Disappointing Everton beaten by late Raphinha goal

Saturday, 28 November, 2020 419comments  |  Jump to last
Everton 0 - 1 Leeds

Everton had Jordan Pickford to thank for three important saves but couldn't use the platform to go on and win the game

Everton slumped to their fourth defeat in five games as Raphinha's goal proved to be the difference for a more clinical Leeds side at Goodison Park.

The Brazilian eclipsed his compatriot Richarlison with a fine finish 11 minutes from time to settle what was an open contest throughout but one in which the home side failed to make the breakthrough that their play sometimes threatened.

With Lucas Digne sidelined as he awaits surgery on his injured ankle and Seamus Coleman ruled out with a hamstring problem, Carlo Ancelotti moved Alex Iwobi from right wing-back to left, deployed Tom Davies in his place and swapped Yerry Mina for Mason Holgate as captain in the centre.

Typically for Marcelo Bielsa's enterprising team, Leeds started on the front foot, with Raphinha getting in for an early chance but he couldn't get enough power on it to fire it past Jordan Pickford.

It was Everton who carved out the first clear-cut opening, however, with just five minutes on the clock and it was a gilt-edged chance that would come to rue in the final reckoning. Davies arrived on the overlap to collect Dominic Calvert-Lewin's pass and centre invitingly for Abdoulaye Doucouré, but the Frenchman's effort was too close to Illan Meslier who saved well nonetheless.

Four minutes after that, when Holgate's awful pass in attack was cut out and Leeds countered with speed, Raphinha played Jack Harrison but sliding in to meet the pass, he could only steer his shot the wrong side of the post. Then, after Richarlison had shot tamely at Meslier, Leeds raced away again and Pickford had to be alert to deny Patrick Bamford from a central position.

Everton had the ball in the net for the first of two occasions in the 26th minute when James Rodriguez expertly kept the ball in on the byline and cut inside before rattling home but he was adjudged to have been marginally offside.

Meanwhile, the visitors came as close as they would come to breaking the deadlock in the first period when Raphinha again tried to place a header beyond Pickford but the England international pawed it away from goal and Ben Godfrey had to hack the ball off his own line as Leeds kept it and Harrison fired goal-wards.

With the Blues enjoying a period of superiority in the final 15 minutes before half-time, James picked Holgate out with a free-kick but the defender's close-range volley was pushed away while Richarlison found room for a shot of his own from just outside the box but keeper turned his drive around the post for a corner. From the resulting set-piece, Richarlison found the net with a header but Godfrey was penalised for offside after being deemed to be interfering with play in the keeper's line of sight.

It was Richarlison again who was the recipient of a ball from Allan a few minutes later but his shot was weak before Leeds twice came close to scoring just before the interval. Harrison thumped a header off the post after easily out-jumping Iwobi and Mateusz Klich side-footed inches wide after a cross had been diverted into his path by the out-stretched leg of an Everton defender.

The second half began with Everton in the ascendency and two chances for Calvert-Lewin, one that was batted behind by Meslier and the second which he scuffed disappointingly across goal and wide. But chances for Bielsa's men were never too long in arriving and there were opportunities for Klich, Bamford and Harrison while by Meslier escaped punishment for a rare slip where he gifted the ball to Rodriguez but got back in time to catch the Colombian's attempt to lob him from outside the penalty area.

A brilliant solo run by Allan deserved more than to be deflected just past the post on the hour mark, Raphinha missed from a decent position and Bamford thought he had scored, only for play to be called back for offside against Ezjgan Alioski.

Then, James tested Meslier with a powerful left-footer that the French keeper initially spilled but then gathered before the Colombian nodded past his marker and laid the ball off to Richarlison, only for the Brazil international to slide wildly off target in the 76th minute.

Three minutes later, the winner arrived and it came from the kind of clinical shot that Everton had largely lacked. Raphinha collected a pass from the Leeds right, shaped to move left but then fired a crisp shot through Godfrey's legs and inside the far post.

Having already introduced Fabian Delph for Davies and André Gomes for Iwobi, Ancelotti threw on Bernard for the final 10 minutes plus stoppage time as Everton frantically chased an equaliser but instead it was the Yorkshire side that almost doubled their tally in stoppage time, only for Pickford to pull off one more excellent save, this time to foil Alioski.

The result represents another set-back for Everton who have only won one of their last six matches and it throws more doubt on the effectiveness of an attack that was scoring goals for fun during that electric start to the campaign in September and early October.

Next weekend's trip to struggling Burnley now takes on added importance before a testing run of four matches against Chelsea, Leicester, Manchester United in the Carabao Cup, and Arsenal.


Reader Comments (419)

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Fran Mitchell
1 Posted 28/11/2020 at 16:31:30
Pickford, Holgate, Keane, Godfrey, Davies, Allan, Doucouré, Iwobi, James, Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison.

No Nkounkou. No Gordon.

Fran Mitchell
2 Posted 28/11/2020 at 16:32:34
I reckon Davies on the right, Iwobi on the left?

Or Holgate on the right?

Not sure how that will set up tbh...

Fran Mitchell
3 Posted 28/11/2020 at 16:33:32
The lack of Nkounkou and Gordon from the bench is puzzling. especially as they don't appear for the U23s.
Alan Williams
4 Posted 28/11/2020 at 16:34:15
Poor team selection, for fuck's sake...

Tom Davies – like playing with 10 men!

Tony Hill
5 Posted 28/11/2020 at 16:34:33
I'm worried about that. There is no apparent balance on the left defensively.
Tony Hill
6 Posted 28/11/2020 at 16:37:44
I'm pleased to see Holgate captain, though.
Fran Mitchell
7 Posted 28/11/2020 at 16:39:04
Unfair on Tom, Alan, he played well against Fulham.

It is still a strange selection, I assume Iwobi will be on the left? It will be interesting to see him and Richarlison and James combine.

Maybe Davies will come inside quite often when out of possession, with Holgate moving to the right. This means Phillips will have less space and time on the ball.

Christy Ring
8 Posted 28/11/2020 at 16:40:28
I know Iwobi played well last week, but I'm very worried to see him playing left wing.
Mike Gaynes
9 Posted 28/11/2020 at 16:43:20
Tony, sorry about that.

Alan, I'd say Davies earned his start today with the sub appearance against Fulham. Obviously with a 3 at the back he'll be supporting James defensively. Not sure how that will work out, but there it is.

Tony Everan
10 Posted 28/11/2020 at 16:45:34
Tom Davies did okay against Fulham, he must be pulling up trees in training too, rearing to go. Leeds will be physical and in your face so Tom’s in to help counter that.

It wasn’t the team I was expecting but, with James Rodriguez, Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin up front, I am still very optimistic we can get a win.

Steve Shave
11 Posted 28/11/2020 at 16:46:44
Harsh, Alan. Tom looked really good last week.

I don't agree with team set-up though, I think the stage was set for Nkounkou to announce himself to the Premier League. Shame.

I'll be rooting for Tom though, it would have been good to see Iwobi in the same position as last week given just how good he actually was. Another 3-2 for us, methinks.

Phil Smith
12 Posted 28/11/2020 at 16:48:11
No left-back today? Surely Nkounkou should be at least on the bench? He wasn’t that bad against Newcastle.
Alan McGuffog
13 Posted 28/11/2020 at 16:48:53
Nkounkou is a left-back. A promising one. Can anyone explain why he doesn't even get on the bench?
Paul Smith
14 Posted 28/11/2020 at 16:51:44
No fucks given by Carlo for what we think. Nkounkou wasn't great against Newcastle and Tom was good when he came on last week.

Hold on to your hats – this could be terrible or a master stroke.

Mark Taylor
15 Posted 28/11/2020 at 16:55:21
Well I said I'd leave it to Carlo to figure out how we accommodate a roving James and still have solidity.

This is the answer. Must say it looks like the answer to a completely different question but I guess he knows best...

Raymond Fox
16 Posted 28/11/2020 at 16:55:21
Anything can happen!

No wonder Mina isn't picked, he's way too slow.

Digne is a very big loss; for me, he's our best player.

With my blue specs on, a home win in a close game.

Dave Williams
17 Posted 28/11/2020 at 16:57:30
I wouldn't be surprised to see Richarlison at left-wingback and Davies central between Allan and Doucouré to prevent them from overrunning us in midfield.

Not exactly a show of faith in our young players... is it!!

Neil Lawson
18 Posted 28/11/2020 at 16:57:53
Hoping I will be proved wrong, but no regular full-back (and I am excluding Holgate) makes no sense to me. What are we frightened of, for goodness sake?
Mike Gaynes
19 Posted 28/11/2020 at 16:58:47
Two likely explanations, Alan and Phil:

1. Carlo is going 3 at the back today and doesn't need a left-back.
2. He doesn't think the kid is ready for the Premier League.

Carlo isn't going to tell us, however, unless some journo asks him, and I doubt anybody will.

Ciarán McGlone
20 Posted 28/11/2020 at 17:04:41
Do we not have a ready-made replacement for Digne??? ... This seems an utterly daft decision.
Dave Williams
21 Posted 28/11/2020 at 17:05:29
Just seen the bench – awful!! Why will he not give some of the younger lads a chance?? I mean Sigurdsson, Tosun... for heaven's sake!!
Ciarán McGlone
22 Posted 28/11/2020 at 17:06:20
I predict I'll be turning this off at 6 o'clock to watch the hurling...
Alan J Thompson
23 Posted 28/11/2020 at 17:10:00
I wonder what Bielsa makes of it and if it throws his plans out the window?
Neil Lawson
24 Posted 28/11/2020 at 17:10:50
Just seen the bench too!! We are supposed to have faith in Carlo... Becoming a tough ask.
Justin Doone
25 Posted 28/11/2020 at 17:11:48
The Digne injury is a huge blow. He's an important player in both defence and attack.

I was confident of a win last week and I'm just as confident in a loss today. I'm struggling to understand why no Kenny or Nkounkou?

Davies is a midfielder and any hope of him being able to fill in at full-back or wingback is a huge mistake. Holgate can play right-back but simply isn't good enough in that position.

I can't imagine Richarlison being any good as a wingback and against a good, organised, hard-working attacking team like Leeds; we could get embarrassed.

Robert Tressell
26 Posted 28/11/2020 at 17:13:36
I guess Digne, Kenny and Coleman out was always going to put a strain on the first 11.

It's a very experienced first approach. Okay, not what I would do but Carlo has won all the trophies etc.

But to still not have Nkounkou and Gordon on the bench is pretty depressing. Do we really need Gomes, Sigurdsson and Delph as options?

Tony Hill
27 Posted 28/11/2020 at 17:14:58
This is what Ancelotti is paid for. To make decisions which we don't see as wise. I hope he puts us in our place.
Tony Everan
28 Posted 28/11/2020 at 17:17:34
Dave 1... I'm thinking the same about Richarlison; I can't see him using Iwobi on the left.
Alan J Thompson
29 Posted 28/11/2020 at 17:18:49
What happened to Olsen? Didn't bump into Digne at training, did he?
Brian Hennessy
30 Posted 28/11/2020 at 17:19:37
Ciaran, it's a case of trying to watch both matches for me at the same time. A win for the Toffee's and for the Deise; RS already dropped points, it would be a dream weekend for me.
Conor McCourt
31 Posted 28/11/2020 at 17:29:39
Iwobi played a lot on the left wing for Arsenal. I think he will play in the left-wingback role and Davies on the other side.
Andy Walker
32 Posted 28/11/2020 at 17:30:07
Iwobi on the left is wrong, just wrong. Hope I’m wrong.
Jim Jennings
33 Posted 28/11/2020 at 17:31:46

No, unfortunately we don't. We have a kid just turned 20 who impressed against lower league sides in the cup but was like a rabbit in the headlights against Newcastle

Alan J Thompson
34 Posted 28/11/2020 at 17:51:27
Compared to Leeds, Everton seem to be playing at half speed.
Ernie Baywood
35 Posted 28/11/2020 at 17:58:37
Do we not get a full VAR check now?
Alan J Thompson
36 Posted 28/11/2020 at 18:22:12
Well Davies doesn't look out of place in this midfield.
Ciarán McGlone
37 Posted 28/11/2020 at 18:29:42
Leeds are an average team with a great approach and attitude. Our approach is awful.

Brian... I fancied Waterford to go far after the Cork match but, after watching TJ Reid put that goal away, I'm not sure...

Alan J Thompson
38 Posted 28/11/2020 at 18:53:10
What the hell is that substitution for? Makes no sense whatsoever!
Henrik Lyngsie
39 Posted 28/11/2020 at 18:57:08
I am shocked that we continue with Iwobi as a back. He has zero defensive intelligence and ability.
Alan J Thompson
40 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:12:49
Well, that started with Calvert-Lewin trying to get a free-kick that was never going to be given. Does he do much outside the 6-yard box?
Ernie Baywood
41 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:17:07
Calvert-Lewin has been on his own all game.

Yet we keep making weird substitutions while keeping the same dysfunctional shape.

And I still have to watch Delph. Which makes the least sense of all.

Neil Lawson
42 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:23:53
This result was set in stone the moment the team was announced. This woeful performance is entirely the manager's fault and responsibility. Why are we frightened of Leeds? Leeds for heaven's sake. Shameful.
Ciarán McGlone
43 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:27:29
Danny Baily
44 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:28:02
Criticism where it's due. A lesser manager would have set up the team more conventionally, made more straightforward substitutions and more than likely got the 3 points.
Tommy Coleman
45 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:28:34
Carlo got it wrong again today. That was crap. Made them look great. Carlo should have known that his formation and selection wasn't going to work after 10 minutes.
Ernie Baywood
46 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:28:50
Take off Davies, who was playing well at right-back, and switch the wingbacks.

Then take off Iwobi and put Doucouré (who had a poor game) out there.

Then take off the only guy who could actually play at right-back and bring on Bernard.

What was any of that trying to achieve? When the formation was overrun from the start.

Danny Broderick
47 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:30:24
A bad day for the manager. He got the following wrong:

Team selection
Bench selection
Wrong subs introduced

Why was Nkounkou not even on the bench? He should have been in the team in my book. We were way too deep all game, they only had 1 up front, and we had 5 in defence with the wingbacks pushed back.

There is no point bringing on Delph and Gomes if you are chasing the game. I get sorry for Calvert-Lewin yet again – hopeful punts up the pitch to him, no service whatsoever. The only positives today were Allan – he was outstanding – and Pickford, who was back on form.

Tony Hill
48 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:30:54
An appalling performance and appalling management. Richarlison was especially dreadful but they're all crap aren't they? Gutless failures, in the image of the club.

It's not been fun, chaps, and I don't think it ever will be now. All the best and farewell.

Cristobal Aguirre
49 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:30:59
Please never more Delph in the team, he is at most a League Two player.
Phil Smith
50 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:31:12
Fucking shite again.
Jim Bennings
51 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:31:54
Shambolic display from both the players and the manager.

I don't want to become another manager basher but I have to give some constructive criticism here, I'm becoming very disillusioned with what Ancelotti is trying to establish here.

Woeful team selection (not for the first time)... substitutions that simply baffle the mind.

We look unfit, laboured and no better equipped than a year or two ago when Marco Silva was in charge.

It's okay banging on about injuries but this has become a regular theme for a while now and we knew when the transfer window was open we needed more players because clearly there are many in the squad he doesn't trust.

The money Moshiri has pissed away at this club – I just can't see how he can really be satisfied with what he's seeing.

Martin Berry
52 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:32:22
Pickford and Allan outstanding but managed by a bloke who does not know what his best formation is on the day, the team looked utterly confused.

In the other corner, Leeds knew exactly what the game plan was, and what to do when in possession.

Carlo needs to make up his mind and get it sorted asap!!

Michael Kenrick
53 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:32:44
Sorry, folks having a slew of network / internet / broadband problems in my new pad.
Kevin Prytherch
54 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:33:11
Again you have to question Ancelotti here.

We started the season creating chances for fun, and a lot of our goals conceded were down to individual errors. After 3 defeats, we've retreated into a defensive shell where most of our build-up is too slow and deep and the chances that we're fizzing about for Calvert-Lewin are becoming rarer and rarer.

Today, we've left two full backs out of the squad for what? We've had 2 wingbacks who didn't get forward, but also weren't really full-backs. After starting with full-backs willing to bomb forward and having midfielders trying to cover them, we now have 2 wide players who don't really know what to do and thus negate any attacking threat.

We are trying to play with two central midfielders against 3 or 4 in the opposition midfield. The wingbacks don't act as midfield or full-back cover, so our midfield is totally overrun. As a result, we can't get the ball forward with enough quality for Rodriguez and Richarlison to do any damage and, when they do get the ball, their options are limited.

Our 3 centre-backs are either in a line marking one player with no-one willing to step out to deal with any threat between the lines, or they are stretched out wide if the wingbacks are caught in no-man's land.

We just don't look dangerous anymore. When Liverpool scored first in the derby, my first thought was that we still have 85 minutes to score a couple. I'm not getting that same feeling now. We've been scared into compensating for the lack of cover on the right that Rodriguez offers, and have cost ourselves any attacking threat in the process whilst not actually improving the defence.

I would say we actually looked stronger in defence at the start of the season as many of the goals conceded were down to individual mistakes and, once they peter out, we should have had a half-decent defence.

Lastly, Ancelotti – like many previous managers before him – seems fixated on a price tag. Forget about Gordon, Kenny or Nkounkou getting a sniff. Davies was surprising today but, true to form, was the first player hooked. Look forward to many a game with overpaid wasters getting a game simply because they cost a few quid.

Darren Hind – I said give Carlo time... My patience will start to wear thin with current form.

Phil Rodgers
55 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:33:20
Need to go back to basics because we are treading water at the moment. The system constantly changing doesn't help.

It's looking increasingly like another false dawn, I'm sorry to say.

Colin Metcalfe
56 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:33:44
Good game, good win, and a good goal for Leeds. As for us Blues, it's yet another false dawn and back to the drawing board.

I think it was Lyndon who wrote an article some time ago with the headline “What's wrong with Everton?“ Well, nothing has change and, as fans of this once great club, we are still scratching our heads... I have no idea – apart from buying better players for top dollar instead of bang average which we continue to do so!

Alan J Thompson
57 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:33:55
Gomes gave it some sort of configuration but I still can't see why Delph was put on... and did we have any sort of effort on goal from outside the penalty area?

Sorry, but it all looked half-hearted to me and still needs a better finisher from both inside and outside the penalty area. Did we hit anything from the edge of the box?

And set-pieces... maybe one day we'll work on something but I couldn't see it today; in all there's not much to take heart from this game.

Back to the training ground.

Cristobal Aguirre
58 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:34:06
Pickford 8
Godfrey 6
Keane 6
Holgate 5
Davies 6
Doucouré 2
Allan 8
Rodriguez 6
Richarlison 5
Calvert-Lewin 7

Gomes 2
Delph 0.2
Bernard – little time to be evaluated.

Anthony Jones
59 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:35:10
Sounded pretty poor. Don't understand no Gordon and no Nkounkou. Italian managers usually go for experience over energy. Not a philosophy that tends to work in the Premier League.

The Professor has been stripped of his title.

Ajay Gopal
60 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:36:14
For me, I saw it as a very even game. We were overrun in the 1st half, but we had the better clear-cut chances I think. In the 2nd half, it was more evenly matched, and I actually thought with 15 mins left, Everton were starting to dominate, especially after Gomes came on.

For me, this was down to lack of composure in the box – too many chances wasted, especially by Richarlison, who has really not got going this season.

I really can't say that anyone had a bad game, I actually thought Everton matched Leeds for energy, but just lacked that bit of quality that might have got us at least a point, if not a win.

Allan was terrific today, also Pickford.

Andy Crooks
61 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:36:44
I never bet on an Everton game. Today, I was tempted because I believed Leeds were a great price against a very average side.

Carlo has never experienced anything like this in his career. His performance today as coach was, in my view, utterly abject. We really, really are not lucky to have him.

Putting your arm round the shoulder of high-class players and horse whispering them is a high-level skill that Carlo has in spades. Now, polishing turds requires a different set of skills. He ain't got it, never will.

Cristobal Aguirre
62 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:36:57
Sorry, Carlo, but to put in Delph having Nkounkou available is just stupidity.
Justin Doone
63 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:37:05
We lost as expected but we didn't play too badly. If it wasn't for a few marginal offside decisions, we could have got something from it.

In the split second James had an opportunity to shoot on the edge of the box, he didn't. I can't understand why not?

Holgate's and Godfrey's pace and energy was very much needed and, given a little more time, that formation could be our best option short-term.

However, Kenny and Nkounkou should be playing to provide natural width and put crosses into the box.

James can pay a little more central and he and Richarlison can continue to support Calvert-Lewin.

Jim Bennings
64 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:37:20
Colin @39,

The thing is you don't just need to blow millions of pounds on better players.

Managers at the likes of Leicester, Southampton, Wolves, Bielsa at Leeds have all shown that you can actually make a team technically better and fitter with a strategy and good training programme.

Derek Moore
65 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:37:35
I for one would like to give credit to Leeds today who deserved every one of the three points. Ultimately, we were unable to interrupt or stop the way they wanted to play and nor were we able to outplay them.

Shortly before we conceded, you could almost visibly perceive the difference as Leeds players continued to press tight to their assignment and Everton players desperately trying to retain cheap safe possession but were not being allowed to do so.

Before the game, I did say I feared their relentless energy and their understanding and commitment to their game plan. In the end, both were big factors in this defeat.

There was a pleasing return to form for Allan, whom I thought particularly unlucky to be on the losing side today. Calvert-Lewin looked sharp up front but, when he ceased to be an outlet ball at about the hour mark, they looked much more dangerous. I was glad Mason Holgate was back as well.

Will the real Everton please stand up? This is just such a wildly erratic team: a history-making start to a history-making first Premier League home loss to promoted Leeds. I keep saying the gap from our best to our worst is just too great for us to be a team at the top end of the table.

This season is starting to look like so many others in recent times – an opportunity available and ultimately spurned. Disappointing.

Patrick McFarlane
66 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:39:05
I thought the starting eleven was fine, but the substitutions were baffling. It looks as if Carlo picks on the less-worthy players and replaces them like for like.

On another day, we might have been acknowledging a victory if we had got the rub of the green in the first half, but that second-half was similar to Silva's time at the club, all huff and puff but with little or no end product.

Poor Dominic ran his legs off and held the ball up well for the most part but where were the crosses or players attempting to get to the by-line? Leeds were good at what they did but we made it pretty easy for them, especially in that second period.

Too much glamour and not enough grit in this present Everton side. Doucouré had a mare, Allan did at least try and make a mark, but often looking like a headless chicken, Gomes is not suited to this league and Delph did what you'd expect Delph to do.

Gavin Johnson
67 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:39:20
The players, and Carlo in particular, dropped the ball today. The team selection and substitutions were bizarre, to say the least.

Nkounkou should have played instead of shuffling the team even further and putting even more square pegs in round holes. Iwobi was good at right-wingback. Why not go with continuity, Carlo?! If Iwobi was being moved over to left-wingback, then where was Jonjoe Kenny?? Is he injured... because playing Davies instead of him is bonkers.

A very frustrating game, but am I surprised at the outcome when I saw that he'd gone with Iwobi at left-wingback and Davies, who is probably even slower than Kenny, at right-wingback, then the answer is, No!!

Paul Birmingham
68 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:39:37
No complaints from me, as the best side won, quite easily.

Wrong selections and we were sussed out very early in the game.

Big concerns about the shape and loss of shape in the second half.

No strength in depth and Everton lost their way. If we could get close to Leeds's energy and movement this season, then we can hold a chance but playing like this, we will not win many games.

Back to the drawing board, and hopefully I'll get some fish and enjoyment out of Otterspool in the morning.

Ian Godfrey
69 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:40:23
Surely something is drastically wrong with not only the team and substitute selection but with the tactics. If the selected individuals do not perform, it's about time the manager and his back room staff read the riot act.

Recent performances have not been acceptable and it's about time the players realised it. If they don't perform, they should be dropped and give the youngsters a go. At least they would be enthusiastic and at least try to represent the club with passion and endeavour on the field.

Mike Oates
70 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:40:44
Ancelotti got it wrong again today with his team, subs, and tactics. Completely outshone by Belisa. He's got pace with Nkoukou and Gordon, but neither on the bench is disgraceful.

So why rely on Davies and Iwobi for our pace, our creativity and Iwobi plays one loses one in games and Davies doesn't have the pace or creativity to worry any team.

You can't play Rodriquez without 3 defensive string midfield players, he doesn't pick up, cover, mark and it leaves Allan and Doucoure totally overrun.

Our back 3, 4, 5 – whatever it was – couldn't play any deeper, so bang goes the pressing up top.

Stephen Brown
71 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:41:06
How disappointing!!

Where do you start? Shapeless!! If Nkounkou and Kenny (not sure if he's fit?) are not going to be selected when Coleman and Digne are injured, then what's the point in them being in the squad?

It was clear to me the system was to pot after 10 minutes!! Leeds players had all the time in the world on the ball!

Doucouré was really poor today! Probably doesn't know what position he is playing?!

3rd place was up for grabs and we blew it but fair play to Leeds – they looked a quality outfit.

Benn Chambers
72 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:41:32
I'm starting to wonder if Napoli had seen first signs of Ancelotti's decline and that's why they got rid.

No point being able to attract good players if your selections, tactics and systems render them useless.

Constantly giving Iwobi minutes, playing Davies at full-back, 5 at the back when we have no pace at all in the team, let alone wide. The two players who are wingers, in Gordon and Bolasie, can't even make the squad! Then finally taking Davies and Iwobi off but sticking with 5 at the back and playing our centre-midfielder, Doucouré, there.

He's really starting to chap my arse now. This defeat was his fault. Starting 5 at the back at home is fucking inexcusable, especially when you don't have the players to do it.

It's becoming a fucking joke now. If he's here just for his payday, then just fuck off. I know he's been one of the best to do it but that counts for fuck all in the here and now, when a shite Leeds team come to Goodison and boss it. I only care what Ancelotti does for us but he's making me seriously wonder why he's on so much money. He's as average as the shit performances of late.

The next 5 games are a write-off. We're winning none of them.

The buck starts and stops with him. I never ever wanna see Tom Davies or Alex Iwobi again. They make me sick to my stomach. So does Delph! So does that crab Pickford. Holgate his a load of shite and Mina isn't much better.

Letting Kean leave without a replacement was fucking suicide as well and he allowed it to happen. Not that I rate Kean but we have Calvert-Lewin and that's it.

When we go behind, the game is over. There is nothing at all on the bench to change it. Just similar bags of shite like Bernard and Sigurdsson and Tosun. The money we've spent, it's disgraceful.

He needs to stop fucking about and stop ramming square pegs in round holes. Iwobi and Davies are not footballers, full stop – let alone wingbacks.

We can't defend with 2 centre-backs and we're even worse with 3, that's just an extra centre-back for Pickford to panic.

We'll be firmly rooted in the bottom half come the beginning of January and it's down to Ancelotti for me.

He needs to sort the foundations out and quick. I'd say dropping that flap artist Pickford would be a start but we'll see. I don't actually think Pickford was that bad today but it's blatantly obvious that he causes panic in an already shite defence and he is not the answer long-term. Only Digne would stay for me, I would replace every single one of the defence. Two new starting centre-backs and a new right-back a must, along with a new keeper. We must be the slowest, laziest team in world football.

Fuck off, Everton. You're Shambolic. It doesn't matter who's manager, who they sign. It's just deeply rooted and engrained in our psyche. We're forever destined to be bang average and do absolutely fuck all. I wasn't blessed to watch the great teams of the past, I was born in 1983 and alls I've known is this shite. From Mike to Walker to now. Everton make me fuckin' nauseous.

Steve Ferns
73 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:42:14
Really pissed off with Carlo’s selections at the moment. Least said the better.
Richard Cusworth
74 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:42:20
Tonight was a shambles. Newcastle was a shambles.

I'm not going to go overboard and not going to get on any bandwagon regarding the manager but we must learn.

Stop this 3 at the back, it has never ever suited Everton. Stop putting square pegs in round holes. Better to be under strength in one or two positions than moving people around and trying systems where no-one knows what they are doing.

Finally, learn that we need squad depth in every position. Whenever we go into a season with 1 player for a position, they always, always get injured. Learn and move on... but bloody learn!!!

Sam Hoare
75 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:43:25
Allan's best game since joining – and Doucoré's worst?

Leeds put in an impressive team performance and we matched them for parts, certainly an entertaining watch. I thought we were worse against Southampton and Newcastle but 4 losses in 5 matches is obviously very concerning.

Playing 5-3-2 leaves us so open in the middle and they scythed through us time and again. Though we also created quite a few openings. Should probably have been 4-3 to Leeds.

If we don't beat Burnley next week, then it's really looking like a very mediocre start to the season and another year of 11th-ish.

Carlo was backed pretty well this summer. He's got to get the results or he will be under pressure, like any manager.

Kevin Dyer
76 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:44:26
Said it last week, not a fan of a back 3. Our bench allowed no real change of formation.

Iwobi played well last week at right-wingback; left-wingback he was no threat and struggled defensively. Davies played okay and was unlucky not to get an assist. We sat too deep, allowed Phillips to dictate. Outnumbered in midfield, allowing them to run at our defence. Wide open down the left channel.

At home, against a promoted team, we're too passive and reactive. In truth, they missed a lot of good chances and should have scored more. Pickford played well but then suspect for the goal, a nice hit but from range again.

When you're ending the game with Doucouré and Delph at fullback, then things cannot have gone to plan.

Massively dropped opportunity.

Cristobal Aguirre
78 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:44:44
No Digne, no goals and no points – as simple as that.

We have a great 11 but, if one piece is out, we have to put on the pitch a League One or League Two player.

I hope Carlo can improve the quality of the team in January, we urgently cover for Coleman, Doucouré, Allan, James, Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin. We also need to sell or release Delph, Gomes, Kenny, Mina, Bernard (l like him, because he show commitment but he is not good enough) and Tosun.

Tony Heron
79 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:44:49
Richarlison, world class? Sorry, I've never seen that at all, and today just proved it.

Tactics awful, but we haven't got the squad. I wish the club would give us some idea as to why Gordon isn't anywhere near the bench. As for Delph, Gomes (sadly), Sigurdsson and Bernard, I would say "Thanks very much and Goodbye!"

I know YouTube can be misleading but, when I see the 5 minutes of training it shows, I wonder about the quality of training, particularly the fitness conditioning. They are like a gang of lads having a kick about on the park. Nothing looks professional.

Tony Twist
80 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:46:14
I think this puts sharply into focus the fact that Everton have forgotten everything about being a successful football club. Frankly, we are going backwards.

It shows the mentality that they think a has-been manager and superstar players that are getting a bit long in the tooth is the solution to gaining success. The scouting and buying of talent and nurturing that talent into star quality players and playing as a team will lead to success; this club is going in the opposite direction to this and will struggle financially unless a quality approach and attitude isn't strictly followed.

That was just pathetic.... but just typical Everton. You have to trust in the energy and enthusiasm of youth and play players in their correct and strongest positions. Ancelotti's viewpoint that he is here to win stuff – not provide development opportunities for the youth – sums it all up. Mindless statement.

Brian Williams
81 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:47:25
Ajay #60.

Thank fuck someone seemed to see this game as I did. Leeds were as profligate at the back as we were. We had more attempts on target than they did. The difference was they put one away.

Hugh Jenkins
82 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:48:19
Ancelotti is, without doubt, a great tactician. I think the problem is, most of us are missing what his tactics are saying.

He is sending a message to Moshri and the board.

What he is saying is:-

"You have hired me, a manager with proven track record at some of the greatest and biggest clubs in the world. I have come here to build a team and a dynasty for you. But, like in the Bible, I cannot make bricks without straw!

"Apart from a few players I have brought in, you have given me nothing to work with and, from nothing, I can produce nothing.

"Or, to quote Churchill in 1940, 'Give us the tools and we will finish the job'."

I think Carlo is making a statement to the effect that "I have 11 players who, when fully fit, I can squeeze a tune out of – but take just one away (never mind two or three) and we are in serious trouble."

The dross and nonsense being served up now is a plea for money and support in the transfer market – nothing more, or less.

Carlo is no doubt clever enough and skilled enough as a manager to squeeze a few better results out with the players he has at his disposal now... but, if he does, he knows that the purse strings will be kept closed because he is seen to be "getting by with what we have".

I don't mind betting that, if we manage to get 2 or 3 better quality players in in January, we will see a much improved performance in the second half of the season.

Gary Willock
83 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:48:44
Overall: I have to apologise for those being “negative” before the game. We just got beat by a better team, and are again making mid-table teams look like absolute world beaters. Not one for doom, but with Carlo “playing safe” and no genuine full-backs in the team, it could well be a very shit month ahead.

Pickford (8) – very good saves, credit due.
Iwobi (3) – must never play left-back again.
Holgate (6) – did okay.
Keane (6) – did okay.
Godfrey (5) – cost us at both ends today.
Davies (4) – not a right-back or right-midfielder.
Doucouré (5) – seems nervous and too cautious.
Allan (7) – carrying us.
Richarlison (6) – usual trying.
James (6) – quality marshalled.
Calvert-Lewin (6) – grafted.

Carlo (1) – becoming a tinker man, with pointless subs like Delph into left-back, and three or four changes to a defence that's conceded more than anyone else in the league in open play. Does nothing to change the game, and showing little imagination. Needs to find a system and a preferred team very quickly, and stick to it, because we look just as shit and disjointed as we did under Koeman.

Jim Wilson
84 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:48:59
It could have been Martinez, Koeman or Silva picking that team. Changing the team formation mid-season is a disaster waiting to happen.

And I hate the 3-at-the-back formation. 4 at the back all day for me. Kenny, Keane, Holgate & Nkounkou was a no-brainer.

Darren Hind
85 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:50:15
The satellite's confused coz on Saurday night.
Carlo's tactics were exposed as pure shite.
And a depressed Evertonian cried at the sight
Of another season burning.

But, oh, oh, oh – the tide is turning...

Michael Lynch
86 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:51:02
Leeds were good today, everyone seemed to know their job. Half the time, our players didn't even seem to know who their team-mates were.

Doucouré is disappointing, as is James. The former isn't the player I hoped he was; the latter is a luxury item and leaves us looking like a 10-man team for too much of the game.

Were there no fit full-backs at all? And what does Carlo see from Delph that the rest of us don't? Why play Iwobi as a left-wingback, he looked like a donkey on a bicycle out there.

Another mediocre season beckons; we currently look a bottom-half team and I'm pretty sure that's where we'll be by Christmas.

Fran Mitchell
87 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:53:00
I really do think the selection hurt us. Iwobi was never comfortable on the left and it gave Leeds an outlet to exploit.

We have Nkounkou who is a left-wingback. When the first-choice left-wingback is injured, play the correct one.

By moving Iwobi to the left, we then had two players who were in unfamiliar and uncomfortable roles... both wingbacks, and in a formation that is pretty dependant on the wingbacks.

Also, not having Gordon as an attacking option on the bench... it's getting beyond baffling.

We could have won it today: 2 disallowed goals, Doucouré should have scored, Allan, James and Richarlison had chances that they could have done better with. But, if, but, if...

Leeds's energy and relentlessness was no surprise. I think we stood up well to them, they played very well; credit to a very impressive Leeds team.

But so frustrating. We have improved under Carlo. We have. We are better on the ball, better to watch... but there is still so much wrong.

And not using the 2 youngsters who could make a difference is baffling. Carlo needs to be questioned about this.

Because we have lost 4 games now when a key player has been missing and, rather than opt for the like-for-like replacement, Carlo has gone for an experienced 'square peg in round hole' solution – and failed each time.

Richard Nelson
88 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:54:53
Another "false dawn" from the geriatric residents of the Everton FC Care Home...

Iwobi, left-back... give me strength!

Carlo, what are you playing at???

Tommy Carter
89 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:55:41
Once again, it's the belief – or lack thereof – that fails us.

Players like Alioski, Harrison, Cooper etc – they have nothing on the pedigree of some of our players. But they have ultimate belief. They believe that, if they expend 100% of their efforts, then they might get some kind of tangible reward. And they do. They ran around like psychopaths.

I see Everton players crippled by fear. I wonder how this is possible? Because some of these have played against us and shown absolutely no fear. Doucouré for example. Put them in an Everton shirt and they are rabbits caught in headlights.

The complete inability to keep a clean sheet is just beyond frustrating.

To give away 20+ attempts on goal is simply atrocious.

Derek Moore
90 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:56:22
Two can play at that game, Darren...

Come gather 'round, people
Wherever you moan
And admit that our Carlo
Just simply doesn't know
And accept it that soon
Moshiri may end up getting on his phone
If his money to you is worth savin'
And Everton better start winnin'
Or we'll sink like a stone
For the times, they are a-changin'

Dave Williams
91 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:56:24
Carlo lost this for us today. At the very least, he should have had full-backs on the bench rather than the usual failures.

Tom Davies was doing okay and certainly better than Doucoure who had a 'mare. James was quite effective in the middle and got far more involved in the game than of late.

Allan was very good and kept going well. Pickford was a tad shaky with a few balls in but made some cracking saves. Richarlison was not on it at all and was too far away from Calvert-Lewin.

If Carlo won't play youngsters, then he is the wrong man for us as we can't afford an entire team of expensive 28-to 30-year-olds and they would be run ragged by several teams anyway. This league is different than Italy and Spain and Carlo should know that the team must have pace and energy. He should be pressed to explain why Nkounkou and Kenny failed to even make the bench.

Very poor management today.

Jeff Armstrong
92 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:56:54
Okay, people saying Ancelotti needs time, transfer windows, etc... and I do get that... but what about his game-by-game management – NOW!?!? It's absolutely terrible!

Square pegs, no trust in youngsters, ridiculous substitutions... he seems as clueless as Martinez, Koeman, and Silva in their final throes. It's excruciating to watch when simple things would get him more kudos with fans.

Gordon on the bench as an option; Nkounkou at left-back or wingback; Doucoure dropped or dragged off now and again; Iwobi played in the position he had his best 45 minutes in...

Apparently it's rocket science and earns you £10 million a year, and you don't have to perform, just wait for the next transfer window.

Carlo, try managing NOW!!!

Dave Abrahams
93 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:58:36
Leeds deserved to win, and by a bigger margin. Everton were very poor as a team, and individually there was four or five who could have got the pick as worst player.

Only one was in the running for best player: Allan, no other contenders. I think we found a captain in him today. Now we need a few players to go with him, starting in January.

Like most, I couldn't understand the line-up and what formation they were playing. I don't think the players understood it either.

A very disappointing performance to go with too many lately... and I don't expect it to get any better before January.

Ian Godfrey
94 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:58:50
What have Gordon and the other Under-23 players done to deserve not being considered when the so-called senior players are obviously not performing???

If their selection is based on enhancing their transfer fee for the forthcoming transfer window, it is obviously failing drastically. Who in their right mind would want to buy this dross?

Tom Bowers
95 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:58:53
Carlo's tactics are all wrong. That was evident in the first few games, especially against woeful West Brom. They rode their luck got some points and then it all went pear-shaped after the lucky draw against Liverpool.

Today, they were all over the shop with no compactness in the midfield and open to almost any attack Leeds had. It was so apparent in the first 10 minutes and yet the system never changed.

I cannot see anything changing now unless Carlo brings in some class acts to get that midfield sorted out and he changes his tactics.

It's no good making excuses about Richarlison missing 3 games or Coleman and Digne missing games. If Kenny or Nkoukou are not considered, then certainly there are a few others not worthy of selection.

They need a class right back as Seamus has seen his best days.

Joe McMahon
96 Posted 28/11/2020 at 19:59:44
10 games, one clean sheet, and one striker at the club (Tosun don't count).

We have expensive flops, such as Gomes, Delph and yes Bernard. Just shows we are no better letting Walcott and Moise Kean go on loan. I've given up now, probrably did about 3 years ago. Same shit every year, I cannot see us cutting it with the top teams ever again.

Our neighbours' endless success is somethng we will just have to live with. Everton FC has no purpose and hasn't done for years, the only achievement being EitC.

Tony Abrahams
97 Posted 28/11/2020 at 20:00:27
I enjoyed watching Leeds play, but only enjoyed watching Everton in sporadic moments.

We probably created enough chances to win two games, but we couldn't score – and couldn't argue about the best team winning today.

I'd say we have some very good players now, but just not enough of them, and also a manager who needs to find a system to suit his squad.

Mick Roberts
98 Posted 28/11/2020 at 20:04:46
Just proves the inept Ancelotti is not the manager a lot of people on here thought he was. Caught out big time by a team with less talented players but a much better manager.
Don Alexander
99 Posted 28/11/2020 at 20:06:14
Ben Chambers (#72), for what it's worth, you have my sympathy.

Manager after manager, player after player, decade after decade – we have had to endure shite football, never looking like winners again.

Is it fate or, like in every other of the five "big" clubs who founded the Premier League when you were only 9 (and every other club intent on winning trophies), is the fault in our boardroom and the culture of mediocrity that always was, and yet remains, in it?

Billy Dawber
100 Posted 28/11/2020 at 20:06:46
In Carlos we trust. Don't think so, peeps. All you believers will be eating humble pie yet again.

Just as bad as the managers before him. I don't give a flying fuck what it says on his resume, this is Everton we are talking about here.

How many players have broken their duck against us over the years, a fucking disgrace if you ask me. Mind you, the writing was on the wall from the get-go with this lot.

A long road ahead and deary me – look at the next few games ahead. Not good reading if the boss doesn't seem to know who the defenders and midfielders are by now.

Poor old Calvert-Lewin out on his own again – and that's with Richarlison and Rodriguez in the team. Back to the drawing board again. Onwards and downwards for us Blues, as I said a few posts ago. We can't even win when Liverpool drop points. Unbelievable.

Barry Rathbone
101 Posted 28/11/2020 at 20:09:30
I'm sure Paul Simon was thinking of us when he wrote: "Welcome darkness, my old friend".

Other than the Ancelotti name, nothing is discernible from recent regimes of unadventurous mediocrity. The tedious existence of this club will soon be considered a cure for insomnia by medical practitioners.

Another thoroughly predictable false dawn from this once great club.

Jason Wilkinson
102 Posted 28/11/2020 at 20:09:35
The most disappointing aspect of our recent performances is the inability to defend properly. I wasn't confident before today's game. Perhaps the most important signing would be a coach to drill the back 4?

It doesn't help matters when there are so many changes. I would try Tom Davies holding in front of a back 4. James needs a stint on the bench, coming on as an impact player. Doucouré and Allan need a bit of a break from the responsibility of carrying the frailties of the defence.

Carlo must see that he has to leave some players behind. Delph, Sigurdsson & Gomes are no longer quick enough to play at the level required. Young blood is needed – and soon!

Patrick McFarlane
103 Posted 28/11/2020 at 20:14:26
Apparently, that's the ninth League match in a row at Goodison where Everton have failed to keep a clean sheet – the worst run since circa 2011. The inability to keep the opposition at bay is going to ruin any plans the club might have had to secure European football.

If we have more days like today where the forwards are failing too, it's a recipe for mediocrity and possibly worse. Mighty Salford were the last visiting team to fail to score at Goodison and, if I remember rightly, they had a few good chances on the night too.

Kieran Kinsella
104 Posted 28/11/2020 at 20:14:38
The most annoying thing on ToffeeWeb is the age-old “manager got the selection wrong by not picking unproven kid (Dowell, Kenny, Connolly, Kissock, Gordon, Nkoukou, Galloway, Browning, Garbutt...)

We have been hearing this for years and none of these wonder kids have ever gone on to prove the armchair pundits right. History suggests that, if we aren't playing these kids, it's because they aren't good enough.

Derek Knox
105 Posted 28/11/2020 at 20:17:03
What really pisses me off, is that you look forward to a game, which we should have been able to win, and the players (not all) are seemingly clueless as to how to play.

Okay, I will say that I think the team selection wasn't quite right with players playing out of position, but why is it that those given a chance don't seem to be trying very hard to make an impression?

I feel gutted after a loss, especially at home. I doubt whether any of those who played today feel the same.

Paul Tran
106 Posted 28/11/2020 at 20:18:23
Only Allan and Pickford earned their money today.

A dreadful lack of purpose and cohesion in that team, looked like 11 strangers out there. Didn't look like they knew or believed in what they were doing.

I'd love to know what Gordon and Nkoukou have done not to be in the squad. Their purpose and directness were missed today.

Very disappointing.

Benn Chambers
107 Posted 28/11/2020 at 20:18:33
Don #99:

I'm starting to think so mate. I can't see us ever being a force again. We're shambolic. No matter who we sign or what we spend. Rival fans just laugh now when we spend money because they know it changes fuck all. We're still Everton and we always will be. Nil Satis Nisi Optimum is false advertising. That needs removing from the badge. It makes me cringe.

We just reek of mediocrity and I'm afraid the latest manager seems to be following the others before him. He can't even pick our two full-backs in the squad and plays shit midfielders there instead. No excuse for Kenny and Nkounkou not being in that squad today. Also, Walcott and Kean go and are both strikers and being played as strikers and both excelling while they get played as wingers for us when neither of them are – and we've got fucking Tosun on the bench.

I despair now. I'm genuinely starting to fucking hate this club. What's the point in a team that doesn't even have a go? We're just a Palace or a Burnley. Pointless.

I'm gonna start going to watch Marine instead. A nice coffee in Crosby before and a few real ales after, where the results won't matter – it's more about the day out.

All these spineless gutless cunts do is make me miserable and angry. I'm sick of letting them affect my mood and ruin weekend after weekend. The club is fucking soulless and they can fuck off now!

Tommy Carter
108 Posted 28/11/2020 at 20:19:48

Kieran. We don't often agree. But we do here.

People extolling the virtues of Jonjoe Kenny and wondering why he didn't play. Because he's crap.

Fraser Hornby was better than Calvert-Lewin a year ago. And Dowell the better of any of our midfield options.

Si Turner
109 Posted 28/11/2020 at 20:20:20
I feel Carlo needs to take responsibility for the loss today. The formation did not work against them whatsoever.

Their wide forwards got in the spaces between wingback and centre-half all game and Philips was given too much freedom to dictate the ball. It was obviously not working and should have been changed at half-time.

When we moved to the flat four near the end, we looked more balanced again.

Really disappointing because we would have gone third with a win – and we have a poor Burnley side next.

Patrick McFarlane
110 Posted 28/11/2020 at 20:21:19
Kieran #87,

What you say is probably true; however, if they ain't good enough, why is the club continuing to employ them?

It's no good for them if they can't at least be given an opportunity when injuries or suspensions occur... that's a Catch-22 situation that helps nobody.

Sam Hoare
111 Posted 28/11/2020 at 20:21:48
At least we conceded less than 2!

We lack depth at fullback. If we'd had Digne and Coleman fit, then I think we win that match. But clearly Ancelotti has no trust in Kenny and Nkoukou and so we end up playing midfielders out of position.

Effective wingbacks are absolutely crucial to make a 5-3-2 work. But equally you need good full-backs to play 4-3-3.

Our first XI, when fit, is pretty decent but, the moment there are injuries or suspensions, we seem unable to withstand it in the way other teams do. Poor depth? Mental fragility? Bad selection and tactics?

George McKane
112 Posted 28/11/2020 at 20:22:37
To try – especially when we are emotionally involved and our hearts are overused – to somehow summarise what is wrong with Everton seems to me to be an almost impossibility. That does not excuse Ancelotti or any of the others who have tried since Howard's "homespun" man-management.

It just seems totally illogical... somehow, we have a knack of just doing it wrong. We have had money and the players at certain times and yes, we have had the good draw a few times in Cups. But somehow, time and time again, we get it wrong.

I won't get into individual players, or even managers, but for a club of our history and pre-Premier League history to continually deliver the poor quality we have in the past 30 years needs serious questioning and looking at. But who is going to do that? Me, you, Kenwright, Moshiri, Ancelotti... I doubt it. They have vested interests in not rocking the boat and asking questions or even answering questions.

The club has got an illness, a virus, a disease... it needs a total cleaning out, scrubbed clean, disinfecting, and then starting again. Could any of us accept, wait or stand for that?

Aristotle said something like "For extreme illness, you need extreme medicine." Could we take extreme medicine? Indeed, what medicine would we take?

I know what I would do and know how I would plan it, execute it and explain it. I had no background in theatre, I worked in an office (I hated it) and decided to run my own arts group with young people. I studied and watched everything in theatre for 20 years – reading, working, failing, travelling the World – but, for the last 20 years, I have been doing my work with excluded young people and have built a reputation throughout Europe.

Oh yes, I know they are not professional footballers but maybe there's the problem: too many come here for contracts (it seems)... What is wrong at Everton, I don't know – even Herbert Lom would have trouble sorting us out! I would be happy to hear a statement from the club about the present, and about the future, but I guess even the owners are frightened to scare the players.

I am often asked to talk at Youth Theatre seminars and am introduced as someone "Who gives young people what they want." I always say "No, I have no intention of giving them what they want... but what they need". Of course, I am challenged: what about asking all the young people what they want? They come to me to learn and gain experience and knowledge.

I never went to school and told the teachers what to teach me. I took their basic knowledge and then built my education into what I wanted it to be – not for a job or a wage but for knowledge.

I don't know what Everton's footballing ethos, policy or style is... do the players, I wonder? Do we?

Simon Dalzell
113 Posted 28/11/2020 at 20:23:34
I have very little faith in this manager.
Paul Birmingham
114 Posted 28/11/2020 at 20:23:46
Burnley will smell blood, so hopefully no square pegs in round holes, and the matchday squad will be based on merit and capability... but that's a critical set of issues and there's no easy win.

It would be useful to know how far off Seamus Coleman is from fitness and if Gbamin is due back soon, hopefully at full fitness? He will provide an option for the Christmas fixture list.

Let's hope we get a decent draw in the FA Cup 3rd Round draw, and this rot is fixed before the quarterfinal v Man Utd.

Staying optimistic in that surely now the squad limits are known, but lessons are being learned the hard way by the manager and coaches that several players just aren't good enough.

Key players missing shouldn't stop a team playing but, without Digne today, we had zilch going forward on the left-hand side and no real control of the left and nothing on the right.

Leeds played as if they had 13 players, such was their effort and desire.

The Burnley game is massive, and the team needs to etch out a win.

Kenny Smith
115 Posted 28/11/2020 at 20:27:19
We were poor today and second-best everywhere. Leeds deserved to win hands down.

Again, today showed the squad depth is too thin. No-one on that bench was capable of changing any game, nevermind one where the other team were as good as Leeds were. The decision to play Iwobi and Davies in those positions highlights the fact that, once you dig deeper than the first 11, we're actually shite.

We're desperately short and, although Calvert-Lewin has started the season very well, we need goals from the rest. I still think we need a goalscorer and look to play a 4-4-2.

I don't blame Ancelotti at all for losing or his team selection. After all, you can only piss with the cock you've got.

Roger Helm
116 Posted 28/11/2020 at 20:27:20
Carlo has had success in the past because he has had very good players. Everton and their squad has been a challenge to him and I can't say that he is handling it that well.

Leeds were worth their win. Like most visitors, they are fit, fast, organised and motivated, looking like they have played together before – something we are not and haven't been for about 10 years.

New manager, same old Everton. I am starting to think if they can't be bothered, why should I?

Danny Broderick
117 Posted 28/11/2020 at 20:27:22
After a great start to the season, there are some reasons for concern:

The manager doesn't know our best team.

One clean sheet in 10 league games.

We keep changing formation.

At the start of the season, when we were playing great, we had a 4-3-3 formation and what appeared to be a favoured 11. Now, the manager appears to have reverted to playing either the shite from last season who continually disappoint, or square pegs in round holes.

We did great business in the summer. But it's going to be worthless if the manager makes selections like Davies at right-wingback, Iwobi at left-wingback, or brings on Gomes and Delph when we are chasing the game. He'll probably bring Sigurdsson back in next week; no doubt Bernard will keep getting minutes also.

We could have won today with the chances we had. But it would have papered over the cracks. We need a settled formation, and round pegs in round holes.

Alex Winstanley
118 Posted 28/11/2020 at 20:27:44
I was worried about our attitude to this game as soon as I saw our players laughing and joking in the warm-up. Then the cameras cut to Leeds warming up: focused and professional. Every player concentrating on the task ahead.

The players are good enough, the manager is good enough... the attitude is not. This is what needs to change!!

Brian Wilkinson
119 Posted 28/11/2020 at 20:28:17
I agree with Phil @50; nothing more to add for now.
Ciarán McGlone
120 Posted 28/11/2020 at 20:29:30
We played four midfielders out of position at fullback or wingback during that game...

That is just fucking insanity.

Michael Lynch
121 Posted 28/11/2020 at 20:30:24
If Kenny and Nkounkou aren't even in the squad when both of our first-choice full-backs are out injured, then we clearly have no acceptable cover in either position.

How the fuck did we start the season with only one right-back and one left-back? Especially when the right-back is an ageing Seamus Coleman who is bound to pick up injuries?

Steavey Buckley
122 Posted 28/11/2020 at 20:31:55
Playing untried players as wingbacks was one of the reasons why Everton lost today. The other reason was playing 3-5-2 in the first place; it has never worked for Everton every time they have played the formation.

When there is a full-back with another on the flanks, then there is combination play and crosses can come in. I did not notice any crosses today.

It's the same with defending, it takes 2 on the flanks to defend properly. But the biggest talking point should be, what happened to Richarlison today? It appears his mind was somewhere else.

Dave Williams
123 Posted 28/11/2020 at 20:34:47
Kieran and Tommy,

So you'd presumably prefer to play guys out of position rather than see if a younger player can perform and stake a claim to a first-team place?

Are you saying Iwobi has proved himself a decent left-wingback?

Winston Williamson
124 Posted 28/11/2020 at 20:36:19
This club is gutless, spineless and stuck in the fucking past. I'm sick of hearing how good we were in the '60s, '80s. I've seen one cup win and about 100 decently played full games.

There's about 5 players at this club good enough. The rest are shite.

Sick of jam tomorrow. It's a fucking joke.

Geoff Williams
125 Posted 28/11/2020 at 20:37:44
Ancellotti got it all wrong yet again. Team selection was wrong and he also started off with the wrong system.

He obviously realised this as he first took off Davies and moved Iwobi over from the left to the right side and, shortly after that, he took off Iwobi himself. He finally took off Holgate to play a back four.

I have little confidence in the manager to turn things around.

Len Hawkins
126 Posted 28/11/2020 at 20:39:20

One set of badly damaged alloy wheel rims with bald tyres. If anyone finds them can they please return to Everton FC Co Ltd, Goodison Park – they have come off once too often.

Phil Smith
127 Posted 28/11/2020 at 20:39:49
Danny (#47) is spot on. Gomes is a waste of time... and Delph.
Paul Hewitt
128 Posted 28/11/2020 at 20:40:12
We need to play 4-3-3 and stick with it.
Derek Taylor
129 Posted 28/11/2020 at 20:42:02
Wins against the bottom five or six will allay fears of relegation but it's going to be a long hard season. How fortunate we are that most of us don't have to pay to watch it!

Any hope that Carlo was anything above the other managers Moshiri has foisted on us has rapidly disappeared but finances will dictate that his reputation will get him a longer run at making a mess than those who have gone before him.

ToffeeWeb is in for a busy winter.

Tony Twist
130 Posted 28/11/2020 at 20:42:09
Sorry but Ancelotti has to take blame for where we are now. Moshiri backed him in the transfer market, brought in his players – even though they didn't fit the profile of being young and energetic with promise – and it is time to deliver.

We are not Real Madrid, we aren't a moneybags club; show that you are a class manager coz I don't see it.

Ken Kneale
131 Posted 28/11/2020 at 20:42:26
The manager is living on past glory here, guys – one year in and we still look a disjointed shambolic outfit without a team pattern and always looking vulnerable. That for me is not worth £11M – I expected much better than this.

Few foundations are being laid for long term success with this level of performance and we have an almost Walter Smith aversion to young players – I wonder what the 'fly on the wall' stuff at Finch Farm is?

John Keating
132 Posted 28/11/2020 at 20:42:34
Leeds were by far the best team we've faced so far this season and deservedly won.

It was quite obvious very early on 3 at the back wasn't working and how we didn't have the 2 conventional full backs - or at least Nkounkou – on the bench was crazy.

Iwobi on the left was a waste. We have to get decent wide men – on the correct side – to feed Calvert-Lewin.

We have been moaning for the past few seasons about putting square pegs in round holes; today was no different.

Poor, very poor management from Ancelotti today.

Jay Wood

133 Posted 28/11/2020 at 20:42:59
Dunno if it was a general thing on the TW site (MK mentioning internet connection difficulties), but I got a 'server issue' notice when I tried but failed to post at half-time.

I wrote that it was a thoroughly entertaining game and a fascinating watch of styles and tactics which could have been 3-3 at the break, rather than 0-0.

Based on that first half alone, I really don't know how anyone can claim we were set up too defensively and were slow and ponderous in all we did. We actually played very boldly.

Davies and Iwobi were nominal wingbacks at best, getting well forward all half. Keane was the only 'stay-at-home' defender and even he just before the break strode confidently forward through the centre with the ball.

That was clearly an Everton tactic. Godfrey, Holgate and Allan (what a game he had) not passing the ball through the Leeds high line, but attempting again and again to break through it with the ball at their feet to exploit the space behind them.

James was back to his best, playing between the lines and with his distribution. Such a pity his disallowed goal was marginally offside. That was sheer genius how, under close attention, he controlled the ball so tight to the line, beat his man and had the composure to finish as he did.

Pity for Richarlison also that Godfrey strayed offside to deny him his headed goal. That was Godfrey's best performance since he joined us. Great goal-line clearance with Pickford beaten. The keeper had a good day also.

Doucoure should have scored from Tom's excellent wing play. Richarlison spurned another great chance also.

We were beaten by a very special goal. A lovely strike.

But in the second half, Carlo's subs today really messed things up for him and the team.

Doucouré was poor all game. Lots of stray passes. Poor game management. Picked off in possession a few times. I really don't know how or why he stayed on to the final whistle.

By contrast, Tom Davies was excellent. Some have proposed playing him in midfield alongside Allan and Doucouré as a better option than continuing with the more 'gifted' Sigurdsson or Gomes. I think that is worth trying if and when we return to a flat back four.

I just cannot fathom why Tom Davies was first to be hooked – and for Delph! – when he was bringing energy and purpose to much of Everton's play. It appeared a tactical switch as there was no evidence of an injury.

The dominoes continued to fall with Delph's introduction. I could understand it better if we switched immediately to a flat back four, with Godfrey shifting wide to right-back, Holgate and Keane remaining central and Delph left-back. But we appeared to persist with a back 3 and wingbacks, only Iwobi switched flanks to accommodate Delph but the latter sat and played deeper than Davies.

Iwobi didn't last much longer before Gomes replaced him, but again, it was neither one thing nor the other with the defence losing further shape and balance.

And then, after conceding the goal, things were further disrupted with Bernard coming on for Holgate, to do what exactly? I'm not sure.

Each sub Carlo introduced today made us progressively worse.

Leeds are an intriguing watch. I could see how and why we were set up to exploit their drive to push forward in numbers once the game got underway. But each and every sub today weakened us and made the game easier for Leeds.

Really disappointed with the result, but it was a good game to watch IMO.

Pat Kelly
134 Posted 28/11/2020 at 20:44:49
A defeat was to be expected and I said it as soon as I saw the team.

Davies did nothing as usual and should've been hooked earlier. Doucouré is average at best but wasn't even up to that level today. He will prove to have been a waste of money. Another Brands pick?

The remainder of the season will come as no surprise. We have seen it all before. There are too many passengers and no-one seems to be driving.

Kieran Kinsella
135 Posted 28/11/2020 at 20:44:59

You can call anyone a left-back or wingback but what matters is how good they are. If they're not equipped at that position for the Premier League, then yeah, I'd rather get a Premier League quality player filling in as a square peg.

Anthony Murphy
136 Posted 28/11/2020 at 20:47:04
Squad depth gets mentioned quite a bit (rightly so) but surely the squad Leeds have can't be superior to ours, can it?

The other concern is midfield – we get outnumbered and overran there in too many games to mention, but we have strengthened in that area since last season, although you wouldn't know it.

Allan was great today but there seems to be an extra man in the opposition midfield every time we play. Something to do with fitness and having a consistent shape perhaps?

Tommy Carter
137 Posted 28/11/2020 at 20:48:01
@117 Danny,

He does know his best team. He played it for the first few games and won them all.

His best ream features a fully fit Coleman, Digne and Richarlison. They haven't played together since the downturn in form.

@123. I'd say it speaks absolute volumes that one of the most successful managers of the modern era would rather play a midfielder out of position than start Jonjoe Kenny.

Gary Willock
138 Posted 28/11/2020 at 20:49:04
I can see the some sense in questioning why the fans are always asking for the “super kids” to be given a go. Kieran is quite right to point out that none have really gone on to prove the faith was right.

However, the point being missed is perhaps that Iwobi as a left-wingback would struggle to get a game at a Conference League club, and the same could be said about Davies as a right-back, or right-midfielder too. Plenty of questions about the current level of Sigurdsson and Tosun too.

The point isn't that we expect them to be the next Maradona, it's simply that they are a likely a better bet in their specialist positions than playing average players out of theirs. It's worth a gamble. If they work out, it's a bonus; if they don't, we lost fuck-all and know we need to recruit there.

Tony Everan
139 Posted 28/11/2020 at 20:49:36
Too many players a) playing out of position and b) not got a clue about the system they're playing in.

It results in sideways, back and a hoof to Calvert-Lewin who tries manfully to win possession. It's a sick strategy.

If we played with Iwobi on the right, where he has been doing much better, and had given Nkounkou an opportunity on he left, the team would have looked more balanced and, as Danny above says, more square pegs in square holes.

Today was a step too far with the system and players playing out of their best positions.

Additionally, Leeds were fitter, more organised and drilled. They won most of the 50-50s and were faster closing down than us. Our fitness training has a lot of room for improvement.

I'm disappointed with the result, but far more disappointed with the ideology behind the way the team was set up. That's much more of a concern than the defeat.

Patrick McFarlane
140 Posted 28/11/2020 at 20:50:49
Jay #116,

I saw the game almost exactly as you did. The substitutions did indeed weaken us in the second period.

I would have preferred to have lost that game 3-2 (if we had to lose), if only to give Richarlison some much-needed confidence in front of goal. The fact that the Brazilian seemed to lose heart in the second period is concerning.

Julian Exshaw
141 Posted 28/11/2020 at 20:55:11
A great game to watch but the usual frustrations for us. It's hard to analyse the game, I thought we were fine in patches but this Leeds team was excellent today.

I wouldn't play James next week. This doesn't mean I don't like him, far from it. But away to Burnley in December might not be the game for him.

I also think that Carlo feels obliged to play him. The question is: Where? It looked to me today like the team is trying to adapt around him whereas it should be the other way around.

The midfield is (still) a mess despite early season promise and it may be that his presence is partly responsible for this. We will have to grind out a result next week. It might be time for a few dogs of war.

Christy Ring
142 Posted 28/11/2020 at 20:59:41
Have to say, Carlo got it completely wrong today. Playing Iwobi on the left and Davies on the right, total shambles. It's like Silva, square pegs in round holes.

Nkounkou is a left-back, Iwobi can't tackle, and never was, or will be a left-wingback, and Davies never played there before. Also, apart from the wrong bench, his substitutions were embarrassing.

Kean scored again tonight; we let him go, and kept Tosun... and Walcott is playing with a new lease of life, while we also kept Delph and Sigurdsson. Is Carlo responsible, or Brands?

Ian Edwards
143 Posted 28/11/2020 at 21:01:47
Another game where Ancelotti has had his trousers pulled down. Never has the club had a manager so over-hyped by the supporters.

The lack of critical scrutiny by the fans of team selections, formations and subs is extremely alarming. It's like Everton are Brexit and Ancelotti is Farage.

Dick Fearon
144 Posted 28/11/2020 at 21:04:55
Jay @133,

I agree with your comments about Carlo Ancelotti's substitutions. Iwobi and Davies were okay while Doucouré was cack and should have been the first one to be dragged off.

Calvert-Lewin's contribution was peripheral and a throwback to last season's insipid performances.

Jeff Armstrong
145 Posted 28/11/2020 at 21:05:51
I think this is the game where Ancelotti is beginning to lose the fans. One or two of us who sussed him out a while ago is now growing into the teens and, unless he starts to show some ideas and stops the bewildering team selections and even worse substitutions, the dissent will keep growing.
Robert Tressell
146 Posted 28/11/2020 at 21:06:18
Julian, the problem isn't James, it was that the team was set up (yet again) to have no width or movement. So it's very hard for James to influence the game. Removing James isn't the answer, since that just raises other questions. The answer is being brave enough to go with Nkounkou at left-wingback and, as an option, Gordon.

We all had concerns about the line-up. And those concerns materialised.

If we remove James and replace him with Gomes or Sigurdsson, say, then we have the same structural problems and an inferior player. If we replace him with Gordon, we get legs at least – but that doesn't solve the issue of width, especially on the left flank.

Stan Michaels
147 Posted 28/11/2020 at 21:08:11
Today's performance and result is another reason why we will not reach Europe and more so achieve any silverware in the near future.

The mentality of this football club is rotten to the core from top to bottom and that includes a number of supporters. The players think they're as good as what they are when in reality they're just inconsistent.

I knew we'd lose today. I just knew we would. The way they play compared to the way we play is two different levels. A chance to go third and put pressure on teams above us is not even a good motivation to these players.

It looked today like we were the newly promoted side. Every team play against us look fitter, sharper, eager and comfortable on the ball more than us. The three subs say it all. Honestly why is Andre Gomes at the club? Can someone please tell me why – along with Fabian Delph.

Iwobi has one decent game and all of the sudden our fans and blue pundits think he is the best thing since sliced bread. Shocking display.

Gordon and Simms cannot even get a sniff on the bench yet Tosun, Sigurdsson, Gomes and Delph can. Love Carlo but come on.

But these players don't care. No leaders. Heads all down when they scored. No-one bothered to scream and get heads together. Just waiting for the little rally calls to the media this week. The old "The result didn't go our way" or "We'll be back stronger next game" ... Do the fucking talking on the pitch!!!! If Carlo cannot do anything at this club. We're done. Defensively we are a shambles and its embarrassing. Only Allan can put his hands up today.

Saw on Twitter earlier fans laughing at Liverpool getting a draw at Brighton. Oh yeah, because we're a world class side, aren't we. No wonder they laugh at us constantly. All we are is a team to make the numbers up in the Premier League. And until the players, manager and others actually get a winning mentality going, results like this will keep coming and only worsen. Get a fucking grip, Everton.

Will Mabon
148 Posted 28/11/2020 at 21:12:02
Who's looking forward to being in the 2,000 for the Chelsea game?
Bill Gall
149 Posted 28/11/2020 at 21:20:42
Prior to the start of the season, Brands and Ancelotti were being praised for sorting out the midfield with the purchases of Allan, Doucouré and James, also bringing in the likes of Braithwaite, Nkounkou and Godfrey. The start of the season, where we started like a house on fire, I am afraid it has clouded our minds.

This is the Premier League and there are no such thing as easy games. We are without both of our full-backs and, as that lot over the park can testify, who had the best defense in the league, loosing a couple of your best defenders who support the attackers is not easy. Today, we did not play well but had enough opportunities to score before Leeds scored from a deflected goal.

Every player who was substituted today and the players who replaced them have all received plenty of criticism on this site. The major problem is we have an extremely weak bench for certain positions.

We expect to do better than last season and, at the moment, we are above where we finished last season, with some of us just speculating were we will finish.

We are years behind the development of the top 6, both in finances and players. There is not one player who we have signed this season who wasn't thought of as a good buy, and we still need more improvement for quality squad players. We still have too many deadwood and hanger-on players in this squad, to finish higher than 8th.

The manager is not above criticism but a lot of people should have agreed or disagreed with his selection before the game, instead of after it.

Paul Hewitt
150 Posted 28/11/2020 at 21:20:44
Never read so much drivel in my life. Sure the team Carlo picked was wrong, and not for the first time this season. But, apart from the signings Carlo made this season, plus Digne and Calvert-Lewin, the rest are crap and that's not his fault.

It will take time to completely change this squad. I get the feeling some want Carlo gone already. I would love to know who you think can do a better job?

Kieran Kinsella
151 Posted 28/11/2020 at 21:21:08
It is looking a bit like the 1993-94 season. We won the first three... then after which things went downhill rapidly.
David Connor
152 Posted 28/11/2020 at 21:22:05
This squad has cost hundreds of millions to assemble and is bang average. Too many slow players and too many that don't seem to give a fuck. It's been a problem at Everton for years now and is continuing, year-in & year-out.

We need to get rid of the dross, even if it means almost giving them away. But, given the massive wages they are on, that won't be easy.

Carlo has signed 4 players so far as our manager, Doucouré being by far the worst of the bunch. Unrecognisable from the player he was at Watford. We are in dire need for a pacy winger and a dynamic midfielder who can actually score a few fuckin goals.

I would be over the moon to see the back of Gomes, Tosun, Davies, Delph, Iwobi, Bernard and Pickford. All that money spent to be no better than Palace or Burnley. We are a mid-table team and will be until this lot are gone.

I fear Carlo has bitten off more than he can chew. For me, he has till this time next year. We are going nowhere with this squad as it is absolute shite. Ancelotti only has so much pulling power. We aren't much better than when Sylva was in charge and it is worrying.

Two transfer windows for him to sort it out or we are well and truly fucked. Is he up to the job? Only time will tell...

Paul Olsen
153 Posted 28/11/2020 at 21:23:29
#147 Stan...

And what exactly makes your mentality stand out and ask what we need? I only see someone pointing out some obvious things with no better solution than, "Get better!"

You have no more of a clue as to how to turn this club around than anyone else. You might say you contribute by being critical but, to be honest, that is very easy.

Chris Leyland
154 Posted 28/11/2020 at 21:25:14
We look unfit and slow compared to almost every other team.

I thought Pickford played alright today and I thought Allan was our best player. At least he isn't afraid to carry the ball forward – not like the rest who either turn and pass it square or backwards.

Richarlison was poor today, both going forwards and backwards. He looked like he couldn't be arsed.

Calvert-Lewin kept getting dragged out of position and out of the middle where he does his best work. Doucouré was also poor. Gives the ball away constantly.

We miss Digne and Coleman as we have no overlap and no out-ball for James to put the other team on the back foot.

Jerome Shields
155 Posted 28/11/2020 at 21:26:42
I thought Everton played okay in first half, though sloppy in possession, and they missed Digne's crosses. I didn't like the space Leeds where given at Goodison, too much dropping off by Everton.

The second half was a worry in the first half when I looked at the Everton bench. Sigurdsson should never have been on it. Gomes and Delph didn't really provide options. It was worse when they both came on. A tired Davies and Iowbi would have been much better in the second half.

In hindsight, I would have not put them on and subbed Richarlison with Tosun. He might have at least tried to get the ball and broken up play. Also, with James playing, he might have got onto a final-third ball, which has rarely been played to him in the penalty area during his Everton career.

Having said that, a younger bench would have helped Everton in the second half. A second half similar to Brighton the previous week, from which Ancelotti only learnt not to play Sigurdsson. Now he may next week have as well as Sigurdsson the equally useless Gomes and Delph on the bench. Bernard. . . ???

Leeds United deserved their victory. Football-wise, I enjoyed the first half.

Ken Kneale
156 Posted 28/11/2020 at 21:26:50
Paul – some fitness training does not look like it would go amiss.

Carlo has to take full responsibility for the teams he is fielding and his decision-making in terms of tactics, formation and captaincy is bizarre in the extreme at times; he cannot absolve himself from that.

Gavin Johnson
157 Posted 28/11/2020 at 21:26:52
Can anyone confirm whether Kenny was injured?

I read something this week saying that he was frustrated and wanted to leave. If he was fit today, that must be the writing on the wall for him. The lad has no pace, but he's a competent right-back who flourished in the Bundesliga and would do a job for some other teams in the Premier League, or back in Germany where the football is more tactical and not so reliant on speed. He's certainly not good enough for a top 6 team but how can he be worse than Tom Davies?!

I'm so angry. Today's game was the definition of square pegs in round holes. Just stick with Nkounkou and play Iwobi and Kenny on the other side. Why complicate it?!

Mike Doyle
158 Posted 28/11/2020 at 21:27:58
In other news. I see Moise Kean has scored again for PSG tonight.
David Pearl
159 Posted 28/11/2020 at 21:28:08
We need Carlo to get back to what he knows. Without Coleman and Digne he has to play the closest thing we have to them... that would be Kenny and Nkounkou.

Not happy with our manager and not happy to have spent £30M on yet another mediocre right-footed centre-back, while giving away 2 forwards. I'm sure we are in for a rollercoaster season unless something happens in January.

James was shite today. Allan had a good game but overall we sat so fucking deep, l felt sorry for him, along with our forwards. We didn't move as a team either. If we don't start well, l have zero confidence in Carlo turning anything around.

Danny Broderick
160 Posted 28/11/2020 at 21:29:07
If we had picked this team today, we would have won:


Kenny (Godfrey if not fit)



Tommy Carter
162 Posted 28/11/2020 at 21:30:53
Jeff, Ian, Christy... many others. You're an embarrassment.

Get rid of Carlo then. Who comes in as an improvement?

Give me names!

Jeff Armstrong
163 Posted 28/11/2020 at 21:31:19
Gavin #140, why complicate it?

Because it's Ancelotti, the tactical genius – that's why. He's won the lot, don't you know...

At Galactico clubs where even Mike Walker would've succeeded!

Paul Olsen
164 Posted 28/11/2020 at 21:32:39
#156 Ken. Sure, but what are we going to do? Sack him?

This club has not had any sort of stability since Moyes left and that is often a key factor for clubs with success. Klopp needed plenty of years to turn the dark side into a stable team, with better groundwork in place than Ancelotti has inherited.

I think our best shot is to trust in the man and give him time; it is still early days in his reign.

Richard Nelson
165 Posted 28/11/2020 at 21:33:38
Answers on the back of a stamp regarding players:

How many "proper winners" has this club had since the Catterick - Kendall days...?

Jeff Armstrong
166 Posted 28/11/2020 at 21:35:34
Tommy, missing the point; we're commenting on the current manager and his performance. I didn't realise you're not allowed to do that without having a list up your sleeve of possible replacements, so sorry.

And shape up.

Ian Edwards
167 Posted 28/11/2020 at 21:37:02
Questions need to be asked:

1. Team selections: Iwobi at left-wingback; Davies at right-wingback?

2. Continually alternating the central defenders and losing cohesion?

3. Letting Kean go with no replacement forward?

4. Losing 1-0 at home and not having a forward he believes in on the bench?

5. Sitting on leads in the second half of matches? Last half-an-hour at Fulham was dreadful. Better teams would have battered us. Ancelotti does this before: Newcastle, Istanbul.

6. Failure to play youngsters? Gordon and Nkounkou when played have not let the side down.

7. Dropping a goalkeeper who played well and recalling Frank Spencer/

8. Does Ancelotti watch players before transfer dealings? Garbutt? Godfrey?

9. Why is there no width in the team?

10. Why was Holgate made captain today?

Patrick McFarlane
168 Posted 28/11/2020 at 21:37:53
Paul #150,

Criticising the manager is not the same as fans actively wanting rid of him. I'm sure most Evertonians want Carlo to be successful at Goodison but it's no use us pretending that all is well when clearly they aren't. The last five results tell us that; we all mostly realise that there is a great deal of work to be done, but when a manager exacerbates the problems rather than alleviates them, it should be pointed out.

I had been hoping that the arrival of James, Allan et al in the summer would raise the morale and the effort of our players; to a degree, there are signs that has happened. However, trying to play players of limited ability in unfamiliar positions isn't a recipe for success – it's almost presenting the players and the team with a ready-made excuse to fail.

If the best that Carlo can offer Everton is allowing his team to revert to hoofball when he should be advocating that the team persist in trying to pass it better, then we are no better off than when Moyes and the rest were in charge.

Leeds and other so-called lesser teams have put Everton to shame already this season, with their accurate passing and movement off the ball whilst simultaneously keeping a good shape. There is absolutely no good reason that Everton with this squad and right now can't do similar – but I suppose it depends upon what the manager wants to see from his team.

Ken Kneale
169 Posted 28/11/2020 at 21:38:30

I truly want him (or indeed anyone) to succeed but the signs after 1 year do not encourage me: low levels of fitness and motivation are down to the management and coaching teams... and we are displaying both in abundance. Picking players who display both and making some of them the captain compounds my frustrations.

Ian Edwards
170 Posted 28/11/2020 at 21:41:41
Tommy @162.

So you're content with the team selections and that we have lost 4 out of last 5?

Nil Satis...

Jeff Armstrong
171 Posted 28/11/2020 at 21:42:40
Patrick @168, spot on, but be careful about criticising Carlo, have you seen his CV?
Peter Dodds
173 Posted 28/11/2020 at 21:44:55
If there's one thing I'd like to see us do after this game, it's to replicate Leeds's zipped passes, fast movement and comfort on the ball and running options. Whenever we move the ball it's sooo slow, and there's no easy ball – it's like they don't know where their team-mates are. Several times in the first 15 minutes, Doucouré's passes were intercepted simply because he didn't put enough on the ball. Several others (including Holgate) sent easy passes straight to a Leeds player. Very poor skills.

I thought Allan today (and Doucouré last week but not this) showed what can be done when they are able to push up more – Allan had an excellent game today. We're crying out for that holding midfielder. Hurry up, Gbamin.

Why did we look worse today than at Fulham when playing the same formation? I suspect it was a combination of better opposition and several poor individual performances today. If it only works against lowly opposition, let's get back to a 4-3-3 pronto, even if the temporary fillers-in aren't quite up to standard.

Ian Edwards
174 Posted 28/11/2020 at 21:51:23
Final comment from me: In our last 6 league games, we've lost 4. Got a very lucky point against Liverpool and were outclassed for 45 minutes by Fulham.

I pray we get to 40 points.

Will Mabon
175 Posted 28/11/2020 at 21:51:50
"We look unfit and slow compared to almost every other team."

Selected from Chris's post 154.

As often seen on the internet – "This ^^".

I have to bang the same drum, again, as across recent years. Visible today, almost ever-present. Along with a missing drive, soul, commitment and winning mentality that can be hard to pin down but is there to see.

Premier League. 2020. Vital basics – missing.

Mark Frere
177 Posted 28/11/2020 at 21:56:21
On chances alone, the game could've gone either way. But, there's no doubt Leeds were the team dominating game.

Only Allan and Pickford (for once) could come away with any credit. The rest were pretty dreadful.

Doucouré had his worst game to date for us... but to be honest, watching him over the course of the season, I fail to see what he really excels at?!?! He's neat and tidy enough with the ball but hardly the dynamic box-to-box player we were hoping for – decent, but just a 'steady Eddie' – that isn't good enough to get into any of the so-called top six clubs.

We have some very good players: Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin, James, Allan, Holgate, Digne... and Iwobi has the potential to be good. But, we are not a good team collectively...

We look wide open defensively. I'd just like to see us play with a back four with Holgate and Keane partnering each other for a run of games as I think they are our best partnership.

Sadly, on the evidence so far, we look destined for another season of inconsistency, as we get overrun in midfield by teams like Leeds and Southampton who press high and out-work us. And the amount of goals we're shipping is a big concern.

Paul Hewitt
180 Posted 28/11/2020 at 22:07:03
Carlo has been manager for 30 league matches. 13 wins, 7 draws, 10 defeats. That's 46 points. Not spectacular but – with the squad he has – it's not bad.
Andrew Dempsey
181 Posted 28/11/2020 at 22:08:45
It's not all doom and gloom, but it feels like that because this season is a write-off already.

This team isn't far off being decent if you add two proper World Class wingbacks to it that constantly keep the opposition pinned back and under pressure from crosses.

We also need a proper Coach who makes physical fitness the first priority above all else; we don't need a Superstar Manager, unfortunately.

This club has been rebuilt in the image of its new owner. It's expensive and shiny but there's not much substance there.

Kunal Desai
182 Posted 28/11/2020 at 22:13:11
It's all gone back to the 'comfy' Everton of yesteryear. I'm resigned to the fact that this club will not win any silverware in my lifetime. The club gets more wrong than right.

I still believe something is fundamentally not right at ownership level. It cannot be all the fault of managers' and players' failings over the past 5 years, there is simply something not right at the top.

What is the ethos of this club? Is it just to merely make up the numbers and stay in the Premier League? What is it? I don't see a plan or a vision. Yes, Moshiri has invested heavily but it's been a scattergun process of recruitment.

If you see your business model failing year after year, you review it and try and change the model, bring in expertise to solve a process which isn't working.

Moshiri throwing money every summer isn't the answer. He will need to think a little smarter and bring those in who actually can work with him to refine a plan to move forward.

Bobby Mallon
183 Posted 28/11/2020 at 22:15:06
Does anyone know if Nkounkou is injured? Same as Gordon? Or do they have Covid – they didn't play for the Under-23s on Friday.

After a long reflection, I believe now Carlo needs to start playing players who are natural in their positions.

I also think Tom Davies is one of the most unfit young players I have seen. I understand his substitution.

Peter Mills
184 Posted 28/11/2020 at 22:17:26
It’s pretty worrying how professional footballers cannot run for 95 minutes, can’t pass the ball accurately to one of their team-mates, and can’t shut down an opponent about to take a shot on goal. And more.

Can’t just perform the basics of their jobs.

Patrick McFarlane
185 Posted 28/11/2020 at 22:17:48
If only Carlo had a bench of legends!

I just came across this story about a sculpture in Everton Park which features Molly Bushell, the founder of the Toffee Shop from which Everton FC gets its nickname:

Bench of Legends

Craig Walker
186 Posted 28/11/2020 at 22:19:43
Feel disappointed in my self for yet again getting swept up in the optimism of a few wins. We still have some very poor players on our books. When Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison are not at their best, we struggle.

Yet again, a derby has derailed our season and our optimism. I'm not listing our problems again as I'm getting bored of it now.

We won't get top 6. We won't get relegated. Just another season of mediocrity, the odd good run of form, and the usual letdowns when we can get up the league. Everton, that.

Joe McMahon
187 Posted 28/11/2020 at 22:21:10
Andrew @181,

I agree, 10 games in and we all know we will be nowhere near top 6 come May.

Will we ever get to see Everton playing in the Champions League? It's a dereliction of duty for the chairman and owners since 1992 that we have never qualified, or won anything since 1995.

Absolute sick joke of a club that used to be admired.

Robert Williams
188 Posted 28/11/2020 at 22:23:14
Mid-table side – nothing more!

This is Everton.

Terry Farrell
189 Posted 28/11/2020 at 22:26:08
Some of the vitriol on here is shameful.

Is there anyone who thinks overnight success is achievable or it requires loads of small improvements that lead to something bigger?

If we can't give Ancelotti time, who will we give it to? He didn't cover himself in glory today but I agree with Ajay – it could have gone either way but Leeds probably deserved it.

Negativity is corrosive.

Brian Murray
190 Posted 28/11/2020 at 22:31:57
Paul Olsen @153. So you want stability? Well, we had that with a manager who embraced mediocrity. Him and this idiot chairman created the mindset in a generation of Blues that it's okay to be plucky Everton.

We now have a proven winner who sadly looks like even he his out of his depth, although his decision-making is not helping his cause.

If this fails, the alternative is not a Simone because no way Moshiri will start again and bankroll another big name. Scary times...

Ian Riley
191 Posted 28/11/2020 at 22:32:15
The problem is the team and squad lack quality in depth. Furthermore, today, our key players had an off day. We had chances but, as the game went on, Leeds had more physical energy.

Since the first few games, we have lost that work rate and movement. Yes, we are missing key players, so working harder is a must. Carlo has some thinking to do as our bad run of performances continues.

Jeff Armstrong
192 Posted 28/11/2020 at 22:35:03
Terry @189,

But with better management, it most likely would have gone our way: better team selections, better subs... fine lines.

That's the point.

Bobby Mallon
193 Posted 28/11/2020 at 22:36:29
When Nkoukou played against Newcastle, most in here said after the game he played rubbish, not good enough; same as Godfrey played 1½ games before Fulham was given same treatment.

Kenny got the same against Man Utd. "Not good enough" you all said...

So, when Carlo doesn't play them, he's fucking clueless, but most of you wouldn't have played them either.

Jim Bennings
194 Posted 28/11/2020 at 22:36:56
Pickford = Makes decent saves; I still think we need a taller goalkeeper with ability to reach.

Iwobi = For some reason, Carlo just continuously wants to play him out of position; we'll never see the best of him at this club.

Keane = Best defender we have but too nice and at times too slow.

Godfrey = Inexperienced at this level; strange signing looking back to pay £23 million on another young defender when we have Branthwaite.

Holgate = Always thought he's too casual, strides around likes he's John Stones on heat but give him old-fashioned defending and, for me, he's still found wanting in that area; I think he'd make a better defensive midfielder one day and wouldn't be surprised to see him make the transition.

Davies = Just Davies, isn't he? Much of a muchness player, always seems shattered; I can never work out why so many say he brings energy to the side... I mean really?

Allan = Does a job reading the game but needs someone else alongside him and Doucouré that can play a bit.

Doucouré = Struggling alongside Allan and having no runner next to him; doesn't seem to know whether to stick or twist right now. I imagine if we had say a Barkley or Grealish in there, he'd really excel more.

Rodriguez = Just can't really get in the game at the moment, can he? He's never going to do much off the ball but what he can't become is a complete passenger, so it's up to our players to start getting him on the ball more.

Richarlison = Doesn't look fit, needs a goal; one all season in the league so far – not really good enough. I love him but, if there's one area that probably holds him back from being absolutely top class, it's his finishing at times.

Calvert-Lewin = I really hope he doesn't start to suffer now that Digne is out because so much came from the left fullbacks crosses. We don't get enough men around Dom in the box and he's never going to be the kind of striker that will create his own goals from 25 yards.

Philip Bunting
195 Posted 28/11/2020 at 22:37:24
I don't know what it is or maybe I am over scrutinizing but we always seem to under-hit passes to one another and are coughing up the ball.

On top of that, we then drive the ball hard as possible, as if to make a pass in the final third. I watch us thinking have we not played practice matches in training or pass and move and pace? Seems like we're always a yard behind.

John Boon
197 Posted 28/11/2020 at 22:39:12
Once again, without pulling the team apart and questioning tactics, I just feel that we are not as fit as most other teams. Ancelotti may be able to bring in talented players due to his history but, if the team is not fit, you will never be able to make it in the Premier League.
Terry Farrell
200 Posted 28/11/2020 at 22:43:36
Jeff, I agree – that's why I said he didn't cover himself in glory. I was having a go at the doom mongers wanting Carlo out now and saying he's just here for the wages, gravy train etc...
Andy Crooks
202 Posted 28/11/2020 at 22:44:28
Had Duncan Ferguson been the coach today, what would have been the response?

By what standards is Carlo being judged? Does his record put him beyond criticism? His performance as coach today was, in my view, poor.

Does he have magic up his sleeve? No. He is a massager of egos, a genius at manipulating stardust. Can he shovel shit? I very much doubt it. Next window? One after?

We need a sign, something to suggest that we are nearly there, that it might be soon.

Frankly, we are being outplayed by shite teams. The excuses will run out millions and millions and millions of pounds too late.

Robert Tressell
203 Posted 28/11/2020 at 22:45:01
Ancelotti is here to bring stability to the club, to maintain profile with the likes of Rodriguez, to have a tilt at the top 6 and the cups. Nothing more than that.

We've added a bit of class to an average team. We haven't spent a fortune. We're probably about the 7th or 8th best team in the Premier League at full strength. And we've been well below full strength since the derby.

The owners have no intention to fund anything more than 6th to 9th. The aim is to keep us top flight and top half until the stadium is built.

The amount we would need to spend to be very confident of breaking the top 6: Net £150m? Even then, it's difficult because clubs already better than us continue to spend.

Personally, I'd love us to acquire a handful of young world class talents and build a team around them. But Ancelotti is not that sort of manager, as shown by continuing treatment of Gordon and Nkounkou. He is a good manager – just not that sort of manager.

Paul Hewitt
204 Posted 28/11/2020 at 22:48:25
Moyes was too negative, Martinez too cavalier. Koeman couldn't be arsed, Silva was just crap... Now Carlo. When will the fans be happy?
Clive Rogers
205 Posted 28/11/2020 at 22:48:27
Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin both had poor games today. Richarlison loses the ball far too often and his finishing was off. Dom was missing in the box today and always seemed out of position. The wingbacks were poor.
Jeff Armstrong
206 Posted 28/11/2020 at 22:52:08
Oh okay, Robert @203, that's okay then, we'll just put up with shite for the next 5 years. May as well shut down ToffeeWeb for a few years...

We're commenting on tonight's crap performance from both team and management, btw, and we have spent a fortune.

Steavey Buckley
207 Posted 28/11/2020 at 22:52:38
Everton are a defensive shambles because they can't defend properly as a back 4 or a back 3 with 2 wingbacks. The uncertainty has spread through the rest of the team and midfielders have to keep an eye on the defence before thinking about getting forward. Whenever Ancelotti talks about having to work on the defence in training, in the next game, the defending gets worse.

At full back, Coleman is not getting any younger and is injury-prone. Jonjoe Kenny appears not to be in Ancelotti's 'good books' and one of the best left-backs in Europe is injured for at least 3 months.

As far as the Premier League season goes, it looks as though it's over again for another season, because all the significant signings are done in the summer, not the winter. So there be won't be a quick fix when the transfer window opens at the end of next month.

Barry Rathbone
209 Posted 28/11/2020 at 22:56:25
Fans are utterly deluded in the belief managers deserve time. The reality is, if they don't sort things out straight away, they're gone.

I said pre-season that Carlo had the summer window to build a squad or suffer the consequences and here he is, moving the deck chairs on the Titanic, wondering what the fuck is going on!

And where has this myth of Klopp slowly building a successful side come from? He was in domestic and European finals from the get-go, for fuck's sake!!

Jonathan Tasker
210 Posted 28/11/2020 at 22:57:19
Carlo has had a year. There's zero improvement.

He may have been successful at big clubs but that has zero relevance.

Taxi for Carlo.

Andrew Dempsey
211 Posted 28/11/2020 at 22:59:20
Carlo is here for the money! He's not doing this for free, is he? His salary should, at the absolute least, guarantee us Champions League qualification before his contract expires. And that's looking like it's never going to happen.

So, he's not here to win things is he? He'll have to make do with the consolation of £11M a year to ease his upset competitive spirit.

Si Cooper
212 Posted 28/11/2020 at 22:59:48
We all know the first team is paper-thin in places and not having both Coleman and Digne is a big blow at the moment. That said, I thought Nkounkou would get the nod despite his struggle against Newcastle. Don't know if Kenny is injured or not.

I've only seen the first half so far and it was definitely one for the neutrals. I didn't think anyone was actually appalling though. Tom Davies did fine and, with him on the right, you could kind of see why Iwobi was tried on the left, but it just didn't really come together. Leeds were much slicker doing their everyday thing and we looked like we were trying something brand new, which we were.

I thought Godfrey, Keane and Holgate did their part, but we need to get two proper wingbacks or full backs into the team asap because teams with width will just bypass them.

Richarlison really hasn't found his rhythm, mojo or whatever, but still deserves his place on the possibility that it will click again for him sometime soon. He's still involved in a lot of our attacking threat.

Kieran Kinsella
213 Posted 28/11/2020 at 23:00:55
The difference between good and mediocre players is the former are almost always good while the latter have the occasional good game. So anyone can have a go at Carlo's selection by harking back to the time Kenny, Mina, Sigurdsson whoever played well as if that's their norm. But likewise, Carlo could say “Well, Iwobi was good last week.”

The reality is, we have a handful at most of good players and the rest are mediocre. Unless Carlo is psychic and predicts correctly exactly when each and every mediocre player is going to have his good day, then we will struggle. This comes back to recruitment... which may be why Brands has no new contract offer.

Harry Ramsden
214 Posted 28/11/2020 at 23:02:25
No matter the limitations of Nkounkou's and Kenny's experience and quality, they would both have performed better in the wingback role than Davies and Iwobi – without a shadow of doubt.

Ancelotti has to be criticised for odd team selections, the lack of intensity in his teams, and not getting the best out of what's available. The Everton job is one of the biggest challenges of pure coaching ability that he has faced. At the moment, he is coming up short.

I would love James to be a success for us but, as the games go on, I am increasingly concerned that the Premier League is too fast and physical for him. He looks like another Veron.

Doucouré has done nothing for me all season.

Allan has been a really good signing, but he can't cover the midfield by himself.

Paul Hewitt
215 Posted 28/11/2020 at 23:03:22
Barry @209. What utter bollocks. Under your idea Ferguson at United wouldn't have lasted to get the success he had. And I remember my RS mates demanding Klopp to be sacked in his first full season.
Tom Harvey
216 Posted 28/11/2020 at 23:11:16
I can see why Ancelotti needs to do some re-jigging on personnel and positions, but he doesn't seem to realize the other managers have quickly worked out what we're about.

James is closed down before he can show any magic and he looks tired, Calvert-Lewin is surrounded, similar to Lukaku was, and is often put under too much pressure, and that leaves Richarlison, who has the fitness and ability to go past defenses but, on days like today when he's not so sharp, we're generally blunt up-front.

The ball comes right back at us and, at the moment, confidence is not so good. There were too many long balls up to Calvert-Lewin that he could do nothing with. The team couldn't keep the ball or recycle it under pressure of the press, and movement was generally poor giving not many options to run the ball upfield.

We invite pressure!

Mike Price
217 Posted 28/11/2020 at 23:22:02
Andy #202,

Obviously right. We are a patsy club, people take advantage of the culture and ownership. The utter shite players, managers and coaches that continue to absolutely murder this club, are there for all to see.

Unfortunately Moshiri isn't hard-nosed enough to clear out this ‘jobs for the boys' culture. We'll take Barca's and Madrid's rejects so that we look like we're trying to break into the big time. It's a sickening joke.

This manager is here for the money, he's a relic and not right for us. I'd rather have Duncan in charge even though he's not the solution. This is another costly mistake that will linger for years after the individuals have left.

We paid £10M to Martinez; we are still paying Koeman and Silva... Big Sam laughed all the way to the bank – and that's just the managers. Bolasie, Tosun, Vlasic, Delph... we're still paying half of Walcott's wages.

The list is embarrassing and, if you dig a bit deeper to the likes of Pennington and Kenny, who are Sunday league standard at best, we've made them millionaires. You can see how this club is a dream for the barely good enough, past it, or incompetent.

I'm worried that Moshiri and USM will cut their losses and we'll be well and truly fucked.

Dave Lynch
219 Posted 28/11/2020 at 23:29:26
Will you lot stop hitting the panic button.

I mean... we could be in Liverpool's shoes with loads of injuries and having to play 2 games a week without 5 subs...

I fucking wish!!!

John Raftery
220 Posted 28/11/2020 at 23:30:17
A year ago this weekend, we were losing 2-0 in a dreadful performance at home to a Norwich team heading for relegation. Today, we lost 1-0 to a decent team in a game which might have produced a 4-3 scoreline for either team. I think we will play worse this season and win.

The manager has a task on his hands in the coming weeks to keep us in the top half of the table. Perhaps some of Moyes's pragmatism, which many call ‘negativity', might be required in order to eke out a few clean sheets and points.

John Raftery
221 Posted 28/11/2020 at 23:35:37
Mike (#217),

Your assertion that Pennington and Kenny are Sunday League players at best is just crap.

Robert Tressell
222 Posted 28/11/2020 at 23:41:18
Jeff @206.

I've commented on the game earlier. It's disappointing. Nkounkou deserved a shot etc.

The later comment is my critique of where we are with the manager and as a club. Unfortunately that probably is many years from consistent results, which can't be too much of a bombshell since we've only really had 2 or so moderately successful seasons in about the last 30 years. 1 cup. 1 4th spot and a bit of fun under Martinez.

We have spent a fortune – but it's been spent really badly. It'd take huge sums to really change our predicament in the short term. That's not been budgeted for and neither has a replacement for Ancelloti. He'll be here next season.

Mike Price
223 Posted 28/11/2020 at 23:42:19
No, John, they are.
Rory Grant
224 Posted 28/11/2020 at 23:52:07
Ancelotti is here only for results. There is no "time", "a project", player development, transfer windows or else. Those excuses were spent a long time ago.

Negative approach high-lighted by our so-called "attacking play", ie, Pickford hoofing long balls at Calvert-Lewin is seriously concerning. If that is supposed to bring results, I don't know what to think.

Simple fact is that, if the results are not achieved in a reasonably short time, Ancelotti has to go. If we are a competitive, professional club... which I doubt we are.

Jeff Armstrong
225 Posted 28/11/2020 at 23:57:29
John @221,

I think Mike's point is that very very average (Garbutt et al) footballers have become millionaires on the back of this ridiculous football club over the last 20 years or so.

We could all argue forever which league they belong in.

Antony Kelly
226 Posted 29/11/2020 at 00:10:01
Exciting first half, they created good chances, we created good chances.

Second half was less exciting, our subs were poor...

In my opinion, we need a better bench. Brands need to step up and find better players. We need to keep the faith with Ancelotti but he needs help!

Alex Gray
227 Posted 29/11/2020 at 00:24:23
We faced a well-drilled team full of pace and energy and I could see us losing this one.

I honestly don't know what is required to take us to the next level but what was so clear is how poor our bench has been all season. I can't name one player who could win us a game or turn the tides in our favour from our bench. If Calvert-Lewin gets injured, our only striker is Tosun.

We will never achieve top 4-6 when our bench options involve Tosun, Bernard, Delph or Sigurdsson. Bernard and Tosun will get you five goals a season max and Sigurdsson's legs are beyond gone.

I believe our fully fit first 11 will trouble sides. The wingbacks are crucial to the way we play and today we had Iwobi at left-back and Davies at right-back.

We matched Leeds for periods but, Christ, let's be honest... any team wanting to achieve anything shouldn't fear Leeds.

Feeling deflated after that. I honestly believe we had a better bench when we had Deulofeu and Lookman.

Raphina for Leeds cost buttons compared to some of our buys and was by far the best player on the pitch today.

Ian Riley
228 Posted 29/11/2020 at 00:42:10
Does anyone think that having no fans is a major problem for the players? Do you not think the Goodison crowd would have made their feelings clear today? Yes, they would! A verbal kick up the back side!!

As for calling for the manager's dismissal? What a load of balls! Players have improved but, yes, Carlo takes the responsibility for poor results.

Let's all calm down and think who next? This isn't a quick fix and we knew that. How many signings are Carlo's? The ones he plays, week-in & week-out.

Let's be honest: we won't go down and we won't get in the top four. We are good old mid-table Everton. The squad has enough quality for that. A cup final if the draw is kind.

The next three transfer windows will tell us how far we can go or not. We lack quality in depth in numbers. At present we have 3/4 quality players that top teams would have. Top teams have more quality in depth for each position. As frustrated as we all are, patience is needed.

Jim Harrison
229 Posted 29/11/2020 at 00:50:50
Leeds were everywhere. They played how I would love Everton to play.

Ashley Roberts
230 Posted 29/11/2020 at 01:09:38
Another false dawn!!. Heading for mid-table gain. I think it is shameful that we let Kean and Walcott go out on loan and then spend £23 million on a central defender, who in reality I think has been a waste of money. It would have been better spent on a right back.

Ancelotti got it totally wrong today and having no pace on the bench was just inexcusable. Digne is a big loss and Calvert-Lewin will suffer as a result.

I'm not looking forward to the upcoming fixtures.

Nicolas Piñon
231 Posted 29/11/2020 at 01:13:25
Ian (228)

I agree with you in many things, for example needing a better bench. But not taking Gordon nor Nkounkou to it is Ancelotti's fault. Simply can't understand that and matches and points go by.

James Rodríguez today looked too heavy for what Everton need. Leeds are a very good side so we could lose it, yes, but the difference for me was they looked like they had more desire, and were better organized.

Iwobi at left-back was too weird. He's being killed. I prefer loosing with a logical team than with an illogical one. And what worries me most is Ancelotti lately seems to be quite illogical. If that goes on Man Utd will thrash us out the cup, that being one of my big hopes for this part of the season.

Positives: no Mina starting, and great jobs from Allan and Doucouré, but still it ain't enough.

Andy Crooks
232 Posted 29/11/2020 at 01:14:40
It doesn't hurt them, and I mean everyone from the chairman down, as much as us. It is likely a sad reflection on my life that my weekend has been ruined by a collection of specimens who, in the last week, earned more than my family in ten generations.

If only we could find a player who, really, fucking really, could not sleep after a defeat. A man who could not open his bottle of really expensive wine and think think that, perhaps, he had not earned it. Someone who could have a thought, just for a fucking microsecond, what it might be like to lose your job.

We have good p!ayers. If they cared and approached every game like it was life-changing, really fucking do-or-die life-changing, it would matter.

How many of our team walked off today and thought "That was my best, that was as good as I am"? Not a fucking one. Count the coach and his well-paid under-performing gang among that lot. Is this the best our money, huge money can buy?

Mr Moshiri has been gulled, robbed, ripped off and humiliated.

Derek Thomas
233 Posted 29/11/2020 at 01:17:35
Robert T @ 203; I fear you may be right... and 15 years ago, the pass mark was 10th... anything higher was a bonus, with a run in a cup if possible.

Paul Hewitt @ 204; We're still waiting for the 'Goldilocks Option'.

I've played in and watched enough games to know sometimes teams cancel each other out and that the 11 in the field get in a sort of balanced rhythm, with 1 change sometimes upsetting 2 or 3 positions.

So You couldn't say with any certainty that Leeds wouldn't have scored If Ancelotti didn't change it after 61 mins... (though to me it does show that Iwobi is a slightly worse left-wingback than he is a right-wingback).

But there may be a slight chance that the 50-50 balanced rhythm, thus unbalanced by a player change, may have led to the goal.

After half-an-hour and, by some miracle, it wasn't at least 2-3 to Leeds, it was obvious that, if there was to be a change from 0-0, that 1 goal was going to settle it... yet again we give a player who hasn't scored all season an early Christmas present.

It wasn't the worst Plan A... from the selected squad as listed. But, in my opinion, that squad precluded a better Plan B. (Delph for fuck's sake!)

The selected squad as listed – now that is a whole different question...and I for one would be very interested in Ancelotti's answer, especially in the area of Sigurdsson and Tosun vs Nkounkou and Gordon... or even Simms.

Ancelotti as (Kenwright Mk II) ship steadier / placeholder / 8th or 9th-ish with cup run if possible, keep the natives reasonably quiet and get the new stadium sorted... I wonder?

Ancelotti is going nowhere, especially when both he and Moshiri look at the 5½-year contract @ £10M per year.

Jason Wilkinson
234 Posted 29/11/2020 at 01:30:08
Where do you expect us to be after 38 games?

Looking at the squads and general performance of the opposition this season, I would say the following teams will finish above us:

Leicester City
Man City
Man Utd.

Teams I'm not sure of:

Aston Villa

That would give a best placed 6th to worst 11th place. I don't think Leeds will keep it going. This then asks the question: What do we need to break into the top six?

We have a manager with the right credentials. We have 3 maybe 4 top quality players (that the top six would take).

Is it quality or mindset that we are missing?

John Pierce
235 Posted 29/11/2020 at 02:48:49
Well that was interesting. That game could have been anything. I honestly thought, based on what I've seen, that Leeds would be wasteful, we'd get plenty of chances and would be far more clinical.

Each chance we had seemed to fall to the guy with the wrong skill set. Each time Calvert-Lewin broke free through inside forward, I wished it were Richarlison, Doucoure's chance: see Lewin etc.

In spite of the selection issues, which I could take or leave given what was available, we will struggle regardless until we employ a true holding midfielder. It will give us shape and rigidity.

Allan and Doucoure will never be that so I can't slate them for the indiscipline, mix in the wandering James and we don't really have good shape, with or without the ball.

Having said all of that, the most painful part of the game were the tactics. Leeds are terrible at the back, poor at defending set-pieces, and yet, with a quick backline and mostly attacking players on the pitch, why we didn't go full press was beyond me.

Everytime we had a set-piece, they had kittens. It felt like going long and pinning them back was the best way to negate them.

It just seems the details are missing, you know each small scenario looks more off-the-cuff rather than a framework to fall back on. Whether that's a throw in deep in our own half or targeting a weaker flank etc.

Ancelotti is still doing fine, and of course has some recurring issues to iron out; picking unfit players, eschewing youth, and substitutions which reduce our game plan to a shapeless mess. However, if those tearing their hair out think he's going anywhere, you know he's not. Let's see what Santa brings in the transfer window!

Mental, mental game.

Why this particular game seems to be a tipping point for dissenters of Carlo's way is a mystery.

Steve Brown
236 Posted 29/11/2020 at 03:30:33
Well, we fell for it and tried to match Leeds's intensity and fast-passing game. Made for an exciting game for the neutrals, but I didn't enjoy it at all. Poor performances throughout the team.

The only exception was Allan, who was very good. He has been solid to good all season, which begs the question: Why TWers spent all week debating his performances when I could name 11 others who have been far worse.

Ancelotti's selections and tactics have been really poor in the last 5 games. I simply don't understand what he is trying to achieve and most Everton fans will be raising both eyebrows each week when the team is announced. Yesterday, he selected four central midfielders to play wingback ahead of Kenny and Nkounkou. Playing three at the back makes no sense when you don't have quality wingbacks and leaves our midfield out-numbered.

It is also clear that Doucouré and James need a break out of the team. Select Kenny and Nkounkou and Davies should step in, as should Gordon out wide. Here is the team I think he should have picked yesterday if they were fit:

Kenny Keane Holgate Nkounkou
Davies Allan Gomes
Gordon Calvert-Lewin Richarlison

Go for a walk on Crosby beach today, Carlo, and clear your head pronto.

Derek Moore
237 Posted 29/11/2020 at 03:59:53
I actually didn't mind the formation or the personnel that started the game.

We've been a completely different proposition minus Digne and Seamus all season. Ancelotti is no fool, he knows Bielsa sets his teams out to man-mark. In the first half, you could see the repeated attempts to beat a man on the ball and drive it at them, and also the side-to-side movement to subtly drag them out of position and open up channels to play down.

Leeds's workrate with and without the ball was hugely impressive, we opened up space repeatedly but the Leeds players never stopped trying to press and close.

In the second half, we never looked anywhere near as threatening. It honestly looked like we tired, and fair play to Leeds, they continued to be relentless. Jay Wood from Brazil summed it up better than any of the pundits in his comment really; the substitutions were dire.

What is undeniably worrying is the nine league games without a clean sheet. Our deficiencies at the back are much worse than you might reasonably expect, and they show no signs of abating either. The manager is going to have to earn his money.

Steven Astley
238 Posted 29/11/2020 at 04:01:41
Steve, I think you need to go for a walk on the beach with Carlo, pal. How on earth can you suggest leaving a world class player out in James?
George Stuart
239 Posted 29/11/2020 at 04:03:14
What the hell was that?

Leeds need a bollocking for only scoring one.

Words do fail.

George Stuart
240 Posted 29/11/2020 at 04:17:38
I will make a comment though.

Five minutes into the second half, we got a free-kick a yard into our half. We shaped up like we were going to punt it up, not a rare event for this team, and we passed it back to a defender who, under no pressure, passed it back to Pickford.

What can you do with an attitude like that? Were we playing for a 0-0 draw???

Jack Convery
241 Posted 29/11/2020 at 04:20:12
Our best XI when all are fit is Pickford, Coleman, Keane, Holgate, Digne, Doucoure, Allan, ????, James, Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison. The question mark was Gomes but it isn't now. So we actually have 10 players Carlo actually trusts... and I'm iffy about whether he actually trusts Pickford too.

The preferred back 4 to my knowledge have actually played together once this season and are unlikely to again for at least 3 months, given Digne's injury. When they did play, Holgate was so rusty it wasn't true.

The reserve back 4 at present is Kenny, Mina, Godfrey and ????. Carlo may have a question mark for the right-back berth as well, as he appears not to be too fussed with Kenny.

There is no recognised back up for Digne, which is why Carlo said, last June, Leighton Baines was a very important player for us... but alas he retired - though I would be begging him to put his boots on for the next 3 months!

Nkounkou has looked good in the Carabao Cup going forward but as a defender he has a lot to learn. He will get that at Finch Farm and, when Carlo believes he his ready, he will call on him but obviously that is not now. He's a real prospect but blood him too soon in the Premier League on a regular basis and he could lose confidence, especially playing when the team is going through a rough patch. He was bought as a decent prospect and not as a first-team back-up player, as with Branthwaite.

We need to get a left-back in pronto come 1 January and, if Carlo is not happy with Kenny, a right-back too (Lamptey and a 30-something left-back).

Carlo wants to play 4-4-2 in my opinion. The midfield as a diamond with James as a central No 10. Carlo has no-one he trusts on the right other than James right now but that is not his best position or the position he will play in the future. He is a No 10 at the head of a diamond.

The midfield is of course Allan and Doucouré with A N Other. The A N Other is the holding defensive midfielder, which we don't have right now. So Carlo is trying to get the best out of Gomes, Sigurdsson, Delph and Davies. Good luck with that one and playing Allan and Doucoure differently to how they will play when the defensive midfielder arrives – maybe he's already here?

We have Gbamin but he's not going to be up to speed any time soon... and then there's Holgate. He missed pre-season training and is having to catch up the hard way and it shows. No way could he compete as a defensive midfielder right now, even if Carlo wants him too, which I doubt. Godfrey is not a defensive midfielder. So we need a defensive midfielder who can play that role straight away. A loan in January must be being considered.

As regards the forwards, Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin, Carlo has no back-up he regards as good enough to back up Richarlison or Calvert-Lewin. Tosun will be gone, come January, when hopefully at least one more forward is brought in.

I expect Kean to be sold. We are not the club or place for him. The French League seems to suit him better – it's a lot easier to be a forward in France. I hope he keeps knocking them in and keeps his price rising. Sending him to PSG was a masterstroke as it means Juve will be in a bidding war if they want him back with PSG loaded.

I'd have loved him, to have wanted to stay here but his heart wasn't in it and I don't think Duncan did him any favours at Old Trafford or maybe, just maybe, he thought Kean needed taking down a peg or too, after ignoring what Duncan told him to do – who knows.

So, in my own convoluted way, I believe Carlo knows what he wants. He hasn't got it all yet (no shit, Sherlock!), and there are players he's having to use to make do and mend. He has a system that works – we've all seen it when they perform as they should. We have players he trusts, players who are too raw in his opinion for the Premier League – Gordon and Nkounkou. Those who can't be arsed – and we all know who they are. Then finally, those who are not up to it.

We don't need just a team, we need a squad of quality players to compete in the Premier League. It's going to take 2 may be 3 windows to get anywhere near a squad to compete at the top table. He hasn't been here 12 months yet. The players he has brought in are doing well, though International breaks haven't helped to get them really up and running and performing on a consistent basis.

James is class (and a luxury ), Allan is perfect for Everton, and Doucouré has been up and down a bit but, in my opinion, none of them are actually playing in the positions they will eventually fill.

Godfrey has been playing all over the place so it would be harsh to judge him yet. Nkounkou is one for the future, and what a future he's likely to have... as is Gordon. So let's give Carlo the time he needs to get his team, his squad on the books and go from there.

Let's not rush the youngsters into a team that's being put together, Better they play when everyone around them is up for the fight and not whilst some of them can't be arsed.

Well that's my opinion at 04:16 Sunday am. Tin Hat ready to be worn come the dawn which will be quite soon now.

Finally if any of you read this and are in need of a good laugh after yesterday, watch this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YgQtCBMQ70k

Andrew Dempsey
242 Posted 29/11/2020 at 04:32:44
This mysterious near-future period when Carlo is going to ‘get it right' after bringing ‘the players he wants in' is never going to come. It's always going to be just around the corner, just one more window, that's the eternal cry, then you'll see what he can do.

I'm afraid we're seeing what he can do now; this is it. Even when he's sacked by Moshiri, which is going to happen, there'll still be people on here saying ‘it wasn't his fault, one more window was all he needed.'

Ask yourself this question: Where do the Leeds players come from, and why were they performing the way they did today, and for the last two years?

Is it massive amounts of money, and endless transfer windows? Or is it intensive coaching and fitness work?

Steve Brown
243 Posted 29/11/2020 at 05:01:19
Pretty easy, Steven @ 238. I agree he is a magician, but right now he is not impacting the games and his selection leaves us exposed. If we could find a workable formation with these players that allows him a free role at No 10, then good.
Steven Astley
244 Posted 29/11/2020 at 05:37:47
Steve, 4 key chances created by James in the game. I think you need to go re-watch or pay closer attention.
Steven Astley
245 Posted 29/11/2020 at 05:41:26
Also, "The Great Shot Stopper" Pickford, well beaten YET AGAIN from outside of the area. Think its 27 times now, more than any other Premier League goalkeeper. Abysmal positioning.

When are we going to replace?

Steve Brown
246 Posted 29/11/2020 at 06:48:38
Steven, I watched it very closely but thanks for the advice anyway. I love James but the quality of the players around him means he is a challenge to accommodate in the position Ancelotti is playing him right now.
Jerome Shields
247 Posted 29/11/2020 at 07:49:00
The problem Ancelotti has is that Sigurdsson, Delph and Gomes are past it and they know it. There is no chance they will get any better and they will see out their contracts.

In the case of both Delph and Sigurdsson, they were way over their value. After his injury, Gomes, who is slow anyway, has basically adopted the same attitude of the other two. Gomes's struggle with fitness is a struggle with motivation.

Gbamin is a big maybe. There is not enough depth forward-wise and Bernard is lightweight and always will be. Tosun is not a Premier League footballer. Mina would have got destroyed against Leeds. The younger members of the squad are not up to it, according to Ancelotti's assessment.

The underlying problem is that Everton have paid too much for very average footballers in the past and given them long contracts. Delph was a panic buy.

Everton are very sloppy in possession giving the ball away easily and allowed Leeds too much space. Most of the players are fit enough, but Sigurdsson, Delph and Gomes are off the pace, which affects the whole team. Though, in the first half, a lack of focus by some players was the problem.

Pickford had a solid game, and the goal was the result of the forward being given too much space.

So how can the problems Everton have be sorted? It's hard to be optimistic; we have been here so many times before. I think the club is a quarter way through the overall overhaul it needs, both on and off the pitch.

I think Ancelotti expected to be in a better position this season than last, but it could go either way now. The players he has brought in are good, but will be aged players next season. So Ancelotti needs a turn around in fortune this season.

Tony Heron
248 Posted 29/11/2020 at 08:08:51
Steven @245. Totally agree. I was very impressed with the Leeds keeper. Terrific save from Doucouré, very assured and calm, complete opposite to Coco the Clown between our sticks. Even allowing for the decent saves he made, he still looks like there's a mistake in him every time the ball comes into the area.
Andrew Clare
249 Posted 29/11/2020 at 08:14:43
Why do even lowly teams (I'm not including Leeds, who are very good) seem to be more organised and fitter than us? All of their players know the roles that are allocated to them.

Is it because Ancelotti hasn't been able to mould the players he has into the system he wants play? Or is it because the players we have are just not good enough?

When you look at the cost of the Leeds team compared to ours, do you have to question the coaching or the recruitment?

To me, 50% of our recruitment is right and 50% is wrong. That is why we have a major imbalance in our team. Until that is corrected, we will stay where we are.

So give Carlo time as I am sure he can see the problem areas.

John Kavanagh
250 Posted 29/11/2020 at 08:14:58
Looking down from the stands, Gareth Southgate will have seen much to admire:

Why have two often nervy centre-backs when you can have three?

Why then play specialist wingbacks when you can field players unsuited to the formation as stand-in wingbacks? Then protect your nervy back five with two defensive midfielders.

Then see what a deadly striker can do when starved of any crosses or service - end up playing in your own half in desperate attempts to get the ball.

And why give opportunities to skillful players when you can rely on the same old donkeys that have failed to produce results?

Both England and Everton have produced woefully inadequate performances when resorting to a back five in recent times. It may long continue in Carlo's case but Southgate has at least partially relented and given Grealish a chance.

I fear that Gordon, on the other hand, must seek opportunities elsewhere in January if he is to further his career as to not even get on the bench says it all.

Back in our usual position in the table for Christmas after another false dawn. A perfect end to 2020, the year that keeps taking.

Duncan McDine
251 Posted 29/11/2020 at 08:22:56
I wasn't expecting a defensive masterclass against Leeds (we've been shaky at the back for several years and under several managers), but the amount of chances they created was ridiculous.

I can't really pinpoint any individual performance that was dreadful (maybe Godfrey and Doucouré) but, as others have mentioned, only one of our front 3 played half decent. In fact, Calvert-Lewin once again had a fantastic game.

Other small positives to take were that Holgate looked like he was ready to return and Gomes actually got stuck in and ran around when he came on! Allan also did fairly well. Small positives as I say.

Tony Abrahams
252 Posted 29/11/2020 at 08:35:56
Anyone asked to do a project on “Diversity” would get top marks if they tuned into ToffeeWeb.
Phil Sammon
253 Posted 29/11/2020 at 08:40:23
Tony @248,

That would be the Leeds keeper that passed the ball straight to James Rodriguez on the edge of his own box. Right-o.

I'm no Pickford fan but he was okay today.

Mal van Schaick
254 Posted 29/11/2020 at 08:42:46
Poor team selection and an unbalanced team is no excuse when Ancelotti had other options. Not acceptable to the fans and Moshiri must look at it and say "What the fuck???"
Dick Fearon
255 Posted 29/11/2020 at 08:49:32
If we are to have any kind of success, Carlo must work out why we need a dozen or more passes to get within shooting range, only to find our path to goal blocked by massed ranks of opponents.

Moments later, those same opponents after only two or three passes are shooting at our goal. Leeds used a minimum of passes to get from A to B yet they are not accused of hoofball.

From the magical Magyars in the 50s to the present day, there's been a dozen or more innovative football tactics each with its own measure of success. We are pinning our hopes upon a past master of tactics and that could be what is wrong.

Derek Thomas
256 Posted 29/11/2020 at 08:50:30
Andrew @ 242;

"Ask yourself this question, where do the Leeds players come from, and why were they performing the way they did today, and for the last two years? Is it massive amounts of money, and endless transfer windows? Or is it intensive coaching and fitness work?"

The bold bit gives my view. There is more to it that that obviously, but while god-given skill is a finite thing – you can improve on stamina and fitness... but, unless the coaches and players grasp this and apply it, not much will change.

Eddie Dunn
257 Posted 29/11/2020 at 09:14:28
I wonder if Carlo's ego got the better of him? Up against the enigmatic mastermind, Bielsa, was Ancelotti sucked into a chessboard battle, Holmes versus Moriarty? Only this could explain the selections at wingback.

After the internationals, Carlo bemoaned the lack of time on the training ground. They have had all week, and I know Digne was a big loss, but Iwobi at left-back? After playing right-back last time out, did he really think that the guy was capable against such a good full-back?

The five across the back was criticised on here before the kick-off. We ceded so much space in midfield that it made it so much easier for a Leeds team that will run all day.

A master tactician would have tried to stifle their natural game. The midfield should have had an extra man and four across the back should have been the system: 4-5-1.

Ancelotti has baffled us with his selections, tactics and especially his choice to ignore our youth and fill the bench with old farts.

He should know better and, despite some nice attacking play, it was the much-maligned Pickford who kept the score down.

He was out of position for their goal but Godfrey is a headless chicken and, despite his goal-line clearance, he gave the ball away too easily and looked what he is, a rookie centre-back from a relegated team.

On that note, Doucouré played poorly last term for Watford, Brands must have been running the tapes from 2 years ago when he shone against us. Another from a relegated side.
If Silva had presided over that, the pitchforks would be out.

Michael Kenrick
258 Posted 29/11/2020 at 09:31:03
George @112,

Lovely words, as ever. Sorry, I had to do a little re-punctuation so I could make a better fist of following your gist. This sentence then caught my eye:

"I know what I would do and know how I would plan it, execute it and explain it."

Go 'ed, la. I'm all ears.

Phil Wood
259 Posted 29/11/2020 at 09:36:39
For those saying Carlo thinks Nkounkou and Gordon are too raw for the Premier League, then tell me how they are going to progress if they are not even in the squad?

Many a young player is blooded from the bench and gains all-round experience from inclusion with the first-team squad. I can see Gordon at least moving on to pastures new...

It must be so frustrating for him watching crap filling the first team when he has looked full of passion, pace, skill and eagerness "when" given the opportunity.

Maybe Carlo is in shock that he knocked on his door and questioned the fact that he should or shouldn't be in the squad?

I am sure Carlo stated he liked that attitude but shows exactly the opposite by snubbing him ever since.

In Carlo we "trust" ... or maybe not.

Trevor Peers
260 Posted 29/11/2020 at 09:39:03
Leeds aren't a top team by any means but they controlled this game with thier organisation, that's something we don't possess and that's what I find so shocking. Carlo has had a year to form a plan that can take us forward and yet I don't see one; all I see is chaos.

Games like these break your resolve, your hope, that it could come right in the end. On the evidence of the last half-a-dozen games, it won't come right.

Maybe Carlo is used to great players putting thier own organisation into the mix for him? That ain't going to happen at Everton. We have too many mediocre players that he can't get the best out of.

His inability to create a proper defensive set up which has been evident since the start of the season is alarming. Carlo has another four years in charge, but I really doubt now that he will actually make it.

Mike Powell
261 Posted 29/11/2020 at 09:46:21
Terrible performance, out-played by an average Leeds side.

We have some good players, but also a lot of poor players: Davies, Godfrey, Delph, Kenny, Holgate – just to name a few who are not good enough. Three of them started, one came on as sub, so we have a long way to go before we can challenge for a top 6 place.

Anyone who is happy with any of these players in the team must be happy with an average mid-table team.

We won't get anywhere with these players. Until we get rid, and replace them with better players, then this is what we will have to put up with.

Terry Farrell
262 Posted 29/11/2020 at 09:53:47

Holgate is a brilliant young player who had his 2nd game back after injury. I think he should not be on your list... or Godfrey... or Davies.

Colin Glassar
263 Posted 29/11/2020 at 09:56:56
Any manager who continues to pick Iwobi deserves my contempt. I still believe in Ancelotti but he needs two more transfer windows to turn this shipwreck around.
Christopher Timmins
264 Posted 29/11/2020 at 10:01:24
One manager has provided his team with an identity as to how they should play, no matter who the opposition are.

The other appears to be making it up from week to week.

Geoff Williams
265 Posted 29/11/2020 at 10:02:28
I was never taken in by the hype surrounding Ancelotti's appointment. I considered him a "Yesterday's Man", a man with a great track record but a fading star.

Rumours permeating from Germany that his training sessions lacked intensity and the team was unfit. Nothing that happened over the next six months convinced me to alter my view but, after the start of the new season, I began to think that I was totally wrong.

The football was good to watch and the results were great. I started to believe that Ancelotti was in fact a genius... but the last six matches have shown me that my optimism was totally misplaced.

Tactically he is inept, his recent team selections and use of substitutes have been poor and, more importantly, the team isn't fit. The players lack sharpness and stamina. He has absolutely no faith in the young players but persists with ageing players who fail time after time.

A good coach improves players and the team becomes greater than the individual parts. Calvert-Lewin apart, which player is now performing better than he did a year ago? Ancellotti isn't the man to take Everton forward.

Pete Swan
266 Posted 29/11/2020 at 10:13:55
Poor team selection, poor tactics, poor substitutions and game management and poor fitness levels, fight and motivation. But we are blessed to have such a winner as a manager.
Ian Bennett
267 Posted 29/11/2020 at 10:18:27
Piss poor again. Dreadful passing throughout the game despite so many midfielders on the pitch.

No one to play on the left, it was so easy for Leeds to apply pressure and force us to cough up possession (Davies, Doucouré, Richarlison, James constantly).

Absence of youth that might have changed things. Tosun, Sigurdsson and Bernard have all had their chance and failed – I'd rather have seen Gordon and the young French kid given a chance.

6th despite 4 poor defeats. We are missing out here and it could cost. Put a decent striker in that Leeds team and we will be looking up at them soon enough.

Tony Everan
268 Posted 29/11/2020 at 10:23:49
Digne out was a big loss, but why change the whole set up because of it?

We played fantastic, scintillating football in the first half against Fulham. The manager should have kept the system and told them to go for Leeds's throat, whilst making it clear he wants 90 minutes of it.

It just creates uncertainty and misunderstanding making the ill-thought-out changes. Switching players around bringing players in playing in unorthodox positions is just asking for trouble.

Digne should have been replaced with our back up left-back. Okay, Nkounkou is only 20 but that's what he has been bought for, specialist back-up. Get him in as Digne's replacement.

At worst the experience will make Nkounkou stronger at best he will be an asset, getting dangerous crosses in to Calvert-Lewin whilst doing okay defensively.

Can he be worse than Delph? Or Iwobi, who was on fire playing on the right but, on the left, he is totally ineffective. Why can't Carlo see that?

Rob Hooton
269 Posted 29/11/2020 at 10:26:42
Leeds started sharper than us and ran us ragged, it was our team that looked knackered at the end as usual though!

Not sure what the young lads at the club must now be thinking, probably that they should go somewhere else to get a game.

I'm wondering if we train in the shirts of the team we are going to play during the week as we seemed to pass to Leeds more than our own players.

Mid-table mediocrity beckons again this season.

George Cumiskey
270 Posted 29/11/2020 at 10:34:06
Pete Swan, spot on.

Carlo seems about 10 years out of date with his tactics.

Jason Li
271 Posted 29/11/2020 at 10:34:48
Hugh @ 82, Jerome @ 247 called what I believe too.

When Carlo gets 11 first team players and a full bench of players he exactly wants, we'll take on anyone. Then he is 100% accountable for challenging at the top.

In comparison, at the moment, Man City can rotate Foden, Sterling, Mahrez, Jesus and Bernado Silva etc etc. We have to rotate Sigurdsson, (a still recovering?) Gomes, Tosun and any other non-Champions League standard player.

We put the ball in the net twice but lost to small offside calls.

Further to compare, and I don't like comparing with Liverpool, but saw on MotD they smashed Brighton but drew due to marginal VAR calls – doesn't mean they have lost potency in front of goal.

We haven't either. VAR offside and fouls in the box today are like coin flips. We we're flipped twice on offsides and didn't get heads – so no goals.

Nkounkou was brought in to develop in the U23s. Yeah, I wonder if he's not first-team ready yet? Maybe if a reporter asks how Nkounkou and Gordon are developing to Carlo, that would allow him to give us an answer.

Kenny... I just don't think for me if Coleman is fit and ready Carlo would ever consider playing Kenny? I've seen no signs of Kenny driving forward like Iwobi @ Fulham or catching up with a lightening player down to our corner flag.

Davies won't either, but I guess it was either Davies or Kenny going forwards into the other half and then chasing a rapid Leeds team back to our penalty box. Hard choice pre-match.

It's obvious Iwobi can't cross well with his left foot, so Calvert-Lewin is relying soley on Richarlison to provide from the left. If we persist with this team while Digne is out, let's hope it gels better next week.

Kunal Desai
272 Posted 29/11/2020 at 10:35:26
1 point from the last 3 home games... I'll be surprised if get more than 1 point from the next 3 home games.
Robert Tressell
273 Posted 29/11/2020 at 10:37:16
Totally agree, Tony. We all called it out even before a ball was kicked.

Injuries are the one chance a youngster has of getting minutes. So it must be completely demoralising for Nkounkou to watch from the stands, not even the bench.

It's also damaging to Iwobi who had a cracking game against Fulham but has now lost that momentum by being shuffled about.

Since Ancelotti's record speaks for itself he obviously knows what he is doing. So what is he doing?

Perhaps the answer is piling some pressure on Moshiri to buy a couple of players in January so that we have proper replacements for Kean and Walcott in wide and attacking areas. If it's not that, then I'm at a loss.

Phil Lewis
274 Posted 29/11/2020 at 10:37:38
Geoff #265,

Some interesting points which I'm inclined to agree with. Although for the time being, I would fall short of agreeing that "Ancelotti isn't the man to take us forward".

As far as fitness is concerned, it was obvious yesterday that, for much of the game, Leeds ran us ragged. I'm yet to see Doucouré live up to his 'box-to-box' reputation and at times his distribution was appalling, but to be fair he wasn't alone in that department.

Iwobi, after his last excellent display, seemed intent on once more displaying his 'chicken with its head cut off' routine.

However, I felt we looked better with the introduction of Gomes, which released Allan to get forward more and in fact just prior to their goal. I thought we seemed to be getting stronger as the game progressed and looked the more likely team to snatch the winner.

Clearly our defence is unsettled. Coleman and Digne are badly missed, but the defence as a unit are regularly being dragged all over the place. It seems at times as if they don't communicate with each other at all. Ancelotti needs to commit to his central pairing and stick with it.

Gbamin is a total unknown quantity. As such at present, we can hardly place much faith in his return. So come January, I expect both a quality midfield signing and also a proven centrally positioned goalscorer. It is too much to expect for the demands of that role to fall solely on the shoulders of Calvert-Lewin over the course of a demanding season.

Colin Glassar
275 Posted 29/11/2020 at 10:42:34
I'm just glad I didn't jump on the early season bandwagon of ‘title contenders', ‘top 4 at least', ‘top 6 minimum' etc... As I stated early on, our starting XI is as good as anyone's but, after that, there's a dramatic drop in quality.

There was no-one on the bench yesterday who can turn a game around. No-one to excite the fans or worry the opposition. Carlo knows this more than anyone else. And for this reason, and this reason alone, I say he needs more time to rebuild.

Derek Thomas
276 Posted 29/11/2020 at 10:42:38
Eddie Dunn @ 257; "Ancelotti has baffled us with his selections, tactics and especially his choice to ignore our youth and fill the bench with old farts."

This is so true - 2 old farts, aka, one has-been and one never will be, well in the Premier League anyway. Sigurdsson and Tosun, who didn't even get on. Why? Because against a fast and mobile Leeds, Slow and Slower were never going to cut it.

Why not have fast and faster on the bench (one even a left-back / left-wingback)...

They don't have to come on. But if they're not on the bench, they'll never get on... like Slow and Slower.

Rob Dolby
277 Posted 29/11/2020 at 10:45:24
This game could have been any score. Both teams had loads of chances in a stupidly open game, it just so happens that we got beat 1-0.

Leeds didn't batter or murder us. Leeds play a high energy game that forces mistakes. They came to get a result and fought hard for it. We played with no set plan other than get it to the front 3 and they will do something.

What was the idea behind 5 at the back? Once it was obvious that it wasn't working why not try and change it.

Where is Nkounkou?

The commentary was also loaded against us. Carragher saying he has never seen a player throw himself to the floor more than Richarlison is scandalous when most of his old team are worse. The other guy having a go at Pickford: "He got gloves on it but no hands" – what even does that mean.

A very frustrating game and another defeat. Allan was my MotM by some distance.

Mike Powell
278 Posted 29/11/2020 at 10:47:29
Terry, sorry got to disagree.

We will get nowhere with the likes of Holgate in the team. He is not the worst player we have by a long way, but still not good enough if we are to move forward.

Paul Smith
279 Posted 29/11/2020 at 10:48:34
Leeds were quick and organised and swarmed all over our players in possession. So much energy and graft, they deserved their win.

A special mention for Doucouré who was awful, that foul throw with minutes to go and letting the Leeds player run behind him whilst he was rigid to the spot summed up his game for me. What next?

Mike Price
280 Posted 29/11/2020 at 10:48:49
Geoff #265, I couldn't agree more, it's a case of the Emperor's new clothes and it looks like more people are starting to see the truth.

He appears to be a lazy manager, our players aren't fit for purpose and when Bayern's players are doing extra training for basic fitness there's a clear problem. There were similar reports from Napoli too.

The Godfrey signing is another worry, he doesn't seem particularly quick, nor skilful and he's not very big, and we paid over £20 million! Lamptey at Brighton is electric and was available for £3 million and in a position where we desperately needed cover.

I'd be more than happy to see Brands off to Man Utd, our recruitment is pathetic.

Sam Hoare
281 Posted 29/11/2020 at 10:50:09
I think Leeds are maybe better than some on here give credit for. Especially when Phillips is playing (he's been out for many of their losses). I think playing like that, they will cause bother to some good teams, indeed they already drew with City and should have thrashed Arsenal.

Many turning on Ancelotti and I can understand that. The results have shown little improvement. But I wonder who it is they want? Up and coming manager who did well at another PL club- Koeman; failed. Bright young manager with a ‘philosophy'- Martinez, Silva; failed. Old school English grit – Allardyce; not exactly failed but didn't go down well. Supposed ‘world class' manager who's won the lot, Ancelloti; failing?

Where would we go next? I know some would say to blue blood; Ferguson or Unsworth. Maybe. Difficult to know without giving them a chance. But not many assistants or ‘old boys' have stepped up to the plate in the Premier League and done well over a sustained period.

Right or wrongly, I think they will give Ancelotti time. He'd be expensive to sack and Moshiri clearly likes having some ‘star' quality at the club, even if the results are less celestial.

I find it hard to let go of the rumours that followed Carlo at Bayern. That the players organised extra sessions as they felt his training was not intense enough. Yesterday, against a well drilled team, we just looked lacking in sharpness and detail. Allan aside, too many players seem to be outfought and outrun.

No doubt there are issues with squad (Gomes and Delph passing to each other before bundling it out of play a good case in point) and even Pep, Mournho, Simeone etc would struggle to get this lot into top 4; but is Carlo getting the best out of them? Not sure he is.

Derek Taylor
282 Posted 29/11/2020 at 10:52:17
Geoff Williams @ 265 sums it all up very well.

After lauding Ancelotti in early season, he is now copping the criticism for his fading team. Whilst he can look to injuries and suspension as an excuse, choosing the wrong 'reserve' players week after week negates that argument completely.

My gut feeling is that we shall do well to replicate last season's 12th place finish with 49 points. Surely the squad – if deployed correctly – is good enough to garner another 24 points for safety, even if they have to come from victories against the 'third tier' teams.

A win against Burnley would be a start towards that modest end but don't be looking for baubles unless they are of the Xmas variety!

Colin Glassar
283 Posted 29/11/2020 at 10:55:52
I'm glad Moshiri doesn't read TW (maybe I'm wrong) or he might have to appoint a new manager every week and buy a new squad each month!

If Ancelotti can't turn this mess around, then god help us. I mean that. I really do.

Kevin Dyer
284 Posted 29/11/2020 at 11:10:55
I have no interest in calling for Ancelotti's head, none whatsoever. One year is not enough time to evaluate anything. It is incredibly disruptive to bounce from manager to manager and often ends up with a mess of a squad and even relegation. So no, for me we play the rest of this season, then sit down and take stock.

Unquestionably, Carlo got this very wrong. He's made some bad decisions this season, including playing a hurt James, the strange formation against Newcastle, and Iwobi at left wing-back. These are confirmed errors. Debatable are the shift to a back 3 and the continued omission of some players – Gordon, Kenny and Nkounkou.

I know Ancelotti is concerned about our leaky defence, but changing to a back 3 against a team likely to be relegated and then at home against a decent outfit that had still managed only 1 win in 6 and had battered Arsenal without scoring, despite enjoying a man extra for almost half the game, is passive.

We've been free-scoring this season and had all our attacking players fit. They should have been concerned by us, not the other way around. Off of one game with our stand-in right-back (Godfrey), it's become the accepted wisdom that James is a liability playing right-wing and that we'd been "figured out". This is nonsense.

Rodriguez was a destructive force for us operating off the right in the first four games. If they are going to double up on our right-back, then we know this will happen, so plan to exploit this. Rodriguez will be open to receive the ball, so if their full-back is rampaging up the wing, who exactly is watching James?

Leeds played a 4-1-4-1. This can only work if the midfield are active in getting forward to support the lone striker. Their striker (Bamford) is not quick. Our solution: have 3 centre-halves marking one player; sit back deep; have 2 midfielders against their 3 trying to cover acres of space; play 2 fellas out of position at wingback.

Result: we struggled to contain them wide and to get the wingbacks forward consistently; their midfield had all the time in the world to collect the ball, play people in, and take shots; our front three struggled to get on the ball. They battered us. If they were clinical finishers, they'd have won more handily. The xG was 3-1 for them, which is how I saw it.

Solution: play a formation that we are familiar with (the 4-3-3). Have players occupy the roles and positions they are comfortable with. (Allan yesterday played box-to-box and looked great, first time he's played what is clearly his preferred role; Doucouré I don't think has played his preferred role as yet and is inconsistent.)

Stick to the formation and roles and replace injured players like-for-like, to maintain playing style. Nkounkou is raw and Kenny is average; yes, there'll be a drop-off from Digne and Coleman but they are position specialists.

Kenny was decent enough that Schalke wanted him back – he can do a solid job in relief of Coleman. Nkounkou played okay in his first test against a Premier League-calibre side(WHU). Both struggled against Newcastle Utd but were hung out to dry in a dreadful formation.

Play them. Go with Godfrey and Keane at centre-half and try Holgate out as a lone pivot or let Gomes and Davies battle it out for that 3rd centre-mid role.

Leeds are a team that, man-for-man, are inferior. They are however well-drilled and played their way, without consideration for how we set up. Their players know their roles and look confident. Do ours?

Look at Phillips: a good player playing really well in a system. The only player who looked genuinely comfortable for us was Allan.

Allan Board
285 Posted 29/11/2020 at 11:26:55
Shorn of both of our best wide attacking outlets, we look short. In a way, it's the 'best form of defence is attack' method. However, the calls for Kenny and Nkounkou to replace them are correct. Both play the position so would be up to speed quickly.

Not sure I agree or understand why midfielders are being shoehorned in there. I would fill the bench with youth; the others have had enough chances.

Ancelloti has had less than a year, but has a near 50% win ratio, better than any previous Everton manager. Kendall over 3 spells is on 47%. The others struggle to about 40.

I don't think he is a busted flush, more like in consternation sometimes at the sheer lack of quality and awareness this team has and its inability to govern the game for themselves.

He has of course got used to working with top drawer players most of his career, who take on instruction in a fraction of the time and give consistency of performance, few mistakes, winning mentality, game management etc – that's why they are great players.

It's not all about effort, endeavour, speed, – the best players have the mentality to be calm, make correct decisions, take up the best positions, be clever and organise on the pitch for you.

Hand on heart, how many of these do Everton have? I think we have 2 for definite, and 3 nearly there, and those 3 have improved immeasurably since Ancelotti took over. The rest? Not for me, too many errors, not consistent, don't organise. The kids, I don't see them play or train but they are a better option than the rest.

Poor managers have poor win rates because they buy too many poor players, because they can't see where it needs changing and buy make-do-and-mend players. I believe Ancelloti knows the shit this team's in, knows what personnel need changing, and will change it completely in January and the summer.

Take a look at the squads of Man City, Liverpool, Spurs, Chelsea, Man Utd, they are miles in front of us. Ancelotti would piss the league with those squads. Even Wolves, Leicester and Arsenal are better squads.

We haven't the personnel yet, 30 years of make do and mend are responsible for that. Under the circumstances, he has started okay, but winning 7 on the spin has set unrealistic expectations too early; we all knew it would level out and it has. Injuries and suspensions have not helped absolutely and the back-ups are crap.

We are usually at the other end of the table by now, so why the anger and vitriol toward him? I've not trusted a manager as much since Kendall, he has just got something about him, like Howard had. Let the fella get on with it for another 12 months, then it's 2 years in charge and all the crap will be gone and be 70% his team.

Judge him then – in full transition are Everton.

George McKane
286 Posted 29/11/2020 at 11:31:41
Michael @258 – thank you for your comment.

First, I will tell you a little true story: When Kendall and Everton were under incredible pressure, circa '82-83, it seemed (like now) that nothing would change. We had just been beaten by "them" and, on my way home, I ran for the bus and I missed it but the driver stopped to let me on. Jokingly, I said, "No thanks, mate, I just wanted you to run over me!"

I got home absolutely frustrated; that's the worst feeling, that there is nothing you can do... either leave it well alone or do something. I wrote to Howard, telling him the bus story and suggested that we meet.

A week later, he called me. When I met him, he asked something like "Do you really think the players want to hear how rubbish you think they are?"

He and I chatted and became good friends, as with several players who I still see. He was very open to comments. I mentioned the reverence for Colin Harvey (Everton's Youth Team Coach at the time) by Evertonians... Kendall was marvellous to my two daughters, inviting them to meet their heroes.

I'm not saying I had anything to do with the changes that lead to Glory but Kendall listened (to me and I know many other fans); he was accessible and a tremendous man-manager and clever.

Need I repeat the incredible story of The Bayern Munich game? I know people say it couldn't happen now... maybe going for a pint, no... but doing something so completely out of the box... Wow!

When The Beatles went to London, Big London, in the early '60s, to the BBC, in a "recording studio", they were told what to do. "Do this, do that, don't do this..." They were asked if there was anything they didn't like? George Harrison said "I don't like your tie" – but, more importantly, they were told to record a song written by someone else. They said, "We don't do that; we write our own." That's bottle... belief... strength.

In my organisation, The Yellow House, I am told by consultants and advisors, if we have someone who can write a play for you or make a film for you? My answer is: "We are strong, we are the singers of our own song."

So, to answer your question... well, I work in the Arts World where a consultant gets paid £20,000 to write a full-length report on when to go to the toilet... so maybe I will not answer your question but suggest to Mr Moshiri that I will write a Consultancy Report and charge him £100,000 – remember, The Arts Council paid a Consultancy £millions to upgrade their name/image and they came up with Arts Council England as the new name.

Okay, I will tell you what I would do – first thing tomorrow morning, I would ask Moshiri what his reason for being at Everton is, his ambition, long-term vision. Whatever it is, it's not working. And even if he is in it for profit or money, then his spending and wastage is ridiculous and flawed.

Does he want Everton to be a club that the fans can be proud of? That means something? On the pitch, I mean – or is it merely a financial and accountancy project? (He is an Accountant.)

The changes will not happen tomorrow, this week, this season or even next... but, for the medium to long term, we need "treatment". It cannot be Ancelotti's fault, nor Silva's, nor Koeman's – something is wrong. Does he want to fix it? If the answer is Yes, then give someone the total control over team matters and trust them, and stick with them, but tell the supporters of your vision. Get them with you.

I would begin the process of winding down contracts for players and staff and begin to look for hungry players and management with an ideal, a vision, something to prove... Let the fans see some spirit, some passion, some feeling... Of course they (the players) all say they love Everton – you would: you get a great salary and you do not have to prove anything.

Catterick made big decisions, some unpopular... so did Kendall – interesting that they are both our most successful managers. Men who cared not for their image, but for the club, I would be willing to accept.

I also wonder how we talk to our players in this modern culture of "non-criticism"; its time to be open, honest and critical with certain players and not play to their egos.

In my work, some young people do something and, in my opinion or experience, it is not good enough. I do not call them names but I tell them I know they can do better. Our young people are from excluded social situations in Liverpool and I tell them not to play to the media image created about them.

Football, it seems to me, is about image, ego, money, agents, technology... Time for a change: have we the patience (my goodness, what a word for Evertonians, the most patient fans in the world)... maybe that is not the word but let's say that we truly were able to feel that we are a major part of our Club and have some say, some feeling in its future, our future... the beginning of something new. The old methods have failed for us – do something new.

I remember when Arsenal got Wenger. Most people had never heard of him but he demanded a full role in everything from food, diet, training, leisure... look what he delivered (but don't give me his last few years); he revolutionised Arsenal and indeed British Football.

Come on, Mr Moshiri, do something revolutionary, something new:

Come gather 'round, people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you is worth savin'
And you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'

The times have changed but sadly we didn't seem to move with them.

Go with Tim Cahill and stick with him no matter what for at least 5 years... Mmmmmmm.

Talk openly, negotiate, only have people that believe in the vision – and tell them all to watch "One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest".

Cosmic grooves to all Blues everywhere.

Mark Taylor
287 Posted 29/11/2020 at 11:45:04
Beaten by a better team. I don't think we can argue otherwise.

Before the game, I commented on how the manager is seemingly trying to find a way of accommodating James while retaining some solidity, especially on our right where other teams have been targeting. When I heard the team news, I thought if that is the answer, it looks like one to a completely different question and so it proved.

Losing Coleman and Digne makes us worse but it is worrying we seem to have no credible back up. How has that been allowed to happen? I felt especially sorry for Iwobi. After his best game for the club, he is shoved into the wrong side of the pitch for him, in a role he has only just started playing.

Shifting the pieces in such a disastrous fashion to accommodate James begs the question whether this is a bit horse and cart. If we can't find a shape that accommodates James maybe he is the piece that needs to go and become an impact sub.

However, I'm reluctant to lose someone who for all his shortcomings, is still the most creative player we have by far. It's not as though we didn't have our own chances and James played a part in many of those. We actually looked quite threatening in attack, just not as much as Leeds.

I thought this conundrum might be best left to Carlo to sort out, but given yesterday was a failure, can I suggest we now revert to a back 4 and play with 3 defensive midfielders? Right now, that means playing two full backs, Kenny and Niels, who Carlo clearly has little faith in. But at least they are full backs. Use Delph at left back at a push, if Niels is that bad in training.

If we then stuck Gueye into our midfield, I don't think we would have been played through quite so easily. We don't have Gueye anymore. Gbamin is supposed to have been his replacement but how much faith can we have in him even being able to play, let alone compete in the EPL?

You're then left with Davies. It's not ideal, because I personally don't much rate him, but it's all we've got. Please don't play Sigurdsson in such a formation, or Gomes. It won't work. It would also help if Doucouré played as we hoped he might, rather than the very average player he currently looks. But maybe a more solid midfield would free his mind a bit.

On the upside, Allan had his best game for a while, James continues to show flashes of brilliance in a Duncan McKenzie kind of way, Dom did a pretty good centre forward job, Davies did as well as anyone could have expected from him and Pickford's saves kept us in the match, although his decision making continues to scare me.

I think Godfrey needs a break, he still looks a bit rabbit in the headlights. Maybe we need to give Keane and Holgate a proper run. Yes, they have their weaknesses but they are probably the best combination in a back 4.

For Leeds, I thought Rafinha looked a bargain for £17M or whatever they paid, but they are clearly a team where the sum is greater than the parts. Would that we were so.

Patrick McFarlane
288 Posted 29/11/2020 at 12:03:03
I think George above makes some salient points, particularly about the club needing to have a vision and then sharing that same vision with its fans – and hopefully there is something in that vision to satisfy both parties.

I've read on here that Carlo's selections were made to impress upon Moshiri how poor the underbelly of his squad is – what tosh! Carlo's job, indeed any manager's job, is to get the best performance and result from his team as is humanly possible in every game.

As much as Bill Kenwright has been derided – I'm one of his biggest critics – he knew exactly which strings to pull to keep the supporters onside, even the criticial ones,

I'm not sure that Moshiri is close enough to the club or its people to be able to tap into that vibe. Moyes during his time only had one person to satisfy and, by doing so, he also (for the most part) satisfied a large portion of the fanbase, plus the chequebook wasn't open very often or for very long – therefore, many decisions were forced by circumstance.

Carlo I feel is playing to the gallery, but not to the Goodison gallery, rather his paymasters, ie, Moshiri. That isn't right and will lead to bigger issues as time goes by. Why else would Carlo persist in playing a clearly unfit James a few weeks ago? Why else have expensive flops remaining in and around the first team? But why simultaneously freeze out younger players who 'might' provide answers to some of the issues besetting his team?

Players have to be selected on merit; formations have to suit the players available; and lastly, most importantly, the only gallery that matters is the fans – lose them and you lose the heart and soul of the club.

Like George alludes to, it's a very different world today than the one many of us grew up in, but basic elements remain the same: truth is still truth and criticism isn't always a negative trait.

Brian Harrison
289 Posted 29/11/2020 at 12:09:53
I am a fan of Ancelotti; you don't win what he has by luck. But, that aside, 3 points from a possible 15 is not what we should have achieved, especially as, apart from Man Utd, the ones we have lost to will be lucky to finish in the top half of the Premier League.

With any team, the buck stops with the manager and, unless Carlo can turn this around, he will be under pressure – and we have a hard fixture list coming up.

I think if we go back to the start of the season, when everyone apart from Holgate was fit, we did really well winning our first 4 then drawing with the current champions. This was based on a 4-3-3 formation with practically the same team:

Pickford, Coleman, Mina, Keane, Digne, Doucouré, Allan, Gomes, James, Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison. But, like most teams, we have suffered a few injuries and a couple of suspensions to key players. Also we have had a couple of players lose form, eg, Mina and Gomes, but, when we made the changes, it didn't have the positive effect I am sure Carlo hoped for.

Then, with the injuries, Carlo also changed the formation; that, added to the changes in personnel, have had the effect that these players don't seem comfortable with the formation changes.

Looking just at yesterday's game, yes, Digne was a big loss but I would love to hear why Carlo thought it was a good idea to switch Iwobi from the right to the left. Why not leave him where he played last week?

I guess when he looked at his options for the two wingback positions, he must have thought that Davies and Iwobi were his best options, and thought Iwobi might feel more comfortable on the left than Davies.

I think, when we can put out our strongest 11, we are a match for anybody, as we have proved this season. But, when we can't field our best 11, we are what we were before Carlo joined, which is a 9th to 13th team. Now many will argue that this world class manager should still be able to get a tune out of this team, minus a few key players, and that is true.

I think our business in the summer was interesting; clearly from all reports, Ancelotti's preferred choices were the centre-back that went to Arsenal, who is performing well for them, and Højbjerg, who went to Spurs, and Allan and James had been touted for months as probably his main choices. Well, he got James and Allan but had to settle for Doucouré and Godfrey – both from relegated sides.

Maybe if he had got the other two, we would have had a far better midfield player to play alongside Allan than Doucouré, who – while decent at times going forward – is woeful defensively. Had he got the centre-back who went to Arsenal, he wouldn't have had to chop and change our centre-back pairing from week to week.

I think Allan is a class act and, because Doucouré is so bad defensively, he is having to sit more than he would normally like. I think yesterday, when Allan picked the ball up in his own half and ran the length of the pitch to get in a shot that was deflected wide, shows some of his potential. Strange Allan not our quickest player, but he runs from the halfway line beating players on the way, yet none of our forwards were within shouting distance to help him out.

Just going back to wingbacks, in the 2nd half neither Iwobi nor Davies ran past James or Richarlison when they had the ball, which again just emphasises that neither understand the role and highlighted how badly we miss Coleman and Digne.

I thought yesterday was Richarlison's worst game in ages and, because of this, Calvert-Lewin looked isolated and contributed to him not having a very good game either.

So things need to improve immediately and that is down to Ancelotti; otherwise, we will be back to being at the wrong end of the table and looking over our shoulder... AGAIN!

I think changing managers every 2 or 3 years hasn't helped at all and Moshiri must also take responsibility for that. But, if things don't improve and this sort of form continues, then the calls for Carlo to go will increase and it seems Moshiri isn't slow to pull the rug once the supporters get restless. But, if someone with his record can't turn this club around.... who the hell can???

Steve Brown
290 Posted 29/11/2020 at 12:10:56
Mark @ 287, that is a very good summary of the current misalignment in the team. And far more eloquently put than I managed earlier!

When we started the season, we played a stable 4-3-3 and the manager preached simplicity. Injuries and suspensions have disrupted us as the squad cover is inadequate; however, the manager seems to have forgotten his own mantra. The players we currently have at our disposal are not good enough to implement game plans that are too complicated.

I suggest we stick to a simple 4-3-3 with three midfielders who will protect the defence properly and let the front three be creative. Also, let's stop playing midfielders out of position and select Kenny and Nkounkou for the next match.

Steve Shave
291 Posted 29/11/2020 at 12:13:21
George - fantastic post, thanks for sharing your views and experiences.

I haven't the heart to read the above thread, I'm still reeling from yesterday, I'm hurting badly. As I haven't read the above comments apart from George's extraordinary contribution, please excuse me if someone has said this already but clearly the wingbacks were the issue yesterday.

If we didn't think Nkounkou and Kenny were up to the task as back-up, why the hell didn't we ship Kenny and buy back-up full backs????!!! Baffling.

Dave Abrahams
292 Posted 29/11/2020 at 12:13:50
One man short in midfield every game? Find another midfielder to go with Allan and Doucouré and that is a big part of the problem solved.

Centre-half is another problem to be solved: neither Keane nor Mina are the answer... both create more questions than answers and make the defence more difficult.

James, at the moment, although making a few good moves, is more of a handicap overall. We will not improve with this present squad; every fan knows that.

Dale Rose
293 Posted 29/11/2020 at 12:23:59
Leeds had no quality in the final third. Which was probably a good job considering their fitness levels.

I don't think we were totally shite – there were a few glimmers of quality.

Someone once said "Football is played by 22 men and is watched by 30,000 referees".

Whoever said that has never been on ToffeeWeb.

Paul Burns
294 Posted 29/11/2020 at 12:29:45
I still think the club is being run like Amateur Hour. We don't seem to do any homework on any teams we play and are constantly surprised.

Marco Bielsa is diligent in his preparation while we just turn up and see what happens... with the expected results.

I thought the Amateur Hour days were over. I was wrong.

Ken Kneale
295 Posted 29/11/2020 at 12:30:36
George – fantastic post. Ancelotti should not be above critical friendship comments as neither The Catt nor Howard were. What set both of them apart was their deep love of Everton Football Club which was always evident. Some demonstration of that from everyone currently connected to the Club would not go amiss.

As for the Ancelotti win ratio, he should not be compared to the above two after 30 games... and let's not forget, with The Catt's teams especially, pure statistics do not represent the beauty of the football on offer.

Michael Kenrick
296 Posted 29/11/2020 at 12:35:09
Ian Edward @143:

"The lack of critical scrutiny by the fans of team selections, formations and subs is extremely alarming."

The lack of something from somewhere... seems to be more a simple case of you not reading comments and then posting arrant nonsense.

Tom Bowers
297 Posted 29/11/2020 at 12:39:44
It's certainly worrying for Carlo now as, after almost a year, the team is still very cavalier in its approach and, despite the new additions, does not play as a tight unit, allowing almost every team to have far too much possession in the middle of the park. It could have been a goalfest but both sides missed chances galore.

Woeful Burnley next week... but will it be any better?

The shape has to change, even if we become more boring, but they have to keep better possession for longer. The passing has become unacceptable.

Carlo may just have to accept that what he has is still not good enough but, even if new players are added, the system has to change.

Kevin Prytherch
298 Posted 29/11/2020 at 12:49:03
Brian 289 - spot on with the wingbacks.

When we have fullbacks, they defend, but get forward to overlap the wide midfielders.

When we have wingbacks, they are caught in no-man's land. They play somewhere between midfield and fullback without ever really defending or getting forward. It becomes something of a wasted position.

Get back to 4-3-3. The only question I would have is Gomes or Davies in the middle? Davies for solidarity if we think we'll struggle in the centre; Gomes for more creativity if we think we'll be alright in the middle.

What I can't stand, and where Silva fell into the trap of, is the notion that “It worked well in the last game so stick with it”. Just because something worked against Fulham does not mean it will work well against everyone. Carlo should have more tactical nous about him.

Neil Lawson
299 Posted 29/11/2020 at 13:20:16
It has been said several times in the earlier posts; it is blindingly obvious.

We start the season well, with a goalie, 2 full backs, 2 central defenders, 4 midfielders, and 2 up front. It works.

We now have a goalie. No full backs. 3 central defenders, 5 midfielders spread all over the place, and 2 up front.

It didn't work at Fulham. They are very poor but ran us ragged in the second half. It definitely didn't work yesterday. Square pegs in round holes on a haphazard board.

Of course, our available full-backs are not as good as the 2 who are injured, but they are shitloads better than those colleagues shoehorned into an unfamiliar role and system.

And what is the point of a bench made up of players who cannot add anything different when required?

I find it all so incredibly baffling and horribly disappointing and worrying.

Kim Vivian
300 Posted 29/11/2020 at 13:21:37
What I don't get is, if you haven't got wingbacks available because of injury, illness, poor acquisitions or whatever... why try and play a wingback game?

Yesterday, we may have done better sticking Delph at left-back of a four and telling him to do a job there, Nkounkou in front of him alongside Allan and Doucouré, and James sitting in at No 10 behind Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison.

That would leave Iwobi and Davies from that starting 11 available from the bench with Olsen, Gomes, Sigurdsson, Tosun, and Bernard making up the numbers.

Danny O’Neill
301 Posted 29/11/2020 at 13:25:30
Spent overnight in my safe space gathering thoughts so I can come on with perspective and Dave Abrahams bags my main observation over the last 3 games!

Last night was actually a relatively close end-to-end affair. Leeds have made a good start and play pretty intensely so were always going to be difficult to deal with. They edged what many of my neutral friends who can see through the emotion say was a very entertaining game. My only surprise is that is wasn't 4-3 or 3-2. How that ended 1-0 is beyond me.

Positives: Allan I thought was very good. Also, our beleaguered defence; I've been as critical as anyone about them and they are not great but, to be fair, defended resolutely when they had to last night (hence the scoreline).

My main observation of our problem, that has been glaringly obvious, is what Dave alludes to. We need to plug that hole in midfield. It's not wingbacks or back 3 vs back 4 that our problem is. It is that pocket of space that Doucouré and Allan are leaving behind them.

That's not a go at them; they want to press high and go chase (box-to-box) but right now, that leaves space. Man Utd, Fulham (yes Fulham) and now Leeds have been very aware of that and exploited it. It's where last night's goal came from.

We need Gbamin or another genuine midfield general / enforcer sat in behind Allan and Doucouré is what we need.

Danny O’Neill
302 Posted 29/11/2020 at 13:28:31
Sorry, I would also add that, yes, our manager is not beyond criticism. He waited too long yesterday before changing it as the system wasn't working.
Eddie Dunn
306 Posted 29/11/2020 at 14:03:59
Danny, what you say is true but until we have a defence who are comfortable pushing-up, closing that space when our midfield press, we will continue to get caught out.

Our defending was back-to-the -wall, which Keane is good at. Godfrey too cleared one off the line but the defensive frailty is compounded with a back five if the wingbacks fail to do their bit.

With James to compensate for, Davies had much to do and sadly the Iwobi Experiment has backfired. Carlo took an age to change things – he was as confused as the Arabs on Hesgoal with Leeds's madcap play.

Rob Halligan
307 Posted 29/11/2020 at 14:08:52
Good news on the injury front regarding Seamus Coleman. Just met him in the park whilst I was walking the dog. He thinks he will be available for next weekend.

He was out with his wife and two young children, so I didn't want to talk too much, but he seems a very friendly person, and I'm sure he would probably talk for a while if he could.

Danny O’Neill
308 Posted 29/11/2020 at 14:16:31
Agree Eddie, but then if the defence press, they leave space behind them; always a dilemma as a defender, hence we used to call the so-called Number 10 a cheating centre forward.

I think we both agree, the problem is we have a pocket of space in-between defence and midfield that needs plugging whichever way we look at it (ie, defence or defensive midfield).

Jay Wood

309 Posted 29/11/2020 at 14:39:12
Michael and Lyndon, just a thought. I wonder if you might consider giving George's post @ 286 its own dedicated thread to open up a debate beyond yesterday's match.

George, 'mission statements' have become quite a 'thing' in the corporate world in recent years. Personally, I find many of them little more than a cosmetic PR exercise or marketing tool trying to paint an organization in the best possible light whilst often not living up to stated ideals.

That is not to say mapping out an ongoing business plan with fixed dates to achieve listed objectives is an exercise in futility. It potentially gives common purpose and direction to all associated with the organization in what ultimately they are striving towards and are trying to achieve.

On your first question to Moshiri, what his reason for being at Everton is, I recall his first public words after his first game at Everton, the 2-0 cup win over Chelsea:

"I bought into a great club. I felt it today. It is a great club. I think you can never take over a club. You can be part of a club, and I think that's what I'm hoping. To become part of a club. I bought into a family, a new family. I think that's what's special for me. And I will give them whatever I have."

I think they are fair and sensible words. I also believe they are particularly true of Everton with its strong community ties.

Nobody can dispute that he has invested heavily financially in the club's recruitment and infrastructure. Sadly, on the recruitment side, he hasn't got full bang for his buck. Some of that blame rests directly with him as he is largely responsible for his managerial appointments and failures.

He didn't hesitate in cutting loose from Martinez, even though the Spaniard got us to two semi-finals in Moshiri's opening months at the club. The fans had already turned on Martinez following two seasons of regression after such a scintillating first season in the Premier League.

Koeman looked an astute appointment, despite what some say. He did great work at Southampton, even after having almost an entire side sold under him following his first season. With cheap buys and promotion of youth, he still kept them impressively competitive, home and away.

Koeman's arrival at Everton was married to that of Steve Walsh – another Moshiri appointment and idea, to have a Director of Football. Koeman's first season was mixed, with some very good moments and promotion of youth against long periods of bleakness.

Then came the summer of his second season with Koeman, Walsh and possibly Moshiri and Kenwright meddling and going on a buying binge which was over-indulgent, incoherent, and for which we are still paying today. Koeman didn't last 10 games into his second season.

Whilst Moshiri shows himself to be decisive in firing, the long protracted appointment of Sam Allardyce together with the futile (first) pursuit of Mario Silva showed he was ill-prepared for hiring. That Allardyce was hired at all suggested panic, not calmness or vision.

Moshiri did better in the following summer by quickly and cleanly sacking Allardyce and Walsh, appointing Brands and Silva as well as announcing a wide-ranging reshuffle of the boardroom. The Bramley-Moore Dock Stadium project gathered considerable momentum also.

Brands's and Silva's first efforts looked impressive. There was genuine promise in how Everton played against the likes of Chelsea, Man City and Liverpool. Then, as feared by many based on Silva's time at Hull and Watford, the wheels came off and Silva couldn't address a downward spiral until we bounced back in the spring.

Like Koeman before him, in his second season, Silva gave himself a long rope by which to hang himself and his sacking came as a relief. The timing of events gave us the opportunity to recruit one of the world's great managers in Carlo Ancelotti.

Now just shy of a year in the job, like those before him, Carlo's performances have been mixed.

So on the footballing side, Moshiri has been heavily involved in the most radical turnover of managers in our history, not always with the best outcome. I fancy Moshiri will stick with Carlo unless the results get drastically bad, whilst advancing the Bramley-Moore Dock project.

There does seem to be better structure in the academy at Finch Farm with the coaching staff being instructed to produce a uniform player and team profile at all age levels with the aim being to feed the first team, initiatives led by a Moshiri appointment, Marcel Brands. If he is not offered a contract extension or gets poached away, that continuity stalls and we face another reset.

Brands has done well in achieving some of what you desire, George – 'the process of winding down contracts for players and staff and begin to look for hungry players and management with an ideal'. However, he and the club are hamstrung by the excessive and lucrative long-term contracts earlier Moshiri appointments made. On money spent, we should be much further down the road under Moshiri on the pitch than we are.

On marketing and financing, we have cut better sponsorship deals under Moshiri, attempting to expand to foreign shores. He has purchased the Royal Liver Building and moved Everton operations there from the remote Goodison Park. The detailed preparation work on the Bramley-Moore Dock project is admirable, very much 'inclusive' of the fans, something you ask for, George.

All positives which hopefully will all come to fruition when the new stadium is built, even with a global pandemic infecting the world.

Personally, I am glad he has curtailed sharing his views with Jim White. They were cringeworthy. I was more interested to hear him say that, when buying the club, he intended only devoting 10% of his time on Everton, but it has turned out to occupy 90% of his time!

That in itself reveals something flawed at Everton, IMO. That he is so heavily involved when it should fall more to trusted others.

My own personal view is that Moshiri is or was sincere when he says he doesn't want Everton to be a 'museum club', remembered only for its past, rather than creating new history today and tomorrow.

However, I also believe that he (and others behind the facade) see Everton FC as a useful vehicle to earn huge returns on their investment on the development of the Liverpool waterfront.

And that game will take longer to play out and is divorced from fans wanting to see quicker, even immediate, progress by Everton FC on the playing field.

Soren Moyer
310 Posted 29/11/2020 at 14:41:48
The shit-list is growing weekly! It includes our manager now!!!
Jim Bennings
311 Posted 29/11/2020 at 14:44:00
Amazes me how we are so far behind a team like Southampton in terms of fitness, movement etc.
Steavey Buckley
312 Posted 29/11/2020 at 14:46:31
4 defeats in the last 5 games and a defence that finds it difficult to defend at times does not give any confidence going forward of any upturn in the team's fortunes.
Ricky Oak
313 Posted 29/11/2020 at 14:47:12
Must be from top down in regards of mentality. You just have to look at Saints for example, got humiliated by Foxes, sold their equivalent of our Allan yet play with energy, nark, togetherness, speed, and skill, the exact opposite of us.

We throw zillions at management, have players at least as good as if not better than most teams, yet, serve up the same painful, nerve-jangling disappointment, game on game, year on year.

No offence intended to anyone, I truly got chosen to support Everton over 30 years ago. I for one am baffled, hurt and sick to my stomach why we have to endure this garbage and humiliation. Apologies and all that, just had to vent.
Darren Hind
314 Posted 29/11/2020 at 14:49:10
Nice one, Rob.

I bet meeting Seamus gave your weekend a much-needed lift.

Never met him myself, but it comes as no surprise whatsoever to hear you say he was approachable and friendly.

I just kinda knew he would be.

George McKane
315 Posted 29/11/2020 at 15:02:07

Very eloquent and much more precise than my meanderings. My post was to stimulate debate and see what we think. Of course, saying Cahill was more of a provocation, I possibly should have added. Let's stick with Ancelotti for 5 years. I would go with that as long as we can see clearly where he and we are going.

Everything doesn't need telling to the public; football is a cloak-and-dagger industry like many others, that's not new, but I stick to my concept of "being different'. Constant techniques have not worked – then change it! Quote Einstein: it's Einstein, The Beatles, Tarkovsky, Paradjanov, Kurisowa, Van Gogh, Giotto, Leonardo that I love... challengers. If you cannot do it their way, try your own way; you can please some of the people etc.

I don't know why, I haven't cleared it in my own head yet, but even considering I was at The Millwall game at Goodison, Coventry, Liverpool, the Glen Keely derby, semi-finals and finals that we have lost. Somehow last night thinking, "Well we've got what we asked for..." A great Manager (and I mean that) and wealthy owner – but still it's not just not working. It doesn't seem to need changing, mending, repairing or developing... but it felt overwhelmingly disappointing yesterday, seriously.

I was at Everton's training ground in the '80s. There was a dreadful atmosphere, nervousness, a bit of dull fear... I was there when Andy Gray did his first training session. He came off the training ground, upstairs to the pool table, challenged everyone to a game... loud and noisy and funny. I am not silly enough to think a mad game of pool can help with a football game but it certainly lifted the atmosphere.

I am sure there are characters at the Club now, I guess so... but where are the leaders, the winners, those that inspire?

Bless all of you. Us Blues for our continuing search for the real Everton –Viktor Frankel "Man's Search for Meaning" – and the elusive "Why?".

Rob Dolby
316 Posted 29/11/2020 at 15:07:20
Danny I kind of disagree with your observation about space behind the midfield. We provide space all over the pitch – not just in front of the defence.

As a team everyone has to be on the same page regarding closing down and challenging for the ball. If not, players get passed around and makes us look worse. It's a half-arsed effort of closing people down with only Allen sticking his foot in.

Every team we play seems to have better movement and more energy. I don't buy into the general lack of fitness. Each Premier League team has a team of fitness specialists that look after the squad.

I do think that we have one of the slowest if not the slowest squad in the league, knowing if they over commit they have no chance of recovering. Calvert-Lewin recently said, besides himself, Godfrey and Branthwaite are the quickest in the squad and that really is a big problem in the modern Premier League era.

I can't see much activity in the January transfer window unless we pick up a couple of players who are running down their contracts.

It's looking very much like mid-table mediocrity and hopefully a couple of good cup runs.

Geoff Williams
317 Posted 29/11/2020 at 15:09:11
It would be interesting to know if yesterday's result was a surprise to anyone.
Kevin Dyer
318 Posted 29/11/2020 at 15:12:35
#189 Terry – I have to agree with you. It's ironic that the people who post on here that the players lack character, grit, mental toughness etc are the first to fall apart like a cheap suit as soon as we hit a poor period. The "Woe is Me" brigade in full voice.

To be honest, I can actually handle those posts - I am now in the habit of skim-reading them for anything interesting (note: not positive necessarily, but constructive criticism). The majority of their posts, however, are worthless repetition: Kenwright, Carlo is useless, can only manage teams of superstars (Pep, anyone?), deadwood, ruined my weekend, always let you down, crap, shit, gutless, lazy, unfit blah fucking blah.

Worse are those who seem not to be interested in hearing any other opinion, or do not even read responses to their own posts and just carry on as if shouting into the wind into an empty field. They miss the whole point of a forum imo.

Joe McMahon
319 Posted 29/11/2020 at 15:19:29
Geoff @317, no not at all. Just like the Southampton result. The club is spineless; as you know it has been for decades. We have one striker for fuck's sake (Tosun don't event count). One clean sheet from 10 games.
Patrick McFarlane
320 Posted 29/11/2020 at 15:19:57
Geoff #317,

I long for the day when a defeat for Everton comes as a surprise, unfortunately, whilst most of us were hoping for a victory yesterday, there was always a good chance that it wouldn't work out that way.

I think what surprised me most was the amount of attempts on goal and how much time and space Everton allowed Leeds United to have in the game.

We all move on to Turf Moor next time round and hope for a better performance and result.

Rob Halligan
321 Posted 29/11/2020 at 15:22:16
Yeah, Darren, I'd say very approachable and friendly. I was quite taken aback when he asked me how I was?

"Fine," I said, "just missing the footie."

He mentioned about fans being allowed back for the next home game against Chelsea, to which I replied, "I just hope I'm drawn out in the ballot." He wished me good luck in the ballot. A really friendly person.

Kevin Dyer
322 Posted 29/11/2020 at 15:27:59
#203 Robert,

I don't agree with your comments on Moshiri and our ambition. Financial limitations restrict us from just spending on transfers and big wages. We are operating close to, actually over our limit now.

I think Ancelotti would have loved to bring a couple more class players in during the summer but, without shifting big wages off the books, we have no headroom. Brands worked wonders to get the players in that we could, imo.

Finances underpin Brands's transfer strategy – bringing in young players with upside. They come in on lower wages than established players (say age 24+); if they are a success, they can be sold for a big profit; if not, their wages are not a detriment to moving them out.

Unfortunately we are constrained by high-earning fringe players. We've moved on Schneiderlin and Walcott but there's a few left – Sigurdsson, Bernard, Tosun, Bolasie – who are all on first-team money.

Brian Wilkinson
323 Posted 29/11/2020 at 15:33:29
I avoided stating the obvious as what I might think could be sheer madness by others; however, viewing other posters, a few seem to share the same thoughts as myself.

Start from the back and play players in their natural positions; that would include Kenny at right-back, Nkounkou at left-back, with Holgate and Godfrey in the centre-back positions; Allan, Doucouré, Rodriguez and Gordon covering the midfield; Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison in attack.

With a busy December on the horizon, I would look to promote Ellis Simms to the bench. Often Calvert-Lewin is subbed and, with being our only striker who is doing the business, we cannot afford to lose him; we have to rotate and give him some rest time at some point.

For now, he is giving everything, ran his nuts off yesterday, very rarely when he advanced with the ball was there a team mate close by, he could play a killer pass to. Time and again he had to hold the ball up then play it backwards. He needs more support, but most of all he needs that bit of a rest around the 75- or 80-minute mark now and again.

Tony Abrahams
324 Posted 29/11/2020 at 15:35:48
I couldn't be bothered with this thread really, and not because Everton lost or because people are disappointed. I despair at false positives, but not as much as I despair at negativity, without people at least trying to give a reason or an example for their feelings. So thanks for asking George what he'd do, Michael, because that was the best thing I've read all weekend about Everton.

A sense of perspective and a sense of identity, but maybe that's been part of the problem though, George, because I think the hardest part of Brands's job has been how many players he's had to wait for, because the only way they're leaving is when their contract has expired.

See Cavani then, best player at the last World Cup until he got injured imo, but boy did he come alive then!

Jerome Shields
326 Posted 29/11/2020 at 15:38:48
Rob #316,

I agree with your keen observation regarding space and closing down. I don't buy into lack of fitness either. It is either fear of getting caught out due to lack of pace, as you say, or just an unwillingness to challenge or apply what has been coached.

I was particularly struck by Leeds players on the ball along the midfield line unchallenged and Everton running to covering positions outside the penalty area. No other Ancelotti side played like this and I am sure he is not happy about it. But then we have had other Managers who had an Everton side play different than coached.

In the second half, in both the Brighton and Leeds games, imo Ancelotti pulled both wingers deeper to counteract this, to compact the midfield more. In the Brighton game, it was Richarlison and Iowbi who played deep, with Sigurdsson as a very poor defending midfielder.

In the Leeds game, it was Richarlison and Gomes with Delph in the Sigurdsson role. Both Gomes and Delph were poor. Gomes, like Sigurdsson, gave possession away. In his case mainly by fouls. Both Delph and Gomes offered little going forward. Ancelotti's second-half tactics were totally unsuccessful as a result.

These players knew what they had to do and were coached to do so. They did not produce anything like what was required.

Danny O’Neill
327 Posted 29/11/2020 at 15:42:35
Oh, don't get me wrong, Rob. I'm not saying that addressing the pocket of space in-between our midfield 2 and defence is the silver bullet that solves all. I'm not denying there are other areas we need to address and improve in.

I am saying that this is presently (in my opinion) the glaringly obvious priority. That is where we are getting hurt most as I see it, appreciating we all see it differently.

The state this squad had descended into was never going to be improved in one transfer window. This summer, we have made additions that have improved us in midfield and going forward. They were the priorities then. Next window we focus on the next priorities and next summer, those remaining (probably overhaul defence). Stepping-stone approach to squad building that will see inevitable bumps along the way but with progressive improvement. I don't want to use the L-word as Michael K shouts at me, but .....

Still work to do, still holes in the squad and still those lingering relapses back to the dreadful loser mentality of the past few seasons. The next transfer window will be interesting. I understand your pessimism, but then I and many on here were equally pessimistic in the summer as I recall.

We're at the right end of the table despite the recent bad run. Had those results been more spread out, then yes, inconsistent, but 16 points and 6th (I think 8th is the lowest we can drop to this weekend with the remaining fixtures) at this stage is not a bad start. I personally rarely take the Premier League table seriously until January, so will wait to see where we are then.

Bill Gall
328 Posted 29/11/2020 at 15:43:59
The change in the club came from the top. Mr Moshiri has altered the structure on the financial side and the corporate side and business side, including backing for a new stadium. This is great for supporters who can see what the future can mean.

The one thing he has no control of is the playing side of the club, as his level of coaching, tactics and buying players is not a part of his CV. He is a businessman controlling a large organization and as such he has to hire people to ensure the business is run successfully.

All of his organization is reflected in the performances of its showpiece, the Premier League team on game day.

Failure at this level reflects back on him and I believe he should have the manager in for a talk to explain what is happening to his final product, that if it continues steps will have to be taken.

Every person who is hired by someone has their previous records gone over before hiring, and that what makes the performances of Ancelotti questionable.

All the previous losses lack of effort and putting round pegs in square holes can be contributed to the manager. It is difficult being able to replace players through injuries and suspensions but good managers are paid to manage what they have with a squad.

I do not think Ancelotti should be fired, but I do not think he should hide behind excuses and, going on his interview after the game that whoever scored first was going to win, this was an excuse for a loss that was more than just having a goal scored against them – this was being defeated before you started.

We are Everton, the supporters, Mr Moshiri wants the best for the club; we demand the best from the team and manager.

Mr Ancelotti, the buck stops here; you are supposed to be one of the world's top managers and are paid accordingly... PROVE IT!

John Pierce
329 Posted 29/11/2020 at 15:44:57
Rob & Danny. Defensive midfield is the long-standing issue for me. Even going back as far as Silva's tenure, if he had one, then I think things might have been different. Yes really!!

The obvious shape of you don't have one is three at the back to allow one of them to step out into that space. It was noticeable yesterday both Holgate and Keane did so. The space that the other midfielders leave is huge. The other option is to play a centre-back there, I'm less fond of that, it's short term and, well, they're a centre-back!

The shape of the team revolves around that sitting player, it gives them a reference point to manage their position and distances from each other. Until Gbamin is fit or we buy someone in January, I think Carlo will stick with the three at the back and we'll see him move players around to find the balance.

Allan played like the No 8 yesterday pressing and covering ground, I thought Doucouré did too but without that sitter they looked miles out of position when our play broke down. Doucouré especially looks cooked because he has to cover James.

It wouldn't surprise me if we splashed the cash on a defensive midfielder in January... on who, I've no idea.

Andrew Dempsey
330 Posted 29/11/2020 at 15:46:04
Sam #281

Hassenhuttl, Bielsa, Pochettino.

They may fail some weeks, but you can see the organisation and the work rate, and the identity. It's fun to watch as well.

The chumps we bring in fail anyway, just in a mind-numbingly boring way.

Patrick McFarlane
331 Posted 29/11/2020 at 15:55:35
Tony #324,

Of course, we'd all prefer to be posting actual positive things on this thread and on all of the others; however, the almost predictable way that Everton goes from the sublime to the ridiculous in terms of actual results would challenge the sanest and most level-headed of people.

Then we have the manager, and any of our last half-dozen altering and adjusting his personnel and formations sometimes through necessity but oftentimes not for any good reason that is visible to us mere supporters.

On here, the positive posts when the team is on a good run, get shouted down for being overly optimistic, and delusional; likewise when we are in a run of form like we are today. Those who lean towards pessimism are likely to be more prevalent on the site.

The truth lies somewhere in-between, there are some aspects of this team that are truly exciting, but there are so many elements of the team that negate that positivity.

I do believe that the absence of fans from the stadiums has adversely affected the team and us too; however, we can all see what has happened on the pitch, albeit through the narrow prism of a camera lens, and mostly we want to see more of the good stuff and less of the poor stuff. That's up to Carlo and the players to sort out; we are merely observers of a game in which we have no influence – but we can give our thoughts on those events whether they be positive or negative.

Oh and I note that the Southampton team who are supposedly fitter and better than us have managed to squander a two-goal lead to lose their game with Man Utd.

Mike Oates
332 Posted 29/11/2020 at 15:56:53
Man Utd and Southampton just showed what we are missing: closing down, pace, fitness, huge work rates...

The basics, please, Carlo.

Danny O’Neill
333 Posted 29/11/2020 at 15:57:30
A point behind the much lauded Southampton.

I like Southampton by the way and the way they play. I think their form and recent run puts into perspective the result against us. Too many looked at the name (Southampton) rather than the team we played.

Season ends in May after 38 games. Not when you're 2 - 0 up against Man United after 33 minutes or lose 1 - 0 against Leeds in a closely fought contest in November.

Will Mabon
334 Posted 29/11/2020 at 16:03:29
You're right, Danny – but the "Long haul" element is starting to show in an emerging familiar look to the table.
Danny O’Neill
335 Posted 29/11/2020 at 16:12:02
If our target this was this season was European qualification, then we're remain in touch. That's what you do; stay in touch. You will have periods of form, periods of being off form, especially when you are in the place we are right now (rebuilding a squad).

As long as we stay in touch, we have a chance of hitting that target and I'd say we have a better chance than we did last season and can hopefully add players in January that better help us have an even better go at achieving that in the home straight of the season.

I think I sit in the "in-between truth" space Patrick calls out. Okay, I'll admit having blue-tinted spectacles and a glass half-full. But I like to think I praise the positive good stuff we do and improvements made (we had more shots on target than Leeds last night and the ball in the net twice), whilst also calling out the remaining problem areas and the manager where appropriate.

Will Mabon
336 Posted 29/11/2020 at 16:21:58
I know, Danny – just such disappointment after seeing the potential from the first games. Yes, injuries, international duty, poor back-up (as for all)... but the manner of it is concerning; the "Old Everton" look.

Where we are, or will be when games played equals out, is not the end of the world... the manner of it is, and doesn't bode well for next month without a large improvement. We're basically at the top of our usual zone – with no need for excessive optimism nor pessimism, which is about how I feel; business as usual!

Danny O’Neill
337 Posted 29/11/2020 at 16:28:16
Totally Will. As I said earlier, I'd rather we were sat where we are had those results been spread out rather than "a tale of 2 international breaks".

Here's hoping that, in typical fashion, we've just had an Everton October - November.

Going back to the Moyes days, it seems no matter who is in charge or what players we have, we are dreadful during this period of the season!!!

Jerome Shields
338 Posted 29/11/2020 at 16:30:03
I don't think that Everton will buy anyone in January. Brands is more likely to sell. He did say on his first January window that to do so was to panic-buy.

Under Brands, Everton have not bought one player in January. The last two players to be bought in January where Walcott and Tosun under Big Sam.

Danny O’Neill
340 Posted 29/11/2020 at 16:31:39
You've just given me PTSD Jerome. You called out the BS word(s).
Paul Jones
341 Posted 29/11/2020 at 16:35:34
The team selection indicated to me that Ancellotti does not think that we have suitable ready made replacements for Coleman and Digne to play his preferred tactics and accommodate James. Therefore the priority should be to sign players to cover both positions rather than play those who don't convince the majority in their preferred positions.

The last transfer window improved the first choice team the next one needs to improve identified squad weakness. Sigurdsson, Tosun & Bolasie need to be moved on but I expect that other clubs would not even want them on a free transfer. The likelihood is that you would have to cover most of the wages. Bernard I believe could still have a role but may have some resale value, unlike the others.

With regard to Brands he bought the players that matched the club ethos and direction. Latterly he has bought the players a more powerful manager had identified. If you can trust the manager then you may believe him surplus.

Moshiri was very naïve with his first Director of Football appointment, hence the poor recruitment at massive cost.

Clive Rogers
342 Posted 29/11/2020 at 16:38:04
Recent results have shown that we don't have the depth of squad necessary to challenge for the top eight. That is on top of our leaky defence and inconsistent midfield and attack.

Several players were poor yesterday, the two wingbacks, Doucouré, and Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin up front. The pluses were Pickford, Allan who had his best game and drove forward more, and Gomes who looked fitter than any time since his injury.

Danny O’Neill
343 Posted 29/11/2020 at 16:45:34
Good shout, Paul. It is evident that Carlo is not confident beyond the new signings and his preferred first-choice 11.

We can all argue all day about the supposed merits of him being a supposed world class manager, but ultimately you can't polish turds, as they say.

The lack of cover at full-back is massively concerning and I was surprised by the Nkounkou omission yesterday. Hopefully that changes next week. We never stop learning, right, Mr Ancelotti? In hindsight, a huge mistake not convincing Leighton Baines to stay on.

Brands seems like he is now operating with more clear direction rather than scatter-gun guesswork. In fairness, there was such a mess to clean up and part of his thankless task is not just to bring in targets, but balance the books by shifting the deadwood that no one wants; certainly not on the wages they're on.

Will Mabon
344 Posted 29/11/2020 at 16:45:35
Clive, I still think Allan's best showing was his first against Spurs (ditto Doucouré), yesterday running it close. Let's hope he finds consistency through an undisturbed December.
Clive Rogers
345 Posted 29/11/2020 at 16:50:41
Will, possibly but I went for yesterday as he added driving forward to his defensive side.
Will Mabon
346 Posted 29/11/2020 at 16:56:49
Clive - agreed on that.
Hugh Jenkins
347 Posted 29/11/2020 at 17:00:29
Well, Southampton – whom many Evertonians have been holding up as a template for our team, have just lost 2-3 at home to Man Utd – having led 2-0.

So either Southampton are not all that great or Man Utd are better than we all think.

Man Utd now sit just below us on goal difference, with a game in hand.

Sam Hoare
348 Posted 29/11/2020 at 17:00:29
Andrew @330 yes, those 3 would be on my long list. Along with Marco Rose, Gallardo, Nagelsmann and a few others.

You'd we'd all love to see Everton playing with the pace and energy that Leeds displayed yesterday. Or Southampton showed when they beat us.

That being said we were one of the best pressing teams in the league at times under Silva. But he was far from popular. No such thing as a perfect manager.

Brian Wilkinson
349 Posted 29/11/2020 at 17:03:31
Here's a thought: would we be able to sign Baines on a short-term contract in January as cover? :-)
Clive Rogers
350 Posted 29/11/2020 at 17:10:04
Brian, we could probably sign him now as it’s not a transfer, but I doubt he would be interested as he has retired and would prefer to concentrate on coaching. Coming out of retirement is nearly always a bad idea.
Mike Price
351 Posted 29/11/2020 at 17:14:15
It should be ridiculous but I’ve always got an eye on the relegation places. I’ll be relieved when we hit 45 points with this set up.
Danny O’Neill
352 Posted 29/11/2020 at 17:17:10
We've won as many as Chelsea and Man Utd, which is only one less than Tottenham and Liverpool, one more than Man City. We've lost as many as Arsenal.

The difference is we need to convert some of those defeats (eg, last night and recent weeks) into draws to at least get something from it.

Jason Wilkinson
353 Posted 29/11/2020 at 17:19:12
I've read through quite a few comments. Two things strike me:

1, The faith in Carlo seems to be dwindling rapidly and 2, We are still no closer to improving in midfield.

If what I read about Carlo. He tends to select players on merit from their training ground performance. This doesn't bode well for the likes of Gordon, Branthwaite and Nkounkou. If Holgate, Gomes and Godfrey are better players (in Carlo's eyes) then the former should be looking to move on.

We look very ponderous in midfield without really doing the defensive side too well either. Having only seen glimpses of all three youngsters it is hard to say with upmost confidence that they would make us better. However, it is hard to believe we could look worse.

Since Rooney, have we had a young talent break through and establish himself? Maybe none have been good enough. If that's the case, then we are pissing millions down the drain with our academy.

I look at other teams bringing young players into the 1st team and they tend to get one or two a season that step up. We seem to get one or two every five or so seasons. Even then none have really looked like cementing their place. We bought Dom at a young age. He is finally showing his worth. It's been slow in coming. Holgate is not progressing. Davies flatters to deceive and has maybe regressed. Not many others have got a look in.

As for Carlo. What is the plan? How can he elevate us from mid-table mediocrity to challengers? I don't think it's via Moshiri's cheque book. Why? Two reasons: 1, it's not big enough and 2, we are not in the Champions League.

The only way is to build confidence in the squad. Get a way of playing that allows rotation and give one or two youngsters a chance to show they can oust the likes of Sigurdsson, Gomes & Iwobi from the match day squad. All three have generally been very poor since football resumed. Unfortunately Doucouré & James look like following suit.

Positives are we have a good Plan B for Pickford, Calvert-Lewin is becoming a decent striker and Allan looks a decent addition. Otherwise... I'm not impressed.

Harry Williams
354 Posted 29/11/2020 at 17:20:28
#217 - Mike, I do and don't agree with you. I'd have stuck with Ferguson till the end of that season. I think he is the soloution... Would he have picked that team yesterday?

Let's hope Ancelotti can be successful but, if not, get Ferguson in to sort it out, like he did this time last year!!!

Graham Mockford
355 Posted 29/11/2020 at 17:31:13
Sometimes you just get beat by a better team. Philips was the difference, the best midfield performance I've seen by an away player in years. Absolutely sensational.
Dale Self
356 Posted 29/11/2020 at 17:33:50
Carlo is still the way forward from where we were. Installing confidence in a squad of inherited veterans would surely be a test of any other names mentioned.

We all know it has been a difficult market to move what we have and January will likely not provide new options. Although some brutally fair criticism does land on his desk, he is turning the ship.

I could speculate but would probably look a fool. Not making excuses for what we all saw, just keeping things in perspective. There is a core to build around, Pilgrim's Progress.

Rob Halligan
357 Posted 29/11/2020 at 17:35:41
Brian #349. Interesting you should say that about Baines, as I was reliably informed on Friday that he was going to sign a short-term contract as cover for Digne. I didn't want to post it on here in case it wasn't true, but my source is normally very reliable, so we will have to wait and see on that one.

Congratulations to Marine by the way, who have just won their FA Cup game and made it into the 3rd Round.

Dave Abrahams
358 Posted 29/11/2020 at 17:41:23
I know hindsight is a wonderful thing, but using it and the five teams we beat to get 15 of the 16 points we have gathered tells a tale.

Spurs, who I think are entirely different and better now than when we played them; West Brom, who played the second half with ten men; Brighton, Crystal Palace and Fulham... I think we beat moderate teams and, since them, we have been beaten by average, at best. Man Utd were running into some good form and we got a point off Liverpool.

We now look desperate and play that way. I know injuries and suspensions have had an adverse effect, but they happen to all teams.

Some good news: it looks like Marine have progressed into the next round of the cup. Well done, Peter, with apologies to Michael and Lyndon!!

Jason Wilkinson
359 Posted 29/11/2020 at 17:48:42
Danny #352,

It would be very nice to have won points from recent games. Yesterday, we looked like getting a draw.

We were never getting anything at Saints. Newcastle we got going far too late and we gifted the game to Man Utd. We could have come away from The Cottage with a solitary point too.

I have wanted a 2-point average for many a season now and early showings looked like this was a possibility. If the mentality can be changed and a little fire put in the players' bellies, maybe... just maybe. I would rather see us win than grind out draws. Even if that means going for it and coming off second-best.

Danny O’Neill
360 Posted 29/11/2020 at 17:57:10
The Newcastle match / performance in particular really disappointed me, Jason. As did the Fulham performance. Personally, I don't think we were that bad last night. It was a proper end-to-ender in which we played our part, but Leeds deservedly edged it.

When I say "I would like to have seen us get more draws", I don't mean I want us to grind out draws, just in those games where we lose (like last night), convert those into at least a point. That's my point with the teams I call out. We have won as many as most, it's just that we've lost the others whereas they have drawn (Tottenham only lost 1).

Pick something up, even if not at your best, or it's a close match. Ironically we done so in the derby this season, even though we were blessed in terms of the decisions for once.

Danny O’Neill
361 Posted 29/11/2020 at 18:06:26
But your assessment on those games (Southampton, Newcastle Utd, Man Utd and Leeds Utd) is pretty much bang on, Jason.
Ray Roche
362 Posted 29/11/2020 at 18:07:43
I really can't be arsed to read all the comments, so apologies if this is banging someone else's drum, but our successes have been when we've been getting wide and putting in quality crosses for Calvert-Lewin.

Losing Digne, with four assists to his name and second in the assists ‘league', has been a major blow as has losing Seamus. The obvious replacements, Nkounkou and Gordon, or their agents, must have seriously pissed off Ancelloti for him to eject them from the squad all together. To me, this is poor management.

We need players to give us width and provide Calvert-Lewin with some service. He has been isolated too much, especially yesterday.

Versus Fulham, Iwobi played well down the right. Why change him to the left? Why not leave him there (on the right) and use Nkounkou? Why are we shipping as many goals as the relegation favourites?

Too many unsettling questions for my liking.

Danny O’Neill
363 Posted 29/11/2020 at 18:14:32
From an attacking perspective, that is very much the case, Ray. The loss of the full-backs, Digne in particular, has hurt us.

Without sounding like the proverbial scratched record, from a defensive perspective, plug that gap between Doucouré & Allan and the centre-backs.

Tony Abrahams
364 Posted 29/11/2020 at 18:25:20
That's why I said I never had much interest in most of this thread, Patrick @331, because it doesn't matter if a post is positive or negative, mate, as long as it tells me something which makes me think... Which is why I said before, that I'm glad Michael asked George, simply because George then posted something that was worth reading.

We are shite, mid-table at best or Ancellotti out, might all be true, or true feelings? But I prefer to read from people who explain why they come to these conclusions; otherwise, nobody is telling me anything new.

Darren Hind came out with a cracker the other day, some might have called it negative shite; I just smiled and thought "You can't kid a kidder..." So, if telling the truth is a negative, give me negative posts.

It was about Iwobi and had a Wizard of Oz theme, and it was also one of my first thoughts whilst watching the game yesterday, unfortunately.

Patrick McFarlane
365 Posted 29/11/2020 at 18:33:51
Tony #356,

But isn't that the issue? Not many, if any of us can provide concrete evidence for our views – save for what we see from the players – because we are on the outside looking in and therefore most of what we write can only be educated guesswork at best and wild speculation at worst.

I'm not at all objecting to 'negative' posts because they come from the same place as the 'positive' posts – namely the heart.

Tom Harvey
366 Posted 29/11/2020 at 18:55:11
Barry Rathbone @ 209

"Fans are utterly deluded in the belief managers deserve time."

Hello Barry,

I'm starting to have doubts about Ancelotti myself, perhaps his mind isn't as agile as it once was, old dog new tricks, comes to mind.

The other side of the coin is what Ralph Hasenhüttl has achieved: last season early relegation candidates and then middle table also-rans to world-beaters this season? I'll bet Southampton are pleased they didn't pull the trigger on him.

Having said that, if Ancelotti wanted to go skiing for a couple of weeks in those lovely Italian Alps, I wouldn't be too disappointed if Big Dunc was given the reins again.

If I was forced to bet some cash on this, I would bet Ancelotti will not see his contract out...

Hugh Jenkins
367 Posted 29/11/2020 at 19:01:24
So - another weekend of games is drawing to a close and, if Wolves win at Arsenal they can go ahead of us as could Villa or West Ham if either of them win tomorrow.

However, whatever happens, we are still only 5 points off the top of the table.

No one is running away with this league ATM and three points separate 5th to 14th.

We are in a bad patch.

Almost every team has one or two in each season.

Hopefully we will soon come out of ours as other teams go into one.

That and the upcoming transfer window give me hope.

The fact that we are in the middle of a losing run (Fulham aside) and are still only 5 points off the top of the table, gives me encouragement.

Danny O’Neill
368 Posted 29/11/2020 at 19:03:32
My sentiments earlier, Hugh. I don't want to turn this into a Moyes thread, but the man would never have survived 3 seasons had we judged him prior to January for most of his tenure.
Derek Powell
369 Posted 29/11/2020 at 19:06:48
If we had lost to Fulham, we would be 15th in the league... rather sobering.
Rob Halligan
370 Posted 29/11/2020 at 19:17:06
Hugh, whatever happens between West Ham and Aston Villa tomorrow night, one of them will go above us. Villa only need to draw to jump above us as they have a superior goal difference.
Hugh Jenkins
371 Posted 29/11/2020 at 19:23:47
Danny (375), yes, that is why I am hoping we have a good January window, followed by a much improved second half to the season.

Rob (377), also, yes – clearly I was not paying enough attention – LOL. However, my precept that, whatever happens tonight and tomorrow night, we are only 5 points off the top of the table, holds true.

As said above, I am hoping that, with a good January window and us finally coming out of the "Doldrums", we can still have a significant say in the final top four positions this season (including, at least, being in the top four).

Paul Birmingham
372 Posted 29/11/2020 at 19:34:53
Since the Liverpool game, Everton have coughed, stuttered and spluttered.

If the squad is so threadbare in capable players to step up and play, when the likes of Richarlison, Coleman, Digne, and God for bid if Calvert-Lewin or Allan get injured or suspended, then this season is gonna be even more painful.

On paper, there's a collection of players but, considering the likes of Sigurdsson, Gomes, Delph, and increasingly Mina, plus Tosun, Besic, and Bolasie, the club has stockpiled players who aren't good enough. So is the squad in the true sense, a proper squad?

But the selection, and constant omission from the match squad of Gordon, and using players who haven't got what it takes, like Delph, is puzzling.

Carry on like this and we are gonna be in mid-table mediocrity this season – arguably where Everton has been for a long time.

But, looking at the table, it's amazing after this bad run, that Everton is on the edge of the top 6. The good start is just about winning now, and the maths shows the results since.

I'm not sure, other than getting another centre-back to replace Mina or Keane, due to their slow momentum and effectively low line, is going to help the team this season. Hopefully Branthwaite will come back and develop, potentially to add some transition speed to attack, rather than invite teams on.

Too slow and too easy for Leeds yesterday, and they always looked likely to score on most of their attacks.

But, if Lucas had played, would we have squeezed a victory? Perhaps so... but the defence always looks uncomfy and couldn't handle Leeds's movement yesterday.

We got lucky at Fulham, a win is a win, but I hope that at Finch Farm this week, the players take stock and get the belief and desire going. Without that next week, versus Burnley, it could be a long day.

I've faith in Carlo Ancellotti, but now to improvise, adapt and overcome...

Andrew Dempsey
373 Posted 29/11/2020 at 20:05:47
People blame the majority of the players at Everton, and that's not a wrong position to take. However, you have to look at the owner (who splashes his cash in a capricious and arbitrary manner) and therefore the manager.

Why would the acquisition of, for example, Marcel Brands or Fabian Delph be any different from the acquisition of Ancelotti?

Ancelotti is a highly paid, busted flush of a manager, whose best years are behind him. He's at Everton precisely because he's not very good anymore, and is not rated highly enough by any of the top European clubs.

Why would the recruitment of Ancelotti be any different from the recruitment of the snake-oil salesman, Brands, or any of the shite players he's brought in?
They're all here for an unambitious easy ride that – lucky for them – also comes with a massive pay day.

Tony Abrahams
374 Posted 29/11/2020 at 20:07:57
We might be on the outside looking in all week, Patrick, but this changes once the game kicks off, because we can all see the effort, or lack of effort. Although we all might have different views, I've just never understood criticism for criticism's sake. I'm pretty certain it teaches us nothing whatsoever, unless we are talking about effort or application.
Bobby Mallon
375 Posted 29/11/2020 at 20:11:58
So all of you who wanted Arteta — would you be calling for his head?
Barry Rathbone
376 Posted 29/11/2020 at 20:12:38
Tom @372,

The Saints manger had a recognisable plan which originally caused uproar with rumours of players complaining to the board and wanting shut of him. Presently it seems to be clicking but the issue here is I see no comparable plan from Carlo beyond eyebrow-raising.

He's now in Shit Street because he didn't grasp the nettle and build a new setup in the summer.

Kieran Kinsella
377 Posted 29/11/2020 at 20:15:27
Bobby Mallon,

It cracks me up that so many on here favored Arteta, who had zero experience, over Carlo. Not exactly working out for him as yet.

Before that, it was Eddie Howe, Paulo Sousa, that Ajax coach who was found out in Germany, and so on.

Bobby Mallon
378 Posted 29/11/2020 at 20:27:27
Andrew Dempsey, catch yourself on there. I get sick of hearing the same old poo. Tony Marsh is the same. "Ancellotti is a busted flush, he's a has-been, blah blah."

I bet you both wanted Arteta who you would both by now be saying he's not up to it he should have started lower down etc etc.

We are above Man Utd, Man City and Arsenal 3 of the top 6. For how long who knows but up to now we have had a better season.

Wolves are where they are because their owners are in with a super agent and he gets them some of the best players from Portugal and beyond.

We will get there and Ancelotti is the man to do it.

For me, the best young manager out there at the moment is Gerard – would you have him?

Tony Twist
379 Posted 29/11/2020 at 20:39:14
I think the fact that, if West Ham win their game in hand, they go above us in the table, just sums it up for me and it unfortunately shows Ancelotti's inability to raise his game.

I always thought we should have got Moyes when we had the chance (tongue firmly in cheek).

Andrew Dempsey
380 Posted 29/11/2020 at 21:08:01
Yes, Bobby, I would love Gerrard to be our manager, that would be delightful.

And, of course I wanted the Arteta - Cahill combo as our management team, with no proven track record.

Everything you think that I think, is true.

I'm scum, basically.

Danny O’Neill
381 Posted 29/11/2020 at 21:13:42
Football never fails to bring a tear to my eye, Tony, be that in emotional celebration or in despair (despair in the context of the emotion of the game). It's why we all care so much for football and Everton and while we're all on here giving an opinion (agreeing or not).

The beautiful game unites more than it divides. Watch the Maradona film on C4 catch-up. The genuine joy on the young player's face through to the sadness of seeing him succumb to the surrounding circus and pressures. Regardless of opinion and whether you think it was his own doing or not, another George Best style story of genius undone by demons.

Back on topic. As it stands, with Arsenal & Wolves in injury time, 5 points off top, 2 points off top 4 and more realistically, 1 point of our target of 5th/6th, above Man City and Arsenal. And on the back of a poor run. Stay in touch for the run-in. The league doesn't end this weekend.

Danny O’Neill
382 Posted 29/11/2020 at 21:23:45
Feeling for Mikel. Baptism of fire; lost 3 home games in a row and top of the table derby rivals up next with Jose seemingly having found his mojo again.

Personally never like seeing potentially good coaches go for too big a job as their first one. It very rarely works out well, particularly in the English game. Unless anyone can give me an example I'm missing. Just hope this doesn't ruin his brand from the onset.

Fran Mitchell
383 Posted 29/11/2020 at 21:45:43
3 years ago we had just hired Sam Allardyce. That is still the lowest moment I have felt in my time supporting.

In terms of Ancelotti, I continue to have faith that he can improve us. But we have much to improve.

I don't understand some of the statements on this thread – claims that those that have faith in Ancelotti ignore the faults or refuse to criticise – cause I see most people do criticise an dare faults but have a different perspective.

Another is criticism of Pickford who I felt had a good game and slowly looks to be returning to form. But the Premier League is not easy, there are 8 teams who are targeting 8-5th.

We need to improve, Ancelotti needs to find our best system to keep us threatening up front without leaking at the back.

Hopefully Holgate will get back to his best, and hopefully Godfrey will improve with more games. (I remember a certain Phil Jagielka being written off after a poor start.)

We have a tough month coming up, hopefully the players are up to the challenge.

Danny O’Neill
384 Posted 29/11/2020 at 21:49:07
Apologies, I'm very active tonight.

Given my earlier points and belief that our main fault line (not only) is a genuine holding midfielder. On the back of the Wolves v Arsenal game, here's an unrealistic shout for January.

Conor Cody?

I believe he has red blood, is probably happy at Wolves, so it's likely questionable whether he would be interested and most probable Wolves would entertain.

But that's the type of player I'd love to see sat behind Allan and Doucouré. The added bonus of him in particular; total captain and leader.

Tom Harvey
385 Posted 29/11/2020 at 22:11:52
Barry Rathbone @ 383

Regardless of the immediate impact that James, Doucouré and Alan had they are are getting on now and we can't add any value to them. The plan (by Brands) was originally to replace the old guard with young flair players we can add value to, basically James, Digne and Richarlison types before they join top flight clubs and cost too much to buy. The French kid we've just got on free along those lines and I believe Godfrey is an excellent buy.

The problem is we've just done an about-turn on this long-term plan by buying the three midfielders we just bought; this will be because Ancelotti needed appeasing. He's got them and it's not working. Alan was a good buy the midfield needed him, James looks knackered after half an hour and Doucouré however athletic and mobile doesn't provide much of an end result.

I have doubts about Brands, to go along with the positives; he's something of a 50/50 DOF for me: Mina & Iwobi & Kean vs Godfrey & Digne & Richarlison.

And add into the mix Ancelotti's recent performances as the "Generalissimo" it leave me uttering the words "What the fuck!" after most games.

Jay Harris
386 Posted 29/11/2020 at 22:15:06
Despite all the criticism of Carlo, many from the same people that wanted Arteta (and how is he doing with a better squad than us) and said Mourinho was over the hill and outdated – just like they are claiming now for Carlo.

When we have our first choice 11 we can give anybody a game but as we are now seeing the quality in reserve is sadly lacking.

Solskjaer has spent over £200M on 3 players and they are still below us despite our poor run of form. Look at Sean Dyche and Chris Wilder who many were Advocating before Ancelloti.

Despite all the poor team selections and over the top criticism we are still only 2 points off 3 rd place.

I know it was frustrating to lose and we are all wondering about Nkoukou and Gordon but we don't see them in training and they are obviously lacking something. Do you think Carlo deliberately plays worse players?

Jason Wilkinson
387 Posted 29/11/2020 at 22:23:13
The Premier League table is starting to look a bit grim and familiar. Once all the games in hand are played,our true position is likely to be 10th or 11th.

Carlo has to get to work on defending. We will not outscore many teams. We have won by 3 goals once and 2 goals once and 1 goal 3 times.

One clean sheet all season! That is relegation stuff at the back. Personally I don't think it's individuals. I believe it is system and confidence. Two things that can be worked on relentlessly on the training ground. Who is coaching us in that respect?

Paul Hewitt
388 Posted 29/11/2020 at 22:50:18
We are only 5 points off top. Get a grip will most of you.
Danny O’Neill
389 Posted 29/11/2020 at 22:54:34
Imagine the Arsenal forums tonight. Those lot hounded out a manager that gave them Champions League football for about 15 years on the bounce.
Tom Harvey
390 Posted 29/11/2020 at 22:55:18
Jay Harris @ 394

You're absolutely correct, fortunes can yoyo and managers should be judged over long periods.

With Ancelotti's record we should have a good one, but even if doesn't go well for him with us, he'll stroll off into the sunset with his previous achievements covering up the blip at the end of his managerial career.

How much would the sack hurt him? Not much!

I believe he's being a bit flipant with player and formation choices.

Danny O’Neill
391 Posted 29/11/2020 at 23:03:20
Ancelotti is a stepping stone for us as much as we may be the final pay cheque many accuse him of treating us as. Think how City got to Pep.

Their "project" and experiment started with the likes of Mark Hughes and Sven, progressed to Mancini and Pelligrini (tried and tested but arguably past their best) managers that got them in a better place because they were tried, tested, proven and could attract players even if they weren't directly recruiting the players themselves.

Ancelotti will not be with us in 2 years, but hopefully he builds a framework that sets up the platform for the next manager to come in a build on what he hopefully achieves whilst he is our manager.

Jason Wilkinson
392 Posted 29/11/2020 at 23:16:20
Danny #397

The Arsenal fans could see their club regressing under Wenger. Unlike Fergie who was still challenging for titles.

They have the same right to be pissed off. We haven't really bettered what Moyes did for 11 years. Even with financial backing.

Danny O’Neill
393 Posted 29/11/2020 at 23:21:27
I'll give you the parallels, Jason, that's a fair point.

You'll have to forgive me. As an Evertonian living in exile in London, I do find most London fans – Arsenal in particular – very odd and fickle.

I guess it's a modern fan thing too. I grew up with a father whose generation was the '60s. Mine was the '80s. I get that we all strive for excellence and talk titles as the benchmark but, in modern Premier League, consistent Champion's League qualification is on a par.

And believe me, as a purist, it pains me to say that. Top 4 is the new "winner". Ask Liverpool in 2005: European Champions without being Champions.

Jason Wilkinson
394 Posted 29/11/2020 at 23:36:37

That is basically my point. Arsenal were just about getting 4th. 3rd occasionally. We have not got into the group stage and only gone close once finishing 5th.

As I said in an earlier post, a 2-point average is what I crave. That would have comfortably got 3rd place last season. We look further away now than we were under Moyes. He never achieved it either.

Danny O’Neill
395 Posted 29/11/2020 at 23:42:52
Understood Jason. I think it's too early to think Champions's League (and I'm an optimist). There's an outside chance but it's outside. Focus on 6th as that is realistic.

The important thing at this stage of the season, despite fluctuating form, is not to get over-excited with every positive result / performance and conversely not get overly negative with every loss / poor performance. Stay in touch of the target so, come February, we can go for it.

Bar the odd freaks at both ends of the table, that's how it tends to work in my experience.

Bobby Thomas
396 Posted 29/11/2020 at 23:56:10
Long term, I think James could be a problem. We are nowhere near good enough to accommodate a walking play maker who also dictates how we set up.

We needed someone pacey to play off the right. Someone that in an ideal world could play all across the front, to increase our options and flexibility. James is obviously an extremely talented footballer. But it's clear already why some managers don't fancy him.

Danny O’Neill
397 Posted 29/11/2020 at 00:01:10
The holding midfielder problem caters for that, Bobby. My Conor Cody reference earlier, or maybe Gbamin is that fix. Either way, that type of player.
Patrick McFarlane
398 Posted 30/11/2020 at 00:11:36
Bobby #404

James is not a walking playmaker, he was along with Allan trying to get us on the front foot for much of the game against Leeds. If you want to label any of our squad as walking playmakers there are one or two on the books and none of them are called James Rodriquez. I love the way that an individual player is singled out for being a luxury or not what is required at Everton.

I can't think of any right-sided attacking players of the quality that you describe that would be available to Everton for free. I'm not saying that James should be nailed on to start every game but until I see a better player in the squad that can create the things that he can, he warrants a place in the team most weeks.

Danny O’Neill
399 Posted 30/11/2020 at 00:17:29
And if we shore things up behind to allow that front three to focus on and worry about forward thinking things, then we get the best out of them, Patrick.

You don't want James worrying about tracking back. Just like Calvert-Lewin is better now because he is focussed on being a centre-forward rather than a Marcus Bent like corner flag chaser.

Fix the midfield with the final cog to the improvement we made in the summer (Doucouré and Allan) and we go a long way to improve on the progression we've made. And yes, I think it's been progression.

Danny O’Neill
400 Posted 30/11/2020 at 00:27:02
Bobby, sorry, just re-read your post.

Long-term James (or players like him) aren't the problem. If we want to improve then long term, we absolutely want players like this (David Silva considered a luxury for Man City in 2007?). I think you mean in the short-term.

I get that, but if you never take the leap of faith of improving attacking quality, you stay in the space of trying not to lose games vice trying to win them.

Games are won by scoring goals. The best teams attack and score goals. Yes, they can defend, but the priority is attack and score. Everton prides itself on the legendary Number 9 more than it does the Number 4 or Number 5.

Will Mabon
401 Posted 30/11/2020 at 00:32:39
Until the Liverpool game, admittedly with our full team, we somehow "carried" this luxury player with us to the top of the table with four wins.

Nearly every player lacks something. With James, it appears to be physical power and endurance. How much of this can be improved at this stage for this demanding league, we don't know. Everything else, he has to a level that most can only dream of.

I will say he presents a need for a certain team set up and dynamic, for most opposition. We obviously achieved this for four games. James himself is not the problem.

ps: And I've allowed for the "Easy opposition" angle post-Spurs.

Jason Wilkinson
402 Posted 30/11/2020 at 00:32:53
I think we are lacking duos on the pitch. What I mean by that is the partnerships that we have been successful with, such as Baines & Pienaar, Stevens & Steven, Reid & Bracewell Maybe given time Allan & Doucouré, Richarlison & Calvert-Lewin, Iwobi & James can get it working.

There is no doubting the talent James has. The problem is not him – it's the lack of partnerships and possibly too much squad rotation.

I would like Carlo to stick with a way of playing. Coach the players to know their role and try to stick to the same 11 each game barring injury. Small changes (one... maybe two players) being swapped now and then but essentially keep the back 4 or 5 and the midfield duo the same.

Will Mabon
403 Posted 30/11/2020 at 00:37:55
Danny @ 390 – I agree with that.

The Premier League can be a cruel mistress. They may earn the big bucks but it's not for nothing.

Will Mabon
404 Posted 30/11/2020 at 00:39:25
And that too, Jason. Partnerships, cohesion, teamwork.
Jason Wilkinson
405 Posted 30/11/2020 at 00:50:15

I look at the cup game last season. Liverpool played a team full of kids. They beat us quite easily really. The style of play remained the same.

That is the benchmark for me. When we can put the likes of Nkounkou in for Digne or Holgate for Mina and continue with the set-up without changing the pattern.

Will Mabon
406 Posted 30/11/2020 at 01:07:16
Jason, I agree – a template, system, style, which we haven't had for a long time, other than glimpses in the first few games this season. I could've done without a reminder of that game though!
Jason Wilkinson
407 Posted 30/11/2020 at 01:15:30

Sorry pal. It was the most glaring example I could recall.

Si Cooper
408 Posted 30/11/2020 at 02:05:17
Jason / Will, surely it's teamwork rather than duos? All players must be capable of ‘partnering' with any of their team mates at any one moment.

Looking closely at Kalvin Phillips yesterday, he operates very much on his own, whilst being intrinsically linked with everyone. Suppose that allows him up to be their ‘playmaker', never looking / deferring to anyone else to do the creative thing if he can himself.

If he's not in a position to trigger something, he does dwell on it though, getting the ball quickly to whoever is open to receiving it. He normally has at least a couple of options if yesterday's game was typical.

Tom Bowers
409 Posted 30/11/2020 at 02:27:47
Everton have big gaps in the middle of the park, always.

Yes, we have good players but the system Carlo seems to play is an open invitation for other teams to exploit us. We have one or two good tacklers in that area but the marking is lax and they do not play as a tight unit.

Everton, whilst not plunging down the table will move down a place tomorrow after the Villa/ Hammers game. We don't need to panic yet but certain things have to change.

In all the games they won this season there were signs of weakness although they looked pretty competent against Spurs who are now top.

You do need competitive players throughout the squad, granted but they need to support each other when not in possession. What they don't do consistently well is move the ball quickly from defence. When you come up against teams who use the high press well Everton's defenders are far too often forced into errors and turn the ball over too quickly as they did multiple times against Leeds.

They need to forget this 3 centre-back system and go back to having proper fullbacks. Davies and Iwobi just didn't cut it dropping back against Leeds.

Okay, Seamus and Lucas are missing but they have to compensate for that soon or the same weakness will be costly in future games.

Ed Prytherch
410 Posted 30/11/2020 at 02:40:40
Carlo is the guest on Men in Blazers tomorrow (Monday) afternoon on NBC Sports Network.
Ed Prytherch
411 Posted 30/11/2020 at 02:51:58
Tom 417, who do you propose for right-back when Seamus is injured and Kenny is not fit? Iwobi had a very good game at right-wingback against Fulham and Tom Davies was one of our best players in the same position on Saturday.

Usually after we lose, a lot of posters complain about sideways passing and lack of pace going forward. There was little of that against Leeds and we played entertaining football in a game that could have gone either way.

It certainly beats the dross that was served up under Silva.

Jason Wilkinson
412 Posted 30/11/2020 at 02:56:39
Si #416,

Of course its teamwork. What I mean by duos are the little passages of play where there is the understanding between players. Where the other will be in space. When to drop in. When to support. Baines & Pienaar had a great understanding in this regard. I'm not seeing much of it with the current squad.

It is possible that it's too early to judge but Doucouré, Allan & Gomes don't look like a good combo to me. Digne & Richarlison are not bad down the left. That seems to be our main way of providing Calvert-Lewin. As for the centre-half pairing, there hasn't been a great performance since footy resumed.

Jack Convery
413 Posted 30/11/2020 at 07:00:08
What formation and who will play vs Burnley? What will Carlo do?

He may go again with the system that created chances vs Leeds, 3-4-3. Burnley are more Route One than Leeds so the defence should cope better – shouldn't they?

However, he may do this instead 4-4-1-1 (with Mina in to combat the high balls).

Holgate, Mina, Keane, Delph.
Iwobi, Allan, Doucouré, Richarlson

Until he gets his own players, you pays your money and takes your chances as to how we will line up.

Just read that Burnley have already lost 3 times at home and scored just 4 goals. Oh dear... we all know what that means!!

Just like a rolling stone, I'm outside looking in... (10cc btw).

Ralph Basnett
414 Posted 30/11/2020 at 07:17:03
Sean Dyche rubs his hands with glee, finally a game we will win!!!!
Tony Abrahams
415 Posted 30/11/2020 at 08:13:48
Keep talking Danny mate, because at least you’re looking for solutions, which is surely the most important thing.

Holgate, could also play the role you’re suggesting for Coady, Danny, but the second part of the conundrum, is that does it really matter, because we defend to deep, and probably because Michael Keane lacks the pace and anticipation, that’s required to play a higher line?

Defending deep, with midfield players who naturally want to run forward, and press the ball, is an absolute contradiction, and is also easy to play against for clever footballers imo.

Martin Berry
416 Posted 30/11/2020 at 08:32:42
We need to go back to 4-4-2. Bring Kenny and Nkounkou in at fullback until Seamus and Lucas are fit and let them support the attack with their energy.

Doucouré, Allan, Gomes and James in the middle to gain control and Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison up front playing off one another. This will sort it.
The trouble we have is that Carlo is being a "tinker man" and it's confusing players in roles that they are not all comfortable with.

Alan Johnson
417 Posted 30/11/2020 at 08:59:34
Sami Khedra?
Robert Tressell
418 Posted 30/11/2020 at 09:00:50
Martin, I broadly agree. I think coaches often start to confuse themselves.

We played very well in the 4-3-3 / 4-4-2 you describe. Nkounkou and Kenny are raw and, I suppose, average respectively. But they are perfectly good stand-ins. And at least as good as Burnley's full-backs. No need to muck about with team structure too much (we've only played 1 good half of football in 5-3-2).

The only change I'd make to your personnel is swap Gomes for Davies. The former looks very sluggish and, at his own admission, isn't quite right. The latter is more diligent and can help protect the full-back a bit. I also think Davies looks better box to box rather than sitting, which he's often been required to do.

At centre-half, I'd go Keane and Godfrey (Holgate still a touch off the pace after injury). By coincidence, Keane plus Godfrey is similar to the excellent Keane plus Mee partnership at Burnley.

Kevin Dyer
419 Posted 30/11/2020 at 09:03:32
Graham #356,

Yes, Phillips had a great game but we gave him that platform with our shape. He was the deep-lying midfielder in a 4-1-4-1, so it is a no-brainer. If he is in any way useful on the ball (he is technically accomplished), then you mark and pressure him out the game. We got nowhere near him all match, hence his 90+ touches of the ball, at our ground.

If I recall correctly, at half-time he'd connected on 43 of 45 pass attempts. The xG for Leeds was something like 3.2 so only erratic finishing kept this from being a worse defeat than it ended up. I think ours was 1.1 - the 2 offside goals don't count, obviously.

Point is, any halfway useful midfielder will have a field day with us sitting deep and with only 2 in central midfield. Cairney and the other Fulham midfielders dominated the ball last week.

Laurie Hartley
420 Posted 30/11/2020 at 09:14:28
Disappointing result but I have to say we were beaten fair and square by a good football team.

The highlight for me was Allan – my kind of footballer.

Sean Kelly
421 Posted 30/11/2020 at 10:12:46
Looks like Carlo's bubble has definitely burst!
Kevin Dyer
422 Posted 30/11/2020 at 10:44:08
Jason #353,

I agree with some of your points; here's where we differ:

Just because Gordon, Nkounkou and Branthwaite aren't getting in the matchday squad yet, it is premature to suggest they'll want to be moving on. All are very young and inexperienced.

Nkounkou had played no senior football until we signed him. It would be unusual for any of them to be getting unsettled just yet. None of them would have received any promises from the manager as to playing time, other than maybe "Train well, impress me and we'll see".

Personally, I see no reason why Nkounkou wasn't given a go on Saturday, as the expectation was thatn when Baines retiredn he'd be immediate backup to Digne. I also think Gordon was unlucky not to get a couple chances when Richarlison was suspended.

All three, however, should get some game time this season. I think all are close to the first-team squad right now, although Branthwaite has a lot of more experienced players in front of him and a loan to a Championship team could be a good move in January.

The obvious answer to your question is Barkley. Davies has played over 100 games for us; I don't think he's regressed exactly but the managerial merry-go-round has hampered him. Playing wing-back etc won't do much either, though he gave it a good shot at the weekend. However, to counter Leeds's energy, he should have played in a midfield three for us.

Holgate was our best defender last season, has come off a lengthy injury, has no pre-season (such as it was) and is clearly not match-fit. I am confident in his attitude and ability and he'll improve a lot over the coming weeks.

Doucouré, I was uncertain about... though he'd often been championed on here as the type of physical midfielder we'd been lacking. He's shown glimpses of what he can offer but I honestly don't think we've found the right role for him yet.

I have no idea why you think Rodriguez is failing. He is the best footballer we've had at our team since the '80s. We are genuinely lucky to have a player of his talent level playing for us, entirely thanks to Ancelotti.

It saddens me to read comments such as: "We are carrying him out of possession; he contributes nothing defensively; we have to alter formation to accommodate him; a liability on the right, etc" with some claiming he should be used from the bench or even dropped.

People complain about sideways passing, no creativity, crab football... and when we bring a player in that has vision, technique, range of dangerous passing and a winner's attitude, we get "He's slow, doesn't track back". What do people actually want? An elite playmaker who is fast and defends too? I actually can't think of one of those, offhand.

Richarlison is quick and puts in a great defensive shift (not on Saturday, though) but he's lacking in other areas (passing, decision-making, hence why Carlo calls him a great physical player, with obvious areas he needs to improve).

How about Dybala? Some fans would moan about him too. Did anyone watch Banega in the Champions League last season? Guy did nothing defensively and could barely run but was the creative fulcrum of everything Sevilla did. A brilliant player though no doubt some will say he couldn't handle the Premier League, whatever that even means.

The Argentinian manager at the last World Cup played neither him or Dybala, instead going for players that "put a shift in" ... and they were garbage at that tournament.

Alex Parr
423 Posted 30/11/2020 at 10:48:25
Peter Dodds [173], I agree totally.

The standard of passing was slow and laboured, so many of our passes seemed underhit and were easily intercepted. Theirs just seemed, like you say, zippier.

Only positive really was Allan's performance. I thought he showed more of that drive and forward movement that I have not really seen consistently from him yet in a blue shirt. He does conjure up images of how him and Doucouré could possibly drive us forward at just to the left and right of a solid midfield anchorman, whether that is Gbamin is hard to say yet.

I'm beginning to get really concerned though about the futures of Sigurdsson, Gomes, Bernard, and Iwobi. I can't see how any of them can have a long-term future at this club, for anything other than financial reasons or wanting to save face.

I love Gomes but his sub on, on Saturday, was ridiculous. I can't help but think starting with the drive of Niels on the left (even maybe accounting for Iwobi on the right), and with the attacking instincts of Gordon on the bench to come on if a tactical change was needed, or Richarlison tired, would've won us that match.

Not sure what has happened with Olsen either, is he injured or dropped for Lössl?

At the risk of being shot down, I'd be half-tempted to try this:

Pickford or Olsen
Kenny - Godfrey - Keane - Nkounkou
Holgate (dropping back out of possession and moving up a bit when in possession, to let the next two go forward, or dropping back should Godfrey run out or Keane-Beckenbauer trot up and ping some balls up). Centre of the park, a bit of freedom, let our newest captain try and dominate.
Allan - Doucouré (hopefully freed up slightly with having Mason slightly protecting them).
James - Calvert-Lewin - Richarlison

Bench: Olsen or Pickford, Mina, Delph or Davies, Gomes or Sigurdsson, Gordon, Bernard or Iwobi, Tosun (no other hold-up type centre-forward).

Kevin Dyer
424 Posted 30/11/2020 at 11:07:37
Danny #392,

I like Coady (and yeah I think he is a red) but he's a centre-half, not a defensive midfielder. He's also a bit slow and not big either, probably a system player that excels at Wolves but would not necessarily do so elsewhere. He's also rated at £22.5M currently on Transfermarkt, so would be expensive, even if he wanted to come (doubtful).

I do agree with you that we should be playing 3 in midfield and need a sitter, or pivot, which I don't think Allan (who is class) or Doucouré are. Gbamin would be great but it's a long way back for him. Otherwise, I don't think we have a natural in the squad.

I'd considered maybe Holgate there as it would be a safer place to play him back to match fitness, or Davies if he has the positional discipline. An option would be a deep playmaker with Allan or Doucouré pressing in front, but I don't think we have one of them either!

Alternately, we just go with three pressing midfielders by including Davies and let him play his natural box-to-box game? It could get a bit messy in terms of shape, but at least we'd be harassing the opposition and would have players who could carry the ball out.

Si Cooper
425 Posted 30/11/2020 at 11:16:04
Jason, I know what you mean, and those intrinsically linked pairings do crop up, but I don't think you put together a team by looking for, simplistically, 5 pairs, or even distinct groupings.

If players operate in the same region of the pitch, then they must have a good understanding of course, but I think it is almost old-fashioned to operate in such a rigid set-up.

The best teams these days basically ‘swarm' and create a constant unease in the opposition defensive players because you don't really know how you are going to be threatened from one minute to the next.

Like I said, take a long look at how Kalvin Phillips operated against us. It was a revelation to me as he was acting autonomously all of the time but was still completely in tune with all of his teammates at the same time.

We, by contrast, are so formulaic in our approach. There is nothing wrong with playing to your strengths but, if you have basically a maximum of two channels you are likely to attack down, then it gets easier for the opposition to shut you down.

Witness what inroads Allan was able to make simply by foregoing the usual attempt to work it to one of the flanks and choosing instead to carry the ball.

Robert Tressell
426 Posted 30/11/2020 at 12:21:53
Alex @431. I like that side and approach a lot. It allows us to switch between 5-3-2 and 4-3-3 through the adjustment of Holgate's position.

For the time being, I'd go with Davies and play a 4-3-3 (because Holgate is rusty and our full-backs will benefit from a simpler system). But that's only pragmatism talking. Holgate is such a good footballer, that role might be made for him.

Sam Hoare
427 Posted 30/11/2020 at 13:30:59
Left-back is a real issue. It would seem clear that Carlo does not trust Nkounkou. At least not in the Premier League.

But then who plays there? Iwobi is not a full-back. He's not a left-wingback either. I thought Delph was extremely limited when he came on, neither making tackles nor getting up the pitch much.

Yet again, you have to look at our recruitment. We have 4 mediocre central mifielders on the bench: Davies, Gomes, Delph, Sigurdsson (three of whom are earning £90k plus each week) and yet our only back-up left-back is a 20-year-old with no experience, that Carlo doesn't trust.

Perhaps this is a symptom of changing manager every 18 months but we constantly seem to lack balance in this squad.

Kevin Dyer
428 Posted 30/11/2020 at 14:35:10
Much has been made of Delph playing left-back for Man City but he did not play conventionally. Pep had him playing as sort of a "inside fullback", which means he started at left-back and moved into centre- midfield. We want someone who can provide left-footed crossing and overlaps and that is not him.
Hugh Jenkins
429 Posted 30/11/2020 at 18:25:32
After our promising start to the season, we have been "beating ourselves up" on here and other fan sites over our apparent "collapse" against "weaker teams" or failure to adequately "put them to the sword".

It's interesting to note therefore that Man Utd, who beat us at home and whom we all thought were no longer "a force", also did the same this week to Southampton, who beat us and whom many are holding up as the model we should aspire to.

We also beat Fulham at Craven Cottage – albeit a little shakily at the end, but they are, this evening, beating Leicester away by 0-2 although Leicester are deemed by many to be another club we should aspire to emulate.

As I said in an earlier post, as things currently stand, this season, whatever happens in the game currently under way or in the other game on tonight, there will be no more than 6 points between 1st and 10th and only 8 points between 1st and 15th at the end of this round of fixtures.

Things are tight in the Premier League these days and a good run / bad run can see a team rise or fall significantly in the placings, but still not be more than 3 or 4 points off the top or lower mid-table.

We need some discipline and a good January window, plus the return of a few injured players, and I think that we can really "kick on" in the second half of this season.

Sukhdev Sohal
430 Posted 30/11/2020 at 18:30:30
We've already gotten 16 points, which is more then we've had in any other season this decade apart from 3 seasons (12-13, 13-14 and 16-17). We seem to win a lot more games and draw a lot less games than we have in the past under other managers.

Keep the faith, everybody. We were average but Leeds were great. I think we played into their hands and we should've calmed the game down and controlled it, like Newcastle away last season when Delph came on.

Steven Astley
431 Posted 30/11/2020 at 20:22:59
Just curious more than anything...

If, in a few months time, we went knocking at David Moyes's door... I wonder if he would turn his back on West Ham for us?

Danny O’Neill
432 Posted 30/11/2020 at 20:43:22
Tony, I'll always talk about Everton and football in general. My wife has often challenged me who I love the most, her or Everton. I always explain it's just a different type of love.

Kevin, interesting point on the deep playmaker. That's where I thought Gomes could come in. Maybe he still can, but if not him then yes, someone in that mould or Cody if we go for an enforcer. Not necessarily him, just someone like him. Incidentally I thought he was a defensive midfielder currently plugging a centre back issue, not the other way around. If I'm wrong, my bad. Either way, gives credit to the though of playing Holgate there as a makeshift.

So. Arsenal lost. Liverpool drew with Brighton. Southampton (a lauded current benchmark) squandered a 2 - 0 lead to lose. The much vaunted Leicester lost to Fulham (a team we beat last week). We are above City and United, one point off our most realistic target of 5th or 6th. 2 points off 4th and 5 points (2 games) off top position.

Early days and still in touch. That's all you try to do at this stage of the season. Much to improve on, but many positives to take.

Steven Astley
434 Posted 30/11/2020 at 22:33:49
Danny #432,

Great post to be fair. Sums everything up nicely!

Except just now, West Ham leap-frogging us leaves a bad taste!!!

Kevin Dyer
435 Posted 30/11/2020 at 22:36:18
Danny, good one! Though I doubt I'd get away with that with my partner – yet to win an argument with her and what's more we both know it!

I don't know if Coady has played defensive midfield before, just that he's a centre-back since he's been in the Premier League; Transfermarkt list him as having some capacity to play as a defensive midfielder.

Yeah, I thought given how shaky Holgate was in his first game back that it may have been an idea to try him out in midfield for 2-3 games as he's getting back up to speed and, albeit a very small sample size, he looked great there under Big Dunc.

Yes, Gomes could potentially play as a deep-lying playmaker; only concern for me would be it puts him closer to our penalty area and he is a liability giving away free-kicks in dangerous areas.

Speaking of Gomes, I actually thought his cameo the other night he seemed a bit quicker and mobile, so maybe he has more to offer if he can continue his recovery from the injury?

Harry Williams
436 Posted 01/12/2020 at 07:55:17
Let's just get behind our manager, let's support him and the team. Let's stay positive – we're 2 points off Champions League positions, that's right just 2 points! We're in the quarter-finals of a cup..

How many people were shouting for Arteta? Now it's Cahill!! Who's the flavour of the month? Moyes because their 1 point better off than us? Villa have just battered them...

We are the problem, us, the fans!! Moaning, moaning, we know what's best!! Play this player, play that player... Jonjoe Kenny is the answer – no, it's Anthony Gordon...

Let's put our trust Ancelotti, let's support our team. COYB

Bill Rodgers
437 Posted 03/12/2020 at 08:10:54
This week, I've watched Davy Klaassen as comfortably the best player on the pitch against Liverpool – constantly threatening and intelligent; closely followed by Moise Kean holding his own in a front three with Neymar and Mbappe; not to mention Lookman who is now dangerous and reliable for Fulham.

They were all utter failures at Everton, along with many many other class players who sunk without trace. I've come to the conclusion that it does not matter whom we sign, nor who the manager is, the problem lies deep within the coaching and motivational systems at Finch Farm.

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