Aston Villa vs Everton

12/08/2022 150comments  |  Jump to last
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Conor Coady could go straight into the team following injuries to Ben Godfrey and Yerry Mina

Everton travel to Birmingham for the Saturday lunchtime kick-off and their first away game of the new season against Aston Villa.

Having been beaten on the opening day by Chelsea, Frank Lampard will be keen to start getting points on the board while work continues in the transfer market to further strengthen the side.

With no tangible movement on a striker, however, the Toffees will go into this fixture with just Salomon Rondon as a recognised centre-forward but that will be an improvement on last weekend when the Venezuelan was suspended and unable to deputise for the injured Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

Everton struggled without a focal point up front for long periods against Chelsea and with this being an away fixture, the importance of having a target man who can hold the ball up could be all the more important.

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Rondon offers that even if his measly goal return of just three in 23 appearances last season puts question marks over his suitability to lead the line on a long-term basis. He spoke over the summer of wanting to remain an important member of the side and there’ll no better time to make an impact than at Villa Park this weekend.

While Rondon could be a voluntary change to the XI that started against Chelsea, Lampard will be forced into at least two changes elsewhere in the line-up after both Ben Godfrey and Yerry Mina succumbed to injuries.

New signing Conor Coady offers a ready-made replacement for one and Mason Holgate, who replaced Godfrey last Saturday, acquitted himself well once more and will likely get the nod if, as expected, the manager continues with a back three.

In midfield, Idrissa Gueye remains frustratingly beyond reach as his wranglings with Paris Saint-Germain over severance pay rumble on but new signing Amadou Onana will be champing at the bit to make his debut.

The 20-year-old arrived in a £30m deal from Lille on Tuesday and while the Blues’ deficiencies in defensive midfield are well-documented, it remains to be seen whether he gets pitched straight in for his full debut.

His rather clumsy challenge on Raheem Sterling aside, Abdoulaye Doucouré played very well last time out and Alex Iwobi was also impressive but neither is a true holding player or natural screen for the defence. Allan has been used in that capacity more often but he has yet to start either a pre-season or League game since recovering from surgery over the summer.

Given his more attacking instincts, Iwobi would be more useful deployed further forward, perhaps at the expense of Dwight McNeil if either Allan or Onana or selected; otherwise, it could just be a case of “as you were”.

Like Everton, Villa started 2021-22 in fairly promising fashion under a new(-ish) manager. Steven Gerrard had taken the helm at the Midlands club in November 2021 after Dean Smith had been given his marching orders and, having made some key signings like Emiliano Buendía, Philippe Coutinho and Leon Bailey, much was expected of the former Rangers manager’s team.

They comprehensively beat Rafael Benitez’s team in this fixture last term but spent much of the season in mid-table obscurity and finished the season in 14th place, just six points above Everton.

A defeat to Bournemouth last weekend hasn’t done much to ease the growing doubts about Gerrard’s ability to take the Villans to the next level and there are rumblings that those concerns extend to some the players, amid rumours of behind-the-scenes strife.

If true, it’s the kind of uncertainty that could play into Everton’s hands as they go in search of a win to kickstart their own campaign, even if Gerrard only has a couple of players likely to be missing in the form of Tyrone Mings and Kortney Hause.

Hopefully, the defensive solidity that largely restricted Chelsea to a barrage of corners and the encouraging signs Everton exhibited with the ball last weekend can provide the platform from which they can cause Villa problems and get them the three points to take back to Merseyside.

Kick-off: 12:30 pm, Saturday 13 August 2022
Referee: Michael Oliver
VAR: Andy Madley
Last Time: Aston Villa 3 - 0 Everton

Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Holgate, Coady, Tarkowski, Patterson, Mykolenko, Doucouré, Iwobi, Gordon, Gray, Rondon


Reader Comments (150)

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Brian Murray
1 Posted 12/08/2022 at 06:37:06
Nil-nil written all over it so it's time for Frank to show us what he's made of by out-thinking the other dugout with an inspiring sub, like Mills, to add some quality.

Very winnable game. Cheap goals given away should be a thing of the past that the likes of Keane specialise in.

Darryl Ritchie
2 Posted 12/08/2022 at 06:39:20
Bring in a striker, and we just might have something.

Not expecting much with Rondon up top though.

1-1…I think.

Robert Leigh
3 Posted 12/08/2022 at 06:51:06
Hopefully a full pre-season means we see a little more out of Rondon, because – let's face it – he'll get plenty of game time this season.

2-0 with a goal from him and one from Iwobi, COYB!

Jim Bennings
4 Posted 12/08/2022 at 06:55:00
We've made some good signings but how are we going in to yet another game without a striker?

I'm sorry but at this level and based on last season, I can't seriously consider Rondon to be the answer.

At best a 0-0 draw?

Will a striker be incoming before the window actually closes?

David Bromwell
5 Posted 12/08/2022 at 07:20:12
I think with Coady in for Mina and Rondon in for Gray we look a better balanced unit than last week.

All the rest to keep their starting places, but with a stronger looking bench there is every reason to be hopeful.

Not at all sure about Pickford being captain and wonder has this decision been confirmed for the season?

6 Posted 12/08/2022 at 07:26:17
I'd rather play with 10 men than start Rondon. Awful player.

I think he'll start Alli with Gordon and Gray or McNeil. I would personally drop McNeil to the bench for this one.

I don't think he'll start Onana either, but will definitely bring him off the bench at some point.

The lack of firepower worries me and we have got to get at least one striker in before the window closes.

Jim Bennings
7 Posted 12/08/2022 at 07:27:09
Tarkowski or Coady should be captain.

I'm not arsed how long they've been here, we need a leader and have done for years, both Tarkowski and Coady are leaders.

Ajay Gopal
8 Posted 12/08/2022 at 07:30:37
My predicted/preferred starting XI against Villa:

Holgate Coady Tarkowski
Patterson Iwobi Doucoure Mykolenko
McNeil Alli Gordon

Subs: Begovic, Keane, Vinagre, Gbamin, Onana, Davies, Gray, Rondon

Chris James
9 Posted 12/08/2022 at 07:30:58
I think we will get a striker Jim, the problem is with FFP we clearly don't have the upfront cash able to secure the likes of Broja, Dennis or even Cornet – which is why we're hunting around for deals from Europe where clubs appear more flexible on terms.

To be fair we also aren't the only ones searching for striking talent – Chelsea (who have Broja and plenty of £££) seem to be struggling to sort that, see also Man Utd, Nottingham Forest, etc.

Liverpool, Man City, Spurs and Arsenal seem to have strengthened forward lines meaningfully (although the latter 2 with existing Premier League talent and the former with a chunk of money). To be fair, both West Ham and Wolves have secured new recruits in the last week or two also (albeit yet unproven in the Premier League), but these are also late deals.

We did have Calvert-Lewin and other problems to fix, and I guess Rondon was considered cover, so I'm prepared to cut the club some slack given the other areas we are addressing.

The area where I am perplexed though is with Simms and Dobbin – at least one of whom could surely have been given at least a run at the team.

Gary Jones
10 Posted 12/08/2022 at 07:40:22
I think the team in the post is pretty much nailed on.

Still not sure I like the 5 at the back system, especially with no real goal threats at the other end. More often than not, it'll be one goal that decides things and, with the quality in this league, that's 50:50 stuff.

However, getting Coady suggests that’s what they are getting, so personally i'd want to see the most likely goal scorers behind the hoof-ball retriever. For me, that's:

Holgate Coady Tarkowski
Patterson Iwobi Doucoure Mykolenko
Dele McNeil

Keep Cuhtinho and - especially - Bailey out of the game and this is winnable. Or at least 50:50.

Jerome Shields
11 Posted 12/08/2022 at 07:57:02
Both Gray and Gordon suffered last week not having a pivotal player leading the line. Rondon at least provides that. Gray will probably be dropped if that is the case. Though I am not convinced that, if players are fit Frank will make any changes in midfield and forwards positions.

Coady is more likely to come in for Mina, meaning the starting back four has been totally revamped, to cut out errors. I don't expect Holgate to start or any reduction in midfield. Expect Onana to get a run-out.

Frank has a tendency to stick with what is being practised continuously on the training ground.

What I see is a manager trying to revamp a whole team, but he needs the full package of changes including forwards to make a necessary fundamental change. I am also a bit perplexed like Chris @9. Otherwise, Everton will revert back to type. Something we are all very familiar with.

Jim Harrison
12 Posted 12/08/2022 at 08:03:23
Can't start Rondon. Against fresh players, he can't last. He was brought in as a back-up striker and that should be his role.

Villa are no Chelsea. The front 3 from last time out should be better matched up this time.

Away from home, back to a Moyes approach of keeping it tight and making the most of opportunities when they come.

Rondon on late.

I would start the new lad though.

John Hall
13 Posted 12/08/2022 at 08:11:43
Nobody mentioning a possible Coleman return at right-back? Don't bet against it!
Geoff Lambert
14 Posted 12/08/2022 at 08:20:09
I would go with:

Holgate Coady Tarkowski
Coleman Onana Doucoure Mykolenko
Dele Iwobi

If Coleman is not fit, then Patterson.

Fran Mitchell
15 Posted 12/08/2022 at 08:23:27
Need Gordon out wide, that's where he is most effective (for now at least).

Gray has been pretty poor since the turn of the year, he had a great start to last season, but has since tailed off and is generally ineffective.

I'd stick with McNeil for now and hopefully as he settles he'll make an impact.

Rondon has to play, simply because of the shape of the team requires a target man.

Dele continues to look like someone who's won a competition to be here. I can see us persisting with him until he hits 19 games, then we'll probably never see him again.

Holgate, Tarkowski, Coady at the back. Vinagre and Patterson. Iwobi and Doucouré. McNeil, Rondon, Gordon.

Jeff Armstrong
16 Posted 12/08/2022 at 08:26:08
With the current striker situation, couldn't Broadhead at least have been kept for the bench this week?


Gary Jones
17 Posted 12/08/2022 at 08:27:18
Thank God some of the posters here not picking the team.

From Geoffs “lets drop one of last weeks most positive performers for a 33-year-old whose legs went 3 years ago” to Jims “don't play a striker, and sub an attacker for a brand new CDM with one training session.”

Ffs. Lol.

Pete Neilson
18 Posted 12/08/2022 at 08:32:46
Very hard to see where our goals are going to come from. Maybe relying on a touch of genius from someone to score a wonder goal.

Gerrard falling out with more of his players over the next 24 hours would also help.

Sam Bowen
19 Posted 12/08/2022 at 08:52:13
Tricky to pick a team is much harder now that Frank has pretty much confirmed that we're going five at the back for the foreseeable. Understand the reasons but makes it harder for a team so short on attacking threat to get goals. We're seriously lacking in quality up front and have no guaranteed goals whatsoever without Dom.

Gray, Gordon, Rondon, Iwobi, and McNeil will most likely only get about 10 goals between them all season. Additions up front and another wide forward are absolutely essential.

For that reason alone, I'd try and get Dele in the team this weekend, he's the only one out of the current mob that I'd have any confidence in putting the odd chance away. And I say that knowing full well that he's been pretty crap for us so far.

Steve Shave
20 Posted 12/08/2022 at 08:55:03
Very winnable game, 0-1 and Iwobi to pop up with the winner in the last 10 mins. The fact I am even predicting that (however unlikely) shows my growing confidence in him.

Iwobi has become a bit of a cult figure, his endeavour and industry have to be admired. As is his resilience to overcome the Goodison toxicity and crowd groans to become a very liked player by most. Respect.

I think Lyndon picked the most likely side though I want to see Dele in for Rondon if the Venezuelan is displaying one of his usual no-show type performances. I also want to see Onana at some point. The above call for Coleman over Patterson made zero sense IMO.

Let's turn over ol' slippy G. COYB.

Derek Knox
21 Posted 12/08/2022 at 08:58:31
Goals seem to be a possible hurdle we will have to address pronto, but many of the successful sides of the past had goals coming from all departments. Both Mykolenko and Patterson are capable of scoring, as are Holgate Tarko and Coady, then there's Iwobi, Doucoure, Gray, Gordon, and McNeil.

So come on, fellas, let's not just rely on Rondon and see goals raining in from all over! Even by a positive one goal, just to see Slippy Gee's kipper. Who knows, Rondon may just surprise us all, and probably himself, and get the winner.

Tony Everan
22 Posted 12/08/2022 at 09:00:25
One question for tomorrow: Can we score a goal?
We looked pretty solid defensively, so the focus shifts to us creating and taking chances.

Gray, Gordon, McNeil, Dele need to understand are primarily on the pitch to deliver end product. They've got to back themselves and deliver the goods.

Rondon will be up top and someone said he looked leaner, more Evander Holyfield than Tony Tubbs. Hope springs eternal that he can poach a winning goal. Also interesting that Gordon has been having one-to-one sessions with Ashley Cole. Must be about decision-making to help with his end product. We could see the fruit of those sessions tomorrow.

So here's what's going to happen: we'll be mean defensively, our forward players are going to be more dynamic. More determined work by one of our forwards will result in a goal – or maybe one from a resulting set-piece.

Villa 0 Everton 1

Christopher Timmins
23 Posted 12/08/2022 at 09:01:22
The same starting eleven as last week with the exception of Rondon up top at the expense of Gray, Holgate for Godfrey and Coady for Mina.

I expect us to keep a clean sheet and hopefully we can nick one and take all three points.

Tony McDonald
24 Posted 12/08/2022 at 09:04:17
Although Frank seems to prefer a back 3, this appears to be an ideal time to go with a back 4. Mainly because we should be fine defensively with Coady, Tarkowski, Patterson and Mykolenko, but also because this allows a 3-man midfield with Iwobi, Doucouré and hopefully Onana.

If not Onana, then McNeil or Dele. Aston Villa's midfield is their one bright spark, so nullify it.

This leaves the attack. Frank will definitely play Rondon so grey and Gordon either side seems nailed on.

Btw, Lyndon, you have mentioned Doucouré's tackle on Sterling a couple of times now, once here and once in your match report. Don't you mean Chilwell?

Jim Harrison
25 Posted 12/08/2022 at 09:06:39
Gary @17.

If you have watched Onana play and think he is purely a defensive midfielder you may want to go back and have another look.

And if you can point me to how many chances the front 3 created from open play last week and suggest they were effective?

Solid foundation in defence and a strong midfield. Then the attacking players can focus on forward play.

Rondon starting means a blown-out striker by 50 mins.

Pat Kelly
26 Posted 12/08/2022 at 09:07:11
The search for a striker continues in Poundland. Until we get someone who can score, we're just not at the races. Incredible for a Premier League team.
Sean Roe
27 Posted 12/08/2022 at 09:12:14
With our new mean-looking defence, coupled with bugger all up front, my prediction is a 1-0 win to us. Tarkowski or Coady with a towering header from a set-piece.
Nick Page
28 Posted 12/08/2022 at 09:16:43
Into these, Everton
Bill Gienapp
29 Posted 12/08/2022 at 09:19:48
I wouldn't be so quick to completely write Rondon off. Yeah, he's limited and certainly not someone you want to see regularly starting games, but he looks like he's in much better shape this season, and can handle the basics, at least.

Would love to win this one, particularly given how the media seems to have the knives out for Lampard but fawns over Gerrard, even though he's actually done a pretty shitty job with Villa and is already starting to alienate key players.

Derek Knox
30 Posted 12/08/2022 at 09:25:35
Pat @26,

I've had a few good things from Poundland so don't knock it, mate.

Buying expensive doesn't always mean guaranteed quality, especially in the goal-scoring area. These so-called Superstars probably started life in Poundland.

Maybe you can help me, can't remember (the good things that I got) how much they were! 🤔😜

Dave Abrahams
31 Posted 12/08/2022 at 09:28:08
Jim (25),

Rondon starting and going all out for the first 60 minutes will do me, while we try and bring in a new striker.

This leaves Alli to come on fresh and replacing Rondon for the final part of the game, unless Lampard uses them the other way round with Dele starting and Rondon replacing him.

It's sad we have to start the season without a proper available striker but that will change before the end of the transfer window, the quicker the better, we will just have to be patient... again!!

Robert Tressell
32 Posted 12/08/2022 at 09:28:09
Potentially a very tough season for Gerrard because they've invested heavily and expectations are high. In some respects, they're a bit like where we've been previously.

In a 5-2-2-1 / 3-4-3 with Rondon up front we at least have a decent structure but we all know Rondon's limitations. He's no Calvert-Lewin.

Alli is the player who offers class and goal threat but he's better in a 4-2-3-1.

To me, the big problem is a centre-midfield 2 of Iwobi and Doucouré which could be completely overrun by the likes of Luiz, McGinn and Kamara.

Tony Abrahams
33 Posted 12/08/2022 at 09:29:08
My biggest concern is the referee. Michael Oliver brandished three red cards to Everton players during last season's run-in.

Even if he could prove that none of them were contentious decisions, I think I could sit opposite him and disprove that theory, just by proving how inconsistent he was in his decision making regarding yellow cards.

I'm hoping that it's a trimmed-down Salomon who gets us the points, and if he can give us a proper good 60 minutes, then I think that would be valuable to a team that never had a focus point last week.

Gary Jones
34 Posted 12/08/2022 at 09:29:35
Jim #25 – you might want to look at his goals and assists record before saying he is anything but a CDM. According to Transfermarkt, he's played about 81% of his games in that exact position. Whatever you're watching, i'd suggest you “go back and have another look”.

With respect to your second point, I am not your personal researcher. What I can tell you is that last week's attackers scored no goals, and every time it went long to the front 3 it came right back at us.

I don't want Rondon near the team, but as he's the only one we have who can compete in the air with an opposition centre-back, then I'll take those 50 minutes, thanks.

Pat Kelly
35 Posted 12/08/2022 at 09:31:18
Derek, I understand we're after Bogof from Poundland.
Tony Abrahams
36 Posted 12/08/2022 at 09:34:03
You need to sharpen up imo Pat, because that’s where a lot of your recent one-liners seem to be coming from mate!
Geoff Lambert
37 Posted 12/08/2022 at 09:58:57
Gary #34,

We have just paid over £30 million for a full Belgian international and you think he has been sitting at home on the couch for the last 4 weeks eating crisps 'n cake. LOL.

Must start him over the same old shite but some posters are happy with that.

John Kavanagh
38 Posted 12/08/2022 at 10:07:13
With forecast temperatures of 31 degrees at Villa tomorrow between 1 and 3pm, this match is unlikely to be played at a frantic pace. Heatstroke is a real risk and this will be possibly be the hottest conditions we have played a competitive match in since Hibbo melted in the FA Cup Final.

I'd be particularly concerned for the likes of Gordon and tactical substitutions may well play a major part if we can avoid having to make changes because of injury.

I think there's potential for bringing on Onana for Gray (moving Iwobi forward) and McNeil or Mills for Gordon if the predicted starting line-up is correct. Other changes to be determined by who is having most difficulty coping with the heat.

Villa will, of course, have the same problems and the outcome will be determined by which side is set up best to cope with the conditions. I'm hopeful that we can keep a clean sheet and possibly sneak a breakaway goal to snatch all 3 points.

Brian Murray
39 Posted 12/08/2022 at 10:36:31
If Onana is only 70% fit for some reason, he still will offer more with his runs breaking the lines as they say these days. Up to shot-shy Gordon to make a name for himself or fade to Gray to come alive.

Would love to settle a bit of old scores with Spit the Dog's mate.

Rob Dolby
40 Posted 12/08/2022 at 10:45:28
What formation will Lampard play?

He looks to be favouring 5 at the back which I don't think helps us much going forward.

Will he start Onana and Rondon if so who gets dropped for them?

Some head-scratching decisions for him to make.

Whatever formation or starting 11 he picks, I don't see lots of chances or goals for us. As we all know, we need a couple of strikers in the squad asap.

Hoping for a win but won't hold my breath.

Lee Robinson
41 Posted 12/08/2022 at 10:50:42
Lampard is playing 5 at the back not only because the midfield is poor and we need to strengthen the defense.

Don't forget our DoF has literally written a book on how to play 5-3-2, so it appears the agreement is that this will be the philosophy throughout the club and Lampard is well on board.

Mal van Schaick
42 Posted 12/08/2022 at 11:09:20
I hope that this isn't another 1-0 defeat with a needless penalty given away. We can't afford those type of results at this stage of the season.

Let's hope for an away win with some good performances and repay Gerrard for his smirk at Goodison last season.

Rob Dolby
43 Posted 12/08/2022 at 11:09:21
Lee @41. Did we play 5-3-2 last week?

It looked to me like 5-4-1 or 5-2-3. With the current squad, I don't think it matters too much.

We haven't got any goals in the squad. Who is going to be our top scorer this year? Maybe Calvert-Lewin with 10. Then who?

Eddie Dunn
44 Posted 12/08/2022 at 11:11:23
I would play Alli as a false nine, with Gordon to his right, drop Gray and hope that Gordon, Iwobi and Alli can pop one in. The defence looks sound with both wingbacks capable of getting to the bye line.

Rondon can come on in the second half but I wouldn't throw the new guy straight in. I am also in favour of Mills getting some minutes.

James Marshall
45 Posted 12/08/2022 at 11:16:32
I just had a look on Amazon at Thelwell's book on coaching the 3-5-2 formation and one of the 3 reviews states:

"You cannot tell from the diagrams if you are going left to right or right to left sometimes".

This explains a lot about the way we play!

Tom Bowers
46 Posted 12/08/2022 at 11:30:01
After a bright start to last season, Everton got into an awful rut where they lost games with poor performances to teams they would have expected to beat and it was left to Lampard to pick up the pieces with relegation a real possibility.

Thank God he managed to get some gritty wins at the right time and one hopes that defensively at least they can become a difficult team to beat.

It will become a slog for a while without a natural striker but the new additions may just do the trick.

Gary Jones
47 Posted 12/08/2022 at 11:37:05
Geoff @ 37

I couldn't care less if we'd just paid £100M for a Brazil international, all players are going to take a little time to get chemistry with the team.

Iwobi and Doucoure both did very well against Chelsea, so ease Onana in over the next week and look to have him starting and settled before the derby.

48 Posted 12/08/2022 at 12:24:52
Good shout, Gary 47. Bring him on after say 65 mins. Maybe earlier next week, and then start him against them.
Sam Hoare
49 Posted 12/08/2022 at 12:36:29
Presuming we use the same system, I thought the defense were pretty good and Doucouré and especially Iwobi did well. Onana will need time and I'd be surprised if he starts but you never know.

The big issue is upfront where the options are slim. I was not much impressed with Alli last week but then neither Gordon or Gray or McNeil did much either. I think potentially Alli and McNeil could work well together but it's difficult to see where the goals will come from and Rondon only looks good for battering ram purposes.

Gordon and Gray could get some joy in behind Cash and Digne but McNeil is much better at keeping the ball. Tough decisions but I'd give Dele Alli one proper chance at the false 9 role to see if he can link play at all.

Patterson Holgate Coady Tarkowski Mykolenko
McNeil Iwobi Doucoure Gordon

Habib Erkan Jr
50 Posted 12/08/2022 at 13:08:44
Rondon will surprise many tomorrow. He may not score but his threat will open up space for others who will.

Aston Villa 0 - 2 Everton.

Christopher Timmins
51 Posted 12/08/2022 at 13:08:46
I don't get Dele Alli as a false 9... indeed, the only circumstances where I could see him playing is where Rondon is on the pitch and he is making runs beyond him.

With a full pre-season behind him, it's now or never for Rondon; if he does not start tomorrow, then it's difficult to see what part if any he can play going forward.

Denis Richardson
52 Posted 12/08/2022 at 13:09:43
To be fair to Rondon, he averages nearer 1 in 4/5 when playing regularly so maybe just maybe he can nick one off a corner or cause a bit of chaos in the box for someone else to latch onto.

None of the midfielders gave me any comfort playing up front last week and I think they'd be better off having a target man/decoy up top to play off.

Rondon needs to start for me, if only to give the Villa defenders a few bruises and something to think about. We also need an out-ball which he can at least provide.

Beggars can't be choosers here – manager really living off scraps.

Andrew Gaule
53 Posted 12/08/2022 at 13:10:21
Villa 0-3 Everton.

Rondon with a perfect hat-trick.

Denis Richardson
54 Posted 12/08/2022 at 13:14:13
Lee @41,

I think we played 5-4-0 last week!

Neil Cremin
55 Posted 12/08/2022 at 13:15:12
I can only smile at all the posts picking the team where Iwobi is now first on the team sheet. Six months ago, he was usually listed among the “deadwood” to be got rid.

Maybe in another month or so we might see Rondon in a similar vein...

My biggest concern is giving Pickford the captaincy. He's not captain material. Too erratic and hyper. A captain needs to be a leader with a cool head.

Tony Abrahams
56 Posted 12/08/2022 at 13:16:49
Is it possible that he could move Mykolenko inside, and push Tarkowski to the right, with Coady sweeping, creating room for the more natural wingback Vinagre to play?
Raymond Fox
57 Posted 12/08/2022 at 13:32:24
Rondon to start. Onana on the bench.

Nobody picking Keane to start? Otherwise, Lyndon's team.

Whatever the team, we start as second favourites.

Steavey Buckley
58 Posted 12/08/2022 at 13:35:09
Going into the match without recognised strikers gives the opposition massive advantages. If the Chelsea game was frustrating to watch without strikers, tomorrow's game will be worse.

Dennis has just signed for Nottingham Forest, who keep adding goalscorers, while Everton keep losing theirs.

Derek Knox
59 Posted 12/08/2022 at 13:48:58
Andrew @ 53,

"Rondon with a perfect hat-trick."

Be nice if highly improbable, you know I have never seen him wearing a hat! :-)

Joe McMahon
60 Posted 12/08/2022 at 13:49:55
Steavey @58, we only had one to lose! I'm very pleased with the defensive additions, but for a team that historically, season after season are low scorers with a negative goal difference, I feel goalscorers should have been priority.

Who can forget all those years ago, a 4th place finish with a –1 goal difference?

Gerrard got one over Duncan at Goodison last season and unfortunately, without quality upfront, I feel may be the same for Lampard tomorrow. We need strikers ASAP as it's costing us points. Dennis would have been handy, as would Cornet.

Geoff Lambert
61 Posted 12/08/2022 at 14:25:28
Getting players sorted for the derby!?!

For fuck's sake... must be our cup final.

Mike Gwyer
62 Posted 12/08/2022 at 15:23:29
Raymond #57

"Whatever the team, we start as second favourites."

Good post and I do agree... but only just.

The game is at Villa and it will be tight but, if we stick with the same front 3 then, for me, they will find more space behind Villa's back 4 than they did against Chelsea who were very defensive.

For me, the game is winnable and for the first time in many seasons, I have every confidence in our defence, which is actually weird.

David Hallwood
63 Posted 12/08/2022 at 15:29:47
Prior to reading the comments, I thought I'd have to put the tin hat on to suggest 3-5-2. If Onana is up to speed, with a front 2 of Rondon and Dele, Gray and McNeil being brought on for the final 20 minutes, but it seems to be the consensus.

A run of Moyes-like games of 0-0, 1-0, 1-1, 0-0 etc will do me nicely; be hard to beat and even harder to watch, as long as we get the points.

Kevin Molloy
64 Posted 12/08/2022 at 15:44:47
Aston Villa are a pretty poor outfit. Sadly I suspect they will still have too much for us. At least Mr Gerrard will have a sleepless night. Stuffed last week, now playing Everton on his first home game of the season, when he faces his old rival Lampard.

It's gonna be fascinating to see what impact Coady has. How quickly he settles will now dictate our whole season. I must admit his gurning interviews are already starting to grate but he can't help supporting Liverpool, I suppose. Let's just hope he doesn't have too many more 'hilarious' interviews with Carragher.

Kevin Molloy
65 Posted 12/08/2022 at 15:53:20
Villa are a pretty poor outfit. Sadly I suspect they will still have too much for us.

At least Mr Gerrard will have a sleepless night. Stuffed last week, now playing Everton on his first home game of the season, when he faces his old rival Lampard.

It's gonna be fascinating to see what impact Coady has. How quickly he settles will now dictate our whole season. I must admit his gurning interviews are already starting to grate but he can't help supporting Liverpool I suppose. Let's just hope he doesn't have too many more 'hilarious' interviews with Carragher

Andrew Keatley
66 Posted 12/08/2022 at 15:57:51
Considering how Gray, Gordon and McNeil struggled last week against Chelsea, I would be very interested to see Rondon getting a chance to start tomorrow.

He was horrendously unfit when he arrived last season, and was only playing out of a desperate necessity to have someone leading the line. Just as he was starting to look like he was finally getting up to speed he was benched in favour of a noticeably out-of-form Calvert-Lewin.

I thought Rondon should have been playing then (to allow Calvert-Lewin to be eased back to fitness and form) and if his fitness levels are presentable enough right now then I think Rondon should be playing tomorrow. Let Gordon, Gray, McNeil, and Alli have someone to play off, especially if we are going to be seeing Pickford, Coady and Tarkowski hitting long balls.

Dale Self
67 Posted 12/08/2022 at 16:43:17
First take for me is that Frank uses all his duels with Bielsa to put up some freakish setup that confuses, confounds and condemns Gerrard to a miserable home opening.

Players know Frank wants to be open and on the offensive but would be willing to close it down to frustrate the Villains. Mings could still be pissed so, if Gerrard doesn't get the set-up right, the tension could be good for a while.

"Prepared" to get their asses kicked.

Pete Day
68 Posted 12/08/2022 at 16:45:28
Why are there so many negative comments regarding a "back 5"?

I mean I'm no football strategist but it seems to me to be a base set up of 3 at the back. We are setting up with wingbacks, are we not?

While occasionally when needs arise the wingbacks may drop back deep enough to create an apparent 5 but that's not the main purpose of the formation. The wingbacks get right up the pitch supporting the attack, making it actually an offensive formation that is particularly fluid.

Totally agree though that the missing piece of the puzzle is a focal point frontman which again while you couldn't foresee an injury to Calvert-Lewin, it's still scandalous that we haven't gotten a better option than Rondon as a contingency!

Geoff Lambert
69 Posted 12/08/2022 at 16:50:15
Gary #47,

Should we do the same with Coady then? ease him in over the next few games so he can be ready for the RS game?

Onana is a professional footballer, he is not here to learn how we play, he is here to improve how we play.

Dale Self
70 Posted 12/08/2022 at 16:51:06
And keep faith in Thelwell, he is obviously working for a decent outcome without letting us get our pants taken down.
Kevin Molloy
71 Posted 12/08/2022 at 16:58:44
The reason I don't like a back 5, Pete, is that we have two good wingers already in Gordon and Gray. But now our wide men are by necessity Mykolenko and Patterson, who don't pose nearly the same attacking threat, and we have the dilemma of how to redeploy two of our best players.
Brian Murray
72 Posted 12/08/2022 at 17:20:27
Kevin. If Saturday was anything to go by, our full-backs showed a lot more than Gray and Gordon. Let's hope that's a one-off although most of last season showed us different.

At least one of them should be dropped to the bench. Both if I had my way and we had replacements. Hope young Mills may offer something.

Mike Gaynes
76 Posted 12/08/2022 at 17:36:47
Jim #7, Coady is brand new and a loan. He won't get the armband.

Dave #31, spot on. As always.

Sam #49, agreed, but Villa ain't Chelsea. Our unimpressive attackers were up against a couple of the best defenders in the world last week. They'll find a little more space tomorrow.

Pete #67, I wouldn't consider it "scandalous" unless we get to the final week of the window with the problem unaddressed -- which we won't. I'm beyond certain that Frank and Kevin will get somebody in.

Geoff #68, Coady is 9 years older and several hundred games more experienced than Onana. I would be shocked if Onana starts right out of the game.

George #72, if you mean Memphis, he's got an ego the size of the Alps and would never, ever consider a non-Champions League club.

Pete Day
79 Posted 12/08/2022 at 17:40:47
As Brian says, Kevin, I get your point but I'd argue that Gray and Gordon are far from our best. No end product at the moment, they certainly don't get to the by line and put dangerous balls in (granted, no target man at the mo anyway) and tend to cut inside and run into trouble.

I still say that it's not a back 5 and not massively defensive.

Jack Convery
82 Posted 12/08/2022 at 17:47:48
Pickford, Patterson, Holgate, Coady, Tarkowski, Mykolenko, Iwobi, Doucouré, McNeil, Rondon, Gordon.

Holgate to get 1st goal in game (for us) from a corner from McNeil. I can't see us losing tomorrow (famous last words).

Ian Bennett
83 Posted 12/08/2022 at 17:50:17
Villa play 4-3-3, so I'd want 3 in central midfield to avoid being overrun.

I'd play Mykolenko on the left of the three. He's quick enough and I think he could do a decent job on their mobile forward line.

McNeil and Patterson providing width and crosses to Alli and Rondon. I think they can get change out of Konsa, he ain't the biggest.





Robert Tressell
84 Posted 12/08/2022 at 18:01:39
Pete # 67, my negativity about the back 3/5 is very Everton specific.

Primarily, we tend not to look very good when playing this system.

Being a bit more scientific, I think that's because:

1. Our centre-backs and full-backs are more accustomed to a back 4. That's changed a bit with Coady, Mykolenko and Patterson to be fair.

2. Our centre-backs are not great on the ball and don't switch into midfield positions as per players like Rudiger for Chelsea last season. We instead have 3 poor users of the ball at the expense of a midfielder. Coady and Tarkowski improve that a bit in fairness.

3. Our midfield is awful. So moving to a central 2 in a 3-4-3 / 5-2-2-1 means our back 3 is constantly exposed to attacks. It's hard enough to gain possession with 3 let alone 2. In fairness, this will change with Onana and maybe Gueye.

4. There's only room for two of Gray, Gordon, Alli and McNeil, whereas there would be room for 3 if you use a back 4. That's one fewer goal threats in a team which already scores very few goals.

After this window we are definitely better set up for 3-4-3 / 5-2-2-1 but I still think 4-2-3-1 is easier for this squad. Hopefully it will gel though.

I have been a big fan of other clubs using this system otherwise such as Dortmund many years ago with Sammer as sweeper and Wolves under Nuno Santo.

Mike Gaynes
85 Posted 12/08/2022 at 18:07:18
For what it's worth, Jack Rodwell has signed for Sydney FC.
Dale Self
86 Posted 12/08/2022 at 18:12:49
That and a couple of bucks will still get a cup of coffee in some cafes.
Gary Jones
87 Posted 12/08/2022 at 18:17:20
Geoff # 68 - yes, in an ideal world Coady would be eased in too. However, we had two major injuries last week so ‘beggars and chosers” here. Versus both Keane and Holgate on the pitch together it is a lesser risk.

Once again, Iwobi and Doucouré both played very well last week.

The situations are not the same.

Derek Knox
89 Posted 12/08/2022 at 18:19:28
Mike G @ 84, there will always be a job for him with sewer blockages and drain clearings !

Well he was born to Rodwell ! :-)

Steven Kendrew
90 Posted 12/08/2022 at 18:19:43
Rondon has had a full pre-season, Calvert-Lewin is injured and so Rondon is the No 1 choice. If he cannot perform now and put some kind of stamp on the game, then he never will.

As someone above said, even just acting as a focal point and holding up the ball for Gordon and others to feed off will be a step up from last week.

Jim Harrison
91 Posted 12/08/2022 at 18:21:53
Gary @34,

From what I have seen, admittedly not enough, he picks the ball up deep, often by winning possession himself and carries the ball forward. He has the tricks to beat players and a good range of passing.

But yeah, keep on chucking the same old players out there and expecting different results!!

Got to be bold and back the new talent. The old talent has done jack.

Gary Jones
92 Posted 12/08/2022 at 18:23:39
Kevin @ 70,

I think you're spot on saying natural wingers don't fit well in 5-at-the-back systems. The plan for this seems to be to turn Gordon to a number 10. I think this is wrong, he should be hugging the touchline and ripping the full-backs apart like he did to Trent and others last year.

I'd like to see is go to 4-2-3-1 eventually with Dele or Iwobi in the 10 and Gray, McNeil, Gordon or Mills fighting for the wide spots. However, I can't see Frank risking anything other than 5 until either a) we have no choice but to try (poor run next 4) or b) we're sitting comfortably with a cushion that allows the risk.

I hope it's the latter, I still fear it'll be the former.

Tom Bowers
93 Posted 12/08/2022 at 18:24:22
Anything can happen in football. Just when you think you can win, something goes wrong to really screw things up.

We have some new blood and defensively we all hope they will be a lot stronger when we are not in possession as opposed to last season.

If we have a strong start, that is to say, no early goal against and no early injury (and of course no banal refereeing decision) then we will have a shot at something from the game.

Hard to see Rondon doing much up front except run his pants off but Dele has proved he can score a goal or two.

Add to this the set piece situation which may give us something.

Jay Harris
94 Posted 12/08/2022 at 18:26:00

Like you, I don't like the 3 at the back formation but my criticism is it leaves the full-backs or wingbacks too exposed to a ball in behind them.

I think Rondon takes unjustified stick. The lad came here unfit and still unexpectedly tried to help the team before he could get fit. I agree he is not the answer for a starter but he is still a useful squad player.

Anyway I expect him to play tomorrow and score in a 0-1 win for us.

Onana to start for me Gray to drop out and look for more consistency. Dele to come on as a sub when Rondon runs out of steam having run the legs off the Villa defenders.

Gary Jones
95 Posted 12/08/2022 at 18:34:40
Jim # 90 - Tarkowski and Keane score goals, that doesn't make them strikers. Kante (best CDM about imho) gets forward well too, he is still a CDM also.

If Iwobi and Doucoure had a bad game last week, or have a bad game tomorrow, then ‘fairyfluff' put him on.

I just don't think either deserves dropping after Chelsea, and think we should always pick on form. It's their place to lose right now. But no room for any drop.

Jim Lloyd
96 Posted 12/08/2022 at 18:35:24
I think last week was hard for our team against Chelsea (especially for the three front lads). I think that was the first time they'd played together up front.

To me, it was noticeable that they found it hard to gel first time off. I think Gray was our second- or third-best goalscorer last season; and he made a fair few chances for others as well, before getting injured. so he knows how to score.

Gordon seemed lost. did plenty of running, but to what effect was questionable. Perhaps Rondon isn't such a bad choice to play up front with Gray and either Gordon or McNeil on the right. And maybe the midfield with Onana in will be a lot more mobile and assist the forwards in attack, and then be stronger in assisting the defence, if and when Villa attack.

As he's the only recognised centre-forward we've got, I'd like to see him start, and give it all he's got for an hour or so.

The thing is we've got several new members in our team and slightly different tactics. So, defensively, I thought we played well last week; and the two goal chances they had? well one was Pickford misjudging, and spilling the ball out and the other was clumsy work by Doucouré. Otherwise, I can't remember Pickford having any shots to save.

I'd be happy to see mostly the same team, but with McNeil or Gordon on the right and Gray on the left with Rondon in the middle. And as long as we get stuck in; and that prick of a referee isn't as biased as he normally is, then we've got a good chance in this game.

So I'll be happy if we try the same formation again.

Sean Roe
97 Posted 12/08/2022 at 18:40:13
Ian @ 82

Nice line up that.

Pete Day
98 Posted 12/08/2022 at 18:41:44
Robert #93, totally agree with the points you've made and I am hoping that we are now recruiting the right players that can play that formation.

I think the point I was trying to make is that a lot of comments are referring to the current formation as a defensive (negative) back 5 when it's not!

Anthony Flack
99 Posted 12/08/2022 at 18:47:06
15 - 2 on Gordon having more than 2 shots on target... - took a punt!!
Paul Jones
100 Posted 12/08/2022 at 19:23:04
I can't see Gordon making 3 shots on target, Anthony!

I've gone for Tarkowski to score with a header @ 25/1. It's one of those bets you could make all season and it might come up a couple of times, but it feels like it would pay off over time. Assuming we can force a corner that is!

Denis Richardson
101 Posted 12/08/2022 at 20:16:00
After all the above (and a couple of glasses of wine), I fancy Rondon to score tomorrow.

Mark my words….

Anything but a defeat and I'll be satisfied. Need to start getting points on the board.

Neil Cremin
102 Posted 12/08/2022 at 20:23:23
I like Gordon for his work ethic (which was sadly lacking for many last season) but I also think he is a little selfish and runs into dead ends. He is young and learning and if Frank can transform Iwobi from a TWebber “deadwood” to a first on the team sheet, then stick with him.

I once heard a talk by a very successful coach say “My job is to help the players be the best they possibly can be, if they make a mistake on the pitch, it's because we didn't provide him with the skills to make the correct decision.”

That is what I call management.

Danny O’Neill
103 Posted 12/08/2022 at 20:32:22
Gordon to score it is then!

Iwobi had a great finish to last season, Neil.

He's definitely a confidence player who I suspect needs a bit of individual coaching. In any walk of life, those who need taking aside from time to time.

Brendan McLaughlin
104 Posted 12/08/2022 at 20:34:35
Denis #100...

You said "glasses" but surely you meant bottles?

Neil Cremin
105 Posted 12/08/2022 at 20:41:21

I don't care who scores as long as we win but all these managers on the pitch who rubbished Iwobi, Rondon and think Gordon is the only decent Everton player don't watch the games I watch (admittedly from afar, not like you Danny)

All our managers in recent past are not people managers – hence the poor performance on the pitch. (Humbly IMO)

Danny O’Neill
106 Posted 12/08/2022 at 20:52:46
Nothing humble about that, Neil. Quite accurate.

I'm a manager of people and operations. A Director actually, managing several managers.

Teams need managing as a team. But it's equally important to manage individuals to get the most out of them as individuals to contribute their strengths and iron out their weaknesses for the benefit of the team.

The same principle applies to football coaching. In my humble opinion!

Billy Bradshaw
107 Posted 12/08/2022 at 21:11:03
Director actually?
Denis Richardson
108 Posted 12/08/2022 at 21:17:09
Brendon 104, rereading my post it may as well have been bottles!

Just the one bottle this evening. Need to pace myself… I am still keeping my fingers crossed Salomon can do the business tomorrow.

However, I generally have very low expectations these days thanks to the last 30-odd years, hence rarely disappointed.

Neil Cremin
109 Posted 12/08/2022 at 21:18:51

That's why Carlo was successful in early days
Look what he did with Calvert-Lewin.

I was on the fence re Benitez (originally was hoping for Potter or second choice Nino) but, in hindsight, Benitez had no man-management skills. We should have known that from Gerard's comments.

We must keep the faith in Frank and Co and hopefully get one over Gerard tomorrow.

Paul Birmingham
110 Posted 12/08/2022 at 21:23:45
Everton can win this game as long as there's no unforced errors.

Time to prove a point that there are goals in this squad and stick one on Villa; hopefully there's a festering stench in their squad and low morale.

Digne, if he plays, will be up for it.

Tarkowski and McNeil to score for Everton, and Demarai Gray will be out to prove a point too.

Let's see.

Jamie Crowley
111 Posted 12/08/2022 at 22:00:52
I really hate these 7:30 am kickoffs.

Then I realize all the Aussies wake up at insane hours to watch. The West Coast has it at 4:30 am. Not so bad I suppose.

I like our chances against the Villains. Hoping Onana starts and plays a full 90+.

Neil Copeland
112 Posted 12/08/2022 at 22:06:25
Paul, absolutely mate. Bring it on. With our support and improving squad we should have too much for Villa.

Get into ‘em blues!


Peter Mills
113 Posted 12/08/2022 at 22:24:51
It looks to me that Frank wants to play a back 5 (or back 3 plus 2 wing backs, call it what you will).

That immediately makes me uneasy. It's a system for intelligent footballers. Ours are not particularly bright. I thought it suited Godfrey, to cover Patterson who looks very good as an attacker but less so as a defender. But Godfrey is absent for quite a while. And possibly, as it ended up last Saturday, Mykolenko could cover Vinagre.

I thought the system might suit Mina, a steady-ish. defender but prone to nonsense, and therefore needs cover. But he's gone.

So, after our first game, the “philosophy” is thwarted.

In which case, it might be sensible to go for a back 4, with what we've got. But allegedly, Coady can't play in a back 4. Can he sit in front of a back 4?

I shall watch the selection, and game, with interest. We need something out of the match, and would, reluctantly, accept a point.

Jamie Crowley
114 Posted 12/08/2022 at 23:04:18

I think the 3-2-2-3 (as I'll call it) will work fine moving forward with Mykolenko part of the back three.

Godfrey's injury was a blow to the formation / system to be sure. Mina? He's going to be in and out of the line-up until his contract expires.

But those two injuries won't stop Frank from setting up that way until one of Tarkowski, Coady, or Mykolenko get hurt, in my opinion.

We'll see and find out tomorrow at the butt-crack of dawn here in America.

James O'Connell
115 Posted 12/08/2022 at 23:04:30
Rondon hat-trick tomorrow – you will all be proved wrong! 😂
Dale Self
116 Posted 12/08/2022 at 23:09:58
Gerrard getting a bit wordy in his presser. Doesn't want to be judged as a player anymore, knows the pressure is on for results. Generally seems to be a bit pissy that he is being questioned.

I'd really like to see Everton get in on these while they are unsure and complicate Stevie Me's ambitions.

Brian Wilkinson
117 Posted 13/08/2022 at 00:20:29
We have had some predictions on players scoring, so I am going to raise all the above and predict a Mykolenko free-kick, after Gordon has hit the previous three straight into the wall of defenders.
Danny O’Neill
118 Posted 13/08/2022 at 00:28:38
Primarily, I want the 3 points and don't care who the opposition or their manager is.

Secondarily, I really hope we get to blast out Spirit of the Blues in full voice as the Huyton gobshite walks down the tunnel dejected at the end.

That tackle on Naismith. The bending of the referee's ear to convince him to send off Hibbert... I could probably go on.

Anyway, less of the bitter. Blue positivity. I don't care who's playing tomorrow or what the formation is. Bring the points home.

Kieran Kinsella
119 Posted 13/08/2022 at 00:32:51

Careful... you'll upset the wife


Stevie G like Kenny G is a bitter, weasely entitied, overgrown hobbit who held England back for years as the poor man's Frank alongside Frank. He's the snake who ordered Twattenburg to send off our players in derbies, and he's the childish smug prick who flipped off our fans after agent Rafa did the dirty on us. Suffice to say I'm not his biggest fan.

Outside of playing us, I have no issue with Villa but if he's there, it adds an extra incentive for us to win.

Danny O’Neill
120 Posted 13/08/2022 at 00:41:49
Always a "treading on eggshells" day, Kieran.

I always get reminded of that time when Lescott equalised late on only to switch off and allow them an even later winner to snatch a 3 - 2 win and I screamed "Bastard Villa!" Went down really well.

Ted Donnelly
121 Posted 13/08/2022 at 00:55:51
The only way I can see us scoring is if the front players, whoever they maybe, make it into the box and get a penalty.

Just not getting beat would be good enough for me.

Paul Birmingham
122 Posted 13/08/2022 at 01:42:10
Well in, Neil. This day is early but Everton can win this day at Villa Park.

“What's Our Name?”


Paul Birmingham
123 Posted 13/08/2022 at 01:48:27
Villa are there for the taking. McGinn, is their engine, the rest are all over the place, but put it together 6 times a season...

Hopefully, Everton will win tomorrow, and it will make a mark, a good mark on this season.

“What's Our Name?”


Kieran Kinsella
124 Posted 13/08/2022 at 02:37:03
About to get banned from ToffeeWeb but just noticed Lawro has retired from doing his predictions for the BBC. A total RS always predicting they'd win every game but of all the RS I'd ever a bloke was decent I'd say it was Lawro. Tin hat on.
Lee Jackson
125 Posted 13/08/2022 at 03:20:43
Jaime (111).

I'd love a 7:30 kick-off! It's 04:30 for me (Washington State) and I promised myself a few seasons ago I would no longer get up for these kick-offs. This is especially true since I cut the chord and have just dodgy streams and Peacock for my footy (they are not covering the game).

Lee Jackson
126 Posted 13/08/2022 at 03:22:19
Kieran, I never minded Lawro either. Perhaps a worse sin is I also quite like Beglin as a summarizer. Looks like we are both getting yellow cards. Maybe mines even a red.
Kieran Kinsella
127 Posted 13/08/2022 at 03:25:59

We probably owe Beglin one seeing as Gary Stevens ended his career. Just waiting for a lightning bolt here after all this blasphemy so, to atone for my sins: hate Dalglish, Gerrard, McMahon, Souness et al.

Jay Harris
128 Posted 13/08/2022 at 03:44:53
Just off to bed in preparation for a 7:30 am kick-off. Feeling more positive than I have for a long while.

Stevie G seems to be having his own dressing room problems while at least we have the spirit of the blues, if not a goalscorer. Let's hope we have a hero tomorrow and I would love it to be Rondon – a lovely guy much maligned.

Bernie Quinn
129 Posted 13/08/2022 at 04:16:47
With an 11:30 pm kick-off here, this is going to be a long day. But if Christine is screaming and doing her Irish Jig it will mean we have the 3 points and all is right with the world!!!
Brian Murray
130 Posted 13/08/2022 at 04:25:15
Still not forgiving Villa for the 3 League Cup Finals in 1977 (two replays). Although Darracott and Lawson the goalie were the real culprits.

Hey, Danny, Marco Silva has said he was told never to worry about that competition when Everton boss. Might explain a bit why your dream never happens of winning that cup.

Totally winnable game today but nil-nil written all over it.

Danny O’Neill
131 Posted 13/08/2022 at 05:24:37
It's just getting personal, Brian. The amount of times we've gone out to low-league opposition. And then, when we do have it in our grasp, Souness breaks my heart and we choke in the semi-final 2nd leg at Stamford Bridge. At least in '84, the pain was short-lived.

I see they replaced Lawrenson with Chris Sutton. What did we ever do to him? He genuinely seems to dislike us. Or is that just me?

John Keating
132 Posted 13/08/2022 at 06:08:38
If ready, Coady straight in alongside Tarkowski. If ready, Onana straight in. And if ready, Rondon straight in.

We certainly can't play the lightweights we played against Chelsea and we need as many vocal no-nonsense leaders on the pitch as we can get.

Just for confidence going forward and with a bit of internal turmoil at Villa just now we need 3 points on the board.

Martin Faulkner
133 Posted 13/08/2022 at 06:51:46
Lee @ 125,

Do you have a firestick?

Mike Gaynes
134 Posted 13/08/2022 at 06:58:25
Lee #125, where are you in Washington?

Me too.

Terry Farrell
135 Posted 13/08/2022 at 07:08:17

I agree with you re captain choice and Rondon. The guy went to China 3 years ago for semi-retirement because he was shot and now has £60k a week for a 2nd year to look forward to thanks to Rafa's loyalty to an old soldier. Awful awful decision and cost him his job.

The guy has taken 12 months to get fit!! This must be his last appearance in a blue shirt if he starts. I'd love him to score of course but can only see it from a set-piece and good fortune.

Iwobi and Doucoure will have their work cut out against McGinn and Ramsey and might need help in there from half-time. Coyb

Steve Shave
136 Posted 13/08/2022 at 07:26:34
Danny 131,

I agree completely, Sutton really seems to have a chip on his shoulder regarding us. Same as Merson. I can't stand either of them.

Shame really, I grew up watching Sutton on the terraces at Norwich with my family, bloody good player, prick of a pundit.

Bobby Mallon
137 Posted 13/08/2022 at 08:30:29
"Everton leaking goals from set-pieces" was the headline. "Everton midfield not strong enough" was another. So we go out and get Mykolenko, Tarkowski, Coady Patterson and Vinagre for the defence and add Onana to the midfield with McNeil.

Next shout out was Simms, Dobbin, Broadhead all needed to go on loan. "It will do them good" the masses on here shouted, so it happened. I think we have done exceptionally well in transfers and loans this season. We have addressed all the important positions... now for a striker which will take ages... but we will get one.

Christine Foster
138 Posted 13/08/2022 at 08:55:12
Not going to say how old I am but have just celebrated my birthday, I am of the age when I need nothing other than a smile.

I fully expect a big grin tonight, sorry Bernie, no screaming aloud, the neighbours just wouldn't understand.

I fancy this one more so because I would love the 3 points and sticking it up that slimy bigger!

Dave Abrahams
139 Posted 13/08/2022 at 09:02:40
Peter (113),

Like you, I'm not fussy on a back three defending but, if you want intelligent footballers to play there, I think we have two very intelligent footballers in Coady and Tarkowski who lead and shout and will keep the rest of the players on their toes for the whole game, having a go at them while also encouraging them. We do need that third player though, Holgate?

We'll obviously struggle until the elusive striker arrives, but he will get here, will he be the one we need? We are due for one surely.

Brian Murray
141 Posted 13/08/2022 at 09:34:58
Gordon or all of their work ethic should be a given anyway. We need that touch of class that makes this tight game into 3 points.

We know managers are terrified of youth unless really backed into a corner but maybe Mills might offer something different. A good half an hour on the pitch may swing it.

Kunal Desai
142 Posted 13/08/2022 at 09:44:26
Hoping we can nick one of a set-piece today. Maybe Tarkowski or Coady to bury one, I can't see how we score otherwise with a makeshift forward line.

Desperately need a couple of forwards in.

Robert Williams
143 Posted 13/08/2022 at 09:46:58
Christine 138. Never mind how old you are. Have never met you but love every bit of you and your TW comments. Hope you had a great birthday and wish you many more.
Ernie Baywood
144 Posted 13/08/2022 at 10:07:46
I'm struggling with everything past the defence (which is pretty straight forward).

We're asking a huge amount of Iwobi and Doucouré. And if you ask the wide attackers to be more disciplined as wide midfielders (which isn't their nature) you're left with a very isolated striker who probably isn't up to that job given our options.

What it comes down to is that a back 5 only works if you have the right options in midfield and attack. And we don't.

I'd go back 4, midfield 3. Then two wide attackers and a central striker.

But we'll 100% play a back 5. The signing of Coady shows that.

Brian Harrison
145 Posted 13/08/2022 at 10:10:32
I can understand not just signing any striker but we were short of striking options last season and it nearly cost us being relegated, then we sold last season's top scorer and, 44 days later, we are left with an injured Calvert-Lewin and a well past his best Rondon. We have sent all the young strikers on loan, so we have only 2 strikers available when both are fit.

I think our lack of a striker cost us against Chelsea as a couple of chances that fell to Gordon a decent striker would have put away, and I just hope that it doesn't cost us again today. Just to balance the argument I think Thelwell and Lampard have so far had a very good transfer window, but why we still haven't signed 1 striker all summer baffles me.

Derek Knox
146 Posted 13/08/2022 at 10:11:32
Christine @ 138, Aye, aye, kept that quiet about your birthday, let's hope belatedly you (and us all really) get a present of a Blues Away Win, against Slippy G.

Never ask a lady her age, but how many candles were on the cake ?

And, was the heat unbearable when they were lit ? :-)

Brian Murray
147 Posted 13/08/2022 at 10:20:33
Derek. don’t get on her wick mate
Alan J Thompson
148 Posted 13/08/2022 at 10:33:27
It's almost depressing to think that we go as striker with either Rondon or nobody.
Raymond Fox
149 Posted 13/08/2022 at 10:42:11
If referee form means anything we are more likely to have a player sent off than win.

Away games are tough whoever the opposition is thats why we are second favs for this.

I'm still hopeful of a good performance though whatever team we send out and we keep 11 on the field.

Most likely result for me is 1-1.

Derek Knox
150 Posted 13/08/2022 at 10:43:23
Brian M, she's an old (cyber) flame !

A bit like Ruby Wax. :-)

Christopher Timmins
151 Posted 13/08/2022 at 10:44:59
We won’t be playing a back 4 with Coady in the team, a back 5 with Patterson and Myko pushing forward is the preferred option
David Peate
152 Posted 13/08/2022 at 10:52:46
As I said on another site, I would love to see Keane given an opportunity as centre forward. There is nobody better then he as a header of the ball even considering DCL.
Gary Carter
153 Posted 13/08/2022 at 10:58:53
Patterson Coady tarks holgate mykolenko
McNeil Doucoure gordon

I know the team won’t be anything like that, it will feature gray Iwobi and rondon I suspect

Denis Richardson
154 Posted 13/08/2022 at 11:16:02
Back 5 picks itself with the two injuries and you've got to think Lampard will start Rondon, so that just leaves the 4 midfielders. Presumably, McNeil, Doucoure, Iwobi and Gordon in a 541 or even 5131 formation, with Onana coming off the bench in the 2nd half.

Will be interesting.

Neil Copeland
155 Posted 13/08/2022 at 11:19:41
Derek #150, you are pushing your luck mate, going to get burnt….
Jay Evans
156 Posted 13/08/2022 at 11:22:20
Unfortunately we won’t win an argument, never mind an away game without a decent striker and Rondon is nowhere near decent anymore. Anyone who has watched him
play for us knows this.

I think the best we will get today is a draw but I fear even that is pushing it.

Home win unfortunately - 2 nil I reckon.

How negative is that ? Sorry boys and girls.

Full support.
Onward Evertonians 💙

Brian Murray
157 Posted 13/08/2022 at 11:30:44
Villa like all out the top maybe 5 are much of a muchness with the odd threat like the most of us. A normal ref who just does his job and we could get a narrow win but depends how brave and how long the subs are on for.
Duncan McDine
158 Posted 13/08/2022 at 11:32:07
No striker again
David McMullen
159 Posted 13/08/2022 at 11:46:48
We'll win this. Won't we!

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