Everton 0 - 1 Arsenal

Okay, it was on a train and that was roughly my round trip and I like the song.


I appreciate the concern of many, but it's way too early to panic and we're far from done yet. I'm not done. There are still a lot of points to play for and anything can happen in football. The table won't look like this come December. If these players can pick themselves up, find some belief and confidence, and the manager can fathom out a system that doesn't sit so deep and rely almost entirely on the defence. It will only take a win and we will start to climb the table.


Belief. We lacked it. Confidence. We need a win to lift these players and get a bit of momentum going. We'll get it and soon. Tactics. We sat way too deep and relied on the goalkeeper and defenders. That's a dangerous approach that tests the laws of average, which always inevitably ends with them being broken. I'm not suggesting this team has the ability to go gung-ho. But play like you at least believe you can win. They didn't. A poor performance and the result could have been worse in the context that it was against a very good team.


We all see the game differently. I thought Mykolenko did okay, especially given who he was up against for the second time in a week. Tarkowski and Pickford were probably our best players and saved us from a heavier defeat, which was backed up by the Arsenal supporters I spoke to. Branthwaite looks good and that was also picked up on by the Arsenal fans on the way back to London. But here I am once again talking about the defence. Where was the midfield? I think they must have been sat in the lower Gwladys Street with me? Beto and (when he came on) Calvert-Lewin, were a forlorn hope.


Talking about early, dogs out and into London for an early train to Lime Street. Due to engineering works, the usual 2-hour trip was over 3 hours each way as it followed a different route. I sat with and chatted to a really nice elderly couple from Peru who were travelling up for a weekend in Liverpool and staying with friends on the Wirral. It was their first visit. I gave them a few tips on what to do. I hope they have a good one.


There were many Arsenal supporters around us. Mostly friendly but one could not stop swearing. I'm not pure, but his language was offensive so I had a word with him to mind his manners. There were women and children around; call me old-fashioned. He was the one who declared we had crossed the poverty line when the train went over the Mersey from Runcorn. He probably lives on a north London council estate.


A bit of debate at the Lime Street taxi rank with four Arsenal supporters who tried to jump the queue. I stepped in to allow a family at the front take the first one and told them to get in with me as the next one was mine (driver was an Evertonian). They accepted my invite. Despite me telling them they would be fine at the Harlech, they insisted on the Arkles even though I protested that it's a red pub, which made them laugh. I told them it's not like London. I arranged for the taxi driver to take them to the now "world famous Arkles" once he'd dropped me off. That sign above my late Grandfather's local really grates me!


For once, I was around Goodison Park nice and early. I was able to do my usual ritual free of queues and stood to actually read the words on the Holy Trinity statue for the first time. I've walked past it many times and stood across the road with my supper bar treat, but never stopped to read the words. Quite moving and got me in the mood. I know I keep saying it, but I'm really torn on what we do with that statue and Dixie when we move.


Off to the Harlech. A few of us congregated on the pavement outside. Stephen, Neil, Bill, Brian, John Senior and my nephew Patrick. Thank you for the Birthday drinks. John Senior came up with a very good point. When Mike Gaynes comes over from the States, we can't have him stood on the pavement on County Road, so let's get down to the Bramley Moore pub.


I noticed it was strangely subdued in the streets around County Road, which carried on into the ground, apart from the initial stages. But they didn't give us anything to get excited about and it petered out more and more as the match went on. From where I was sat, not even anything to get annoyed about. Just nothing. 'Flat' is probably the best word I can use to describe it.


I won't over-analyse the football as Michael, Lyndon and Paul have all given their comprehensive reviews.


A pretty passive first half, then Arsenal took over and stepped up a gear. Our gearbox didn't have any more gears. Just the one. Despite this, at half time, I fancied us for a point. But as the second half progressed, it ended up becoming a training match for Arsenal.


I was getting very frustrated that we didn't switch on to those short corners. Arteta schooled Dyche tactically and they have quality players. My son, who is usually very balanced compared to me, messaged me afterwards and called Dyche a dinosaur – echoes of Allardyce. I think he was frustrated. The jury is out with me as I don't know where else we'd go. Although I note Unsworth got sacked, so Bill might be tempted… [That's tongue-in-cheek, by the way. Don't worry!!]


The journey back to the Capital and continued discussion with the Arsenal supporters I was sat next to, who were bemoaning that it wasn't fair that Man City were untouchable. First World football problems. Many were in party mode and I endured a noisy walk up the platform as we left the train before I went the opposite way to Euston Square tube station. I slept like a baby on the Metropolitan line to get home by 1am. I was greeted by the dogs and their toys, my boy with his blue Dinosaur. I always find it funny seeing alleged Lion Hunters with soft toys in their mouth!


A long day. Brentford next. Even the Arsenal supporters said that yesterday won't define our season and I agree. Still a lot to play for.


Belief and  confidence. And sort the tactics out, Mr Dyche. I watched Brentford against Newcastle at the weekend and their centre-backs were immense so don't go lumping balls into the box as they will eat them up all day.


Hurting, but I'll dust myself down before the weekend. We'll be okay once we turn this ship around. Who knows, in a few weeks time, it is feasible we can achieve 9 more points and be in the next round of the League Cup before heading to the Devil's Pit.


Let's keep going. It's too early to quit now. Not that I can really comprehend the word 'quit'. It isn't part of my vocabulary and football like other walks of life, is unpredictable.


One final point, for those who remained, it was a nice touch when Mykolenko brought his Ukrainian team mate (Zinchenko) right up to the Gwladys Street behind the goal and they got a warm reception. Most of the players remained in the centre with a couple venturing as far as the 18-yard box. Give Mykolenko his due, he never shirks the supporters – win, lose or draw.

Reader Comments (45)

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Barry Rathbone
1 Posted 18/09/2023 at 20:07:37
Danny, I would prefer to be optimistic but I'm a facts kinda guy and the fact is we keep getting beat home and away.

There is the startling evidence that Young is at full-back and we have a midfield that might struggle to get into the first team of any other Premier League club.

The return of Calvert-Lewin and the signing of Beto has us as toothless as ever… maybe it's the 3 stooges in midfield but I just don't know..

The ship is rudderless with the weird takeover business so we're playing for snookers already.

They say the truth hurts – damn right it does.

John Keating
2 Posted 18/09/2023 at 20:09:01
As I always say, Danny, losing, like winning, becomes a habit. It is early days but it's so important to get points on the board early rather than catchup

Brentford are a well-organised team and I can't see us getting anything there.
However, if we don't get 3 points against Luton, then don't be surprised if Dyche joins you on walking 500 miles…

Tony Everan
3 Posted 18/09/2023 at 20:38:02
Great write up Danny, a big issue is the midfield not performing. To get that much needed win something’s got to change. No midfielder is stepping up to the plate and taking responsibility to play football. I want to see Garner and Onana given a run in the side as central midfield partnership either side of a more defensive Gana whose role is restricted to tackling breaking up play and simple passes.

We need to get some midfield energy into the side. Garner and Onana are 21 or 22 and should be bursting at the seams with it. I think both players can play a bit too although Onana needs reading he riot act to speed up his game and take more responsibility.

It means dropping Doucoure, and not even considering Gomes, but I am craving seeing partnerships in midfield and camaraderie. I just think the two young lads maybe the best bet to get something kicking off with this team.

Sean Kelly
4 Posted 18/09/2023 at 21:14:05
Nice write up Danny. I wish you could have a word with Dyche and our passive midfield. Dyche insisting on Garner being a winger is crazy. He our only genuine playmaker. The other have no fight and allowed arsenal too much room.
I’m trying my utmost to be positive but I don’t think this ship is for turning just like the titanic.
Peter Mills
5 Posted 18/09/2023 at 21:14:35
Danny, I know you have been in some real life scrapes, not the sort of ones confronting our millionaire footballers. I would be interested to know your thoughts about chains of command, leadership, responsibility, because all the messages and signs coming out of Goodison suggest a total lack of these things - can rank and file personnel perform without them?

On the subject of Mike G, I am taking responsibility for delivering him to an appropriate hostelry prior to the next home game. I think he is going to post, but I am happy to be guided as to the most suitable venue. I had been thinking of The Harlech simply because I have met you and a few of the guys there previously and, obviously, it is very handy for a short stroll to the match, but I am open to suggestions.

Best wishes to you, as ever.

Mike Price
6 Posted 18/09/2023 at 21:29:28
Just watching Forest and Burnley; they have players who aren’t 6’4 but can control a football and can pass. Our manager seems to want big physical players which just doesn’t work anymore. Bernardo Silva, even Messi wouldn’t get a game at Everton and if they did, they would look absolute dross with no support and no one close to the same wavelength.
We’re slowly getting rid of some deadwood and look like replacing it with some slightly cheaper deadwood.
Mark Murphy
7 Posted 18/09/2023 at 22:00:34
Which game is Mike G planning to attend??
Mike Doyle
8 Posted 18/09/2023 at 22:21:21
Managerial candidate update. Neil Warnock just left Huddersfield. Joe Royle still without club. Both aged 74.
Danny O’Neill
9 Posted 18/09/2023 at 23:03:18
Bournemouth and Luton I believe Mark.

Okay Peter, excuse the war and peace, but something I put together a couple of years back as a thought leadership piece. It probably belongs on a blog or LinkedIn, but as you asked!!! I borrowed the quotes but the text is from personal experience and opinion.

“A leader leads by example, not by force” 

Leadership isn’t always about enforcing authority, which isn’t entitled & must be earned. Set example, build trust & convince others to believe in your conviction. Results & outcomes are better achieved when people follow willingly. Voluntary buy-in vice brute force coercion will achieve more in most normal circumstances. People will understand that even though you may sometimes ask the seemingly impossible, there is a reason; you are with them & not simply moving them around like pieces on a chess board. Subsequently they will approach the task with more focus on achieving the collective objective.

“The price of greatness is responsibility” 

Many think they want to be in charge & can do better than those who are. This means taking responsibility; often a heavy burden that leaves one open to criticism of the many who “know better”. True leaders willingly take responsibility providing the necessary direction to achieve an aim. Often in difficult circumstances, this can involve asking or directing people to do things that wouldn’t be in tune with their natural instinct or decision making process. However, people will respond to good leadership even if that direction goes against their impulse. Clearly that is relevant to the scenario, walk of life & always subject to moral courage or questioning. The ability to influence a group to carry out an objective & execute on actions that they would not have naturally have done so because it is the right thing to do is a vital attribute of leadership. 

Would I be willing to do this myself? 

Leaders find themselves in times of difficulty, not necessarily when everything is going well. Strength & decisiveness alone however are not sufficient. Leaders must convey confidence balanced with humility and remain calm under pressure to establish trust & belief to convince others to follow, especially when the odds are stacked against. Whilst the leader is not necessarily going to be the doer, they should always consider whether one could or would be willing to carry out the action themselves. This will provide a safety check on whether the ask is realistic. Push the boundaries, be ambitious and dare to win. However unrealistic intent & ill-thought aspirations will likely result in a lack of buy in from the team & increase the risk of failure.

Obviously a different scenario from Everton, but like I say, as you asked, I thought I'd share!!

John Raftery
10 Posted 18/09/2023 at 23:12:51
Thanks for the report Danny. It was very subdued around the ground. I noticed how slow fans were to go up to their seats before kick off. It was almost as though we feared the worst.

Dyche got the team selection and tactics wrong but I very much doubt a different line-up and formation would have produced a different outcome. Defensively we were solid and the team as a whole had a decent shape without the ball.

Our problems started when we won possession and failed to carry the play up the field or find an effective forward pass. It was not through want of trying. We just didn’t have the players on the pitch capable of linking up with the attackers.

I still cling to the hope Dyche will turn this situation around. He will know more than anyone he needs to achieve an early and sustained improvement in results.

See you at Brentford.

Dave Abrahams
11 Posted 19/09/2023 at 12:23:53
Thanks for your report about Sunday, Danny, sadly another long sad journey home.

I think you could set a good example to a lot of Everton's present players with how much you care and love the club, spending hours and a lot of money to support the club. These players earn fortunes playing for the club but have little affinity to the club, which is understandable in a way, but shouldn't stop them from giving their all in training and for the length of the time they are on the field on matchdays.

There is hardly any leadership on the field, hardly any talking or urging each on, Tarkowski is an exception and obviously Seamus when he plays. both do it by their endeavour as well as vocally.

Most of us know that the central midfield is the real weakness and they all get a game there because there is no-one else to choose there, although a lot of us think James Garner deserves a chance to play in that position instead of being wasted on the wing.

McNeil gave a good example of how to play on Saturday, he didn't have a good game but he ran his heart forcing Arsenal back without touching the ball; Gana did the same. Doucoure ran and ran but his efforts with the ball were embarrassing to be honest.

George McKane made a good point on another thread yesterday, saying there is no togetherness with the players on or off the field, they don't seem to mix after training or games, just go their seperate ways.

That they don't mix could be down to the fact that many of them don't speak the same language and even have different cultures. Whatever, there is something basically wrong at Finch Farm where they meet every day to start work – wish I was going there the same as them, I wouldn't want to go home and love every minute I was there and couldn't wait for match days.

For fucks sake, lads, shape your bleedin' selves, pull your fingers out, and have a proper fuckin' go, as The Duke of Edinborough said a long time ago.

Brian Harrison
12 Posted 19/09/2023 at 12:47:51

You are always super positive and as you have at least a 6-hour round trip, that is to be admired given after 3 home games we have yet to score.

The only thing I envy about your long train journeys is being able to discuss the game with the opposition fans and what they think about the game and our team as well as their own.

I am old enough to remember when there was no segregation at football and you could mix with the opposing supporters. There were only Internationals shown on the TV in those days so you didn't see the top players until you played them.

I hope you are right and the table will look a bit different in a few weeks because, if we don't turn things round quickly, it's hard to see how we get out of the mess we are in both on and off the field.

John Hall
13 Posted 19/09/2023 at 16:39:54
Hit the nail on the head Danny, too deep and no one with the ability to pass and move.

Our midfielders are akin to statues once they have made a pass.

Give it and go to make the space for someone else to receive it whilst your taking an opposing player with you.

Watched Brighton and it was exhibition stuff against Man Utd.

Always at least two men in space whilst two others are playing the ball. Fantastic movement as a dominant unit. No superstars in there, just players working as a unit and trusting their abilities.

Seems the instruction was sit deep, give Arsenal the flanks and just pack the areas outside the area and around the edges of the box.

Nobody at Everton seems to want the ball or are prepared to carry it out from the back.

Footballers or players ? We have eleven players it seems but very few footballers.

As you say not so bad defensively, rather deep mostly and the rest with little ability to bring it out either individually or as a unit.

Midfield needs a severe looking at in order to serve the front men.

Dyche ball isn't working and I wish I could share your optimism going forward.

Sending out the same bodies in the same shape to do the same thing is not working, proof being we have a single point from five games.

A lot of blues in our family and all are fearful more so now than at ant time during the past two bottom table battles.

Your undying love and the treks you make deserve better than what is being served. Let's hope your optimism will carry us through these troubled times.

Andy Meighan
14 Posted 19/09/2023 at 17:12:09
I've been banging on for months and months about how that midfield lacks creativity and yet nothing was done about it during the window.

Now this Thelwell fella chased Gnonto all summer without addressing where the real problems are: centre midfield.

I could have screamed for Beto on Sunday, the service into him was abysmal and yet what does Dyche do? Brings him off for another like-for-like striker in Calvert-Lewin.

It was absolutely embarrassing and utterly clueless from this relic of a manager. Can anyone honestly come on here and see us getting another 35 points, I can't under this fella.

That equates to 10 wins and 5 draws, we are already 3 home games in and goalless, how cringingly embarrassing is that?

Goodison used to be a hard place to come to… not now – teams find it a piece of piss to play here.

Don't expect anything at Brentford on Saturday, and I wouldn't be surprised to see Luton and Bournemouth waltz off with 4pts between them.

Pessimistic? You bet your bottom dollar I am, because this manager, this board, this Dof, and these players have sucked the life and soul out of me. I really can't see no way out of this because basically we don't score goals or keep clean sheets.

Oh, I forgot we've got to go to that other happy hunting ground, Villa Park, in our favourite cup competition: out, I'm afraid.

Paul Kernot
15 Posted 20/09/2023 at 01:20:34
Interesting how, as soon as we went behind, we pushed on & threatened to look like a football team.

As several have mentioned above, football, any sport really is a confidence game. Play at least a bit more like that from the start & who knows, we might fluke a goal, maybe even win a game.

Kunal Desai
16 Posted 20/09/2023 at 07:41:20
The Bournemouth and Luton games are absolutely huge now. We need to win both at the early stage of the season or else I think it's Goodnight Vienna with less than a quarter of the season gone.

Looking at the fixtures thereafter and towards xmas, the only consolation might be we start targetting a better points return than Derby County when they got relegated.

This start is on par with 1994-95. The difference here is there is no Joe Royle type figure to bail us out and certainly no FA Cup victory.

Up to Dyche to change things and change things very quickly before we start sinking out of the Premier League.

Danny O’Neill
17 Posted 20/09/2023 at 08:06:17
Kunai, don't forget that during that season, Joe Royle wasn't appointed until November. We haven't left September yet.

I personally can't see anyone out there, so I think we will stick. The defence is generally fine considering how much pressure they are put under with a lack of protection. The forwards will score if supported and supplied.

Just sort out the midfield who seem absent with out leave. McNeil will come good once he regains fitness. I might be in the minority but you can't fault Gueye's work ethic, he's just on his own.

Brentford Saturday. The duck is going to break at some point.

Mark Murphy
18 Posted 20/09/2023 at 08:50:51
Stick Gueye in front of the back 4 and don't let him into the opposition's half – he can't shoot anyway so defensive duties only.

Play Garner as the link between defence and attack – tell Gueye to just give him the ball – and give Onana an ultimatum – play well for your big move or sit on the bench and end up at Fulham!

I've a feeling that sooner or later we'll go full 4-4-2, and that worries the hell out of me, but with that 3 (Doucouré, Onana, Gueye) it couldn't be any worse!

Maybe when Harrison is fit, we'll see either Danjuma or McNeil moved in behind Beto?

Brian Harrison
19 Posted 20/09/2023 at 09:57:52
I think Sean Dyche in any normal club would get to the end of October before a decision on his future, but we are in transition as far as ownership goes so, even if results don't improve, who would remove the manager?

The possible new owners have given Dyche and Thelwell the dreaded vote of confidence, so I can't see Moshiri doing anything that would upset these possible new owners.

Danny said there is nobody out there and that may be right, but I heard the same arguments from people suggesting even days before he was sacked that we should keep Frank Lampard. The defence was nobody else could get results from this squad.

As for possible replacements, I remember the furore when Pochettino was installed at Southampton; nobody had heard of him but he did okay. De Zerbi replacing Potter at Brighton – the feeling was, without Potter, this team would fall apart, whereas now some think he is better than Potter. Thomas Frank at Brentford: again, nobody had heard of him.

There are alternatives as long as those choosing a new manager have done their homework and have a clear idea of the style of play they want the manager to adopt. Most of our appointments have been knee-jerk appointments.

I was listening to Tony Bloom, the owner of Brighton, and he said they knew 6 months before Potter left that the big clubs were circling to get him as manager, so they started to look for a manager with a similar philosophy to Potter. So when Potter left for Chelsea, they had already agreed a deal for De Zerbi.

Dave Abrahams
20 Posted 20/09/2023 at 10:09:10
Brian (19),

It is not about the manager now, it is about the poor threadbare squad and how to use them, there are not many options of who to play especially in central midfield, who else is there besides Gueye, Doucouré, Onana and Garner? That is the position that will mostly make the team united, at the moment it's not working.

I couldn't honestly see any manager making a success out of this squad but possibly Dyche can keep us up and that could be counted as success in the present state Everton FC are in.

Nicholas Ryan
21 Posted 20/09/2023 at 10:33:02
Brian [19],

Along the same lines that you are talking about, I've just read a piece about Union Berlin. They were the '2nd club' in Berlin, Hertha being the larger and better known. They are located in a traditionally working-class part of Berlin and regard themselves as 'The People's Club'.

Union is entirely fan-owned (40,000 supporter shareholders). They rose recently from the 2nd division. They have a manager who nobody's ever heard of, a CEO who nobody's ever heard of, and they don't generally pay huge wages or huge transfer fees.

Tonight, they will be playing at Real Madrid in the Champions League! Maybe there is another way, rather than spending £500M or so to finish consistently 17th!

Gerry Western
22 Posted 20/09/2023 at 11:08:46
Total aside, have just been reading comments attributed to Peter Reid revealing how he'd encouraged Marcel Brands to sign Reece James earlier in his career as he believed he had huge potential. However, Brands wasn't impressed and advised Reid he didn't consider him good enough.

Food for thought for those who've long held the opinion that our DoF's have had little involvement in recruitment — this is a clear indication that they indeed have.

Brands was keen not so long ago to highlight the fact that he was keen to appoint Arteta as manager around the time Ancelotti was appointed; however, I do not recall him going public on this gaffe.

Tony Everan
23 Posted 20/09/2023 at 11:10:49
I am sick and tired of useless owners, shameful governance and poor decisions leaving us only to focus on survival and servicing ever increasing debt.

I like the idea of the fans owning the club, can we convince Moshiri to sell us it cheap enough? Are there enough Everton fans with some money to buy the shares? Maybe AJ Bell could do a feasibility study and oversee it.

Someone said yesterday, 100,000 Evertonians would need to pay £5,000 each to raise £500M. Maybe less input if some wealthy fans / investors are paying more .

Similar to what Nicholas says above, there's got to be a better way than the road to nowhere we are permanently on.

Brian Harrison
24 Posted 20/09/2023 at 11:16:26
Dave @20,

I disagree; for me, it's always about the manager. Yes, finances do play a big part in how far you can take a side with journeymen players but I have never seen a side win trophies with a poor manager.

I hear people saying, if Guardiola managed Everton, they wouldn't be better off… absolute nonsense. He might not win trophies with this squad but he would have them playing far better. He would also look at our U21 and U18 teams which are massively underperforming and employ proper coaches and not ex-players which have led us to where we are now.

Just as an example, Dave, you know the game well enough: Would you have ever played Gueye (being an attacking midfield player) as we did on Sunday?

Mind I should say Dyche played Gueye as one of our most forward midfield players, as you could hardly say any of our midfield players attacked on Sunday.

How long before he gets a tune out of Onana? Or is he like his predecessor – just keeps picking him despite some of the pitiful performances he puts in.

Again, a good manager wouldn't put up with his performances, so I will never have it that it's not about the manager — it's always about the manager. On his team selections, on tactics — everything is his responsibility.

Last season, Bournemouth were in an awful position; they appointed Gary O'Neill who completely turned them round and got them to safety well before we got safe. Seemed strange, after doing that, Bournemouth sacked him, but time will tell if they were right.

Barry Rathbone
25 Posted 20/09/2023 at 11:22:59
Brian @19,

We would never employ an "unknown"; we have a vociferous section too uppity for their own good – only a perceived "star" suffices.

The prerequisite has to be a record of sorts or universally accepted potential but, if the record is of the Allardyce variety, it doesn't matter if you do a good job, the fans will still chase you.

Arrive as a "star", like Ancelotti, and you can get away with murder; the fickleness here is through the roof.

Any unknown would be greeted with "WHO??" and chased after the first setback.

Rob Halligan
26 Posted 20/09/2023 at 11:23:11
How does a club owned by the fans generate income for transfers etc? Who chooses and sacks the manager, CEO, DofF? How is the board selected, or are all these fans who “buy the club” multi-millionaires only?

I can't imagine there are too many on this site who would be able to stump up £5k and then Input money on a regular basis for wages, transfer fees etc. I know there would be the TV money and sponsorship money, but we all know how far these types of income go at the club.

Robert Tressell
27 Posted 20/09/2023 at 11:32:46
Brian # 19, I am also confident that there are managers out there who could do a better job than Dyche.

However, how many can come in to Everton and do a better job straightaway that could then be sustained beyond a little bounce? Could De Zerbi, Frank or (laughably) Potter do this?

Seems unlikely given that De Zerbi made his name at Italy's version of Brighton (Sassuolo), then Shakhtar (best resourced club in Ukraine noted for development of Brazilian youth). He then benefited from the outstanding players assembled by Brighton's sophisticated AI statistical analysis for recruitment.
With De Zerbi at Everton, I expect we'd see a lot of plodding possession for possession's sake and no penetration up front – with De Zerbi being branded the new Bobby Brown Shoes (and not in a good way).

Thomas Frank has been at Brentford since 2016, tweaked and refined his tactics as they rose through the divisions, and had many transfer windows in which to buy players that fit the system.

Unfortunately, changing the manager isn't a shortcut to success even if you get a little initial bounce. We need to build something. Given that we're absolutely skint, Dyche is a good fit for where we are right now and where the squad is.

It was always going to be a very hard season due to the quality (or lack of it) in the playing squad. Hard to comprehend possibly but, because of our present finances, only the three promoted clubs have genuinely weaker squads. The likes of Forest and Bournemouth are now better than us.

Rob Dolby
28 Posted 20/09/2023 at 11:32:59
I think Arsenal will do that to most teams this season. They have improved on last season and will run Man City close for the title.

Our whole team did lots of running off the ball to close down space but in the end we just didn't have enough to challenge. It reminded of the times when a Ferguson Man Utd team or a Wenger Arsenal team used to turn up and win at a canter.

We never really gave it a go and had no answers when we went behind.

We played well vs Fulham, Wolves and Sheffield Utd without having a cutting edge. We created a lot of chances but couldn't score. Maybe with Beto or a fit Calvert-Lewin, those squandered chances get converted.

The next 2 home games are vital, if we don't pick up points in those games, we may as well sack Dyche and get the new manager bounce for a couple of months.

If we get a points deduction next month, it could either galvanise the team or destroy whatever spirit we have.

I still find it hard to believe we are up for a P&S Rules breach when we haven't spent a bean for 2 years whilst Chelsea spend £1bn and Forest and Burnley are outspending us. We can't be the only club that has a dodgy owner.

Anyhow, good read as always, Danny. I used to live 3 doors down from the Arkles, at one point it was a decent pub but, like most businesses in the Anfield area, without the match, it would go bust.

Charles Brewer
29 Posted 20/09/2023 at 11:42:03
My son gave me his old copy of FIFA20, and last night I thought I'd give it a go.

The Everton team (manager Ancelotti) consisted of a squad that would probably beat today's dross 5-0. Only Pickford and Calvert-Lewin (the goalscoring version) remain.

While it did contain a large number of seriously overpaid players (Sigurdsson, Iwobi, Mina) there wasn't one whom you wouldn't swap for today's "Don't give a shit" mercenaries, well, maybe Holgate and Tarkowski, but that's it.

Christopher Timmins
30 Posted 20/09/2023 at 11:54:12
Robert, it's really hard to take that we have fallen behind Forest and Bournemouth in terms of squad quality, however, that is probably a fair reflection of where we are at the moment. I am not certain that we have a better squad than Burnley, they are certainly better/braver on the ball than we are. Oh for the days of "Sin miedo".

If we don't pick up a win over the next three games I doubt that the current manager will be in charge for match day 10.

Hopefully we pick up six or more points over the next three games and relieve the pressure and lift our spirits because there is not much I can take after more than two years of a continuous relegation struggle.

Dave Abrahams
31 Posted 20/09/2023 at 11:54:26
Brian (24), Yes of course managers can make a difference but there is a difference in this case, Dyche came in and has been put in the position of the club having no money to spend, every transfer has been on the drip, players have let go to ease the wages bill, one or two early to stop going for nothing next summer, some players were wanted, we didn’t have the money to buy them, some preferred to go elsewhere, the club is in a mess.

Regarding Gana, no he’s not a forward player and is on the way down, yet still doing more than his fair share of the pressing game he is asked to do, and he goes forward because Onana rarely goes forward in fact I still don’t know what he is supposed to do or where he is supposed to be playing, I don’t think the lad knows himself what he is supposed to be doing, whatever it is he’s not doing enough of it.

I think Brian, Dyche will be staying for quite a while and if Everton stay up this season it will all we can ask for no matter how much grates on fans who want much more than that, we all do but our position in the game is far from what it once once, been a long time since we could look forward to silverware and could be a long time before we get any unfortunately.

Brian Harrison
32 Posted 20/09/2023 at 12:09:35
Dave 31

I totally agree that Dyche has inherited a poor squad and has had to sell players to balance the books, which makes his job extremely difficult. But there are other managers in the Premier league who havent got great squads, but I don't see them adopting the negative tactics that Dyche operated on Sunday. Even the Fulham game who on chances we should have won still had over 59% of possession, yes Fulham at Goodison had 59% that is a tactical choice by the manager. We even struggled in the possession stakes against Doncaster at the time the worst of all 92 league clubs. So this isn't a team being forced to defend by an attacking opposition this is a team who our manager has set us up to hit teams on the break even against lowly Doncaster. Now I am not asking for all out attacking football thats impossible with this squad but we have to try and get more players into forward positions when we are in possession, surely thats not to much to ask for.

Dave Abrahams
33 Posted 20/09/2023 at 13:12:53
Brian (32), Yes I couldn’t possibly disagree with you on Sundays and the first sixty minutes at Doncaster they were very poor performances and when Dyche brought on Dominic for Beto that impressed nobody.

I’m waiting to see a different formation with Harrison coming in and Garner in central midfield and Everton keeping hold of the ball and going forward a lot more than they did on Sunday.

I think there are three or more worse teams than Everton in the league, our big saving grace at the moment, it’s doubtful will be able to reinforce the team in January and there is not much on the bench to change so we are stuck with what we’ve got and we don’t even know what the future holds for the club until everything is sorted in October and whether 777 are given the go ahead to take over the club and there are doubts about them if they are.as I said before we really are in a mess.

Robert Tressell
34 Posted 20/09/2023 at 13:28:53
Brian, getting players forward in decent number when we counter-attack is precisely Dyche's tactic. We saw that against Fulham and Wolves (who we battered despite their possession / victory).

We didn't manage it against Arsenal because Arsenal executed their own defensive strategy so well. It was an extremely tactical game by both managers and a game of very chances as a result. I expect the Arsenal fans were fuming at half-time and worried we might pinch a goal from a corner again.

Like a lot of fans, I think you're just incredulous that we aren't better than this - and blame the manager. Unfortunately, it runs so much deeper than that.

John McFarlane Snr
35 Posted 20/09/2023 at 13:39:56
Hi Danny, regarding the visit of Mike Gaynes, I was suggesting that it would be more enjoyable to be sharing our views 'post match', and I consider the Bramley Moore to be an ideal choice.
Paul Traill
36 Posted 20/09/2023 at 13:42:15
Great write up Danny, thank you. Keep the faith.
Danny O’Neill
37 Posted 20/09/2023 at 13:51:21
My Grandad lived at 14a Arkles Lane Rob @28. We used to always head there after the match to be fed and watered by his wife before heading home. My first photo in an Everton strip is on Arkles Lane outside their house as a 5 year old. I'm next to my cousin who is in all red. He's now a Chelsea fan.

West London and a day on the banks of the Thames on Saturday. For once a short trip for me; the shortest in Premier League terms. For those travelling, see you there.

Show up blues because 2000 of us will be doing so.

Rob Halligan
38 Posted 20/09/2023 at 13:57:03
Who exactly thinks the Arkles is famous, apart from a couple of hundred RS tourists who congregate in there every other week?
Raymond Fox
39 Posted 20/09/2023 at 14:22:41
The relegation places is a competition between Luton, Burnley, Sheffield, Wolves, Bournemouth and us I would say. We are good enough to finish above 3 of those surely. If we don't finish above Burnley, I'll eat my walking boots.

I don't blame Dyche for being defence minded against Arsenal, our problem was we couldn't find the control or passes to play away up field.

We have more options in attack now but there's no creativity coming from the midfield, as of now that's our weakness.

Steve Dawson
40 Posted 20/09/2023 at 14:44:21
A great article, Danny.

Question about Onana, who is playing well for Belgium – he has even captained the side. So what's he doing for Belgium that he's not doing for Everton?

Is it simply that he's surrounded by better players in his national team?

Barry Hesketh
41 Posted 20/09/2023 at 14:59:47
I'm not as certain about Burnley being dead certs to finish below Everton, I was quite impressed with them at Forest on Monday night, they are naive, but they can improve over time, at least they looked a threat in attack.
Robert Tressell
42 Posted 20/09/2023 at 15:18:07
Steve # 40,

For Belgium, Onana is often playing in a team that is better (quality / technique) than the opposition. As we see in all the England games - we usually dominate games in qualifiers in particular. Belgium are much the same.

Onana generally sits in front of the defence – with players like De Bruyne, Tielemans and Mangala of Forest around him in central midfield. Ahead of them they usually have a trio of Trossard, Doku and Carrasco in wide / attacking areas with Lukaku as the main striker.

Onana is basically the player that lets the others play. He's not there to be a rampaging Vieira type despite his size – he's just there to be good at a boring job.

Contrast that with Everton where in the Premier League there's at least 10 sides who are better by a decent margin and some by a huge margin. Even against the other 10 sides, we're fairly evenly matched (apart from hopefully Luton). And unlike Belgium's footballing midfielders, we just have athletes in Doucouré and Gueye, and nothing like the threat of Belgium in attack.

Swap Onana for Rodri at Man City or Rice at Arsenal and you might see him do quite well. He controls the ball quickly, passes first time and doesn't shit his pants when pressed. He also covers the defence pretty ably too.

However, this sort of thing is lost at Everton where his fellow midfielders Gueye and Doucoure, cannot receive a ball under pressure, cannot pass first time, and do not even make themselves available for a first time pass.

At the moment, we'd almost be better served by a worse player.

Andy Meighan
43 Posted 20/09/2023 at 17:19:56
Even if we had money to spend in January, that cretin Thelwell would throw it all at Gnonto. What the fuck is this man's obsession with wide men?

The centre of midfield is shocking, we've got players that can't strike a ball, pass a ball, or cross a ball. So can someone come on here and tell me what I can't see, because I'm flummoxed as to what Dyche and his staff are watching.

I see a lot of people on here targeting the next 3 games as winnable. Absolutely laughable, we will be lucky to get 1 point out of them 3 — and as for the Villa cup game… forget it.

I think some on here think Goodison is still a hard place to come. Look at our home record — that'll tell you otherwise.

Kunal Desai
44 Posted 20/09/2023 at 19:35:28
Danny, it really makes no difference whether its September or November. The trajectory of our results are spirraling downwards. Seven defeats in eight homes games and five wins Dyche has mustered since he has been here. Everyone needs a reality check.

Agree on the midifield. Gana is getting exposed. James Garner must be brought back into the fold at the expense of Onana. I'm at loss at what he brings to the side.

I'd like to see McNeil behind Beto. We don't have time the results must turn and turn very quickly otherwise it will be like quicksand and we will start to sink very quickly.

Mick O'Malley
45 Posted 21/09/2023 at 13:25:40
Robert @42 Excellent post, that’s the way I see it as well, Onana is a decent player, he’s in a struggling side, a side that’s not set up for possession, shit players don’t captain Belgium, I’m a big fan of his and will defend the lad to the hilt, I’ll admit he’s been underwhelming this season but ffs haven’t all the midfield? Dyche’s long ball game doesn’t get the best out of him, he had some decent games last season under Lampard, it’s hard for the midfield when the ball is sailing over your head to get up and support the striker only to see him lose possession and have to get back and defend, fans can call him shite all they want but I’ll bet you he’ll be the one midfielder who’ll get a move to a bigger club in Europe, maybe he’s just not suited to the PL, maybe it’s Dyche’s tactics but I’ll guarantee we’ll make money on him when he moves on

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