Running Out of Road

Lyndon Lloyd 13/03/2022 63comments  |  Jump to last
Everton 0 - 1 Wolves

As Everton have stumbled their way to the worst points total in the club’s history, culminating in last Monday’s humiliation at Tottenham, increasingly fearful fans have comforted themselves with the fact that the Blues had games in hand on the teams around them and eight more fixtures at home to try and amass enough points for survival.

Goodison Park isn’t a fortress against fear, however, and it can’t make up for a basic lack of quality, an ill-suited system or, ultimately, a lack of collective fight even as the stakes for this club get ever higher with every passing defeat. Frank Lampard doesn’t have 11 players with the determination and drive of Anthony Gordon; he just wishes like hell he did.

Unfortunately, the Scouser can’t perform miracles, but it does feel at the moment as though, in the style of Atlas, he is carrying the weight of this club and the supporters’ desperate hopes of survival on his young shoulders. It shouldn’t be this way, of course, but along with Richarlison and Jordan Pickford it seems to be the same few personnel showing the requisite stomach for the scrap even if the quality isn’t always there.

How to channel that desire into the rest of the team while also finding a formula for scoring goals let alone win games is Frank Lampard’s urgent responsibility as the number of games left in which to attain Premier League salvation dwindles. It ticked down to 12 following this sobering defeat by Wolves.

You could add Jonjoe Kenny and Ben Godfrey to that list, both players who demonstrated their commitment and perhaps crossed the line of what’s legal — in Kenny’s case, it was once too many for referee, Michael Oliver — and maybe identify someone else like Demarai Gray as one who tried but just couldn’t make the difference on the day but, overall, there was precious little collective drive to get anything from this game.

So much of this centres around the nebulous issue of psychology. Once Everton’s opening salvos had been interrupted by the infuriating farce of Hwang Hee-chan’s injury between the 12th and 16th minutes — once again, that quarter-hour mark proved to be a watershed in the Blues’ performance — and Wolves had assumed control in midfield, there was a depressing sense that the contest would ebb away from the hosts.

The concession of the game’s only goal — from a set-piece once again — only served to intensify the inevitability and by the end Everton had gone down with barely a whimper as Bruno Lage’s side proved superior in almost every department. Lampard, meanwhile, might rue tampering once more with a 4-3-3 formation that held its own for 80-odd minutes against Manchester City and which looks to offer him the best chance of grinding out enough points between now and the end of the season.

Allan, a warrior against City a fortnight ago, was surprisingly relegated to the bench, with the manager opting for a five-man back line that included all three of Kenny, Seamus Coleman and Vitalii Mykolenko, a move no doubt aimed at solidity but which left Abdoulaye Doucouré and Donny van de Beek badly overrun in central midfield.

By the time the Ukrainian’s difficult afternoon was ended with an hour gone, the defence switched to a four and Dele Alli introduced to offer more attacking threat up front, Wolves were very much in the driving seat and Kenny’s dismissal for a second yellow card effectively ended Everton’s hopes of salvaging anything from the contest.

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Once again, the Toffees began on the front foot and in frenetic fashion. Richarlison had a couple of early chances, the first an ambitious 25-yard half-volley that dropped wide and then another effort that was blocked behind well by Jose Sa in the Wolves goal following a sumptuous ball over the top for the Brazilian by Mykolenko.

Gray was then played in at the far post on the other side from a cross by Coleman after another nice chipped ball down the line, this time from Gordon, but Sa was equal to it again.

Wolves had started to get the measure of their opponents but didn't make Pickford work until Daniel Podence's shot deflected off Mason Holgate before the keeper saved well from Jimenez but the officials pulled the play back in any case for a foul by the Mexican on Mykolenko.

Jimenez would have the last chance of the first half, an acrobatic overhead kick that flew well over but Wolves would take the lead early in the second half following successive sloppy fouls by Everton's full-backs, the latter by Kenny on Leander Dendoncker.

Richarlison initially headed the free-kick away but insufficient pressure was exerted to prevent Ruben Neves from swinging in a cross that Coady simply had to guide past Pickford with a well-placed header.

The visitors almost doubled their lead four minutes later when Jimenez swept a Joao Moutinho free-kick narrowly wide of Pickford's left-hand post and Podence went close with a low shot while, at the other end, Gordon continued to lead the charge for Everton and his whipped cross was headed off the woodwork by Richarlison but was adjudged to have been offside regardless.

Lampard withdrew Mykolenko for Dele with an hour gone in an attempt to try and coax some attacking threat and fluidity out of his side but the Blues remained depressingly impotent moving the ball through midfield.

Richarlison was again put into a dangerous position, this time by Dele, but was, again, ruled fractionally offside and Sa had taken the ball off his toes anyway as the forward tried to round him on the way to goal.

The Brazilian despatched a snap shot into the side-netting off a Gray pass before the latter was replaced by Andros Townsend but what chance there was of Everton salvaging anything from the match evaporated when Kenny committed his second bookable offence.

Francisco Trincao had a late chance to rub salt into Everton's wounds with a curling effort from just outside the box that drifted wide while Townsend was handed the chance to be a last-ditch hero but he missed the target with a direct free-kick after Moutinho had tripped Coleman on the edge of the area.

The air of resignation in the ground that greeted the final whistle in place of outright anger might be the most concerning aspect of today. Everton’s fans have brought their passion, their noise and their support to the last few home games but this afternoon showed that simply providing the atmosphere on which the players are supposed to feed is not enough.

For this grand old team to be rescued from the catastrophe of relegation, it's now going to take the players digging deep themselves and finding a level and a potency that they have failed to attain at any point this season apart from the opening for few matches.

It’s also going to take the kind of kitchen sink, hell-for-leather, nothing-to-lose attitude that might have seen the manager throw on someone like Salomon Rondon for the final few minutes rather than the submissive, almost resigned manner in which Everton finished this match.

The Blues still have games in hand on those around them but they haven’t scored for four games, have only one clean sheet in the League since early November and there were times today where it felt as though they could play all day and not score. The ability is there as they have showed in patches this season but the turnaround in fortunes; the answers to some increasingly intractable problems; the inspiration married with perspiration need to come from all the players, not just a select few… starting against Newcastle on Thursday night.

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Jim Bennings
1 Posted 14/03/2022 at 06:35:43
Without meaning to be overly controversial, I truly believe that Thursday night is our final straw.

We are probably going to need 11 or 12 more points to make sure we have a fighting chance to survive, and for a team that has won just TWO games since September, I don't see how we can turn that tide in what is left.

This team has to be the worst I've seen in a blue shirt in my time watching this club.

Even in the 93-94 and 97-98 seasons, the players were dreadful but at least they weren't completely thick.

You look at our players and wonder why some of them haven't had psychological evaluation because they seem incapable of being able to learn basic things.

Honestly, I have to laugh when fans say that things will improve when this player and that player return... because we don't; they are still as garbage as before.

I can't see what the likes of Doucouré is meant to offer anymore, he's meant to be box-to-box but he seems to have lost any real athletism now and his passing is awful.

Allan, even when he plays, offers zero protection and again is too slow.

If you want to see a midfield duo dictate a game, then look at the wonderful Neves yesterday with Moutinho beside him pulling the strings.

Our defence doesn't even bear mentioning, not one of them is actually a very good defender, Godfrey may be a fine athlete but as a defender he's not a very good player.

We are just a shambles and I can't see any way we will gather more than 8 or 9 more points this season, that relegates us.

Alan J Thompson
2 Posted 14/03/2022 at 07:08:44
I thought Wolves showed us not only what to do but what we are not doing; they run into space with pace and play the ball into space. The only player on our side who seems capable of it is Gordon but then, when the opposition defence has only Richarlison to worry about, despite his heroic efforts, it doesn't take much to double mark and cut off supply.

While there are a few players I'd have my doubts about playing, it may be that at the moment there is little alternative but whoever, they must play at a quicker pace and move to where they can receive the ball and while facing the way we want to go, forward.

If we are to stay up then we must take points from those games where we don't expect to... albeit, with the way we are playing, that might be every game.

Jerome Shields
3 Posted 14/03/2022 at 07:48:53
I thought that meddling with the home formation which had served Everton so well was a mistake by Lampard. Going defensive at home against a side that was set up defensive in the first half was going to encourage them to push up into a two-man midfield.

Wolves were always going to come out in the second half and try to up the pace, as they have done every time they play Everton. Seeing Dele Alli warm-up before half-time helped their half-time preparation. Everton were not prepared at half-time for the ensuing first 15 minutes of Wolves. It was a lack of focus that lead to the goal.

Going defensive is what Frank should have done against Spurs and in the next away game, not at Goodison. He obviously after Spurs panicked into that decision. Now he is worse off. A open attacking tactic would have broken down Wolves in the first half. Even Everton in defensive mode showed that it would have worked, with the chances they had. Van de Beek is an open total football type player; in any other system, he is a duck out of water.

If Everton are going to play defensive, they need an awkward forward like Rondon leading the line who can keep the opposition defence deep and keep play up the pitch (in other words, help Everton to keep their shape) and a designated defensive midfielder like Allan. Even Lampard's defensive mode was half-baked. Changing the formation after the goal with Dele Alli was not much better.

Lack of focus in the first 15 minutes of the second half was always going to be disasterous. I blame that on preparation on the training ground and a rest and recovery regime at Finch Farm that has thrown up inept player performances for years.

Where Everton go from here in the coming games is anyone's guess. There is no clear football strategy.

David Bromwell
4 Posted 14/03/2022 at 07:56:30
What I don't understand is why in January, when we knew we were in trouble, did we gamble on recruiting five new players who all seem incapable of playing 90 minutes of committed and effective football. I know there are mitigating factors but this has to be recorded as a major error.

It is also clear that Frank and his team are making errors as they try to stem the tide. Yesterday his makeshift defence of five was a major error as once again we surrendered the midfield to the opposition.

Thursday represents our last chance; let's hope the manager and selected players find a way of winning.

Jim Bennings
5 Posted 14/03/2022 at 08:31:42
I don't think Frank Lampard realised how big a job this was.

These overpaid wasters have seen off how many managers now?

It can't all be down to management, other clubs get it right with their players mentality, Wolves were a decent side under Nuno and now they are continuing that under Bruno Lage.

Imagine Bruno Lage working with our players, he wouldn't get a fuckin tune out of them.

Nah I'm sorry but the buck stops with these players for me now.

Bill Fairfield
6 Posted 14/03/2022 at 08:56:01
I have absolutely no faith that this squad can keep us up now. I'am resigned to the fact that they're just not good enough. Frank can believe all he wants.

My belief is we're finished as a Premier League club. Moshiri, for all his investment, has been a disaster.

Jerome Shields
7 Posted 14/03/2022 at 09:04:26
Jim #5,

The problem is any Everton manager is stuck with players both recent and ex. They will be stuck with them next season, whatever League Everton are in. A lot are over-valued, even the fans over-value them with bandied about silly figures for players who are not playing either on or off the pitch.

The January transfer window is a case in point, where players were recruited, it was with very little manager involvement, or none at-all. We had possibly two ex-forwards and an agent involved in their selected criteria, all with little coaching experience or again none at all. All possibly involved in the selection of a manager to suit.

The most worrying aspect of yesterday's defeat was a manager abandoning his own style of play.

Rick Tarleton
8 Posted 14/03/2022 at 09:12:12
Managing people is very difficult. I don't think Lampard does himself too many favours when, at the end of games, he criticises the squad and even individuals for their performance.

Managers, in whatever sphere, but particularly of sporting teams, need to make their workers feel that the boss has got their backs. You knew when Mourinho was losing it when he started blaming the players. Yes, bollock them in the dressing room or one-to-one in your office, but not in public.

The good managers usually have good squads to begin with but, even allowing for that, you don't hear Ferguson, Klopp, Guardiola or Kendall publicly attacking their players.

Nevertheless, Everton were dire yesterday. They were toothless. As David said above, five new signings, none of which is deemed able to play for a whole game. Calvert-Lewin is again not considered available, please what is going on?

What happens to Everton youngsters in their third season, Calvert-Lewin, Davies, Barkley all moved from highly promising to very ordinary after three seasons. We sent out on loan one or two players, including the left-footed defender Nkounkou, who just might have been very useful.

Confidence is so low and Lampard has got to find a way to make the players believe that they can do it. Dele Alli, Van de Beek, Gray, Townsend, Keane, Godfrey – we need them to show us the ability that they have shown in the past.

This squad looks poor, but it also looks as though most of them don't want the ball, they are afraid of failure – and you can't play sport with that attitude. Gordon is trying to do too much on his own as though he fears that there isn't someone he can pass to who will confidently want the ball.

I'm beginning to see this team as being as bad as any team I've watched in the past 70 years. Individually, it ought not to be, but in terms of confidence and fight, it is rock-bottom. Frank, you've got your work cut out, but that's what the big bucks are paid for.


Alex Kociuba
9 Posted 14/03/2022 at 09:22:55
I fear the tipping point has been reached where the majority of our planning needs to about shaping up the best way we can for the drop and to bounce back up.

If we're screwed with high player contracts without clauses and in a financial mess with Russian connections, then I don't see a way how the new stadium can progress, especially if we aren't capable of showing investors and banks that we are coming straight back up.

If we go down without sufficient planning, I don't think its beyond the realms of possibility for it being the beginning of the end for the club as an entity.

Regarding the team and the rest of this season, I think our best chance is to only play players that are consistently showing effort and have underlying quality. Coleman, Iwobi, Rondon, Kenny etc simply aren't good enough, and players like Doucouré, Calvert-Lewin, Keane are playing with 25% effort.

I think we play the rest of the season with youth or fringe players with a basic backbone of senior players who, despite the club collapsing, are still showing effort and possess some underlying skill. I think that backbone should be Mina, Allan, Gordon and Richarlison.

Brian Harrison
10 Posted 14/03/2022 at 09:44:23
I never post after a game. I wait till the following day and see if things seem a bit different... but I am still angry, frustrated and, for the first time this season, very very worried.

First, what idiot in charge of the video screen thought it was a good idea to flash up the scores on the screen showing both Leeds and Watford winning? The crowd rightly were nervous enough without adding to the frustration.

When I first heard the team with no Allan, I feared the worst, and sadly my worst fears came to fruition. I don't know what reason Frank left him on the bench but for me it was a massive mistake. Neither Van de Beek nor Doucouré are comfortable receiving the ball from a defender when we try to play out from the back.

Also, they both had very poor games and I really fail to see what Van de Beek offers, he doesn't break up opposition attacks and never ventures near the opponent's box.

Only once yesterday did Doucouré run into space ahead of the forwards and only for a poor pass would have had him free on goal. Allan is our only midfield player who can spot danger and isn't afraid of putting in a tackle – something that Doucouré and Van de Beek rarely do. We all know Doucouré's strength is running with the ball in the opponent's half – something that hardly happened yesterday.

I know the cry is always that they don't try or they don't put the effort in but they all tried their best. Unfortunately, as we have seen too often this season, they are just not good enough.

I thought that the first thing I would see from a side managed by Frank Lampard would be the midfield playing closer to the forwards so we would see some inter play but yesterday Doucouré and Van de Beek weren't even within shouting distance of the forward,s never mind being close enough to play one-twos in and around the opponent's box.

I thought Gordon and Richarlison gave their all, but too often with little or no support, and yesterday wasn't Gray's best game but he is just coming back from injury. I know many have said that, with Keane in the side, we cant play a high line... well, he wasn't there yesterday and still no high line.

I fully understand why Frank wants to get the team playing out from the back but from goalkicks we have two centre-backs on the 6-yard box and two midfielders a yard or two outside the 18-yard box. But the gap that leaves between midfield and the forwards is huge and, with this group of players, I don't think they are comfortable with passing it around their own box.

We didn't create an awful lot and, without Allan in midfield, we never got a grip of midfield. I can't understand why Allan wasn't introduced at half-time.

I am also concerned that we allowed our previous manager to sell our best left-back and spend most of the money on two full-backs, neither of which he picked to start a game; subsequently neither did Ferguson in his one game in charge, and it seems Frank doesn't fancy Patterson and not sure he is convinced on Mykolenko.

Then we come to the real elephant in the room: Dele Alli. Can someone (namely Frank Lampard) explain to me why, having signed Alli and eulogised to the press how good a player he is, how has he not yet started a game?

Yet Frank is quite happy to start Van de Beek in most games despite the fact that, even if we stay in the Premier League, we won't be able to afford him and, on his performances so far, I am glad we don't have to buy him when the season ends.

Finally I have seen us in a few relegation scraps over the decades, but walking out of Goodison yesterday was quite different to the atmosphere in other relegation battles. There was no anger, no venting of frustration – just a quiet resignation that this time we might not get out of trouble. I don't think the Goodison faithful have given up but, with so few wins over many months, then sometimes reality has to kick in.

Andrew Clare
11 Posted 14/03/2022 at 10:10:25
It's hard to see where the next win is coming from. Somehow, after spending crazy money, we have wound up with a terrible team.

When we are relegated, a massive clear-out will happen which we must take advantage of and build a team with the right kind of players and personalities to bring us straight back up.

There's no need to think that we will go into free fall like Sunderland. As long as the recruitment is right, we will be okay. We just have to keep Kenwright and Moshiri well away from the process. The club has been in decline for decades – it needs a reset.

Mark Andrews
12 Posted 14/03/2022 at 10:16:33
Moshiri has killed Everton

We're down. The Moshiri years have been shameful. We became a billionaire's plaything and relied on dirty Russian money. There are so many strands to this sorry tale and all have combined to condemn us.

Our desperation for success, clamouring for a rich but entirely unsuitable benefactor. The farce of the Premier League's fit and proper person test (see Chelsea, Newcastle x2, see Man City x2 et al).

The decisions of a clueless owner who played FIFA with our club, chopping and changing players and managers, lumbering us with an expensively assembled rag-tag group of individuals who seem incapable of performing, lacking the mental metal for the fight despite their obscene wages and lavish lifestyles. Players bought by several managers to play in different systems have killed the identity of the club.

I reviewed conversations I had pre and early season with football friends and I was concerned about the season ahead, predicting a relegation battle. Moshiri dealt the final coup de grace with the ridiculous signing of Benitez. I believe he brought him in to hold the club in the financially difficult years before the new stadium. It failed spectacularly.

How do we get out of the hole now? I'm sure Moshiri will tire of his plaything and move on to another hobby horse, but who will pick up a free-falling club with an inept squad, huge debt, hamstrung by FFP brought on by the profligacy of catastrophic ownership?

We're about to enter the darkest of days in our 144-year history.

Will this phoenix rise from the ashes of the tenure of Ardavan Farhad Moshiri?

Mark Dunford
13 Posted 14/03/2022 at 10:55:59
It was a really dismal afternoon at Goodison Park. Started in a lacklustre way, got worse when the goal was conceded and then fell over into an abyss.

Our team has a collective inability to cope with even the merest setback. There are some very talented individuals across the side, especially up front, but as a team we're currently hopeless with no real leadership, shared strength or - from some of them - evidence of commitment to the cause. Every mistake, mishap or unfair decision seems to make the situation worse. Nerves fray, luck doesn't go for them and they're too ready to rue it; tempers are short and panic is always just below the surface. There is no Cahill, Carsley, Watson, Gough, Reid - whoever -to take over, calm things down when trouble appears, show the grit needed to move ahead.

Lampard is understandably hoping that our run of games against mid-table, holiday bound sides with little to play for will yield points, yet the past week has seen two of these dismantle Everton and then embarrass them as the clock ran down. It is probably too early in the season for opposing players to go awol. There was nothing in Everton yesterday to suggest that there isn't more of this to come

Andrew Ellams
14 Posted 14/03/2022 at 11:06:50
The whole world knows we're struggling financially and survive or not there will likely be fire sale over the summer and we will be selling below market value and replacing with them with a much reduced budget.
Kunal Desai
15 Posted 14/03/2022 at 11:34:44
This isn't about this season is it? Its a culmination of 5/6 years of literally every decision being poor or incorrect. We have had a chairman who has preceded in the worse period of the clubs history.

The summer (whether we stay up or go down) Kenwright and Moshiri have to both hounded out of the club. The pressure has to be cranked up on these charlatans to get out. I couldn't care less what type of behaviour it consitutes. It's not kopite behaviour. That behaviour transformed there club. Fans have to now do whatever it takes to remove these people from this club.

Momentum needs to be built up for the 27 year campaign.

Andrew Ellams
16 Posted 14/03/2022 at 12:12:38
Kunai, I'd go further and suggest that this season is the culmination of 30 years of poor stewardship of the club.

Kunal Desai
17 Posted 14/03/2022 at 12:17:47
Agree Andrew. Moyes kept us afloat otherwise we'd have been buried long ago.

This board needs clearing out forced by the fans.

James Marshall
18 Posted 14/03/2022 at 12:32:17
It's all well & good having players like Gordon who run about a lot and show this magical 'desire' that everyone seems to think is so important, but it's how well you kick the pigs bladder that matters and we have too many shit footballers in our squad.

Or problems stem from years of buying utterly useless players with no motivation to succeed. So not only do we buy players who lack the requisite motivation, but we buy second rate ones who lack motivation. A recipe for disaster. Add to that a raft of managers who got well paid to just about keep our heads above water and what are you left with?

We're a mid table team at best, we're not a so called 'big club' anymore Those days went out when black & white TV became obsolete. Everton IS a relic, the same museum relic that mouthpiece Moshiri spouted about while Bill cried into his hanky.

Also Lampard - now I like the man, he's a good talker, but is that it? Is he just a good talker? So far he's talked the talk but not walked the walk in any way, shape or form. His teams are disjointed, cobbled together, seemingly different every week, the way we play is a bit of a mystery too.

We're Leeds basically. Take out DCL/Bamford and Kalvin Phillips/a ball playing midfielder (Sigurdsson?) in midfield and we're both screwed. Both teams have no focal point, and nobody to put their foot on the ball in the middle of the park. Leeds are already looking like a different animal with Bamford back in their team - DCL looks like a man ready to play for another team and I guarantee you he'll be first out the door when we're playing in the Championship next year.

Moyes definitely kept us afloat and gave us ideas beyond our station. We've been on a downward decline for 30 years, yes, and on another one since Moyes left.

Tom Bowers
19 Posted 14/03/2022 at 13:18:40
Hindsight is 20/20 as we all know.

This season is an absolute mess with the worst yet to come unless something changes in the management setup and tactical approach.

I am not sure what it is but I don't get paid the big money to deal with it.

Lampard has to be taking some blame now after yesterday's team announcement.

Many of us feel that the games in hand are crucial but we can't even fight to get a draw these days. We haven't scored for three games and with our powder puff offence never seem likely to.

The Richarlison miss early yesterday was indicative of the confidence and after that Wolves took control.

Barcode will be another stiff test and I dread what their new signings will do at corners and free kicks.

Funny that many of us thought Eddie Howe may be a suitable manager for the Blues last season but they went for the bigger names and got screwed. He has certainly influenced Barcodes season with the signings of Wood, Burn and the resurgence of Saint Maximam.

Barry Hesketh
20 Posted 14/03/2022 at 13:51:47
I don't think the issue is that we're running out of road, it's more that we have too much road to navigate from here on in, unless there's a sudden upsurge in better performances and results.
Barry Rathbone
21 Posted 14/03/2022 at 13:55:09
Trouble is people talking about tactics and swapping "x" player for "y" player are kidding themselves if they believe therein lies a solution.

Tactics could designed by geniuses of the craft a combination of Rommel, Napoleon and Nelson might come up with devilish innovation to dumbfound the enemy but if the troops are leaden footed dullards it matters not a jot. They will be blasted to smithereeens.

The present squad has no great players with only one or two bordering on reasonable but the vast majority wouldn't get a game at any other Prem outfit.

I believe Frank has suddenly realised his options amount to moving deck chairs on the Titanic and prayer. In which case he needs to go for broke get the kids in and fear not the consequences. They can hardly be worse than the unathletic, perma crock, talent bereft lightweights presently making up the seniors.

Be brave Frank - “The greatest fear in the world is of the opinions of others. And the moment you are unafraid of the crowd you are no longer a sheep, you become a lion. A great roar arises in your heart, the roar of freedom.”

Michael Lynch
22 Posted 14/03/2022 at 13:58:01
From football365: "In terms of points per game, Lampard (0.5) now ranks 26th of this season’s 28 Premier League managers, higher than only Daniel Farke (0.45) and Steve Bruce (0.38). Jesse Marsch (1), Roy Hodgson (0.88) and Dean Smith (0.66) have all been more successful after being parachuted into relegation-battling clubs. Eddie Howe (1.56) has waved the same “magic wand” Lampard continues to protest is not available in the Premier League – and it would be foolish to put all that down to money instead of coaching and problem-solving".

Fair point, or harsh on Frank? Has he inherited a worse situation than any of the other new managers brought in to save clubs from relegation? Has his coaching and problem-solving been good enough?

Christopher Timmins
23 Posted 14/03/2022 at 14:17:00
Michael # 22

Over the past 19 games (half a season) we have accumulated 8 points, if one extrapolates that over a 38 game season we obtain the grand total of 16 points.

Tony Abrahams
24 Posted 14/03/2022 at 15:02:21
Jim@5. I don’t really want our manager making mistakes, even though he’s made a few already, but it’s obvious he didn’t know how big the Everton job really was, (neither did Benitez imo) and that’s why I’m going to cut him much more slack, than I’ve ever previously cut any Everton manager before, and that means even if we are relegated, which I obviously hope doesn’t happen.

The players are spineless, I’d have a bet that most of them don’t even like each other, although you could argue that I’d be wrong, because none of the bastards are ever prepared to upset another one of their teammates, even when they are constantly making incredible mistakes.

Kieran Kinsella
25 Posted 14/03/2022 at 15:09:05
In the dreadful 1998 season we had earned 10 wins by this point in the season. We have barely half that number presently. Our "games in hand" will be quickly nullified when we travel to Watford etc.
Jim Bennings
26 Posted 14/03/2022 at 15:19:02
Games in hand don't mean much when you don't win games.

Newcastle is the Cup Final for me on Thursday, if we can't win that then it means in 2022 so far Brighton, Aston Villa, Wolves and Newcastle will all have left Goodison without losing, all winnable games on your own pitch.

Failure to win on Thursday,our next three league games are West Ham, Manchester United and Liverpool at Anfield.

I'd predict that by the time games in hand against Watford and Burnley do arrive we'll probably be four or five points adrift of 17th by then.

John Raftery
27 Posted 14/03/2022 at 15:42:32
Dave Watson was once reported to have said to Mike Walker after one of many defeats in 1994, ‘Let’s face it Boss, we’re crap!’. Somebody in the current dressing room should be saying the same to Frank Lampard.

We are the worst team in the league by some distance and have been for five months. Performances have worsened since Lampard arrived. Given the dire level they were at before then, that is remarkable. I suppose the only way is up from here but not if the manager persists with doing what he has done so far. He must change his approach in terms of formation, tactics and selection before Thursday.

The notion that we have players with the ability to play from the back through midfield is nonsensical. The manager needs quickly to simplify the formation, adopt some basic fundamentals in his tactics and identify the players best equipped to battle for the team.

When Lampard was appointed as ‘the fans’ choice’ more than a few had niggling doubts about his ability to navigate a relegation battle. Nothing in his CV has prepared him for this type of challenge, one in which he is competing with two seasoned veterans, Hodgson and Dyche. I hope Frank has the single mindedness to do what is required to turn things around.

Ray Roche
28 Posted 14/03/2022 at 15:50:01
Michael @22
You say ‘ Eddie Howe (1.56) has waved the same “magic wand’ but conveniently forget he also waved £100m in January, buying three defenders, a Brazilian international midfielder and a centre forward.
John Raftery
29 Posted 14/03/2022 at 15:52:20
Tom (19) Eddie Howe was getting some stick from Newcastle fans after a series of defeats before Christmas. His fortunes have changed following some sensible recruitment of experienced players. Ultimately it is players who make the biggest difference. Our recruitment was stupid, given the position we were in.
Geoff Lambert
30 Posted 14/03/2022 at 15:54:41
Could we not get slightly overweight Sam Araldite to help Frank bond the team a bit. Joking aside Thursdays result will define our season any less than 3 points and there is no way back. It's like a bad dream.
James Marshall
31 Posted 14/03/2022 at 15:59:55
I had the same thought earlier - if we get anything less than a win against Newcastle on Thursday, I believe our goose is cooked and we'll definitely be relegated.

We've already lost one of our 'winnable' home games against Wolves yesterday - do that again and we're finished in my view.

Of all the teams in danger, we're by far the worst on form over the last 5/10/15/20 games so why is that going to suddenly change? I don't blame Lampard for the mess but since he took over we've got worse if anything.

If someone opened a brothel on the Goodison Road we wouldn't get a look in.

Dave Abrahams
32 Posted 14/03/2022 at 17:18:01
You make a very good point Lyndon in why Frank Lampard never used a third sub, there were ample contenders to be taken off, and Rondon would have been my choice to come on. I hope he is selected on Thursday as a starter, he will fight for the ball and the team, has nuisance value in keeping the opponents backs occupied for Richarlison to sneak in with a goal, or two( let’s be greedy) and can score himself given the opportunity, Lampard had nothing to lose bringing the last sub on unless he thought he had already used him, then again Frank has got dozens of A level certificates so I don’t think that was the case!!
Dave Abrahams
33 Posted 14/03/2022 at 17:23:27
James (31)Looking at the state of most players fitness, you might think that a brothel, or two, we’re already in operation on Goodison Road.
Frank McGregor
34 Posted 14/03/2022 at 18:34:42
Years ago, when working in England, there was a saying that, "Things are looking black down the mines."

At the moment, I would say that, "Things are looking blacker at Everton than down the mines."

Henrik Lyngsie
35 Posted 14/03/2022 at 20:17:15
John 27 I couldn’t agree more.

Frank is a modern coach who wants to play it out from the defence. We have the worst ball playing defence in the League. They are so insecure and nervous making a simple forward pass and their ball rotation is so slow which makes it so easy for the opponents.
I read somewhere Frank saying we should be better at playing it out from the back.
I hope he didn’t mean during this season. I just can’t see Holgate, Keane or Godfrey being capable of playing out from the back during the next 2 months.
The nervousness from the defence is transmitted to the rest of the team.

Now Frank needs to demonstrate that he is a good manager and finding solutions for the battle we are in. We don’t have other defenders so I think he needs to show tactical flexibility. In my opinion we should drop playing it out from the back for the rest of the season. That would require DCL to be ready as a target man.
Frank you don’t need to admire Big Sam but now is the time to be inspired from what he was good at.

Russelll Smith
36 Posted 14/03/2022 at 20:23:33
I think the constant tinkering with the formation is more about the fitness/illness of the available players than some search for the right system. Allan is a good footballer who, like Coleman, has lost whatever pace he had two or three years ago, so against athletic midfields like Spurs, he gets overrun, but he would probably have been ok yesterday. However the biggest problem for Lampard is that none of the players bought in January are what we need in a relegation battle. I don’t think Delle is ever going to come good as he has no obvious pace and looks disinterested when he does come on. He can’t tackle and hardly closes down or chases back when he should be one of the freshest players when he comes on. I think we should get rid before he plays 18 games (do we then have to pay Spurs anything?)Van de Beek is Klassen mark 2 and we shouldn’t even consider buying him next year whether or not we stay up. Why did we loan El Garzi when we needed cover at centre half and full back? Why have we not played El Garzi when Grey was out? He scored goals for Villa whilst all of our current forwards, including Gordon and Richarlison, are struggling to find the net. Why did he not replace Grey yesterday? If Pattison is capable of playing internationally why is he not deemed good enough to at least be given a chance when Coleman is struggling in most games? Especially if we are going to play with 3 at the back then both the full/wingbacks should be athletic, which is not Jonjo or Seamus. As mentioned above Godfrey is athletic and completely committed but he is rubbish in the air and concedes too many headers in our area. DCL does not look fit. When he has played his jumping seems to be out of synch with the ball flight and as much as I wanted him to be the next Harry Kane it will never happen and I think he will be off next season. With the fit (from what I can see) players available I would like to see us play a 433 system
with the following players
Godfrey (to use his pace to cover Keane)
Keane (to win headers)
Van de Beek
Grey or El Garzi
When out of possession we would revert to 451 to close the holes in the middle and then play on the counter attack.
Will Mabon
37 Posted 14/03/2022 at 20:32:05
Andrew, there's lightweight speculation late on in the "Nothing ventured" thread.

No detail of why, but he's in court in Chester tomorrow morning (apparently).

Brian Murray
38 Posted 14/03/2022 at 20:54:44
Still find it amazing managers won't gamble and try youth. Ancelotti no in-game management – just stood there when a goal down vs mid to lower teams. Same with Benitez.

Now we have a confident lad scoring individual goals (Dobbin) but he looks at Rondon and (one goal in god knows how long) Richarlison to get us out of this.

Will Mabon
39 Posted 14/03/2022 at 20:59:00
Brent, I see what you did there :)
Graeme Beresford
40 Posted 14/03/2022 at 21:43:38
Let's have it correct. Frank is being let off the hook here. We all wanted Rafa out because of his negative tactics, his inability to move the ball forward, lack of shots, creativity, crossing, etc… I hated Rafa and think he left us in such a mess, however… Frank has so far done the same.

Bar a good victory over Leeds, we have been abysmal. To me, he is already hanging on by a thread, not realising how big the job was and seemingly not being able to get anything out of the players, much like Rafa, but strangely not like Carlo, who brought us our first away win at Arsenal and Anfield for years and years. I'm baffled at some of his team selections and the formations, they seem all over the place every week.

Newcastle is our cup final on Thursday. We just have to win. Just to get some bloody confidence up. The only way you win is if you score goals. I wish we crossed the ball, had players in the box for those crosses and just bloody have shots. Anything that drops to you in the penalty area... SHOOT!!! We are due a deflection or a penalty, god knows we are due some luck! Have a bloody shot!

Phillip Warrington
41 Posted 15/03/2022 at 05:37:56
If we don't win, come the weekend, we will be sitting in a relegation position. That's when reality will set in and the boys will ether come out fighting or lay down and die.
David Cooper
42 Posted 15/03/2022 at 07:48:42
Looking for a little bit of hope here but I'm not sure if what I'm going to write can be considered something that will help, hinder or have no effect on our future.

Examining our fixture list is not easy. We have 9 weeks of the Premier League season to go and still have 4 matches to rearrange. This has been complicated by Covid-19, our cup run and the upcoming international break.

We have two home matches vs Crystal Palace and Leicester City, and two away games vs Watford and Burnley. None of these matches can be rearranged until at least the 2nd week of April. So we are going to have four midweek games to complicate our fate.

Maybe good, if we get Mina back and Calvert-Lewin decides he wants to play. Maybe be bad as, the more matches we play, the more injuries we are likely to get!

Maybe Leicester City hold our fate in their hands as strangely we have yet to play them and they are still involved in Europe etc.

Clutching at straws?

Phil Gardner
43 Posted 15/03/2022 at 07:53:30
Good old Dom… about to individually get more points today than the whole team have managed to get in two months.
Gerry Quinn
44 Posted 15/03/2022 at 08:07:28
Ha, ha - cracker, Phil #48 - still chuckling away at it
Colin Glassar
45 Posted 15/03/2022 at 08:12:02
Worst case (and probable) scenario:

We get relegated. Liverpool win the Premier League. The new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock gets cancelled. We get a points deduction and go into administration. Kenshite ousts Moshiri in a bloody palace coup. We are evicted from the Royal Liver Building. Big Sam is reappointed manager and Iwobi is given a new 10-year contract!

It's great being an Evertonian, isn't it?

Tony Abrahams
46 Posted 15/03/2022 at 08:14:28
I'd say the thing that has left us in the biggest mess is years of mismanagement and injuries to key players this season.

We can talk about it all day, but yesterday has gone, and so have Koeman, Walsh, Silva, Brands, Allardyce, Ancelotti and Benitez.

Let's get out of this mess and then hope that Moshiri can sell us but, in the meantime, I think we've got to try and get behind these players, however hard this might be.

Nick Page
47 Posted 15/03/2022 at 08:20:43
Someone hates us, Col, that's for sure.
Trevor Powell
48 Posted 15/03/2022 at 14:00:32
At this time, is all the battering of the players going to inspire them for the last few games?

Just what is needed for players who seem to me to have lost faith in those above!

Howard Sykes
49 Posted 15/03/2022 at 14:00:48

Alex we are not going to "bounce back" if (when) we go down. We are going to go down hard.

The players we have will still struggle in the Championship. Some of them could be good players in a good team, but they aren't in a good team.

We have no shirt sponsors, Moshiri is spent out, he's even having to sell his interest in the Royal Liver Building. The stadium has no funding plan now they've got rid of Usmanov. We are making enormous year-on-year losses.

The Football League may not be as accommodating as the Premier League, look at Derby County. We will get the parachute payment but that's pretty much it.

Pete Clarke
50 Posted 15/03/2022 at 14:20:08
Lampard was brought in for the future re build of the club. I'm sure he was offered a bonus to keep us up but the prick who owns us knew we were out of options for a safety first type manager and just went with whatever he was feeling from the supporters for once.

Moshiri has well and truly done us in and I bet he regrets allowing the fat teary eyed chairman to stay on and advise him because it's cost him a fortune and probably a place in the Premier League. I hope the both of them are gone soon.

We are going to need a massive performance on Thursday just to be in the game and hopefully we get a big slice of luck for once if it's not going our way. VAR owe us a favour that's for sure.

Gary Jones
51 Posted 15/03/2022 at 14:30:18
Howard, go and take a breath, a walk, then calm the fuck down. Yes it's looking pretty grim, but if 38k of us carry on turning up every week we just aren't staying down.

We'll lose plenty of wage vultures in the summer regardless of situation, and with a sale Pickford, Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin we won't need too much of a fire sale in the first summer. Hopefully a chance to keep a few experienced ones (like Godfrey, Keane, Doucoure, Gordon, Gray and Townsend) and build a new team around the likes of Tyrer, Patterson, Welsh, Warrington, Branthwaite, Onyango, Price, Dobbin, Simms, etc, maybe retain the likes of Nkounkou and Broadhead for a year or two also.

Would be nicer to do that in the Premier League too of course, and maybe they'll surprise us and still manage it. Maybe Moshiri's stretched enough to then sell at a small loss and a new billionaire comes in and finishes what he failed. Minus Kenwright. Maybe.

So let's stop the incessant “the end is nigh” crap and start focusing on staying with the club no matter what. Yes, I'm still going to shout in anger at lethargic passing round the back, and be extremely pissed if Frank continues to select more than 2 fullbacks, but I'm going to be there next year, and every year, no matter what.

Gary Jones
52 Posted 15/03/2022 at 14:30:54
Howard, go and take a breath, a walk, then calm down. Yes, it's looking pretty grim, but if 38k of us carry on turning up every week we just aren't staying down.

We'll lose plenty of wage vultures in the summer regardless of the situation, and with the sale of Pickford, Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin, we won't need too much of a fire sale in the first summer. Hopefully a chance to keep a few experienced ones (like Godfrey, Keane, Doucoure, Gordon, Gray and Townsend) and build a new team around the likes of Tyrer, Patterson, Welsh, Warrington, Branthwaite, Onyango, Price, Dobbin, Simms, etc. maybe retain the likes of Nkounkou and Broadhead for a year or two also.

Would be nicer to do that in PL too of course, and maybe they'll surprise us and still manage it. Maybe Moshiri's stretched enough to then sell at a small loss and a new billionaire comes in and finishes what he failed. Minus Kenwright. Maybe.

So let's stop the incessant “the end is nigh” crap and start focusing on staying with the club no matter what. Yes, I'm still going to shout in anger at lethargic passing round the back, and be extremely pissed if Frank continues to select more than 2 full-backs, but I'm going to be there next year, and every year, no matter what.

Alan McGuffog
53 Posted 15/03/2022 at 14:44:37

I agree with most of that. Except the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock will be completed, with an increased capacity. It will become the home of LFC for their Euro Super League fixtures.

Liverpool Domestic will play at Anfield in the Premier league.

Us? Who knows? Gillmoss still available?

Gary Jones
54 Posted 15/03/2022 at 14:47:27
Alan @53, stop being a tit.
Jack Convery
55 Posted 15/03/2022 at 21:13:38
For our away games, we need to grind out every game. We need to set up ultra defensively. Grind out a point or pinch a win from a free kick situation.


Patterson, Keane, Branthwaite, Mykolenko.
Holgate, Allan, Godfrey
Gordon, Richarlison, Gray.

Agression in midfield and height for defending and attacking free-kicks. Basic... but 'basic' is all this squad is capable of.

Jack Convery
56 Posted 16/03/2022 at 03:36:12
Bosmans available from June 2022:

GK: Sam Johnstone WBA. Age 28. 14 clean sheets this season. Well thought of GK.

RB: Mattia De Sciglio. Lazio. Age 29. Italian Int. 39 Caps. Missed 9 matches with injuries in past 2 seasons. Has played LB on occasion.

RB: Adam Marusic Lazio. Age 29. Montenegro Int. 43 Caps. Injury record very good. Has also played LB / CB and Midfield.

LB: Jordan Zemura Bournemouth aged 22. Injuries None this season.

CB: Alessio Romagnoli AC Milan aged 27 AC Milans Capt. 12 Caps for Italy. Few injuries.

MF: Xeka. Lille aged 27 Portuguese. Two footed. CM / DM / LM. No injuries past 2 seasons.

CF Óscar Estupiñán. Guimaraes aged 25. Colombian. 21 goals in 50 games. 4 assists.

Laurie Hartley
57 Posted 16/03/2022 at 08:01:49
Jack # 55,

Unusual pick but I wouldn't mind seeing that team start against the Barcodes – and get Godfrey and Holgate to say hello to the horrible Shelvey.

Jerome Shields
58 Posted 16/03/2022 at 09:49:09
The only positive from the last game was that Frank did try to set up a defensive formation, though at home it was a mistake to do so. This he should have done at away games.

But there are weaknesses in his defensive formation; no designated defending midfielder, only two actual midfielder and a no lead the line centre forward to occupy the opposition defence and maintain Everton's shape. He also now knows that Van de Beek is a duck out of water in a defensive system.

Why Frank did not adopt the formation that had served Everton so well at home recently and decided to change it to defensive seems to have been more panic driven than based on proper assessment.

Both Spurs and Wolves could not believe their luck the way Everton where set up against them. If they had have been able to instruct Everton in how to play the way they wanted, they could not have done any better.

Hopefully, Frank has learned to play open attacking offensive football at home and the play a defensive formation away; that he has learn't something from his recent experiences.

Mick O'Malley
59 Posted 16/03/2022 at 12:24:28
If we do go down, I'm confident of a good season challenging for promotion. If we can't compete with the likes of Luton, Blackburn and West Bromwich, then we might as well pack in.

Norwich seem to have no trouble bouncing back and usually by winning the Championship, so I'd be utterly confident of bouncing straight back if the unimaginable should happen.

Brian Murray
60 Posted 16/03/2022 at 20:57:49
Mick. It would be the end of us.
Mike Hayes
61 Posted 16/03/2022 at 21:18:52
I love the way those on here that pick the almost identical team to Frank and the different formations to use!

But these are the same players who just can't be arsed to play – with the exception of Gordon who is all over the place covering the arses of the lazy shit-shower that are picked.

Frank needs to give the likes of El Ghazi, Patterson and even Rondon the chance to prove they are worthy of being in the team – let's face it, they can't be any worse than those who get picked and fail every time. 🤷

Laurie Hartley
62 Posted 17/03/2022 at 01:42:28
Of one thing I am sure: if we collectively succumb to fear we will go down.

“We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same” Don Juan Matus – Journey to Ixtlan.

Does Frank have the courage to go 4-5-1 against Newcastle?

Holgate, Keane, Branthwaite, Godfrey
Gordon, Doucoure, Allan, Van de Beek, Richarlison

Len Hawkins
63 Posted 17/03/2022 at 08:58:38
I am absolutely convinced this lot cannot get us out of trouble, no matter who the manager is.

We have a board who can't run a bath, let alone a £Multimillion enterprise.

We have a chairman who is nearing the fatal scene where he stands at the front of the directors box and drinks the hemlock (better make it cyanide to be certain) after his final "Infamy, infamy – they've all got it infamy" speech

An owner who surely needs to change the batteries in his aged calculator and return to the international Snakes and Ladders Association where he was a financial wizard.

We have players who prove to any kids watching that you don't need skill, ambition, fight or guts to become a millionaire.

I have to smirk at the idea that Rondon – who was deemed the worst signing ever – can save us. Perhaps the second-worst, Iwobi, can finally pay back some of the near £40million that was stolen by Arsenal... they obviously have a gypsy woman who saw Everton coming in her crystal ball.

If I was looking to become a £millionaire, I would buy up as many silk purses I could afford bring them to Goodison Park or Finch Farm and leave with a lorry load of pigs' ears and flog them to dog owners.

What with Everton and Putin, I honestly think the end of the world is nigh... after all, these placard holders can't be wrong all of the time.

I'm still hoping that I will wake up and the nightmare will be over.

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