaned out Kean and Walcott, good business incidentally, except we didn't replace either. Most premiership clubs have a choice of four strikers we have two. So no surprise then when one gets suspended and we resort to playing the awful five man midfield and can't muster more than one shot in each half. We never remotely looked like winning either game and won't until Richarlison gets back.

Each season we seem to predictably take one step forward and two steps back. We sorted out the midfield, but should also of been actively seeking out forwards in the last window, at least two with pace and a proven goalscoring record, instead we signed Godfrey a CH.

We will continue to struggle whenever there's an injury or suspension to any of our meagre forward line, get a grip Carlo and sort it out in January. This is basic stuff and must be addressed in the next window, or this season will end exactly the same as the last five or ten, same old garbage, mid- table dross.

Ray Roche
84 Posted 02/11/2020 at 16:50:31
Jim, I left Liverpool 48 years ago, I don’t know what it’s like to live there now.

Apart from the fact that there must be loads more RS there now.

Dale Self
85 Posted 02/11/2020 at 17:05:37
While I see what Carlo was trying to do and we were well into the second half when Gomes fatal fault happened JJK and Nkou2 were never good odds to provide service to DCL. Some cycling runs or some midfield choreography is needed without James or Richie and all this performance did was give full incentive for opposing teams to kick the shit out of both of them every time we play.
Dave Abrahams
86 Posted 02/11/2020 at 17:17:40
Ajay, (80), I think we have signed a very good centre back and footballer in Ben Godfrey, don’t know why he wasn’t in the squad yesterday, but I’m confident he’ll be settled into the team quite soon.
Andrew McLawrence
87 Posted 02/11/2020 at 17:23:28
If you watch the game back, about 65 mins in Siggy ducked out of the way of a Mags crossfield pass. If you're looking for an example of attitude it's there
Sam Hoare
88 Posted 02/11/2020 at 17:24:06
Geoff Williams @76 "Iwobi had an assist but what else did he do? What does he ever do? Simms should have been brought on before Tosun or Iwobi."

What have the Romans ever done for us?!

Iwobi has mostly been very poor for us this season. Especially against Southampton. But yesterday he came on for 14 minutes and got an assist whilst also creating another really good chance for DCL with an excellent through ball. He did alot more in 14 minutes than Gomes and Sigurdsson did most of the match and yet still people want to slate him for his contribution! If Simms had come on for 14 minutes and got an assist and created another big chance people would be purring.

With a lack of wide players I think Iwobi will have to get more minutes till we can hopefully buy someone in January. He's capable of some very incisive passing. 2 goals and 2 assists in 300 minutes or so is not terrible; he just seems to have some very poor touches and drift out of games. I think he's really lacking in confidence currently which is a shame as I do think he's better than what we've seen, but I'd say he's marginally better than Bernard and quite a lot younger. Hope he can prove more useful but doesn't look likely currently.

Dave Williams
89 Posted 02/11/2020 at 17:29:54
Gomes needs to be sent to a training camp for a couple of weeks for individual work to get him fit and sharp. He is sluggish and either he does this or he will be finished as a top flight player as he is so slow and ponderous.
Sigurddssson is never going to do it for us and Carlo needs to understand this.
Delph might be ok in a team without the aforementioned two.
This was all apparent in the post lockdown games last season and I’d love to know why Carlo hasn’t taken it on board yet.
Surely Gordon deserves a run of games and give Sims a few minutes but only once we have wide men back in the team to give him some chance of some service.
The run had to end sometime but the failure of our squad to even produce some passion on the pitch is very disappointing.
Michael Barrett
90 Posted 02/11/2020 at 17:32:19
Club has been full of bottle merchants for years... and even Carlo can't change it. It's a shame because we really had a few people worried while it lasted.
Tony Everan
91 Posted 02/11/2020 at 17:49:32
Sam 88

Iwobi has it all to do to win the trust of Evertonians, me included.

For me it seems he is much more effective playing on the right, and either he attacks the full back or comes inside to try to create something. Either supporting DCL in a fluid 442 or deputising James’s position in a 433.

When will the penny drop with him that he has to commit defences, and attack them vigorously with some pace and dynamism. Any old average player from any level can stop and pass it back to the midfielder or full back.

The lad has to take the bull by the horns and attack with gay abandon. He needs to believe in himself and bet on himself to beat a player and whip a mean cross in. After all that’s what we paid 29m for.

There’s glimmers of it happening, but he needs to start on the right if he will ever succeed.

It’s a shame he didn’t start the game instead of Siggurdson, he has more to offer .

Especially so yesterday as we were devoid of any attacking verve or creativity from midfield or from wide positions.

Dave Williams
92 Posted 02/11/2020 at 17:58:59
Tony #91 agreed. There are signs of ability with Iwobi which I don’t see in Delph, Sig or currently Gomes. A decent coach might just drag it out of him on a more consistent basis? He strikes me as a player not high on confidence who needs intensive one on one sessions with the right coach.
John Pierce
93 Posted 02/11/2020 at 18:10:35
Sam, Iwobi deserves more of chance, I think I’m in the tiniest minority who think that. His productivity is more than Bernard, Gomes, Gordon and Sigurdsson yet the slaughtering he gets on here ignores that. So I do wonder why the criticism is so excessive towards him?

Let’s not rework old ground, he’s has plenty to improve on, but in the context of the rest of the squad and their flaws he can actually hold his head up, just!
I support him because he takes risks, often ill conceived ones, but compared to his peers like Gomes and Sigurdsson who play with the brakes on he’s is streets ahead of them.
Before his assist yesterday he played a great pass in to DCL who poked his shot just the wrong side of the post. When was the last time Gomes or Sigurdsson did that?!
He still looks better coming, rather than starting because I feel he reads the game and can see what wrong. The one things I will say which counts heavily against him is his game without the ball.

Is he judged fairly on the pages in comparison to his peers when the goals and assists might say otherwise?

Rob Hooton
94 Posted 02/11/2020 at 18:11:37
I would agree that Iwobi has some decent ‘moments’ but seems fragile and powder puff in games - he did set the goal up though.
Gordon should have started in my opinion, he has pace and makes things happen and could have got in support of DCL. It was a poor game that neither team deserved to win!
Rob Dolby
95 Posted 02/11/2020 at 18:24:56
Ancelotti got his tactics wrong on Sunday. We had enough quality on the pitch to beat a very poor Newcastle team.

Newcastle set up to snatch a break away goal. I still don't understand how we set up to win the game.

Gomes has to play centre mid or may as well be left out. We haven't seen anything of Dacoure going forward as he has covered Rodriguez or played like a false right back as he did yesterday.

Full backs pushing into midfield whilst Delph and Dacoure played like a full backs. Baffling decisions.

Sigurdsson showed again what a complete shit bag he is. I swear he is scared of his own shadow and he was our captain!

Sam Hoare
96 Posted 02/11/2020 at 18:39:30
Tony@91, yes I’m far from convinced Iwobi will turn it around. I thought Richarlison’s suspension would offer a great chance for him to start 3 games and show what he could do. He truly flunked his audition. Not sure how many more chances he’ll get to have a 3 game run.

John@93 the criticism is excessive, perhaps due to the price tag, but it’s getting harder to support him. I’m just not sure he’s a wide player, although he used to beat his man quite often at Arsenal. I’d like to see him play a bit more centrally and to ball carry a bit more positively. Not sure we’ll see it though.

Conor McCourt
97 Posted 02/11/2020 at 18:39:36
Lyndon I really disagree with your account and see this perpetual blaming of easy targets as missing the point.

Firstly many are skewed in their praise of our midfield enforcers because they are Carlo's signings. Last season despite having three managers with what some describe as the worst midfield in our history we conceded 1.47 goals a game. The previous season it was 1.21 when we fluctuated between Schneiderlin, Gomes and Gueye in the defensive roles.

This season despite having largely the same goalkeeper and defenders we are currently operating at a pathetic 1.57 despite apparently signing 'the best defensive midfielder in the world' and Dacoure for that exact purpose. Against West Brom, Liverpool and Southampton they all targeted the space in front of the back four with great success yet people like Pickford, Siggy, Gomes, Bernard and Iwobi are the whipping boys to take over the mantle of Keane, Schneiderlin, Davies, Delph and Kean from the previous campaign.

The Second myth that I continually see perpetuated is that our first eleven is a match for anyone. This negates the fact that our keeper and first choice back four have all been written off last season as not being good enough and all have been individually questioned. I personally believe we only have a front three which are a match for anyone and it's the quality of output from James that has led to this overall assertion.

This feeds into the third myth of how good we have been this season. I have been one of Carlo's fiercest critics because I have doubts whether he can truly compete with the new breed of elite coaches. For the first time under Ancelotti against Spurs I questioned myself and thought it possible. We played with flair, control, quick tempo, silky interplay and ambition that I thought that we must have worked so hard in training to produce such an exceptional performance. We looked like a really well coached outfit and I got excited.

However despite how delighted I and everyone of blue persuasion has been with our magnificent start I have felt we haven't got close to that opening standard. For me the Brighton and Palace victories were tactical master classes by Carlo with Dominic exploiting Brightons physical frailties and sitting deep against Hodgson's men and forcing them to find the solution. They were similar to many of Carlo's victories last campaign.

The West Brom result I believe was really flattering as I felt we were second best for sixty minutes, fifteen of which they had ten men. A brilliant goal by James out of nothing changed the game, their full back lost the head and once we got the third we took over, began enjoying ourselves and they folded. Our attacking prowess was in full flow. On the downside our last three performances were similar to those post Lockdown last campaign also.

The table I believe given a false sense of optimism. In reality while it has still been a very decent start and one we would have all taken at the beginning of the campaign, we are a couple of points above expectations and have only played two teams who are guaranteed top half finishers. I was encouraging us not to go overboard when we were winning, now we must not feel all is lost as a good win against Utd will get our season back on track.

Eddie Dunn
98 Posted 02/11/2020 at 18:47:57
One of the problems down the years has been the old "square pegs in round holes" scenario. Injuries and suspensions happen and clubs like ours struggle when first hoice players are missing.
With the massive amounts of money in the PL compared to other European leagues we should have enough money to have 25 top players on the books.
Because of the obscene wages even Man City find themselves short in some positions.
Ourselves, Wolves and Leicester will all struggle at times and the teams involved in Europe will be even more stretched.
Perhaps Kean and Walcott were allowed to go on loan in order to enable us to bring a certain player here in January.
However we could be in real trouble should DCL get crocked.
With so many of our competitors having to play the extra matches it is a great opportunity for our team to make progress. Imagine if we were playing in the Europa now?
I am baffled as to why the likes of King were not brought in, I hope it is because Carlo has someone up his sleeve and thought it was worth waiting for him.
Si Cooper
99 Posted 02/11/2020 at 19:09:13
The starting XI would never have been my first choice from the players available, but that group should still have performed much better than they did. I think I’ve read that we played 5 central midfielders, but I wouldn’t characterise Gomes, Siggy or Delph as players who need to stay central. In fact I would hope that any of them should be able to function in a fluid, attacking midfield just behind and overlapping the forwards when required. Putting them out altogether I had grave fears that those three would be greatly exposed by their collective lack of pace, but what was most disappointing was their failure to drive the team forwards.
Contrast the speed of passing / direction of play to the season opener against Spurs which seemed to occur almost spontaneously, whilst yesterday we looked like everyone was looking to everyone else to take a chance / make something happen.
I explicitly ruled Fabian Delph out of my chosen starting XI because he now (compared to when Citeh bought him) routinely slows everything down and seems to actively avoid the sort of give-and-go quick, short passing that I expected we would want. I’m not sure what sort of player people thought we were getting; some seem to expect him to be capable of the Gareth Barry role, orchestrating and knitting things together from the centre of the pitch. Fabian Delph has never been that sort of player (except perhaps in his own head). In his younger days he was (as I remember) a marauding midfielder, snapping into tackles and bombing forwards, which qualities he could also employ when used at left back. Just because he is now older and slower doesn’t mean he has naturally acquired the poise and vision to be a midfield general, prompting things from the back. If he isn’t looking to chivvy and harry to give better players more of a respite from those duties then he doesn’t offer the team enough.
I wish people weren’t claiming the penalty against us was unjust. ‘Soft’ doesn’t mean that, it means it was debatable whether the attacker was actually significantly impeded by the contact but also that a properly switched on player could have avoided giving the referee a decision to make in the first place. There were at least three ‘softer’ penalties awarded over the weekend with the Harry Kane one actually deserving to be characterised as unjust as he was the one who actually committed the foul.
On the goalkeeping situation, I think CA is simply introducing the idea of rotational system to keep them mentally ‘on their toes’ whilst avoiding the negativity of simply dropping Pickford. He guaranteed Pickford the next game to defuse the idea that his benching was a punishment and he can now proceed by choosing either of them when he likes without the other seeing it as potentially career threatening. I think, as long as Olsen isn’t particularly egotistical and will be happy to allow the manager to make sure he gets his fair share of games, then it could be a master stroke in giving us two decent goalkeeping options, rather than one with splintered confidence and one who is still very much settling in to a new environment.
Barry Rathbone
100 Posted 02/11/2020 at 19:26:49

Great post, agree with every word

Paul Birmingham
101 Posted 02/11/2020 at 20:05:14
Rob@95, spot on.

The rot has to stop, and Carlo, must know, he needs to pick a team whom can put in a performance against Manure.

They have some decent pace and I can’t see the point in picking Siggy, Gomes and Delph, as well never get beyond 30 yards from our goal keepers line.

I’d play Gordon, Iwobi, wide and if fit Hames in a floating role. And Tom Davis, if available will give blood, sweat and tears in terms of effort, and that’s been missing and the energy, and fast transition from defence to attack.

But surely the lessons, from the last two games are learnt.

Carlo over to you, to read the riot act and get in extra training this week.

Get back on track and beat United.

But injuries aside, the team has got to turn up and start believing again.

Kieran Kinsella
102 Posted 02/11/2020 at 21:09:40
Tony Marsh

"there aren't many managers in the world aged 60+ who are actually winning stuff."

You can take the "aged 60+" out of that statement and say their aren't many managers in the world winning stuff. For the last decade, whoever happens to be at PSG or Bayern Munich wins everything in France and Germany (Carlo Included), whoever happens to be at Juventus (Old man Sarri included), whoever happens to be City (Old man Pellgrini included) whoever happens to be at Celtic (every Tom, Dick and Harry living north of Berwick). There's not a lot of variety among the winning teams, regardless of whether they are run by Fergie, Sarri, Carlo, Guardiola or Mourinho.

Fran Mitchell
103 Posted 02/11/2020 at 21:47:01
Shame we didn't get that Under who's at Leicester, looks pretty decent and something lacking in our squad.
Derek Knox
104 Posted 02/11/2020 at 22:50:35
Fran, yes he was linked with us for a while, and considering he is on loan, presumably with a buy it clause, and there are a few more we could have considered. Which would possibly have us in better shape come injury/suspension crisis.

I have to question several of Marcel Brands's purchases for the Club!

Barry Jones
105 Posted 03/11/2020 at 01:15:42
It's not very often that I scream at my TV screen in exasperation, but Delph and Sigurdsson in particular will do that for you.

Delph was dreadful, totally negative. If he thinks that passing the ball backwards for 90 mins is what is expected of him in a game, then there is no hope. One of the reasons we couldn't push forward is that Sigurdsson hides. He clearly does not want the ball and makes no effort to show for it, and forget 50/50s.

Ryan Frazer is an average player but look how good he looked when he came on against our immobile bunch. Tony #63, I would killed to have Mount or Ward-Prowse in the team. We need to pick up some players with pace, guile and end-product, who can play wide or central. Jack Harrison, Dwight McNeil and David Brooks spring to mind.

Michael Low
106 Posted 03/11/2020 at 02:58:55
Well said, Tony @2. My sentiments precisely. No disrespect to them but we afforded the Barcodes way too much respect. We should have gone there with the goal of winning, being on the front foot and taking it to them right from the beginning.
Derek Knox
107 Posted 03/11/2020 at 03:22:56
Barry @ 105, my screen got similar abuse on Sunday, and has in the past. How many times, and not just in the Newcastle game, do you see that happen? Or another tactic that boils another body liquid, a corner in the opposition half, somehow after a few passes ends up with OUR goalkeeper!!!
Andrew Ellams
108 Posted 03/11/2020 at 08:07:29
What Sunday did prove is that we did need to bring in a right back during the summer and not adding some attacking depth after letting Kean and Walcott was a mistake.

Both of these issues need to be rectified in January if we are not going to slip into mid table obscurity by the end of the season.

Martin Mason
109 Posted 03/11/2020 at 08:38:06
Conor@97, fair points but with all players available we won every game. As soon as we lost key players we haven't won. That is the point about the strong first team but weak squad. What should happen over the next few games is that both the squad and best selection should improve as previously unavailable but better players return.
Steve Brown
110 Posted 03/11/2020 at 09:13:48
Not really sure that age is the main differentiator for elite coaches. Winning trophies consistently across the top leagues in Europe is a better indicator. Solskjaer, Lampard, Arteta - I reckon 2 out of 3 of them will not be in charge of their club next season.

That doesn't mean that Ancelotti gets a pass when his team selection, tactical formation and substitutions are the root cause of a defeat. I have seen posters who questioned these decisions challenged as irrational, but demanding consistently high standards is not irrational at all. Isn't it the trait that all winning teams and successful clubs display?

In terms of goals conceded, there has been rotation at full back due to injuries and suspensions. We have conceded a higher ratio of goals per game this season, but that is partly due to the vulnerability of 4-3-3 to opponents over-loading the flanks. We have also focused more on the offensive part of our game and, let's face it, defence has been an afterthought in the PL this season. And we can't ignore the fact that Mina and Pickford have a mistake in them as we have seen this season. Holgate will replace Mina when he is fit and Olsen at least gives some competition to Pickford.

Squad rotation is also inevitable during a season. There are definitely regular targets on here among the replacements - Iwobi, Sigurdsson, Delph, Davies - but to say they are all useless is clearly nonsense. What is clear that is that the performances of the replacements is inconsistent and they all seem uncomfortable in their roles when they come into the team. There must be reasons for that but I am unsure which are the main causal factors - motivation, attitude, clarity of their roles, team formations, lack of game time?

I do think that the squad is still short of quality in depth. Rooney said in his Sunday Times column two weeks ago that Everton need cover for DCL and Allan - spot on. After the Soton defeat, I said we should target James Ward-Prowse and Danny Ings in January. They are always excellent when I watch them and bring energy and intensity to their team. There are a number of options about how we can reduce the salary bill to make space for them, in addition to their transfer fees.

Howard Sykes
111 Posted 03/11/2020 at 12:29:18
I can cope with the disappointment and the despair. It's the hope that kills me.
Jay Wood

112 Posted 03/11/2020 at 15:36:20
Let’s be clear. Conceding goals at any time, in any circumstances is not good. Goalkeepers and defenders take pride in clean sheets. However, clean sheets are the exception, not the norm, even for the very best defensive teams.

That Everton has conceded two goals per game in 5 of their 7 PL games this season doesn’t look good. But let’s take a closer analysis of each goal, game and circumstances rather than only ponder on the 1.57 goals conceded per game stat that Conor puts up in his post.

First game v Spurs, clean sheet with the home side having only one real chance, superbly saved by Pickford.

Next, home to WBA. I don’t quite know how Conor considers that ‘we were second best for sixty minutes’ when the 5-2 scoreline was completed on 66 minutes with DCL’s hat-trick goal. We effectively declared after that and coasted the last 25 minutes. But let’s look at WBA’s goals.

Yes, Everton were sluggish in the opening 20 minutes and WBA took the lead on 10 minutes when, just outside the Baggies’ penalty area, James played a sloppy ball into Gomes, who failed to control it. Allan moved in to retrieve the loose ball but it was nicked away from him to Diagana still three-quarters the length of the pitch away from the Everton goal with lots of space to run into as Coleman from right back was supporting the attack.

The WBA man was faced by Mina who did a lousy job, never getting close, never jockeying his man wide from a central position, back-tracking to the edge of his own penalty area, allowing Diagana the time and space to shoot. To compound his non-engagement, Mina half turned his back as the shot came in. Pickford blameless, although some chose to apportion blame to him.

WBA drew level straight from the KO of the 2nd half when Gomes again too easily lost possession. Allan, back in position in front of the defence, coughs up a free kick trying to retrieve the loose ball. Pereira scores an absolute worldy. No matter. Within 19 minutes we slot in 3 further goals.

Next goal conceded, away to Palace from an excellent corner by Townsend with good movement and header by Kouyate. Allan and Doucoure very much to the fore in repelling a determined Palace in another good win.

Allan was missing from the next game home to Brighton in an entertaining game with Everton in cruise control for the most part. Yes, Maupay equalised thanks to a dreadful Pickford howler, They got a 2nd deep into injury time to give Brighton a flattering scoreline after poor play at the back by Digne and Delph, then Walcott not closing down Bissouma who hit another worldy.

In the Derby v them, we started sluggishly and they sharply. Gomes lost easy possession on the right touchline just inside our half. The ball came to Salah who mishit a crossfield pass which found Robinson, who too easily skinned Coleman to get a cross in for Mane to score from close range. Everton improved and equalised before half-time and were definitely the better team in the 2nd when Mina dealt poorly with a nothing cross from the right and Salah smashed in his weak clearance. Again, we didn’t wilt and equalised.

Southampton away. We were well in control in the opening exchanges, but Godfrey at right back was an obvious concern. Before the game Carlo had said Ben had trained all week to play right back and shown he was capable of doing so. That didn’t translate to the game and both the manager and the team could and should have done more to protect him because that’s where Southampton attacked again and again.

On 25 minutes we dozed off from a throw-in and allowed Ward-Prowse in too easily. The 2nd was a collective disaster from the entire defence. Godfrey was way out of position, half way into Southampton’s half, when the ball got turned over. He had the option to drop back but chose to chase the ball which he was never going to get. The ball was played into the space vacated by Godfrey’s absence.

Take a look at the complete disarray the defence falls into as a result. Mina moves right out of position into the left back position to confront Ings, but again, without actually engaging with him or jockeying him away from goal. Godfrey makes a game effort to get back but is totally ineffective when he gets there. Keane moves across from left centre back to right centre back to cover the space vacated by Mina and ends up guarding the near post. Digne, for some reason, sprints right across the area to end up beyond the 6-yard box at the near post in no-man’s land. Allan has also tracked back there, with Siggy getting back to the far post with TWO unmarked men to cover. Unfortunately for Siggy, Ings’ cross is a good one and clears the Iceman’s leap. It falls to Adams who has time to control and despatch the ball beyond Pickford, in spite of Siggy’s despairing block and the ball deflects off him.

At Newcastle, I’m hard pushed to recall a more defensive set-up by a home side against us. They got lucky on the penalty call against Gomes. With both full backs off and Everton chasing the game, a long ball over the top was poorly dealt with by Mina and Newcastle again got lucky with a deflected looping ball that gave Wilson a tap in.

All of the goals had little or nothing to do with a perceived ‘failure’ Conor claims that Allan and Doucoure are not protecting our backline. Two names are prevalent in the goals conceded: Mina and Gomes. Carlo has explicitly criticized Mina publicly that he needs to put greater pressure on the ball in certain situations.

I would also mention a stat Conor doesn’t reference. He focuses only on the negative, the 1.57 goals per game being conceded. (we were conceding at 1.8 a game under Silva last season before Dunc then Carlo took over, BTW).

We are currently scoring at 2.14 goals per game. The highest goals-per-game average EVER by Everton in the PL era. That is also due to Carlo’s tactics and recruitment. Something we as fans demanded from last season: engaging the opposition higher up the pitch, around their own penalty area.

Absolutely pivotal in that has been the forward presence of James and Richarlison, with the wing backs Coleman and Digne supporting them. Guess what happens when all four are absent as was the case v Newcastle, or two of them absent as v Southampton?

As for Conor’s dismissal of Carlo not being able to compete with ‘the new breed of elite coaches’, who are these coaches in the PL our Italian is going up against?

Guardiola? Klopp? Mourinho? Rogers? Hardly new kids on the block, are they?

At a push, you might include Arteta, Lampard, Santo at Wolves, Hasenhüttl at Southampton, even Solskjær. But labelling any of them as ‘elite’ (or even 'new' in a couple of cases) is generous in the extreme. Three of them have considerably buying power and remain unproven, whilst if any of them go on a bad run and they are far more likely to get the sack before Carlo.

Could the manager, starting and back-up players be doing better in some games this season? Absolutely. You may strive for perfection, but never achieve it. But there are also mitigating circumstances and a considerable body of evidence challenging the notion that the goals conceded are directly attributable to a failing in central midfield by the new boys, Allan and Doucoure, as Conor attempts to portray it.

Conor McCourt
113 Posted 03/11/2020 at 18:33:34
Steve I don't accept your reasoning as an excuse for how defensively negligent we have been. The system is similar to the one Silva used if even more defensive. As for the full back arguments the games I identified only the Saints game could be used as a contributing factor.

I think the first goal against our neighbours will sum up my argument. Doucoure is asleep and ball watching rather than being aware of Mane. Likewise Allan can see everything in front of him but is also fixated with the ball that he doesn't attempt to get round on the cover. These players don't sense danger. Had we a Carsley and Parkinson partnership I believe four of those five goals would have been avoided.

Steve if you think I am being harsh I will tell you that Doucoure reminds me of Sidibe as when everything is in front of him he is decent defensively but has a similar penchant for dreaming and lacks awareness. I think it was Q Flores who played him as a sitter and it cost him his job because it took away his strengths and made him a liability to the team.

Allan lacks discipline, wants to go hunting and,like an analogy I used to describe Gomes to Mike G, he is very much like the Saturday Night Taxi driver who arrives to pick you up when everyone has gone home. If you don't agree with me I won't harbour the point any longer as this will be like a movie in the mould of Sidibe which will continually be replayed time and again.

As for arguing that Ward Prowse would bring intensity, that was what we were told the aforementioned were suppose to bring? I do understand my views on those players and performances comes down to personal opinion but that's how I see it. I know there are some who disagree with me that have judgement records like American Pollsters.

Jay Harris
114 Posted 03/11/2020 at 18:57:40
What is the point in talking about Mount, Ward-Prowse or Ings as players we should go for.

We have got 2 chances to get them - a dogs chance and no chance.

I would prefer the likes of Pulisic (no chance) or someone else who knows where the net is. That is what we are sorely lacking especially in the absence of Richy and James. I thought Doucoure would have made a contribution but so far he has been far from box to box.

Darren Hind
115 Posted 03/11/2020 at 19:07:59
Post 113

The last sentence says it all.

Eddie Dunn
116 Posted 03/11/2020 at 19:30:36
Conor, Doucoure had a fairly unimpressive time of it last season. It was the season before that he was bursting forward and getting the odd goal. He has been instructed to play deep, it is not his choice.
Indeed I wonder what Carlo or David's instructions were to our reconstructed back line and midfield?
It seemed to me that as the game wore on it was Allan who was allowed to push forward. There was an awful lot of passing it between our defenders and defensive midfielders, often eventually leading to a long punt from Keane.
I thought at the time that it was a ploy to draw the Newcastle players out, to create space, however we never showed the intensity or ambition to make things happen.
Now lots of people have picked out individuals for criticism. Delph always pushing little passes here and there, Siggy coming back to have a little 5 yard pass back to Keane etc, etc. they were playing to a plan, and I honestly think that they had lost any notion of playing off the cuff. Hense, when it all started to go wrong, they had little idea what to do.
England's rugby players took on Italy and had decided to kick the leather off the ball in the first half. After 10 mins it was working well, but Italy worked it out and England spent 30 minutes still trying the same thing. The boneheads are so over-coached that it took a halftime rethink to set them up again.
Is our team suffering from too much instruction?
Can they not reset during a half. If Seamus was on the field, would we have had a different attitude?
Sigurdsson as captain suggests that we are playing to a formula but he certainly is not the kind of player who looks around, sees it going wrong and reorganises.
Perhaps they don't want that.
Back in the mid 80's imagine Reidy in that game. He would have been on the case, in earholes, sorting it out.
Will Mabon
117 Posted 03/11/2020 at 19:56:49
Over coaching is a consideration, Eddie. Can't say if it's the case here, but it occurs. As discussed elsewhere, something fundamentally deeper and turd-like lurks within the team mentality, and I am partial to a good mystery. Darren described it as needing fixing "From the inside out". Whatever the hell it is, I agree.
Stan Schofield
118 Posted 04/11/2020 at 00:03:58
Jay@112: Excellent post.
Darren Hind
119 Posted 04/11/2020 at 05:10:12
Conor has a good understanding of the game.
He doesn't just spout stats he doesnt quite understand. His account of the WBA game was spot on. Even Carlo Acelotti conceded we were very fortunate to go in ahead at half time. The ridiculous assertion that we had coasted to a 5-2 lead is simply somebody reading from the record books without taking into account the fact that they had outplayed us for an hour and we were leading totally against the run of play and benefiting from having a numerical advantage when we scored two in two minutes as the baggies pushed forward with ten men.

Conor is also spot on in his criticism of Allan and Doucoure in recent games. Southampton and the shite went through them time and again like a knife through butter. Even the Barcodes journeymen out played them.
I don't want to be too critical of either of them because they are finding their feet and they have given a a decent account of themselves in some games. I DO expect a lot more from them though.. The trouble is, We need them to be Paul Bracewell and Peter Reid. Unfortunately, in the last three games they have looked more like Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid. They need to sharpen up. They need to stop ball chasing. They each need to be more aware of where the other one is.

James has been a joy, but when somebody tries to accredit our improved scoring ratio to Doucoure and Allan it says everything about their understanding of the game. There's a lot more to it than bare stats.
We have seen how effective they are going forward when Richarlison and James are missing. They have to give us more.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin has been in terrific form. He is a terrific player, but I don't believe he is a natural goal scorer and he will have dry spells.
James Rodrigues often borders on Genius, but he will miss plenty of games.
Take away the goals of the "Championship" player and what have you got left ? A few magical spells, but only when the magician is feeling up to it. These two talents will not mask other people deficiencies for ever.

One defeat can be seen as a minor set back. Two can be dismissed as a bad couple of days. Three on the bounce and we all start to worry.

Time for Allan. Doucoure AND Carlo Fantastico to start earning their corn...They`re getting plenty of it

Ajay Gopal
120 Posted 04/11/2020 at 08:44:06
Sensible post, Darren (119), very balanced. More than his new signings (Nkounkou, James, Allan, Doucoure, Godfrey), I appreciate Carlo for bringing on players that were already at the club - Keane, Holgate, Branthwaite, Gordon and DCL spring to mind. I was hoping that he could work his magic and bring on Kean, Davies, Kenny and 1-2 more this season, but all his experiments so far have flopped. He has been let down repeatedly by Iwobi, Siggy, Gomes, Delph, Mina. I would even say that although Richarlison has worked very hard, he has not got going yet in the way that I expected him to, but fortunately for us DCL has exploded on the scene and more than taken up the slack. I also agree that Allan and Doucoure have been 50-50 so far this season. Why is it that whoever the RS sign turns out successful? They must currently be divinely blessed, because whatever they touch seemingly turns to gold. Disgusting!
Clive Rogers
121 Posted 04/11/2020 at 10:22:48
JJK seems to have gone backwards and looks like a championship player. Allan is a decent player but nothing special so far. Doucoure seems unsure of his role and is not contributing in the final third. Against Newcastle we had no width at all. We desperately need a wide man and a back up striker. Gordon must play against Utd.
Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
122 Posted 04/11/2020 at 11:26:25
Carlo has been in charge for 27 games.

We have conceded 14 goals more in those games than in the same fixtures in the previous season. We are now letting in the most number of goals per season for the first time since before Moyes took over.

Great we are scoring but we have a team which needs to score at least 2 every game. 6 clean sheets in 27 games needs to be improved. Defending does not rely just on the back 5 but the 6 in front of them.

Steve Brown
123 Posted 04/11/2020 at 11:40:55
Conor @ 113, interesting points.

I agree that the criticism of Doucoure is fair. He has struggled with his positional play when screening the defence and he misses the runners into the box. He would be better in a more advanced midfield role to enable him to make runs into the box.

The criticism of Allan is a bit harsh though. He was the only midfielder trying to play balls between the opponent's line against Newcastle, he covers a huge amount of ground and has bite in the tackle. His problem is that he is covering the positional indiscipline of others and trying to do so much. If he had a player like Ward Prowse beside him, our midfield shape would improve dramatically. We spent money on midfield during the summer, but I always thought we needed more. Sigurdsson and Delph are not fit for purpose and both Gomes and Gbamin might not recover properly from their injuries.

On our defensive plan, I am just happier that this is a discernible plan! It was effective against Spurs, but I do think we have been undermined by repeated individual errors and the loss of Coleman in particular since then.

Sukhdev Sohal
124 Posted 04/11/2020 at 11:50:22
If we can get 1/2 top quality wingers that would change everything. Gomes and Sig can go back to deeper positions, we will have more pace and everyone around them would look good. Leon Bailey or Ismalia Sarr spring to mind. However, we somehow need to get rid of players like Iwobi, Tosun, Delph and (even though I hate to say it) Sigurdsson and Bernard. No-one is going to buy them, unless they're insane. We need to target these types of players now.
Robert Tressell
125 Posted 04/11/2020 at 12:08:33
Until the Liverpool game, when the injuries really struck, we were great. Losing Richarlison and then Digne has really over stretched an injury hit squad which has 'lost' Walcott and Kean as attacking outlets.

Carlo used a weird system against NCL, presumably to clog up the play, protect the full backs etc and come away with a nil nil or maybe better. Obviously we were atrocious and it didn't work.

We're now seeing some of the players for what they are:

- Doucoure, good engine but not amazing

- Allan, really good but can't do it on his own

- Rodriguez, brilliant but will miss games with injuries (obviously hurty bollocks was unfortunate)

Which means we'll have an up and down season. Carlo will get it right more than he gets it wrong. 4th is a stretch too. 6th remains a real challenge but doable if our best can stay fit or avoid suspensions.

Very important to avoid defeat against Manure - and a win gets us right back into the mix

Brian Murray
126 Posted 04/11/2020 at 12:25:07
There is no way, with that formation and Calvert-Lewin once again isolated, that we will be on the front foot or get even a point vs Man Utd. These two no-shows could've easily been avoided with Gordon or Simms supporting Calvert-Lewin. Precious points lost because of lack of bravery or vision. Or both.
Brian Harrison
127 Posted 04/11/2020 at 12:28:06
Robert 125

I think you sum up the situation perfectly, although I don't think we have seen the best of Doucoure as yet, but I think used further forward could be a great asset. We are woefully short on attacking options, and the ones we have were never good enough, so when James and Richarlison are missing we are going to struggle. Lets face it just to follow Darrens analogy saying Doucoure and Allan were more like Piers Morgan and Susannah Reid in the last game, we could suggest that Jimmy Krankie would be more use than Bernard and possibly Whoopi Goldberg would produce more than Iwobi. Their goal records are atrocious would love to hear why Brands thought either would offer us. Mina is a mistake waiting to happen, neither him and Keane have any pace so when we need our backline to push towards the half way line you know we are very susceptible to a ball over the top.
The only plus was Olsen looks a decent keeper.

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