The fact that so little was expected from this game — no doubt most of us hoped for a surprise but hope was all it was — doesn’t make the result or the relative ease of Manchester City’s victory any easier to take. Reflecting on just how good Pep Guardiola’s team is…? Well, that does make it a little more palatable but it also serves to underline just how big the gulf has become between what has been built at the Etihad over the past decade and where Everton currently find themselves despite huge (though not comparable)investment under Farhad Moshiri.
This is, on paper, a decent Blues squad, blessed with some very good players, but it remains weighed down by the recruitment mistakes of recent years, is severely lacking in terms of creativity and attacking depth, and still doesn’t play with a consistently discernible style. It is also short on self-belief, fatigued from a glut of fixtures over the past few weeks, and there was an uneasy inevitability about the way this match unfolded, even though Richarlison’s goal at the end of a really nice move had left the contest level at 1-1 at half-time.
By the end, City had won at Goodison Park by two goals for the fourth season running. The last time an Everton side beat the team at the top of the table was that memorable 4-0 thumping of the Citizens in January 2017 but apart from a creditable 1-1 draw at Eastlands in the early days of Ronald Koeman’s second season, Guardiola’s teams have had their way with Everton.
The Blues might have inflicted upon the visitors only their third goal in 17 matches and the first they have conceded from open play since 3rd January but City still ran out comfortable victors to open up a 10-point lead at the top of the Premier League, the reclaiming of their crown from Liverpool looking like a mere formality now. Their indifferent start to the season, when they were languishing in the bottom half and Everton were top with a 100% record seems like a long time ago now.
Back then, Everton had James Rodriguez in his pomp, Allan prowling in front of the defence and Dominic Calvert-Lewin scoring on a weekly basis. None of that trio were in the starting line-up this evening — Allan was, we hope, merely withheld for this weekend’s Merseyside derby, Calvert-Lewin missed a second successive game with a hamstring injury, and James was named among the substitutes after taking a minor knock in that horrendous defeat to Fulham last weekend.
In that respect, Carlo Ancelotti picked about as strong a side as he could to face City, although in view of his allusion on Sunday to his players’ tiredness, the decision to include Gylfi Sigurdsson rather Josh King, for instance, was a curious one. Even more curious was how and why the 30-year-old Icelander stayed on the pitch for the entire game, finishing the match as an ill-advised holding midfielder and racking up his 320th minute of consecutive action in the space of 11 days in the process.
The back four of Mason Holgate, Yerry Mina, Michael Keane and Ben Godfrey restored the strongest central defensive pairing and, as a whole, arguably the tightest defensive unit available to Ancelotti, even if it comes at the expense of some attacking dynamism. Lucas Digne played wide on the left, Alex Iwobi come in on the right and Richarlison was handed the Calvert-Lewin role… literally, as he spent much of the contest chasing the ball around and acting as target man for a succession of punts forward by Jordan Pickford, who also returned to the starting XI after four games out.
The pattern of the game was established early, with City bossing possession as only they can. Joao Cancelo a save from Pickford from distance that the keeper pushed away and a rare mistake by Tom Davies let Gabriel Jesus in but he fired over the bar.
Everton had struggled to get things going in forward areas but, nonetheless, had had some promising openings, not least when Digne swept a ball into the box that was met but Abdoulaye Doucouré but rather than go for a volleyed attempt on goal, he tried to tuck it inside for Richarlison but it hit a defender instead.
Ancelotti’s best-laid defensive plans were ruined after 17 minutes, however, when Mina was forced off with a calf problem and was replaced by Seamus Coleman, with Holgate moving inside to centre-half.
And in the 32nd minute, Everton fell behind. Another Manchester City corner was only headed as far as Riyad Mahrez, he twisted and turned before crossing for Rodri and when his header bounced off Keane and fell to Phil Foden, the young midfielder lashed a heavily deflected shot in past Pickford. The goal owed much to fortune but it had been coming.
To Everton's credit, they rallied rather than folded and equalised just six minutes later at the end of a fine move, the like of which that you wished they had produced more often. Sigurdsson found Iwobi down the right, he slipped a clever square pass into the box for Coleman and when Digne met the Irishman's floated chip with a left-foot volley, the ball bounced off the post and Richarlison was there virtually on the goal line to knock it in with his thigh.
Such moments of incisiveness were rare from the Toffees, though, and their defence was by far the busier in the second half. Holgate gifted the ball straight to Bernardo six minutes after the interval but Pickford parried the Portuguese's shot away and four minutes later, Kyle Walker played Jesus in but the Brazilian smashed his shot narrowly high and wide.
Sigurdsson had a half-chance at the other end when Iwobi picked him out on the edge of the box but his shot was blocked and looped into Edersen's arms and in the 63rd minute, City restored their lead. Bernardo laid a short pass off to Mahrez who had all the space he needed to line up a shot from 18 yards, bend it around Pickford and in off the post.
Ancelotti responded by withdrawing Davies and Iwobi, both of whom were hugely unfortunate to leave the field as both had done really well, in favour of King and James but a tiring Everton were unable to create anything of note.
Rodriguez had some nice touches and executed some lovely turns in the middle of the park but he had few options to carve out opportunities. Everton had shown in the first half the trouble they could cause when they had some adventure and threw bodies forward but they didn't do it nearly enough in the second half and it was City who wrapped things up 13 minutes from the end.
Sigurdsson lagged well behind Silva allowing him to run unchallenged across the edge of the area and drill a shot in off Pickford's gloves to make it 3-1. The more you see it, the more you question how, despite the power on the shot, the goalkeeper wasn’t able to get a strong hand on it it divert it past the post but frustrations over that part of the team are nothing new.
City almost added a cruel fourth in stoppage time when Sigurdsson simply gave the ball away in front of his own box but this time Mahrez was much less accurate, placing his effort wide of goal with just Pickford to beat.
If there are positives to take from this game they are that Everton at least gave a better account themselves than they did against Fulham (which also makes that performance in what was a far more important game that much more angering), Davies had another good game in defensive midfield, Richarlison’s energy and feistiness is back if not his confidence to beat his man, and Doucouré, despite being a bit sloppy with the ball at times, underscored just how important he is to this team as the dynamo in midfield.
Playing better, with more spirit and desire than they did against Fulham was the easy part but they couldn’t move the ball well enough and their passing ability pales in contrast to City’s. Most teams’ do but Everton’s reliance on Pickford’s erratic kicking, and deep or cross-field balls from defence or the flanks as opposed to moving it through midfield and getting sufficient bodies in the final third has been a limiting factor for much of the season. Much of this can be coached, of course; it's not all about buying top quality at sky-high prices but Everton sides aren't coached to play intricate, passing football.
Guardiola’s side are pretty irresistible when they’re at their best but even in second or third gear they were too much for the Toffees who have a long way to go in terms of quality and sheer footballing ability before they can even hope to match them. Everton only managed two shots on target in the 90 minutes and failed to force a single corner.
That’s the depressing part but also the part that requires patience and faith that it will eventually come. How long is anyone’s guess but Everton don't need to surpass City to achieve any of their goals in the League this season — the FA Cup is now a different matter, of course, and how daunting that Quarter Final tie next month now looks! — they simply need to better than one or two of the next five teams and at the moment that possibility is slipping away.
A win at Anfield would go a long way to changing the outlook once more but that’s a whole other game of rock bottom expectations and a lot of hope…
Reader Comments (65)
Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer
1 Posted 18/02/2021 at 06:20:11
We have a joker in the pack though: Ancelotti is a winner but there is no way we are ever going to compete on spend to compete on the field; in Ancelotti, we have a manager of experience but limited backing. We can't buy an instant team, but City's spend will end, Pep will go, City will stutter.
Everton need to raise their level of competence in line with spend. Personally I think we are 3/4 players off a very good side, but I think we will qualify for Europe, we will beat Liverpool. Patience is great but inspiration along the way can only help!
2 Posted 18/02/2021 at 06:38:01
But, by the same token, teams have ruffled their feathers this season and in a "11 v 11, anything can happen on the day" situation, I don't think we did ourselves justice.
And, as I alluded to above, I think this team can be coached to play far better passing football than it does. I mentioned it after we lost at Southampton – you would hardly trade any of their players for ours but they passed it around us all afternoon. So did Fulham last weekend. We don't do it with nearly enough consistency.
3 Posted 18/02/2021 at 07:09:14
Well, thanks Carlo, that escaped our notice. Now we know what we're paying you for.
What I saw from City was superb workrate, total commitment and high quality. Unlike most teams who are demolished by City, Everton have some quality – but we totally lack commitment and our workrate is utterly feeble. What we also seem to lack is a management structure and culture that insists on workrate and builds commitment.
I am sick of players jogging around the pitch. I am sick of players only too keen to be substituted. I am sick of managers who talk Horlicks.
4 Posted 18/02/2021 at 07:15:15
Early this season, we saw Klaassen bossing the midfield for Ajax, nearly scoring twice against Liverpool – and that was before they fell.
Then on Tuesday, we saw Kean playing a full part for PSG against Barcelona as a fully functioning part of one of the best attacks in the Champions League.
But none of these stars would/could play when we had them on the books. Maybe we should ask all the rejects what is wrong at Finch Farm?
5 Posted 18/02/2021 at 07:25:46
Hopefully over the net two summers with Ancelotti, we can now get three or four payers in to compete regularly in the top 4. It's a rebuilding job that we cannot afford to go to waste.
6 Posted 18/02/2021 at 07:33:23
Typically, I missed the first half which, by the sounds of it, we made a good fist of it; I watched the second and felt depressed by the quality of our opposition. We looked like school kids in comparison – not a dig at my team but rather a respectful nod to Man City.
Agree with above comments that we are building, there is progress, we do have a good manager, and have spent better of late to build this squad. 3-4 quality signings in the right mould and, next season, we should move forward again. A top quality right-back, and hard-working and creative right-midfielder and good back-up to Calvert-Lewin needed.
7 Posted 18/02/2021 at 07:59:32
The irony is that we do have players who – on paper at least – have the ability to unlock a defence but, even with our best 11, the lack of bodies moving and showing for the ball means we tend to play sideways, backwards, hoof.
The away game at Fulham shows that we can get around sides and create chances. But then we have players out injured or knackered. Buying more players isn't the panacea, but legs and guile on the wings will at least mean we can threaten sides like City and hopefully give us something to unlock the so-called poorer sides.
Great, honest report though, Lyndon. Here's to the weekend, you never know...
8 Posted 18/02/2021 at 08:15:41
9 Posted 18/02/2021 at 08:19:04
We can talk about having more money and signing better players but we've spent lots of money already on international players yet still we can't get beyond jogging or trotting about the pitch.
I'm not entirely sure how I'd fully assess Ancelotti's tenure at the club so far. I think he's done a pretty steady job but, on the other hand, the amount of games where we fail to turn up – players looking disinterested, no clear pattern of play or cohesion in formation – makes me question that, if it was Marco Silva or Martinez in charge, then we'd be crucifying them.
I'm watching us and I'm thinking at the moment we should be making ourselves hard to beat, hard to score against, because going forward, especially at home, we look like a blunt sword. In the league, we've scored two goals at Goodison since the Arsenal game before Christmas.
We should be making Goodison a hard place for teams to play at, fans or no fans – it's still our own surroundings. Christ, people used to say that the players were struggling in front of full houses at home due to fan pressure, so they've got the perfect opportunity now to go out and express themselves.
I would love to believe we can get a good result on Saturday but I do fear that now we are beginning to see results start to reflect just how poor the performances have been for a while.
10 Posted 18/02/2021 at 08:27:52
Below them, it is all up for grabs. I don't see the same level of discrepancy in class. If we can get our best midfield out and fit, and Calvert-Lewin on the pitch, there is no reason or excuses that this squad can't compete toe to toe with the rest of them. We were better last night, and we will benefit for Allan and Calvert-Lewin coming back.
A midfield comprising Allan, Davies and Doucouré is really the beating heart of this Everton team. If that is disrupted, the whole team is. We need a quality young mobile dynamic back-up to these 3 to stay strong. I am becoming less sure that Jean-Philippe Gbamin is going to make it.
Attacking wide, Calvert-Lewin is the real deal, we need him. I still like Richarlison for the left-sided attacking role. The big problem is the right side. Iwobi can have very good games but I don't see enough pace, desire or sharpness both physically and mentally in him. Can we trade him with Palace for Zaha? Or better business – some other younger quality alternative.
James Rodriguez needs a thread of his own. A brilliantly gifted player, how does he fit into the team and make us stronger? The Premier League is a bastard of a league, nasty, physical and unforgiving. James is targeted and largely negated in recent matches, midfielders are learning how to play him and refs give him no protection at all. I think it has weakened his resolve.
11 Posted 18/02/2021 at 08:29:29
Glad to see we at least tried to compete in the first half – but, as the second wore on, we were reduced to long punts down field which simply re-invited the pressure.
When we did have the ball, our passing and ball-retention looked so poor in comparison. Then again, I've watched their other opponents display similar failings in recent weeks – so perhaps it isn't just us.
I really hope Calvert-Lewin is available for the weekend as, without him, I fear we'll spend 90 minutes defending.
12 Posted 18/02/2021 at 08:42:15
Wasted player out on the right where he's not involved anything like enough, he's got such a sweet left foot and you want him like where he scored that goal at Old Trafford, that's where you see the best of him.
What we need is a mobile fast right winger, I imagine even if we had say Aaron Lennon from his first six months with us we'd be a better side.
Iwobi, I want to like him but I just can't see anything in his game to tell me he's going to make it.
Picks the ball up and then continually flatters to deceive.
We need to fix up our right side as a matter of priority this summer, new right back and right midfielder.
13 Posted 18/02/2021 at 08:49:10
It was also noticeable that the mood was extremely positive, probably because everyone was so pleased just to be there. Criticism is easy, some people think it makes them sound knowledgable, that they can see things that others cannot, but its very draining.
14 Posted 18/02/2021 at 08:52:29
Woeful, match after match, can't pass, can't beat a man, and most importantly, can't defend for his life.
Moves always break down with him yet he's there week after week. Ancelotti has seen that Godfrey is better in that position and now we have to accept him as a shit winger?
A couple of assists and he's everyone's fave fullback but imo, him and Coleman have got to go more than anyone.
Every game, the ball gets to the full back and they can't do diddly. They both get beaten one on one time and again
Still think we have some of the best in the league?
We are still, so far behind it's untrue
15 Posted 18/02/2021 at 09:22:15
I can't help but wonder if Lyndon still has copies of those emails of certain parties having, or losing, an interest in purchasing Everton before the present regime.
16 Posted 18/02/2021 at 09:24:16
We arent City - they can afford to bring on DeBruyne and ease him back in when the game is won. Digne is one of the players we have who would walk into another top side. I agree he can improve but only because weve seen the impeccably high standards he has hit before. To suggest he needs replacing is ludicrous.
17 Posted 18/02/2021 at 09:25:00
You are probably right, I don't question that, but I just don't really see much evolution in our play or what really we are looking to aspire to be 14 months on from Carlo.
In two weeks time we could actually be about 10th or 11th, no relegation battle but still not where I thought we'd be.
18 Posted 18/02/2021 at 09:36:09
I see Digne having one more season with us and then being sold to generate transfer funds and allow either Nkounkou or Small to progress.
Lyndon hits the nail in his report when he says that we are not coached for intricate passing and the question has to be: Why not? It is a simple skill which can be coached – along with movement off the ball, at which we are also very poor. James suffers due to our failure to move around as he gets possession, looks for the next pass, and there is no-one available which means he gets crowded out by the opposition.
There is no need for despondency. It took City a good few years to build to what they are now. They started by acquiring better players, sold them to buy even better players, and established a pattern of play.
They don't have a keeper who can't play with his feet.
They don't have defenders who are uncomfortable with the ball.
They don't have midfielders who can't pass.
They don't have midfielders who can't run, or who lack energy or commitment.
They don't have strikers who are only good in the air.
They don't have players who are slow or clumsy.
Quite simply, they will only buy good, athletic all-round footballers. The likes of Sigurdsson, Gomes, Mina and yes, James, would never be bought by them because they are too slow.
Leicester have shown what can be done with a limited budget and imagine how much we would be improved by Maddison, who they picked up for what now looks like a pittance!
It doesn't seem that we have a Maddison or Grealish type coming through, so we have to find one elsewhere. Tom Davies looks to be maturing now and might just save us having to buy a defensive midfielder, which leaves us with right-back, right-wing and attacking midfielder to finance.
Assuming we sell Kean (I'd love to keep him to play up front with Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison), that finances the attacking midfielder. We should raise enough selling Bernard and a couple of others to finance a right-back. It can't all be done at once but if we can get a midfielder who can dictate a game then we will take a giant step forward.
19 Posted 18/02/2021 at 10:14:21
We now look more likely to go into freefall mode and, as usual, Liverpool will be relishing the opportunity to put us in our place and exact revenge for the murderous attack on the saintly Virgil van Dijk.
So we will now be looking at getting a cup miracle against Man City to keep the season alive. I don't want us to qualify for Europe now – look what it nearly did to us last time. We simply don't have the squad – or attitude – to cope.
Our player recruitment is at best patchy and we've gone for mostly ineffective expensive foreign imports and big club rejects rather than trawl the lower leagues more for younger hungrier players like Godfrey. We could have got Maddison for less than half of what we spent on Sigurdsson.
Gomes is mostly poor and James is the new Bolasie – looks great when you're 3-0 up but drifts in and out of matches. If anything, last night showed that, despite our improvement, the gap is widening between us and the very top sides. City didn't need to break sweat last night.
I'm worried that Carlo still hasn't twigged that you can only risk one of Gomes, Sigurdsson and James in the side.
Ah well, back to the familiar hide-behind-the-sofa-and-hope mode on Saturday.
20 Posted 18/02/2021 at 10:16:12
21 Posted 18/02/2021 at 10:18:32
Once that second goal went in, a superb goal, you could see as they were lining up to kick off from that goal, the limp bodies, none of them urging or clapping “Come on, let's back into this” ... nothing, just a silent acceptance that the match was over.
I think it will stay like that until we find a captain, one who will not accept defeat and will not let the players accept one either, not easy to find I know.
22 Posted 18/02/2021 at 10:21:43
Don't know if it is the mindset of the team but the coaching staff should be getting the players fired up irrespective of who we play. Until we overcome this inconsistency, we will struggle to break into the top four.
23 Posted 18/02/2021 at 10:33:32
The context is City are cantering to the league and are a class apart, beating the Reds comprehensively a week ago 4-1 and Spurs 3-0. Our performance was no better or worse than either of those two.
The game plan was clearly defend well and break incisively and it worked partially but cannot be achieved because we are not collectively strong enough.
The key midfielder and forward to facilitate this game plan didn't play and Iwobi, Sigurdsson and, I fear, Holgate are not at the level we need. Decent players but not top drawer.
We have said this is going to take a season or two to be able to deliver what Ancelotti wants and last night was further evidence. This squad with a bit more clearing out and 2 or 3 high quality additions, plus Ancelotti's acumen can genuinely challenge that top four just not now.
The next 6-7 games will decide where we end this season. Every game, including this Saturday, winnable and giving us that prospect of 5th, 6th or 7th. Not where we want to be, but an improvement and hopefully on the way to genuinely challenging the likes of Man City on a regular basis.
24 Posted 18/02/2021 at 10:34:43
One small point: I felt Digne did little to help Godfrey when the latter had to deal with the twin threats of Mahrez's skill and trickery and Walker's pace. Whatever Digne's attacking virtues are, and he was instrumental in our goal, he doesn't relish the defending and seems at times reluctant to do this bread-and-butter work.
Without Calvert-Lewin alongside Richarlison we lacked an outlet for our long hoofs (passes) up field. One felt that the selection of King might have been more productive than selecting Sigurdsson, who the game largely bypassed.
The derby game at the weekend. I'm hoping that well-seasoned goulash and Bull's Blood and long delays at airports might have affected our neighbours, but I'm not too optimistic.
25 Posted 18/02/2021 at 10:43:21
One thing is sure: them shower are a lot more streetwise than us, as we've seen with James our dangerman getting targeted from the first whistle by Van Dijk.
On a brighter note, that leech parasite or agent (delete where appropriate) of Moise Kean says we will get over £60M for him or let him sulk his way to 25 goals. I'm happy either way... win-win.
26 Posted 18/02/2021 at 10:48:30
Yes, once City got their second, our lads all thought it was game over. They were waiting for the inevitable goal, the mindset was clear, psychologically they were beaten before a ball was kicked.
To change this mindset, we need better players and hungry players. We don't need guys simply looking for their next move.
If Calvert-Lewin plays against Liverpool, then we might have the belief but, if he doesn't make the cut, then this lot will be just as doubtful as the rest of us.
27 Posted 18/02/2021 at 10:53:04
I still have high hopes every May. I still continue to follow them through thick (and mainly) thin. I will support them till I die but, I refuse to allow them to dominate my thoughts and state of mind.
I firmly believe Carlo Ancelotti (if given the resources) can make Everton challenge once more for honours but it will be a slow process and we have to recognise this as a fact. If a man of his stature can't do it, who can?
It was soul-destroying to recently see a fellow Evertonian mention the likes of Dyche, Potter and Bielsa as potential replacements. Really? Why not Steve Bruce or other serial winners like Sam Allardyce or another media favourite, Harry Redknapp?
The mentality of our team is poor but the mentality of some of our own is even worse – the Live Forum (and I'm just as guilty) is a prime example. Win one and we are challengers again. Lose one and we are the biggest pile of shite known to man.
For your own good, calm down. Accept what we are. We are a mid-table team with a mid-table squad, in a mid-table stadium, with a mid-table chairman. Our only saving grace is our world class manager. Get behind him... because, after him, the deluge.
28 Posted 18/02/2021 at 10:55:40
For all the money that has been spent over the past number of years we don't have a team that plays in an attractive manner. Even when we win games it's rare that we totally dominate. When was the last time a team came to Goodison and was passed off the pitch and pinned back in their own half for the entirety of the game? Forget what others have spent, given the huge sums we have spent over over the past 5 years we deserve better!
We brought in 4 new players in the summer, unfortunately 2 of the 4 have had injury issues which has limited their impact, the other 2 have made a contribution.
We need a result on Saturday to put our season back on track, a loss and a top 6 finish seems unlikely.
29 Posted 18/02/2021 at 10:58:01
Spending that kind of money should heavily improve a team.
30 Posted 18/02/2021 at 10:58:20
"James Rodriguez needs a thread of his own. A brilliantly gifted player, how does he fit into the team and make us stronger? The Premier League is a bastard of a league, nasty, physical and unforgiving. James is targeted and largely negated in recent matches, midfielders are learning how to play him and refs give him no protection at all. I think it has weakened his resolve."
Absolutely 100% agree. Five short, sharp, to-the-point sentences, all spot on.
A few years back Lyndon made a plea for shorter, to-the-point posts, which fell on deaf ears. Too many run to 1,000 words or more. I doubt they get read beyond the first paragraph, rather defeating the object.
31 Posted 18/02/2021 at 10:59:00
- Marcel? Congratulations on the new contract
- Thanks, Boss
- Now, priority number one - get me a top-class goalkeeper for the start of next season.
- Yes, Carlo, you have already told me that, several times, in fact.
- Then get it done or you and your new contract will be swimming with the fishes.
Carlo puts down the phone and blows on his cuppa...
32 Posted 18/02/2021 at 11:11:12
A big gulf last night, as everyone has said, but I'm not sure they can't be got at in the cup match!
4-2-3-1 for the rest of the season please.
Godfrey Keane Mina Digne
Allan (Davies) Doucouré
Iwobi James Richarlison
If a player is injured replace with a like for like.
33 Posted 18/02/2021 at 11:11:33
34 Posted 18/02/2021 at 11:14:01
We're talking about a team that has won 17 games on the bounce, one of the best in Europe, for all those people (thankfully not on this thread) calling out the team and Carlo as being not good enough, get a grip.
To the people complaining about a supposed lack of effort and commitment, I completely disagree. When you play a team like that, it's mentally exhausting, the fluidity and movement of their players is mesmerising. It may look like the opposition can't lay a glove on them, but they play like a machine that's constantly changing shape and adapting to different environments. Eventually, that concentration drops for a split second and they pounce, just like the 2nd and 3rd goals last night. Up until then, I thought we defended superbly.
Don't be down about it, with Calvert-Lewin back on Saturday, we can beat that shower.
35 Posted 18/02/2021 at 11:15:43
The Mahrez goal was special and had there been a crowd, some of us may well have applauded it as it was a superb moment of skill.
What does dishearten is the staggering inconsistency of the side. To lose to Newcastle andFulham, both struggling sides, and let them look like comfortable wins for the opposition is really where the undoing of this season's efforts will lie. Sad thing is, we all know this – and Carlo does too.
36 Posted 18/02/2021 at 11:21:31
But there's no excuse for us not beating the likes of Fulham and the Barcodes with the players we have.
37 Posted 18/02/2021 at 11:29:14
Iwobi and Sigurdsson in the same team is a definite No-No... in fact neither should be in the team. I just don't see what Ancelotti sees in them. Defensively they are liabilities. They can't tackle, they continually fail to spot danger and track runners. Against a team like City whose success is built around movement their inclusion was a disaster waiting to happen.
Davies and Doucouré were busting their guts to compensate for the lack of awareness of Sigurdsson and Iwobi. Ancellotti continually compounds poor team selection with his dubious use of substitutes
It took 18 months for Martinez to be found out. In the case of Koeman and Silva, it was only a matter of months before they were universally considered not up to the job. Ancelotti still has a great deal of support amongst our fans because of his past success as a player and manager and the media love him but I wonder how much longer this will continue? Will they realise the emperor is no longer wearing clothes?
I can't see Ancelotti turning things around because he doesn't learn from the team's poor performances, he repeats his actions expecting a different outcome.
If he picks a similar team against Liverpool, then another hiding is on the horizon.
38 Posted 18/02/2021 at 11:29:39
What is going on?
39 Posted 18/02/2021 at 11:48:56
I agree with you about Pickford, how many cockups and mistakes will this clown make before Carlo jibs him completely?
And please, Carlo, no more “false 9s”, replacing our injured centre-forward with Sigurdsson has been a failure so far. If Silva or Fat Sam done this and then repeated it, then the fans would have rightly been in uproar.
I know it's a strange season but Carlo is overseeing one of our worst home records for donkey's years.
40 Posted 18/02/2021 at 11:51:55
We all know midfield is our Achilles heel with its lack of movement, energy, passing skills, creativity, physical strength etc.
So... looking at yesterday's squad, who would you have chosen?
41 Posted 18/02/2021 at 11:56:40
Sigurdsson and Iwobi are in the side because, for all their flaws, they contribute goals and assists.
Iwobi was our main outlet yesterday and we were noticeably poorer after he went off. Sigurdsson nearly got on the end of some scraps but was unsurprisingly weak when moved from his specialist position.
And the truth is the alternatives are the likes of Bernard and Gomes who are usually less productive. I imagine Carlo would also rather be able to call upon better players but we haven't bought them yet.
42 Posted 18/02/2021 at 12:01:56
I just went hunting for stats to shoot you down with that claim. But, my God, you're right! On various sites, he is either 2nd or 3rd bottom ranked in the Premier League.
Starting from the back for 2021-22, my Everton team:
GK - New
LB Digne (If he finds his form again)
LM Richarlison (Unlikely – he'll leave); New
No 10 New (James will leave as well)
No 9 Calvert-Lewin
GK - Virginia
I'm sure I may have missed someone but my point is, it's radical changes we need, not just tinkering. I'd prefer a season of mid-table team blending and growing rather than patching up what we have.
And we need an identity – I've no idea what kind of team we've become? Defensive? Were not very good at that, are we? Counter-attacking? We're the slowest ever if we are. Attacking? ... erm. Tika Taka? Sideways and backwards? Yes, but even then our backs look terrified on the ball when pressed.
I've no idea what our style is or is going to be.
43 Posted 18/02/2021 at 12:09:31
I agreed with Carlo last night with Davies and Doucouré in midfield and I could understand Sigurdsson in front of them after seeing James take himself off vs Fulham.
Let's not forget that centre-midfield was pretty much sorted in the summer with the signings of Doucouré and Allan adding to the probability that Gomes would return to his best, Davies backing up and possibly (at the time it looked feasible) Gbamin's return.
Losing Allan has cost us consistency – Doucouré has improved, as has Davies, but there's no back-up for Allan. If Gana Gueye really was available in January, I'm shocked we didn't bring him in on loan at least.
But regarding your point – Carlo can only pick the best he's got. With Allan and Calvert-Lewin available last night, we may have given them more to think about. But they weren't.
44 Posted 18/02/2021 at 12:15:09
It's a bit like Mourinho, he's still a highly competent coach, despite what some people say, and so is Professor Ancelotti, but they're not at the top table anymore and they're not going to win you the Premier League. They've not got the energy to rebuild a Club and make them winners.
Sixth or seventh place is realistic now for Ancelotti in the Premier League. We've needed to bring someone of his experience and class in, just to tread water in the League but no more.
We also brought in the most low-rent barely-a-billionaire owner, Moshiri, so we could maintain our 6th/7th placed status, with no real determined ambition to do the dramatic overhaul and restructuring needed to climb any higher than that.
It's difficult I know, but I think the worst thing at the moment that's dawning on many of us is that there is no style of play under this manager, and there isn't going to be one. That's a fantasy – "When he brings his players in..." yawn etc.
We're playing reactive football, and this kind of shite won't last for long, especially when supporters are back in the ground.
Ancelotti won't be the manager two years from now, he'll be sacked around Xmas 2022. I mean, if we're just going to finish 7th or 8th anyway, can we not do it with a team that plays like Leeds United? At least there'd be something to get excited about every week...
45 Posted 18/02/2021 at 12:19:06
Doucouré and Davies must be shattered as they are the only two who do the running in midfield. Iwobi was invisible as usual, Sigurdsson doesn't know whether to push on or drop back, James has no-one to pass forward to.
And who on our bench are game changers? Gomes? King? Bernard? Delph? I think a dose of realism is in need here. A world class goalie would be great but a new, more dynamic midfielder has to be this summer's major target. And a Premier League standard striker.
46 Posted 18/02/2021 at 12:33:06
47 Posted 18/02/2021 at 12:57:54
How many goals (not including penalties) and assists have Sigurdsson and Iwobi achieved this season? Then compare this to how many goals and assists they are responsible for for the opposition.
Neither player is good enough, their inclusion puts added pressure on teammates.
48 Posted 18/02/2021 at 13:32:52
49 Posted 18/02/2021 at 14:08:47
50 Posted 18/02/2021 at 14:10:59
Love him or not, under David Moyes, Everton had a decade of so of building something. I wish Everton, instead of investing in big money or marquee signings and mercenary managers just built a solid future with (primarily) home grown talent - players who love playing for us.
We shouldnt chase a dream ruled by financial clout because we wont get anywhere. Id rather we were a true club of the people run by decent human beings and with passionate players so win or lose we could hold our heads up and be proud.
51 Posted 18/02/2021 at 14:12:14
52 Posted 18/02/2021 at 14:14:32
Im not making excuses for him. The aforementioned players played for super rich clubs unlike Everton who are more akin to Steptoe & Son, but his genius was for blending individuals into a team.
Give him the means and he will create the magic. Over to you, Brands and Steptoe, errmm, Moshiri.
53 Posted 18/02/2021 at 14:16:48
54 Posted 18/02/2021 at 14:21:54
After a loss I used to be in a mood for days. Angry and upset. Now I just switch off and go and do something else after a game and try and forget about it. I suppose Ive become emotionally unattached to a degree.
Its not always easy but its helped me. I dont particularly even enjoy watching Everton any more. Ever since the early part of the swashbuckling Martinez reign Everton have rarely excited me.
I firmly believe Carlo is the right man for the job but he needs help, and loads of it.
55 Posted 18/02/2021 at 14:23:14
56 Posted 18/02/2021 at 14:31:10
I agree with Lyndon about passing but it needs to be purposeful passing. We save our best possession for our defensive third. I'm sick of us playing triangles around the box or knocking it along the defensive back line only to launch it. All that does is waste time. Understandable if you're two goals to the good but we do it when we're a goal down. It just invites pressure and wastes time. I think you could recreate the movement of the ball and the players on a computer and I'd be able to identify Everton matches by the pattern of play without actually seeing the players involved. Knocking it around in our box. Playing across the backline and pushing the ball down the wing to an attacking player who plays it straight back to where it just came. All Everton traits.
I'm fed up of us playing cagey football and then attacking when we go behind. How many times do we see it? We offer nothing going forwards, lose a goal and then decide to put men forward.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record. We need a top-class goalkeeper which is something we haven't had since Nigel Martyn. We need pace and goals from midfield and we need more forward options. Just having midfield players who aren't afraid to shoot would be a start. Gomes, Iwobi, Sig, Delph, Bernard, Mina, Holgate aren't good or consistent enough for where we want to be. We can't have players who average 1 good game in 5 and pick and choose when they fancy it.
It's not last night that I'm angry about. It's the capitulations to Newcastle, Leeds, West Ham and Fulham at Goodison and the woeful performances at Southampton and Newcastle. I'll accept that Man City are head-and-shoulders above us.
I'll judge these players by how they perform on Saturday West Brom, Brighton and Burnley can go there and give them a game. It's about time our players stopped tweeting rhetoric about "working hard" etc., rolled their sleeves up and actually gave us long-suffering fans some bragging rights for a change.
57 Posted 18/02/2021 at 14:55:06
Its obvious that James doesnt like the physical side of English football but he has that clinical eye and passing ability to get things going. Playing a deeper role he wouldnt get kicked around so much and hed have a bigger influence on games.
Wed still need better MF players around him and more of a threat upfront but its a thought. We could have another Andrea Pirlo in our ranks without knowing it.
58 Posted 18/02/2021 at 14:59:12
59 Posted 18/02/2021 at 15:04:41
Obviously Coleman is getting near the end of his career and has been excellent for us, but we need a younger full back, doesnt look like Carlo sees Kenny in that role, hence why he has been loaned to Celtic. Although I see Celtic are already saying they couldn't afford to keep him permanently because of his wages. I think this highlights another major problem for us, as we pay our players the sort of money that is only usually paid to top 6 players, therefore makes it very difficult to move on any of our fringe players on permanently. Thats why most are on loans were we pay a large percentage of their salary. Therein lies the problem stuck with players we need to move on to allow us to spend more in the upcoming transfer window, but I think Tosun and Kenny will be back in the summer twiddling their thumbs while never ever likely to play unless a spate of injuries occur.
The only player who will be sold is Kean, which is really disappointing as he is young is now scoring goals for fun just what we need up front. But because of his awful treatment by Ferguson in the game were he was brought on as a sub and then subbed after 19 minutes, there is no prospect of him coming back here.
60 Posted 18/02/2021 at 15:51:31
There is however, total disgrace in losing to Fulham at home, in circumstances where we made them look like the Barcelona of old.
If we are to get anywhere, we have to beat Fulham, Newcastle and West Ham; we don't have to beat Man City, or even [dare I say it] Liverpool.
61 Posted 18/02/2021 at 16:41:31
Everton is not a team of bad players, early season form showed us this, but of players performing badly. Ancellotti needs to prove that he is still a good coach
62 Posted 18/02/2021 at 16:44:06
City have painstakingly built up this current squad over 12 years and god knows how many managers and we expect Carlo to wave a magic wand and immediately turn a proven bunch of misfits into a title chasing team.
Time to get real folks it will be a few years yet before we get anywhere near the promised land and it becomes more difficult every year because other teams are ahead of us in the rebuilding process and have the money to buy the top players thereby preventing the ex "Mersey millionaires" from getting them.
The only real attraction for top players is playing under Ancelotti.
We all love to think of ourselves as a top club but under Kenwright we became plucky LITTLE Everton a midtable club with midtable ambitions.
It will take quite a few transfer windows and money before we even get to compete let alone challenge the likes of City.
Whether we like that or not that is the reality of the situation.
63 Posted 18/02/2021 at 17:28:25
The method of play is predictably by the numbers. Sneezy passes to Grumpy who slips it sideways to Bashful who shits himself and knocks it all the way back to Dopey. The leaden footed mush that results is a direct consequence.
Players should not think the last thing you want is footballers thinking but you can see our mob ticking off boxes in their head as they receive the ball.
I've said it before but I don't see this Everton playing at anywhere near 100% which is an opportunity missed. Outside of City the league is much of a muchness, we could be doing so much more.
65 Posted 18/02/2021 at 22:59:22
66 Posted 19/02/2021 at 03:10:34
Add Your Comments
In order to post a comment, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.
Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and Talking Points submissions across the site.