Floundering Benitez oversees another shambolic Goodison defeat

Lyndon Lloyd 02/01/2022 71comments  |  Jump to last
Everton 2 - 3 Brighton

So, how long does this situation drift before it becomes completely untenable? It’s been apparent for weeks that Rafael Benitez is painfully clueless when it comes to the tactical needs of this Everton side and yet both he and his employer have effectively deflected his failings onto the shoulders of Dominic Calvert-Lewin. As the Blues slumped into this awful run of results that has now returned just six points from a possible 42 since the end of September, both the manager and Farhad Moshiri were insistent that injuries were the sole reason, with the subtext being that the return of the club’s only reliable goalscoring centre-forward would be the panacea.

A fit and firing Calvert-Lewin — he returned today after a four-month lay-off but will need games to regain his sharpness — will be an important part of Everton’s bid to stave off relegation over the second half of the season but the team’s problems run far deeper than injuries to key players like Richarlison and Yerry Mina. Even with most of those important pieces in place, Benitez has, among a host of failings, displayed a deeply concerning lack of imagination, tactical acumen, player-selection nous and effective substitution policy.

Whatever it was that Moshiri saw that persuaded him to make the most controversial appointment in the club’s history, there’s been precious little evidence of what lay behind Benitez’s past successes; instead, the former Liverpool boss looks utterly out of his depth and were it not for the fact that there are three clubs at the bottom of the Premier League who look a shade worse, Everton might already be in the bottom three.

The supreme irony, of course, is that while the Spaniard has been bleating about the absence of his best players, he has frozen out the reigning World Champions’ left-back and one of his most effective attacking outlets amid an ill-timed and ill-advised battle of wills with Lucas Digne. Given the run of form that he has overseen over the past few months, Benitez can ill-afford to be cutting off his nose to spite his face but that’s precisely what he did today against Brighton.

The Frenchman made the bench this time as opposed to being left out of the squad altogether but rather than swallow his pride for the good of the team, Benitez left Digne on the bench, pushing Seamus Coleman, a patently out-of-form right-back, into an unnatural left wing-back role and playing Jonjoe Kenny, a player long ago deemed unfit for the team’s needs, on the opposite flank.

That also meant using Mason Holgate, another player regarded as surplus to requirements, at centre-half as Benitez persisted with a five-man back line in “well, it worked last time out” fashion and, predictably, with the team short on numbers in midfield against a team that likes to dominate the ball in that area Everton looked a mess from the outset.

It took Brighton less than three minutes to capitalise. Coleman had drifted too far off Brighton's right flank which allowed the cross to come in from the right which Neal Maupay cushioned with his head into the path of Mac Allister who fired past Jordan Pickford.

18 minutes later, with Everton yet to register a shot on target, Yves Bissouma was ushered into the box on a driving run that ended with Allan deflecting his cross behind but the hosts well-documented inability to consistently defend set-pieces undermined them again.

The resulting corner was flicked on at the near post by Maupay and the unmarked Dan Burn had the simple task of heading home at the back post to double the visitors' lead.

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Given Everton's form in recent months, it represented an almost impossible mountain to climb but they were gifted a way back into the match in the 23rd minute when Gordon went down in the box under Enock Mwepu's challenge and, following a check of the pitch-side monitor by referee John Brooks on the advice of VAR Stuart Attwell, the Blues were awarded a penalty.

Unfortunately, Calvert-Lewin, playing for the first time since scoring from the spot in the reverse fixture against Brighton at the end of August, spurned the opportunity, lifting his spot-kick over the crossbar searching out the top corner of Robert Sanchez's goal.

It was almost 3-0 when Coleman's poor clearance fell straight to Adam Lallana but Jordan Pickford did really well to dive to his right and smuggle the midfielder's shot around the post before Gordon worked Sanchez for the first time at the other end and Maupay smashed narrowly over in front of the Gwladys Street on the stroke of half-time.

Everton needed to respond quickly in the second period and they began in positive enough fashion when Gray crossed low and Calvert-Lewin had the ball taken off his toe at the near post and Burn did enough to prevent Abdoulaye Doucouré from scoring from the ensuing corner.

It was Gordon's persistence, however, that created the lifeline seven minutes after the interval. Cutting in from the right he eventually got a shot off from just outside the penalty area that took a heavy deflection off Lallana and bounced past Sanchez to register the youngster's first senior goal.

Gordon had another claim for a penalty waved away 10 minutes later when he collided with Marc Cucurella but the ball remained alive for Gray who forced a parrying save from the goalkeeper before Brighton hacked it clear.

Sanchez was called into action again in the 68th minute when he tipped Allan's crisp drive from distance over his bar but Everton's comeback was cut off at the knees three minutes later when the Seagulls scored again.

Mason Holgate had done very well to prevent Maupay bearing down on Pickford on the counter-attack with a last-ditch challenge but Michael Keane gave the ball straight back to an opposition jersey and when it the ball was pinged to Mac Allister outside the box, he drilled an unerring effort into the top corner.

Again, Everton were given hope five minutes later when Calvert-Lewin played Kenny in on the overlap with an excellent slide-rule pass and his low delivery was turned in by Gordon's first-time finish.

The Toffees' attempts to salvage a point were a little ragged, however, even though Benitez had finally opted to break his starting formation with the introduction of Salomon Rondon for Kenny after Everton's second goal. Bafflingfly, Andre Gomes, the man who helped spark that memorable win over Arsenal last month, didn't make an entrance until the final few minutes.

The Venezuelan came close to registering an assist when he crossed for Gordon close to Sanchez's goal but the goalscorer couldn't guide the ball on target for his hat-trick before Rondon himself wasted the last opportunity by skying a volleyed effort over the bar in stoppage time.

Understandably, Everton were booed off the field at the end of both halves having become the first team to allow Brighton to score more than two goals away all season and it remains to be seen how much longer things remain apathetic rather than return to being openly hostile.

Benitez was rescued in the Arsenal game by the sheer crowd-backed drive of the players and some moments of individual brilliance. Today, he only had a hope of salvaging an unlikely point in the closing stages because of the determination of Anthony Gordon, a player who has been a shining light in a dysfunctional team for weeks and who deservedly broke the scoring duck that has dogged him since he rose to prominence as one of the Blues’ most effective players.

Seemingly in the absence of any ideas or strategies of his own, it’s on players like Gordon, Gray and Richarlison that Benitez is increasingly relying on to provide the moments that give the team any hope of picking up points. The trouble is that the failings of his approach and inability to inspire his charges to begin games on the front foot means that Everton are all too often finding themselves having to dig themselves out of an early hole.

The Premier League is difficult enough without handing the initiative to the opposition every week and Everton are neither good enough nor coached well enough to overcome not being difficult to beat. And if performances like this continue, that small gap between ourselves and the bottom three will begin to close in ominous fashion. The worst-case scenario doesn’t bear thinking about but without decisive change, it remains a very real danger.

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Reader Comments (71)

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Michael Pennington
1 Posted 03/01/2022 at 04:32:02
Great article, exactly what Toffees of my age (63) said when we hired him. For the life of me don't know where our club is going from here. MAYBE:

(1) Get back to being EFC with EFC players
(2) Next manager must be a ex EFC player because in my lifetime that's when we've won things
(3) Every supporter who goes the game gets behind him for 2/3 seasons no matter what

This probably isn't going to happen but for me this is a crossroad we have just come to take the wrong turn and can't see a way back BMD or no BMD
Paul Kernot
2 Posted 03/01/2022 at 05:26:10
Is there a realistic, viable and available alternative to Benitez? One who might actually consider taking on this shit show? It's an awful thought for Moshiri to be contemplating accepting he got it wrong yet again, and changing managers mid season yet again. Perhaps these factors are the only thing holding him back from pulling the pin & rolling the dice a further time. This time to genuinely save us from being relegated.
Brian Murray
3 Posted 03/01/2022 at 06:03:03
I've used the word 'ego' on another thread, Paul, and it's very dangerous for us at the moment. Moshiri's ego and pride as a professional means he can't or won't admit yet again he's got it woefully wrong.

Same with the ego of another, err, 'professional' sitting next to him who will cling on to his precious seat in the Main Stand no matter what bullshit he has to feed into Moshiri's ear.

To me, it's a no-win because, as we saw vs Arsenal, any remote resurgence and the usual suspects are off the hook again under the smokescreen of a great night under the Goodison lights.

Ken Kneale
4 Posted 03/01/2022 at 08:42:50
Brian,

You are very correct in what you are saying about ego, and of course, the horrible juxtaposition we are all in with a need and desire to support our team.

I firmly believe the crowd will be our only saving grace this season. Of course, in so being, we tend to give the manager and those above a free pass.

David Bromwell
5 Posted 03/01/2022 at 08:43:10
It was very clear yesterday that our manager made some serious errors. Coleman at left-back, a back line of five at home to Brighton, a refusal to change the system at half-time and selecting Lucas Digne for a position on the bench.

Every fan in the ground could see from the onset the folly of these selections. Not the Manager apparently, who didn't even have the good grace to admit his mistakes in his after match summary.

I had thought, when Benitez was appointed, we would be getting a manager who would be sensible enough to realise that he was on probation and that he would have to work hard to earn the trust and respect of the fans.

Yesterday, he failed on all counts and at every level. Sadly I am not sure that he has the ability or the willingness to change. If he continues in this manner things will get really ugly and will not have a happy ending.

As for this morning, if he needs help in packing his bags, there will be no shortage of volunteers.

Ian Hollingworth
6 Posted 03/01/2022 at 09:16:29
Benitez was always a car crash waiting to happen.

Unfortunately, the fans not backing the recent 27th-minute walkout action means the owner and board think they have the fans' backing so expect more of the same.

Let's hope we get some more new faces as this squad needs a shakeup regardless of the manager.

Christopher Timmins
7 Posted 03/01/2022 at 10:10:10
Folks, the current transfer business suggests to me that the manager will be in situ at least until the end of the season.

What went down yesterday was just unbelievable: Coleman playing on the left of a back 5... Jesus wept! What was not unbelievable, halfway through the season, was that Brighton won the game, they are better than us. They play a possession type game and over the first half of the season they deserve to be ahead of us in the rankings.

We have/will acquire two full-backs before our next game and hopefully, we will also acquire a central midfielder who can influence games before the window closes. We need to move on the following:

Digne, no way back at this stage
Kenny
Holgate
Keane and or the never fit Mina
Iwobi
Gomes
Delph before the close of the window.

In the very unlikely event that both Keane and Mina both depart then we need to bring in another central defender, someone who is not injury prone and not as slow as a boat!

For the next 20 games, it's Rafa's way or the highway!

The positives from the first half of the season:

Gray – our best player
Gordon – finally making a breakthrough
Pickford – the best goalkeeper in the Premier League

Best of luck to all ToffeeWeb contributors in 2022!

Rob Halligan
8 Posted 03/01/2022 at 10:25:15
Christopher,

You say “For the next 20 games it's Rafa's way or the highway”.

It's been like that since the minute he walked through the door. I've got inside information that says this, but for obvious reasons I cannot state my source.

Benitez Out!

Ian Bennett
9 Posted 03/01/2022 at 10:36:33
Awful team selection, awful players, and awful manager.

We have scored 5 first-half goals all season… FIVE for fuck's sake! At home, you might turn that around from time to time when we inevitably concede with yet "another mistake". But away from home, it's just another defeat. We don't score, and we can't keep a clean sheet.

Yesterday felt like we were playing with 9 men. Out numbered up front, out numbered in midfield, 5 statues marking Maupay – and concede 3. Tactical genius.

Rafa is taking this club down. The last thing I wanted was yet another manager, but – after yet another defeat to a bang average team – it has to change. I just can't see us staying up with his terrible selections and awful tactics.

I often wondered what would have happened if we had got relegated against Wimbledon. Perhaps it was the Sliding Doors moment that we needed to shake this sleepwalking shit-show up.

Rafa Out!

Barry Hesketh
10 Posted 03/01/2022 at 10:37:09
I don't usually look at upcoming fixtures apart from who we play next but just read a Twitter post and the next half-dozen fixtures are truly make-or-break in terms of how the club fares this season:

Leicester (H)
Norwich (A)
Aston Villa (H)
Newcastle (A)
Leeds (H)
Southampton (A)

Somehow, Benitez – if he is still here – has to find a way of, at the very least, preventing us from losing too many of those six games, and perhaps even more difficult given our current form, has to find a way of winning at least two of them. This run of games would normally be welcomed by most of us as an opportunity to climb the table, but how many points would most of us expect to gain from those fixtures right now?

Tony Everan
11 Posted 03/01/2022 at 10:55:29
I'm starting to question whether the team selection yesterday comes into the category of genuine mistakes, or an act of madness. Coleman at left-back and Lucas Digne on the bench, all while we are flirting far too close to the Bottom 3. It is a disturbing development and a wilful, unnecessary act of self harm.

I want stability, I want Benitez to succeed because he's here and backed by Moshiri, and mainly because I want Everton to be a success, whoever is in charge.

But after team selections like yesterday, I'm struggling big time to support that mindset. Benitez's way of thinking is wrong.

The two new young full-backs will give us a lift. We need Mina back at centre-back, or to do some business to get a tough centre-back in to replace him, even on loan, if he's long-term injured.

Most of all we need an aggressive ball winning midfielder to wrestle games from opponents and to give us some desire pride and fight in the centre of the park. Part of a midfield three with Allan and Doucouré. Playing them as a two overwhelms them and negates what they are good at.

I watched Chelsea yesterday with Ngolo Kante and Kovacic. We need that type of tenacity and relentless closing down, energy, desire and ball-winning aggression in our midfield. Allan is getting older but can still assist in this department; Doucouré is very good (most of the time) but we have a missing link in our midfield to support these two.

Gana Guyue, if he's fit, on loan until June would change things for us, there must be one or two options out there. We are linked with Inter's Vecino, I don't know much about him. There must be one or two options for this type of player.

In June, we need to be thinking long term for this essential midfield enforcer.

Rob Halligan
12 Posted 03/01/2022 at 10:58:35
Tony, no two ways about it, it was definitely an act of madness. The manager cut his nose off to spite his face!
Mal van Schaick
13 Posted 03/01/2022 at 11:06:57
Benitez aside, past managers advised by Brands have contributed somewhat to the situation we are in.

We have players who are not playing and on the bench because they're not good enough to play for Everton, and never where in the first place. Irresponsible signings have cost us dearly, then we got injuries to key players.

I am at a loss over Benitez, he didn't help his situation with his tactics and selection yesterday, but that means another sacking and perhaps Ferguson taking over, and although he is blue through and through there no guarantees with results.

All that I want again is for Everton to stay in the top flight, rebuild yet again, play attractive football and challenge for trophies and European football. Maybe one day the plan will come together. Who knows?

Steve Brown
14 Posted 03/01/2022 at 11:12:10
I think Lyndon says it all with the first sentence of his article.

How long can this situation continue before it becomes untenable? How many more defeats will be considered acceptable before a change is forced on Moshiri? Results will resolve this in the next 5 or 6 games – one way or another.

We are 1 point better off than we were at the same stage under Mike Walker in the season of the great escape. The manager's tactical set up, team preparation, selection, game management and substitutions have been atrocious for 3 months, his ego prevents him from making pragmatic decisions and his 'my way or the highway' approach will only work if he is doing is own job well. He is failing in his own job, so why would anyone listen to a martinet in that situation?

Despite my huge reservations about Benitez, I was not keen to sack another manager mid-season without a DoF in place. Moshiri is still backing him – that much is clear with the signings. However, If we repeat our current run of 3 wins in the last 16 games in the next 3 months, then we will be facing relegation.

My own feeling is that 8 February away to Newcastle will be the decision point if he hasn't turned things around.

Christy Ring
15 Posted 03/01/2022 at 11:15:13
Spot on, Lyndon, for Benitez to play Coleman on the left, he put his pride before the club, and it cost us the game. He tried to justify it with his comments after the game.

Playing five at the back and only a two-man midfield at home to Brighton, showed his selection and tactics are way off. He played the same formation at Wolves, he's too arrogant and hasn't the mindset to change his ways.

His substitutions again were baffling, like at Brentford. In the Chelsea game, he had to play Simms and then Dobbin, and their pace unsettled their defence, but back to square one, he brings on Rondon which suited the big Brighton centre-backs.

Gomes turned the game against Arsenal, and it was crying out for him to be brought on for the 2nd half, he came on in the 87th minute? He blamed defensive errors for our defeat, took no blame whatsoever for playing Coleman on the left. We've won one game in the last 12, relegation form and Moshiri has to call time and swallow his own pride.

Paul Tran
16 Posted 03/01/2022 at 11:22:24
Good piece, Lyndon.

Nothing wrong with a manager saying it's my way or the highway.

Everything wrong when he sends out an imbalanced team that looks like a disjointed mess not knowing what it's meant to be doing.

Will they 'get it' before Benitez 'gets it'?

Steve Carse
17 Posted 03/01/2022 at 11:36:19
Steve (#14),

Benitez will be gone after losses vs Leicester and Norwich. There will be no defence for keeping him after that.

'A safe pair of hands' and 'someone who will stabilise the Club' said many Blues – anyone with any knowledge of the guy's modus operandi would have concluded that the opposite was much more likely.

Just winning a handful of our remaining home games against the lesser teams will make us safe, but you only need to look at results and performances to date to see that even that low threshold is far from guaranteed.

Mark Andrews
18 Posted 03/01/2022 at 11:36:26
Two dark stars have aligned to ferment this mess. Moshiri's ego (has anyone ever said No to him?) and the stubbornness of Benitez, who'd rather engage in a willy-waving contest than do what's right for the team.

I was horrified when I saw the teamsheet yesterday. Who plays 5 at the back at home. 2 wingers and 2 wing backs, including a right-back on the left?

The only left-footed player we had was Pickford, yet he chose to leave Digne on the bench, despite what he saw on the pitch. Still, his willy was still waving. A blind man could see the outnumbered midfield was overrun but Benitez is apparently deaf as well.

His tactics from another decade fail week after week, he leaves huge holes in the middle of the park. He refuses to act until its too late, then turns to Rondon who fails week after week.

Benitez will take us down. Will Moshiri swallow his pride or plough on regardless?

Rafa out, right now, or we're Championship bound.

Geoff Williams
19 Posted 03/01/2022 at 11:38:48
Benitez was never a good fit for Everton and it has nothing to do with his Liverpool links. Everton have always prided themselves on being a close-knit club but Benitez has been a divisive influence within all the clubs he's managed.

His ability to alienate players is only matched by Mourinio. The style of football he demands is hard on the eye. What has surprised me about Benitez is his inflexibility and lack of tatical nouse.

He seems unable to change things and adapt his tactics during a game for the better. For someone with a reputation for being thorough and for producing well organised teams, Everton look a totally disorganised collection of individuals.

He doesn't seem to know the strengths and weaknesses of his players or which combinations of players work and which should be avoided at all costs.

His blind faith in Rondon beggars belief. I may be in the minority but I don't think the players are poor per se but they are playing very poorly. This is down to poor team selection and suspect tactics.

Even recognising that a number of the players are limited in their ability, a good coach could get so much out of this squad. The longer Benitez stays in charge of football matters and the greater his influence within the club, the more the fans will feel alienated.

Dave Abrahams
20 Posted 03/01/2022 at 11:39:52
Lyndon,

I don't understand you going on about Digne being dropped, would he have done any better than he has been doing for the 18 months?

I don't know what happened between Benitez and Digne but plenty of fans have been pointing out the poor performances of the French lad for many months now.

Benitez made plenty of mistakes yesterday and in previous games and deserves the stick he is getting, with him pointing out the mistakes by the players that cost goals, he is speaking the truth, or didn't they make these mistakes.

The manager inherited a very poor squad of players and is trying to change attitudes that have been showing through four or five periods of different managers and it will take more than 6 months to change the 6 years of poor signings by these different managers before we see a stable period in which we get back to being a top club again.

So I'll be sticking with Mr Benitez for the rest of this season and hopefully for a lot longer because, if we go back to the way we were before Mr Benitez came, we will continue to go in the same direction and we all should know which way that is.

Rick Tarleton
21 Posted 03/01/2022 at 11:42:46
It probably is already untenable. What amazes me is how poor a manager Benitez actually is. I didn't want him for petty xenophobic reasons, an ex-Liverpool manager and his historic comment.

However, I always assumed he was shrewd, tactically astute, and a decent motivator. After all, Liverpool and Newcastle fans seemed to hold him in high esteem.

I was totally wrong. He's tactically conservative and even naive. The players look as though he has "lost the dressing room" and moreover he is vindictive.

To play five at the back yesterday, when all are rather one-footed, and all right-footed, isn't just naive, it's stupid. If it is possible, he must go.

Graham Potter? Would he come?

Mike Allison
22 Posted 03/01/2022 at 11:49:19
What a choice we're faced with as fans:

1. Yet another sacking, yet more instability, yet more indications to the world of football that the people running the club don't have a a clue.

2. Stick with Benitez, a man whose reputation is stubbornness, whose tactics are dreadful and completely out of sync with what fans want. He also seems to create behind-the-scenes discord.

I just hope fans don't fall out with each other about it. Both choices are bad news for the club so hopefully everyone will be able to understand why someone else might have picked the other option.Yeah right.

If Digne leaves, it should be on loan – then a new manager could bring him back.

James Newcombe
23 Posted 03/01/2022 at 11:49:56
We keep losing because we're shipping too many goals from set-pieces (zonal ‘marking') and as discussed on MotD, our midfield is being overrun – Doucouré and Allan did not even seem sure of their role. Now if Shearer, Jenas, and the majority of the crowd can see this, why can't this brilliant manager?
Mark Stanley
24 Posted 03/01/2022 at 11:51:23
There is nothing about the team selection and formation that I can say that already hasn't been said. The problem is that unless the players start to argue their corner then it appears nothing is going to change. Digne has obviously tried, but without the backing of the other players and backroom staff then we are going to be relegated. This is where Seamus must stand up and be counted. He's the most experienced and has the confidence of the dressing room.
I don't necessarily want rid of Benitez - who else would you bring in at this point? - however if he just made some sensible decisions then he may just survive a revolt in the ground by stemming what appears to be a terminal slide into the Championship.
Every team must be targeting us for 3 points and Hull must think this is a ticket to the next round. If we get knocked out then our game against Leicester next Tuesday will be toxic.
Bob Parrington
25 Posted 03/01/2022 at 11:56:25
I think as fans, we need to keep ourselves more level headed than even the management of the team. I'd like to bring up the subject of Michael Keane.
My belief is that he is the weakest of the weak links in the centre of defence and, IMO he needs to go. We need a more commanding figure and there are plenty of better players available in the EPL and perhaps the championship.
OK, we look like we are doing something on the right and left full backs but the hole in the centre of defence is like a massive chasm.

I thought Doucoure was shit today but I expect this was just a bad day for him and so midfield can be corrected but we need a decent defence structure behind them.

Like others on here, I reckon Rafa made bad decisions today such as using Seamus on the left. But at least he was trying something different. He just got it wrong.

Also, if DCL had not missed the peno, it might have been a completely different result.

We looked really shit in the first half and the three most guilty players for passing straight to the opposition were Keane, Holgate and Coleman.

Time for big changes, I'm afraid. I hope Rafa has the balls to do it all.

Peter Carpenter
26 Posted 03/01/2022 at 11:59:27
Are there any journalists out there brave enough to ask him, Paxman-like: "Rafa, why did you start with 5 defenders including a right-back at left-back?

"Why didn't you change anything until the 75th minute despite being behind for nearly all of that time?

"Why didn't you reinforce the midfield until the 85th minute?"

I suspect they would be wasting their time and would get a load of waffle about 'focus' and 'reaction'. Why would he explain anything to us? We know nothing.

Derek Taylor
27 Posted 03/01/2022 at 12:00:01
I've long felt that the only playing target Everton's owners require of this manager is no more than continuance in the Premier League. In other words, stay out of the bottom three and Benitez has a job for the foreseeable future. So ignorant of all things Everton - or even all things Football -that the likes of Kenwright was able to run rings round them, making £millions in the process as well as securing permanence as Chairman Emeritus !

So low has the Club fallen- both in playing terms and governance - that finishing anywhere north of 18th will be celebrated as a triumph. Kindly adjust your level of ambition this moment !!!

Brian Harrison
28 Posted 03/01/2022 at 12:14:49
First can we get rid of the myth that nobody can get a tune out of this team, with mainly the same group of players this time last season we were 5th in the league with 32 points from 17 games. Yesterday the manager chose to play our right back as a left wing back, not because he didnt have any alternatives because he did, but being Benitez as he has done all his career when you fall out with him you are finished. Same happened with Alonso at Liverpool. Regarding tactics last season we hardly conceded a goal from a dead ball situation this year we look vulnerable to every dead ball, Brightons second goal highlighted the total lack of defensive coaching, all our defenders were between the near post and the centre of our goal, so the near post flick on left their tall CB unmarked at the far post. Not the first time a near post flick on has lead to an opposing player tapping in at the far post.
Benitez absolutely refuses to move away from his 2 players in central midfield, which has left us wide open at times in most fixtures this season. He said they had worked everyday on defending corners well just shows that his defensive strategy doesnt work. Also going forward the thing you notice with Everton is when Gordon or Gray are out wide we have 1 player in the box. We havent started one game this season on the front foot, yet Benitez claimed after the game we need to be more proactive than reactive.

Look we might be lucky and maybe there will be 3 worse teams than Everton which just may keep us safe this season. But we have seen his tactics and they are not working and even with new signings they wont work next season, because the one thing we know about Benitez is he doesn't change. Also another factor is has he improved the players individually or collectively, I see no improvement except in Gordon and that has more to the player getting more used to playing in the Premier league than anything Benitez has done. But there are many who have gone backwards under Benitez namely Godfrey and Keane and he doesnt seem to be getting the best out of Allan either. I know Keane has a few faults but under Ancelotti he was our best defender along with Mina, who is probably along with Digne another who isn't enamoured with our tactics under Benitez.
Despite him winning the Europa league a long time back with Chelsea even Abramovich realised if there is such a disconnect between the manager and the fans then its not worth pursuing with the idea, if and when Moshiri/Usmanov come to the same conclusion I am not sure. But until that change is made there will always be a disconnect between this manager and the fans.

Barry Hesketh
29 Posted 03/01/2022 at 12:18:52
Guillem Balague@GuillemBalague has Tweeted:
Nathan Patterson and Vitaliy Mykolenko. Two big investments for #EvertonFC and an indication of two things

⚽ Squad lacks quality
⚽ Board trusts the manager to improve it

Short-sighted so-called Everton fans seem to gloat after every defeat. I never understood that reaction

I don't believe that any Evertonian is guilty of gloating when Everton gets beaten at Goodison, even the so-called Everton fans - how do you define a so-called fan anyway? This guy has been an advocate and supporter of Benitez for a long time, but surely even he should admit that his favourite has made some terrible errors of judgment albeit in very trying circumstances.

Tony Abrahams
30 Posted 03/01/2022 at 12:20:31
Imagine going into a new job, and hearing people saying, “we will get this c**t the sack”.

Like yourself Rob, I will say no more, although this is something I might be able to understand if it was being uttered by personnel who were used to winning, which is definitely not the case at Everton football club, unfortunately.

I always had a simple method when I used to play football, and it was always something that worked for me until I turned into a shite player. I never just played for the manager, I played for my teammates and my own personal pride, something which Anthony Gordon and Demari Gray, both managed to do yesterday.

Benitez got it wrong yesterday, atrociously wrong, with the biggest concern being a complete lack of professionalism, and playing three blind, deaf and dumb mice, (maybe a little harsh on Godfrey?) in central defence, and a badly struggling veteran right back, at left wingback, but once again it was the space in between our midfielders and those central defenders that killed us.

Steve Brown
31 Posted 03/01/2022 at 12:24:51
Balague touting to write the next chapter of Benitez’s autobiography.

Wonder what it will be called? ‘My Descent’, ‘2001-2006 - the Golden Years’, ‘I know the City and the bus routes’, ‘It is Never my Fault’ or ‘The Ego has Landed.’

Aside, Balague is know for getting most things wrong the majority of the time.

Tony Abrahams
32 Posted 03/01/2022 at 12:34:59
Two things I will take from the last two posts from Brian and Barry.

There is a massive power struggle going on at Everton, otherwise that little gobshite, Guillem, probably wouldn’t have to tweet in such a manner, just as we probably wouldn’t be reading about Benitez, falling out with ex Liverpool players, which is what has been getting reported in the red echo.

Ancelotti did get a lot more points, I actually now think he was being unkind to himself when saying he wasn’t a magician, because how he managed to get eleven away victories with this group of players, shows how astute the man was.

The minute Carlo, never played a very compact system, which was all about protecting the back four, (the only reason that Keane looked better IMO) then not only was he losing at home to a lot of the bottom half teams, his team were also getting comprehensively outplayed, in a similar way that Brighton had the freedom of the middle of the pitch yesterday?

I don’t think Ancelotti is being negative in Spain right now Karen@33, and I don’t think he particularly wanted to be negative whilst managing Everton, either? Just my opinion of course.

Karen Mason
33 Posted 03/01/2022 at 12:36:08
Geoff at #19
I just had all these thoughts in my head and was about to go through the labour of typing them all out. Then, I read your post and thought, you echo every one of mine.
The only thing I would like to add is that we are lucky that FFP rules are limiting this man on transfers. FACT: He bought more than 70, yes 70 players during his time across the park. Yet most of them never got to wear a match shirt. Based on everything listed by Lyndon in his great piece, Geoff in his post ( and some other posts), on what basis does this man deserve to be in our dugout?
The recent choice of Managers all have the same thing in common. They are known for negative style of football, and their style of play is now outdated in the Prem. Our next Manager choice needs to be a young manager with passion & energy on the sideline who who inspires fans & his players & can develop players individually. Someone who asks his players to get on the front foot from the get- go. A modern fitting style of footy for the Prem. For those who think our players can't play that way, how do you know? They have never been asked to play that way. Our players, individually, are no better or no worse than those we faced yesterday. The difference? One Manager did things the right way, the other Manager?? Well I rest my case. BENITEZ OUT NOW!
Karen Mason
34 Posted 03/01/2022 at 12:49:44
Hi Tony at 32.
Clearly entitled to your point re Carlo.
I'm not sure you can compare what Carlo is doing in La Liga at the moment. It is a very different league. Much slower style of football with very little real competition for the likes of REAL. I know, as I work in Spain & watch a lot of La Liga games.


Ps. Can I add, that I would not put Carlo in the ssame category as Allardyce or Benitez in any other way. He is clearly far superior in many other ways

Stephen Vincent
35 Posted 03/01/2022 at 12:50:28
The main difference between this season and last is that Ancelotti adapted his tactics to the ability of the players. Benitez is trying to enforce tactics on players who are totally unsuited to them.

When Duffy came on for Brighton yesterday after an hour, the immediate response should have been Dobbin on for Coleman. Back 4 and pace down the middle up front (I mean Duffy was slow when he last played for us 8 years ago). Instead 15 mins later we get Rondon who is possibly the only player in the league who is slower than Duffy.

Dobbin won't stay, why would he, with this prehistoric cretin in charge.

Tony Abrahams
36 Posted 03/01/2022 at 13:04:23
Fair enough Karen, but his team did start the beginning of last season playing very attractive open football, until we got a few injuries, and then he had to revert to protecting a very, very, very poor defence?
Danny O’Neill
37 Posted 03/01/2022 at 13:10:40
I've commented on the other thread about the Coleman-Digne decision. The selection and tactics were eye-brow raising at best.

I'm not Michael bashing, which I often get accused of, but he had a poor one yesterday.

But we lost that mostly in midfield in my opinion. Allan was having to do too much on his own as Doucoure had a bad off day. I can give him that as long as it's an isolated one.

We need that extra midfield / sweeper in my opinion. Someone like McKennie who I've mentioned before. Energy, athleticism and versatility. And relatively young.

And a centre back who likes the feel of a football, can command the back line and get the team forward without punting it.

I know. I've put my Christmas wish list in way too late.

Tom Bowers
38 Posted 03/01/2022 at 13:12:14
So many mistakes in the team selection and strategy today. Effectively lost the game early against an in-form Seagulls.

A really sorry start to 2022.

Have a bad feeling about the Hull game and every game these days as Rafa carries on like a deer in the headlights.

Finn Taylor
39 Posted 03/01/2022 at 13:20:22
I read a lot about the instability of changing members and I agree.

Since the Watford carnage, I have firmly been of the belief that we must keep Benitez, simply because we need some form of stability and he hasn't really had a his own transfer window... but... I wonder that should we fail to beat Hull, Leicester and Norwich... how can he possibly stay at the helm?

Yesterdays team selection and in game management was truly baffling. For a manager who is supposed to be a tactical master... he looks like someone all at sea and can't seem to make decisions when it matters. 'Oh, well I will just wait till the 87th min to bring on Gomes? Uh?

Tony Abrahams
40 Posted 03/01/2022 at 13:26:21
That first paragraph is exactly how I see it Stephen V, and it’s why I will worry for our two new signings, unless Benitez can sort out the middle of our defence, and the middle of our midfield, and especially that massive space in between them.
Johan Elmgren
41 Posted 03/01/2022 at 13:37:11
Geoff 19, Karen 33. I'm with you all the way.

These players aren't bad, they are being utilised badly. They are being mis-managed. They are fed by their manager that they are not good enough, by him choosing to set them up the way he does. "We must play this negative way because you are not good enough". We have seen how good these players can be. They should be up there fighting for European places, but instead we are down fighting relegation, because of a manager who treats us like a "small club". He made that remark and now he is living up to it himself with his style of play.

Brighton is a prime example of how you build your players up, how you implement a strategy that every player can play according to, and believe that you can win every game. Even against Chelsea away they played without fear and could have won it if it wasn't for poor finishing. No-one can say that Brighton have better players than we do. And yet, they are better than us, because they play as a unit, with confidence and belief... FSW has drained the confindence and belief out of our players, and it shows...

I say, let Dunc take over for the rest of the season, and then in the summer make a real effort to get Potter in. If we can't get him, try some other positive, progressive manager who can instill a sound playing-strategy and make the players grow and build confidence. FSW's methods belong in the stone-age.

The next 6 fixtures Barry listed in #10 are crucial. We risk losing them with the FSW at the helm, and if so we will be in serious trouble. I see nothing on the pitch suggesting otherwise. Hence the FSW needs to go now.

FSW OUT NOW!!

Derek Moore
42 Posted 03/01/2022 at 14:07:45
Perhaps surprisingly, I've fought Potters corner on here before but after yesterday I'm rather less convinced. I don't think he'd come here, and even if he did, I don't think he'd do particularly well.

We were a rusty Dom penalty from taking something from the game. And at 2-1 with Gray and Gordon finding space between their lines I thought we'd go on to at least get on level terms.
Instead, more fuckwittery at the back and a really great strike from MacAllister and it was game over.
To go two nil up against a team struggling as badly as us - even at Goodison - and nearly only pick up a point just isn't good enough to be honest. And it hasn't escaped my notice that the Gulls might be the only PL team we've decisively outplayed all season - albeit a long time ago now! - and were on a long one win run themselves.
I think Potter sets teams up neatly, and they play the right way but I just haven't seen the ruthlessness or cutting edge that would get me excited about a Potter appointment.

The added pressure of the Goodison crowd and I think you've got a recipe for a Steve Coppell style 33 day stint and resignation. That was my takeaway.

So yeah, Benitez out for sure, but for me, rather see someone else than Potter take the reins.

Johan Elmgren
43 Posted 03/01/2022 at 14:20:34
Derek 42, yes that might be the case. But then again it might not. On paper we have better players than Brighton and it would be interesting to see what a progressive manager like Potter could do with them. I'm not saying he will win the league, but at least he will get us playing attractive football with a strategy that is clear to all the players. Brighton are 8th right now! I think he should at least manage that with us as well...

Potter is only one candidate. There are more managers out there with the same philosophy that could be taken into account. Ten Hag at Ajax for example. I advocate Potter because he should be attracted to the prospect of managing a historic club like Everton, and that he wouldn't be to expensive to buy out. He's also got experience of the PL, and has shown that he's able to hold his own there... Based on that he should be a viable choice.

Barry Rathbone
44 Posted 03/01/2022 at 14:24:15
The big stick cracking Benitez on the head is the Digne situation. Personally I don't think he looks like a trouble maker but I just don't know and more importantly neither does anyone else.

The selection of Coleman as cover is a whole different bag of petunias.

Seamus was finished at Prem level years ago his continued membership of the squad is nuts but managers love rock solid characters and Coleman is the personification of good character. I'm leaning towards Benitez having a brain fart over the present situation and in desperation has asked Coleman "¿Puedes hacer un trabajo ahí para mí?" and Seamus has replied as you might expect "certainlyo senoro Benito" and it's gone tits up (again as you might expect). In a nutshell there is the Everton conundrum.

The manager recognises the place needs revolution (if you want success if not plod on as per the last few decades) and is prepared for any colaterral damage even that of a high profile French international. But his bollocks are in a vice because we're NOT prepared.

Our first eleven has been mid table for years and our SQUAD relegation fodder and the squad has been called upon like never before hence we are where we are. I really doubt the lord himself could improve things with a relegation squad. Stay brave let him get a few players in and a few injuries resolved and see how it goes. Maybe give him a pay rise.

Mick O'Malley
45 Posted 03/01/2022 at 14:50:25
We deserve what we get, I for the life off me am absolutely flabbergasted that some fans still think Benitez is the man for the job, honestly I give in, who cares how many managers we sack, this odious Kopite is not the man for Everton, I can’t wait to see the back of this loser. Benitez out!
Michael Lynch
46 Posted 03/01/2022 at 15:00:31
Potter out-thought Rafa yesterday, but it didn't take much. Every man and his dog could see that we were set up wrong, giving Brighton way too much space in midfield and between the lines. And, before kick-off, all the chatter around me was about where Kenny and Coleman were going to be playing. Literally the last thought anyone had was that Coleman would start on the left when Digne was on the bench.

It's all a bit bizarre, and I guess we'll never know the truth, but the Digne situation looks embarrassing for the club.

I've been adamant that Rafa needs to be given time, and that we shouldn't chop and change any more, but given that he's about to be handed the task of spending what little money we have available, I'm deeply concerned that it's yet another situation of the next manager being left to work with the shite that the previous manager has brought in. When - and it does feel like when rather than if - Rafa gets the boot, will we have an even worse squad than he inherited?

Dave Abrahams
47 Posted 03/01/2022 at 15:21:22
Michael (46),I think it’s possible to say that Benitez out- thought Potter earlier in the season when he had all his first team squad fit to play.

I will agree with you yesterday it was very hard to fantom out what the plan was yesterday, certainly the players seemed lost all over the field, a two man midfield doesn’t help but where is the extra man in the squad to help Allan and Doucoure and where is the centre backs to go with Godfrey and Branthwaite, Mina when he is fit is an upgrade on Keane but that’s not saying much.

Let’s see what happens in the rest of January with the transfers in and then maybe we will start looking like a team, I don’t think Benitez did too bad in the summer even though his hands were tied and it looked like it was all about saving money.

Alex Gray
48 Posted 03/01/2022 at 15:29:50
I have to admit that I wanted to give Rafa a chance but it’s not working out.

I hated watching us under Carlo but at least we picked up points. Even with injuries there’s no defending our form.

We can’t defend or attack. I’ve not seen us score a goal like Brightons first in a long time. I can’t remember an Everton player who last got me excited and every team sheet I see is depressing.

We win games with pure aggression and the odd wonder strike but when was the last time we even had fifty percent possession?

The sad thing is Rafa isn’t our biggest problem. The majority of this team have failed under six managers now and are somehow still starting for us. Keane and Holgate are not good enough. Seamus was finished years ago! Allan can tackle but can’t pass a ball. Gbamin is useless. Iwobi is the worst buy in our history. Gomes will play well one week then look awful the next. Kenny couldn’t even impress in Scotland! Rondon offers as much threat as Aspostos Vellios but is even slower. Yerry Mina has legs of glass.

We don’t have a single creative player and the one who could get close was a left back who we’re selling.

We’re left with a team of inadequate defenders and a midfield that’s constantly overrun and when they’re not do nothing with the ball.

Then on top of that Rafa has been tactically poor. Coleman at left back summed it up.

Best case scenario we perform a miracle and sell the dross. Our recruitment is so poor that we’d end up even worse!

We’ve stooped so low that fans are screaming for Rooney or Big Dunc. Rooney only having managed rock bottom Derby and big dunc never managed a team full stop.

Above that are the board. No communication to fans and 500mil utterly wasted. Two directors of football who have been a disaster and now transfers are left to the man that hardly any Evertonian wants at the club.

A few years back I tried to be as positive as possible on this site, that eventually turned to anger and frustration and now I don’t just expect Rafa to fail but whoever comes in after him to have the exact same outcome. Every season is the same and we never learn from it.

The players are the main problem. Klopp wouldn’t get us into Europe. Whoever the manager is doesn’t really matter unless he’s got a foundation to build a squad but that involves changes upstairs. I’m not sure if Kenwright, Moshiri or Brands were/are the main problem. Probably all of them.

I honestly don’t know a realistic fix to this. My mate gave up his season ticket a few weeks back and a few others who bought tickets can’t be bothered anymore and we’ve gone the match since the early nineties. I support Everton because I was raised an Evertonian by my old man and fell in love with the club when we were awful but we had an identity. We are no longer that club.

Apologies for the negative post lads and not really offering any positives but it’s been grim watching us for a long time now and I don’t know if anyone else on here feels similarly but I just want to get back to enjoying watching Everton again. Not glory but a team to at least be proud of.

David Pearl
49 Posted 03/01/2022 at 16:16:18
Not many alternatives but as l have said before Slaven Bilic is a manager l'd like. Intelligent.

To be fair to our current manager it might of helped if Keane and Doucoure didn't play the Nightmare after Christmas. Coleman got forward into good positions and wasn't that bad.

We are bringing in players at his request so he won't be going anywhere unless we lose the next few games, which could be likely but we could really do without paying out yet another £20 million on sacking our manager. Even though he was an accident waiting to happen.

David Midgley
50 Posted 03/01/2022 at 16:52:17
There isn't too much to be said about yesterday's game.
Vey poor game plan, poor choice of players and terrible subs.
It doesn't matter what Digne is supposed to have said he should have played. He is a better player than Seamus. And a LEFT back to boot. To not play him no matter what the struggle is going on at Everton and in doing so putting the chance of Everton getting 3 points is a bad choice.
We had some youngsters playing against Chelsea and they acquitted themselves quite well. Why not persevere with them ?
DCL hasn't played for a long time so why let him take the penalty ? Who was the designated taker ?
The substitutions were awful. Why wasn't Dobbin, Ellis brought on for the last 30 mins. ? Rondon with about as much mobility as Long John Silver.
Andre Gomez came on 87 minute. Didn't have time to break into a sweat or get his boots dirty.
Rafa looked shell shocked. Didn't know what was going on or how to rectify it.
Completely lost.
Look at any other cub dugout, during the game manager and assistant conversing and revising.
Not our bench.
I was in favour of Christophe Galtier who stormed Ligue 1 with Lille, however, I don't know if his command of English would have been sufficient to progress EFC. He's not doing a bad job at Nice.
However, this doesn't help our situation. Does Rafa upset, irritate the players ? Many of them are just not good enough and have to go.
You can only tune an old banger up so far, pass its MOT but it won't last the Monte Carlo rally.
Will Mosh ever say " Hang on what's happening, I've hit my thumb with hammer four times now and it still hurts ".
At the present time Everton are on a downward slide without any brakes and the only way to stop it is a bad crash.
This lot are seriously challenging dry January.
Jerome Shields
51 Posted 03/01/2022 at 17:32:50
I see the situation differently. Benitez is trying to set Everton up to play the type of football the fans want.
Tony Abrahams
52 Posted 03/01/2022 at 17:35:22
I personally thought Benitez beat us, and also himself yesterday. He wasn't helped because of some appalling defensive mistakes, but Potter's team had way too much space in which to play, which has been a common feature in most of our games this season.

Brian Williams
53 Posted 03/01/2022 at 17:35:59
I think Jerome's head must have exploded! 💥
Jerome Shields
54 Posted 03/01/2022 at 18:37:36
Brian#51

Trying to transfer the pressure, That previous post was premature and I though I had deleted it.

I see the situation differently. Benitez it trying to get Everton to play ‘ as the fans want’. That is offensive attacking football, as opposed to the defensive nick a goal type of football that Ancelotti played and which Fans did not like. As Benitez said in his post match interview they had trained to play this formation that was set out and had practised set pieces.

In both case the players had failed in the main to transfer their training into actual play. The defence was two deep and was not supporting midfield leaving gaps for Brighton. This was exasperated by errors and sloppy football. Ancelotti last season had concluded that the squad of players where mostly not technically proficient to provide the necessary quality to play offensive attacking football, Whats more he said the players where not prepared to put in the work and effort to obtain the necessary proficency to reduce errors.

Ancelotti got to the end of the season with a midtable finish and had a look at the Summer Transfer plans and was off to Real Madrid, who are now challenging to win La Liga. Meanwhile Benitez took over the same squad, with Rodriguez on Ancelooti leaving intiating tranfer plans. With approx £100, 000 to spend Benitez brought in players who in the main have played well. Rondon who was brought in as back up has had to be a main striker,

Whilst Calvert Lewin was back Everton where dependent on the same squad that Ancelotti had accessed as not being proficient enough to play offensive attacking football and where not prepared to put in the ‘work and effort’ to do so. That is the reason why so many on seeing the team selection, especially after a break where not surprised by the team performance. We had seen it many times before.

The truth is that in the main the squad can only play when the play is in front of them and are still prone to errors even with that. Of course there are individual players who buck the trend, even with extra opposition attention, but that does not make a winning team. Digne like all Everton players who are not playing, suddenly is a superior player, compared to his actual pitch performance and transfer mana. Digne would have made no difference to the Everton performance had he played. I would be surprised if he ends up at the ‘interested ‘Clubs mentioned.

So does Benitez go down the Ancelotti way or does he persist with the offensive attacking play ‘fans want’? With in coming transfers, youth back from Covid and players back from injuries I vouch he will persist. What the Chelsea game showed was that the younger players are prepared to put in the ‘ work and effort ‘ on the training ground and transfer that training to the pitch.

Of course there is still the problem of the poor management of Everton Football Club, but Benitez will make progress by the end of this season and then will have another much needed Summer Transfer Window to turn this shower of a Squad around and sort out by it’s ‘sell buy date ‘FInch Farm.

Derek Taylor
55 Posted 03/01/2022 at 19:18:48
Just having a New Year's bevy with ex-work mates of mine - mostly R S. False sympathy abounds for the mess we are in although it's delivered with a rue smile.

'Just think', said one charmer, 'If Benitez takes you down, the irony of the situation would justify a statue larger than Shankses !'

Can't say I was impressed but that's the shit we should prepare for !

Johan Elmgren
56 Posted 03/01/2022 at 19:25:02
Wolves beating Man Utd now... Wolves playing a football that is nice on the eye.

Bruno Lage, I would guess, unknown to most Everton fans before he came there, now doing wonders... you can see the players following the strategy Lage has implemented. Intense, engergetic football, always committing players forward when the chance occurs. Always trying to do something positive with the ball, and often finding good passages of play to take them up the pitch.

Defensively hard to break down, because every player does what they are supposed to with focus and energy. Every player knows what is expected of them... Do they have better players than us? Some maybe, but I would say 50-50.

The question is, why doesn't Moshiri et al try to go for a similar manager instead of the old, negative, out-of-date dinosuars we've had lately? It really shouldn't be that hard... We should be playing like this now if only our owner could take his head out his arse...

Benitez Out Now!

David Hallwood
57 Posted 03/01/2022 at 20:44:27
Great article, Lyndon. You've been writing these for many seasons, and long may it continue. But a quick bit of homework for you: go back into your archives and see how many times you've stated 'We started slowly' or 'poor 1st half', I think it'll be well over 60%.

So why is this –regardless of who the manager is? I'm beginning to think it's the formation we've been playing since Martinez which is 4-2-3-1. These days, it's all 4-3-3 or 3-4-3 which gives lots of bodies in midfield and lots of fluidity.

We play with 2 in midfield, incidentally so does Man Utd and they're having similar struggles with a far superior squad and of course more points.

But I'm done with Benitez; he's had terrible luck with injuries but it's just been mistake after mistake, and an inability to adapt to what everyone else can see.

The derby massacre, he put 2 in midfield against their 3 workaholics, and we got torn apart. He performs the same trick vs Brighton with the same outcome. Einstein quote, anyone?

Plus, if I see us concede from another corner from a player unmarked on the far post, I'll give up watching football.

Carra made the point that a Benitiez team plays winning football – not attractive football. What he's serving up is neither. Get shut and give it to Ferguson for the rest of the season.

Final point, to all the Kenwright haters out there (and I'm not exactly in love with him), he never wanted Benitez and says so loudly.

Dennis Stevens
58 Posted 03/01/2022 at 20:59:31
Ta, David. I knew there must still be a plus point in Benitez's favour & you've reminded me of it with your final paragraph!
Tony Abrahams
59 Posted 03/01/2022 at 21:26:37
You should have just asked him if the statue would be bigger than the Steau Bukerest flag that the phoney bastards flew on the kop 12 months after Heysel, Derek, instead of preparing yourself for their shite, mate.
Trevor Powell
60 Posted 03/01/2022 at 22:07:41
Ancelotti claimed that he wanted to lead the Blues into the first home game at the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock. Benitez seems to be thinking along the same lines but his management record to date is of a club sliding into a relegation dogfight.

So, I now have a nightmare scene in my mind of Everton being led out for the first time onto the grass of the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock to play Wycombe Wanderers in the Championship… and losing! I do not know why Wycombe Wanderers are in my mind, but they do seem to be a yo-yo side from League One and the Championship.

Perhaps ToffeeWeb can organise a sweepstake on our possible first visitors to the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock. Unfortunately, at this moment, I think I am in with a decent shout if Benitez is in charge for much longer!

Danny O’Neill
61 Posted 03/01/2022 at 23:23:59
Don't start me on them, Tony. Foolishly but out of respect for my Grandad, I went for a drink in the Arkles again after the match yesterday. Full of self righteous gobshites. I educated a bunch of Brighton fans who had made their way over there and we headed back to Lime Street.

Been listening to some music today. Bob Seger; Running Against the Wind. Notwithstanding the title, how apt

"Seems like yesterday, but it was long ago"

Against the wind. Run harder. Fight harder.

Gary Sedgwick
62 Posted 04/01/2022 at 01:59:11
All I can write is that we are so predictable and it pisses me off so much, I go and sit on the toilet for the first 5 minutes of every half when we kick-off.

Ball moved back to Keane who hoofs it forward to our flanks (usually the left), ball goes out of play; opponents take time with ball to be creative and, from then on, we are shite.

For fuck's sake! Hoofing the ball forward from kick-off is primary school football!!! I remember that being the case when I was 9 years old (back in the late '70s era).

Guess what? It was the same back then as it is now – 50/50 it will turn out to be successful – and yet today in the modern day setting, our club, a Premier League club, do the same in adopting this primary school philosophy of how to play football.

I am available, with far lower wage demands, should the club be seeking a new manager soon.

Danny Baily
63 Posted 04/01/2022 at 07:37:10
Trevor @60, sliding into a relegation dogfight? We're in one.

Each week we start Gbamin, bring on Rondon, or play Coleman at left-back is a week where we could be picking up vital points.

The time to act is now!

Rennie Smith
64 Posted 04/01/2022 at 09:54:09
Jerome @54:

"Benitez will make progress by the end of this season" – you don't seriously believe that? And what is your definition of progress… finishing higher than last season? That looks a million miles away at the moment.

Or is it just simply we actually start games positively, looking to win, rather than the current dire "nick-it" tactics.

I've been hammered by my Norwegian friends with many "Agent Benitez" digs… you know, I'm actually starting to believe them.

John Boon
65 Posted 04/01/2022 at 12:50:05
There is a tendency to compare one manager with another while at the same time making out that one is better than the other. Ancelotti started out "Okay" but when things got tough he bailed out. He could NOT handle the job. So we get Benitez and he has already shown that he also does not have the answers. Well he may do, but so far all the wrong ones. However while we are good at getting rid of managers we are NOT so good at adequately replacing them.We have had a dismal record since Moyes left

Despite the abysmal display against Brighton along with some positional choices that defy common sense I don't think we should replace Benitez. I don't think it would solve anything other than to make rightly indignant Evertonians feel better for a few days. After that we will merely replace Benitez with one more useless manager.

I don't know if Benitez can halt the rapid decline but I think fans need to buckle up for a rough ride until the present window closes.We also need to stop blaming individual players for our present form. We are supposed to be a team and while the likes of Rondon or Iwobi are easy Patsies for "Everton " frustration they are not the sole cause for lack of success. They are merely good examples of the very poor signings we have made overthe last number of years.

This is the time to get behind the team. Time to HOPE that Benitez learns from his mistakes and forget about getting one more Manager. I just don't think this is the time for drastic changes. I DO want to see us sign some new players who actually improve the team. Gray and Townsend have proved to be good signings and the reintroduction of Gordon has been a very positive move. Hopefully we have at least two new signings that give some hope. Unfortunately they may be under more pressure than they expected.

We can always "Hope" for miracles, but "Hope" is not the most comforting word in difficult times. COYB show your always loyal fans that you have the desire, intensity and drive to get us out of this mess. Only the players on the field can do this if they are led by a Manager who can be the driving force behind a real "Team Effort".

Steve Brown
66 Posted 04/01/2022 at 12:57:57
Idrissa Gana Gueye on loan would transform this team, filling the space between defence and two midfielders ahead of him.
Geoff Lambert
67 Posted 04/01/2022 at 13:02:12
We need to change the whole system, new manager assistant manager and new coaches througout. It's like having a formula one car that runns like a bag of shite and just keep changing the driver. We can only hope that there are three teams who are worse than us in the coming months or we could be gone.
Adrian Evans
68 Posted 04/01/2022 at 13:42:01
Go get Idrisssa Gueye some how.

He would transform us.

A simple fix till the end of the season.

The club medical staff working hard to get Ritchy, Mina ready for their International Duty at the end of the month.

Its crazy, they should be made to qualify to be released by playing say 2/3 club matches before auto release again.
Our two could play more Internationals than club matches.

Mike Gaynes
69 Posted 04/01/2022 at 14:24:18
Adrian, Steve, why would a guy in the starting 11 at one of the top clubs in the world want to suddenly come back to Everton?

Simply walk away from his dream gig, not to mention the Champions League and a certain Ligue 1 title, just to help us out?

Fantasies.

Mick O'Malley
70 Posted 04/01/2022 at 15:05:40
Adrian it’s a waste of time suggesting players or managers for Everton cos according to some why would anyone come here, every suggestion is shot down in flames,
Jerome Shields
72 Posted 04/01/2022 at 19:46:31
Rennie #54,

Benitez inherited an underperforming squad that Ancelotti had identified as not having sufficient quality to play anything other than a defensive nick-a-goal formation. They achieved a mid-table finish and were unable to mount a challenge for even a Europa Conference League place. Ancelotti put this down to lack of work and effort by the players.

Benitez arrived, spending approx £100, 000, replacing Rodriguez, who wanted away, and trying to improve the squad. This would have only had a marginal effect on improving the squad.

Injuries exasperated the situation, making him more dependent on the poor squad he inherited. Benitez sacked the Head of Medical Services and brought in a trainer. He encountered the usual Finch Farm resistance. The DoF was then sacked.

It will take the introduction of transfers, younger players and recovered injured players to up the level of squad proficiency. This will take game time to effect.

What we got against Brighton, in the main, were players not able or who were not prepared to put the work and effort into training, to transfer and apply what they were trained and coached to do over the extended break onto the matchday pitch.

Digne was dropped for underperformance, rightly so, before Xmas, and didn't accept it. He would not have had the right attitude to be selected and would have made no difference. He will now have to knuckle down to get his place back. He is going nowhere during this transfer window imo.

Everton was a mess that needed sorting out before Benitez arrived. Ancelotti thought it was not worth the hassle and effort, so big was the job. Benitez will stick with it and he will turn the corner.

It will be interesting to see the Everton that turns up at the next game. Everton will not be relegated. When they all put the work and effort in, they have more than enough capability.


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