Koeman comes close to putting one over old pal Pep

By Lyndon Lloyd 16/10/2016  64 Comments  [Jump to last]
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Manchester City 1 - 1 Everton

It’s fair to say that this trip to the Etihad coming out of the international break had been approached by Evertonians with a mixture of trepidation and anticipation. Boasting a 100% record at home in all competitions and already many people’s pick to the win the Premier League title in Pep Guardiola’s first season in charge, Manchester City looked formidable over the first six weeks of the season.

Tottenham’s impressive stifling of their attacking rhythms combined with Celtic’s exposé of their defensive frailties offered evidence, though, that the Spaniard’s men were far from invincible and, for a few tantalising minutes of today’s game, a stunning victory beckoned Everton following Romelu Lukaku’s excellent break-away goal.

Unfortunately, Ronald Koeman’s side hadn’t caught City on an off day and with Kevin de Bruyne back in the starting XI and Sergio Agüero coming off the bench to offer his potency in their attack, Everton had to be on top of their game defensively and faultless at the back if they were to pull off a surprise.

Despite two uncharacteristic blunders by Phil Jagielka and thanks to the goalkeeping heroics of Maarten Stekelenburg , they almost managed a shock victory but they were punished for one of the rare occasions where they afforded David Silva too much room and left substitute Nolito unmarked to plunder the equaliser.

This was an excellent result for the Toffees, though. The giddy optimism that greeted the four successive wins following the opening-day draw with Spurs had given way to the harsher reality that bit against Bournemouth and Palace, revealing the flaws and areas for improvement in Koeman’s side. So, while there is something to be said for argument that a team with top-four ambitions should be able to go anywhere and win, Everton still aren’t quite at that level.

For most of the first 20 minutes of this contest, it looked as though it was going to be a very long and difficult afternoon for Everton. Oviedo was struggling in vain to contain Leroy Sané and Koeman’s men were pinned back into their own half at times, unable to make the ball stick beyond the halfway line. Indeed, there were times where the ease with which City could move the ball and the movement that made it possible were quite depressing.

It didn’t help that apart from a spell after the five-minute mark, where successive crosses from the Blues’ right were blocked and a move that leed to Lukaku sailing a free kick well over Claudio Bravo’s bar, Everton were giving the ball up so easily. Koeman had stressed his preference for the occasional direct ball forward over pointless possession — the visitors would have just 28% of the ball over the 90 minutes — but too often it just meant it coming right back in the form of more City pressure.

While Everton toiled to find an outlet ball, Guardiola’s side, by contrast, always seemed to have a man over and they swarmed around the box at times probing for weakness. It was to the Blues’ credit, however, that their hosts were restricted during that first quarter of the game to a De Bruyne shot from 20 yards that deflected over off Oviedo’s blocking challenge, a low Raheem Sterling effort that was diverted into Stekelenburg’s arms and a penalty claim by Sane when he felt contact from Oviedo’s boot in the box which referee Michael Oliver waved away.

A tactical shift by Koeman midway through the first period, however, eased the situation. Having guessed correctly that Guardiola would field a back three, Koeman had initially set out with Lukaku, Yannick Bolasie and Gerard Deulofeu in attack but he modified his formation to allow the latter two to drop off and abandon the high press that had been largely ineffective given City’s passing prowess.

That didn’t preclude either wide player from getting forward and it was clear that there were possibilities for Everton on the counter-attack if they could just manage some composure when the opportunities presented themselves. The best in the first half came shortly before the half-hour mark after David Silva had flashed a shot from the edge of the box narrowly over at the other end but Deulofeu spurned a three-on-two break when his ball forward searching out Bolasie only found the feet of Nicolas Otamendi.

What had been a study in the the differences in how two teams can use and keep the ball was heading into the interval goalless when City were handed the chance to break the deadlock three minutes before half-time. Wriggling among the feet of three yellow shirts in the Everton penalty area, Silva eventually jinked his way past Jagielka and was tripped when the captain dangled an ill-advised leg behind him in a lame attempt to check his progress to goal.

De Bruyne stepped up and drove for the right-hand side of the goal from his perspective but Stekelenburg guessed correctly and beat the shot away superbly. Honours even at the break and a half the job well done by Everton because defensively they had been excellent.

To a man, the defensive in front of Stekelenburg had stuck doggedly to their shape and done their best to harry anyone that moved in a sky blue shirt once he crossed the halfway line, and that pattern continued into the second half. Ashley Williams, in particular, was immense at the heart of defence and he had to be, particularly in the few minutes before both sides made their first substitutions in the 55th minute.

The former Swansea defender had been forced to slash a couple of low crosses behind for a corner, while Stekelenburg remained alert to divert Iheanacho’s attempted flick behind at his near post. At the other end, Deulofeu’s last significant involvement before making way for James McCarthy was to force the first and only save from Bravo with a rasping shot that the Chilean palmed over.

It was a rare opening for Everton who, with so little of the ball, were increasingly relying on something special on the counter-attack if they were going to breach City’s goal. It arrived in the 64th minute courtesy of Lukaku who proved that despite being isolated at times and inconsistent in his ability to hold the ball up, he sometimes only needs one opening to score.

Bolaise went for a ball out of defence down Everton’s left, pulling Stones across the halfway line with him and the Congolese international did enough to help the ball on and release Lukaku to romp towards goal with Gael Clichy trying manfully to keep up. The Belgian powered past him, drew Bravo and then whipped a perfectly-placed left-foot shot inside the far post to spark bedlam in the away end.

The 26 remaining minutes represented an eternity through which to hold on to the precious lead but, by scoring first, it had put Everton into an excellent position to at least grab a point. And so it proved, although when another poor tackle by the otherwise impressive Jagielka gifted Agüero the opportunity to score from 12 yards where De Bruyne had failed and Stekelenburg guessed right again and parried his penalty to safety, it felt like maybe it might be the Blues’ day. That feeling was reinforced when the Dutch ‘keeper pawed away a shot from Agüero at full stretch following the resulting corner.

That it wasn’t to be a famous Everton win owed much to one of the few occasions where they switched off and allowed Silva the freedom of City’s left flank and he swung in a cross that Nolito, doubling up on Jagielka with Agüero, ghosted onto to plant a header past Stekelenburg to make it 1-1.

Again, though, credit Everton — not to mention their towering Dutch ‘keeper — for maintaining their concentration and not allowing the match to be turned on its head from there. With the hosts still kept largely at arm’s length, it would have taken a world-class intervention from De Bruyne to win it and he almost provided it with nine minutes to go after Everton gave up the ball following a Seamus Coleman throw-in. It was quickly moved to the Belgian midfielder and his rattled off a quick shot that was rocketing into the top corner until Stekelenburg finger-tipped it brilliantly onto the post.

As many have said in the aftermath of the game, not many teams will go to the Etihad and get anything this season so the result and the performance that underpinned it speaks to the impact that Koeman has had, his powers of motivation and organisation, and his tactical acumen. The key to results likes these, however is to build on them and in that respect, next weekend’s trip to Burnley will be just as important.

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Reader Comments (64)

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Andy McNabb
1 Posted 16/10/2016 at 07:56:04
Thanks, Lyndon. The 3 points would have been fantastic but to quote Pep himself, in his biography:

"Everything starts with defence. If you want to attack a lot, then defence is the cornerstone."

We are a long way from the finished product but at least the building blocks are being placed in position, rather than Martinez removing them, one by one.

Derek Thomas
2 Posted 16/10/2016 at 08:30:08
As you say, Lyndon, the key to results like this is to build on them. We must apply the same Intensity and discipline to Burnley, Bournemouth and every game, as we do to Man City.

Not withstanding their 6-1 win vs Hull, our 1-0 loss might on first glance not look too bad. But it is; there are no easy games.

In reality, it was a tragic waste of 3 points, all for the lack of a bit of effort and application.

3 points added to our 15 points and, in the words of Jim Bowen, "Here's what you could've won..."

George Li
3 Posted 16/10/2016 at 09:17:27
Well... at least Koeman tried to be positive from the start:

"I spoke to the players in the dressing room before the game and I said we will put three strikers upfront, because that means one versus one against the high defensive line of City. If we win balls and win second balls, we can be very dangerous. But after 20 minutes, we had none of the ball!"

John Keating
4 Posted 16/10/2016 at 09:34:02
I think most expected City to have the ball for most of the game; however, what concerned me was how cheaply we gave it away. Not many teams can defend for 90 minutes and to me it is imperative that, when we do get the ball, we at least retain it and give the defence a breather.

The few times we did have the ball, our control and passing were poor to say the least. We got away with it yesterday and possibly deserved a bit of luck.

Another striker has to be a priority in January. A foil or back-up to Lukaku is imperative.

Paul Tran
5 Posted 16/10/2016 at 12:22:54
The thing that struck me most yesterday was the quality of City's movement. If only we had a bit of that when going forward.

The defence looks solid. It will make mistakes but is looking good.

We need at least two players in their half who can hold the ball up and a genuinely creative midfield player.

Disregarding the fee, I can see why Koeman bought Bolassie. He may be inconsistent but he has pace, physical strength and presence. Deufelou is a classic Martinez player; he'd be a great footballer if there was no opposition on the pitch. Could you see Geri holding off a defender and flicking it to Lukaku?

We're going to be hard to beat, but will we be able to turn draws into wins? The next two transfer windows will hopefully have the answers.

Mick Davies
6 Posted 16/10/2016 at 13:20:55
Koeman demands blood, sweat, toil and tears, unlike his predecessor, who just wanted instant success without making the players work. It's not going to happen overnight, eradicating the Martinezation of Everton, but I have definitely witnessed a change in attitude, application, organisation and spirit in our play.

To go to a ground like The Etihad and almost win the game (regardless of possession, penalties etc) is a sign of the hard work Ronnie Koeman is putting in on the training ground.

It's true, we don't have the quality players needed to match Man City in skill, but the renewed belief and willingness to compete is very encouraging: we're nowhere near the end, not even the beginning of the end, but I sense the end of the beginning.

David Greenwood
7 Posted 16/10/2016 at 13:32:29
We have tightened up defensively which is great to see. That's what had to be addressed and it has been and I am sure will continue to be.

What Koeman and Walsh will be addressing on the training ground and in the scouting department is a way of improving the 'on their day' type of creative players we have (Mirallas, Lennon, Deulofeu, Barkley etc). Will these players become consistent week-in week-out players?

For us to really compete at the top level, that's where we need to improve.

Sean Patton
8 Posted 16/10/2016 at 14:42:09
I can't be having Jagielka as impressive at all as he constantly passed the ball straight back to the opposition. He made a couple of skied clearances that barely cleared his own box; this as well as two gormless challenges that gave away two needless penalties.
Eugene Ruane
9 Posted 16/10/2016 at 16:32:19
If offered a point before kick-off, I'd have taken it (I know, 'if offered a point...' a ludicrous idea, but maybe the PL/Sky will introduce it).

That said, I thought we offered very little (practically nothing) going forward.

Yeah City are good and have some great talent, but I thought we very obviously (cliché number 2!) 'set out our stall' to not lose, rather than to win and – no matter who we're playing – that's always going to depress me (coz my philosophy isn't 'fortune favours the not very brave').

The two penalty saves (plus the other great saves) from our keeper were fantastic. Unfortunately, the two tackles that gave them away were beyond dumb (particularly the first which was like watching a tackle by a gozzy-eyed 8-year-old who only started playing football a year ago).

I appreciate the game (and forwards) are quick but Barry had the first one covered and the second was just fucking lunacy – more calm, brains... shouting needed.

We're still (generally) too quiet and still too easily shoved off the ball (will any opposition defence have an easier day this season?). We have absolutely got to win more second ball than we did yesterday.

I thought Williams was terrific and I'm really hoping those playing with him will benefit from playing with such a switched-on, committed, savvy player.

Rom took his goal very well – I didn't think it was on when he received the ball but his extra (final) touch before shooting made all the difference. He's always looked at his best with a forward ball to run at/onto which is why it would be great to see more of them (nb: decent, well paced, accurate balls along the deck, rather than balls twatted at pace in his general direction).

Anyway, on another day, it could have been 5-1 to them and we'd all be depressed today, so... um... Up the Toffees!

Mick Davies
10 Posted 16/10/2016 at 17:26:22
Eugene @ 9, I suppose you must be sorry we've lost 'gung-ho' Martinez then? What do clubs without £350m worth of players do, go to the richest clubs and try to outplay them?

If we tried to beat Silva, Sterling, Aguero, Sane etc at their own game with Cleverly, Deulofeu, Mirallas, McCarthy etc. I don't think we'd manage to get anything but a deserved spanking.

We're the first side to get a point there this season, and when you consider how many goals we conceded last season by the 'fortune favours the brave' philosophy, do you prefer 11th place over 6th?

Gordon White
11 Posted 16/10/2016 at 18:12:44
All-in-all, considering what I thought would happen before the game, it's a not bad result. A lot of good teams will do far worse there this season.

I agree that we need another goalscorer. Having said that, I know there are goals in Mirallas and Deulofeu. And probably in Bolasie. It's just unlocking them. Much of it is confidence. When confidence improves the whole game improves.

Rick Tarleton
12 Posted 16/10/2016 at 18:32:23
That was a one-off result and offers no clue as to how the rest of the season might go. Two penalties saved (missed?) is a once-a-decade event. Glad to get the point but, as Eugene points out very cogently, it's not a result on which to build belief.
Tom Bowers
13 Posted 16/10/2016 at 18:46:45
Whilst admitting we had some luck, it has to go down as an almost perfect plan by Big 'K'. Dangerous as it may be playing that first half as they did, one doesn't expect many teams to go to City and match them in an attacking game.

Despite the possession stats, Man City didn't pose that much of a threat and their possession was helped by some very poor passes by Everton players.

On another day, Jags may not have made the two tackles he did but Stekelenburg saved the day. Yes, Everton still have some problems, ie, Deulofeu is not a wing back and Cleverley is a little slow. Bolasie has yet to show his best form, and Oviedo is not the perfect left-back.

Everton still gave Silva too much room and over-rated Sterling was only dangerous once but the signs are there the Gaffer is on the right track.

John Hughes
14 Posted 16/10/2016 at 18:50:18
Rick, to be fair, I think if a penalty is off target, it's missed; if it's on target and the 'keeper saves it, it's saved. It certainly would be a save if the 'keeper played for one of the Sky's favourites. (Or am I being cynical?)
Brian Harrison
15 Posted 16/10/2016 at 18:59:27
Rick (#12),

I actually think that the result will give them belief. No, it wasn't the best performance overall... but, in open play, they restricted City to a 30-yard shot from De Bruyne and an Aguerro header, both Stek saved brilliantly. Funny if a forward scores a hat-trick it's brilliant but, if a keeper makes 4 great saves, his team were lucky.

Yes lots of possession but defensively apart from Jag's penalties we were excellent in defence. I don't think Koeman set out to sit back in fact his instructions were they will play 3 at the back so we will play 3 forwards to counter that. Just that we didn't win enough ball to feed the front 3 often enough.

Craig Fletcher
16 Posted 16/10/2016 at 18:59:31
Rick (#12) respectfully disagree, and I echo Mick's sentiments.

The way we were set up and played on Saturday was tactically built around an opponent – it was not a template for how Everton will play under Koeman week-in and week-out. We couldn't match Man City player for player at their place so Koeman used his resources, and planned his tactics accordingly, in order to give us the best possible chance for success. If that meant resorting to KITAP1 football, then so be it. And for 70 minutes, it almost worked.

Getting a point away at the Etihad will not happen often this season in the Premier League, and I think it should give the players some belief back after a couple of poor results away at Bournemouth and home at Crystal Palace.

Looks like Burnley's main man Defour got an injury on Sunday... can only help our cause for next weekend.

Brent Stephens
17 Posted 16/10/2016 at 19:16:05
If one of our players fails to score from a pen and his name is [insert name of player you hate] then it's a bad miss.

If his name is [insert name of player you like] then it's a good save.

Gerry Quinn
18 Posted 16/10/2016 at 19:26:07
A famous golfer, when asked if he was lucky:

"The more I practice, the luckier I seem to get!"

Seems to sum Everton up under Ronald Koeman.

Eugene Ruane
19 Posted 16/10/2016 at 19:28:58
Mick (10) - The whole thing is subjective and we all have our own football philosophies (and life philosophies for that matter) but I'll try to address your questions

'Eugene @ 9, I suppose you must be sorry we've lost 'gung-ho' Martinez then?'

No, because it's about finding and keeping a balance and he couldn't. But (as you bring him up) let me ask you how it felt when we went to Arsenal in his first season, showed them no respect and went at them?

Personally I felt a lot prouder of our performance (and point) that day, than I did of our point at City yesterday (again, I accept that might be just me).

'What do clubs without £350m worth of players do, go to the richest clubs and try to outplay them? If we tried to beat Silva, Sterling, Aguero, Sane etc at their own game with Cleverly, Deulofeu, Mirallas, McCarthy etc. I don't think we'd manage to get anything but a deserved spanking.

Well (even though nowhere do I say 'we should have tried to outplay them') there was a time I'd have gone along with this, but on TW last season, I was forced say 'I was wrong'

Link

And here I can point to facts to say 'you're wrong' (like I was)

Last season City were a team 'worth' £350m (or whatever ludicrous figure they cost) and had most of the great players they had yesterday. Yet they were twatted at home by Leicester - a team that cost buttons by comparison.

How?

Leicester didn't fear them and found the right balance.

Yes Leicester defended really well but always offered enough of an attacking threat to keep City thinking and not coming at them in waves.

We're the first side to get a point there this season, and when you consider how many goals we conceded last season by the 'fortune favours the brave' philosophy, do you prefer 11th place over 6th?

Delighted with the point, much happier with our defence this season (still think we need a 6' 4 heading machine) and I've no problem with Koeman (nb: and will give him more time than many on here will if results don't go our way).

So simply giving my opinion on what I saw yesterday (and still have fresh in the memory Celtic, who are now no better than a championship side, putting three past them).

As for 'do you prefer 6th and 11th?'

Dumb - because you're simply guessing at finishing positions (to suit your pov) and can't guarantee either.

I mean how would you answer if I offered 5th and matching our highest points tally (based on Martinez-ball, 1st season) or your 6th?

Exactly, pointless.

Mick Davies
20 Posted 16/10/2016 at 19:58:09
Eugene @ 19,

If you remember correctly, the first Martinez season had a sound defensive unit left to him from the previous regime. We still managed to get stuffed a few times later in the season when Martinez's neglect was evidently wearing off, but when Ronnie Koeman took over, our defence was a shambles. So, what do you do, start building a good attacking side? No, that would be suicidal, so you work on defensive solidity.

Only 8 games in and Koeman takes his new team to the Premier League title favourites. He has few top class creative players to choose from so he sets the side up not to get beat.

Now when City can bring on one of the world's top strikers from the bench, yet still fail to beat us, that tells me that he's done his job.

Yes, we all hailed Martinez when we took the game to Arsenal, but at the time, we never realised that he didn't care about defending, or corners, or free kicks. We were blind to the growing problems because we had a top class striker; something we'd lacked for years, but whose goals increasingly meant less as goals were leaked at the other end in sickening regularity.

This time though, I'm sure you'll agree, Koeman looks to be getting it right, and with a couple of creative players to help out the attack, we could be going to grounds like the Etihad and 'expecting' to win. Moshiri will have to fund his project, but I have 100% confidence we have found the right people to take our beloved blues back to the top – it will just take time...

Thomas Lennon
21 Posted 16/10/2016 at 21:24:22
There is absolutely no way one man's money to spend on the squad will take us to the top. What it can do is pay for the ground and infrastructure to build a regular income to the point where we have a chance.
Rick Tarleton
22 Posted 16/10/2016 at 21:47:57
I'm not trying to disparage yesterday's result... and yes, Koeman has improved the defence, especially at set pieces.

However, two saved penalties shows that we have a class goalkeeper for the first time since Martyn moved on, but it is not a fact on which I would want to celebrate our arrival in the big time.

Most penalties are scored and yesterday's events while highly praiseworthy, surely had a modicum of the luck we've needed for a while now. Let's not get too carried away.

Eugene Ruane
23 Posted 16/10/2016 at 21:48:14
Mick -'Eugene @ 19, If you remember correctly, the first Martinez season had a sound defensive unit left to him from the previous regime.'

True, but if you remember 'correctly', we'd had that 'sound defensive unit' for years and yet had gone to many away games with the 'knife to a gunfight' mentality and got wellied.

Whatever Martinez's (many) failings, there's no escaping the fact that, in his first season, for the first time in years, we went to Arsenal (and places like Man Utd) with the attitude "Fuck 'em, let's have a go at them" (nb: Not to be confused with "Let's go there and forget defence completely') and suddenly we all felt ten feet tall.

I agree you build a (good) side with a solid stable (not changing every week) defence and think that a solid defence starts with your front men. But I also think attack is often the best form of defence and yesterday felt we simply didn't offer enough going forward (which is why, certainly in the first half hour, it was just wave after wave of them coming at us).

I don't expect us to win away, certainly not at at Chelsea, Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs, Man City, Man Utd or Liverpool, but if I don't think we've offered enough going forward, I'll certainly mention it on TW.

Tom Bowers
24 Posted 16/10/2016 at 21:53:01
I watched the whole game for a second time today and have to agree City have better players who move better off the ball and pass the ball better.

Having a player like Silva really helps and Everton have nobody to match as yet but maybe someone will be found soon.

I like what I saw in Tom Davies and hope he gets more opportunities this season.

Alan J Thompson
25 Posted 17/10/2016 at 04:42:04
Mick (#20); You ask if you should first work on building a good attacking side and answer that that would be suicidal so defensive solidity takes preference. Is there any reason why a competent coach can't manage both at once?

I can see the training ground with the manager & coaches shouting that today we will practice defending and taking free kicks at the same time. Players, open mouthed and shocked, ask him how they can do both at the same time and get the answer that somebody has to take them. Maybe why Martinez's sides were not very good at taking or defending them.

Similarly, what's the point in defending if you don't know what to do when you win possession?

Nigel Gregson
26 Posted 17/10/2016 at 05:49:10
Well said, Eugene. There is a new streak of antagonistic disagreement between fans here which is why I have stopped posting recently. Anyone who disagrees with the vocal majority narrative that big Ron is the best thing since sliced bread, is somehow a Martinez apologist and is quickly silenced.

Add to that a healthy dose of the old cliches – 'not his team', 'work in progress', 'give him time' , 'would have lost 4-0 last season', '6th or 11th' , 'they have spent more money' etc.

Daniel Lim
27 Posted 17/10/2016 at 06:04:51
So our keeper had a terrific match against the Sky Blues. Is that the same keeper who didn't move to try to stop Benteke's header and didn't move again for that disallowed goal Crystal Palace scored?

So which one is the real Stekelenburg? Can you please raise your hand?

Dermot Byrne
28 Posted 17/10/2016 at 07:06:18
I thought Koeman got it right against a very good Man City side. And most pleasing to me was the desire in the team to keep them out. They should make Williams Captain.
Anthony Flack
29 Posted 17/10/2016 at 07:26:32
Sorry Daniel in my view a daft question. He was not at fault for Benteke's goal, which was a near perfect header.

No intent on my part to wind you up, but Stek raised his hand to marvellous effect again and again against City, against Spurs, against WBA, he was pretty decent at Bournemouth.

Have a good day.

Anthony Flack
30 Posted 17/10/2016 at 07:33:47
I meant to add that the whole team seem more comfortable defending, this is normally connected to having a good keeper behind you, one you are confident in.

We do seem still prone to goals from crosses but we have been on the end of some great crosses, where there is not a lot you can do.

Ed Fitzgerald
31 Posted 17/10/2016 at 13:41:31
Eugene you are a heretic if you claim Martinez had any good qualities, what a sad deluded individual you are to think that any of the good football we played in his first season was due to a change in tactics he engineered.

Secondly how can you even dare to be even mildly critical of King Ron and his tactics, we got a point at Man City didn't we? We had an attack and we scored. I know we got a point there last season too but that doesn't count as we were lucky last season as opposed to resilient and robust this season.

Plus looking at some statistics printed in the Guardian on Saturday we are actually second in the table for the number of long passes made. So cheer up, Eugene get down with groovy total football philosophy of our Dutch master Ron on his £6 million per year. Do not dare utter a word of dissent on the Pravda website, sorry, I meant ToffeeWeb.

Ciarán McGlone
32 Posted 17/10/2016 at 13:50:25
If we'd have played like that under Martinez, he would have been slaughtered.

I'm afraid Koeman was tactically outclassed by the way Guardiola set up... Either that or his players decided not to do what he told them to do.

Either way, Saturday was nothing to get all fuzzy inside about (for me anyway, before anybody goes off on one).

Ray Roche
33 Posted 17/10/2016 at 14:13:59
Ciarán McGlone,

No, Ciaran, if Martinez had been in charge, we'd have been slaughtered. Defending, even last-ditch heroic defending, is as much a part of football as attacking play, maybe not as cool on the eye, but just as important.

You say, "Koeman was tactically outclassed by the way Guardiola set up"... then why wasn't Pep lauding it over everyone after another 3 points in the bag? Why was he complimentary about our steadfast defence?

This constant whingeing from some on here is so depressing, it's like a funeral directors course on being miserable.

Chris Gould
34 Posted 17/10/2016 at 14:22:06
I disagree, Ciaran. I think he did the best he could with what he has at his disposal.

We are a long way behind City in terms of quality players. Spurs and Celtic were at home when they attacked City. Neither team will play like that against them at the Etihad. It would be foolish to think that there is a blueprint on how to beat City.

Tony Abrahams
35 Posted 17/10/2016 at 14:27:23
Very good but simple point Chris. Man City were at home.

Breaking news in parliament I think, but could Sir Phillip Green, be about to be rinsed out in the wash?

John Daley
36 Posted 17/10/2016 at 14:27:31
Ray (@33),

To be fair to Martinez (as... err... we always like to be on ToffeeWeb), Everton did get a 'battling' draw away at City just back in January, even kept a clean sheet to boot.

Ciarán McGlone
37 Posted 17/10/2016 at 14:49:56
Ray,

If you stand off any team (regardless of whether it's City or not), you will end up defending for most of the game. Our midfield seemed shit scared of closing City down in midfield... and those odd times that one or two did close down, they looked utterly daft as the other players didn't follow suit, leaving options all over midfield.

This general fawning about Man City is nonsense. Spurs proved that, and so did the mighty Celtic.

We didn't play to our best ability. We are well capable of playing a fast closing down game (the first half of our game against Spurs is ample evidence of that).

The fact is that we chose to do something different. Good result; crap performance.

Ciarán McGlone
38 Posted 17/10/2016 at 14:53:40
ps: if you don't like alternative opinions to yours... then I'd generally shut your doors and windows and never go out again.

I certainly wouldn't advise going out of your way to source opinions that depress you.

Other opinions will be at variance with yours – that's life.

Shane Corcoran
39 Posted 17/10/2016 at 14:57:48
I'd be inclined to side with Ciarán on this.

Granted, we defended well for the most part but football is about small margins as the cliche goes.

Had either penalty gone in would many be talking about a great defensive performance?

Chances are we'd have come out for an equaliser and got beaten.

Celtic had the unquantifiable advantage of playing in front of their home support, but it's still just a football pitch and I think Everton need to treat the likes of City with a bit less respect.

That being said, maybe our team just isn't that good.

Eugene Ruane
40 Posted 17/10/2016 at 15:03:40
Ray – 'This constant whingeing from some on here is so depressing, it's like a funeral directors course on being miserable.'

More depressing to me is simplistic, no shades of grey allowed, stifle thoughtful debate, black or white only opinions of posters like you.

Yes we're all entitled to interpret the performance on Saturday any way we feel and state that we feel it could/couldn't have been better etc, but what is definite is that it was a defence-heavy performance by us.

Now personally, my posts have amounted to 'would like to have seen more attacking and feel that might have been an effective form of defence, but overall happy – certainly with the point'

And I haven't seen one post from anyone saying "Total shite, fuck Koeman off" (not one post even close).

Yet because there are a few posters attempting some non one-eyed, non complete fawning analysis, you're crying "Oh tut, guuuuuys, hull-OH! Can't we just... y'know... DURR!!!"

By the way, if I found a place that was 'depressing' and 'miserable', I wouldn't go anywhere near it (maybe you have a masochistic streak?)

Oliver Molloy
41 Posted 17/10/2016 at 15:27:27
This be not Koeman's team and hasn't he set a record being the first Everton manager to have 15 pts from 8 games?

The time to really judge this manager will be when he has HIS first choice 11 on the pitch, although for me what Koeman does in the derby will go a way towards finding out what sort of manager he really is or can be.

I reckon there will be at least 5 or 6 players already in his "they can leave" notebook for January.

Ray Roche
42 Posted 17/10/2016 at 15:32:57
Eugene, must be a slow day on here so you're having a pop when there's no need.

To say I'm attempting to "stifle debate" is complete bollocks, pointing out that defending is equally as important as attacking is fact as we found out last season. I watched the whole game, from behind the sofa at times, and, yes, we COULD have conceded a cricket score. But we didn't, and that was down to last ditch. courageous defending.

Of course it would be nice to take the game to them, but we didn't and came away with a point. Better to go Gung Ho and come home 6-1 down, eh? At least we'd have had a go...

"I haven't seen one post from anyone saying "Total shite, fuck Koeman off" Neither have I. Can't see the point of that really.

"simplistic, no shades of grey allowed, stifle thoughtful debate, black or white only opinions of posters like you."

You don't read many of my posts then.

John Daley (#36),

Yes, John, I was aware that we'd snatched a point last season too, but I doubt if I'm the only one who goes the game who is more confident with our defence since Koeman has been here.


Ciarán McGlone (#37)

As I said, I watched the whole game; we did stand off them and, when we tried to catch them on the break, we just didn't have the quality of player up front. First half, Deulofeu was woeful, Lukaku for much of the first half was back to his traffic cop best, but what a goal. Bolasie... not sure about him yet. But we improved when McCarthy came on.

Yes, Spurs and Celtic too the game to them (at home) and I hoped we might have done the same but, until we get some more quality in that team we may well be defending more than we'd like.

Ciaran (#38),

I very much doubt if there's anything in life that you could teach me, whether it's going out, listening to other opinions, which I do. There is nothing you can teach me about depression, you or the other mouthpiece.

Jim Knightley
43 Posted 17/10/2016 at 15:50:33
The lack of Lukaku references in 42 comments is interesting; I wonder if there would have been so few if he had not scored a goal? Even those that mention him barely attribute praise.

I wonder what it is? Is it because those who criticise him constantly go quiet when he scores? I suppose it is hard to openly attack a player who has scored 6 in 7 so far. Maybe the comments make supporting him hard -it is not easy to praise someone who wants to leave and play in the Champions League, I suppose?

But in a game with plenty of opportunities for City, Lukaku yet again showed his worth and City's weakness in the process. We saw at points how our defenders were exposed when being pulled into isolated wide areas, and the same will happen to City this season. We were lucky, very lucky in fact, but the point is what mattered. Few teams will leave The Etihad with points this season. Stekelenburg was excellent, and Lukaku provided the moment of excellence City lacked for much of the match.

Goals for: Joint 1st – City and Arsenal 19; 3rd -– Liverpool 18 (game in hand); 4th – Chelsea 15; Everton joint 8th.

Top goal scorers: Costa 7, Lukaku 6, Antonio, Aguero, Walcott 5. Our next top goal scorer? Barry on 2.

Some things are clear: Lukaku is very good, and we are too reliant on him for goals. We need to find a top quality backup, and we need to keep him at all costs.

Ciarán McGlone
44 Posted 17/10/2016 at 15:57:47
Oddly enough, I watched the whole game too. In fact I'd expect anyone making in-depth comments to have watched the whole game.

My point is quite simply that we didn't press them. At least you now acknowledge this was indeed the case. No idea why you had to get depressed over that point though.

ps: I'm quite good at tying salmon flies... I bet I could teach you that, or maybe not.

Patrick Murphy
45 Posted 17/10/2016 at 16:19:13
Oliver (#42),

Indeed Ronald has managed his team to 15 points from his opening 8 league games, however, he is not the first Everton manager to do so, as Roberto Martinez did exactly the same thing during his opening eight league games. Given the difficulty of some of our upcoming fixtures, Ronald will do well to match Roberto's pre-Christmas tally of 32 points from his first 17 league games. I read elsewhere that Joe Royle and Gordon Lee each took 14 points (3 points for win applied) from their first 8 fixtures.

What Ronald does in the 'derby' will go a way towards finding out what sort of manager he really is or can be?

Oliver, surely this is the type of small-minded thinking that has held this club back for so many years? Win the derby and everything is wonderful but fail to win it and it's all doom and gloom?

On the one hand, Everton FC can't realistically be expected to compete with the money clubs, as cited by many for Saturday's performance; on the other hand, fail to go head-to-head with frugal neighbours who have hardly ever invested in their squad and who don't pay ridiculous wages, and our manager is a dunce?

Dave Abrahams
46 Posted 17/10/2016 at 16:20:16
Jim (#43), Lukaku is a player who, if he scores, is doing his job; if he doesn't score, he usually contributes very little. As a scorer, he is an absolute magician, he even scored one without touching the ball.

To give him his due, on Saturday that was an excellent goal; if he scores a few more like that for Everton, then it is quite possible that we will get more than the £75M we wanted for him in the summer.

Sadly – no matter how much some of the fans want him to stay – you can not keep a player who doesn't want to be here.

Eugene Ruane
47 Posted 17/10/2016 at 16:30:51
Ray – 'Eugene, must be a slow day on here so you're having a pop when there's no need.'

So let me get this straight, your broad-brush accusation that 'This constant whingeing from some on here is so depressing, it's like a funeral directors course on being miserable.' was NOT 'having a pop'?

Pfft – don't start giving it the semantics and 'yeah but no coz...' – I can read and I know what all the words mean.

You give stick, absolutely fine with me, but don't whine when you're pulled up for it (and I'll decide when/if there's 'no need')

As for 'You don't read many of my posts then', I've honestly no idea, I don't keep a list. I simply respond to the content of selected posts – that's it (it's not facefriend, ffs)

Peter Roberts
48 Posted 17/10/2016 at 16:47:58
Lukaku scored a great goal – great take.

That said, if Coleman defended the way their right back did, I would have hauled him off – what was he doing showing him onto his left side? It's obvious to anyone that you put him on his right. Either way – a very good finish.

As Dave said – that is what Rom does.

Unfortunately, what Rom also does is put huge pressure on our defence. I counted 3 times in the last 15 minutes, a ball that he should have got to ending up with a City defender and City did what they do well – carved us right open from the back. No excuse for that.

A good point in the end but we have a lot of work to do and I think we need to change the make up of the team. Defensively we look pretty good. We need a box-to-box midfielder with a goal threat from central. We need a striker who can do the industry and pressing from the front.

Ray Roche
49 Posted 17/10/2016 at 16:49:23
What the fuck is facefriend? Christ on a bike, Eugene, if a light aside like that about "funeral director" comment cause you so much angst it was a generalisation about the negativity that we didn't turn into Barcelona for the day.

Eugene, can you honestly say that you don't get pissed off with some of the negative comments on here some days, even after our bright start this season, when people have already questioned Koeman? 8 games in?

Furthermore, I think the whining you can hear come from close to home. Maybe an echo or something.

Ciaran, Eugene, my response in the last paragraph on post 42 was a little heavy-handed. Touched nerve etc. Apologies.

Charlie Dixon
50 Posted 17/10/2016 at 17:07:37
Handbags.

Great point, even if it was incredibly lucky

Minimum 4 points from our next 2 games and we can safely say we've had a good start.

Eugene Ruane
51 Posted 17/10/2016 at 17:49:15
Ray - Link

Eugene, can you honestly say that you don't get pissed off with some of the negative comments on here some days, even after our bright start this season, when people have already questioned Koeman? 8 games in?

I get pissed off with ill-informed comments. I get pissed off with lies. I get pissed off with rumours that become 'the truth' (ie: "Everton set to spend £100m says nobody specific"). But I don't for one second even consider (or restrict myself) with nonsense like 'positive' or 'negative.'

Because if people feel constrained by such nonsense (see my post 40 – 'stifle thoughtful debate') some might feel "better not post that –bit negative" (I'd read 100 'negative' informed posts over 1 jolly, upbeat ill-informed post anytime) (ever considered est or Scientology?)

As for your injured "Tut, look everyone, he's having a pop at me, it was only a (thinks thinks thinks) 'light aside'." – Behave.

Peter Lee
52 Posted 17/10/2016 at 17:59:04
Jury still out for me.

I can understand why playing three up front seemed like a good idea given that they played three at the back, but our midfield three were swamped first half and we were so deep we couldn't knock the ball over the heads of the back three into spaces where the full-backs should have been. This, presumably was why Bolasie and Deulofeu were on the pitch and high. As it was Deulofeu was waiting too long on his toes for when the ball did come and he was easily played offside.

Oviedo looked awful, as did Coleman against Bournemouth, and for the same reason. A quick winger runs at you and you've got no support from the wide midfield, you can't go to ground so you get skinned.

First half, we surrendered too much space on the flanks and we didn't have a surplus to close down quickly either in our own half or theirs. Second half, we changed it, although I'd have brought Holgate on for Bolasie on the right and Mirallas on for Deulofeu with him as a 10 and Cleverley on the left.

This isn't the first time that, IMHO, Koeman got his tactics wrong. I've said before that he has organised a solid back 7, but then so could Tony Pulis, Big Sam, Alan Pardew and lots of others who won't be aspiring to the Barcelona job. Yes, he bought well in Williams and Gueye but was that really him – given the comments in another article on TW at the moment?

For me, he has yet to determine who his best options are for the 3 with Lukaku. Perhaps when he does, we will see some shape to our attacking play that has been more absent than present this season so far ,if we are honest.

Ray Roche
53 Posted 17/10/2016 at 18:05:32
Injured?

" "Tut, look everyone, he's having a pop at me, it was only a (thinks thinks thinks) 'light aside" Get over yerself. You're not that important.

I get pissed off with lots of things on here and elsewhere, it's just the way things are, but it's YOU who jumped on me for a throwaway remark about people's inability to see both sides of a game. No, not a black side and a white side. A great defensive performance.

Yes, we'd ALL like to see us sweep the likes of City aside and, maybe, when we've spent as much as a tenth of what they've spent since the camels galloped into town, we will do.

When RK has had a couple of transfer windows to make it HIS team and we play City, we can have this conversation again. Might be a bit different, though.

Eugene Ruane
54 Posted 17/10/2016 at 18:14:35
"Read all about it, 'light aside' morphs into 'throwaway remark' in backtracking sensation!!!"

Once the floundering starts, I'm done.

Now off up the pub to watch the lovable reds

Up the Toffees! (he said grinning with positivity)

Ray Roche
55 Posted 17/10/2016 at 18:23:26
No backtracking here, Eugene, and maybe you buy a round tonight. Never thought I'd want United to win so much.
Jay Harris
56 Posted 17/10/2016 at 18:38:33
A couple of points I would like to make.

1. There can be no doubt Guardiola has improved City over the Pelegrini regime so comparisons with City last season are redundant.

2. Although Koeman prefers a pressing game, like Celtic and Spurs, I think he has begun to realise we haven't got the players to carry out a proper pressing game, as evidenced by Bournemouth.

I was very concerned when I saw the teamsheet and the way we sat back first half but ,as the game wore on, I could see us nicking at least a point – if not, a win.

I will see how we line up and play against Burnley rather than decry a very good point at the best team in the Premier League's ground.

Oliver Molloy
57 Posted 17/10/2016 at 19:07:06
Patrick @ 45,

I think you under estimate what a convincing victory in the derby would do for confidence for ALL associated with Everton from fans to players.

You accuse me of being "small minded" because I have suggested that the derby could show us what type of manager we have got ourselves? Yes, I believe that and stand by it.

What are you saying, "it doesn't matter" in the long run? – If so, I cannot agree with that. Doom and gloom, you said that – not me; but I'm sure you won't be happy if we get hammered, Patrick!

I would like Everton to go out and beat Liverpool convincingly and at the same time bully the living fuck out of them and their manager. Isn't it about time?

Mick Davies
58 Posted 17/10/2016 at 19:08:25
Alan @ 25, Mick (#20); You ask if you should first work on building a good attacking side and answer that that would be suicidal so defensive solidity takes preference. Is there any reason why a competent coach can't manage both at once?

One reason, Alan: a lack of personnel. It's easy to organise the defence when you have players like Coleman, Baines, Funes Mori and Jagielka, with Barry, McCarthy or Besic in front of them. Two additions (Williams and Stekelenburg) have turned us into a tight unit. Contrast this with the attacking players Koeman inherited: one top-class striker who never wanted to work; a couple of hit-and-miss wingers and the rest, not Premier League quality.

Finding class up front is the hardest task for managers, that's why they cost so much. We can't go out and buy a Bale, a Silva or a Suarez, so Ron has had to just work with what he's got. If Barkley and Deulofeu were doing what we know they can do, the problem would be solved, but years of Martinez's coaching has left its mark, and I don't think we'll ever see a return to their form of 3 years ago.

I'm just hoping Moshiri's millions can get us a couple of effective, creative players over the next few windows and he can find a balance with attack and defence.

Andy Crooks
59 Posted 17/10/2016 at 19:28:15
I thought there was a lot to like about the performance defensively. It seems to me, though, that we looked nothing like Koeman's Southampton team and I wonder why.

Do we have the players to play a high tempo pressing game? Lukaku, Bolasie, Deulofeu, Cleverley and Barry are either not willing to or perhaps not capable of playing that game. I believe Lennon could but he seems out of favour.

Right now I'm taking the view that pragmatism is the order of the day while change slowly happens. What does concern me is that we might have young players capable of doing the job but are not getting a chance. Still, MotD was bloody great.

Patrick Murphy
60 Posted 17/10/2016 at 23:39:55
Oliver (#57)

It's been about time – for over 30 years or longer, we've had brief moments where we seemed to be getting the better of them, but somehow it was turned to dust either through our own failings or via their triumphs in Europe etc. Of course I want us to beat them but no more than I want Everton to beat any other team.

I understood it in the late 80s when they were the benchmark for all teams in the top-flight, but not nowadays where they are an over-hyped, media-driven club. It's the likes of Man City and Spurs et al we should be trying to emulate; not very easy, I admit, but that should be the aim of the club long-term.

I agree to a point that you have to become the best club side in your own city first, and then the best in the North-West and then probably not for a very long time, become the best club side in the country.

My point is as Evertonians we really shouldn't make them seem bigger or better than they actually are, they have successfully done that themselves for a decade or more with their friends in the media.

I'm sorry if it came across as you being 'small-minded' but really I didn't mean that at all, I mean all of us have to get out of the shadow we have made for ourselves and which is perpetuated by the media. Every article about Everton in many places is usually accompanied by a reference to our neighbours; we have to somehow stop that being the case, we are a club in our own right, not a poor relation of our neighbours. I agree that actually beating them more often will help in that regard, but it shouldn't be the only measure of our progress, poor or good.

Daniel Lim
61 Posted 18/10/2016 at 01:55:59
Anthony,

Not as daft as your statement, I suppose. Was Benteke's header a good one, or even a great one? Yes. Was that savable? Absolutely yes. Did he try to save it? From what I saw on the 5-minute highlight on EFC official site, No.

And I did not deny that he was excellent, marvelous, terrific etc against City, hence my question.

Have a good day.

Anto Byrne
62 Posted 18/10/2016 at 05:57:51
We can defend and the manager employs different tactics.

We don't have to play keep-ball any longer. The football is evolving and sides such as Burnley and Hull will be torn to shreds by this team.
Alan J Thompson
63 Posted 18/10/2016 at 06:25:23
Mick (#58); Now you're making it hard to disagree. Basically, I do agree and, on seeing the teamsheet before the game, I did comment to a friend that we looked to be set up for defence but the three upfront (Bolasie, Deulofeu and Lukaku) make it look as though Koeman wants pace with the ability to take defenders one-on-one.

Unfortunately, Deulofeu seems to have lost confidence in his own ability and at least once seemed to be inside City's half, albeit only just, wide with only one man in front of him, but declined to take him on, preferring to lift it back over a City player to one of our defenders on the edge of our own penalty area. I think Cleverley, later in the game, did something similar near their goal line.

In fairness to Deulofeu, Lukaku twice took the wrong option in his movement off the ball, pulling defenders between Deulofeu and Bolasie entirely cutting Deulofeu's intentions.

The midfield is the area lacking. They looked happier when fresh legs came on with McCarthy but Barry's lack of pace was never more evident, experience getting him back defensively but not forward, Gana (Gueye) for once was hesitant making passes, wondering who he should be marking next, while Cleverley tried hard. It was noticeable that City's players were almost always moving when receiving a pass and made ground, even if it was only a couple of paces, while Everton stood still, both before receiving and after passing, until it reached someone with no options whatsoever.

How can this be improved on the training ground? If you can find one, the easy way out would be to buy a Colin Harvey or a Peter Reid who could both hold the ball up, to provide time for others, beat a man and see a defence-splitting pass. Otherwise, get players moving at all times. No standing still before receiving and after passing, forming triangles and diamonds particularly with the two quick wingers we have and support from midfield when both attacking and defending.

Now, where did I put those application forms???

Ray Roche
64 Posted 18/10/2016 at 09:27:28
Just an insight into the love affair that exists between the media and LFC, between 22nd October and 5th November, 16 days, the RS are having FOUR of their games televised. And, of course they were on last night.

I heard the U-Boat Kapitan bemoaning the fact that LFC have to play games in relatively quick succession. Well, piss off back to Germany, Herr Flick.

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