Bouncing Evertonians, rampant optimism, Spirit of the Blues at the top of the iTunes charts, a feeling that “this time it’s different”… it feels like an age now but all of that was only a short month ago. Going into the last international break, with the new signings in full flow, that fantastic, goal-laden start and the knowledge that, in these weird times, Everton may never get a better chance to break into the top four than now, so much seemed possible this season.
We go into this pause for senseless international travel in the middle of a raging global pandemic without a win in four games and having to pick the pieces up following three straight defeats, with very little to draw from any of them by way of optimism… apart, perhaps, for the return of Richarlison.
Once again, it seems, a costly incident in a Merseyside derby has derailed a promising campaign but, despite all the continued investment in the squad and the appointment of a highly, demonstrably successful manager, it says something that the loss of one player can be so crippling to a team. When you look at the way that Everton so often play, however, it’s clear why the Brazilian’s pace in transition, his power, his directness and his goal threat are so vital and why the Blues struggle without him.
Because, despite the introduction of three potentially transformative midfield signings, this Everton team hasn’t actually played much football — in the modern sense of moving quickly between the lines, opening up passing lanes, and breaking teams down with intelligent interplay outside the box — since dismantling Brighton… and even then that victory, like the one against West Brom before it, was founded to a large degree on sheer intensity, deadly set-pieces and aerial superiority.
When that intensity is diminished by the loss of a key player in that regard and your chief playmaker is either absent himself or patently unfit, as James Rodriguez was at Southampton and again here against Manchester United, then this Everton side is blunted to a significant degree. Throw in a midfield that cedes large pockets of space to deadly players like Bruno Fernandes and a defence that is conceding goals at an average of more than two a game and you have the recipe for a rapidly unravelling top-six challenge.
Carlo Ancelotti’s biggest task moving forward is to figure out how to get this team playing effective attacking football that isn’t reliant on a couple of players or simply going direct. Because, while Everton’s only goal on the day, a nicely-taken effort by Bernard (who, for a half at least, played arguably his best football in an Everton jersey) did come from a route-one playbook, it’s not a tactic that consistently yields goals in the modern Premier League. Neither does an over-reliance on cross-field switch passes, diagonal balls and constantly moving the ball down the outside. At some point, you need to be able to pass your way through a stubborn defence and this team, like so many that have gone before it, is incapable of doing so with any regularity.
Everton’s flying start to 2020-21 may have been dented significantly by successive defeats to Southampton and Newcastle but all the attention coming into this game was on Manchester United, 15th in the table and coming off the back of a home loss to Arsenal and Champions League defeat to unfancied Istanbul Basaksehir that had many in the media proclaiming that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was in the last-chance saloon.
The Norwegian had moaned about the fact that his club was forced to play in the early Saturday kick-off despite having travelled to Turkey on Wednesday but, even though seven of his players had also been in the starting XI in Istanbul, Solskjaer’s men looked fitter and sharper throughout than an Everton side that looked disjointed and ineffective for long periods and managed just one shot on target all game.
That was despite the return of James Rodriguez, Lucas Digne, Seamus Coleman and Mason Holgate who were among six changes Ancelotti made to his line-up, including the restoring of Jordan Pickford in goal despite Robin Olsen’s accomplished display against Newcastle. Unfortunately, Holgate’s inclusion after more than two months out with a toe injury looked premature as he turned in a rusty performance and Pickford almost blundered his way to the concession of a penalty.
In the early going, however, things looked positive. With the Toffees looking in purposeful mood and Bernard lively on the left flank, they fashioned the first chance of the game for Dominic Calvert-Lewin, a header off the Brazilian’s whipped ball that flew just over the bar in the sixth minute.
At the other end, Anthony Martial gave a warning of what was to come after a quarter of an hour when Fred found him with a hooked ball over the defence following a corner but he lashed a half-volley wide from a good position. And when a decidedly off-colour Coleman was robbed in his own half, Marcus Rashford sliced an effort onto the roof of Pickford’s net.
Everton made the breakthrough in the 19th minute, however, when Pickford launched a ball forward, Calvert-Lewin flicked it on and Bernard, showing the kind of single-mindedness that is so often lacking from his game, quickly drove towards the United penalty area, shaped to try a curler to David de Gea’s left before cutting a low shot inside the opposite upright.
It was a lead that the Blues failed to build on, though, and when United ruthlessly exploited the spaces left between Everton’s midfield and back four, they equalised just six minutes later. Cutting through the home side’s lines, they worked the ball to Luke Shaw and his cross found Fernandes in “acres” of space between Holgate and Michael Keane where he guided a header into the far corner of the goal.
Everton could — and probably should — have been back in front just a couple of minutes later but Digne went for goal rather than sliding the ball square to Calvert-Lewin in front of goal and rapped his shot off the outside of the post.
Five minutes after that, the visitors took the lead for good. Once again, the space down Everton’s right flank was exploited where Fernandes clipped a ball across, searching out Rashford, but the striker didn’t even need to get a touch on the Portuguese’s cross as it curled in off the woodwork with Pickford helpless to prevent it.
Despite their urgency, which increased when Alex Iwobi came on for Gylfi Sigurdsson, who had done nothing to enhance his claims for a permanent place in the side, Everton barely laid a proverbial glove on United for the remaining hour or so of the contest. Rodriguez was cutting an isolated and largely ineffective figure out on the right flank and wasn’t able to influence things much more once he began swapping flanks or playing more centrally before he asked to come off with 10 minutes remaining.
Instead, the only meaningful chance, before Edinson Cavani wrapped things up in stoppage time with a goal on the counter-attack as the Blues chased an equaliser, fell to Rashford but Pickford denied him with an out-stretched leg.
That came 12 minutes after the goalkeeper had dropped another seemingly routine catch near his goal and caught Maguire on the follow-through as he wildly tried to hack the ball away from danger. Thankfully, Video Assistant Referee, Michael Oliver, who might have seen a push on the keeper by the England defender, recommended no action be taken but it was another episode to add to Pickford’s long list of questionable moments and one where, despite Maguire’s hand on his chest, as a top-class goalkeeper he had to be stronger and better.
In the aftermath of a defeat that destroyed the last vestiges of that early-season euphoria, Ancelotti bemoaned his side’s defending and resolved to address that weakness in his team and that is now a priority that will likely make for a reversion to the kind of conservatism he displayed at St James’s Park.
But, like the two losses that came before, this was as much about Everton’s attacking limitations as their defensive frailties and the return of Richarlison will only go so far to remedying them. Without wishing to fall into the trap of lauding the current flavours of the month, it’s hard not to look at what Ralph Hasenhuttl is doing at St Mary’s — on paper, you wouldn’t swap any of Everton’s midfield for Southampton’s but they play energetic, effective passing football in a way that Ancelotti’s team just doesn’t — or the savvy recruitment at Leicester that has built a young, dangerous team that also plays fast, effective football, and wonder whether the Blues’ early-season form was just a mirage.
What those clubs are demonstrating, though, is what can be achieved by proper coaching and, as he approaches his anniversary in charge at Everton, the question of whether Ancelotti is the chequebook manager, capable only of putting the gloss on an already great team, that many have accused him of being, or is genuinely an elite-level coach, will be answered. The Italian has effected a good deal of positive change since replacing Marco Silva but there is clearly a long way still to go.
It didn’t help that he felt the only striking option off the bench was mediocrity personified in Cenk Tosun rather than Ellis Simms but the resolution of this latest crisis of confidence at Goodison — one that leaves you wondering how the names and faces can change over the years yet the same mentality and failings persist — can’t simply be to look to the January transfer window; at some point, you have to get the best out of what is still a collection of very good players (at least individually) and play yourself back to form.
Richarlison returning will help but it can’t just be about him.
Reader Comments (99)
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1 Posted 08/11/2020 at 18:58:20
2 Posted 08/11/2020 at 19:00:12
3 Posted 08/11/2020 at 19:40:34
We were bemoaning the international break which might stop our momentum
Now the next international break cant come quick enough!
Weve tried god knows how many players, managers and systems but for all that, mentally, we dont or cant seem to change. Once the rot sets in it seems to take a life of its own
Regardless of our past at Fulham, Ancelotti needs to get us back on track there. If not, the only thing well be looking forward too is getting another 27 points on the board asap!
4 Posted 08/11/2020 at 19:42:05
If I was 44 instead of 74, I'd say it was ever thus. But I remember when Young and Vernon delighted me and we won the League. I remember the Holy Trinity and we won the League, I remember the mid-eighties and we seemed to win everything. My younger son, he's 41, can only remember one cup win. Scant reward for 30+ years of faithful support.
I, like so many Evertonians, dared to dream after the first few games, Allan looked like the new Peter Reid, Rodriguez like the new Messiah and the defence even looked solid.
Still in a fortnight, Richarlison returns, Calvert-Lewin will have some support and I'll start to hope again. Perhaps it'll be different this time. It's the hope that kills, not the eagles eating the liver, but the doves signalling the rebirth each new dawn.
It's great being an Evertonian.
5 Posted 08/11/2020 at 19:50:28
6 Posted 08/11/2020 at 19:58:01
I detest singling out player's, but whatever Gylfi had as a player, has long since gone. He offers absolute nothing to the team, I noticed the same malaise that affects his game, has now also spread to his dead ball free kicks, it's actually getting embarrassing now.
Throwing Holgate into the fray after nearly 3 months out, was also, in my opinion, a poor choice. Unfair on the player, and also unfair on his centre back partner Michael Keane, whose form has been good over the last month.
Both goals came down the right, sorry Seamus, despite a better second half, we will probably be looking for a new right back pretty soon, as clearly Carlo has decided JonJo is not the answer.
Anthony Gordon, the once promising Beni Baningime, both deserve a place in that current midfield, which looks short on legs at the moment, even at this early stage of the season.
Over to you Boss.
7 Posted 08/11/2020 at 20:09:37
September 7, 1959. The Liverpool Echo and Evening Express
Mr. Dave Corrin of 113 Heeldson Road, West Derby says; “Here we go again at the start of another post-war season and we see Everton languishing at the bottom of the League table. It gets a bit monotonous wearing a black arm-band at the match inquest the following morning.
The board policy to make Everton the Arsenal of the North but it has made us the laughing stock of the North via playing results and adverse publicity gained by some supporters. “The facts is that the present team with few exceptions is not good enough.
Admitted the majority of the sides always give of their best and almost run themselves into the ground, but confidence and constructive skills are lacking.
“Everton's reported interest in unknown Second and Third Division players amuses me, especially when one recalls such signings as Williams, Harburn, and Glazzard.
Obviously good players are not easy to obtain but the persuasive maybe, money talks, could help in bringing at least class half-back, inside forward, and left winger to Goodison. Oh for five Alex Parker, in defence, and a forward line of Bobby Charlton.”
Everton was at the time bottom of the table following a goalless draw at home to Fulham in what was deemed as a winnable game prior to kick-off. In fairness, Everton had already played and lost to the future champions [Burnley] twice in the opening weeks of the season
I was still in nappies [legitimately and not for some peculiar sort of deviency] when that letter was written, and now some 60 years later, we find ourselves contemplating our navels and wondering what the future holds for our team as we have done on so many occasions in recent times.
8 Posted 08/11/2020 at 20:14:26
He did what was required immediately and courageously attacking the comfortable ineptitude of the Moyes era introducing Rom, Geri, Mcarthy, Barry and the promotion of Stones and Barkley. His fate was sealed because he could not afford to ship out the entire loser crew of Howard, Baines, Jags, Coleman, Pienaar, Osman etc presumably, the club and certain fans thought he could magic up loanees like Rom every window.
The point is any manager has to make his own team IMMEDIATELY and none after Martinez have done it including Carlo. He is treading the path of Koeman and Silva because he has not grasped the urgency. People saying he needs 2 or 3 windows might be right but he won't get them.
As for who next? A Simone in the making like Nuno at Wolves
9 Posted 08/11/2020 at 20:24:47
10 Posted 08/11/2020 at 20:29:00
The next two games are absolutely critical to the season as is the Carabao cup game(s) to come! A cup win is a must to take the pressure from the team and give us something!
In the short term surely a return to 4-2-3-1 is needed to shore up the defence and allow James to go central and protect the right-hand side and allow Allan and Doucouré to sit and protect.
I can understand some of the criticism of Carlo but, let's face it, we simply have to be patient and support him. If he can't do anything, surely we are really out of options?!!
11 Posted 08/11/2020 at 20:30:49
12 Posted 08/11/2020 at 20:34:29
Barry is correct - our one season of upward mobility in the last 30 was lost because of ineptitude on a grand scale by those with vested interest.
Patrick - you show great awareness with such reminiscence. Sadly, our current owner is no John Moores who invested so much of his time and money in the club because he truly loved Everton - it was not an investment which is it with Moshiri - it was his heart.
13 Posted 08/11/2020 at 20:38:22
If Everton don't win or play badly once again, then serious questions must be asked about Ancelotti's continuation as Everton's manager, as most Everton fans are seeing footballing matters different from Ancelotti.
14 Posted 08/11/2020 at 20:43:11
15 Posted 08/11/2020 at 21:00:15
17 Posted 08/11/2020 at 21:21:39
You wonder why Aston Villa have two dynamic midfielders who can carry the ball and are not afraid to shoot. You look at us and it's just aimed at breaking the opposing team up again instead of attacking.
18 Posted 08/11/2020 at 21:27:01
The modern game is however geared to attacking play. In that area we have offloaded players deemed inadequate but added none. The loss of Richarlison was always going to prove costly. He is the only player with the pace to stretch the opposition and chase forward balls. Without him the midfield has nowhere to go other than pass easy balls out to the flanks or back to the centre halves.
The league table is congested with most teams on the receiving end of surprise defeats. With the return of Richarlison I expect us to start picking up points again and staying in the top eight which is a vast improvement on where we were twelve months ago.
19 Posted 08/11/2020 at 21:43:10
It's no surprise the likes of Ward-Prowse, Maddison, Barnes, Grealish, Barkley all effective and performing to consistent levels with a blend of experience in their respective midfields. They bring energy to the side. Couple of players that spring to mind are Cantwell and Da Silva.
20 Posted 08/11/2020 at 21:56:16
21 Posted 08/11/2020 at 22:07:45
The high level of acclaim for Baines and Coleman has always mystified me.
22 Posted 08/11/2020 at 22:11:08
23 Posted 08/11/2020 at 22:19:02
Hes by far our most important player. Not just because of the goals and assists but hes our main out ball and works his nuts off all game and is one of the few players we have with pace. Losing him is like losing two players. With him back the side will be different and James will come back into it.
With everyone available, we have a first team that can take on most of the league. However, we have absolutely no depth and are bang average if we lose just one or two key players.
Ancelloti cant change things in one summer. We had a good transfer window in the summer but need at least another 2-3 quality signings to get to the next level, without losing anyone good. Desperately need more pace in midfield and attack as Richie cant carry the team all the time.
Im still confident were heading in the right direction. Rome wasnt built in a day etc.
24 Posted 08/11/2020 at 23:45:40
Get any sort of cross into our box where a centre back who has been rushed back from injury, is made more vulnerable by a keeper low on confidence.
Olly may not be the greatest coach in the world but it wasn't rocket science to work out their tactics.
25 Posted 08/11/2020 at 23:48:38
26 Posted 09/11/2020 at 00:15:42
Teams at our level (ie outside the top 4) like Villa, Leicester, Southampton, Wolves all seem to move the ball quicker, press with intensity, attack with numbers
So the issue(s) are either
2) instruction from the coach
4) combination of the above
5) something else
1) I think fitness IS an issue. Players like Gomes and Siggy seem unable to play at intensity. Theyre 1 paced and dont suit the modern game. Its hard to imagine them at a top team so this points to recruitment
Im convinced Allan is injured. In which case he shouldnt be playing. However if he goes on international duty then Im wrong. So is the problem that he cant maintain it every match? (If so then rotate him Carlo)
Doucore: his big thing is supposed to be fitness. But he seems to be playing 2 positions: centre midfield but also protecting the space behind James. Maybe its too much work
Davies doesnt seem to offer much. Weird thing is you can see him being decent (and energetic!!!) at another club eg Soton
Bernard: offers no physicality either in strength or stamina
Iwobi: not a 90 min player
Delph: doesnt do much and cant seem to win a midfield. Nor can he stay fit
Im concentrating on midfielders because thats where the biggest problems seems to be: not enough goals, creativity, movement, ball carrying etc etc
2) instruction from the coach: to be honest I dont know what Carlo is asking them to do. If hes playing injured players then thats never going to work. If players need a rest and to be rotated then he should do it. I dont think Carlo has done great since international break to be honest
3) desire: I kinda feel that the players WANT to do well but maybe theyre just not good enough? But then I dont understand why they dont play with intensity?? So maybe this IS a problem?
4) combination of above: probably
5) something else. maybe the club is cursed?!?!
There has to be an explanation surely?
Maybe it really is no.5 and the bloody club is cursed
I disagree with post #4 I hate being an Evertonian - it brings so little ‘joy (when do we play fast free flowing football? When do we beat big teams on their own turf? When do we actually win trophies? The answer is never) and instead brings so much damn pain
Ive had so many weekend ruined by this affliction
27 Posted 08/11/2020 at 00:38:07
Dissecting any and every desperately disappointing performance, which are as regular as rain to Toffee fans for decades now, is to fail to examine which human right at the top of the club has been responsible for our plight.
Self-serving but inadequate chairmen regularly held sway at clubs where big things sometimes credibly but briefly turned out.
Bob Lord at Burnley in the 60's took them to relegation despite them in 1960 justifiably being expected to be the "team of the 60's".
In the 70's Sam Longson at Derby got rid of Cloughie despite them being champions. Derby were soon relegated.
In the 80's Villa, as European champions, were led to relegation by a dick-head chairman named Doug Ellis, soon to be supplanted by Randy Lerner as a wealthier relegation-achieving dickhead.
City had to suffer relegation under Peter Swales, as did Leeds under Peter Ridsdale, both of whom always espoused their "massive love" towards the clubs they nearly destroyed.
And yet .......
........ and yet at Everton we still engage as chairman a bloke who's spectacularly failed for decades - as all those bullshitters above did - occasionally, years ago, on his own admission on account of him being allegedly skint (since when he's become a multimillionaire as a result of beguiling Moshiri at the club's and our expense).
Will we/Moshiri ever learn?
Every club may have a weed or two in it's boardroom but when you've had Japanese knotweed there, running riot for decades, don't be surprised that nothing healthy ever grows among it.
28 Posted 09/11/2020 at 00:49:55
Once a top 4, then 6, its now a top 9 and we'll be lucky to stay in it on present form.
Then we have yet another international 'king break. Most(?) of us fans don't really care about the England team. But many of the overseas players regard Internationals as a big honour.
Yet we persist in allowing half fit players to go halfway round the world, or sometimes just round the corner, to make their injuries worse.
I know some games are 'compulsory'. But sometimes a word in the ear about who pays your wages...and here's a sicknote for your international manager, is in order.
No, of course it never happens, who would do that?
Almost everybody except us it seems sometimes.
Then, when everybody is back half fit and jet lagged, its on to the Fulham graveyard we go.
Like I said earlier...as false dawns go it was better than most...but jeez we don't help ourselves with our lack of...well anything required...pace, intensity, attitude, concentration even.
And if Luke Shaw, who always seems to carrying half a stone extra is making your players look unfit, its bad.
29 Posted 09/11/2020 at 01:27:34
I hate Everton from times to times...but whenever Everton is playing, I will be watching I guess this is a sickness LOL
30 Posted 09/11/2020 at 01:59:08
Nonetheless, the shuffling of the Delph/Sigurrdson /Gomes/Bernard/Iwobi/Davies pack and late introductions into the fray of Tosun, serves only to set the clock back a couple of years. Its surely by now, apparently pointless and hopeless to everyone.
Against United, we failed right across the park. But once again I find myself singling Sigurrdson out for an abysmal individual display. When will people finally realise what has been obvious for so long, he is useless. Just like in the fairy tale 'The Emporer's New Clothes', we must surely now at last see that 'Siggy isn't wearing any'!
I've lost count of the times when he points to a player he should be marking, the said opponent invariably seizes the opportunity to find himself unmarked in space. Such was the case Fernandes found himself in for their first goal. I bet he couldn't believe his luck when Siggy went wandering off ball watching.
It's a recurring aspect of Sigurrdson's game. Take note and act now Mr. Ancelotti.
Captain? Don't make me laugh!
31 Posted 09/11/2020 at 04:20:44
Always keep that flag flying mate !
So many fans still cant see or quite grasp (still) the reality of that spectre that hangs round the club like the morning mist around a Transylvanian castle.
32 Posted 09/11/2020 at 05:26:20
This club has not had a winning mentality or shown real resilience since Joe Royle's Dogs of War. All it took was for the red propaganda machine to kick in and we caved.
33 Posted 09/11/2020 at 06:51:17
I continue to say these last results could've been easily avoided with proper support for Calvert-Lewin with Simms or Gordon plus without this continued belief of having Sigurdsson anywhere near the first team. Same goes for his snowflake mate Gomes. Ditto bringing Pickford back just for the hell of it.
34 Posted 09/11/2020 at 07:51:58
Im no fan of BK and Im not even sure what his duties are tbh but how is he affecting the season on the pitch so far?
35 Posted 09/11/2020 at 08:08:21
Leadership always starts at the top and all he has led us to with his big mate Moyes is a generation of Blues thinking we should be grateful for the odd cup and European run and be glad the media even mentions us.
There's obviously not one person at the club who will point this out to him and ask him to stand down for the good of the club. His ego is too big for him to walk away. He's clinging to the idea of a grand opening with him at the forefront.
36 Posted 09/11/2020 at 08:09:55
Rashford didnt have his best game against us but what he did so well was whenever he got the ball he drove at us. It puts teams on the back foot.
Got to agree we need attacking signings. Another pacy winger and a sigi, gomes replacement in the Barkley mold.
Also ffs get a striker in Tosun playing is a disgrace.
37 Posted 09/11/2020 at 08:32:30
I have said early on that their is not enough strength in depth. For me we have some championship players on our bench and being realistic, unless Moshiri spends again to replace those players and boosts our strength in depth, we will continually be mid table.
Not only is the fans spirit being crushed, but the squad spirit is being crushed. When Ancelotti makes six changes and replaces players for the sake of rotation when they have played well enough to retain their place, and find themselves on the bench, replaced by a player returning from injury or suspension. That is a recipe for trouble.
38 Posted 09/11/2020 at 09:27:48
Siggy, Delph and sadly Gomes arent good enough to step up.
To give Carlo the benefit of the doubt I think he picks Siggy to service DCL. But Siggy just isnt doing that so I hope Carlo will look at other options in future.
Bad patch, key players missing, replacements not stepping up, lack of squad depth. Give it time.
39 Posted 09/11/2020 at 09:48:04
40 Posted 09/11/2020 at 09:52:30
We will come again, starting at Fulham and Burnley.
41 Posted 09/11/2020 at 10:02:57
When we were playing well in the first few games, there wasnt even a hint of trying to predict the lineup, we all knew what it was going to be. We didnt make a change unless injury permitted and we kept on winning. 6 changes to a starting XI is not a formula for winning when we dont have a squad. When Leicester won the league, they played virtually the same team throughout.
How many times does he have to play Sigurdsson before he realises that he just isnt up to it in midfield.
Delph - see Sigurdsson.
We were successful with a midfield 3 who could all recycle the ball (albeit Gomes wasnt on top of his game, but we were winning) and a front 3 consisting of a playmaker, a poacher and a direct player. When the direct player is suspended, why not replace him with another direct player? I know he tried in the first game with Iwobi who was shite, but weve looked better since when Iwobi has come off the bench. We have 2 other players in the direct mould; Iwobi and Gordon. Replacing a direct player with another playmaker (Bernard) just disrupts the team.
As much as I dislike Sigurdsson and Iwobi, they both have a role on the bench, but only on the bench. Delph shouldnt have any form of a role.
When he was appointed, Carlo spoke of promoting talent. We have Gordon, who has done nothing wrong when played, and Davies, who never shies when he plays, not even making the squad. We then have overpaid, under-motivated wasters who bleed to club of hundreds of thousands per week in wages playing in front of them.
Carlo needs to stand up and be counted at the moment as much as the team does.
42 Posted 09/11/2020 at 10:06:59
Others have rightly highlighted how vulnerable we are with James in front of a half fit Seamus and I wonder if a temporary solution might be to swap Richi over to the right and James to the left.? Digne is very strong defensively and would be much better cover for James but this may affect Richis impact if he is not comfortable on the right.
I would think Carlo and his team will sort the defence out with Holgate now having a fortnight to get up to speed and with Godfrey and the excellent Branthwaite pushing for a game too. A strong RB is vital in the next window as our current weakness is affecting both defence and attack.
The other problem which has affected us from the start of the season is the third CM. Others have posted how we have not actually bossed games against Brighton and West Brom and I think that is because we have been outnumbered in midfield. Doucoure has too much ground to cover in trying to look after the right flank as well as play CM and James is peripheral in most games. I love James but he is a real luxury player and Carlo has to learn how to accommodate him just like Kendall had to with Sheedy. That is why Howard replaced the attacking John Bailey with the fearsome defender Pat Van Den Hauwe because Pat could batten down his flank without help from We simply have to learn how to use James because he will not contribute defensively so is useless to us unless we can feed him and find him space in which to work. Sheedy had zero pace but his colleagues always found him in space on the flank and he wreaked havoc without having to run.
As I say above Digne would give James better cover but that is no good if James or Richi would be less effective on the opposite flank to where they are now.
Back to our need for a third midfielder- Siggy is clearly not the answer and why Carlo continues to pick him is a mystery. Gomes isnt either and I would send him to a training camp for a couple of weeks for an intensive course to get him properly fit. Bernard is too weak- shame because he is a nice player to watch- and Iwobi whilst having good ability is again too weak. Gordon deserves a run in the absence of anyone else and it remains to be seen if JP returns to any effect. He would be ideal as he would fill the gap between the back four and Allan. On Saturday Allan was too far forward in the first half and he/ we were much better in the second when he was much closer to the CBs.
If JP doesnt make it then we need to buy. The question then is do we buy an out and out DM or a Cisco type who can create? If the latter where does that leave us defensively if we have two creators who dont help out in defence?
Still early days for Carlo but a lack of spirit and selecting players who constantly under perform and dont appear to try too much is unacceptable and hopefully the penny will drop.
43 Posted 09/11/2020 at 10:39:59
All season Michael Keane has been our best defender. Playing at LCB. Then suddenly Holgate comes back (after only a short time in full training) and Holgate is put LCB with Keane shunted to RCB for the first time. Their positioning as a pair, in particular with Michael Keane coming so far across, is why Fernandes got a totally free header for the first; and why Rashford had a totally free header (that he missed) for the second. Look at the difference when Iwobi get the ball on the right in the second half and DCL is in a tiny gap between Maguire and Lindelof, Iwobi puts in an almost perfect ball but because the gap is so small Maguire can just get there to prevent the equaliser. Maybe Carlo should have kept Keane in a position that he had been doing ok in?
I think we have conceeded the third most goals in the league and we will not do well if that continues. The good start is wasted, as was our lead yesterday, due mainly to defensive deficiencies. We've spent aroun £85m on Keane, Mina and Godfrey with the likes of Holgate and Braithwaite a bonus. We must start getting a few clean sheets as we cannot continue giving up 2+ goals a match like we have on our recent run.
I really hope that, against the odds, Gbamin can come back firing on all cynlinders as i was excited when we bought him. He is quick and a good ball winnner and having him sitting and plugging gaps would allow Allan and Doucore to play more box to box which is what they should be doing. It would hopefully make uis more solid as a team but the centre backs have got to stop leaving such huge gaps.
44 Posted 09/11/2020 at 13:18:21
4 wins, 1 draw and 3 defeats. If the form book had been WLWDLWLW we'd be much happier and with perspective of kicking on.
But the start got us more confident than was likely reasonable, and that has made the crash all the more difficult to take. From feeling invincible, we now lack confidence that we can take points at the leagues worst team.
I'd hazard a guess the reality is somewhere in the middle.
The international break, this time around, is welcome.
We know our weaknesses. Hopefully Gbamin can come in, and hopefully some youngsters can come in too - Tyler Onyango, Ellis Simms stand out.
Hopefully Gordon will get, and take his chance.
Lot's of hopefullys there. But as it is, we are too easy to score against.
Allan and Doucoure do not sit, they will run and press and chase the ball. This leaves us open and requires a 3rd midfielder. In our squad, currently, the only one I see being able to do the job is Gomes, but he's been desperately out of form. Delph is the other, but again, I just don't think he's very good. Siggy is poor and out of form, and he is weak defensively even if in form. Davies - well, he's the only one not to have stunk so far. But this weakness in midfield is what is killing us.
Another option could be to switch to 3 at the back with holgate as more of a sweeper, and bring james inside.
45 Posted 09/11/2020 at 14:10:16
46 Posted 09/11/2020 at 14:34:52
JWP is a class free-kick taker, clean striker of the ball. He is a decent but not outstanding midfielder. And he is not what we need, especially as his latest exploits will have put his transfer value through the roof.
Of current PL midfielders, Tielmans is one I wish played for us. Luiz at Villa also. Rice would also be a good option.
Hopefully Brands is on it and has someone in mind.
47 Posted 09/11/2020 at 15:14:50
Luiz, Rice and Tielemans are all good players who would now cost the world I expect.
Alot depends also on wether Carlo wants Allan to play the sitting role or a more box to box position. If Gbamin comes back strong (unlikely?) then he could complete the puzzle in the midfield and allow Allan to roam a bit more.
What do we need in that midfield 3? More ball winning? More athleticism and energy? Or more creativity? Perhaps it depends on who we are playing; but the likes of Sigurdsson and Gomes are currently offering nothing across any of those fields.
48 Posted 09/11/2020 at 16:21:13
49 Posted 09/11/2020 at 16:45:03
Psychologically our form table is binary, perhaps if it yielded the same points from a difference combination of results wed feel better about things? Three losses on the bounce, with little in the way of performances or acumen from the manager rightly has some feeling blue.
Carlo has got work to do. Picking unfit players over younger more hungry ones is a poor trait. I get the feeling he doesnt trust youth, he picks them when he has no choice. Id argue Coleman, James and Holgate were well off it Saturday. Hes so far been unable to find a player to sit in the no6 position which has also cost us big, without the distracting presence of Richarlison teams can comfortably keep us at arms length.
His substitutions have been Silvaesque; random players on, formations dissolving before our eyes.
However lets not forget the good things, lets look to January and hope just like the summer the obvious problems are solved. I think one decent sitting midfielder will make a huge difference, this is the last international break for months too, which are truly disruptive.
Lyndon rightly alluded to the goalkeeper who for the ‘lap of gods moment got away with one on Saturday, again. The push was marginal, his decision to catch it was questionable. However Carlo has a reputation for sticking with his guys, whether unfit or out of form its a trait that will cost us.
We are going in the right direction, albeit stumbling!
50 Posted 09/11/2020 at 16:51:39
Compare this consensus with the view now, following the derby and three defeats. Folks have regressed to pointing fault at individual players, even though those same individuals were doing well before the derby. A good example is Michael Keane, who was playing exceptionally well, getting rave assessments on here, but who suddenly apparently needs (according to many) shifting out with other 'dead wood'.
Similarly, we've gone from having a manager of the month to having a manager who (according to many) is not a good fit for Everton. All in the space of several weeks.
Now, it is very disappointing to be raised up and then let down, yet again, by Everton. It has certainly made me feel pissed off and fed up. But I think we need to have some perspective. Players CANNOT go from being very good one week to being fit only for shifting on several weeks later. Neither can the manager. For anyone to say that they can is completely contrary to basic common sense.
I firmly believe that when we assess players, our assessments are very sensitive to the way in which the overall team gels or functions like a well-oiled machine. When we function well, a given player can perform a lot better, with better economy of effort, than when we fail to do so, and our assessment of that player can change accordingly.
So, despite feeling pissed off and fed up, we have to be realistic. And the reality is that we WERE performing well, and then suddenly were not performing well. The reality is NOT that we're suddenly shit, even though we're currently playing shit as a team.
There is a high chance, even though this is Everton with the reliable track record of disappointing us, that staying calm and carrying on will see a return to the good form we had at the start. And that this will be consolidated further by the addition of the one or two new signings, hopefully in January, needed for squad strength.
And for those suggesting that some players from other clubs would make us better, like Ward-Prowse. All that is hypothetical. Just because a player is playing well in his current team that is also functioning well, does not imply that he would improve a different team who are currently struggling. Players like Ward-Prowse are not at a level where we can be confident that they would make that kind of effect. Very few players are.
51 Posted 09/11/2020 at 17:56:47
We need to stop conceding and fast. We cannot defend with 4 so we need to try 5 at the back.
Ancelotti has a record of winning leagues across Europe employing different tactics and formations. He has worked with some of the best players including Zidane using him in a free role behind 2 strikers. Why not try that same 3-4-1-2 now? James is our Zidane, luxury player who is never going to defend. Why not try 3 CBs, Digne and Coleman (for now) on the flanks, Allan and Doucoure harrying and chasing everything in the middle, Richy and DCL up top fed by James roaming and crosses from the wings?
Subs - we have cover for the back 5, Gbamin (when fit) can cover for the DMs or Davies for now, Gomes (when fit) or Bernard could sub in for James, Gordon or Simms could come in for the strikers.
Sigurdsson has been tried and tried for the past 3 years and as stated is not up to it. Even his free kicks are now woeful. Delph and Tosun are dead wood.
52 Posted 09/11/2020 at 18:02:16
We cant control fast accurate passes as good as our competitors
We cant close down and press as fast as our competitors
We havent the dynamism to drive forward create or score from midfield like our competitors
We have players who are nowhere near as fit as our competitors.
Theres no excuse that the quality lads we have got on 100k a week cant to some of these basics.
I am not having it, there too many coasting in training or they are just going through the motions. Other teams look fit as butchers dogs. Make them earn their 100k per week in training every day ! This Everton Football Club, I demand more effort.
Everton must be like a holiday camp the condition some players are in compared to our competitors. Get a grip and shake it up. Now.
I am fed up to the back of my teeth with, me included, saying we need X in midfield, we need Y in attack.
Guess what, we will get x and y and they will turn to 2 bags of shite before our very eyes without a change in the culture behind the scenes.
The squad already there need to man up and improve, never mind more reinforcements. They can do better, they can train better, they can look after themselves better.
They need to step up to the mark now and show some pride for our Everton.
53 Posted 09/11/2020 at 18:16:26
Richarlison's recent absence only undermines his value to our team – let's treasure him whilst we can!
54 Posted 09/11/2020 at 18:27:40
I've never warmed to that style of play because it hints at over-protection; however, that's exactly the diagnosis!
I think that's better than playing a centre-back as a No 6. It would leave our full-backs and the top three as the attacking unit. Deffo worth a punt with the profile of players we have.
55 Posted 09/11/2020 at 18:30:41
If his absence proves significant enough to ultimately prevent us from qualifying for the Champions League, and he leaves because he wants Champions League football, that would be ironic to say the least.
56 Posted 09/11/2020 at 18:34:13
57 Posted 09/11/2020 at 19:40:11
58 Posted 09/11/2020 at 19:55:19
If – and I stress if – your post is directed at my posts, then there are far better ways to ask what I mean by a No 6, rather than being rude and passive aggressive.
59 Posted 09/11/2020 at 20:21:41
Looking back to the Catterick years, our best manager ever, once said "John Hurst is the best No 6 ever to play in a No 10 shirt." Hurst's role was at centre-half alongside Brian Labone with Harvey in midfield in the No 6 shirt.
What relevance that has today confounds me!
60 Posted 09/11/2020 at 20:27:25
61 Posted 09/11/2020 at 20:34:14
62 Posted 09/11/2020 at 20:44:49
63 Posted 09/11/2020 at 23:29:30
I agree completely, pace, width and support for Calvert-Lewin. It's totally lacking in the last 3 games. James is totally lost without Richarlison's pace and attacking threat, on the left, and Calvert-Lewinis isolated.
We have Sigurdsson, standing, pointing, and losing Fernandes for the goal on Saturday, his total contribution, a passenger in midfield. He's started the last 3 games, wearing the armband for 2, which I can't understand, and subbed in each game.
I don't see what Carlo sees in training, but how he still sticks by him after watching him perform has me baffled. Does Davies not deserve a chance to see what he can do, beside Allan and Doucouré?
Look at Villa yesterday, Barkley and Grealish attacking with pace, Partey, the buy of the season supposedly, taken off at halftime.
64 Posted 09/11/2020 at 23:48:11
65 Posted 09/11/2020 at 23:58:28
66 Posted 09/11/2020 at 23:59:04
67 Posted 10/11/2020 at 03:27:55
What we are sorely lacking is goalscoring midfield players with only Sigurdsson having a record of goalscoring and that seems so far away these days.
Doucouré was supposed to be box to box and contribute goals but if his efforts against Man Utd are anything to go by, he would be better sticking to defensive midfield.
Barkley and Grealish look like they could score goals for fun, likewise Fernandes, Maddison, Mount, Pulisic, etc.
Arsenal are like us – they rely on Aubayang and Lacazette where we rely on Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison.
Carlo needs a Grealish type in January if we are to have a decent season.
68 Posted 10/11/2020 at 03:31:31
There is a feeling amongst some supporters that there is a Kenwright clique at the club undermining whoever comes into the club.
I don't know whether it's true or not but, for many of us, the sooner Kenwright is no longer around the club, the better.
69 Posted 10/11/2020 at 07:14:34
I dont fully buy into that though, our current form on the pitch is, in my opinion anyway, solely down to recent injuries and suspensions in key positions plus an under strength squad lacking quality back up. I think well turn it around and in 2 windows be right up with the top 4.
70 Posted 10/11/2020 at 07:24:44
Holgate in for Mina. Mina has been up and down, but Holgate was well off the pace. It was too much to throw him straight back in.
Bernard playing in Richarlisons place. I know he did ok in the first half and bagged a goal, but by playing him instead of Gordon, we had no out ball.
Sigurdsson retaining his place. Im so baffled by his continuing inclusion that I looked up his Premier League stats for the season. Hes played 8 games, and made 198 passes. Thats about 25 per match. I would bet that most of these passes go straight back to the player he has received it from, or sideways. In any case, hes barely touching the ball, and hes supposed to be a midfield playmaker.
Hes made one assist.
Hes had 7 shots, only one of which was on target. 3 blocked, 3 off target. No goals, needless to say. So he has one shot per game almost.
Hes made 17 tackles, so approximately 2 per game. Only 9 of those tackles were successful. So hes barely tackling.
If I can see this (like all of us), why is he continually being picked, and why is he vice captain? This is a player going through the motions. He may run around a lot, but all he does is jockey in 3rd gear. He doesnt win the ball, he doesnt make key passes or dictate play. He doesnt score goals. All of this from a player taking most of our set pieces as well. Why is he continually being picked?
71 Posted 10/11/2020 at 08:23:54
72 Posted 10/11/2020 at 08:56:23
Seriously, have you thought about seeing your doctor or calling a phone or online support group. There is help available.
73 Posted 10/11/2020 at 09:19:27
No-one is saying Simms and/or Gordon are world class but this run of results could easily have been avoided. Having said all that, he is the best we have had since Howie's first stint so let's hope even in his 60s he has learned something new instead of reverting to type the Everton way. Enough is enough, Carlo.
74 Posted 10/11/2020 at 09:43:31
75 Posted 10/11/2020 at 10:05:42
It's the habit these days. Everton fans being overly defeatist and negative. When we were winning, they were quiet, and when we are losing, they are happily putting us to finish 12th again this season.
Have some optimism, people!
76 Posted 10/11/2020 at 10:06:35
This mental preparation is all very well, but the trouble is, it never actually works. I don't think it ever lessens the disappointment when we do lose, and the back of my mind also holds the constant thought that in the next match we'll thrash our opponent 6-0 and it will mark a turning point in fortunes. None of it is logical, I suppose, but just an emotional attempt to deal with Everton and never winning anything important.
77 Posted 10/11/2020 at 10:07:39
You'd hope that whoever is playing furthest forward out of the 3 would score a few. This has mainly been Gomes and Sigurdsson. You'd hope Gylfi might get a decent goals return with his shooting ability but it's just not happened for him this last year and a half after scoring better than 1 goal every 3 games in 2018-19.
The time is probably overdue to replace the Icelander and perhaps there might be takers from US or China. I quite like Szoboszlai as a replacement, his shooting from range is excellent plus he's a bit more athletic, though I wonder if he works hard enough. There's a young Croat in Russia who's looked very good too, scoring goals for fun... he looks familiar! Or we could try Rodriguez in the middle and get some more pace out wide.
To be honest, it's the goals against rather than the goals for that I'm most worried about currently. Our defense looks a shambles.
78 Posted 10/11/2020 at 10:07:58
Without a solid base, we won't get anywhere in this league. Maybe that comes from playing Delph instead of Sigurdsson against Fulham and allowing Doucouré to be a proper box-to-box central midfielder.
79 Posted 10/11/2020 at 10:30:25
While we're waiting to move the unsellable on and replace them with players that have pace and scoring boots, Carlo has to do better with what he has. Tactically very poor against Newcastle, non-existent press against Southampton and Utd. Players selected looking palpably unfit.
Every team seems to be beating each other and putting in the odd shocker so far this season, so I won't be surprised to see us fall and rise quickly and repeatedly. Hopefully with more rising.
80 Posted 10/11/2020 at 10:54:40
With all due respect Newcastle are a very limited team yet they had no problem defeating our seemingly poorly set up side.
I really think that Ancelotti expects more from players who just really arent capable of carrying out his instructions.
So until we have seen more recruitment these erratic performances will continue.
It shouldnt be this way. When you see Villa, Leicester and Southampton playing so well it does make you wonder about the whole set up at Everton considering that we have probably out spent all of them over the past few years.
Even when we win we have rarely totally dominated games in recent years.
To me the winning mentality is missing and has been for a long time.
81 Posted 10/11/2020 at 11:48:04
Could really do with a pacey right winger who can also track back and cover his full back. A right sided Richarlison would be great. Failing that - a 10 year younger version of Aaron Lennon would do.
82 Posted 10/11/2020 at 13:02:42
Those of us long in the tooth and those of us who are the offspring of the same are fully aware that in the whole of football history that
a. any team who are on a bad run of form
b. any team seeking their first win of the season
c. any striker who hasn't scored for utter ages
d. any defence who are shipping goals like a rusted colander
just need to hope and pray that next up is Everton because we will guarantee those soul destroying, energy sapping runs of bad things will come to an end.
It is not that we are hoping for Everton to lose - we just know that they will because this is our destiny.
83 Posted 10/11/2020 at 13:35:08
84 Posted 10/11/2020 at 14:00:46
You say Newcastle "had no problem defeating our seemingly poorly set up side", come on there wasn't that much between us and if it wasn't for a stupid mistake for the penalty both teams could have played until now and not scored. You can put their second goal in the same category as Cavani's on Saturday.
As already mentioned a couple of times, I'm as devasted as the next blue when we lose, but the mood swings on this forum are extreme to say the least. We need stability and to support Carlo's rebuilding process. Things don't happen overnight.
85 Posted 10/11/2020 at 14:51:45
This will allow Allan and Doucouré to sit and stay compact as, at the moment, they are not able to sit in their positions due to James not tracking back. I think James will serve us better in the Number 10 role and pick up pockets of space between the lines. This enables us also to get Sigurdsson out of the team.
So, for the next few games, I would like to see 4-3-2-1-1:
Pickford or Olsen
Coleman, Holgate or Mina, Keane, Digne
Davies, Allan, Doucouré
Iwobi or Gordon or Bernard, Richarlison
86 Posted 10/11/2020 at 18:21:20
You have to wonder why we loaned out both Walcott and Kean when we lack pace? Yet kept cut inside Bernard and stand still Sigurdsson?
Defensively, I worry when we allow so many crosses in to the box and then also fail to mark men in the box. When I was a kid you were told to mark your man and stop crosses in or at least make it hard. Too many goals already from easy crosses in and then no marking - eg Mane, (Henderson - lucky VAR), Fernandes x 2!!! I don't remember us having the same freedom the other end...
87 Posted 10/11/2020 at 19:05:21
It's the hope that has me needing a doctor. Every fucking time Everton look to have it cracked, someone, somewhere scuppers the plan. If you check your history, you will see it... as at Villa, it's no coincidence they stayed up by a dodgy decision last season... and this season they are flying. Funny... the future king of England is a supporter – that's the level of power we're up against; either media or royalty... Just saying, no offence intended.
88 Posted 10/11/2020 at 22:33:30
I am sick of seeing Everton players in open space and under no pressure play the ball toward our own goal.
89 Posted 10/11/2020 at 22:59:44
To be honest, mate, Everton do enough all by themselves to repeatedly shoot themselves in the foot without anyone else's help or sinister goings-on in the circles of power. It would just be nice to see us play well over a consistently lengthy period of time, and not do the obligatory Keystone Cops routines, just for a change, regardless of any outside obstacles.
90 Posted 10/11/2020 at 23:11:37
They are not adept enough to play the possession game in their own half as they lack the speed to spring forward and more often than not cough up possession too easily.
They had success with the quick through ball to Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin, especially with a clever supply line through James but that all went up in smoke after the RS game for reasons we all know.
They have arguably gone right back to last season spirit-wise but with the next three games, Fulham, Leeds and Burnley they have a good chance of getting some points back although there has to be a big improvement and the starting eleven has to be 100% fit.
91 Posted 11/11/2020 at 07:45:10
Weve got to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down, and keep believing, even if it does seem impossible, or soul destroying at times.
I looked at our neighbours, they got there in the end, but it was obvious looking at them from the outside, that theyd forgotten how to win a league. At least they won a few cups to keep them going though, whilst Evertonians, have had nothing for a very long time, and its smashed our belief to smithereens.
Take heart from Tony Bellow, he achieved two dreams in one night, when he won a world title at his beloved Goodison Pk. When he got put on the floor, he never thought fuckin typical this, he picked himself up, he dusted himself down and then he went and achieved his dream👏
Keep fighting and keep believing, or the reason for existing just keeps deteriorating, and when we finally win, celebrate, celebrate, celebrate, and then celebrate some fucking more!
92 Posted 10/11/2020 at 08:50:00
We have a midfield and strike force overloaded with sloths.
Gomes, Davies, Bernard, Iwobi, Sigurdson, Tosun.
Though they offer more than the above, none of the three Summer signings have any pace.
We have DCL, ploughing a lone furrow as the only pacey one we ever see, perhaps add Gordon to that but for some reason he isn't getting a sniff.
93 Posted 11/11/2020 at 09:18:10
94 Posted 11/11/2020 at 10:10:25
Reports this morning of a positive Covid test in the Rep of Ireland squad ahead of tomorrow's game against England. Fingers crossed Seamus is not involved directly or as a close contact.
Given the farce of the last international break, we will do well to have all our players back for the Fulham game either through injury or Covid.
95 Posted 11/11/2020 at 11:09:40
It goes back to the start of the 70s when we should have dominated but didn't because of our own decisions. In the 80s, despite our success we could and should have won double the number of trophies, but didn't again because of our own decisions. We've shot ourselves in the foot time after time, even when we were the best team.
There are things like bias from officials, and events like Heysal, which are or have been barriers against our progess, but those things are beyond our control to a large extent. What really gets me are things that are within our control but which we fail to handle well, the most important being our own attitude.
Having said all that, bias from officials and events like Heysal are things I'll readily bring up with reds when they tell me how shite Everton are or how we've never really competed in the Champions League, and it seems to shut them up. But all of that is secondary to our basic problem.
96 Posted 11/11/2020 at 12:52:46
97 Posted 11/11/2020 at 12:53:46
98 Posted 11/11/2020 at 13:14:04
99 Posted 11/11/2020 at 13:33:09
100 Posted 12/11/2020 at 09:54:51
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