If there was a gnawing sense throughout much of this game that Frank Lampard had played it more than a little cagily, it was brought home in the final 10 minutes when, with more in the way of a focal point up front in Salomon Rondon and Dele Alli and some badly-needed drive in midfield from Amadou Onana, Everton finally started to create some clear-cut chances.

Up until then, the unheeded futility of deploying a front line of wingers, none of whom are renowned for their goalscoring prowess or consistency in end product, had been the order of the day... with predictable results. Everton surpassed 150 minutes of goalless football to start the new season and added another 20 until all three of those more positive introductions off the bench had been made.

Not that either Dele, who becomes an ever more perplexing enigma the longer he starts matches on the bench, or Rondon added all that much cutting edge but they at least added some physical presence and height to the side. And it was from the Venezuelan’s headed flick-on that Onana almost plundered a dramatic equaliser in stoppage time.

As much it was understandable that Lampard withheld his new signing until the 80th minute — one would assume he would have been fit enough to kick off the Ligue 1 season with Lille but the Blues’ boss clearly didn’t think it was wise to pitch him straight into the heat of the Premier League — you couldn’t help wondering how different things might have been had Onana come on a lot sooner.

The Belgian was caught in possession in the centre-circle which led to Aston Villa making it 2-0 with four minutes of the regulation 90 to go (the cooling breaks mandated due to the unusually hot weather added more stoppage time than usual) but within a minute he had atoned by setting up the goal that brought Everton right back into it. Even in such a short span of time, the extra dimension he added to the midfield was clear and it augurs well for Evertonian hopes that in Onana the club have signed a gem.

What preceded his introduction was, sadly, deeply concerning. Abdoulaye Doucouré had been forced off after 33 minutes with a tight hamstring and it took his replacement, the less-than-inspiring Tom Davies, less than 10 minutes to pick up a booking after Anthony Gordon had put him in trouble with a poor pass. 

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Like the rest of that ill-suited attacking trio rounded out by Dwight McNeil and Demarai Gray, Gordon had been unable to make anything stick up front for the Toffees while Jordan Pickford’s distribution was just off and in the face of a fast, intense start from Villa, it promised to be a long afternoon.

And yet, there was always hope that with James Tarkowski and debutant Conor Coady in the side, Everton might find a profitable route via dead-ball situations. They would have the ball in the net after Gordon had turned a loose ball home from a corner but the goal would be disallowed for offside and, for the most part, the deliveries at set-pieces were pretty poor.

They were almost undone by one at other end when Diego Carlos headed narrowly over from a corner but it would only take another half an hour before the home side scored.

Ollie Watkins had collected a deep ball near the touchline and when he centred for Danny Ings, the striker took a touch to engineer space from Abdoulaye Doucouré to smash a shot past Jordan Pickford.

Having lost two players to injury last week, Lampard was forced to replace another shortly afterwards when Doucouré pulled up and the hosts retained the upper hand for much of the rest of the half.

Still, after McNeil and Gray almost combined on a rare foray by the visitors into the home penalty area and the former’s pass ended up being too heavy, it was Everton who almost carved out a chance in stoppage time. However, Gray couldn’t control a cross into the six-yard box and from the subsequent corner, the officials elected not to penalise Carlos when he clattered through Mason Holgate in the box as Villa’s defence finally managed to hack the ball clear.

John McGinn blazed a shot over after dispossessing Gray to start to the second period while Nathan Patterson finally got to the opposition byline when he drew a foul from Lucas Digne and McNeil dropped a half-volley wide before the Toffees, playing in their all-yellow third kit for the first time, finally tested Martinez when Gray forced him into parrying a strong shot.

Rondon was introduced with 64 minutes on the clock as McNeil made way but Lampard resisted making his final changes until there were just 10 minutes left.

In between, Vitalii Mykolenko had had to clear off his own line when Buendia’s deflected shot looked to be looping in but while Onana and Dele were belatedly introduced to try and change the pattern of the match, Villa appeared to put the game to bed just six minutes later.

Unfortunately, Onana’s first real involvement was costly, even if it was born of a genuine desire to push the team forward. He was dispossessed near the half-way line and Villa moved it quickly to Buendia who fed Watkins to his right and then raced into the box to collect the return ball and scuff it inside the post to double the score.

Onana responded positively and immediately, though, with excellent footwork on the byline at the other end that ended with him squeezing the ball across where former Everton defender Lucas Digne couldn’t help but bundle it into his own net.

That sparked a late flurry of action that saw Davies caught stranded as the last man from an Everton corner but Pickford saved to deny Watkins. Gordon then came back to life to surge in on goal and shoot but Martinez pushed it away and Rondon couldn’t get enough on the rebound to stab it home.

Then, after Rondon had flicked on a long ball forward, Onana popped up in the box again and stretched out a long leg to divert it goal-wards but a combination of a defender’s leg and Martinez’s glove was enough to deflect it behind.

Finally, Gordon had one last chance when he cut back on his right foot and had one shot blocked before he stung Martinez’s palms again with the rebound but Everton would run out of time in their attempts to salvage a point.

The club’s need for striking reinforcements was desperate coming into the season; it is not absolutely critical if the team aren’t to start descending into a hole they will find it very difficult to dig themselves out of, particularly if they can’t pick up points away from home. At the moment, precious time — and points — is slipping away.

Realistically, Everton need to add two forwards who can both create and contribute goals because with Lampard appearing to have little faith in Rondon — he explained his absence from the starting XI away by alluding to the fact that the Venezuelan was still in pre-season mode in terms of fitness — and the manager unable to count on Calvert-Lewin consistently being fit, just one striker won’t suffice.

Beyond that, Lampard himself could do with being a good deal more proactive and adventurous than he was today in a game his side could quite easily have drawn based on the respective performances and those hectic last few minutes.

Reader Comments (48)

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Jim Wilson
1 Posted 13/08/2022 at 22:15:36
Awful start to the season. We have played 2 teams there for the taking and lost 2.

We need to do what we have to do to get Gueye signed up because he is the player who will steady things in midfield and get us ticking over.

We obviously need a forward brought in before the next game.

And most of all we need to ditch the ludicrous back 3 that has never worked for us and install a back 4 with a 5 man midfield with Gordon and McNeil on the flanks.

Make us hard to beat, Frank, and stop being stupid; otherwise, you will go exactly the same way as Mike Walker.

Will Mabon
2 Posted 13/08/2022 at 22:41:33
Realistically, the lack of an actual forward for the best part of two whole matches, has had such stultifying effects, it's about impossible to judge anything forward of the defence, so far.

Got to be quick. Last minute of the window will be too late.

Bill Fairfield
3 Posted 13/08/2022 at 23:09:51
Big disappointment. Gordon up top again? Come on, Frank.
Jerome Shields
4 Posted 13/08/2022 at 23:21:42
Not having a starting recognisable forward is a real problem.
Paul Kernot
5 Posted 14/08/2022 at 00:37:01
That was like watching a horror movie when you already know the ending but can't look away. Right from the start, it was obvious it was only a matter of time before they scored.

Easy to say with hindsight, of course, but if Lampard had been brave and put Onana on instead of Davies, it may have been a different outcome.

Dupont Koo
6 Posted 14/08/2022 at 00:53:00
Onana's turnover that led to the game-winning goal was a blessing-in-disguise actually.

Neither did he have his head down nor play safe. He actually played the exact opposite with a complete disregard of the little time left on the clock! That grit and determination alone put him heads & shoulders over Doucouré, Davies, Allan, Gomes and Gbamin.

Can't wait to see his partnership with Iwobi in the middle against Forest!

Jack Convery
7 Posted 14/08/2022 at 02:30:48
Whatever you meant by 'judge us at the end of the window', Mr Moshiri,, it had better be good. In fact, it needs to be better than good.

In my opinion, we could have at least 2 points on the board now but for the lack of a striker and a classy defensive midfielder.

Frank may well end up like Silva. Silva wanted a centre-back, He never got one. Frank needs a centre-forward now. Not in 3 weeks but now. He needs that defensive midfielder too. Both need to come in by Wednesday so they meet their team mates, train and settle in and play against Forest.

Please don't give us Adams, Barkley and Winks because that will be taking the proverbial.

Phil Sammon
8 Posted 14/08/2022 at 03:49:17
Jim @ 1

Lampard has well and truly nailed his colours to the mast with a back 5. That will be his formation for the rest of the season.

I hate it, even when you have the ‘right' players, but when you don't, it's surely doomed to fail.

The three centre-backs never seem to know where their jurisdiction ends and the full-backs' begins. It's a shaky defensive system and robs the team of another midfielder, thereby hindering the attack.

Does any team do it well?

Haven't seen enough of Patterson to judge just yet, but Mykolenko is never going to be the type of marauding wingback required.

I think we desperately need to go back to the 4-5-1 employed by Moyes. I really want to support Frank but I feel he's barking up the wrong tree.

Jerome Shields
9 Posted 14/08/2022 at 05:21:22
Phil #8,

That's the way Frank has the team set up. The training ground routine is set up to reflect the matchday's approach. Rather than be a defensive formation, it is set up with an emphasis to support midfield.

I predicted the only change for the Villa game would be Coady for Mina and only change for the next game will be Davies to start if Doucoure is injured. If Gueye, is signed he will be in instead of Davies. Throughout the relegation battle, Frank stuck with the same tactics.

There are two problems with it. Loss of possession going forward, mainly due to no holding forward. When Everton are pressed, it naturally pushes them back to a back five and, with no defending midfielder, they are exposed and errors occur.

As Jack #7 says, Everton needs a defending midfielder and a centre-forward by next Wednesday. If they get Gueye, it may be okay, but I am not sure of any of the centre-forwards that Everton are supposed to be chasing.

It was gross negligence to be depending on Calvert-Lewin and Rondon before the Premier League fixtures started.

Tony Hill
10 Posted 14/08/2022 at 07:20:43
Phil @8,

I agree with those who would give Vinagre a go instead of Mykolenko.

Patterson looks to me as though he's going to be a very serious asset over time.

Brent Stephens
11 Posted 14/08/2022 at 07:59:31
Jerome #9

"The only change for the next game will by Davies to start it Doucoure is injured."

I'd be really surprised if Davies starts ahead of Onana in the next game. I'd be surprised if a fit Doucouré started ahead of Onana.

Jim Bennings
12 Posted 14/08/2022 at 08:12:28
Under Moyes, we had midfielders up front, I think we had Cahill leading the line with Fellaini behind him, during one particular injury crisis. Unfortunately we don't possess a Tim Cahill or a Marouane Fellaini anymore.

The idea that a front three of McNeil, Gray and Gordon will ever produce goals or end product is mental. Three punchless players that have some decent attributes but none can deliver even remotely the amount of goals we require.

I don't want to criticize Frank but I'm worried that he's been here since January and we have taken a mere 4 points away from home, the performance levels have been atrocious mostly.

He needs to quickly come up with something that makes us more resilient away from home but, more than anything, we need some damn goals in this team ASAP. We can't afford to allow yet another week to pass with no moves for a striker.

I still believe we need two strikers because Calvert-Lewin is so unreliable now and has been for 12 months due to injury, it's not about him getting fit in October, it's a matter of: Can he even stay fit now?

David Bromwell
13 Posted 14/08/2022 at 08:17:31
Still early days, I suppose, but – although I like Frank and really want him to succeed – he continues to frustrate with his selections and matchday tactics.

For most part, the three at the back looked comfortable yesterday, particularly Holgate who seems to have started the season well.

The real problems are obvious, as usual our two-man midfield were over run, although Iwobi once again played well and, in fairness, Davies was okay.

In attack, our three wide players cannot function without a target man.

So we need reinforcements, that much is obvious, but Frank and Co are still setting the team up and, with the current players, this system is not working.

Tony Abrahams
14 Posted 14/08/2022 at 08:33:12
Under Moyes, we also failed to win at any of the top teams of the time, which is not something you would ever have associated with Everton FC.

I've just read the argument between Gary Neville and Jamie Rednapp on the Echo website, about the problems at Manchester United and it could have easily taken place on this very website.

Everton are undercooked for a season once again, and, for a lot of people this is just acceptable, and possibly because it's been this way forever? But to others, it's why the mighty have fallen, and until Lampard or another manager, are given time, to get rid of the shite that are draining the finances, and given more time, to bring a bit of footballing stability back into the club, then things are not going to change.

Does Lampard look like a tactician? Not really, but we do look a bit more organized defensively.

Did Lampard come into a football club that have been mismanaged that disastrously forever, that they only survived relegation by the skin of their teeth, and the passion on the sidelines? Definitely.

Has Lampard made a connection between himself and the fans? I'd say definitely, and for a club like Everton, with such passionate fans, then I personally think this is massive.

Let's face it, the only thing still massive about Everton Football Club is the fans, and until we get proper people running our football club, nothing is going to change, imo.

Danny O’Neill
15 Posted 14/08/2022 at 08:47:51
He made an impact on the game, Brent. Some will point to the mistake for the goal in giving away possession. But he gave us a presence in midfield that we had been lacking. Until then, McGinn could have been playing in his flip-flops smoking a cigar because he had it that easy.

On that second goal, having watched it back and being hyper-critical, the centre-backs were way too close together, both looking at the ball. This left the eventual scorer in acres of space for a tap in.

Great strength and driving run from Onana for the response. Let's see more of him.

Just listened to Gerrard. Openly states it was about getting at Everton's back 3 and exploiting the channels. That was obvious from the start.

Take heed, Frank. If it wasn't obvious, you've been figured out by a fellow rookie. Ditch the 3 unless you've got a midfield in front of them that can protect that system and get us on the front foot.

Tony Abrahams
16 Posted 14/08/2022 at 08:49:47
I'd try Mykolenko inside because I think he might make our system a lot more fluid when we are in possession, and also because he's played a lot of his football at full-back. He is definitely a lot more aware to the big switch, which seems to catch a lot of teams out in modern football.

Villa pulled Holgate out of position by keeping the ball just before halftime yesterday, in a carbon copy move of the one that got Chelsea a penalty last week. I just wonder if Mykolenko might just be a lot more aware defensively. But this will only be effective if Coady or Tarkowski can play on the right side of the last man?

Jim Bennings
17 Posted 14/08/2022 at 09:11:22
I said during the summer that we did just what we always do at this club.

We sat there and sold our most effective attacking player and then bigged up Anthony Gordon, payrise, new number and then straight away the expectations were going to be higher on him. This despite him scoring just 4 goals last season and still looking a long way off the finished article.

Fans were meant to be appeased by that move from the club – new Number 10 Wonder Boy move, etc. But it's been burying our heads in the sand as always.

There was a lack of goals last season and the likes of Gordon and Gray were one of the contributing factors in this lack of threat – not the sole cause but they were not offering the solution.

The club buried it's head in the sand and put all the eggs in the "Let's hope Dominic Calvert-Lewin will stay fit" basket.

Where was the planning for the fact that, for 18 months, Calvert-Lewin has been injury-prone? I even started towards the end of Ancelotti's time here.

We are left with Rondon as our only option, a free signing from the Rafa Benitez era... Deary me, you couldn't make this up.

Jerome Shields
18 Posted 14/08/2022 at 09:38:57

Imo, which maybe wrong, though any pronouncements from trainers say I am journey, Frank's and his sidekick's selection reflects what has been repeatedly practised in training and the players who have hit the required level and having consistently trained. So Doucoure is ahead of Davis and they both are ahead of Onana. As for Gueye he would come straight in because he is made for the tactics that Frank will play. Any other changes will be on a similar bases.

I also think that Frank wanted to play like City, Chelsea and Liverpool in not having a Centre Forward, like a Centre Forward per sa. So Calvert Lewin and Rondon( What was Rondon's contract terms ) where considered enough. They where even prepared to take a chance on Calvert Lewin getting injured. Calvert Lewin may have been considered a false Number 9.

Frank has not Learn't, what Ancelotti found out that most Everton players do not have the technical ability( Quality) to play open style football. With Everton you get players prone to errors, caught in possession and poor pass completion, which you just can't have in such a system.

Tony Abrahams
19 Posted 14/08/2022 at 09:49:34
That last sentence surely goes right across the board though Jerome, because if you are prone to errors, get caught in possession and have a poor completion rate when passing the ball, then you are simply not good enough to play at the highest level, imo mate.

I don’t like the system because it isolates the wingbacks, especially when they haven’t got a centre forward to hit, but if he brings in the players he wants, I also feel that Lampard is the first Everton manager to at least have a plan for years, so I’m not going to be giving up on the man.

It’s got that bad, I think I’d sooner give up on the club, or at least until they have a better strategic review, although it has been said that even Bill can’t understand why Lampard and Thelwell haven’t signed a centre forward.

Tony Everan
20 Posted 14/08/2022 at 10:10:48
We are not in a crisis yet, but suffer defeat to Forest at home and that C-word will rear it's ugly head once more.

Why do we always start matches poorly? We always seem to be on the back foot. Late improvements mean very little when the game is already gone.

Games are most often won or lost when those initial battles for midfield supremacy have been settled. To this end, I think that it is clear again that Gana and Onana have to be in the engine room. We need both to impose ourselves on games; without them, we are the supplicant.

Then the ‘blunt knife' syndrome. How teams must love playing Everton because there is no real threat up front. Dele Alli is the only player with a scoring pedigree, albeit in the past, but he is benched in favour of Gordon playing out of position. Gray has been disappointing and needs to deliver more end product, more frequently. McNeil ditto.

These players are really only providers , McNell's history is a two-goals a-season player, Gray's is better at four goals a season. Expecting them to score enough goals to win games is almost delusional. I don't know what Frank is thinking with this three goal-shy wingers up front idea.

Gordon I have the confidence he will improve back in his more natural position, attacking and providing from the right. He needs the central striker to attract defenders whilst he deals with his full-back one on one.

Until we get Gana or alternative and Broja or one of the quality alternatives in, expect more of the same.

Mick Roberts
21 Posted 14/08/2022 at 10:18:36
What we need is for Lampard to wake up and stop this hopeless formation.

You would have thought that, after last season's atrocities away, he would have learnt... but no! Carry on and the result is the same results – just wake up, for fuck's sake!

Jim Bennings
22 Posted 14/08/2022 at 10:25:06
The free agents out there.

Mercenaries no doubt, but surely we could look at getting Costa, Cavani to go with say Broja on loan?

Short term yes, one season yes, but that's where the club is at right now.

Andy Meighan
23 Posted 14/08/2022 at 10:30:17
Great post from Jim @17.

As much as I like Gordon, he's far from the finished article. Poor goal return, decision-making could be a lot better, but still, to his credit, he's learning all the time, and he most definitely isn't a striker or a false 9 (what?).

I mean 2 of his 4 goals last season were massive deflections, but if you don't buy a ticket etc.

Get him back playing in his natural position and he'll flourish as the season goes on. Until then, let's not be too harsh on the kid or openly criticise him. Early days yet... isn't it.

Jerome Shields
24 Posted 14/08/2022 at 10:36:33
Tony #19,

Yes, getting caught out is not good in any system. But in Frank's system, players are more exposed.

Whilst Gordon is good at pressing, he is out of position. Gray and McNeil are questionable. Add to that no holding centre-forward and the ball can be turned over fast. The opposition defence can play a higher line. The tendency of the Everton centre-backs to be deeper than they should doesn't help either. All it takes is one to be deep.

I too would like to see it all work out, but a good defensive midfielder is needed and a good centre-forward. If a really good one arrives, it might be a good thing Calvert-Lewin is out. He underwhelms at best.

Jim Wilson
25 Posted 14/08/2022 at 10:39:33
Phil Sammon & Mick Roberts, I totally agree with your comments.

You would think in this new football world where stats seem to be everything, someone would look at the results we have had when playing the back 3 system.

And why does Lampard change to a back 4 during a game to try and get out of the mess the back 3 created? It is a ridiculous system that hardly ever works.

We will get beat by Forest and over the next few weeks the defence will get worse and worse, just like last season.

Unless, like you say, Mick, Lampard wakes up.

Colin Glassar
26 Posted 14/08/2022 at 10:41:05
Tony E,

Once we get the midfield enforcer to play alongside Onana and a natural goal-scoring forward, we will be just fine.

Right now, we are a jigsaw puzzle missing 3 or 4 pieces. I like what I see so far. More fight, more energy, more spirit than last season. Give the man time to get his players and formation sorted.

Eddie Dunn
27 Posted 14/08/2022 at 11:01:48
The fact is that Frank has been denied Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison for large swathes of his tenure. It is therefore dumb to keep trying the same thing. We are very predictable and with the back five, with just two in midfield, we are picked off every game.

Everyone knows how to play us. As soon as our gormless players cough-up possession, we are hit with balls over the top or down the channels, catching our wingbacks out of position.

Frank has been tactically naive for his whole tenure. He also has been far too slow with his subs. How Gray starts a game is beyond me. He is never ready to play a one-two, always getting caught taking an extra touch.

Gordon will get better but he ain't a centre-forward.
If we can get a decent forward in, then we can judge Frank. Now is too soon, but I wonder just what they decided their prioreties were?

What idiocy to loan out three young lads with just Calvert-Lewin and Rondon. Now, the Forest game is looking rather important.

Jim Wilson
28 Posted 14/08/2022 at 12:37:29
Spot on, Eddie!
Jerome Shields
29 Posted 14/08/2022 at 12:42:55
Tony #20,

Being on the back foot sums it up. Defensive players deep, allowing forwards time and space. Midfield receiving the ball and then giving it away, and forward players doing the same. What are they being told to do? Are they unsure what to do? Something is getting lost in translation.

It might be a good idea to put in a late loan offer for Van de Beek and Ronaldo.

Jerome Shields
30 Posted 14/08/2022 at 12:42:55

Being on the back foot sums it up.Defensive players deep allowing forwards time and space.Midfield receiving the ball and then giving it away and forward players doing the same.What are they being told to do? Are they unsure what to do?Something is getting lost in translation.

It might be a good idea to put ina late loan offer for Van be beek and Ronaldo.

Jerome Shields
31 Posted 14/08/2022 at 12:42:56

Being on the back foot sums it up.Defensive players deep allowing forwards time and space.Midfield receiving the ball and then giving it away and forward players doing the same.What are they being told to do? Are they unsure what to do?Something is getting lost in translation.

It might be a good idea to put in a late loan offer for Van be beek and Ronaldo.

Stu Darlington
33 Posted 14/08/2022 at 12:47:43
Could be usual paper talk, but just heard Newcastle maybe coming back in with a £40M bid for Gordon.

I know I'll get slaughtered on here but I'd take it and throw £30M+ at Chelsea for Broja or Gallagher.
Problem solved.

Jim Bennings
34 Posted 14/08/2022 at 13:07:48
I wouldn't go back for Van de Beek to be honest, another injury-prone lightweight.

Ronaldo wouldn't give Everton the laces off his boots let alone come here to play, so I'm guessing that was a jest.

Realistic signings would be players that wouldn't be immense but would at least offer some threat, Broja on loan, Che Adams (better than what we have used so far).

I know nothing at all of this Guirassy lad we are supposed to be in for but I worry that's another potshot on a Tosun or Niasse move.

Martin Mason
35 Posted 14/08/2022 at 14:17:53
There was a lot to learn from yesterday. Firstly to play 3 at the back you need specialists who are good at it and a strong central midfield. I don't believe that we have the players to pull it off unlike, say, City. When you don't have the players for 3 at the back then we need to play a conventional 4-4-2 or 4-5-1. Why do I feel that Frank will appear not to learn or not to want to change? Not all negative yesterday other than wasting 45 minutes of the game, a key thing is also that Rondon is not a bad player as a stand in. Stop playing square pegs in round holes in just about every position.
John Daley
36 Posted 14/08/2022 at 14:33:27
Trying not to be too doom and gloom with nil points on the board. Are we in a better position squad-wise? Barring the obvious DCL and Richie giant sized hole in the squad I think we are. Half dozen or so not up to scratch player we desperately need to move on to free up cash but new recruits Tark, Coady and Onana (so far) are all improvements on what we had last season. Patterson showing a lot of promise as a big question mark was against him last season…….big shoes to fill but optimistic. Fingers crossed for more signings but we need to be patient as the newbies settle in. Lets have some positivity fellow Blues.
Tony Abrahams
37 Posted 14/08/2022 at 14:47:12
Some people say that you’re a great comic writer John, but I prefer to read what you write about football, and would definitely agree with what you have just wrote, especially “if” we can get a few out the door, and bring at least a couple more better players in.
Mal van Schaick
38 Posted 14/08/2022 at 16:08:22
An absolute scandal that we are this far into the season without a least two other recognised strikers aside from Rondon and DCL. Points dropped all ready when we can’t afford to drop that many. Absolute mismanagement!
Jerome Shields
39 Posted 14/08/2022 at 16:35:05

Both suggestions where in jest. But I do have a similar feeling regarding Guirassy.

Kim Vivian
40 Posted 14/08/2022 at 16:49:32
"I know nothing at all of this Guirassy lad we are supposed to be in for but I worry that's another potshot on a Tosun or Niasse move."

What relatively little I've seen of this Guirassy lad he reminds me more of Lukaku than Niasse or Tosun.

Whatever - whoever, we need to get a good target man in soon unless we can suddenly find the next Salah or Zola hidden somewhere at FF.

...and whoa - what a strike from Koulibaly just as I'm typing.

Ajay Gopal
41 Posted 14/08/2022 at 17:54:07
Gray and McNeil need to be benched for a few games, until they put in a lot of work at Finch Farm. I wonder if it would be worth trying a traditional 4-4-2 with Coady playing as a the screening midfielder in front of the back 4 and Onana, Tom Davies and Iwobi playing just ahead. Gordon and Rondon/Alli as a front 2:

Patterson Holgate Tarkowski Mykolenko
Iwobi Davies Coady Onana
Gordon Rondon

I saw Nottingham Forest play today, and I
must say they were very, very lucky to come away with 3 points. West Ham were far superior and how they did not score in that game is a wonder. Lampard needs his tactics to start working, I would hate for us to have to sack him this season. It would be an indication of another failed managerial appointment and Everton cannot afford that.

Andy Meighan
42 Posted 14/08/2022 at 17:55:52
Jerome 30. We had vdb here last January onwards on loan. Apart from the Leeds game he was ordinary. He is most definitely what we do not want. Haven't we got enough shot shy midfielders on the books already. We're crying out for goalscoring midfielders and 1 or 2 strikers.

As for Ronaldo. He's stated he wants a Champs lge club. He wouldn't even look at us. Another sulking fucker when things don't go his own way. Thanks but no thanks.

Frank McGregor
43 Posted 14/08/2022 at 19:55:34
I see Ellis Simms scored again yesterday for Sunderland that makes 3 goals in 2 games.
Cannot believe he wasn't given the opportunity at Everton this season.
Yet no Everton player has scored!
David West
44 Posted 14/08/2022 at 20:40:52
Tony Abrahams. I agree about Frank needing time totally. If people can't see the small changes being made all over compared to where Frank began, that's their ignorance.

The mess this football club was in before Frank came was not going to be fixed with one transfer window. The biggest problem is the sub-standard players on massive wages blocking the path for change.

I'm talking your Keane, Gomes, Gbamin and Rondon. I'm sure Frank would dispose of them tomorrow if it was viable to replace them.

They are going to cling on to them big contracts as long as possible because they know they are getting way over the odds for the level these players are at and they won't be getting them wages on their next contract.

It's another 12 months before we will have a team that Frank has ensembled and disposed of the dead wood then I believe we will see real progress.

I think he's started the season weary of the losses we had when he first took over. But he has to be brave. When we went to 4 at the back it just looked so much better balanced. We are just nullifying our assets of Gray and Gordon.

Next line up:

Dele Alli

Wingers on the wing; full-backs at full-back; and a focal point up front (even if it's Rondon).

Tony Abrahams
45 Posted 14/08/2022 at 20:55:43
That would do for me, David, because I personally think the only thing that you can't defend against in football is a 2v1 situation, and especially in wide areas.

I don't particularly like playing with wingbacks, but I do believe Lampard has got a vision for this team, and because it's very early days, I'm definitely prepared to give the man loads of time.

Danny O’Neill
46 Posted 14/08/2022 at 23:10:56
I'd agree with that view John @36. Yes there is a gaping hole up front, compounded by the injury to Calvert-Lewin.

But otherwise, the squad looks in better shape, especially at the back and we now need at least 3 captains armbands to dish out. Previously, if Seamus wasn't playing, it was like a hot potato. And in reality, Seamus is more respected than a natural leader.

I think Onana is going to be the midfield presence we've been craving.

3 at the back is okay with me as long as you have the wing backs and midfield to support it. And 3-5-2 vice 3-4-3. The latter makes me feel really uncomfortable. Four in midfield in the modern game tends to leave you exposed. Especially if you're playing 3 at the back. Opinions obviously.

I too would be keen to see Mykolenko play on the left of a 3. I think his natural defensive instincts would lend themselves to that position.

Bob Parrington
47 Posted 15/08/2022 at 04:16:24
How different this thread might have been if we had been given the two nailed-on penalties that were clear to see, both on Holgate, one the shirt pull associated with the Gordon goal/no goal and the other the clear kick of the ankle. It is time for the refs and the VAR to grow up and treat all sides as equal in the rules of the game.

And… of course, we need 2 new strikers pronto!

Anybody viewed the swear bomb handbags at 10 paces between Tuchel and Conte. Clearly, they both are masters of the English language. Now, how big a fine should this be? £1m each?? Disgraceful behaviour from 2 very wealthy men with zero class!

Bob Parrington
48 Posted 15/08/2022 at 04:35:48
David #45 and Tony #46,

I agree with much of what you have written. I think we have some good balance at the back now that we have Patterson, Coady, Tarkowski and Mykolenko. We're looking better in the middle, too! But gut feel tells me we would have had 2, if not 4, points if we'd had a couple of decent strikers.

I was hoping we'd start again this season having sold both Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin, not because I don't rate them but more that I feel they were not suited to us building a team around, considering our monetary shortfalls.

It was right to let Richarlison go because he deserves the chance to play European competition. Calvert-Lewin – injuries recently and the risk of keeping him if we could have negotiated a good offer??? Feel the same with Yerri Mina as with Calvert-Lewin.

Let's hope we can secure the strikers that will fit.

Barry Jones
51 Posted 15/08/2022 at 16:13:25
Colin #26, John #36, and Tony A,

Thanks for the positive posts. I concur with you. I can't believe the negativity on here, especially in the Michael K matchday report postings. Well, actually I can, as it is generally rampant. It's just two games. I see more positives in these two games than negatives.

Iwobi was class once again, and the central defense looks way more solid and confident. Patterson looks like he may become a gem. Onana looks like he can be a real handful. Dwight McNeil will prove to be a very good signing, and writing him off now is utterly ridiculous.

On the negative side, we do need a striker (or two) and maybe another midfielder. Gray for me, has shown very little since the opening few weeks of last season (I concur with Eddie D on this). I would bench him and play Dele. I don't see how that could be worse. Dele has more physical strength and will keep the ball better.

Guys, it's just two games! I think Lampard and the team will come good once we make a couple more signings and players bed in.

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