Muddled and Unconvincing

Lyndon Lloyd 30/11/2020 168comments  |  Jump to last

If the headline theme of last week’s match review might have been “what a difference Richarlison makes” (I’ve been travelling so didn’t write a report on the win over Fulham, even though I watched the stream), one of the main feelings after this deflating loss to Leeds United was “what a difference an on song Richarlison makes", not to mention “how important are our two first-choice full-backs?”, especially Lucas Digne.

Given the way the match panned out, it’s possible that it may have yielded a very different result had Digne been playing but what is very clear — and the point has been made on these pages before — is that beyond Carlo Ancelotti’s first-choice XI, this isn’t a very convincing Everton team. That goes for the personnel and the manager himself, whose team selections seem to get more perplexing the more players he loses from that preferred line-up and who was bested by a coach of similar international repute to himself this weekend, even if Marcelo Bielsa’s silverware haul pales in comparison.

Individually, Leeds United aren't any great shakes but as a collective, coached to move quickly in transition, accurately find team-mates and peel off their markers in expert fashion, they are a dangerous team built to punish mistakes in midfield. And their hosts at Goodison Park made plenty of them and had to be thankful to Jordan Pickford for ensuring that the Blues only conceded the one goal on the day.

Everton, for their part, are a team of individuals with questionable fitness, playing on this occasion in a dubious lineup who lacked conviction and that clinical edge in the final third. Richarlison underlined his importance to the side last week with that display at Fulham and was conspicuous again this evening by being well below his best.

As he demonstrated at Newcastle at the start of the month, Ancelotti takes his maxim of “I don’t have a set way of playing” to extremes sometimes. That day he compensated for Richarlison and Digne’s absences by stringing four centre midfielders across the middle of the park. Here, with Digne out again, Seamus Coleman sidelined again through injury and the Italian clearly having made his mind up about Jonjoe Kenny, it was another case of square pegs in round holes

After having one of his best outings in Blue since arriving from Arsenal last week playing at right wingback, Alex Iwobi was shunted out to the opposite flank where — entirely predictably — he failed to influence the game going forward or provide much width. On the right side, Tom Davies did well but without genuine pace, he, too, was never going to be able to support Calvert-Lewin to the degree that the increasingly frustrated striker needed. Everton just lacked balance and shape, particularly without the ball… which became an issue every time they gave it away, sometimes in unforgivable fashion.

And yet, after Everton had survived a very early scare and a portent of the threats Raphinha would consistently pose when the Brazilian raced onto Patrick Bamford’s chest-off but failed to get enough purchase on an attempted prod past Pickford, things had started well enough for the home side. Davies and Calvert-Lewin combined at the end of a smart move for the former to arrive on the overlap and pick Abdoulaye Doucouré out in front of goal but, on the stretch, the Frenchman steered his shot too close to Illan Meslier and the goalkeeper made a good one-handed save near his goal line to keep the ball out.

Leeds’s threat in transition was underscored in the 10th minute when a dreadful pass by Mason Holgate, skipper for the day, was picked off outside the visitors’ box and within seconds Raphinha was away behind Iwobi and he slid a pass inside the back-tracking Michael Keane towards the back post where Jack Harrison seemed certain to score until he fired narrowly wide.

And the pattern of tit-for-tat would continue over the course of a first half that somehow ended goalless. An impressive driving run and dummied shot by Allan, Everton’s outstanding outfield player on the day, deserved better than Richarlison’s powder-puff finish before Pickford denied Bamford with an out-stretched leg. The England ‘keeper then dived at full stretch to claw a Raphinha header away while Ben Godfrey, again playing as one of three centre-halves, helped preserve parity when he stretched to clear Harrison’s shot off the line following Luke Ayling’s cut-back.

In between, Everton had had the ball in the net when James Rodriguez had cleverly kept the ball in in the byline, wriggled back in front of goal and knocked it in but his effort was chalked off for offside. And after Holgate had see a close-range volley off a James free-kicked pushed away by Meslier and the French keeper had turned an excellent Richarlison effort around the post, the Toffees again thought they had scored three minutes before half-time.

Richarlison appeared to connect with Rodriguez’s corner to head it home but his celebrations were cut short by the linesman’s flag which presumably was raised against Godfrey who had been standing in Meslier’s line of sight.

Then, after another weak finish from Richarlison’s right boot, Harrison really should have put the Yorkshire side ahead but planted a header off the post and Ezjgan Alioski side-footed another decent chance just wide as the first half came to a close.

If it felt to Evertonian eyes that Ancelotti’s side was struggling with its existing shape and two ill-suited wingbacks to contain Bielsa’s enterprising charges, the Italian didn’t see fit to make any changes during the interval. He was nearly vindicated when Calvert-Lewin forced a save from Meslier in the first minute of the second half before clipping another shot across the goalie but disappointingly wide of the far post a couple of minutes later. However, the pattern established in the first period, one which would see Everton finish with their worst defensive xGA for three years as Leeds racked up 21 attempts on goal, would continue.

Mateusz Klich fired over, an Everton free-kick in Leeds territory inexplicably went backwards before the Blues lost possession and Bamford blazed off target and Harrison tested Pickford with a low drive after the increasingly ragged Doucouré had lost out weakly in midfield.

A rare error from Meslier had earlier gifted the ball to Rodriguez but the keeper managed to scramble back in time to prevent the Colombian from chipping the ball over him from outside the box while Allan, more and more the most potent offensive weapon in the Blues’ arsenal, embarked on another brilliant driving run and was unfortunate to see his shot deflect agonisingly past the post.

Ancelotti’s first tactical move was to withdraw Davies, throw Fabian Delph on and move Iwobi to right wing-back but the Nigerian would last only a few more minutes before going off in favour of André Gomes. Neither player did their continued selection any harm but they weren’t substitutions that carried any guarantee of greater attacking productivity; that would come later when Bernard was introduced in place of Holgate and Doucouré ended up at right-back and by that stage Everton were a goal down.

That’s because after Meslier had spilled a decent drive from James and Richarlison had sliced wildly off target after good work from the Colombian, Raphinha produced the moment of clinical finishing that would elude the hosts. Leeds worked the ball down their right flank, Klich easing it inside past four blue shirts to Harrison who in turn found Raphinha 25 yards out from goal. He shaped to feed the ball out wide but instead took advantage of the space in front of him by drilling a shot through Godfrey’s legs and inside the far post.

Damningly, Everton failed to produce a shot on target after falling behind. Whether that’s because of a comparative lack of fitness, particularly in contrast to Bielsa’s players, a lack of sufficient quality or a suspect collective mentality is something for Ancelotti to ponder but the feeling was that the game was up once the visitors made the breakthrough.

Just like against Southampton, Everton came up against a quick, well-drilled outfit and were found wanting. Depressingly so. The inquest by supporters in the aftermath has raised inevitable calls for patience as Ancelotti and Marcel Brands plot their next moves in the market but at some point you have to stop searching for answers in upcoming transfer windows and start fashioning winning teams from what you already have at your disposal.

Ancelotti’s insistence on playing players out of position while an exciting young natural left full/wingback in Niels Nkounkou wasn’t even in the matchday squad was not justified either by fielding an awkward Iwobi in that role or by the final result. The same was said about the glaring omission of Anthony Gordon at Newcastle. So while Godfrey, a player not yet fully ready to play week in, week out at centre-half, is allowed to grow into the side, the manager’s baffling inconsistency where the other promising youth players are concerned is starting to grate.

This weekend presented Everton with the chance to go third with a win; instead, they’re left looking over their shoulders as the familiar environs of mid-table obscurity beckon once again. There is now significant pressure on the team to beat Burnley before four very difficult fixtures loom but as the defeats mount up and the goals against keep flowing, the onus is also growing heavier on the shoulders of Ancelotti to prove his worth as a coach by making the best of what he has while his first-choice stars are unavailable.


Reader Comments (168)

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Gareth Williams
1 Posted 30/11/2020 at 07:13:20
Another poor performance. So disappointing after a good start to the season.
James Kirrane
2 Posted 30/11/2020 at 07:31:53
I was sceptical when Ancelotti was brought in to manage Everton. He has a great reputation and has won a massive array of trophies, albeit with the best teams in Europe.

Even when we had a good run at the beginning of the season, I felt the defence in particular was very fragile. After four losses in five games I am beginning to think that he is not the man for the job.

His team selection is baffling and he does not appear to get the best out of the players at his disposal. Whereas Bielsa's team has a plan, a system and real character. This is going to be another long, hard and disappointing season.

Mal van Schaick
3 Posted 30/11/2020 at 08:27:19
We have to accept that injuries and suspensions will have an impact on our strength of squad. However, if Ancelotti becomes a tinker man changing formations and players on guesswork, we aren’t going to achieve the owners goal of champions leagues etc. There are players on our bench who are good enough to achieve the goals set out by Moshiri.

Leeds played well and deserved their win.

Jerome Shields
5 Posted 30/11/2020 at 08:31:03
In the second half of the Fulham and Leeds games, Ancelotti's tactics did not work. Players, particularly in the defensive midfield area, were not able to stop either team or get control of possession. They in fact added to the pressure on the Everton defence. Going forward, little or nothing was on show.
Mike Price
6 Posted 30/11/2020 at 08:42:49
I'm sure I'm not the only one hoping the bottom 3 or 4 teams don't pick up many points! I'll be surprised if we finish in the top half with this squad and manager. They are clearly not fit enough which is a disgrace, lack pace and quality, and worryingly don't seem to have much team spirit.

We're the easy street retirement home for ‘past it' players and managers plus the mediocre. The recruitment and management of this club must be up there with the worst on the planet.

Jim Bennings
7 Posted 30/11/2020 at 08:43:22
Only Everton could collapse so quickly after winning the first four matches.

It's easy to blame injuries but other clubs lose key players and find ways to perform, look at Wolves' response last night.

We never seem prepared for injuries, what was going to be our plan if Digne got injured? Richarlison? Calvert-Lewin? We know Coleman spends lots of time out injured now but we don't have a right back at the club we trust?

I'm slightly disappointed in our manager at times, if I must be honest, and that doesn't mean I want him sacked because that's insane at the moment.

I'm still waiting for evidence that he's going to change our mentality, style of play, or show me that he's not just another Everton boss that makes the same old errors of previous incumbents; there have been many signs going right back to January when his team selection and subs have left me baffled.

Our style of play still seems too reliant on crossing the ball to Calvert-Lewin's head, isolating the lone striker and we still don't want to shoot around the box, we look afraid of taking responsibility on the ball and have no runners off the ball.

The biggest concern for me is that we still look like the slowest unfit team out there, the training methods clearly aren't getting them any physically fitter.

I said before we went to Fulham last week that it was a huge month for us and probably Ancelotti too: we have Burnley, Chelsea, Leicester, Arsenal and Manchester United in the Cup before Boxing Day, I feel that many more performance levels like recent weeks and we will be facing a very tough second half of the season yet again.

If we finish in the bottom half again, then you will begin to question whether it's working with the manager here at this particular club.

Charles Barrow
8 Posted 30/11/2020 at 09:23:10
Ancellotti seems to have that dreadful managerial disease of favouring the expensive players and players he bought, no matter how useless they end up or how inappropriate they are for the tactics chosen.

Godfrey (young and raw) plays because he cost £25M. Iowbi, Sigurdsson etc play because they cost a lot of money. Gordon and the others don't play if they cost nothing, therefore they must be worthless!

Tony Everan
9 Posted 30/11/2020 at 09:54:13
Thanks Lyndon, I am thinking along the same lines...

We are fit. but not anywhere near as fit as the likes of Leeds or Southampton.

They and other teams are far fitter, even Fulham outdid us for fitness in the second half. We faded very badly even against the Premier League whipping boys.

Bayern Munich's players complained of sub-standard training, Napoli too. Bayern players were arranging supplemental training.

The performances recently suggest it's happening here too. It would be wrong though to point it all at Ancelotti and his team, it's been an issue for years. When Moyes inherited an average team, he had the players the fittest in the league, or very near to it. Not many teams zall his side for want of fitness. With our array of talent coupled with a proper advanced fitness, diet, lifestyle regime, we can move up a level.

I think this issue has gone beyond conjecture and is there is enough damning evidence to call it a fact. It needs addressing. Getting proper hardcore training coaches in with real power is peanuts compared to hiring and firing managers. It needs doing now.

Another issue is round pegs in round holes. Iwobi is a right-sided player, was improving and looking dangerous. Playing him on the left was a bad mistake. Nkounkou is back-up left-back. It's what he has been bought for! Play him there and tell him to show what he can do. Upsetting the system and balance by playing players out of position is a recipe for misunderstandings and a disjointed performance.

All eyes will be on the line-up for Burnley.

Dave Williams
10 Posted 30/11/2020 at 09:59:09
I agree with Jim and Charles. I guess what also really concerns me is that we know Digne is out for a while so surely Nkounkou should have been allowed to audition for the role before the likes of Chelsea, Leicester etc rock up.

Does Carlo really think that Iwobi (I thought he tried hard enough) will prove to be the answer against those teams? If so he is deluded. We need to play a natural left-back there with decent cover ahead of him, which Richarlison and Holgate could have done.

Carlo is not giving youth a chance and he has to because we can't afford to buy a team of established stars.

As for the fitness we have had issues since Moyes left. Why do we look so slow, weak and lacking in energy whilst RS to name but one can run sides ragged?

It's ridiculous to call for Carlo's head at this early stage but there are some very worrying signs there that we have all seen before and it reeks of Marco Silva.

Rennie Smith
11 Posted 30/11/2020 at 10:03:43
I'm sure there'll be plenty of catastrophic comments on this thread. Totally disappointing as this was... let's hold some balance again. We've lost a game 1-0 where we had 15 attempts on goal, 8 on target. No need to dig out the defence, it's clear where the failure was.

People will say "Where's the Plan B when Digne and Coleman are injured?" Carlo and Marcel brought in 4 players, all regular starters. What do you want him to do, sign a new player for every position? We'd have a squad of 40 players.

But, as said, the issue with this game wasn't with any of the back 3 or the wingbacks.

Bill Fairfield
12 Posted 30/11/2020 at 10:12:28
There has already been a huge improvement since Carlo arrived... but it's going to take time to build the squad required to be really consistent.
Clive Rogers
13 Posted 30/11/2020 at 10:14:00
We need a striker in the January window. Dominic Calvert-Lewin had a poor game on Saturday, not getting on the end of anything even though we had plenty of play in their box.

It may be the effect of all the games he has played recently. We had nobody on the bench to bring on, either to replace him or help him.

Jim Bennings
14 Posted 30/11/2020 at 10:17:47
Carlo made a crazy decision, swapping Iwobi back to the left where he never ever performs; he had his best game in an Everton shirt at Fulham on the right why change it?

Okay, he can't compensate for Digne getting injured but you have got to replace him with the like for like left-back which is Nkounkou, it's a specialist position and you can't shoehorn a right-footed centre-half there.

If Nkounkou is not ready to step up straight away and be an able deputy then why sign him?

At right-back clearly Jonjoe Kenny is awful, fair enough but when then why do we not see this and sign a capable right back?

Was Ben Godfrey really a priority signing over other parts of the pitch? He may become great but, at the moment, our only two senior centre-backs are Mina and Keane, which doesn't bring confidence at all, so that told me we probably needed a more vocal older head in defence.

The club always seems to find itself in the same boat every single season, it beggars belief why we never learn from the previous year.

Len Hawkins
15 Posted 30/11/2020 at 10:35:03
Burnley Training Ground 10:32 am 30 November 2020.

Sean Dyche: "Right, lads, we got regally stuffed but don't get too down about it – we have Everton coming up and we can get back to winning ways."

Len Hawkins
16 Posted 30/11/2020 at 10:37:40
Clive #13,

You forgot Two-Ton Tosun.

Dave Abrahams
17 Posted 30/11/2020 at 10:46:46
It seems to me, going by posts on various threads, that centre-back is one of the biggest problems and causing the leakage of goals every week.

Mina comes in for plenty of stick, and I can understand why.

Holgate also getting plenty, although he has just come back from the injured list.

Ben Godfrey, recently signed, is another being questioned.

Michael Keane, the elephant in the room, gets the least complaints; to me, he is one of the reasons Everton are very vulnerable in defending. Lack of mobility by him means we defend deeper, leaving big gaps between midfielders and attacking players and leave us wide open for the opposition to attack at will.

Leeds was a glaring example on Saturday. Add to this Keane's lack of anticipation, not being able to read the game, total unawareness of what's going on around him, two seconds behind the game continually, and standing like a statue at times... it all leaves this particular fan, of Everton, absolutely bewildered by his constant selection.

When we fix this problem, and add a third midfielder to Allan and Doucouré, we will instantly improve.

Jim Bennings
18 Posted 30/11/2020 at 10:52:47
Clive

I agree; on Saturday, he should have left Gomes or Delph on the bench and, in that last 10 minutes, put Tosun next to Calvert-Lewin and just thrown everything in the box in a late bid to save a draw.

Tosun, clearly yet another squad player that can't be trusted to come on and do a job, which is embarrassing when you are one goal down at home and a striker is overlooked while two midfielder's and Fabian Delph are brought on.

Rennie Smith
19 Posted 30/11/2020 at 10:57:18
Bill @12 spot-on,

Clive @13 also spot-on, but January is notoriously difficult to pick-up a decent buy, we may have to wait until the summer.

Still people are concentrating on the defence; I'm not saying there aren't things that need to be fixed – of course there are – buy they are not the reason we lost this game.

Brian Harrison
20 Posted 30/11/2020 at 11:02:50
I think our major problem is, when our first 11 are fit, we are a match for anybody, as our first 5 league games showed, which included beating Spurs away and drawing at home to Liverpool. But, when we are forced to make changes, either through injury or suspensions, then we seem unable to get near our performances when all are fit.

Regarding the changes in tactics, I wonder how much influence Davide Ancelotti is having in this discussion? Davide is at 30 the youngest assistant manager in the Premier League. He first started working with his father as a fitness coach at PSG and at Real Madrid but, when his father took over at Bayern in 2017, he made Davide his assistant manager. He also made him assistant manager when he moved to Napoli... and then to Everton.

Now all parents want to help their children, and we will all do whatever we can that helps our children, but I just wonder if Carlo should have let Davide find his feet away from his father to gain experience and then, at some point, to join his father.

Look, for all I know, he may be a fantastic coach. I read a piece in the Echo a couple of weeks back where they interviewed Davide on his and Duncan Ferguson's role at Everton. He said that Duncan does a lot of one-to-one training where Davide works with the whole group, but he said his father was there to oversee every training session.

I am not trying to deflect any responsibility for the results away from Carlo; he picks the team and decides on the tactics, so the good and the bad results are totally his responsibility. But I just ask the question: Is Davide the best person to have as assistant?

Although, according to Davide, he quite often disagrees with his father and he says, when he does disagree with Carlo, he isn't shy to tell him that.

I also just wonder if Ferguson's input has been reduced to just doing work with presumably the forwards. Which if true would be disappointing, but this is all guesswork and supposition and probably well wide of the mark at what actually happens at Finch Farm.

Clive Rogers
21 Posted 30/11/2020 at 11:16:39
I didn’t forget Tosun, hard as I tried. In his last substitute appearance, albeit brief, he never touched the ball once and looked even slower than before his injury. I think Carlo has judged that he is not good enough for even a cameo appearance.
Julian Exshaw
22 Posted 30/11/2020 at 11:41:43
Let's be honest, had one of our previous five managers been responsible for Saturday's performance, they would have been hung drawn and quartered on this forum. As fans, we are clinging on to the belief that this is Carlo Ancelotti... so things have to get better soon.

Any criticism or doubt expressed in relation to that is tantamount to treason to some fans. But why should it be? Don't we have every right to express concern? We all like and respect Ancelotti, of that I am sure, but it's just not happening, is it?

We may well be top half for now but for how long more is open to debate? This doesn't mean we are negative or not real Evertonians; it means we are seriously worried and not a little disappointed with how things are going.

Paul Richardson
23 Posted 30/11/2020 at 11:47:23
Seems to me the only person who has urgency on the bench is Duncan Ferguson. He wants to win every game.

Carlo appears to have a longer-term, higher-quality strategy. If both combine, fine. But we should be winning fixtures like this... look where they were in the table beforehand.

I anticipated defeat with comments about fitness and speed about Leeds. Those are two attributes we do not have and it is obvious.

Ken Kneale
24 Posted 30/11/2020 at 11:58:53
Jim – we end up the same because, as a club, we do the same things and have done for much too long. Injuries are part of the game and very unfortunate if they hit a key component of the team.

But that does and should not absolve the manager and coaches of the requirement to earn their money and get a half-decent tune out of what they have to play with – that includes playing players in the positions they are most effective.

We have any number who are borderline effective in their chosen team place – to play them in a shapeless formation out of position rarely works and Carlo was found out good and proper.

Perhaps some acknowledgement of that from him rather than emollient words about scoring the first goal might not go amiss.

His comment about the first goal strikes a cord through this whole team, which has a nasty habit of never recovering if they go a goal down in recent seasons. Could you honestly imagine such a mindset with Collins, Kay, Ball, Reid, Gray etc?

A few trips up and down the Southport sands might not do some of the team too much harm either – we are getting turned over by teams after 70 minutes of play.

Michael Lynch
25 Posted 30/11/2020 at 11:59:48
Weird isn't it – Arteta and Ancelotti; both took up their posts with huge fanfares, both could have gone to either Arsenal or Everton (supposedly).

I assumed one, or probably both, would really kick on at their chosen club, especially given that there was money to spend. But both are now struggling quite badly.

Funny old game isn't it?

Graham Lloyd
26 Posted 30/11/2020 at 12:33:38
I wasn't surprised we lost the game, though, after watching the replay was very surprised by the scoreline. A 3-4 or 2-3 would have been much more in line with the game.

As Jim said, we are very much a bit of a Plan A side which is to ge tthe ball wide and cross it for Dom/Richie. There seems to be little evidence of a Plan B or C. Any side in the premier league will see this and alter their shape to negate our scoring chances.

I think the most alarming thing from the Leeds game was the amount of effort and fitness they had compared to us. I recall towards the end of the game seeing Allan bent over gasping for breath whilst they seemed to be pressing on regardless.

We could and should have scored at least a couple and, on another day, we could have won. But they deserved it more IMO on the balance of play. The worry for me is that we could easily slip into a bad run from now till our full-backs are back and the pressure will be on Carlo.

The next window or two are taking on huge significance. I think we need to be patient and accept Carlo needs time to clear the deadwood and bring in more of the squad he thinks will succeed. But jeesh, I wonder what Gordon and Nkounkou need to do to get a game.

Mat Smith
27 Posted 30/11/2020 at 12:35:59
Same as most people here, I found the team selection very confusing and odd. If Ancelotti doesn't think Nkounkou is ready, why didn't he just start Delph at left-back? He did good enough in the role at Man City and seemed to do a better job than Iwobi when he came on.

If he doesn't rate Kenny, Iwobi could have played as right-wingback again, where he actually had a decent game last week, or played Holgate as a right-back as he's not done too bad in the past.

I do like Ancelotti and think he will do a decent job for us but, like many others, I find it so frustrating – these weird decisions Everton managers always seem to make where they just try and force the players they want playing into the squad, no matter what position it is.

The last few games have definitely shown us we have no strength in depth.

Rennie Smith
28 Posted 30/11/2020 at 12:39:43
I'm sorry but I just don't get this instant fix and knee-jerk fascination. Of course Carlo needs to be challenged and not given a free pass.

Just because he's the most successful manager in the history of the club doesn't mean I expect everyone to agree with all his decisions. But it infuriates me how little patience and long-term vision there is these days (not just in football by the way, in all aspects of modern life).

He's hasn't even been at the club for a year yet and people are already saying "Where did it all go wrong?" It's a joke.

Persepective, at the moment (and I know it may not last), we are:
- 7th in the table, 5 points off the top
- 3 points behind Chelsea, who by the way spend an absolute fortune over the summer
- sitting above Man City, Man Utd, and Arsenal

Ken, you say Carlo was found out good and proper. Was he? Did we get absolutely battered? Doucouré's chance goes in first thing and Leeds's confidence crumples and we wouldn't be having the conversation today. All ifs and buts, I agree, but I just don't see any balanced perspective in these arguments.

Andrew Ellams
29 Posted 30/11/2020 at 13:09:37
Rennie, 3 points behind Chelsea but also 3 points ahead of the 15th placed Crystal Palace.

With 4 points from the last 18, combined with a squad struggling with injuries and the busy Christmas period coming up, I suspect it won't be Chelsea we're closer to in 6 weeks time.

Patrick McFarlane
30 Posted 30/11/2020 at 13:12:25
Rennie #28,

I think the major issue that we as Evertonians worry about is this seemingly repetitive nature of going on half-decent runs followed by frustratingly poor runs of form. If the results we've had this season had been scattered rather than one good run followed by one bad run, people may not be so annoyed.

The upcoming compressed and difficult fixture list doesn't help either as, after Burnley, fans start to worry how long the bad run might continue.

On the plus side, this team is only 3 points behind Roberto's first season (19) after 10 matches – but it's hard to judge if that is a good comparison because the bottom sides have so few points this season.

If Everton is still truly in the mix for European football come the New Year, Ancelotti will be vindicated; if we are well off the pace by that time, questions will be raised.

Hopefully, the club will also be in the last four of the League Cup too, but many of us who might have been confident of that happening are less so following the last half-dozen matches.


Geoff Williams
31 Posted 30/11/2020 at 13:35:45
The players not only lack sharpness but also stamina. They seem to fade quite badly towards the end of matches.

Tiredness not only reduces the ability to run but also leads to a loss of concentration and the preponderance to make poor decisions. Lack of fitness, plus some poor team selections, is a recipe of failure.

I don't know what the conditioning coach is doing but it isn't good enough.

James Stewart
32 Posted 30/11/2020 at 13:36:47
Carlo's tactics (or lack of) are really starting to concern me. That performance was just as bad as anything Silva served up. We have to stop looking for answers in every upcoming transfer window — it's pathetic.

Bielsa embarrassed us with Championship players; if only we had him. Spending more money is not the answer.

Dave Lynch
33 Posted 30/11/2020 at 13:44:24
Rennie @28.

At last, some sanity in the "Woah is me" and teeth-gnashing aftermath.

For fuck's sake, people, get a grip! It was never gonna be a quick fix after years of mediocre and shite management.

The likes of Calvert-Lewin are only starting to actually learn how to play the game after years of inept coaching. I don't honestly know why some on here aren't coaching at the highest level, they seem to have the answers to every single one of Carlo's perceived failings.

Face facts... we are going to have to weather a few more storms before we come out of the other side of this; quick fixes do not work – ask Sunderland and Leeds fans for that matter.

Be realistic, this is a long journey. He inherited shite and will need to build his own squad... which will take a few seasons.

Rick Tarleton
34 Posted 30/11/2020 at 13:46:05
Like you, Lyndon, I am amazed that we can play three at the back with two wingbacks, when Coleman, Kenny and Digne are unavailable.

Iwobi has few defensive qualities and has even fewer when played on the left. Davies was, as always, willing and was one of the better players on Saturday, but fundamentally he hasn't the pace to get up and down as a wingback must.

Allan needs to stick to the role of disruptor-in-chief, and play essentially in his own half, providing cover in front of the central defenders. On Saturday, his ability was frequently shown in a more creative role, but at a cost to the team.

Iwobi and Bernard will have odd good games, but they lack consistency and, as substitutes, they rarely manage to be super-subs.

Gordon must wonder, as Davies and Barkley did before him, why local lads rarely get the breaks at Goodison, no matter who the manager is?

If there aren't wingbacks, surely we have to play with a back four built around Keane and Holgate? Can Godfrey play at right-back without the demands of being a wingback? I'm not sure, but it may be the only option till Coleman or Kenny returns.

Nkounkou is a young, talented, but inexperienced left-back, but it's either him or Delph and I know which one I prefer.

Doucouré has energy, Allan has nous, Rodriguez has talent... and I'd play Gordon as the wide man. That leaves the two indisputables: Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin. It's not going to be challenging for the title, but it may be a little less fragile than we have been of late.

Brian Harrison
35 Posted 30/11/2020 at 14:05:01
Maybe just to put this season so far into perspective: we have more points this season after 10 games than we have at any time in the last 10 years — with the exception of 2013-14, when we amassed 72 points; we are only 3 points behind the total we had in 2013-14 after 10 games in that season.
Don Alexander
36 Posted 30/11/2020 at 14:09:31
Compared to most teams, we're not fit, end of. It's been obvious for years and is probably the main reason so many of us have questioned "What the fuck do they do at Finch Farm?"

We're ponderous at Finch Farm and, too often, on the field of play. That's ponderous in mind too. We've had Tadic recently comment critically on the food being eaten at Finch Farm; now Walcott has stated how much fitter he feels at Southampton. Are they winding us up or are they making a point about the inadequacy at the training ground?

How a professional football club cannot rectify such a core responsibility has long since disappointed me. We're easy meat to anyone with real fitness and attitude and have been for years.

Derek Thomas
37 Posted 30/11/2020 at 14:26:46
Rick @ 34; Spot on. You see it, I see it, almost everybody sees it...except the man on £10M a year. There is of course, the possibility he sees more than we do, what with seeing them all week.

But as George McKane says - share the vision. Give us a clue, a hint as to the direction... I hope 'The Men in Blazers' in the US ask the hard questions!

Because playing as left-wingback, a guy who has 1 game as a right-wingback, is all a bit "through a glass darkly" to me... bordering on "a cunning plan"...

Andrew Clare
38 Posted 30/11/2020 at 14:35:17
Loads of of really valid points being made on here.

I think continuity is very important. Chopping and changing managers and continually signing over the hill and average players is not the answer.

Leeds are illustrating perfectly to everyone how it should be done, Wolves are another good example and Leicester too.

Get the right manager and give him plenty of time to get his philosophy across to the players. Make sure all of the players at the club know exactly what is required and drill it into them week in week out. Turn them into an ultra fit unit with a winning mentality and watch them go.

Leeds didn't come to Goodison worried about us, they came here to score goals and to win.

We look far too nervous about the opposition in every game we play. Fulham was a prime example of our weak mentality. In the first half, we played some great football and went 3-1 up. In the second half, instead of continuing the good work, our weak mentality crept in and we were lucky in the end to get the 3 points.

Surely Ancelotti and the coaching staff can see what the problem is?

Ray Robinson
39 Posted 30/11/2020 at 14:40:31
Are we as unfit compared to other teams as we make out? After all, for lack of fitness to be endemic, it would require successive managers' fitness teams all to have made the same mistake. Or is it rather that we lack athletes, up-and-down-the-pitch players?

We're stuck with a host of one-paced players (Sigurdsson, Gomes, Davies, Bernard, Tosun, Delph), none of whom have the necessary turn of pace to be part of a successful Premier League team. I'd even include Rodriguez in that group but obviously a team can always carry a player with his sublime skill – not too many, mind you.

When compared with say Leicester, Chelsea, Wolves, Liverpool, Southampton, Leeds midfield, they all look pedestrian – but it doesn't necessarily make them unfit. You can't turn a tortoise into a hare.

We need to be recruiting more dynamic players such as the above teams possess. This is surely Brand's responsibility? I'm assuming that Ancelotti only looks as far as tried and trusted players that he already knows who may not necessarily be the most dynamic.

Meanwhile, two players that fit the bill seemingly have no part to play – Nkounkou and Gordon. Puzzling!

Derek Taylor
40 Posted 30/11/2020 at 14:44:33
Like many disappointed Evertonians, Brian @20 seems to be seeking someone other than Ancelotti to blame for the dog's breakfast that was turned out at the weekend.

We, as mere spectators, have always longed to know who does what previously at Bellefield, now Finch Farm but, apart from the illustrious Sammy Lee – who did it all – the coaching staff have always been men of mystery and very much in the background on matchdays.

Big Duncan seems somewhat more proactive than most first team coaches we've had in the past although whether he sits front bench because the Chairman likes to see him there, we know not. However, we are assured that he is 'a skills coach' rather than a true 'right-hand man' to Ancelotti.

All that is certain is that Big Dunc is fireproof, having survived the ever-banging door behind at least four other No 1s. But whatever his role, he should take no blame for his bosses' crazy team selections and equally confusing tactics and substitutions.

But, as ever, what do we know? Bossman Ancelotti has done it all so we need have no fear. Our time has arrived. Or has it?

Jason Wilkinson
41 Posted 30/11/2020 at 14:46:10
Mentality seems to be the major hurdle to me. There were numerous occasions where we got in good positions to provide crosses and there was nobody in the middle.

Calvert-Lewin, yes... but it's all too easy to mark one striker when you know he's the only target. We must become braver and get more in and around the penalty area. I don't think that is coaching, it's belief.

Andrew Ellams
42 Posted 30/11/2020 at 15:32:32
Doucouré looked out of his depth on Saturday, Richarlison was guilty of the same powder-puff shooting that Calvert-Lewin used to get crucified for; the team as a whole were all over the place.

Allan desperately needs a proper defensive midfielder behind him so he can press the opposition further up the pitch. And I do wonder if a younger, hungrier version of Walcott would have been a better option than Rodriguez?

Ken Kneale
43 Posted 30/11/2020 at 15:41:26
Rennie, others have answered more eloquently than I could muster but, for the record, I fully support the manager as long as he is the manager. That does not mean he is foolproof or above critical comment – he was found out tactically against Leeds as he was against Newcastle and almost Fulham.

Our players are seemingly out of condition – not the first time such complaint has been levelled against this manager's charges and, after one year, I do not expect miracles.

I do expect some form of settled pattern of identity which sadly we have yet to see, either in defence or in attack. I do not think that is a lot to expect for £11M a year.

Mark Taylor
44 Posted 30/11/2020 at 15:45:37
Rennie @28,

Your earlier post implied you saw the problem in attack, given the number of chances we had but didn't take, and thus that defence was not our biggest problem. I beg to disagree.

This was an odd game with an unusually high number of chances. We had 15 attempts on goal, more than we normally would have, but Leeds had 23 and also dominated possession 60:40.

It was a match that could very easily have finished 4-2 to them. I certainly don't think it was our great defending that kept them down to 1. Had it finished 4-2, as the match stats suggest it easily could have done, would you still say the same?

Personally, I thought our defensive set-up gave us little chance of stopping Leeds's flow. They play with one up front and 4 in midfield with a holder in Phillips. Allan and Doucouré looked as swamped as they were. For a back 5, there were big, big spaces between our wingbacks and centre-backs which their runners frequently found.

I don't think we have the personnel to play that system, and certainly not with current injuries. We need to go back to 4-3-3 and give the two midfielders a bit of help. That might in turn offer a bit more protection to our centre-backs, even if there's only two of them.

And I think we need to persevere with a system. Most of these players just aren't good enough to adapt. Bielsa, in contrast, sticks to a 4-1-4-1 formation his team understand and play every week and can clearly handle the transition to the more offensive version of that, 3-3-1-3.

It can and does leave them a bit open, as we saw on Saturday, especially given the greater reliance on man-to-man marking, rather than blocking channels, but the players look like they have a purpose.

Michael Kenrick
45 Posted 30/11/2020 at 15:50:35
Don @36,

I hope it is Tadic who's 'recently' had his nose in the trough down Finch Farm way.

Coz the only other comment I've heard of this ilk is now stale by more than 3 years... and was made by our very own Vlasic.

Or maybe they are related, and both have delicate constitutions?

Tom Bowers
46 Posted 30/11/2020 at 16:00:13
There was a lot that went wrong on Saturday and the scary thing is that it's happened in many games this season already.

We got lucky in some of them and went away with the points but we came down to earth with a bang when we played that infamous derby match and, all of a sudden, we are a team without confidence despite the 3 points at woeful Fulham.

At this point in time, I am hoping we don't get Marine in the Cup.

Mike Price
47 Posted 30/11/2020 at 16:01:17
Since Walcott left, he already seems fitter, faster and happier. If you read between the lines in his interviews, it is clear that all is not right at Everton, or at least it's much better at Southampton.

It's incredible mismanagement that no-one can get a grip of this club; we just keep digging a deeper and more expensive hole.

John Raftery
48 Posted 30/11/2020 at 16:16:21
Dave (17) I think you have correctly identified Keane as the cause of many of our current problems. I also believe he is one of the reasons why our players look so knackered in the last half-hour of games.

Essentially Keane is a penalty-box rather than a halfway-line defender. If we had a speed merchant, a modern-day Kevin Ratcliffe, to mop up behind him, we could play a higher defensive line and enable the midfielders to operate further forward without having to worry about gaps behind them.

Poor teams often look unfit, no matter how hard they train.

Jim Bennings
49 Posted 30/11/2020 at 16:22:06
They've got it too feckin' easy at that Finch Farm thing... get back to Bellefield and the old tin bucket and mop.
Jay Harris
50 Posted 30/11/2020 at 16:37:33
Mike,

That's a very good point. I have thought for a long time that something is wrong within the club and it seems to have taken root when Moyes left and Martinez wanted to get rid of everything Moyes had built over 11 years.

They can't all b bad players and poor managers, especially Ancelotti, who has done well, no matter which club he went to.

I often finger Kenwright as the culprit by insinuation of the cliques that he continues to insist on having at the club and Moshiri seemed to realise that but is either too timid or powerless to stop it.

However, that may be unfair on Kenwright because, from what I hear, Moshiri seems to also want to have a say in which players we get and who to play.

Clubs like Wolves and Leicester are united from top to bottom and show that in their consistency.

Questions, questions, questions...

One thing is clear, though. Until we have unity, common purpose and a clear plan with motivated, fearless players, we will not be back at the top anytime soon.

If Moshiri and Kenwright had anything about them, they would be having an inquest right now at the club to straighten things out and stop this rot.

Having said all that, we are still only 3 points off 3rd place and Arsenal, Man City and Man Utd are all still below us. If we do get a reaction, we may be back on the positives.

Don Alexander
51 Posted 30/11/2020 at 16:45:03
Thanks Mike (#45), I was thinking of Vlasic. The point is that him speaking as he did 3 years ago means the enduring mediocrity of fitness goes on, regardless of the manager.

Why is that? Who's in charge at the club? We are they settling for unfit mediocrity yet again?

Paul Richardson
52 Posted 30/11/2020 at 16:55:24
What did Vlasic say? And how has his career blossomed since he said it?
Darren Hind
53 Posted 30/11/2020 at 16:57:07
Oh for fuck's sake....

How many crackpot excuses are we going to try to make up in order to apologize for the shite we are being served up?

Now it appears, the reason we are losing to the ordinary teams every week is because "We are not fit". Really? ... I didn't hear anybdy mention it when we were catching other sides still sleepwalking their way into the season a few weeks ago. Our players don't look unfit when they are on international duty.

The reason other sides are now looking fitter than us is that they are playing with a drive and a purpose which we simply don't have... and before the usual suspects dive in and point the finger at the players, just stop and take a long hard look at the utter buffoonery they are having to put up with.

Two natural full-backs left out while two other youngsters are asked to play out of position – an act of total fuckwittery which will do nothing for any of those four youngsters.

Youngsters inexplicably dropped when playing well.

A young striker scoring for fun elsewhere, while Carlo (who allowed him to go out) overburdens Europe's hottest striker by making him play the Marcus Bent role.

Goalie having a Weston of a season, finally gets dropped, but then we hear he is told "Don't worry, whatever happens, you're back next week"!!!

Midfield getting outnumbered with increasing regularity – but that's okay... our tackling stats are very impressive.

This latest lame-arsed excuse claiming "Our first eleven is a match for anybody" makes me want to throw up. It's the most ridiculous argument I have ever heard. A ready-made excuse for every injury we get. We had two full-backs missing. Two fucking full-backs!!! Since when did that become an excuse for the eleven regular first teamers who were available for selection?

For three weeks, we had to listen to people claim we can't win without Richarlison... What? Talk about self-fulfilling prophecy.

People telling us to put this season into perspective should take their own advice. In the last six games, we have been gifted a draw which we should never have been given, and we narrowly beat relegation certainties. We have been comfortably beaten by ordinary opponents in the other four games.

Week after week, we are seeing managers without as much talent at their disposal, take Carlo to school. I won't say the dreaded R-word, but we are currently showing the form that will get us well and truly lodged in the bottom half of a very poor Premier League.

The only thing working at our club is the excuse department. They have been world class for years. Unfortunately, they are showing very definite signs of burn out. Their excuses are beginning to look as tired as they claim the players are.

Rennie Smith
54 Posted 30/11/2020 at 16:59:10
Mark@44, you make some good points and my reference to the problem being in attack is related to this game specifically.

I mentioned in an earlier post there are things to be fixed in the defence; we've conceded 17 Premier League goals this season, which is clearly not good enough (although the good news is that's the same as Liverpool 😊). My point was that everyone will jump on the subject of the misplaced wingbacks because it's easy, but that would mask the issue with this match.

And the same goes for Ken @43, I've already conceded Carlo doesn't get a free pass and is there to be challenged. But challenge him when he's had a fair crack at the job at least.

One bit of good news: at least thee rabid Pickford haters have been silent this week!

Rennie Smith
55 Posted 30/11/2020 at 17:02:15
I clearly spoke too soon re Pickford!
John Pierce
56 Posted 30/11/2020 at 17:02:34
I didn't think this game was muddled at all. I've watched Leeds several times, simply to enjoy the entertainment. The game against Arsenal was almost a carbon copy of our game.

Even in their defeats they've pulled teams around created several chances and wasted them, only for the opposition to find themselves more clinical. Leeds are a unique side. We won't see a game like that again.

Given our lack of holding midfielder, Ancelotti played a very attacking set-up, and so it proved. We created a bucket load of chances. We did the same at Fulham and were lethal, yes it will result in odd score lines but he was prepared to go toe to toe because we simply don't have the defensive pieces to sit in and counter. It makes sense and I'm for it until we find a holding player.

I have no problem with that because we didn't play side to side nor ponder, and under the many previous iterations of manager, we've always struggled to create chances. It's clear this season we are creating tones of chances, mainly through the boot of James; this thread seems to lack the balance to recognize the step forward.

Of course we have an issue defensively but, for me, it's not the system, it's the lack of holding midfielder, a drum which has long been beaten on this forum. The next best thing is a back three, expecting a centre-back to step up and distribute when we have possession. I'd argue it didn't work because of the ping-pong nature of the game.

Let's see how it works next week against Burnley. Three at the back is on its infancy. We already know that our current midfield roster can't sit. The games at Southampton and Newcastle showed that.

Allan had his best game for some time showing the type of midfielder he is, was anyone doubting his fitness? Doucouré suffers hugely from covering for James and again the lack of a holding player makes this worse. The fitness issue perhaps is exacerbated by the fact we barely had the ball for sustained periods, chasing the ball really is a killer. Again, if we retained the ball better we'd conserve our fitness.

I'm expecting the same next week, I'm expecting Holgate to improve and step up into that space and win some ball and squeeze the play, reduce the area Doucouré has to cover so he can be a better version of himself.

Brian Murray
57 Posted 30/11/2020 at 17:05:18
We have to cling and hope that Carlo and his vision and bravery (or lack of) is a very fast learning curve for him. The alternative, as in another ex-player or up-and-coming wannabee, doesn't bear thinking about. Maybe Big Dunc excluded.
Simon Dalzell
58 Posted 30/11/2020 at 17:27:37
Spot on, Lyndon. The bottom line is Bielsa would get so much more out of our squad than Ancelotti.
Rennie Smith
59 Posted 30/11/2020 at 17:39:34
Spot on, John @56, hallelujah.
Ben Attwood
60 Posted 30/11/2020 at 18:20:24
I agree with many on here.

Ancelotti needs to start showing he is a top coach. If results go against us over the next week or so, we could find ourselves in the bottom half. Little or no improvement upon last season's performance would be criminal bearing in mind the £s he had to spend. It is not as though we have been turned over by Liverpool, Man City or Chelsea...

Strange selections on Saturday. Reminds me of the Walter Smith days. Square pegs in round holes. Iwobi played well as right-wingback, so why change him to left-wingback?

If your first choice right-back is out, put your reserve in. Similarly with your left-back. Why Nkounkou did not play, I'll never know. Davies as right-wingback? Come on.

Ancelotti's subs never appear to work out. I can't remember a game where his subs improve the team. Bringing on Delph at left-back? Bringing on Gomes, who just wanted to kick people? Where was a second striker? Where was some pace?

Very poor.

Tony Abrahams
61 Posted 30/11/2020 at 18:20:36
Why Simon? Maybe he’d get us fitter, or maybe he’d give more younger players a run in the team, or maybe he might just play different players, or find a system that suits our present squad better?

I thought he got it badly wrong with our formation on Saturday, but honestly don’t understand the bottom line without some examples mate.

Steve Carse
62 Posted 30/11/2020 at 18:26:35
One aspect of Bielsa's teams are how his players will very often make the pass and then straightaway dart into forward areas even though there is little chance of them receiving the ball back.

Our players seemed unaware of this aspect of their game and were chasing everything that moved when a bit of selectivity was required. As it was, these 'dummy runs' off the ball had the desired effect of pulling our midfield in particular out of position, creating big spaces for Leeds to then make their play.

A case of our players lacking a true football brain? Or an indication that perhaps our manager pays too little attention to how the opposition generally plays?

Jay Harris
63 Posted 30/11/2020 at 18:34:23
Simon,

Bielsa has had 3 years at Leeds and his first season was left with Z Leeds supporters asking the same questions were are now asking about Carlo.

There is no instant on/off switch in football. Just look at Howard Kendall Mk 1 when the majority of supporters were calling for his head. The rest, as they say, is history.

Likewise Ferguson had Man Utd relegated before he found the formula that made them the most successful in any club's history.

There are decisions that Carlo is making that may induce criticism but let's give the man time. 10 games in, we are only 3 points off 3rd, so it's not the end of the world – even though it feels like it lately.

Tony Abrahams
64 Posted 30/11/2020 at 18:46:34
I think that most good managers concentrate on their own team rather than the opposition, Steve, and when asked if he thought Allan could maybe play like this more often (driving forward with the ball). Ancellotti replied, that he wasn't sure, because it's only Leeds that play one vs one, which is why it was interesting that Holgate said the players hadn't carried out the manager's instructions, and never really tried to take the sting out the game.

I enjoyed Leeds, it's the first time I've watched them properly, and it's the first time I was genuinely gutted that I wasn't at the ground to watch the game. The reason being, is that I couldn't believe how much both the players and the play got stretched at times, and it's impossible to get the whole picture watching on the telly sometimes.

Leeds looked like they play football like it's basketball, and if this is the case they love a fast pace, so Everton never really tried to break their rhythm. We were sloppy in possession, and we never tried to keep the ball for long enough, and maybe it was possibly because of the personnel that was used in that system.

Bill Gall
65 Posted 30/11/2020 at 18:46:45
Andrew #38,

Re your quote on giving time to managers, using Leeds, Wolves and Leicester as examples.

At Leeds, Bielsa signed in 2018. At Wolves, Espirito Santo signed in 2017 and Rogers with Leicester signed in March 2019. Rogers has only been with Leicester about 9 months longer than Ancelotti. And as a side note, it's Leicester 0-2 Fulham at half time.

So, in the first two cases, they had lots of time to form their squads, more than Ancelotti has had at Everton and most probably got rid of their deadwood before reaching the Premier League.

As you say, get the right manager in and give him time to get his philosophy across to your players.

Patrick McFarlane
66 Posted 30/11/2020 at 18:52:29
'Football is a simple game' is supposed to have been a quote from Carlo in recent times – which begs the question of why has he decided to over-complicate matters in more recent times?

I noticed that Delph coming on as a sub on Saturday was accompanied by the usual minute or so of studying his crib sheet before entering the field of play – that seems to be a phenomenon of the modern game but it hardly smacks of simplicity.

Steve Shave
67 Posted 30/11/2020 at 18:59:49
Haven't read any comments above, still avoiding it and feeling particularly hurt and resentful towards the Blues this week so far.

Formation seems to be a frequent topic of conversation and source of disillusionment. My post mortem of the game took me back to our early season form (which granted may have flattered to deceive at times but was still sublime in key areas).

Our best football has come from 4-3-3 this season; we started to develop our own brand of football for a while there and were getting some admiring glances for a change as well. I think we should go back to 4-3-3 for this reason.

We have Gbamin coming back, who just may be able to add to what we have already (though I am not counting on this by any means).

The big area for recruitment in January must be right-back. Ship Kenny out – Carlo clearly doesn't fancy him – and buy a top-quality right-back to replace him and provide re-enforcement to James and field the void also left by our Columbian talisman.

We don't seem to be able to settle with these formation and starting 11 changes constantly.

Tony Everan
68 Posted 30/11/2020 at 19:01:43
Interesting comments about the substitutes.

You need two substitutes there to change games and the rest for back up

Our substitutions just create confusion and we end up playing worse. I've always thought that you need a sub with blinding pace and or a sub with great aerial ability (Gironde or Llorente). The objective being to create some mayhem and panic for the last 20 minutes, resulting in a goal or two.

Gomes, Delph, Tosun don't offer either of those absolutely necessary attributes and they don't change games. That's why, when we go a goal behind in the second half, we are all almost completely resigned to defeat.

Mike Gaynes
69 Posted 30/11/2020 at 19:06:02
John #56, superb post. Says it all regarding this game.

The fact is, however, that we are still not a very good side from the perspective of overall talent, and in particular one aspect: speed.

Our newest transfers have added little to what we lack the most, and that's pace. We have some quick players, but nobody to terrorize a defense with sheer speed from the wings or through the middle. I believe we remain one of the slowest teams in the Premier League, and I think that's what Carlo will address in the next window.

Off-topic, I'd like to echo the calls of multiple experts and former players that the sport, the FA and the Premier League get its collective head out of its ass (so to speak) with regards to head injuries.

The sickening incident yesterday in which Raul suffered a fractured skull was made horribly worse by the fact that David Luiz, the other party in the collision, was allowed to come back on the pitch to wander around for another 30 minutes with blood leaking through his head bandage before finally being subbed out at halftime -- an absolute disgrace that could have endangered his health.

And then today we get word of the tragic passing of the brilliant Papa Bouba Diop at only 42 from ALS, a disease widely linked to recurrent concussions. When will world football begin addressing this issue in a sensible way?

Andrew Dempsey
70 Posted 30/11/2020 at 19:11:59
Football is a simple game, and Ancelotti lost us that match on Saturday by complicating it needlessly. Anyone saying anything different is looking for excuses.

Iwobi found his position for us against Fulham by playing somewhere that simplified his game; limited to just playing on a straight tram track down the right touch-line, he was able to concentrate on trying to beat men, play one-two's, and cross the ball in.

Every now and again he could vary it by dribbling inside, and make something happen, like he did for the goal but, other than that, he just tracked back diligently, put a shift in and stuck to his position.

First time I've had real sympathy for Iwobi. Imagine playing like that and then being told to play left-wingback, with no real left foot to speak of.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

71 Posted 30/11/2020 at 19:54:52
Lyndon and others variously talk of:

1) Our 'questionable fitness';
2) Repeat the tales of Bayern Munich players arranging their own fitness sessions under Carlo to compensate for a lack of intensity in training under him;
3) Throw into the mix a totally new invention, that Napoli players did likewise.

1) I don't see evidence of this. I don't see any or multiple players blowing for tugs in the last 10-15 minutes of games, as implied.

Yes, away to Southampton, Carlo risked the injured James and then foolishly used up all 3 subs without switching out the Colombian and he was completely out on his feet in the final 10-15 minutes. A decision, compounded all the more by Digne's sending off in that game, exposing 10-man Everton even more.

That was not evidence of general lack of match fitness by all players. Just mis-management of his resources by the manager on the day which prejudiced one single player. A decision that resulted in James missing the next match away to Newcastle completely.

IMO, it's not fitness, or even guile we lack. At our best, we play some damn fine football. What we most lack throughout the team, barring a couple of players, is pace.

2) The Bayern Munich story was totally debunked by the very player the media quoted as claiming Carlo's training sessions are less intense than those of his 11-year-old son's, Arjen Robben.

Robben told a Dutch newspaper it was 'bullshit, nonsense, totally fabricated'.

Robben Denies 'Nonsense' Criticism of Ancelotti

Furthermore, Bayern's own club President, the legendary Uli Hoeness, said it wasn't even Carlo's fault he was sacked by the club.

"Ancelotti's assistants did not fit in at this club. With Carlo it wasn't a problem, everything was OK with him, but every day there was a fight between the physios, the doctors and Ancelotti's fitness coaches. In an environment like that, you can't work."

Why Bayern Sacked Ancelotti

Another Bayern legend, the club chairman, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, was the man charged with telling Carlo he was sacked. And he was reduced to tears for doing so, admiring how the Italian 'has the ability to always stay calm, even during difficult moments.'

Bayern Chairman Cried When Sacking Ancelotti

Now I've no idea how many of Carlo's backroom staff at Bayern remain with him at Everton, other than his son David, but there has been no complaints – only praise – from the players about training under Carlo.

3) Those claiming that Napoli players rebelled in the same way to Carlo's 'alleged' poor training methods, show me the evidence.

Or are you simply getting things mixed up with the true events, that an angry club owner ordered the players to stay in 'ritiro', a week-long boot camp, removed from their families, due to what he considered poor results?

Why Napoli Sacked Ancelotti

Carlo didn't think such measures would be effective, but he and his training staff joined the players in boot camp at the club training complex. After a few days, the players rebelled and returned home. Carlo and his staff remained.

The club owner felt humiliated and soon took his revenge, sacking Carlo within an hour of the Italian securing the club's progress to the knock-out stage of the Chmpions League in a group that included the reigning champions Liverpool, from whom Napoli took 4 points with a win at home and draw at Anfield.

Napoli players cried and expressed their gratitude for the public support Carlo gave them in the club civil war with the owner.

Injuries and suspensions have directly impacted on our performances. What they have shown us is what most already knew: for all the bloated squad we have (a squad Carlo himself said he wanted reducing), there is simply not the same quality of player beyond the best 13 or 14 players.

When everyone was fit and we were winning, Lyndon was among those that acknowledged the improved performance by the starting XI was also lifting the performances of those they had displaced who disappointed so much last season. Unfortunately, that scenario has stalled and too many being asked to step up in absence of those who played in our good start have reverted to the inert and sterile we have grown accustomed to.

Losing both Coleman and Digne as we have, seriously undermines our primary game plan. Those saying categorically that Carlo 'doesn't fancy' possible alternatives for their positions might want to watch and listen to Carlo's pre-Leeds presser on Friday. He speaks of Jonjoe Kenny being a possibility, but in the same breath implies he is still short of match fitness. Nkounkou has been exciting, but his only first-team experience ever has been the League Cup games and a single Premier League game away to Newcastle, which he didn't complete.

In that Friday presser, Carlo both laughs and compliments a journo who asks him if, due to injuries, he may continue with 3 centre-backs as he played against Fulham.

'It's a good question,' the Italian replied. 'And it is something we are considering'.

The run of 4 defeats in 5 is poor. I don't agree with those defending Carlo by saying 'This is not his squad. Judge him when he has his players in'.

He is manager of Everton FC. It very much is his squad. He has to work with what he has. He needs to get more out of them than he has in recent weeks. Saturday's substitutions were bewildering, with each one making us progressively worse and Leeds's task easier.

Carlo's and the club's ambition is to attain European football this season. Because of the pandemic, because of a compacted and congested fixture list, there is a real opening to achieve just that this season. And we are currently undermining our own efforts to do just that.

Conor McCourt
72 Posted 30/11/2020 at 20:12:04
Personally, I agree with John, and I'm surprised at the level of criticism aimed at Carlo on this specific performance. I would suggest we played as well in this game as we did against Palace, Brighton and West Brom it was just that the level of opposition was performing at a much higher level. Indeed, we played better than we have for a long time.

To highlight my point, I feel only Richarlison and Doucouré radically underperformed while Allan radically overperformed. Everyone else was roughly as expected.

On the other end of the spectrum, after the Spurs game, which I thought we played excellently, the two fixtures I most feared, and we could to assess if Carlo has evolved the team, were Southampton and Leeds, as these are managed by coaches who I fear playing against with Ancelotti as manager.

The first game, I gave Carlo the benefit of the doubt as too many were off-key on the day but, in the back of my mind, it was similar to the abject displays of last campaign.

The Leeds game only confirmed to me that Carlo will never bring success to this club as so far in his Everton career I have only seen one display on a par with Leeds's level on Saturday despite them having grossly inferior players.

I think this game was one of a reality check for many of our fan base who have drastically inflated Carlo's impact. Those who continually give stupid arguments that we are 3 points of top and are having the best start in numerous years won't fool those of us who do more than look at a table.

We are in a false position knowing that we have played all the poorest teams except Burnley and Sheffield Utd and have now a nightmare run until the end of January. Of the teams likely to challenge mid-table or top-end we have played five and taken four points so this doesn't bode well with the fixtures we face and the coaches in charge.

In my opinion, there is no evidence that Carlo is even operating at the level Silva had us in his first season with an inferior squad to what Ancelotti has. Indeed, I will be pleasantly surprised if we could finish 8th this term.

Andrew Dempsey
73 Posted 30/11/2020 at 20:24:57
Jay, wow... what a list of irrelevant excuses. You are protesting a bit too much here.

Rumours are rumours, who knows what the objective truth is? Certainly you don't, and neither do I.

People are bringing up these rumours to use as an argumentative tool, but it's mainly about what we've seen with our own eyes, on the pitch, for the past year. The Covid break happened for everyone, not just Ancelotti.

What we're seeing on the pitch is confusion, no plan, patching it up from week to week, and not enough effort – whether that's tactical or a lack of fitness, or both, doesn't matter. Or rather, it does matter. The evidence after a year in charge doesn't look good, and people are pointing it out.

"Five points off the top, and be sensible, and hope he's going to turn it round," is what people are clinging to now.

I don't think it's all doom and gloom with this manager, it's just mediocrity again. Maybe he can bring in the quality players so the next manager we get can build a more energetic, attacking team with a clear identity on the pitch.

This manager is too calm and nice to knock our current lot into shape. He's not a bad guy, he's just the wrong fit, another expensive mistake from Moshiri. But a mistake that can hopefully bring the influx of decent players we need, that can be molded into a more hungry, hard-working side with a more progressive manager after Carlo's been sacked for being too nice – in about two seasons time, I reckon.

Jerome Shields
74 Posted 30/11/2020 at 20:26:57
I also agree with John's comments The formation and tactics in the first half were right. In the second half, the tactics where right also but poor technical ability in defensive midfield and the absence of a holding defensive midfielder caused problems, as was also the case in the Fulham game.

Everton were sloppy in possession throughout the game; this helped Leeds a lot.

Anthony Jones
75 Posted 30/11/2020 at 20:34:24
Playing Iwobi at left wing-back was criminal.

Playing Tom Davies at right wing-back was stupid.

Not having natural full-backs on the bench to mitigate the risk was unforgivable.

Bye bye, Carlo. Enjoy your retirement.

Mike Gaynes
76 Posted 30/11/2020 at 20:47:16
Don't hang by your thumbs until that happens, Anthony.
Don Alexander
77 Posted 30/11/2020 at 20:48:39
Paul (#52), he was away on international duty and, when interviewed, alluded to being surprised by the fry-up's consumed by many before training every day. He said he preferred a piece of fish, but such healthier fare wasn't available at Finch Farm. Hmm...
Jason Wilkinson
78 Posted 30/11/2020 at 20:49:04
Looking at our forthcoming fixtures.:

Burnley is winnable; they are a poor side imo.

Chelsea will be tough as they have been in great form; they're not unbeatable though.

Man Utd in the cup will be nothing like the Premier League game.

Arsenal have not found any consistency.

Sheffield Utd; another poor team this season. They fell away badly at the end of last season.

Man City; this will be by far and away our hardest test in December.

If we could get 9 or 10 points from these fixtures, it would keep us in the top half and in contention for a top 7 finish imo.

The big one is: Do we have the desire to beat Man Utd and go for the League Cup?

Anyone who believes Carlo needs to be replaced – Keep taking the tablets your nurse gives you.

Patrick McFarlane
79 Posted 30/11/2020 at 21:03:44
Don #77

Perhaps, somebody friendly on TW and well-in at Finch Farm could invite you to spend the day there, then you can investigate the truth of the player's menu in their canteen.

If it is as you think it is, direct all of the staff to the website linked below. Enjoy your day out and don't forget to report back to TW with the facts.

Footballers Diet

Andrew Dempsey
80 Posted 30/11/2020 at 21:04:43
Jason,

It's not that he needs to be replaced, that won't happen. It's that he's not good enough to break into the top four, and we can mostly all see it.

It'll take about another two seasons of mediocrity before Moshiri pulls the plug, and he'll be in tears when he does it, because sacking Carlo is like shooting a loyal hound, it seems.

You'll never hear anything bad from the players or the owner about Ancelotti because he's such a great bloke and they all love him. But, eventually he will be sacked for basically being too nice, and ineffectual.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

81 Posted 30/11/2020 at 21:06:45
Andrew @ 73.

'Jay, wow, what a list of irrelevant excuses.'

And you, Andrew, display very poor reading and comprehension skills if that is your take away from my post.

Each to their own.

Don Alexander
82 Posted 30/11/2020 at 22:01:19
Pat (#79), I was quoting Vlasic's UK published statement, not my own opinion, that's all. It's in the same vein as Walcott's of last week. Maybe they're making it up I suppose, who knows, but the evidence of my own eyes tells me we've been second-best for years in physicality, heart, pace and skill, almost all of those qualities being capable of improvement in a professionally run training ground.

And let's remember the conduct of our Wayne when unable to play for a week or two. Caught bladdered in Cheshire with a floozy at 3 am. Others have breached the Covid guidelines too from what I recall. To me, it tells a story close to what Seamus Coleman and Michael Keane have very recently alluded to in terms of players needing to take a look at themselves.

Weakness and lack of leadership at the top has stunk the club out since the Premier League began. Until it changes significantly, the club's like a fat teary hamster floundering round on an ever more pointless wheel.

Jack Convery
83 Posted 30/11/2020 at 22:01:50
If Carlo doesn't fancy Nkounkou or Delph at left-back, then a short contract for Gaël Clichy maybe the answer. He's available on a free transfer after leaving Istanbul Basaksehir who he helped win the Turkish League last season and played 42 times.

Me, I'd give Nkounkou a go but I remember Paul Power coming to Goodison when he was "finished" and he had a wonderful couple of seasons with us.

I still want Lamptey and Ward-Prowse in the summer.

Bill Gall
84 Posted 30/11/2020 at 22:04:04
Well, after all the comments and the weekend games over, I see we have dropped down to 8th. West Ham above us in 5th place.
Danny O’Neill
85 Posted 30/11/2020 at 22:09:44
I think we've seen, from this weekend alone, no-one is unbeatable and we shouldn't get despondent from losing a closely fought match by the odd goal against a team that has made a good start to their first season back in the top flight.

We are very much in touch with our target. Keep going, winnable matches ahead. Stay in touch until the home run and then hit real form. Too much obsession with being on top of your game in October / November.

Don't get me wrong: if we were bottom on 2 points, I'd be concerned, but we're not in too bad a place.

Jason Wilkinson
86 Posted 30/11/2020 at 22:10:03
Andrew #80

Ancelotti isn't good enough to get us into the top 4?

He was good enough at every other club he has managed.

Go on then. Who is his successor?

Darren Hind
87 Posted 30/11/2020 at 22:17:36
Andrew,

Bang on the money, my friend.

Unfortunately, we now have to go through a long drawn-out process. Those who have supported Carlo with such zest will continue to apologize for him... to the death. They will not be able to come to terms with the fact that they have nailed their colours to a rotten mast.

They will continue to apologize. They will continue to make excuses... and unfortunately, they will continue to accept the decline of the world's greatest football institution in the name of positivity.

These self-proclaimed positives will be the death of this club...

Mike Price
88 Posted 30/11/2020 at 22:28:59
Jason #86,

He's been sacked everywhere he's ever been – and much quicker recently than when he could just throw out a load of Galacticos in a two-team league and let them get on with it!

He's a likeable uncle, just not fit for purpose anymore. But on £11 million a year, and with his son on a lovely fat nepotism contract... only Everton would do this.

Does anyone really thinks he's here for the project, the challenge, or for the Crosby lifestyle?! Is there any other club stupid and naive enough to perpetuate this nightmare?

Jack Convery
89 Posted 30/11/2020 at 22:33:35
Personall,y I found Schneiderlin's comments (when he left us) interesting. He said "I have joined a club that knows what it is doing and run properly" – or words to that effect. Walcott said he feels happier at Southampton – but he wants a contract, so he would.
Joe McMahon
90 Posted 30/11/2020 at 22:38:15
Jason, Andrew is correct. Ancelotti success is world's away from Everton FC (the 2020 model).

Carlo Ancelotti has had his success at well established successful European Clubs who win league titles and Champions League, with some of the best players Europe has seen in the past 20 odd years.

This is light-years away (sadly) to a team that has win sod all since 1995, and that has never even qualified for group stages of the Champions League, and plays in a clapped-out old stadium.

With the current squad of many below par on crazy high salaries, the task of top 4 is impossible. There are too many well run and more attractive clubs to overtake.

Jason Wilkinson
91 Posted 30/11/2020 at 22:38:53
None of you Carlo haters can come up with a replacement. If the job is so easy, why are all the top managers on so much money?

He is respected by his peers. Players say good things about his management and he is one of the most successful current managers in Europe.

Who do you want?

Jerome Shields
93 Posted 30/11/2020 at 22:39:45
By the way, Jay's post #71 is based on well-researched facts. He has given reasoned argument, no excuses. I agree with his assertion that pace rather than fitness is a problem.
Sean O´Hanlon
94 Posted 30/11/2020 at 22:41:39
If Man City, Man Utd and Aston Villa get at least a point each from their games in hand, Everton will be 11th in the table.

Deservedly where they belong.

Danny O’Neill
95 Posted 30/11/2020 at 22:44:07
Not nailed my colours to any mast other than the one I always have done: The Everton mast.

Just like I did in the winter of Goodison discontent in 1983 (when Kendall must go).

I support Everton, not Howard Kendall or Carlo Ancelotti.

Whoever is the manager is, I want them to succeed, not fail. But I support Everton no matter what.

Rob Halligan
96 Posted 30/11/2020 at 22:49:39
Andrew, Ancelotti has had one transfer window (I won't count the January window as he'd only been here two minutes), and I think most of us agree we done quite well out of it.

You say Moshiri will only put up with two more seasons of mediocrity before pulling the plug on Carlo. By then though, the squad could be totally different. There will have been about four transfer windows, and hopefully, most of the deadwood will be gone, either sold or contract expired, and Ancelotti will have pretty much the squad he wants.

Of course, none of us can see into the future, but I think we will see a completely different squad to what we have now. To say Carlo is not good enough to break into the top four is just ridiculous. He's won the league in Italy, Germany, France and England, so he clearly is good enough, albeit the English Premier League is by far the toughest league in the world. You only have to see Fulham beating Leicester tonight to see anyone can beat anyone in this league.

Ancelotti needs time to get it right because, if we get rid of him in the next couple of years, then I think it will be inevitable we will all just have to settle for premier league survival year in year out.

As Jason #86 asks, who do we replace him with?

John Raftery
97 Posted 30/11/2020 at 22:57:47
Jason (91),

You ask a question to which none of the critics will have a realistic answer. We simply have to stick with the current manager. It would be insane to do otherwise.

I fear for the mental health of some on here – especially if they study the Premier League table and check who is managing the club in 5th place.

Jason Wilkinson
98 Posted 30/11/2020 at 23:10:11
Danny,

We could have Stevie Wonder in the dugout. It wouldn't bother me if the performances were better. Since Moyes, we have been too quick to judge imho.

Martinez has taken Belgium to No 1 in the world rankings. Koeman is at Barca. We're still paying Allardyce & Silva. Ancelotti, for me, is the best opportunity to break the cycle of mediocrity.

We have a player with world class ability in James Rodriguez. Probably the most exciting player we have had since Rooney Mk 1. Allan looks like he will be a great signing. Calvert-Lewin has been transformed since Carlo arrived.

A piss-poor run of results with both full-backs missing, along with a player who has been instrumental in our style of play (Richarlison). If we are as poor next month, then I will eat my words... but I think we will improve over the next month.

We have to give a manager more than 18 months to prove himself. The only managers in my time watching the Blues that needed sacking were Bingham, Walker and Smith. Some should never have got the job. I include Kendall Mk 3 in that too.

Danny O’Neill
99 Posted 30/11/2020 at 23:20:55
Great analysis, Jason.

I suppose my point is that us mortals can never predict and sometimes it's just not the right individual who is the right fit. Even if they are, they don't always turn out to be.

Maybe that will be Carlo, maybe that won't... but judging him now is judging him earlier that we were calling for our most successful manager of all time to be sacked in December 1983. Look what happened next.

Allan. I love him. The Brazilian Peter Reid!

Kunal Desai
100 Posted 30/11/2020 at 23:23:48
Personally, I think there is something weird about Everton. The club just seems odd and something doesn't sit right.

I just don't think it's all down to the players and manager. The pattern has seen four managers depart since Moshiri took over. My guess would be the culture of the club and the tone infiltrated downstream from the top has some bearing on affecting managers/players.

Moshiri has invested heavily over the years but has he really spoken out of what his plans are or where he wants Everton to be each season? Very little communication comes out of this club.

Jason Wilkinson
101 Posted 30/11/2020 at 23:50:46
Danny,

I remember it well. Kendall had been there for nearly two years and we were looking poor. He had brought some journeymen in and they hadn't worked. Thank god the board weren't as hasty as the fans.

We should have won the league in '79 under Gordon Lee. Unfortunately we fell away that season. The title in '85 came out of the blue (forgive the pun).

We have now suffered the longest drought in our history. I understand totally the frustration but we have, for the first time since Kendall Mk 1, the right climate to get back where we belong. A billionaire owner with a richer mate. A top manager. Some real quality players and hopefully more to come.

James is the new McKenzie; Calvert-Lewin the new Bob Latchford; Allan the new Peter Reid. We just need the new Ratters and a Tricky on the right-hand side. 😁👍

Tony Twist
102 Posted 30/11/2020 at 23:59:57
I feel sorry for Moshiri, committing so much money to this shitshow, but he is mostly to blame for the present-day shambles. By just trying to do his best for the supporters he is literally like a kid in a sweet shop with his running of the playing side of the club.

Christ, who brings in a director of football but at the same time brings in a manager (Silva) that hasn't been chosen by him.

I honestly think we would have been better off with Moyes than Ancelotti. Better off as in not paying so much for players and then having players that would mature and keep the club improving, albeit ever so slowly.

I think we would have had Moyes as our next manager but then Ancelotti appeared on the market and Moshiri couldn't resist. Ancelotti is a very good man, an okay manager now but with the right environment a very good manager. Unfortunately, Everton is not the right environment.

His easy-going approach though not as blatant as Koeman, with his love of golf, is still just as damaging. Rumours of lack of intensity in training at his last two clubs and Everton unable to cut the mustard against the speed merchants, no surprise there.

Unfortunately, like the team, the club is like a group of individuals all brought together with no chemistry to make it more than that. We need an army fighting as one for one cause, Everton, but I don't see that happening, unless someone in power wisens up.

Brian Murray
103 Posted 01/12/2020 at 00:13:22
Jason @10, that late '70s team was exceptional from the back with Colin Todd and Pejic to King Dobson and Thomas on the wing. As Latchford said in his book, we went a full decade without a proper goalie – that is what cost us twice being on the verge of the title.

As for today's set-up, it's still all fine margins and we have a strong set-up but Carlo has to start helping himself by not acting like Silva and leave well alone when he stumbles on something. Case in point: Iwobi's position.

We need a run going before we play the Mancs late December in the Carabao Cup. Glory awaits.

Dick Fearon
104 Posted 30/11/2020 at 00:18:32
Last season, I often had a go at Calvert-Lewin but this year the lad has forced me to eat my words. I hope his display vs Leeds was merely a blip on his way to becoming a really top striker.

He does not have a powerful shot so most of his goals came from in or around the 6-yard box. Against Leeds, he spent too much time on the wings.

That could have been due to missing Coleman and Digne but that begs the question of how to get the Premier League's current best striker to concentrate in areas where he has proved to be lethal.

Andrew Dempsey
105 Posted 01/12/2020 at 00:24:48
John, Jason,

There's a guy out there who is unemployed at the moment called Mauricio Pochettino. Would he want more money than £11M a year? I doubt it. Would he consider being our manager? Absolutely not.

We should desperately try and make him our man because he fits the exact profile of the Coach we're looking for. But, you have to ask the question: Why is it that he has no interest in coming to us?

Doesn't everyone who's switched on in the football world kind of know that Everton is not the place to come to if you're looking for success on the pitch?

It's not the main priority and obsessive drive of the Club – the whole culture needs to be changed.

I don't blame or hate Ancelotti at all, he's been sucked into this mess and he's doing the best he can. I hope and believe that maybe we can win a Cup during his tenure, it's something he's thrived at during his career.

No-one here hates Ancelotti, it's not a polarising issue; we all want Everton to succeed. And unfortunately, we all care far more than anyone involved in the running of the Club.

Mike Gaynes
106 Posted 01/12/2020 at 00:28:33
Darren, nobody... NOBODY... is "apologizing" for Carlo.
Mike Gaynes
107 Posted 01/12/2020 at 00:41:09
"Would he want more money than £11m a year? I doubt it. Would he consider being our manager? Absolutely not."

Wow, it sure is nice to have an insider on the TW board who knows Pochettino. And knows "that he has no interest in coming to us" -- as if he was asked or desired, and as if anybody misses him at Spurs. 14th-place Spurs when he left. Top-of-the-table Spurs as we speak.

Oy vey.

Dale Self
108 Posted 01/12/2020 at 00:57:08
I should probably not try to get this off before leaving work but forgive this as a short response to the 'Carlo out' thing.

This will go on a while but, for now, just consider how damaged Everton's reputation would be to send him packing before he's had his chance in the transfer market.

I'm sure he did not commit to the roster already in place when he signed the contract. Forget all the gentlemanly, "Oh he's too nice to layoff" stuff. We would be raising the premium on every following candidate going forward.

Patrick McFarlane
109 Posted 01/12/2020 at 00:57:32
If this thread and the other match-day thread is a true reflection of the larger fan-base, I would be very concerned if I was Mr Moshiri... because I'm no longer sure of what we all want from our managers. I know we want a team to play good football and to win football matches, but do we really have enough of the right types and characters within the club to become winners in the short-term?

Although there are only a few advocating the removal of Ancelotti right now, there is an undertone that is coming from far more people than I thought there would be at this stage.

I have criticised Carlo for messing around with the line-up and changing the shape of the team too often in the last six or so games, as this is what the previous incumbents tried to do and sadly failed miserably.

There has to be a reason for this constant shape-shifting by a variety of managers and it can only be that the players we have within the club, in general, are unable or unwilling to carry out any manager's instructions.

If Carlo, with all of his experience, can't get a regular baseline performance from this squad, I can't see who can, short of the Messiah himself and he's probably too pre-occupied to be worried about the fortunes of a football club that has seen better days.

I acknowledge if the next 10 games continue in the same vein as the last half-dozen, then Carlo will be under severe pressure and the board and Moshiri will have a judgement call to make. But, for the sake of the club and the fans, I hope it doesn't come to that – else Tosun, Pickford, Sigurdsson et all will have yet another new master to impress come January.


Rob Dolby
110 Posted 01/12/2020 at 01:08:08
We don't have a divine right to win a football match. The score was 0-1 – it could have been any score.

Ancelotti is a very successful manager but he is also human and we all make mistakes. I am sure he would do things differently if given the chance.

I love people's opinions on here but, not even 12 months into his reign as manager, people are digging up some right rubbish, poor fitness, poor training sessions, bad food, too nice, too old. The man can't win.

Let's put things into perspective. Chelsea, Man Utd, Man City and Liverpool have broken world transfer records to get where they are. Whilst we managed to get Rodriguez on a free.

We spent £20M on an England U21. Man City spend £65M on a Portuguese centre back.

The reality is we are competing with Leicester, Wolves and Southampton this year for a possible 8th place.

Leeds are having a similar start to what Sheffield Utd had last year. They will surprise teams and, in Phillips, they have exactly what we need.

We gave Moyes 11 years but some are jumping all over Ancelotti not even 12 months in.

The Special One at Chelsea, with all the money at his disposal, took a few seasons to get it right. Fergie took 5 years at Man Utd, Wenger similar, and Klopp at Liverpool.

We are making progress but obviously not as quickly as some would like.

Derek Thomas
111 Posted 01/12/2020 at 01:31:36
Jason @ 85; Beilsa ??... and I said so over a year ago

Jim Harrison
112 Posted 01/12/2020 at 03:47:26
Rob @110,

I agree. Although on the day I was annoyed, in hindsight it could've gone either way, and it was an absolutely cracking game to watch.

The manager did get it wrong this time. And ultimately it didn't work. But, unlike in previous seasons, we are creating chances. It was our turn to get a close call on VAR: fine margins.

And we are truly having a shit time with injuries. Digne being out is as bad as losing Richarlison in my book. He is our most consistent performer and a real danger down the left. James's favourite outlet to spread the play.

Bill Gienapp
113 Posted 01/12/2020 at 04:00:42
People are always in such a rush to make these definitive proclamations. I'm certainly not prepared to render any sweeping verdicts re: the Ancelotti era after 10 matches.

I thought people got carried away when we won our first four (as fun as that was), just as, having now hit a rough patch, I think people are overreacting in effectively writing the entire season off.

Obviously there are some worrying trends on display – particularly on the defensive side – that need to be rectified ASAP. But we also haven't had a full-strength squad since the Liverpool match. The closest we came was against Fulham, and guess what? We won that one.

Of course, injuries and squad depth are a part of the game, but it's simply the reality of the situation, and how the squad is currently constituted.

Alan J Thompson
114 Posted 01/12/2020 at 04:14:07
I have supported Mr Ancelotti's appointment and still do think he will improve on that which we've seen in the last few (5/6?) years but I disagree with the side he put out last weekend.

Similarly, and it has improved marginally in the last week or two, our passing with the exception of James reminded me of when Women's football was first broadcast. Their passes seemed to slow and stop at its stationary target and made the game seem so slow.

We need to pass more crisply and move a lot quicker and it doesn't seem to have been seen more obviously than the way the opposition approached it in the last game.

I still support Mr Ancelotti but that won't stop me voicing my disagreement with some of his actions as they arise; some simple things need urgently sorting out, with or without any new signings.

Steve Brown
115 Posted 01/12/2020 at 05:32:32
If I was assessing Ancelotti this season, I would rate him an 8/10 for the first part of the season and a 5/10 for the second part. it is right to point out where he does well and where he makes mistakes and it is every fan's right to do so.

But it strains credibility to say that we should replace him after less than 12 months in charge and look for our seventh manager since 2013 (caretaker spells included). There lies the road to even greater disruption and dysfunctionality in strategy and decision making.

Hate to reference our neighbours, but they have a clear strategy executed over 5 years with a good manager. He won his first trophy after 4 years in a period of rebuilding that took place over 7 transfer windows.

Let's also avoid recency in making judgements – things aren't as binary as they are often expressed on here. Ancelotti could do no wrong and now can do no right. Arteta was the bright young manager we should have hired but now is on the cusp on a crisis. Solsjkaer has been a success – failure – success – one game from the sack; the jury is out on his short managerial spell at Man Utd. Hasenhüttl is a good manager who made his team competitive and respectable again after the nadir of a 9-0 home defeat to Leicester last season.

Generally, I think this is a really poor quality Premier League season which as proved entertaining due to the inconsistency of most seasons and really terrible defending across all sides. We'll know more by 12 league games and my hope is we'll be top 6.

Darren Hind
116 Posted 01/12/2020 at 06:19:49
"Ancelotti haters" ?????????????

Carlo Ancelotti is a charming man. His very presence raises the profile of our club. He has vast experience. He has won just about everything the game has to offer. He is always worth listening to. He says very nice things about our city. Some (those with fairies at the bottom of their garden) even think he has mysterious pulling power.

Hate him? How could you hate Carlo Ancelotti? The man oozes class.

It's not Ancelotti people hate... it is having their spirit crushed weekend after weekend.

It's the never-ending cycle of bringing in managers who can't work with existing players.

It's listening to intelligence-insulting excuses from people who would apologise for the club cat if he was given the gig.

It's "Mañana", "Patience", "Jam tomorrow".

It's seeing a manager who was great in his time being outwitted on a regular basis by people who couldn't have laced his boots 5, 10, 15 years ago.

It's knowing we will probably finish lower than a team managed by possibly our most reviled manager.

It's loving a club whose sole purpose for existing seems to be to repeatedly kick its fans in the bollocks.

Mike Gaynes
117 Posted 01/12/2020 at 06:49:29
Rob #110, well said.

There is an immensely entertaining weekly footy show on NBCSN called "Men in Blazers" (presumably refugees from Men Without Hats), and one of the hosts is a true Blue. Monday's guest was Carlo, and it was an enjoyable and informative interview that included a lovely callout for Crosby.

Several clips here: https://meninblazers.com/2020/11/30/mib-carloancelotti/

And a there's a link to the full interview on Peacock if you're in the US.

Eddie Dunn
120 Posted 01/12/2020 at 07:10:41
Tony @64,

I like your point about how our players didn't slow the game down and allowed themselves to be drawn in to Leeds's 100 mph pattern. It needed leadership on the pitch (I can't even recall who had the armband) or intervention from the bench.

In hindsight, we should have closed the space between midfield and defence, kept better possession, and generally slowed the game down (taking longer at goal-kicks, throws, free-kicks and being happy to knock it about in little triangles.) Things to simply slow it all down.

Instead, we saw panic-passing and Pickford booming it right back to them, to begin another Leeds attack. It was a cracking game for the neutral but as close to park football as you're ever likely to see from the Premier League.

In snooker, the other guy can have the frame won, but you can go back on and play some snookers, even get a few pots to break his rhythm and get yours going.

A good leader on the pitch is what we needed – we haven't got one.

Ken Kneale
121 Posted 01/12/2020 at 07:15:29
Rob - not all of us were happy with the 11 Moyes years and very few express the feeling towards the current manager you declare - that does not mean he should not face critical friendship comments when things are not right and currently, they simply are not good enough and it is right to expect something to be done about it.
Mike Gaynes
122 Posted 01/12/2020 at 07:20:45
Men in Blazers host Rog Bennett: "Having managed for 25 years, what is the most important lesson you've learned about life?"

Carlo: "To be patient. A manager must be patient, because every day there is something that you can lose your mind. So be patient and take your time."

Not likely here on TW.

Rog Bennett in closing: "We should just be thankful that we have a gem like Carlo at the helm. Someone who values our city, who treats our players as more than commodities, and who recognizes Everton's true commitment to the community, and its family ethos, which is what really makes us unique at Blues."

Robert Tressell
123 Posted 01/12/2020 at 07:24:39
We've hit a bumpy patch because of injuries. Ancelotti could be handling it plenty better. But we're still above Man Utd and Arsenal. We still have a good points haul for this stage of the season.

As it happens, Transfermarkt rates our squad as 7th most valuable in the Premier League. The next most valuable is a good hundred million or so ahead. Man City and Liverpool are about double our squad value.

Money isn't everything, but it's a big deal. Over the course of a season, it's a big ask to break the strangehold of richer clubs because their players are markedly better. It's not our manager who needs upgrading, it's our players.

Eddie Dunn
124 Posted 01/12/2020 at 08:41:43
It's a wide-open Premier League this season. There has been a levelling-off and, with the lack of fans and more injuries, even the bigger squads (with European commitments) are struggling.

Spurs have sneaked to the top of the pile playing percentage football. They are defensively secure and have the weapons to hurt. Crazy teams like Leeds will entertain and may have a cup run but, despite exuberance and workrate, it is the teams with quality who will finish in the top places.

If we pick up injuries in key areas, then top six will be impossible; the same can be said for Leicester, Aston Villa and West Ham. Wolves have now lost one of the best centre-forwards in the league and will struggle without him.

Man Utd have strength in depth, as do Liverpool and Chelsea. It is this that makes the difference and, whoever was managing us, he would have difficulties.

A bit of patience and a couple more windows and players and we might be in with a chance.

Trevor Peers
125 Posted 01/12/2020 at 09:03:51
Interesting Mike#122.

Rog Bennett's 'Men in Blazers' comments "We should just be thankful that we have a gem like Carlo at the helm. Someone who values our city, who treats our players as more than commodities, and who recognizes Everton's true commitment to the community, and its family ethos, which is what really makes us unique at Blues" at the end of Carlo's interview.

This philosophy is not a recipe for a successful football club IMO. Quite the opposite it explains where we are going wrong, having a family ethos and treating players as more than commodities is what has led us to our present predicament. The club is run like a charity.

This is not a blueprint for success it's a weakness that leads to complacency and failure and goes a long way to explaining why we always have half-a-dozen players on our books who are on massive salaries but who rarely play for the team for most of the season, this systemic failure dates back to Kenwright's disastrous vision of Everton's Identity.

If you look back to our last period of sustained success in the 1980s the club was run in a completely different way; for those years we where a ruthless, mean winning machine. Until we get back to that vision, of how a football club should be run, we will continue to struggle, I fear.

Neil Cremin
126 Posted 01/12/2020 at 09:07:43
I have only dipped into TW threads because I am really concerned at our current state and TW expert comments.

Some reality checks in the Premier League: Played – 10 games; Won – 5 games (against teams who we would expect to beat in any normal season) Drew – 1 game (Thank you, VAR); Lost – 4 games (Some of these we would normally expect to win, eg, Newcastle); Conceded – 17 goals (Worst is Fulham at 19).

Therefore, based on results to date, this season looks like being the usual frustrating journey for Blues fans.

Why this depressing post? When watching Saturday's game, it was the contrast in styles that I found depressing. Leeds reminded me of the Tommy Doherty Man Utd team who came up from the lower division in the '70s, full of energy and innovation. We reminded me of a team devoid of ideas.

Two examples illustrate this: How often do we end up in an attacking position inside the opposition's half and retreating back to passing the ball back to Pickford?

The second one is our attempts to play out from the back. We pass the ball to a full-back who passes to a centre-back who passes to a full-back who eventually hoofs the ball up the field.

As I said, nothing has changed. I despair and now find myself dreading the next game instead of looking forward to it. NSNO... COYB

Michael Kenrick
127 Posted 01/12/2020 at 09:18:38
Oh, that's lovely, Mike. Makes your heart want to sing:

Everton’s true commitment to the community, and its family ethos, which is what really makes us unique at the Blues.

Or, in my case, scream the fucken roof off! Cos the only shit that should matter is the fucking football!!!

When will we ever learn this? Not while we prattle on about fucken 'family' and 'community'. That is absolutely not what a professional football club should be wasting its time and effort focussing on.

Dave Abrahams
128 Posted 01/12/2020 at 09:54:59
Michael (127), Double Amen to that. EitC do good work but they are the tail end of Everton – the football club are the dog and it's the club and the football that should be the prime concern of the people in charge of our team.
Ken Kneale
129 Posted 01/12/2020 at 10:00:05
John Moores did plenty for the city as well but did it as a hard-nosed ruthless business operator – he brought and insisted on the same ethos at Everton Football Club.

We would do well to apply them now.

Michael Lynch
130 Posted 01/12/2020 at 10:25:35
When I go to Goodison, it's not just the football that matters. It's a bit like when people go to Church (I'm guessing here, as a non-believer) - it's not just about God, it's also about community; spending time with family or friends, communal singing, a sense of continuity and place, and of belonging. And of routine too.

If I'm just watching the match on TV, some of those things still apply – just look at how many congregants gather on here to experience the match collectively. It's also a lifetime commitment to a tribe, in the same way that religion can be.

Mind you, the way we've been playing, it's enough to make anyone an atheist.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

131 Posted 01/12/2020 at 11:45:06
Darren @ 84.

Bizarre. Warped. False.

Bill Rodgers
132 Posted 01/12/2020 at 14:48:18
Slow. Unfit. Uncommitted. They look like a team that trains badly.

I'm sure Carlo Ancelotti has little to do with that – and god forbid that anyone criticise St Dunc.

We really do bring this on ourselves.

Geoff Williams
133 Posted 01/12/2020 at 15:05:17
Bill 132: look up why Ancellotti lost his last job and the players' view of his training sessions.
Chris Williams
134 Posted 01/12/2020 at 15:36:32
Geoff and Bill,

There are several links to that in post 71 on this very thread.

Have a read...

Jay Harris
135 Posted 01/12/2020 at 17:04:09
Dont get the "Men in Blazers" comments out of context. They were Rogers words not Carlo's.

When Carlo was asked what was the one thing that attributed to his success, he said there are many things but you have not to forget that players are people and you treat them as people, not as footballers.

He definitely does not come across as a soft touch or past his sell-by date, as some have insinuated.

He had a number of philosophies and I would recommend a look for all those who haven't seen it.


Jerome Shields
137 Posted 01/12/2020 at 17:38:17
The problem I have with Pochettino is he is unemployed. What happened to all the big clubs that wanted him and what the hell happened at Spurs?

It takes a really experienced manager to manage Everton. There are too many gangsters, both on and off the pitch, for Pochettino at Everton.

I still think that Ancelotti will achieve a top six finish this season. Those that are injured are definitely injured – gone are the days of swinging the lead. I think the fitness of the squad has improved, but it has exposed that some players have a lack of pace.

By Xmas, we will have a squad that have all had playing time. In the case of the youngsters, it may be the League Cup or the FA Cup. Ancelotti will be now well aware of the squad weaknesses and working hard to address them.

Both Davies and Iowbi have improved with coaching. Though Godfrey is getting a baptism of fire, he is a good prospect and Holgate will get match fit. Calvert-Lewin is playing better than he ever played.

Every season, teams go through difficult periods. Everton have had a good start. Even in the games they have got beaten, an early taken chance could have made a difference to the outcome. Their first-half performances have been good.

I don't expect any new arrivals in the January transfer window. I think that the emphasis will be to work with the present squad and have individuals coached to improve performance. Players are finding there is competition for their positions, even with the present injury crisis.

Mike Gaynes
138 Posted 01/12/2020 at 18:35:50
Trevor #125, interesting viewpoint. Can you support your opinion that managers and teams are more successful when they treat their players like commodities rather than people? Are today's most successful managers ruthless autocrats who ignore the "family" thing in favor of a "machine" philosophy, in your words?

Funny, but Pep and Klopp and Zidane don't strike me that way, and Flick is downright cuddly. And those guys win everything. Certainly Fergie, for all his toughness, fostered a unified philosophy at Old Trafford, and he won everything in sight. So has Carlo, a widely-loved figure in footy. The most ruthless-type managers I can think of right now are Simeone, who is great, and Koeman, who won't last the season at Barca. So what's the basis of your opinion?

Michael #127 and Dave #128, any thoughts on how many games we have lost because the club as a whole is too focused on the community rather than the team? How exactly do EitC and similar efforts serve to distract club management and thus damage the actual product on the pitch?

I think you missed the point of Rog's comment. He was expressing his pride in his city, his beloved club's commitment to making it a better place, and having a manager who has fully embraced that ethos. It's totally unrelated to his opinions about whether Carlo should be playing Davies at right wingback. That wasn't his point.

Dave Abrahams
139 Posted 01/12/2020 at 19:36:55
Mike (138), the point is that EITC seem to get pushed to the front of Everton news while the main object of Everton FC is the football... what the team, manager and players are doing.

While the community work is welcome, it's the team and football club are what most people are interested in. We might get praised for community work, but it's the football that counts, that's what the club was formed for.

Mike Gaynes
140 Posted 01/12/2020 at 20:26:39
Dave, I agree wholeheartedly that it's the football that matters the most.

But I don't buy for one microsecond the premise that the club's charitable efforts -- a source of pride and gratitude for so many Blues -- somehow distract or detract from the commitment to the pitch, or gobble up time or resources that should be helping us win games.

There are many, many reasons why we haven't won diddly-squat for 25 years. EiTC isn't one of them.

Dave Abrahams
141 Posted 01/12/2020 at 20:46:47
Mike (140), well EitC do a lot of good, and imagine me arguing with Red fans and they tell me “We are the Premier League Champions” and I say “Yes but we are the best looking after people in the community” ...

Liverpool people do great charity work all over the city, Blues and Reds, with both doing fabulous work with food banks, sending blind kids on an annual day out, looking after pensioners needs etc.

Charity comes from the heart, it's given freely, you just do it, you don't advertise it. If you do, I believe you take a lot of the good out of it.

Eddie Dunn
142 Posted 01/12/2020 at 21:00:30
Mike & Dave, here in the UK, I get the feeling that reluctantly the media (particularly the BBC) give us a certain amount of credit for EitC. I think it is through grated teeth. It surely doesn't detract from what the football team does or doesn't do.

I noticed various pundits and football programmes on our UK media fail to give any credit to our early season fun on the top of the football pyramid.

I even get the vibe that the new crop of female/people of colour that the recruitment policy has catapulted to the fore, have been either carefully vetted for only top-six supporters, or they have been briefed to enthuse mostly about the money-spinners.

Most of them are from the South East of England and I notice that even Joleon Lescott is talking like a Landanner (forgetting his once clear Black Country twang!)

We are definitely disliked by many of them and the inaccurate myth that we have spent a fortune and still remain shit is common among other fans. It is not true but the spin doctors have established the fact.

Our inability to maintain our good start has riled me even more than it would have because, if only we could have stayed in that top 3 or 4, the bastards would have had to mention us more often as having ambitions of some magnitude.

It is time for us all to get behind the club, the team and the coach and propel them upwards and onwards to a trophy or a top 6 finish.

Derek Moore
143 Posted 01/12/2020 at 21:26:15
The community thing is a total straw man. It's not an either/or scenario. There isn't a single piece of evidence to suggest that the club's activities in the community have affected the team's performance on the pitch in any way whatsoever.

If we're going to be rank average on the pitch, what harm does it do to have competence elsewhere in the organization?

As for the personnel, yes, we're slower than a Sunday shit. But we've been this way for some time. Brands and Ancelotti chose not to address it in the window and the storming start seemed to vindicate this.

I'm with Jay Wood here. It's Ancelotti's job to get a tune out of these guys regardless. Four losses in five is not acceptable, regardless of the shortcomings of the squad. The manager is going to have to figure it out and turn it around.

Mike Gaynes
144 Posted 01/12/2020 at 21:28:03
Dave, obviously I don't see your media coverage over here on the far side of the world. So you think Everton works too hard to publicize its charitable efforts? Too much of patting selves on backs?

Eddie, I've seen literally thousands of comments on TW over the years to the effect that the British sporting media is biased against Everton. Never having seen or heard of the pundits mentioned, I can't respond. But it seems to be the universal sentiment on this board.

It's certainly not the case here in the US, with Bennett and Tim Howard so prominent on NBC, Fox Sports regularly featuring Roberto (and occasionally Donovan and McBride), and Ian Joy on CBS.

Jay Harris
145 Posted 01/12/2020 at 22:19:20
The answer to the media bias is in our own hands. Let's create a siege mentality and start winning things.

The EitC effort is a good thing but when you have a Luvvy chairman and his floozie wanting to spend all their time pushing that for the credit they get, they are taking their eyes off the football side of things.

That is where I agree with Dave.

Ricky Oak
146 Posted 01/12/2020 at 22:33:27
Yes, Eddie @142, you explained exactly what and how I see it too; you hit the nail on the head, sir.

How many times is it mentioned how much Sigurdsson costs or whomever on our team, yet it never gets mentioned when other teams play? It's all about how great they're playing, never the cost. So annoying and just another negative against our great club.

We generally then turn on our own, hence shooting ourselves in the foot, whilst all around laugh and treat us with disdain.

Danny O’Neill
147 Posted 01/12/2020 at 22:52:42
Well, a couple of things to unpick and comment on here, so I'll give it my best!

On the subject of the match in question, a great shout earlier and one I called watching it with my son. Whilst we all crave pace and aggression, the way Leeds were playing meant we should have countered that by taking the sting out of the game. Take control rather than let them dictate and get drawn into the type of game they wanted to play. We got sucked into their game hence the, albeit very exciting, end-to-end encounter it became. Those type of matches inevitably go either way and, as they were dictating, it went theirs.

Everton in the Community is admirable. I'm of the opinion it is something we (and our red cousins I would add) have always done. Everton's connection with the community and fans is long standing and an element of what makes the club particularly special. It is why just about every player that has graced Goodison Park retains a particular bond for Everton, regardless of who else they've played for.

Maybe now it is just more formalised and branded than in the past but, either way, it is and always has been a by-product of who we are, which is first and foremost forged on the football pitch. If we hadn't been successful in our core business, then that doesn't happen.

I guess I'm seeing both sides of that debate, but Everton is a brand that can help its community because of the business it has built around being a top-flight football club and one of the most successful in the English game, not the other way around.

Better off with Moyes? I'd rather not comment, but no thank you. As with our own current manager, let's see where he is (as West Ham manager) in January and where he is in May before proclaiming his second coming because he beat Aston Villa by the odd goal having done nothing other than score an early goal in either half and then park the bus. His record since leaving Everton is abysmal so let's not get carried away because he has taken a team one point above us in November with 28 games to play.

On the UK media, I wouldn't say they are particularly anti-Everton. I just don't think we've ever been fashionable enough for them even when successful. In my lifetime and even before the Premier League, it was always about Liverpool and Manchester United regardless with Arsenal and Tottenham getting more attention in the context of the 1980s "big 5" (we being the reluctantly acknowledged 5th member of that club).

As I've said on other thread, yes there is still much room for improvement and we are still work in progress. But there are also a lot of positives. Healthy position in the league, which keeps us in touch with our realistic target of European qualification. Quarter-finals of one cup competition and a favourable initial draw in the other. As we all do, keep the (blind) faith!!

Tom Bowers
148 Posted 01/12/2020 at 23:14:41
I have thought for many years that the Everton teams starting games have made it easy for the opposition to mount attacks against them.

Whilst we have had under different managers individually adept players, the teams have never shown the ability to close down the opposition. It was no different against Fulham and certainly against Leeds.

These teams are not what you would call top class and yet both attacked with a modicom of ease. For seasons, I have been apprehensive whenever opposition teams get into Everton's half because they invariably look dangerous and get to Everton's back line rather easily. Allan is a great tackler but the rest of them are quite weak at marking or closing down quickly.

This season and part of last may be a fault of the manager who sets out the system of playing, kind of like hit or miss. The Fulham game was a hit but the Leeds game was a miss.

Whether this will change soon under Carlo with what he has at his disposal but I am starting to have doubts.

One expects to lose now and again and even draw but these 4 losses since the Liverpool game gave been unacceptable.

Yes, we may have a little bit of an excuse with Coleman, Richarlison and Digne missing games... but not much.

Another poor result at Burnley and we will have ample cause to get angry at the situation.

Sean O´Hanlon
149 Posted 01/12/2020 at 23:35:29
Tom, #148,

I would agree with you – except I am angry now, and I don't think Everton's form will improve under Ancelotti.

Burnley will come roaring at Everton, and run riot. We're as good as in the lower half of the table now, and after Saturday, it will be well and truly confirmed.

Mike Gaynes
150 Posted 02/12/2020 at 04:59:49
I believe there was once a Sean O'Hanlon in the Everton Reserves. Never made it and was farmed out to the lower leagues, as I recall.

Wonder if we can do the same for this one.

Rick Tarleton
151 Posted 02/12/2020 at 08:05:16
In thread 34, I expressed, as I saw it, the problems in this week's games, but a further dimension is that, managers all seem to have a preferred way of playing and they want players to play in that system.

Bielsa wants tremendous athletes who outrun and are fitter than the opposition; Klopp wants players who can perform his hard pressing game; Guardiola wants footballers who can press and control a ball instantly. Ancelotti seems to want to play with a back three and wingbacks.

In most fields of work, managers tend to have to get the most of what they have, but in football, it's not so much this as getting the personnel to adapt to a system.

Unfortunately, this weekend, we had Iwobi, an attacking right-sided player, playing as a left-sided wingback, and we had Tom Davies, who has many virtues, but the pace to play wingback is not one of them, playing as the other wingback.

I feel that, if all the players who could play wingback, Kenny, Coleman and Digne to start with, are unavailable, you change the system rather than fit very square pegs into circular holes. Ancelotti, who knows far more about football than me and I think most of us on here, disagreed.

Management is, in all fields I'd suggest, about getting the best out of what you have. Till Kenny and/or Coleman is fit, Godfrey may manage as a traditional right-back; he has showed he struggles with the wingback role.

Playing with a traditional back four will not help our two strikers who are excellent headers of the ball and thrive on crosses, but it may shore up our rather one-paced defence in the short term.

Jerome Shields
152 Posted 02/12/2020 at 17:18:39
Rick #151,

I thought it worked quite well first half but, when Ancelotti wanted a more compact formation in the second half, the players were not up to it.

I agree that certain managers like to play in certain ways. You are correct that Ancelotti favours that particular formation, but he also likes to change formation and emphasis during a game. He has never got away from being a middle fielder who influences a game by changing play.

If any of the Everton goals had gone in or been allowed in the first half, it would have been a different game with a different outcome.

Danny O’Neill
153 Posted 02/12/2020 at 18:41:08
I was screaming at him to change it, Jerome, but ironically in about the 10 minutes prior to them scoring, I thought he had seen it out, rode the storm and was about to steal it.

Just how I saw it at the time.

Joe McMahon
154 Posted 02/12/2020 at 19:13:07
Be interesting to see how Moise Kean performs against Man Utd tonight. I'd like him back at Everton next season but don't think that's gonna happen.
Don Alexander
155 Posted 02/12/2020 at 19:27:35
The Echo report that Calvert-Lewin yesterday stated that, in a sprint, he'd expect himself, Richarlison, Branthwaite and Godfrey to be the fastest in the squad. So, maybe, just maybe, Brands and Ancelotti are actually addressing the gross lack of pace that me and others bewail.

If the two youngsters match the endeavour and skill of the two old hands, I'll begin to believe again, maybe!

Robert Tressell
156 Posted 02/12/2020 at 19:28:04
Mike @150, there is a video on YouTube of said Sean O'Hanlon's little kids recreating famous goals in his back garden. Some cracking efforts. Very funny. Hopefully some young blue talent there.
Robert Tressell
157 Posted 02/12/2020 at 19:35:04
Oh, and Joe, Kean will spear head the PSG attack tonight flanked by Mbappe and Neymar. I think it's safe to say he won't be coming back...
Joe McMahon
158 Posted 02/12/2020 at 19:58:34
Robert, you say that but he's maybe missing Sigurdsson's lethal crosses or the challenge of coming off the subs bench with 6 minutes left to change the game.🤣
Brian Murray
159 Posted 02/12/2020 at 20:53:22
Jeez, talk about the enemy within. Our own Doucoure saying James will go to a big club very soon. He wants to keep his mouth shut and start justifying the privilege he has putting on the shirt. If that was a Fergie or Jose, he would at very least be fined probably dropped.
Brent Stephens
160 Posted 02/12/2020 at 20:56:16
Dave #141 "Charity comes from the heart, it's given freely, you just do it, you don't advertise it. If you do, I believe you take a lot of the good out of it."

Dave, I think that goes for individual charity giving. But organisations trying to organise / encourage charitable-giving get their organisations "out there", known, noticeable etc, to encourage charitable donations (silent or trumpeted). Sally Army do it and their head honcho is out there encouraging donations; Oxfam ditto; etc. One way they encourage charitable-giving is to make it known what donations can achieve. It also makes those who've already given to feel good about it and continue their donations.

EITC do likewise.

Dave Abrahams
162 Posted 03/12/2020 at 19:00:23
Brent (160) and Mike Gaynes, fair enough each to their own, I think too much is made of the work EITC do, not by the volunteers who work for EITC, they do it from the heart and take pleasure in doing it, but I’ll leave it at that.
Ken Williams
163 Posted 03/12/2020 at 22:01:06
I believe there is something fundamentally wrong behind the scenes at Everton. We have had quality managers in since David Moyes left, but none have been able to move the team forward.

I don't think you can put all the blame of the shite we have had to watch on the managers. I don't know what the answer is but, until it is sorted, we will remain one of the also-rans hoping for a decent cup run.

Tom Harvey
164 Posted 03/12/2020 at 22:01:14
Ancelotti is in his 60s and has now had 20 years of Champions League clubs with big money squads that only needed a little bit of tinkering.

His team choices look almost flippant and it worries me that, as manager, the sack by EFC would not hurt his reputation, the football world will just point to his achievements and dismiss his end-of-career blips.

He's under no real pressure with an £11M contract per year, that the club would have to pay the balance if he was dismissed (as Koeman & Bobby Brown shoes will attest – while smiling all the way to the bank). Combine that with the previous paragraph's gleamings and he's pressure-free at the moment.

Burnley will be a very interesting game, should they believe they can get the win against the fragile side we are.

Paul Hewitt
165 Posted 03/12/2020 at 22:12:50
Brian @159. He's only talking the truth. Add Richarlison and Digne as well.
Brian Murray
166 Posted 03/12/2020 at 22:28:28
Paul. Okay your probably right but why kick us when we are down when the likes of Danny Murphy are queuing up to do it?

As an aside, Lookman looking dangerous, Klaassen easily the best player v Liverpool, Kean enjoying PSG! Does this all point to the coaching at Finch Farm again?

Remember we had Koeman's brother on the payroll, now Carlo's son I think! Even Vlasic slagged off our dietary habits, or lack of them. All paranoid coincidences let's hope so.

Paul Hewitt
167 Posted 03/12/2020 at 22:33:52
Brian @166. We are a mid-table club and will be for some time. Now some fans may not like this but tough. We are years away from challenging. Our best players will leave for more successful clubs, like all players do.
Steve Hogan
168 Posted 03/12/2020 at 22:45:15
Tom (164)

Out of interest, what is your source that makes you think Carlo is on £11m a year? To my knowledge, only his employer's and his lawyer would be privy to that knowledge. Genuine question.

Christine Foster
169 Posted 03/12/2020 at 22:54:03
Ancelotti was hired to build a winning team. He has not had a season yet but there are some here that are so critical of his performance that they believe he should be sacked. Incredible.

Get real, the quality and performance of previous managers, players bought, and performances on the pitch have been appalling. We have a paper-thin squad of the required quality, a handful of younger potential untried players, and at least half a first-team squad who are not of the required quality, or are at the end of their days regarding a top-flight career.

What is expected of Ancelotti is he gets the best out of what we have. On a good day, when we had a first 11 fit, we sat at the top of the league and played well. Even then, he said the bubble would burst. He knew the reality of what we had. Suspensions, injuries and poor form took its immediate toll. I am sure he is disappointed as we all are ... but to call for his head??

He has made mistakes in trusting older / expensive players to deliver; he has played formations that teams took immediate advantage of; he has played players out of position as a makeshift solution (Iwobi one week is a revelation, switch him the next week and he is a disaster); he has got things wrong, badly at times in the opinion of many... But he is still, by far and away, the best pedigree manager we have had for many a year.

I don't want an up-and-coming Arteta, Ferguson, or Silva; I want a winner and I am prepared to suffer a bit longer to see it happen. We have had 5 managers in as many years, I think, and exactly where has that gotten us?

Yes, it's going to be painful at times but there is no magic wand. Question decisions, yes, ask questions... but the only fix for this is time and money. We have the latter, he needs the former.

I would love Ancelotti or the club to state what and how they mean to go forward, the plan, what is the measure of success in the board's eyes? How long do they realistically see the following timeframe?

1st objective: Qualify for Europe
2nd objective: Win a cup.
3rd objective: Be a consistent top 6 team & Qualify for a Champions League spot
4th objective: Be a consistent challenger for the Premier League
5th objective: Win the Premier League.

Winning sides are built, they don't just happen. Some players are stars and some are grafters or makeweights that form a winning team when the jigsaw is complete. To consistently challenge, every single player has a job to do. These pages are full of condemnation of players who have failed to perform but it is up to Ancelotti to get the best out of what he can or change it. If there has been a criticism of the manager, it is that he has not utilised all the resources at his disposal, or has played players out of position.

He has juggled with what he has, sometimes well and sometimes poorly. But he has to make a judgment call on a player's capability or quality to do the job. That is the key issue on here. In some eyes, he has failed to plug gaps or failed to use some others. But only he knows why. That is what he is paid for.

This isn't a justification as a plea for patience, it's a call for reality and communication. If you want people to come along on the journey, you have to first tell them where we are going.

Tom Harvey
170 Posted 03/12/2020 at 23:45:57
Steve Hogan @ 168

Hello Steve,

When he joined us, I viewed that figure in quite a few articles, but you are right: only a select few at the will truly know.

Having said that, it's a reasonable estimate, considering his reputation and trophy collection and the fact that we are/were in a mess and, when we approached him, he had us over a barrel.

Tom Harvey
171 Posted 03/12/2020 at 23:52:38
Chrisitine @ 169

Hello Christine,

I certainly don't want Ancelotti sacked, I would like to see him have a decent go.

That doesn't stop me feeling uneasy about the teams he's been setting up lately and coming to some conclusion about his status and what makes him tick at the moment.

I've personally had enough of the managerial version of musical chairs we've been playing lately and want stability.


Ajay Gopal
172 Posted 04/12/2020 at 09:05:33
I have been following this thread for the past couple of days now and I keep going back to John Pierce's post (56) - by far, the most sensible and relevant one (to this thread), IMO. Well done, Sir, and agree 100%.

It was an entertaining and evenly contested football match, we had the better players, but Leeds had the better team helped by the fact that Bielsa has been working with his tactics and his players for over two years. Carlo made 2 mistakes in his starting XI, as many have already alluded - Iwobi should have continued at RWB, and Nkounkou at LWB. We might still have lost because our CBs are not used to playing in a Back 3, but perhaps we would have been more competitive. So, next game, I would ask Carlo to continue with the back 3 (in the absence of Coleman and Digne), replace Davies with Nkounkou and tweak the positions of the Back 3. With the speed and athleticism of Holgate and Godfrey, Keane can step further up, where his distribution is pretty decent. I recall his assist to DCL this season - can't remember if it was for Everton or for England. Some additional training sessions and making them watch the Leeds game back again would help them understand where they need to improve.

Doucoure and Richarlison need to up their game big time - they haven't been good enough. Richarlison's form is especially worrying - 1 goal from the 1st 10 league games (albeit he didn't play in 3 due to his own stupidity) is not good enough for a player of his ability. Carlo has set him a target of, I think, 30 goals for the season, but with DCL's emergence, I would expect both of them to get at least 20 each. If Carlo is in the tinkering mod, I would replace Doucoure with Gomes. More out of hope than expectation - that Gomes is fitter and desperate to prove himself. And that he would provide the crosses in Digne's absense.

And for those pining for Moise Kean, I would say forget about him, he isn't coming back. I will be cheering every goal he scores for PSG, as that would increase his transfer value. With both Mbappe and Neymar expected to move out from PSG, they will be desperate to keep Kean if he has a half decent season. He has already scored 6 goals in 11 appearances, and if he keeps up that scoring rate, we can expect to get a huge dollop of money which can be used to strengthen the key areas of the squad - a striker, right back, defensive midfielder, etc. Win-win-win.

Nicholas Ryan
173 Posted 04/12/2020 at 14:07:31
At a slight tangent; we were linked with a centre-back Jean Clair Todibo from Barcelona. In the end he went out on loan to Benfica. Barca are now suggesting that he come back in January, as he has played NOT ONE MINUTE for Benfica. Just shows how crazy and unpredictable the game of football is!!
Dave Abrahams
174 Posted 04/12/2020 at 14:31:46
Christine (169), I'm not advocating that Carlo be moved on, and there is a lot I agree with in your post as usual.

One thing that bothers me, and I think a few others, is that Carlo has managed great teams and has won many leagues and cups but he has never built a team, something you hope he will do at Everton, or put Everton back into a position to do so.

Time will tell, Christine, I think he will get it, I hope he uses it well.


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