Just Dire

The sense after the cup win over Tottenham was that, perhaps, Carlo Ancelotti’s gradual shift in the mentality of this squad had finally reached a tipping point where the psychological block of “Everton, that” might finally be consigned to history. But, no — collectively, this group of players remains prone to shooting itself in the foot. Champions League? For now, you’re definitely having a laugh.

Lyndon Lloyd 14/02/2021 158comments  |  Jump to last

It was all so bloody predictable; so bloody Everton. A struggling team; no Premier League wins in forever and none at Goodison Park in their history; looking to be on its way back out of the Premier League barring a miracle; a new signing awaiting his first goal. Then there was Everton: A place in the top five, level on points with Liverpool and six points off second place with a further two games in hand on the teams above them within reach of a side that was on the crest of a wave following Wednesday’s climactic 5-4 FA Cup win over Tottenham in extra-time. And then they turn in that kind of performance, arguably the worst of the 2020-21 season so far.

The sense was that, perhaps, Carlo Ancelotti’s gradual shift in the mentality of this squad had finally reached a tipping point in midweek where the psychological block of “Everton, that” might finally be consigned to history. But, no — collectively, this group of players remains depressingly weak and prone to shooting itself in the foot any time it gets within touching distance of achievement. Champions League? For now, you’re definitely having a laugh.

Ancelotti put the performance down to fatigue but given that only four of his players played all 210 minutes of this and the game against Tottenham, it’s an assessment that doesn’t wash. Almost everything about this horrendous performance was wrong — the team selection from the manager, his choice of at least two of the substitutions and the timing of them, the lack of tempo, desire and application from the players, all the way down to the limp attempt to mount any kind of effective late attempt to even salvage a point.

Ancelotti has made some grave miscalculations this season and the hope was that he had learned from them. No doubt the midweek cup exploits had lulled him into a false sense of optimism but there can be few occasions where selecting Gylfi Sigurdsson, André Gomes and James Rodriguez in the same team makes sense any more, particularly when you don’t have an out-and-out centre-forward at your disposal and one of those players played a gruelling two-hour cup tie just four days earlier.

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Worse, it was painfully obvious before half an hour of this match had elapsed that the system the manager had gone for wasn’t working. It demanded urgent change, probably in the form of a bold, early substitution, because the writing was on the wall from the opposition’s performance. The visitors could have been two or three goals up by that point but Ancelotti stalled and even allowed the match to drift 10 minutes into the second half before acting. By then, Everton were 1-0 down and, without an attempt on target up to that point, looking nowhere near scoring apart from Seamus Coleman’s low drive that bounced off the outside of the post 10 minutes before half-time.

To give Scott Parker and his players their due, Fulham were very good and they basically played Everton off the park while diligently closing off passing lanes and making life difficult when they didn't have the ball. This wasn’t merely the Blues making them look good by how terribly they played — the visitors were quicker, sharper, more adventurous and inventive than their hosts — but, by the same token, the almost complete lack of urgency and pressure from the Toffees until it was far too late meant that the Cottagers were hardly tested.

Two meek shots on target in 90 minutes against a team that hadn’t won in 12 games spoke for itself — this was an Everton performance mystifyingly but infuriatingly bereft of any passion, ideas or penetrative football. As would have been expected, James had some of the Toffees’ best moments in terms of distribution yet he struggled throughout to make any impact and, frankly, didn’t look like he fancied the battle at all by the time he hobbled off with 68 minutes gone and the Blues 2-0 down.

The Colombian has looked like an ill-suited luxury in all of Everton’s dismal home defeats to Leeds, West Ham, Newcastle and now Fulham, unable to dictate any of the games in the manner you would expect from someone of his ability. It’s a worrying dilemma — how do you shoe-horn someone who doesn’t adapt easily to a pressing game into a team built on that defend-from-the-front strategy? — but this evening, his ineffectiveness wasn’t that surprising. Playing in a midfield devoid of any pace and an overall system lacking width, he had precious few options, no overlapping runners and he generally cut a frustrated figure as Fulham’s hungrier players buzzed around him.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s absence with a recurrence of his hamstring problem was always going to pose a problem but recent acquisition Josh King was ready to make his full debut and Richarlison had rattled in two excellent goals against Spurs to apparently signal that he was getting back on form. Instead, Ancelotti left King on the bench, kept the Brazilian out wide and deployed Sigurdsson as an awkward “false nine” role. The Icelandic international would finish the match as a deep-lying midfielder after Tom Davies had been harshly withdrawn, another perplexing move from Ancelotti to go with the fact that Gomes, who was pretty terrible, completed the 90 minutes.

Then there was central defence where a policy of rotation has probably been prudent during a part of the season where matches are coming along every three of four days but it has come at the cost of continuity in a very important part of the field. Today, Mason Holgate and Ben Godfrey, two young defenders, were paired together for the first time between Seamus Coleman and Lucas Digne.

It robbed the defence of its best distributor of the ball in Michael Keane (until he came on as a second-half substitute and Holgate was shifted to right-back) and its tallest asset in Yerry Mina and that proved problematic because Holgate had a pretty dreadful game in his favoured central role and Everton posed no threat from attacking corners.

In the end, though Holgate was poor overall, it was a porous and over-run midfield that, at times, sat bafflingly deep and invited the kind of inroads that led to Fulham’s opener that was the bigger problem than who was at centre-half but the selection was illustrative of a complacency on Ancelotti’s part and, perhaps, an underestimation of his opponents.

Everton’s problems started early when Robin Olsen, starting again as Jordan Pickford continues to recover from a rib complaint, punched ineffectively at a free-kick but Josh Maja hooked the loose ball over from close range in the eighth minute when he might have done better.

A minute later, Bobby Decordova-Reid flicked a corner across goal and onto the post before Harrison Reed fired narrowly wide and Ademola Lookman came within inches of marking his return to Merseyside with a goal but somehow bobbled his effort the wrong side of the post.

Everton briefly threatened as the interval approached when James played Gomes in but the Portuguese's shot was well off target before Coleman went on his driving run and clipped the woodwork.

The second half was just three minutes old when the visitors got the goal they had been promising, capitalising on a complete lack of tactical shift from Everton. With the Blues' midfield dropping off, Ola Aina advanced unopposed towards the penalty area, played a one-two with Lookman and then centred for Maja to easily convert in front of goal.

Ancelotti’s response was to hook Davies, the only player apart from Abdoulaye Doucouré able to carry the ball out defence and go forwards rather than constantly looking backwards, and replace him with King and take Coleman off for Keane, a move that at least provided some forward motion out of defence.

The changes didn’t have the desired effect, though. Everton were still far too narrow, with angled balls aimed towards Digne and Richarlison fruitless when the recipient didn’t have another blue shirt within 25 yards of him. It meant that play was repetitively cycled backwards to the centre-backs and this monotony even continued into stoppage time when desperation should have led to an intense barrage of Fulham’s defence but, instead, the ball kept going horizontally in front of the West Londoners’ penalty area.

Instead, it was Fulham who almost doubled their lead within three minutes of Ancelotti’s first substitutions when Digne was dispossessed, the away side countered and Lookman smashed Ruben Loftus-Cheek's pass over the bar.

The second goal did arrive in the 65th minute, though. Reed was given space to line up a shot from distance that Olsen could only palm softly onto the post and Maja was on hand to turn the ball into the empty net.

Bernard came on for James with 22 minutes left – realistically, it should have been the more direct and pacier Alex Iwobi – and Sigurdsson finally put the ball on target with a bouncing shot from 20 yards while Keane had a tame header easily caught in the 89th minute but, on the whole, it was dreadfully poor fare from Everton.

So, once more reality sets in and in the absence of something truly remarkable happening in the next six days against Manchester City and Liverpool, Everton can forget about the Champions League and, perhaps, the Europa League as well… unless they can negotiate their way past City in the FA Cup Quarter-Finals and win the pot at Wembley in May.

Because demoralising let-downs in eminently winnable matches like this are going to keep happening, at least, it seems, until Ancelotti and Marcel Brands are able to add some more quality to this squad. However, the same notion that a manager of Ancelotti’s quality should be able to coax more consistency, better decision-making and train his players to play through the press with the ease with which teams seem able to do to his, keeps nagging away.

Top four may never have been truly realistic but if you can’t dream and on some level believe that it’s possible, particularly in a season that keeps opening the road up for the club to fast-track their three-year plan, then what’s the point? Everton under Carlo Ancelotti will, no doubt, continue to improve but for the short-term at least, the dream of something extraordinary coming out of this season is pretty much over for now. Unforgivable results like this have seen to that.

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Reader Comments (158)

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Will Mabon
1 Posted 15/02/2021 at 07:07:35
Thanks for that, Lyndon. The full horror, laid bare. Becoming common and all too familiar in nature. You'll be able to use a template soon.
Jim Bennings
2 Posted 15/02/2021 at 07:14:58
Where do we even start?

Maddening, frustrating, abysmal, disinterested..

All of the four would be a perfect way to describe that heartless performance and bottle job, another chance squandered to put pressure on the teams above us.

Another shocking home performance and another game where, for some reason, we hand the opposition domination of the football; another game where everyone could see at half-time there was only one likely winner and the first opposition goal that duly quickly arrived in the second period was no such shock.

That's four home wins from the last fourteen, yes FOURTEEN, going back to last June, with six losses included.

It's just not good enough, is it? Not good enough at all, but even more disappointing is how abject our performance levels are.

Ancelotti has to take responsibility for picking a team that never looked like it could work against a team that we knew would press and work hard.

Sigurdsson and Gomes fall to pieces against teams with energy levels. Gomes, for a fella that looks physical and powerful, he's meek, weak and ponderous; how Ancelotti gives him so many starts boggles the mind.

Sigurdsson playing the full match so soon after 120 minutes on Wednesday night... really, seriously??

The inclusion of Holgate in that defence next to Godfrey, who has rarely played for us at centre-half, that was insane; start Godfrey next to Keane, yes. Fair play but Holgate, the walking disaster zone?

It's almost as though we don't really want to challenge the top four, it's like the manager and the hierarchy pull out when things get a little tasty, as though we have a fear of the unknown or a fear of upsetting the media.

I don't know what it is but there's no excuse for that last night, no excuse at all, add the Newcastle game in the previous home league outing, it's inexcusable losing to these sides and being dominated by them in play.

Well now we've got it all to do again, Manchester City, Liverpool, and Southampton our next three games, it's over to you, Everton, do you save the season or simply lay down flat and accept another mediocre mid-table finish in a season that promised so much.

Jerome Shields
3 Posted 15/02/2021 at 07:18:45
Your article says it all. At some stage prior to this match, a collective malaise descended on most of the Everton squad: "It's only Fulham, haven't won in their last 12 matches, all we have to do is show ourselves. " (I didn't use the adjective' turn up'). Like Leeds, West Ham, and Newcastle. 12 winnable points down the swanee.

Ancelotti put out a similar formation to the Sheffield United game, with no discernable target attacker, expecting a set-up shop formation. But he seemed to have missed the point of the energy and commitment needed to get a progressive 3 points and the players in the main seemed to be on another planet.

Fulham did what all these types of sides do: push up, pressurising midfield, pinning back Everton's full-backs and restricting Everton to easily managed wing play. The goals conceded were the same as against Leeds, West Ham and Newcastle. Everton's being attacked on the right-wing is their Achilles Heel.

On top of all that, Olsen has a big problem coming off his line for crosses and organising his defence for corners.

A top 6 finish at best. Now performances against Man City and Liverpool needed. What a bunch of twits.

Kunal Desai
4 Posted 15/02/2021 at 07:45:44
I think it would be a blessing in disguise if we do not make Europe from here. These players cannot handle two games a week.

And secondly, we would get embarrassed being in Europe. We simply don't have squad depth.

Derek Thomas
5 Posted 15/02/2021 at 08:11:12
Yet another non-performance worthy of a sky full of cushions as in days of yore. I stuck it out until the 1st goal went in... then turned it off.
Jim Bennings
6 Posted 15/02/2021 at 08:15:20
Jerome @3,

I don't know what it is with us and goalkeepers but we can't seem to get it right.

In a perfect world, we'd look for a potential suitor for Pickford this summer, get a decent fee, and then go out and bring in Nick Pope from Burnley before someone else does.

But, knowing us, we'll be sat here in 12 months, having the same discussion.

Bill Fairfield
7 Posted 15/02/2021 at 08:18:42
If qualifying for Europe will give this club some stability, then they are on very shaky ground with this current squad. Last night's performance was truly awful. I can't see Man City having too many problems on Wednesday. It's massively disappointing.
Dean Johnson
8 Posted 15/02/2021 at 08:22:41
I've never been a Holgate fan, even less after today, but it's the manager that picks him time after time. He is our biggest liability. Olsen I think is actually worse than Pickford... and Gomes has been phoning it in for ages.

If he keeps rotating the defence, we're never going to be consistent.

Forgive me but we look better with Godfrey at left-back. Our two "brilliant" full-backs have been nowt short of shite since they walked straight back into the team

So many issues still...

Kevin Prytherch
9 Posted 15/02/2021 at 08:35:44
There was so much space between the strikers and midfield it was unbelievable. We basically gave them as much time as they wanted on the ball and allowed them to grow in confidence.

Unfortunately, Ancelotti often falls into the same traps as previous managers. Sitting back works against Spurs and Man Utd,so it must work against Fulham. Sigurdsson plays well against Spurs, so he must start against Fulham.

We should be going after teams like Fulham from the off. We played the fastest centre-back pairing we have, they should have pressed onto the half way line and pinned Fulham in their own half where players like James can be more effective.

I hope this is the end of the false 9 Sigurdsson experiment. It didn't work against Wolves (despite the win) and it didn't work here. He is not the player for this, or indeed for any team whose defence sits back.

As for Gomes, if there is ever a player who is content to sit on a large contract, then it is him. The occasional flash of brilliance doesn't mask a half-arsed attitude of constant safety. He now provides zero creativity, zero defensive contribution and zero goal threat. To bring Davies off before Gomes or Sigurdsson was once again criminal, but predictable.

As much as Carlo gets credit, this season is the biggest missed opportunity, and Carlo, and Brands, have to take a lot of the blame for not taking advantage of this.

Andrew Ellams
10 Posted 15/02/2021 at 08:35:46
Whatever the question is, James Rodriguez is not the answer. We actually look a better-balanced side when he's not in it.

This summer, we need to upgrade on Iwobi on the right, bring in a new right-back and add an athletic midfielder to fit in with Allan and Doucouré.

Oh, and stop picking Holgate.

Tony Smith
11 Posted 15/02/2021 at 08:50:21
In a season when Liverpool, Man Utd, Chelsea and Tottenham are well below par, we yet again have no appetite as a club for grasping any opportunity for success.

We deserve our derogatory moniker of 'Neverton'.

Jerome Shields
12 Posted 15/02/2021 at 08:52:43

Such where the problems in other positions Pickford position in goal was never a priority. Olsen was brought in as competition and cover. Ancelotti does not think that Pickford is a Top four Goalkeeper as Pickford proved with the flapped failed save that cost Everton a Top Four place.

Pickfords slow recovery is in part, imo, determined by the hope that Olsen will establish himself. But against Tottenham he showed a alarming weakness on Corners. Against Fulham he did come for the first cross. Though he got it, he looked like a duck out of water and retreated to his goal line on the next Corner, aka Tottenham. I do think it is his call whether to have a defender on the line or not. It is essential that there is one on the back post during Corners when Olsen is in goal.

But goalkeeping is still not a priority there are still other problem positions.

Going forward Everton have two problems; non existent Leadership in Midfield against staple lower team tactics( which top four Clubs would be foolish not to adapt against Everton ) and goalkeepers with recognisable consistent flaws.

Fulham played well, but should have won 5-0. They will be relegated.

Andrew Ellams
13 Posted 15/02/2021 at 09:02:24
Reading the posts on the various match threads from last night and Evertonians seem to be in three camps.

There are those that are still in awe that the great Carlo Ancelotti deemed us worthy of his presence; those that don't think he's the man for the job; and those desperate for it to happen but are starting to realise it doesn't look like it will.

I've followed Everton for over 40 years and I can only think of Howard Kendall that has lost the fans and then turned it around.

Paul McCoy
14 Posted 15/02/2021 at 09:07:28
I don't think Carlo got the lineup or tactics right, but the players need to take most of the blame here. They looked lazy and disinterested.
John Graham
15 Posted 15/02/2021 at 09:09:40
Such a terrible display is just not acceptable. Not one player could hold his head up and say they gave a good performance.

Why is it that, when we got the ball, there was always a Fulham player on the heels of our player, ready to either tackle or panic him into giving a bad pass?

Why is it that, when a Fulham player got the ball there, was not a single Everton player within 6 ft of him, or in any hurry to get near to him?

Why does Gomes think it's good to go into the back 4 to take a pass and then pass the ball about 6 yards to one of either Coleman or Digne?

Why did every Everton player slow the game down so much that the other team could fall back into defence and get organised?

Surely if, as Ancelotti said, we had some tired payers out there, he should have started with both King and Bernard and also possibly have brought in one of the younger players to supply more energy.

This was not acceptable, whether there are fans in the ground or not – it should never ever happen again.

Gareth Williams
16 Posted 15/02/2021 at 09:13:03
Another poor performance at home. I give up with Everton, I really do.
Steve Guy
17 Posted 15/02/2021 at 09:20:10
We leak goals like a sieve. 9 goals in our last three matches and last night a less profligate team than Fulham could have had four or five.

We've been at our most solid with the four centre-halves across the back and should look to revert to this now until the end of the season. Allan or Davies and Digne plus Doucouré in the midfield and either Sigurdsson or James behind Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin. Everyone else is bench material.

Tony Everan
18 Posted 15/02/2021 at 09:21:33
Lyndon, you've summed it up accurately there, what a shit show that was.

Fulham will have looked at what Newcastle did to us a couple of weeks back and fancied it. The team selection did absolutely nothing to mitigate that. It was a thoughtless, naive shocker that played directly into Fulham's hands and their inevitable and predictable game plan. Why?

When I see Rodriguez, Sigurdsson, and Gomes in the midfield, the buzzwords that come to me are slow, weakness, no tackles, overrun. The balance of the team is thrown into disarray with all of these players included on the same team sheet. We can only ever get away with playing one of those three. Otherwise, work rate and pressing from almost any opponent is enough to negate us.

When will we learn? We have to win midfield battles to earn the right to play. You can't just throw into the midfield 3 ballerinas and expect them to be given the stage to perform Swan Lake. They'll get pushed kicked and harried at the first attempt at a pirouette.

It makes my blood boil over, there is red flecked steam coming out of my nose and ears.

Win the midfield battles!

I thought we were getting a stable defence with Holgate, Keane, Mina, Godfrey and Digne Defences don't need constant rotation; stability and mutual understanding is what makes a defence a great one.

If there is any ray of light, it is Tom Davies, he was our best player yesterday, looked like he cared and was willing to try. Another ray of light is Allan is back. Allan and Davies could work well together with Doucouré a bit more advanced.

Oh, and fatigue? You've got to be kidding me! Even Carlo said himself before the game there is plenty of recovery time from Wednesday. He's taking the piss with that lame excuse, it won't wash.

Andrew Ellams
19 Posted 15/02/2021 at 09:23:35
Paul McCoy, that there is the problem with Everton and why so many people have been willing to accept 30 years of mediocrity.

The manager got it all wrong but you mainly blame the players. We can't criticise this manager because of what he achieved elsewhere. You're in for a lot of nights like last night if you think like that.

Rennie Smith
20 Posted 15/02/2021 at 09:25:22
I'm usually at the positive end of the TW spectrum but last night was probably the worst performance I've seen for a good while. I can partially agree with Carlo's post-match assessment that Fulham's fresh intensity and our fatigue from the Spurs game combined to make it hard for us to get going, but to drop off to that extent is not acceptable.

I'm sure you, like me, was dying a thousand deaths watching Godfrey and Holgate play keep-ball within our own half, but when they looked up, did they have anyone moving into space to pass to? I'm guessing not unless they were happy to see out a 0-0. At least Davies got so bored of it, he came and took the ball off them and tried to go forward. Richarlison had 4 touches in the first half, but is that his fault? The ball never went anywhere near him, what's he supposed to do? Drop into the back-4 to pick it up?

My biggest concern from last night was Holgate. I've always been a big fan of his, the same for most of us, just remember back to when he was seen as our most important defender, and people were gutted when he got injured. Since he's got back into the team he's been nowhere near his previous levels. His passing was woeful, apart from the easy sideways 100%'er as already mentioned, and I worry about his positional play and general demeanor. Maybe it's because he's been shifting around between right-back and centre-back? Maybe he's still struggling with an injury? Hopefully, he'll come good again because he certainly has it in him.

I know we'll say what an opportunity we're missing this season, but you can be sure the same is being said by pretty much every other team outside of Man City and Leicester City. Have a look at Spurs, Arsenal, Chelsea, etc. It's such a strange season that really, absolutely anything can and probably will happen. I've given up trying to guess where we'll be at the end of the season, just go with the ride, however bumpy and frustrating it will be.

Thomas Richards
21 Posted 15/02/2021 at 09:30:21
Sit back and watch the main bout developing.

In the red corner, it's the "Carlo Out" brigade.

In the Blue corner, it's the Happy Clappers.

Ding, ding. Round One...

Dave Lynch
22 Posted 15/02/2021 at 09:53:51
Pinned back in our own half for 80%ish by the mighty Fulham.

Can we stoop any lower in performance?

Man City and Liverpool next... bang goes our positive goal difference.

Mike Oates
23 Posted 15/02/2021 at 10:06:43
Tinkerman Ranreiri, now been pushed aside by Tinkerman Ancelotti!!!!

You create a defence which concedes only 1 goal in 4 games, you then decide to tinker with it, rotate it, mix it... and, lo and behold, we ship 10 goals in 4 games.

You had a "press from the front" strategy, which won you the first 7 games of the season, you then drop it and retreat to a deep deep defence system which just can't work at home as it completely allows teams to dominate us, even the likes of Leeds, West Ham, Newcastle and now Fulham. It was and still is an absolute disgrace that he hasn't developed an attacking policy for our home games.

He has a real problem we all can see with a few players – Holgate is a total liability, with poor attitude, poor passing, poor positional play and a tendency to want to kick every bugger near him. Rodriquez is a wimp, totally unsuitable for the Premier League, totally unsuitable when the going gets tough, and one lazy lump. And finally Richarlison is like a real little child, who's lost his toys and needs his nappy wiping, love and attention. Yet all 3 stayed on last night and the two players trying to get us going, Davies and Coleman are pulled off, clearly both totally pissed off and I hope Coleman as captain had got the balls to lay into Ancelotti and his 2 lieutenants, that they were as much at fault for last night as the players.

Carlo, find your best 11 for today's problems and stick to it, even if I suspect it means leaving out the likes of Gomes, Rodriquez, Sigurdsson, Holgate, Richarlison. And andgive us a team which goes out to win the winnable games!!!

James Byrne
24 Posted 15/02/2021 at 10:12:00
It doesn't get any worse than that last night.

We can all add our opinions and player ratings etc, but the buck stops with the manager and his coaching team.

What the fuck do Carlo or Duncan say to the players before the game or at half-time?!?

At the end of the day, playing and winning at this level requires the right mentality. I hate to say it but Liverpool have had it for years.

The players, the coaching setup and the club as a whole do not have a winning mentality and we never will while certain people still run this "rotten to the core" old boys club!

Derek Thomas
25 Posted 15/02/2021 at 10:19:09
Thomas @21; I'm in the neutral corner, as I think, as he goes on, Ancelotti will oversee less of these debacles. Trouble is, the opportunity is knocking this season; who knows how it will go next season...or the next.

And, as always when the shout (even if it is more in anger than actual need) for the taxi goes up, who is the replacement?

We are nowhere near the need to answer... anybody but the present incumbent – well, not yet.

Shane Corcoran
26 Posted 15/02/2021 at 10:27:10
I rarely post anymore, especially on assessing the team and the "project" as it's too bloody hard.

I find the positivity after a result such as the Spurs game and the negativity after a game such as the Fulham game as too extreme. That being said, I have my doubts about Ancelotti.

I think the 'keeper situation will limp along as it is if we secure Olsen. It will likely only end if Pickford loses his place and demands a move.

I imagine a right-back will be acquired over the next window as the great man eventually makes way. The rest of our defence is more or less sorted for the forseeable future.

My concern is Carlo's attempt to replace Gomes, Sigurdsson, Bernard, Iwobi and the group he's sent out on loan. Does he have any faith in youth? Is he prepared to buy young and let them develop or will we see players in their late twenties ready to go, and there for the short term that Carlo plans on staying?

I fear the latter and possibly overpaying for them.

But I think we need to grasp the view that Europe this year would be a bonus (or a curse) depending on how you view the Europa League with our small squad. I also accept that Ancelotti still has a huge mess of a squad coupled with possible financial issues caused by FFP, a lack of resale value, and reduced income due to Covid.

So basically it's more of the same for all Blues. Suck it up, try not to get too excited with a 5-4 win when we should've been beaten out the door in the first quarter, and wait to see what the next 30 years brings.

Bill Rodgers
27 Posted 15/02/2021 at 10:38:11
Everton have the unique ability to perform worse than any other Premier League team. They do it quite regularly – and the fact that there is the occasional good performance makes it worse. They do not have to play like this.

As a first step, the entire first-team squad should watch the full tape together and respond to the performance. Then the management team must face a press conference to explain to the fanbase what went wrong and what they will do about it.

We are long past any mumblings or gnomic mystique – do Ancelotti and his team have an explanation or not? This was so bad, it is off the scale – there were at least 3 starters who should never play for Everton again.

Rennie Smith
28 Posted 15/02/2021 at 10:41:44
You're right Shane @26, we live in a life of extremes: we're either top of the world or down at the bottom of a pit.

As I've already said, as a set of supporters, we're not alone in being seriously frustrated this season. You only have to look across the park to see idiots erecting "Klopp Out" banners.

It wouldn't surprise me if we ludicrously beat Man City on Wednesday. I have an appointment at the head doctor later today!

Stephen Brown
29 Posted 15/02/2021 at 10:42:08
Spot on ,Lyndon!

I know it's all been said but..

Surely we have to stick to 4-2-3-1 formation.

Defence needs to be Godfery, Mina, Keane and Digne for the rest of the season.

Doucouré and Allan or Davies in midfield.

Iwobi and Richarlison wide.

James or Sigurdsson at No 10.

Calvert-Lewin or King up front.

Trying to fit all these slow players into the team in odd formations has been a disaster!!

It's only one game and you never know, we might beat Man City??? Doubtful... but we might! However, the reality will probably be we lose to City and Liverpool and then limply go out of the FA Cup. We then are in a fight for 8th spot and the season is a complete waste of a massive opportunity!

I'm trying hard not to over-react but it's hard to not see this outcome! It's really difficult supporting Everton!

As some have said on other threads, Carlo did not look well last night! Events obviously impacted on him this week. Surely though the people around him could have taken a lead in realising the formation and personnel was not right from minute 1!! It was obvious, so how couldn't they all see it? Iwobi and King should have been on at half-time!

Dave Williams
30 Posted 15/02/2021 at 10:43:59
Mike #23,

I couldn't agree more. James clearly didn't fancy that last night and is not for us. He cannot dominate a game or dictate play. Other sides have cottoned on to his party piece of the long raking ball from right to left and he is too slow for this league. Great to watch when he is on song but too many teams have got wise to him and he certainly doesn't relish the rough stuff.

Maybe we can carry him with Allan, Doucouré and Davies in the midfield but, last night, teaming him with Gomes and Sigurdsson was a ridiculous idea as they are all too slow and have a tendency to get overrun.

Quite what has gone wrong with Holgate is a mystery. Last season, he was being hailed as England's next centre-half. His injury in pre-season was a bit of a mystery – out that long with a toe injury?? – and he has been suspect ever since.

Ancelotti's role in this debacle was poor. Surely he has learned that Sigurdsson, Gomes and James means the team plays too slowly, and why could he not motivate them at half time to put in some real bite and effort? Why bring off Tom and why not give Allan half an hour –Bernard is not going to turn the game when the opposition are so dominant and so physically strong. Was Carlo blinded by his goal against Spurs? – Surely not??

What we saw last night was not a performance by a team. It was a group of individuals who, apart from Seamus and Tom, did not look interested, didn't really want to be out on the pitch, and didn't really care about being two goals down. We are clearly not ready for any kind of European venture – imagine how we would fare in the Premier League if we were playing in Europe?! Relegation would be a real possibility because this group of players cannot be bothered in certain games.

Thank goodness we have amassed so many points already as we could easily be on a run of four defeats in 10 days time!

Very, very poor... and the only consolation was that I hadn't done a 550-mile round trip to see it!!

Derek Taylor
31 Posted 15/02/2021 at 10:51:31
How can a man so respected for his playing career and donkey's years as a coach and manager, get it so wrong and so often? How does he fail to get cover for his only real goal scorer and fail to utilise effectively his grossly over-paid defenders and midfielders?

(Quite which category his disinterested star free-transfer, James, is supposed to fit in, I have no idea... although last night the star seemed to say 'Fuck this, I'm out of here!')

Pointless, of course, for us mere mortals to criticise a manager with Carlo's record... although I begin to suspect he is allowing others to influence him. If this is the case, the fading leader should take back command immediately and begin to earn his ridiculous salary.

Dale Rose
32 Posted 15/02/2021 at 11:01:33
It was an awful game. No positives at all.

No amount of tinkering can make up for the lack of consistency displayed. It's the lack of consistency I don't understand.

I've always liked Holgate but, for the past few games, he has looked like he was playing on the beach.

A lot can't be said in praise of the others either. Davies and Coleman gave their best but the surrender flag went up from the get-go.

Geoff Williams
33 Posted 15/02/2021 at 11:17:46
A truly pathetic team performance with no positives to hang on to.

Holgate was awful, I lost count of the backward passes he made and Digne was also very negative. James might as well have stayed in the dressing room as he had absolutely no impact on the game.

As for Sigurdsson, I'm lost for words. According to BT Sport, he touched the ball 8 times, yes 8 times, in the first half, pathetic.

Playing Richarlison as a centre-forward was always doomed to fail. 4 touches for him in the first half showed how ineffective our midfield was and unsuited he is for the position.

I have no confidence in Olsen in goal, he certainly is no better than Pickford.

I shall refrain from commenting on the performance of the manager, his team selection, substitutions etc – other than to say that he is as culpable as any of the players for that fiasco.

Jim Bennings
34 Posted 15/02/2021 at 11:21:38
I was slated on here about 18 months ago for my "jury out" assessment of Holgate.

People were telling me he was good on the ball but I just couldn't see it.

He's okay when teams give him time to strut around but give him old-fashioned heart-on-sleeve defending to do and he can't do it, at least not yet.

He might become a better defender if he loses a bit of the attitude; it's a bit like Pickford, you ain't as good as you think, lad.

Godfrey looks like he will be a mean defender but, at the minute, I'd be playing him left-back because Digne is another one who is defensively very fragile.

I'd move Digne left midfield and push Richarlison up front; at least Digne can cross a ball whilst Godfrey will combat those defensive issues.

Peter Gorman
35 Posted 15/02/2021 at 11:48:58
I don't even buy that Fulham played well – they only managed 2 goals against 11 traffic cones.

How could they not win when they could carry the ball uncontested right up to the Everton penalty area, again and again and again and again?

Steve Hogan
36 Posted 15/02/2021 at 12:04:04
Quote of the night from a mate:

"Sigurdsson, James and Gomes wouldn't look out of place in an amputee relay race."

Says it all really.

Mark Murphy
37 Posted 15/02/2021 at 12:22:27
Andrew – 2 posts:

@10 - I'm sad to say I agree re James. He's a wonderful player but we look better without him. A Spanish friend of mine predicted events like his "self-substitution" last night when we first signed him. He's known in Spain for his attitude.

@13 – see this is where I get annoyed. Anyone, like me, who thinks Carlo is the man for the job long-term and is optimistic that he can change it around, are labelled as sycophants who are smitten by him and can see no wrong. Whilst those who want him out and replaced by A N Other (including Moyes, Dyche & even Allardyce apparently) are realists who want the best for our club.

He's a good manager – he's improved us already – but he's not even half-way into the job. Last night, he fucked up royally and I'm just as angry as the Carlo Outs about that. In fact, I'm still angry today.

But, just because I don't want another knee-jerk manager change doesn't make me a Happy Clapper.

Mal van Schaick
38 Posted 15/02/2021 at 12:37:13
Everton weren't even as good as a weekend pub team. Performance aside, I would like an explanation from Ancelotti regarding his team selection and tactics and what retrospective action he will take against a bunch of shirkers.

It wouldn't surprise any of us if we go from dire to dream team against Man City, but I doubt it and expect us to get hammered.

It's going from what could've been, to what it really is. Disappointing.

Brian Murray
39 Posted 15/02/2021 at 12:37:56
Considering each league place is worth a lot of money and we have basically threwn away 12 points already this season, will the owner start asking questions or is he happy to cruise along as long as we are safe until the new ground is up and running?

As for his sidekick, there's no way even if people are screaming for him to step down will he walk away before the big ego-boosting grand opening of the new Stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock.

Fourth time lucky if it does get built...

Kevin Turner
40 Posted 15/02/2021 at 12:40:56
A lot of stick getting given to Holgate on here... and quite right too. He needs taking down a peg or two. His attitude of late is one of a cocky sod which is fine if you back that strutting around with quality performances. He concedes corners too easily, gives free-kicks away in dangerous places and loses his personal battles against his opponent. Buck up or "buck off", lad.

Anyone else get the impression our "star" player, James, hasn't the stomach for a fight and has actually decided the Premier League isn't for him? Teams are roughing him up, leaving a foot in, and he quickly goes off his game. I'm not even sure he took a knock last night. I just think he thought, "Sod this for a game soldiers, I'm offski!"

Andrew Ellams
41 Posted 15/02/2021 at 12:44:22
Mark, my view of Ancelotti is that the game has left him behind. To play the least mobile midfield I've ever seen in the modern-day Premier League is asking to be overrun like we were last night.

Play James, Gomes, Sigurdsson and Davies on Wednesday and Man City will just pass the ball around us all night and it could get humiliating.

Chris Leyland
42 Posted 15/02/2021 at 12:48:33
Woeful, absymal and shameful are the three adjectives to describe last night. The manager got it wrong and so did the players. That midfield doesn't work. It's got to be Davies, Allan and Doucouré. If Calvert-Lewin isn't available, then King has to start upfront.

We have blown opportunities to be higher up the league with our woeful home form but lots of teams have. Leicester, who everyone seems to love, took 1 point from us in the two games. Spurs are struggling, Man Utd keep dropping points, and Chelsea are behind where they should be.

Finally, Liverpool are also miles behind their standards of the previous two years. That doesn't excuse the sort of performance we witnessed last night but, along with all the negatives of Fulham, Newcastle at home, we've had the bonuses of Spurs, Wolves and Leicester away. It's going to be a roller-coaster season and our squad is not good enough to finish top 4. Top 6 would be an achievement.

David Pearl
43 Posted 15/02/2021 at 12:56:37
Not about our midfield personnel and more about starting positions. Carlo said we set up deep in the past because of Mina and Keane having a lack of pace. But he played Godfrey and Holgate last night. So we sit deep and had no width. With fresh wide players like lwobi, Bernard on the bench along with King, the blame lies solely with the manager.

I don't want him gone. I just want him to play on the front foot. I want to see a balanced side. Since Digne has recovered from injury, he has had to change things around and we all know by now it takes him 4 or 5 games to get it right and find the balance.

His name will save his job. This summer is huge for him and us, so let's see who he attracts. If we chose Moyes over Ancelotti, we would still have Godfrey, Doucoure and Nkounkou, and King probably. No Allan or James but maybe Soufal and Soucel *?)

Anyway... whatever. Deflated today. Too many stupid losses. Even if we beat Man City and Liverpool, we will probably lose the next 2 home games will his rotation. And l am not talking player rotation. I am talking, and l have said this before... he rotates his style and formation too many times. He lost his Chelsea job at Goodison Park. He could lose his job at the same location if he doesn't buck up. Prick.

Tom Bowers
44 Posted 15/02/2021 at 12:56:46
It could only be Everton doing this.

Right from the first kick, Fulham were on top and should have been 3 goals up by half-time. It was awful to watch after the battling performances in the last two games.

Carlo got it all wrong and then had no idea how to rectify it. Why would we even think Carlo is any improvement on Koeman, Martinez and Allardyce after this debacle?

Man City will pass us into a deep sleep on Wednesday or even a coma. Everton couldn't even pass out of their own half yesterday. They were just too slow which has been a problem all season against even the lower clubs of the Championship.

Only good results in the next two games will help erase this sour taste but we know that's unlikely.

Brent Stephens
45 Posted 15/02/2021 at 12:57:15
Andrew #41:

"My view of Ancelotti is that the game has left him behind. To play the least-mobile midfield I've ever seen in the modern-day Premier League is asking to be overrun like we were last night. Play James, Gomes, Sigurdsson and Davies on Wednesday and Man City will just pass the ball around us all night and it could get humiliating."

Andrew, I generally share your frustration though I'm not sure you're putting blame on Davies for last night's performance?? Maybe just the way it's worded.

I don't think the game has left Carlo behind if by that you mean the game has developed significantly in its sophistication and he can no longer read that sophistication. My sense is more that it was just a slow midfield compared with Fulham's.

Howard Sykes
46 Posted 15/02/2021 at 13:01:38
So too tired to play on a Sunday after playing on Wednesday, but not too tired I suppose to pick up their oh so heavy pay packets.

Thank God we are not in the Europa League, having to play on Thursday nights regularly, before then having to play at the weekend as well.

Andrew Ellams
47 Posted 15/02/2021 at 13:02:52
Brent, I'm definitely not putting the blame on Davies for what happened last night. My response to him being subbed probably isn't repeatable.

My point is that the combination of midfield players used last night just doesn't work in the fast paced world of the Premier League. I'm just as intrigued to see if Davies, Allan and Doucoure would work or will that leave us short of creativity in the middle.

Brent Stephens
48 Posted 15/02/2021 at 13:09:47
Andrew, understood.

"I'm just as intrigued to see if Davies, Allan and Doucouré would work or will that leave us short of creativity in the middle."

I think I'd rather see that sort of combination against the likes of Man City and Liverpool. I think we can at least try to drive forward from that base, and get some creativity from wide positions.

Andrew Ellams
49 Posted 15/02/2021 at 13:17:08
Brent, I do think that would be the better bet this week... but without James in the team, especially against Man City.

We will need fast counter punches there and you've got more chance breaking them down out wide than through the middle.

Dave White
50 Posted 15/02/2021 at 13:18:31
Just when I thought we couldn't be any worse than we were against Newcastle! Fuck me, that was soul-destroying.

I'm usually ranting at the screen when watching us play but that was so bad I didn't even muster a whimper. I just can't make any sense of it. Okay, you can look at team selection, fatigue etc but that was so bad, I can't think even see a single positive. A collective mare from 1-11 and the manager.

So soon after the elation of the cup win too, what the fuck happened? Fulham could and should have won that game by 4 clear goals, it's lucky for us they can only score from a yard out.

This team owes us a response on Wednesday. Whatever the result, every part of them needs to be left on the pitch.

Rennie Smith
51 Posted 15/02/2021 at 13:19:15
We're all pissed off but some of the comments about Carlo and James on this thread are ridiculous.

We've spent years pleading for some creativity and world-class skill; when it arrives, apparently it's a luxury, and "he's not up for the Premier League". Make your mind up, what do you want?

It's crap anyway; I actually think he's getting more "up for it". Like the rest, he didn't have a great game last night, but you can see him trying to get on the ball, trying to look for the (non-existent) runners.

For those claiming he feigned injury to come off, have a look back at the double challenge, both go for and connect with the ankle. He gets kicked to shit, but apparently "he's not up for it".

So you take him out of the team, what are you missing?
5 goals
3 assists
8 big chances created – more than Sterling, Son & Salah

Be pissed off, but don't let that cloud your vision as to what the problem is. Let's forgot creativity and skill and go back to good old Route One Allardyce methods of lumping it over the midfield's heads... see where that gets us again.

Thomas Richards
52 Posted 15/02/2021 at 13:23:57
His name will save his job."

Are we in the bottom 3?

,"His name will save his job"

Are we in the bottom 3,,michael.kenrick@gmail.com,1,13:23:54,,,ok,23848,02/15/2021 13:23:54,Tomrichards2@outlook.com,reader,,,no 1132227,40469,toffeeweb,15/02/2021,Brian Harrison,brianhanmer@blueyonder.co.uk,"I know Ancelotti is always very calm, and probably last night at half-time we needed a more Alex Ferguson cup-throwing tantrum than some measured words.

I would have thought he might have been better served to tell Duncan Ferguson to go in and give them what for at half-time... this lot need a real kick up the backside after that performance.

Nick Page
53 Posted 15/02/2021 at 13:33:52
We won't beat Man City in the FA Cup. We won't beat them midweek and we won't beat Liverpool. We won't finish in the top 4 and we won't make the Europa League places.

We will, however, get 40 points and finish mid-table and play in the Premier League next season, where we'll probably finish mid-table and not win a trophy.

We've become the most pointless team in the league. A real nowhere man, going nowhere.

Andrew Ellams
54 Posted 15/02/2021 at 13:38:41

James has played in 11 Premier League games and missed 11 games.

Guess which 11 we have earned more points in?

Kevin Prytherch
55 Posted 15/02/2021 at 13:58:47
Andrew - that would be with him... (I think, unless I miscounted quickly)

21 vs 16 - although that is largely due to the fact that we got 13 points out of his first 5 games. After that it’s a meagre 8 points from 6 games with him in the team.

Kevin Molloy
56 Posted 15/02/2021 at 14:02:45
I'm convinced the reason for the flatness of the performance was because the players did not have faith in the tactics they were asked to employ. They may or may not be correct in that but, if they don't believe in what they are doing, that is bound to have an effect.

I think the management team is in danger of giving the players too many instructions from game to game, when what we need is an overarching style of play. I think the reason they are doing this is because Ancelotti is a brilliant tactician and he doesn't have faith that the players can go toe to toe with many teams without his input.

But you can't get by on clever tactics every game; we will eventually get found out.

Mark Murphy
57 Posted 15/02/2021 at 14:09:00
Rennie, I said "James is a wonderful player". I'm glad we have him.

But we have looked better in games when he hasn't played... and he did take himself off last night.

I fervently hope that Carlo recognises that James plus Sigurdsson plus Gomes doesn't work and we see James at Number 10 where he belongs, with Allan, Doucouré behind him.

It's time to decide on a first eleven line-up and stick to it.

Mine is:

Coleman(for now) Keane Mina Godfrey
Doucouré Allan (Davies in if either is injured.)
Iwobi James Richarlison
Calvert-Lewin (or King if Calvert-Lewin is injured)

Derek Taylor
58 Posted 15/02/2021 at 14:14:16
Rennie @ 51, I know proper Evertonians must not criticise the manager and players but for you to imply that last night's game provided 'creativity and skill' is what was on show is slightly over the top.

Quite frankly, I suspect that most of us would have settled on a 'lumping over heads' experience had it been employed in all these games lost to lower teams at home this season. Don't be a football snob, it's points what count, however 'muck and nettles' as they used to say!

Bill Rodgers
59 Posted 15/02/2021 at 14:16:42
Both Holgate and Davies should never play for Everton again.
Peter Laing
60 Posted 15/02/2021 at 14:24:40
Mark @57,

I would go with that – no Digne? I would swap Seamus for Digne with Godfrey at right-back.

Tony Abrahams
61 Posted 15/02/2021 at 14:32:00
A report that says everything, Lyndon, and then the usual disagreements about a game full of different opinions. I'd definitely play Davies, Doucouré and Allan in midfield at the minute, but then I wouldn't have moved away from being hard to beat.

Rennie Smith
62 Posted 15/02/2021 at 14:32:10
Andrew @54, you're right, in the Premier League games James didn't play, we won 5 and lost 1. That was against Chelsea, Arsenal, Leicester, Leeds & Sheff Utd. Apart from the Blades, I would suggest the tactics against the rest were to defend and play on the break, so not really a James sort of game. That would indicate he has his place, but maybe not in every game. That still doesn't mean he's "not up for it" or he's a "luxury".

Derek@58, no-one is above criticism (read back my first post where I said last night was the worst performance I've seen for a long while). I just don't like the wild criticism that Carlo doesn't know what he's doing, football dinosaur etc etc. As Thomas @52 points out, ridiculous statements like "His name will save his job" when we're in 7th place and not exactly fighting a relegation battle.

I'm afraid I'm an old git who started in the '70s so I have seen the highs and the very lows. Call it misty-eyed, but I don't want to see that style of play, even if it does get us 1 place higher in the table. That's not being a football snob. I believe with the right players, the right manager, and most importantly time, winning can be achieved by playing decent football.

Brian Murray
63 Posted 15/02/2021 at 14:35:16
Nick @53. You sure you should've got out of bed this morning? Obviously Mr Bluebird left your shoulder a while ago. Carlo says the high press of Fulham was a factor. I'm hoping that's lost in translation a bit because c'mon – does he expect the opposition to just lay on their belly and get tickled, like us in a derby, let's say!
Tom Harvey
65 Posted 15/02/2021 at 14:42:14
Bill Rodgers @ 59

"Both Holgate and Davies should never play for Everton again. "

What game were you watching last night? Davies was the one positive to come out of last night. The kid is starting play and he's showing heart with it.

Holgate had a bad one fair enough.

Tony Abrahams
66 Posted 15/02/2021 at 14:59:33
One thing I've often thought in the past is that if Everton would have been relegated without the fans at Goodison Park? Liverpool lose two on the bounce at Anfield, after being unbeaten there all season, and it's all about how much they're missing their wonderful fans?

Everton do better without the fans, say the misinformed media sycophants, but I've just seen a stat that says Everton have won 3 out of 14 at Goodison, drawn 5 and lost 6, even if I'm glad I wasn't there last night, in the freezing cold wind, watching that shite!

Kenny Smith
67 Posted 15/02/2021 at 15:06:07
A day on and I feel no better after watching what was a total disgrace of a performance from 1 to 11. It's one thing rotating players but at least keep them in familiar roles.

If anyone was left in any doubt, then last night proved Seamus is finished and Holgate is nowhere near good enough to play right-back.

Gomes was dreadful and was put to shame when Keane started playing the ball forwards for the first time about 75 minutes in. I don't think Gomes played it forwards once.

Richarlison looked fucked off throughout but not as fucked off as I was watching him being fucked off.

Hate to say it but Wednesday is an impossible game and will only go one way. When was the last time we lost 5 home league games in a row? Might be worth starting the fringe players and keeping our fingers crossed it doesn't reach double figures.

Dan Coultas
68 Posted 15/02/2021 at 15:09:11
Just about recovering from that absolutely insipid display.

More than looking leggy and knackered as is being claimed, we just looked set up completely wrong from the start. The fact that Richarlison, who had finally made his impact on the season vs Spurs, had 14 touches in the entire game, shows just how anonymous our key players were.

What is very clear is that serious reinforcements are needed this summer to give us more competition from the bench.

I've said it multiple times already but to leave a team, supposedly whose ambition is to challenge for the top four, with those two goalkeepers and two registered strikers for a season is totally irresponsible and deluded.

Alan J Thompson
69 Posted 15/02/2021 at 15:12:35
Tom (#65); Haven't you worked it out yet? Tom Davies got criticized a couple of weeks ago in a game in which he didn't even run on. I don't know what some of them watch either but I think I know what their main opinion is.
Joe McMahon
70 Posted 15/02/2021 at 15:26:24
Lyndon, like you say "Unforgivable results". I just don't know where we (Everton FC) go from here? After decades of awfull football, countless let-downs and endless piss-takes from that lot.

As personally I can't commit to a season ticket, I usually end up in a seat more often with a restricted view. For such expense with facilities from a bygone time, I decided I won't set foot in Goodison again (been 3 years now) and wait till there is a new stadium. Even my few away trips since then all ended in defeat. Given the cycle of letdowns is in the DNA of "The People's Club", I think I've finally had enough.

Looking at much dross in the squad, nothing is going to change, and I just can't see use dining at the top table again ever. We don't deserve the media fawning some fans want, it has to be earned and silverware in the '6's and '80s won't get it in 2021.

Anthony Murphy
71 Posted 15/02/2021 at 15:27:22
We seem to shoot ourselves in the foot every season – golden opportunity to build some momentum after a couple of decent results, but can't seem to raise the necessary desire to push on. We should be talking about pushing for the top 4 today.

I would have thought Carlo would target this game for 3 points given who we've got on the horizon, but it appears that he underestimated Fulham who, if you've been watching, have played well recently but just not found the results.

Lack of respect shown, preparation and desire, combined with an unusual decision to rest key first-team players whilst others were also missing through injury.

Jack Convery
72 Posted 15/02/2021 at 15:32:48
On-the-mark report. Nothing more to add about the game.

Klopp - nobody is happy about being on the same points as Everton.

Put that up on the dressing room wall and fuckin murder the disrespectful bastards.

Actually Jurgen we're not very happy at being behind your lot! I suppose you still blame Pickford for all your ills – gobshite.

Steve Carse
73 Posted 15/02/2021 at 15:42:15
Rennie (62), after 25 years without a trophy, I don't think we're in any position to eschew any way of playing!
Jay Harris
74 Posted 15/02/2021 at 15:51:40
First of all, can I compliment Lyndon on summing up the situation so appropriately. I agree with every word and, as always, your written word is without peer.

The only thing I would wish to add is this was not about your least-favourite individual – be it Sigurdsson, Holgate, James or AN Other. This was about a poor contribution from the top to the bottom.

Poor team selection from Carlo, unfortunately becoming all too frequent, poor organisation, and piss poor team spirit and contribution.

Mid-week exertions do not excuse this lame showing. Apart from one or two that showed they care, this was a summing up of all that is wrong with this squad. They will not put the effort in and are mentally weak.

Fulham's squad cost a pittance compared to ours and included a reject that made Richarlison look like the cheaper player. Fulham's total wage bill is probably on a par with a couple of our players' costs (I won't use the term 'earnings').

It is all the more frustrating because, if we had more desire and effort, we could be in with a chance of a league and cup double instead of another wasted year when we end up with nothing except another midtable finish.

I haven't written much since the game because I was speechless and posting just reminds me of the hurt that these players are causing.

Nurse, nurse, more painkillers please.

Rennie Smith
75 Posted 15/02/2021 at 16:16:51
Steve @73, that's fair enough, I too would give anything for a trophy (just a glimmer!!!). I suppose my point is I believe we are work-in-progress (not yet started based on last night) and we don't have to chuck out the tools just yet.
Jamie Crowley
76 Posted 15/02/2021 at 16:28:43
Everyone needs to seriously calm the fuck down.

This is the exact same team that got a last kick equalizer against Man Utd, and the exact same team that turned in one of the greatest footy performances / games I've ever had the pleasure of watching on Wednesday!

Yes, we shit the bed. Yes, we were awful. It was predictable – not because "Everton that" but because our squad has been through some insanely high-energy games lately. Play a Fulham team on the weekend who plays real football and will make you run and chase, you're bound to run out of gas and have a listless performance.

For all you hyperbolic, doom and gloom merchants out there, we are 3 points off 4th place with 2 games in-hand. One of those games being Man City, and one winnable game against a tough Aston Villa side. Win just one of them and we're level for a Champions League spot.

Throw on top of that we're through the FA Cup after arguably the most awe-inspiring effort I've ever witnessed from an Everton team, and the fact we have 16 games left to play in the season, let's not give up hope just yet??

Jesus man, the going gets tough, things don't go your way, and it's all, "Fuck it, that's our season done."

Do TWers always give up this easily? Get behind the team. We had a terrible day. We're still in the mix.

Will Mabon
77 Posted 15/02/2021 at 16:35:46
Unfortunately, I fear that "performance" may have lined us up for similar ass whoopings down the line. I can't recall seeing a team so cowed and panicked by a modern era-type press as we were for periods last night. How many times we were pushed back from our own attacks, to the point of treating the ball like a hot potato, usually leading to ceding possession and ending up under further pressure.

That particular line-up is finished as a viable team in any circumstance, as will have been well noted by all future opposition.

I know many had concerns with the midfield. Some (including me) raised an eyebrow at the changes to the back line. This aspect rests with management. This said, Davies and later Keane apart, that was a special kind of surrender by the players. Even thinking on and off since last night, I can't remember such a display of absolute torpor, ever. Unforgivable.

Back to the old chestnut, but there really is something amiss in the fabric.

Will Mabon
78 Posted 15/02/2021 at 16:43:58
Jamie, @76:

I read your post, and it's all valid. I agree with the realities of our position in the table, cup, possible effects of tiredness etc.

I'm afraid it still isn't enough to excuse last night. It's not even what happened. It's how it happened, and how badly. It was down to more than tough going. It was terrible... and alas, its presence seems to reside within the squad, always ready to pop back out, like malaria.

Some questions need to be asked at Finch Farm.

Thomas Richards
79 Posted 15/02/2021 at 16:46:42
Well said, Jamie.

I had to check the table after reading the doom-and-gloom comments. I was convinced we must be in a relegation fight.

John Raftery
80 Posted 15/02/2021 at 16:51:46
Dire is the word. Apart from Manchester City, all clubs in the top half of the table are suffering from inconsistency. Two or three positive results are followed by one or two defeats with teams seemingly most vulnerable in their home games.

We all know our squad is a long, long way from being the finished article but it has improved in the 14 months since we were in a relegation scrap when the gap between us and our neighbours seemed greater than ever.

Like many clubs, our players are finding it difficult to raise their game every three or four days. Our players are nowhere near good enough to assume they can approach any game in a casual fashion, assuming the outcome will be determined by league position rather than their performance on the day. Yesterday, complacency was evident from the first minute.

Given that fatigue, mental as much as physical, was likely to be a factor, it was puzzling to see the manager opt for a hopelessly adventurous 4-3-3 formation using players completely unsuited to it. Even more puzzling was his apparent reluctance to change it, allowing the game to drift along until we fell behind. Gaps were everywhere. Better teams than Fulham would have had the game sown up well before the interval.

Tony Abrahams
81 Posted 15/02/2021 at 16:54:23
Singing all the way from America! Good post, Jamie.

People are also probably looking at the next two fixtures, thinking we won't get anything. but I reckon Ancelotti will make at least six changes on Wednesday. just like Fulham had to win at Goodison one day (they'd had 21 straight league defeats), Manchester City have also got to drop points soon.

Jay Harris
82 Posted 15/02/2021 at 16:57:21

The frustration is not where we stand but where we could and should be.

If you are content with 0 points from games at home against West Ham, Newcastle and Fulham, then I'm pleased for you... but Many are not and are particularly upset with the manner of these performances where a bit of effort and bottle would have seen different results.

Will Mabon
83 Posted 15/02/2021 at 16:58:02
Thomas, when you checked that table, without last night's offering, it may have shown 38 or 40 points; even better without previous games played in a similar vein. The doom and gloom is about last night. We may be okay position-wise.

The manner in which we have thrown games away to supposed poor teams is a concern, and in massive contrast to the better play we've seen. It's not fantasy, we could realistically be even better placed than we are. We've shown it. Last night, that team just... rolled over.

Will Mabon
84 Posted 15/02/2021 at 16:59:28
Sorry, Jay - I just about repeated you, by simultaneous typing!
Mike Connolly
85 Posted 15/02/2021 at 17:00:25
Jamie, you sound like a man whose glass is half-full. I wish I was like you. Everton have well and truly knocked it out of me.

Your comment is a bit flawed. Winnable game against Villa! Is that like the other winnable games, Newcastle, West Ham, Leeds and Fulham???

This is Everton; we don't do the obvious. Hey, but I hope you're right.

Thomas Richards
86 Posted 15/02/2021 at 17:21:07

I agree with most of your post. Frustrating, to say the least.

I criticised the manager and the players last night, I stand by that today. I was trying to point out some over-the-top posts about our overall situation as a football club.

In my opinion, we are ahead of where I thought we may be after just over a year of Ancelotti. We all know half of last night's starting eleven won't start the first game next season.

I reckon he is doing okay given what he has to work with. Last night was an exception to that, of course.

Jay Harris
87 Posted 15/02/2021 at 17:39:10
Will, that's okay, we are singing from the same hymn sheet.

Will Mabon
88 Posted 15/02/2021 at 17:57:30
Jay - the very same.

Thomas - we are probably ahead... but the frustration is where we could be!

Bogdan Kotarlic
89 Posted 15/02/2021 at 17:58:14
We played very badly and deserved to lose. Fulham was a much better side and it seemed as if they were toying with us. We didn`t create almost any chanches at all and we had one or two shot on target, easily saved.

I was very sad when we lost to Newcastle few weeks ago but now I have just accepted that Fulham was better. I think that they could stay in the league without many problems if they continue playing this way. They have a lot of quality in their side: Lookman and Harrison Reid were outstanding.

Now Manchester City, I hope that we will win the match but I would be satisfied with a draw, they are currently, unfortunately, much better team than we are.

Kieran Kinsella
90 Posted 15/02/2021 at 18:05:30
"Everton that" is such a meaningless and ridiculous statement. When Moyes was here we'd finish 6th and "Everton that" was trotted out when we went 42 away games without a win at the Big 6 to suggest only Everton would fall short in that one key area. Now, "Everton that" has evolved to mean we win away at Spurs yet lose at home to an easy opponent.

That apart, "Everton that" seems better either way than other "thats"... for example:

"Tottenham that" – get to a European Cup Final, spend a billion on a new stadium, then sack the manager and open said new stadium just before quarantine bans fans.

Or "Hearts that" – when George Burley starts the season with 10 wins out of 10 then you sack him and get relegated.

Or "Arsenal that" – when you're the double winners and build a massive new stadium so you earn more money to win the Champions League, then proceed to become a selling club due to the mortgage on the new stadium.

Or "Portsmouth that" – winning the FA Cup then going bankrupt.

Or "Sunderland that" – build a new stadium spend hundreds of millions and end up in tier three.

Or "Marseille that" – win the European cup then be stripped of it because you bribed an easy league opponent to lose even though you had all but sewn up the title.

Or "Middlesborough that" – get to two cup finals, win nothing then get relegated.

Or "West Ham that" – bring through homegrown Lampard, Cole and Ferdinand at the same time then get relegated.

"Everton that" is just a stupid phrase people trot out when anything doesn't go exactly as they hoped. The only real "Everton that" is the fact 70% of posts every week indicate that the managers is a busted flush, and the players are all crap. Then, if we lose, the same posters seem bewildered.

Brent Stephens
91 Posted 15/02/2021 at 18:07:30
Kieran #90, totally agree. Just seems an empty saying.

A great post, that.

Thomas Richards
92 Posted 15/02/2021 at 18:12:10
It is contradictory.

Same poster posts following:

"Ancelotti can only work with top players, he can't manage a club like Everton."

Next day.

"Ancelotti is hopeless, why are we not challenging for top four."

You couldn't make it up.

Darren Hind
93 Posted 15/02/2021 at 18:15:32
Lyndon Lloyd
94 Posted 15/02/2021 at 18:21:04
Jamie (76), I admire your optimism but don't do it to yourself! Far easier to accept the reality that the players have handed us in 4 home defeats to Leeds, West Ham, Newcastle and now Fulham.

This wasn't the "exact same team" as against United and Spurs. Crucially, Keane and Calvert-Lewin were missing from the team that drew at Old Trafford and, as I say in the report, only 4 of the players that started on Wednesday started against Fulham.

Regardless, this wasn't only an issue of fatigue (and if it was, why was Sigurdsson starting?!); it was one of shape (or lack thereof), fight, attitude, complacency... all the things that were failings in those other three home losses.

Looking at the points gap to 4th is futile now, IMO. Hope for 6th, put all our energy into winning the FA Cup, and then address the squad's shortcomings in the summer.

Mark Murphy
95 Posted 15/02/2021 at 18:24:19
Peter Laing,

I'm a big fan of Digne but lately we've looked better with Godfrey at left-back. I also still think that Seamus adds something to the attack going forward and is one of the few in this team that would bleed for Everton.

On saying that, when Digne is back to his best he should return. As I think this season's best centre-back pairing has been Keane and Yerri then, yes, when Digne is “back”, I'd play Godfrey at right-back.

Right now I'm more worried about Richarlison than anyone else. He's gone from our star man to our most underperforming player in the space of 4 months. Something is up!

Thomas Richards
96 Posted 15/02/2021 at 18:25:07
Yet Another winner backed.


Lyndon Lloyd
97 Posted 15/02/2021 at 18:35:53
Kieran (90),

"Everton, that" is specifically a reference to our club's propensity to act as a doormat for struggling teams and players to end their awful runs against us. It's a self-deprecating joke with more than a hint of bitter self-loathing about it but we all know what it means.

But it also gets to a long-standing mentality issue that seems to pervade our club and an extended and unending pattern of under-achievement regardless of manager, owner, investment, whatever.

All those references you made to other clubs are all time-limited incidences where things haven't gone to plan or perhaps where some "Sod's Law" has come into play but only Tottenham's version – "that's so Spursy" – is really that comparable to our serial under-performance. And even they have won trophies, got to the Champions League Final, and built a superb stadium in the meantime.

Of course, it's a little bit glib and there are myriad underlying reasons why we continue to struggle to achieve anything but, while the example of Leicester (in 2016 and even now) is there as an example of the power of mentality then "Everton, that" will still resonate as a refrain that sums up our collective Blue misery.

John Raftery
98 Posted 15/02/2021 at 18:50:15
A lesson learned yesterday is that Holgate and Godfrey cannot be an effective central defensive duo in the foreseeable future. One of them can partner Keane or Mina while the other can play full-back or midfield.

Injuries seem to have had an impact on Holgate who looks well short of the level he reached last season.

Rick Tarleton
99 Posted 15/02/2021 at 18:50:46
I was there in 1963 when Roy Vernon scored the hat-trick against Fulham and we won the League.

Watching yesterday was so painful. Three midfielders with Fiat 500 engines cannot be fitted into any team... and for that team to expect to beat the turbo-charged midfields that every other team can find.

The defence is 'Guess who's there?' every week, yet most teams have fairly settled back lines and stick to the same system; we haven't and we don't.

Stephen Brown (#29) has some sensible ideas. If available, Godfrey and Keane need to be our central defence; add Holgate if it's to be a back three or, if a back four, Digne and Coleman. Incidentally, why did Kenny never get a look-in?

Allan and Davies (Gbamin?) as defensive midfield, Iwobi and Rodriguez as wider players, Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin upfront. If it's a back three, add Gomez or Sigurdsson, never both.

Michael Lynch
100 Posted 15/02/2021 at 18:52:09
Right now, I'd play Godfrey at right-back, left-back and centre-back, with Keane alongside him. Seamus and Digne as wing-backs, Davies and Doucouré in the middle, and Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin up top. Oh and I'd have Holgate collecting the teacups after the half time break
Gerard McKean
101 Posted 15/02/2021 at 19:04:42
I'm with Tony #61; keep it simple and pick a team that's hard to beat. Teams that are hard to beat win more often than they lose. I would have thought that a manager brought up in Serie A would get that.

I'm even more with Lyndon #97, but I'm not willing to stand in front of a firing squad again for explaining the obvious connection between a club accepting less than the best off the pitch and the team mentality on the pitch that accepts it's okay not to be willing to die for the shirt every time you cross the white line.

The manager has big choices to make and, for me, I just don't select a player who is not up for the battle every single game.

Thomas Richards
102 Posted 15/02/2021 at 19:08:10
Olsen - no
Coleman - no
Holgate - no
Sigurdsson - no
Gomes - no
Davies - no

I don't believe any of the starters listed from last night will start our first game of next season.

Totally different ball game next season.

Graham Hammond
103 Posted 15/02/2021 at 19:43:31
Whilst the result was very poor, it was very obviously coming.

I think it is important to focus on the big picture here and what went on last night and is going on generally. Let's be honest, the movement from our players was absolute shite, that is why we were absolute shite and for the most part, are shite.

The off-the-ball movement was still poor at times against Manchester United and Spurs; do not kid ourselves, we either just got lucky or were lucky, then again, with the endeavour, intensity and will to win present in each and every Everton player then you generally make your own luck and are rewarded accordingly.

I am not going to bash Carlo after the shitty week he has had, that would not feel right, as things stand he is one of us. But, one way or another, the movement off the ball has to improve massively, there was no support play last night, no going to meet the ball when in possession, no opening up of angles, no desire to move when in possession, no desire to look for space.

I want to see an Everton team that, when in possession, has options and has an easy pass on, we are all watching a team to greater or lesser degrees that is, all too often, having to resort to risky passes that leak possession or a team caught dithering and that loses possession precisely because the movement and the options are not there.

I am boring myself now; it is the same old story week after week. Is it a lack of desire in the players, a lack of fitness, a lack of what I consider basic football intelligence, or the coaching that is at fault – or indeed all of these things? We made and allowed Fulham to look very good indeed and that cannot be right on any level.

The big picture is (regardless of the quality of any given individual in blue) that the movement is shite and it has to improve and sadly it is the job of the manager to either get that or to instil that into the players. The gaps between players are too often completely unacceptable.

Dave Evans
104 Posted 15/02/2021 at 19:43:34
Break-ins, especially when family are in the house, can be chronically devastating and traumatic.

It is unknown how this has affected the manager but you would have thought the players would have rolled their sleeves up and got the job done for Carlo. Especially when some have gone out their way to talk of a new togetherness at the club.

Or is this just old-school thinking that is for the birds?

Chas Mansour
105 Posted 15/02/2021 at 19:52:12
I think that our midfield and defence have been taking the 2-m social distancing guideline a bit too literally.
Graham Hammond
106 Posted 15/02/2021 at 19:52:38
Thomas Richards #102.

Whilst you may well be right about the six players you mentioned, it is also a fair bet that we will also be without Richarlison and Godfrey in the starting line up too... ie, our best two players (in my opinion).

Quality players will not want to stick around a team that turns in performances as we did against Newcastle and Fulham; this is why performances like last night are so damaging.

Thomas Richards
107 Posted 15/02/2021 at 19:58:59

Listening to Godfrey, he is going nowhere.

Richarlison? I would sell him if a decent fee was offered.

Andy Crooks
108 Posted 15/02/2021 at 20:19:56
Jamie @ 76, I just don't get the fatigue excuse. We were abysmal from the first minute.

I do think, though, that we have players who are incapable of playing consistent high-intensity football. Most of them haven't got two consecutive good games in them. Why is this so?

Are they in a comfort zone where there appears to be no sanction for complacency?
Do they hate losing enough?
Do they actually believe they are good enough?

Strong will and fear of defeat grows after every victory... or it should. I thought the performances against Man Utd and Spurs would have instilled some resolve. I actually thought defeat was out of the question. After 5 minutes I knew it was highly likely.

I fear that we have too many players who lack the inner steel that cannot be coached.

Thomas Richards
109 Posted 15/02/2021 at 20:25:52
I fear that we have too many players who lack the inner steel that cannot be coached"

100% Andy.

,"I fear that we have too many players who lack the inner steel that cannot be coached"

100% Andy,,michael.kenrick@gmail.com,1,20:24:07,,,ok,23848,02/15/2021 20:24:07,Tomrichards2@outlook.com,reader,,,no 1132412,40471,toffeeweb,15/02/2021,Neil Copeland,Neilcopeland1@sky.com,"Andy #106, good post.

At first, I thought it was just complacency but the fact that we were even worse in the second half rules that out, I think.

I do think Carlo got it wrong but that is no excuse for the apparent lack of desire and application.

I agree with your summary about the inner steel.

Tony Abrahams
110 Posted 15/02/2021 at 20:33:20
I'd definitely agree with that last sentence, Andy, but when you play 5 midfielders, who all prefer to play centrally, and don't really want to be running out wide, with none of them really having the legs to go and join the attack, it definitely affects the mentality. It was horrible from the first few minutes, and needed changing right away.

We could all see it, and the fact that the manager did nothing about it was bizarre imo. It just felt like we were waiting for the inevitable, especially when he never changed a thing at half-time.

Graham Hammond
111 Posted 15/02/2021 at 20:33:22
Thomas Richards #107.

I have not heard what Godfrey has said but I do worry about Man City or Man Utd going for him in the Summer (given how important he now is to us) and offering the lad a massive pay rise to boot. He is only human after all and if we continue to perform as we did against Fulham with any degree of regularity then the outlook is not great for us.

Regarding Richarlison, I accept he is not at his best at the moment but I do think we need to acknowledge the fact that he was (in my opinion) our best player in those opening four league games that got us the great start in the first place, his work rate was amazing!

What would you regard as a decent or indeed acceptable fee for him? I would love us to keep Richarlison if at all possible.

Thomas Richards
112 Posted 15/02/2021 at 20:38:41
Hard to say in the current market. Before Covid, there was talk of £70 million, I would take that in a flash. I don't think you would get offers of more than £40 million in the current situation. I think he has fallen away to be honest (no pun intended).

Neil Copeland
113 Posted 15/02/2021 at 20:40:15
I wonder whether Richarlison is pissed-off with the tactics? He was very good in the first 4 games as stated, playing on the front foot suits him and is much more Brazilian than the 'hold the fort' approach.
Jason Li
114 Posted 15/02/2021 at 20:40:36
I'm trying hard to think of a positive.

Apologies if I'm repeating anything. The only one I can think of... no-one wants to get injured as they truely believe they can have a good game against Man City, and then go to Mordor and get something.

Losing 3 points was like a calculated gamble so that we have some legs for the next two games after strolling against Fulham. Yes, absurd when it would be easier to continue beating Fulham at home and that record.

But they are aware they can't find a way to get motivated at home, and the lads know they have the best chance in ages to break the Mordor record this time if they have the legs, so made the gamble to reserve energy and stroll around.

Remember, Carlo likes to make things unpredictable – unguessable line-ups are his pattern. I'm just wondering if playing terrible in this match was exactly what no-one could guess – a game plan?

If we do beat them, then what a gamble!

Neil Copeland
115 Posted 15/02/2021 at 20:46:19
Jason #115, love your positivity. As crazy as it sounds, there may actually be something in what you say.
Tom Harvey
116 Posted 15/02/2021 at 21:09:26
Jason Li,

Yes I agree, we can have a good game against city, they tend to give us more room and time to play, so do Arsenal and Chelsea.

These teams traditionally tend to rely on there guile to open teams up and not so much on a high tempo and press kind of game as Fulham last night.

If Pep motivates his team to play at a tempo higher than normal, just as against the Dark Side, we could be in trouble though?

Let's wait and see?

Dick Fearon
117 Posted 15/02/2021 at 21:13:54
Tony A @111, I also wondered how long it took for the penny to drop for Carlo. Sadly it took over an hour for him to see we were being run ragged by relegation fodder and even then his attempt at changing things was all wrong.
Paul Kernot
118 Posted 15/02/2021 at 21:46:31
I love Carlo and have absolute faith that he will ultimately take us back where we belong, but how has he not learned that you never, never play Siggie & James in the same line up.
Colin Glassar
119 Posted 15/02/2021 at 22:12:28
Paul, same here. Carlo will take us to the Promised Land but not with a MF full of duds like Gomes, Sigurdsson, Tom, James and bloody Iwobi on the pitch at the same time!
Tom Harvey
120 Posted 15/02/2021 at 22:13:53
Paul Kernot @ 119

Hello Paul,

Many years back my GP was called out to my home and he falsely diagnosed a problem I had, he was the senior GP in the practice with 30+ years experience.

He said I'd caught a stomach bug and it would pass, just take plenty of fluids and rest for 5 - 7 days.

I didn't have a stomach bug, I had Bacterial Meningitis and was dying. Next morning my mother called the surgery again and a young and inexperienced doctor came out, he examined me and gave me a worried look and then he called an ambulance, probably saving my life.

The moral of the story here is that the first and most learned doctor had seen it all before and after his brief examination made a confident diagnosis. The younger doctor went with what he could see and his instincts to disagree with his boss.

Maybe Carlo is at the same stage in his career as the learned doctor above?

Jerome Shields
121 Posted 15/02/2021 at 22:26:25
Jamie, Everton where beaten by a team that got the basics right. Everton and Ancelotti where carried away thinking they where something special and forgot about doing the basics right. Run, press and get stuck in.
Stephen Vincent
122 Posted 15/02/2021 at 00:39:11
Mark #37 Please tell me how last night was an improvement on the 1-0 loss to the Shite kids?

We must accept that the James experiment can't work with the current squad - we can only afford one luxury player and at present we have 10.

I still don't understand the constant criticism of TD, after last night's shameful capitulation he would be the first on the team sheet. How Gomes stayed on the pitch and TD was withdrawn is one of those footballing mysteries. Ok Tom might not be the most gifted player on the books but he never hides always shows for the ball and vs Manure and Spuds he was our best player.

I'm pretty sure that during 60 years of watching EFC there must have been more shameful and embarrassing performances but having thought about it for 24 hours, I cannot recall one.

I cannot question Ancelotti's footballing ability, his record speaks for itself, but I am seriously starting to worry about his man management. The complete lack of effort and pride in their work would make this bunch of losers sackable in any other industry.

Kieran Kinsella
123 Posted 16/02/2021 at 01:02:46
Stephen 123

We hit the post, and one player (Tom) played well so marginally better than the rs kids game

Stephen Vincent
124 Posted 16/02/2021 at 01:36:17
Come on Kieran, we should have won that game and created enough chances to have done so. Unlike Sunday.
Bob Parrington
125 Posted 16/02/2021 at 04:39:59
The way I see it in regard to the game with Fulham is that we were completely outplayed from start to finish and not one player performed to expectations. If this was the only game of its kind that we have done this then we can say, learn format and don't do it again.
So, what do we have? A series of similar performances with lower teams. What have we learned? Absolutely nothing!!

Definition of insanity - we all know it! S what the F**k are we doing about it?

Jamie Crowley
126 Posted 16/02/2021 at 05:28:42
To just about everyone in reply -

Look, we were, absolutely, shit. We looked horrible.

We were outplayed, we weren't up for it, and we lacked any semblance of intent. Watching on my damn cell phone - ask my wife (or pretend you can for verification) - I said to her, "No one's moving for the ball. It's SO obvious, there's no one to pass to!" I'd then point out the vast spaces where no Everton player was, again on my cell phone so vast is proportionally relative, for the player with the ball to have ANY options.

It was disgusting.

But here's my over-arching point.

FFS it's ONE GAME!!! Was it the Everton shit the bed game, where we actually had a massive opportunity to to make a statement? Yes! But it's still one game.

Take a look at some of the teams Man U, "them", Spurs, Leicester, etc. have lost to this season. Am I happy taking no points at home to Fulham, New Castle, et al? Of COURSE I'm not happy with it.

But there's an odd dynamic at play this season. Look at the points dropped by the top teams against some very "inferior" sides. Hell, look at "the crap" and where they are vs. last season! Shit's just messed up. In an upside down season where glory beckons, it's up to Carlo to right the ship.

I realize fans just want to see that Herculean effort and they don't want excuses as their heroes are paid a bazillion dollars to run around and kick a ball. But when you have two games a week, it takes it's toll. You're going to lay a fart at some point, unless you're one of the all-time great teams. And that, we most definitely, are not.

This was coming. I'm sorry, but it was. Fatigue is a thing. When fatigue meets complacency, you get Sunday's game.

There's sixteen damn games left. Let's not pull the nails out for the crucifixion just yet!

As they say in battle to the front lines: HOLD! HOLD!

Just see the next 4-5 games out and then let's see where we are at. If you're 3 points back of 4th with two games in hand, why in the name of all that is holy is your reaction defeatist after one really shitty game, but coming off the back of two amazing games?

It's bipolar and it makes no sense. Again, THREE POINTS BACK WITH TWO IN HAND!

If we lose to Man City and "them", then fuck it, pull out the knives.

Until then: HOLD!!!! HOLD!!!!!

And yes, evidence from Sunday says we're fucked.

BUT! The evidence from Wednesday and last Saturday prior would suggest we'll get at least 4 points from City and "them".

I'm just not even close to throwing in the towel and saying 6th is the best we can do. It's just so negative and defeatist. We'll probably end up there but you know what? Until we do, and as long as we are in shouting distance, I'm not prepared to give up hope.

Especially not after what I saw from the Spurs and Man City game. No way. I prefer to see Fulham as a blip, thank you very much!

Bob Parrington
127 Posted 16/02/2021 at 07:09:04
Well amongst that, Jamie, with the statement. NO ONE MOVED for the ball! How simple is this instruction to a player even amateur never mind pros on squillions.

Yes it is one game but how many times have we done it this season already?

I'd sooner we loose having had a semblance of professional performance

Andrew Ellams
128 Posted 16/02/2021 at 07:48:11
It's not one game though Jamie. For Sunday read Newcastle home and away, Leeds and West Ham.

You could even throw in the second half performance at Fulham and the West Brom game up to the point that they had a man sent off.

There have been too many poor performances this season, we were just fortunate to win some of them and paper over the cracks.

Jerome Shields
129 Posted 16/02/2021 at 07:55:28

Top Six is probably the best that Everton will do. During the bad patch at the start of the season very few give Everton a chance of even achieving that.

Whilst we have some good players with a sprinkle of star dust, there are very few who can performance consistently to a Top four standard. They are worse when they get a idea about themselves and go slow in don't the basics right, as happened at Fulham.

I don't buy into the Ancelotti theory that they have had high hours of football. This never is a reason to sit back and hope quality only will get players through without work rate.

A good professional player should know the effort and where it is required to give a competent performance, no matter what. The biggest failing was that alot of Everton players did not seem to know or thought they could get away with less.

This is a fundamental Everton malaise that has stunk the place out for Seasons. If Everton do not get a Top Six finish it is going to take another season to get them there , with changed personnel.

Mike Gwyer
130 Posted 16/02/2021 at 08:26:52

Jason #115

So I can get my head around your prognosis, do Everton get more than 3 points for beating City? and secondly, were the 3 points that were very winnable against Fulham not that important?

For me, there were zero positives from Sunday night. Absolutely fucking zilch, but we play Southampton in about 2 weeks, another team who put it about, leave their foot in after the tackle and will certainly target James if he is playing... let's see how we cope with them.

Both City and Liverpool can play us off the park. We will need tenacity and bravery in abundance to get anything out of these 2 games.

Michael Kenrick
131 Posted 16/02/2021 at 08:54:37
Reading through the comments on the Matchday thread, and this one, I was tempted by the thought that I should compile a list of really daft statements people are wont to make under PTMS – Post Traumatic Matchday Syndrome.

There are many candidates, sadly, but leading the list at the moment are variants of this one: "Holgate should never play for Everton again."

Is it a valid and meaningful contribution to the discussion of a player's performance? Or is it just a really stupid – and therefore somewhat irritating – statement of fan frustration?

I know it's probably not worth going through the logical issues but surely the poster realizes the wish expressed is effectively futile, just from the nature of senior squads that are limited in size, cannot be amended between transfer windows, and need to maintain a pool of available players for the manager to select.

Also, there's the possibility that the poor performance you're reacting to is temporary, with players known to perform inconsistently in games, between games, across the weeks and months of the season, and even from season to season.

There are definitely cases where the club has taken such a decision: Andy van der Meye, Yannick Bolasie, Sandro Ramirez... possibly Mo Besic – although he may have received a reprieve, having been included in the shrinking senior squad again for the second half of this season.

Yet, given this clear knowledge of the vagaries of player performance at the top level, you feel personally compelled to call an end to the Everton career of a player the club has invested a massive amount of money in? I would implore you to reconsider this foolishness.

Jason Wilkinson
132 Posted 16/02/2021 at 09:08:02
Having watched that atrocity again. I can say without doubt where we fell apart. The answer is quite simple. We had no width. Fulham created 2 on 1's against our full backs. Richarlison & Rodriguez did very little to support Digne & Coleman. We haven't got the legs in midfield to pass and move through the centre. This made it easy for Fulham to just press and force us back or lose the ball. The goals were poor in terms of marking. Especially their 1st. Without Calvert-Lewin to hold the ball up we couldnt pose any real threat to their defenders. City will take us to the cleaners if we play Coleman & Rodriguez on the right. Davies hasn't learned how to defend along side a full back. He gets caught either wrong side or stands off too far. Gomes is a liability anywhere near our own box. I hope Allan is fit and ready to go. We will get mullered without him in the next two games.
I haven't got Carlo's C.V. so I have to bow to his team selections being right and the application of the playing staff being wrong. I definitely thought we would see a 4-4-2 on Sunday. I would have played the following; Olsen- Holgate, Mina, Keane, Godfrey- Bernard, Davies, Sigurdsson, Gomes- Richarlison, King.
With Digne & Rodriguez to come on when we needed them. Maybe even played Mina up front. He's a big unit and can win the ball in the air.
Thomas Richards
133 Posted 16/02/2021 at 09:20:51
This site wouldnt be of the quality it is if people went with the flow.
I agree with above, its the angst of Evertonians that decides the manner in which a lot of posts appear.
The raw emotion of a shite performance draws the posters, good lads and girls generally, into posting some out of character posts.

You can generally see thier disposition change as the days after a bad defeat move on.

All part of being a Blue unfortunately.

Colin Glassar
134 Posted 16/02/2021 at 09:24:08
Jason, I agree with what you say but, my god man you must be a masochist if you watched that garbage again. I hope our players have had to watch it again on a loop.
Andrew Ellams
135 Posted 16/02/2021 at 09:33:41
Jason. Bernard ahead of Digne? And Sigurdsson/Gomes ahead of Doucoure?
Jerome Shields
136 Posted 16/02/2021 at 10:04:32

I couldn't watch Motd. Getting through the live match, where Hesgoal lags didn't seem to bother me, was enough.

Jason Wilkinson
137 Posted 16/02/2021 at 10:05:39
Doucouré looked knackered v Fulham as did Digne. I don't think he has recovered fully from his injury either.
Tony Abrahams
138 Posted 16/02/2021 at 10:15:03
I thought Digne looked tired Jason, and Coleman, didn’t look himself either mate. When we played this way at Newcastle, everyone said Kenny and the young french kid struggled, and were either not ready or not good enough, and I’ve seen reading similar comments about Seamus, after Sunday’s game, but personally still think he can still do a good job, when not getting overloaded, which is what happens when you play this system
Brian Harrison
139 Posted 16/02/2021 at 10:46:08
I am sure someone will know the stats but I think the most successful teams tend to stick to the same back line and make as few changes as possible to the normal starting 11. Now I realize this season being condensed and with no pre season it has made it harder for teams to do this.

But I hope that Carlo sticks to his best 11 wherever he can, yes injuries will mean he will have to make changes, but for the most part play your strongest team when possible.

Andrew Ellams
140 Posted 16/02/2021 at 10:47:58
Doucoure is undroppable though Jason if Allan is unavailable.
Steve Brown
141 Posted 16/02/2021 at 11:21:15
Jason @ 133, my respects for watching that match again!

I am beginning to suspect that Ancelotti targets the big matches in terms of team rotation, his focus and tactical set up. I believe he targeted the Man City game ahead of Fulham and frankly it doesn't make sense to me. Picking Sigurdsson as a fake number 9, lack of pace and width as Jason highlights, resting Mina and Keane. it looked an ill thought-out game plan and it is not the first time. Newcastle (home and away) and WHU followed the same pattern.

Each game yields 3 points and we were more likely to secure them against Fulham. Then we could have gone into the Man City game with nothing to lose. Now another defeat will be a major setback.

Ancelotti sets the team up well tactically for games against the Top Six (Man Utd at home excepted), and his team selections tend to work. Watching these matches, there is a clear game plan and the intensity in the preparation is visible. Perhaps it is because he values those games more given his pedigree, but I think he is making a mistake by doing so.

Kevin Prytherch
142 Posted 16/02/2021 at 11:48:17
Brian 140
Think back to the start of the season. We all knew exactly what the starting XI would be, with the possible debate of whether Gomes should be playing, and we got 13 out of 15 points. There was literally no debate about it from anyone.

Whilst I understand the need to rotate occasionally when matches come thick and fast, without tactically astute players, familiarity should be the best way forward.

Christopher Timmins
143 Posted 16/02/2021 at 12:24:27
I have stayed away from the forum since celebrating the Spurs victory. Sunday just proved yet again that we are not good enough when the onus is on us to play on the front foot.

Given that King was not part of the previous Wednesday night's squad he surely should have started as the Cup tie definitely took its toll, we are certainly not well positioned for the extra fixtures that European Qualification would bring next season. This week will hopefully be the last one for a while where we have to play midweek and at the weekend.

Given a choice between FA Cup glory or Champions League Qualification, give me the FA Cup every time!

Alan J Thompson
144 Posted 16/02/2021 at 13:35:46
Michael (#132); It is not beyond reason that if Branthwaite and/or Gibson show improvement from their time on loan with other clubs that central defence might just be where we are well overstocked and, not wanting to repeat the pile of "deadwood", that probably at least one may be considered surplus or reason to smooth over any financial difficulties.
Jamie Crowley
145 Posted 16/02/2021 at 14:28:46
Bob and Andrew @ 128 and 129 -

Bob - Yes, I agree 100%. It's a basic requirement of a soccer player to move off the ball and show for it. It's simple, it starts when you're 6 years old, and if you're not doing it you're either knackered beyond belief or just have your head in your ass. But again, teams have ups and downs and even professionals stop doing the basics. They showed really well last Wednesday, no?

Andrew - Yes, it's not the first time we've conceded points to a team we shouldn't have. Fun trivia - can you name a single team in the league that hasn't conceded points to an "inferior" team at least twice this season? Lemme know. And finally, I'll give you Fulham and New Castle at home, but Leeds is dangerous as fuck and honestly can beat anyone on their day. There's not way they are considered a blown 3 points! And insofar as including Davey Moyes' West Ham in that list, THEY'RE 5th IN THE TABLE! You can't include them, can you? Really?

So that's two games dropped in my book. This season in the league that's par for the course. Doesn't excuse the game we suffered through on Sunday, but it certainly doesn't equate to the absurd dot-connecting, "Our season's done now."

Andrew Ellams
146 Posted 16/02/2021 at 14:36:08
Jamie, they're fifth in the league is not a good excuse or losing at home to anybody. And Leeds are averaging more than 2 goals conceded per away game this season and we managed nil and that is the issue with all of those games at home to Newcastle, Leeds and West Ham our aggregate score was nil. If you don't score at home you don't have any success, especially when it's against teams struggling to stay in the division.

Jamie Crowley
147 Posted 16/02/2021 at 14:41:23
Andrew -

Your example of points dropped included a very dangerous Leeds side, and the team that's 5th in the table. I'd not define those games as points dropped. Those are simply games like many in the league - points up for grabs and to the victor goes the spoils.

Fulham and Newcastle are points dropped, should have won, we'll regret that later games.

Andrew Ellams
148 Posted 16/02/2021 at 14:44:52
Jamie, I'm not having that losing at home to a Leeds side that is in the bottom half of the table and leaks goals is not points dropped. If that's how you see it then mid table is where the team belongs for evermore.

Every home defeat is points dropped, even tomorrow.

Jamie Crowley
149 Posted 16/02/2021 at 15:06:43
Not this year Andrew. There's upsets aplenty, a ton of parity, and the "bottom" teams are far more equipped to win than in previous years.

Not buying that, "your bar is low" nonsense. If that were the case, why am I telling all and sundry 4th place and CL football is still in the cards, while everyone else is saying season over? Doesn't add up.


Tom Bowers
150 Posted 16/02/2021 at 15:19:54
So loyal Blues I hope the memory of that Sunday stink-up is fading a little and we do hope we see nothing like that again.
It ruined an otherwise good weekend that started nicely at Leicester.

Like all optimists I am hoping for a better display against City and even better against RS. That doesn't mean we will win either game but anything like the Fulham performance would be very hard to take and forgive them for.

They are after all only human and one expects the occasional garbage display but Everton have had too many this season and sometimes get away with it.

It's been a terrible 12 months for the whole World but I am hoping that the next 3 months will see the light at the end of the rainbow worldwide and at Everton.

Brian Murray
151 Posted 16/02/2021 at 15:20:18
What’s shocked me is the in game management or lack of it, the timing and choice of subs has been desperate. Maybe it’s a thing of the past to influence a game from the bench. I think Jose in his prime was good at it. Can’t think of many more. Man Utd fans continually moan about it as well. It really is depressing because from about the third minute we know of this group really fancy the Challenge or not but obviously Carlo and dunc know better I suppose.
Jay Harris
152 Posted 16/02/2021 at 17:17:04
I love your enthusiasm and optimism but you just cant lose at home to West Ham, Leeds, Newcastle and Fulham and expect to get top 4.

Arsenal, Spurs and Villa are all still alive and while I think we have improved enormously this season I believe we are still too many players short of a top 6 finish and we lost the opportunity in January to strengthen.

My biggest dread is that West HAm and Moyes will finish above us.

I hope I'm wrong and youre right.

Tony Abrahams
153 Posted 16/02/2021 at 17:22:54
It was only last week, that one of our subs scored the winning goal Brian, but I do think Ancelotti shocked most Evertonians the other night, once we got to half time and he still never changed it.
Bill Gienapp
154 Posted 16/02/2021 at 18:39:00
I agree with Jamie (76) in that I think people get too fixated on the team being 100% defined by whatever our most recent result is... whether that be the surge of optimism and good-will following the FA Cup victory, or the pit of despair following the Fulham setback.

The unfortunate reality is that there's a lot to like about the squad and the direction things are heading, but it's still a work in progress and this is going to be a frustrating season of ups-and-downs. We've had some incredibly galling defeats, there's no way around it... but there have also been significant triumphs as well. When the setbacks start to consistently outweigh the triumphs is when you start to question things.

Bill Rodgers
155 Posted 16/02/2021 at 19:22:06
On Sunday Lookman was a class act. When LFC played Ajax, Klaessen was the best player on the pitch. Tonight Moise Kean starts for PSG at the Bernabeu. What do we do to players here?
Mike Oates
156 Posted 16/02/2021 at 20:38:47
Bill 156

If my memory serves me well Lookman had a real stinker vs Sunderland or Middlesborough away and was immediately dumped by Koeman, wasnt given another chance the lad never recovered and felt he was never going to cut it at Everton, then Allardyce came in and also dumped him. In my opinion a young lad from London who wasn't given the support he needed

KLassen was a panic buy as it didnt look like Sigurdsson was going to be allowed to come, but eventually did, and also someone decided to give Rooney a chance again and Klassen became 3rd in line for that No 10 position. He was given a couple of chances but I don't think he fancied the physical nature of the PL ( maybe Rodriquez the same ?)

Kean - a Brands buy cheap youngster !!! with a view to sell big later on. But clearly he wasn't ever going to get in front of DCL or Richarlison ( Silva's player) and again he was never ever shown that he was really wanted, even by Ancelotti. I suspect Brand s will get his extra £10m for him at the end of the season from PSG.

Bill Gienapp
157 Posted 16/02/2021 at 23:04:49
Re: Lookman... I too watched him rampaging up and down the flank on Sunday and wondered why we so rarely got to see that player. But, to be fair, you also have to ask what he's doing on loan at Fulham in the first place... it sure isn't because he was tearing up trees at RB Leipzig last season, I'll say that much.
Alan J Thompson
158 Posted 17/02/2021 at 03:56:05
Lookman's improvement wouldn't have anything to do with a London lad playing in London? I do agree though that something seems to happen to these lads when they arrive at Everton and personally, I don't see loaning them out so soon after they arrive does much to help, Branthwaite (17y.o.), Gibson (17), Kean (19).
John Cook
159 Posted 17/02/2021 at 13:47:39
Just heard a cracker there: "Koeman couldn't turn Everton into Barcelona but managed to turn Barcelona into Everton"
Great stuff...you've gotta laugh !

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