Everton's impotence reaches galling levels in defeat at Southampton

By Lyndon Lloyd 28/11/2016  80 Comments  [Jump to last]
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Southampton 1 - 0 Everton

If you’re going to concede the first goal, as Everton have now done seven times in 13 Premier League games, then you can’t really ask for more time to address the situation than 89-plus minutes. And yet, faced again with the need to react, to fight, to show character, Ronald Koeman’s impotent outfit couldn’t muster a sustained response until time was ebbing away in the second half.

Once again, it was too late and the too little came in the form of Gareth Barry’s weak effort in the third minute of stoppage time. It was Everton’s first and only attempt on target in 94 minutes of football (a Yannick Bolasie overhead kick that Fraser Forster saved in the second half wouldn’t have stood after referee Craig Pawson penalised the Congolese for a push) – a neat summation of just how bereft this team of attacking ideas, impetus and threat… as if last weekend’s equally toothless display against Swansea hadn’t already provided one.

Koeman, shown up on his first trip back to St Mary's Stadium since ditching Southampton over the summer, has big problems on his hands. His squad seems immune to whatever powers of motivation he possesses, perhaps aware that having cycled through various options, particularly in attacking midfield and central defence, the Dutchman doesn’t have many alternatives beyond turning to youth, something he appears bafflingly resistant to doing. Here, he kept the same side as the one that started last Saturday, with the exception of Gareth Barry who replaced James McCarthy in central midfield.

His team lacks any fluidity, cutting edge or genuine battling spirit and he has a striker whom he proclaims to be among the best in Europe toiling away with barely any support in a role to which he just isn’t accustomed. Romelu Lukaku’s attitude and body language on the field can be infuriating, as can be his touch when it deserts him (as it did again in this match), and there is no question that he could work harder to create his own opportunities, but he has been embarrassingly starved of service in recent games. A natural goalscorer, he has had two shots on goal in three matches, both of them against Swansea and neither of them routine chances. That’s a massive problem.

So, too, is a defence which continues to struggle defending crosses. Having lost the ball from their own kick-off, Everton failed to deal with one of those deep deliveries from the right that consistently led to goals under Roberto Martinez last season and when Phil Jagielka mis-timed his jump and the ball bounced off Seamus Coleman in front of goal, the result was inevitable. Josh Sims snatched at the loose ball but it fell invitingly to Charlie Austin who couldn’t miss from a yard out. Just 42 seconds had elapsed.

Again, ample time for a team with Everton’s European ambitions and supposed talent to respond and, for a brief spell they actually seized control of the game, playing some neat passing football — increasingly rare under Koeman — albeit almost entirely in front of a well-marshalled and disciplined red and white wall. And when those moves broke down, Southampton seemed able to get behind the Blues’ defence at the first time of asking, as Nathan Redmond did in the 17th minute to pick out Sims in the centre but the youngster couldn’t get enough power on his header to trouble Maarten Stekelenburg.

The best move from Koeman’s side should have levelled it after 25 minutes as Barry’s slide-rule pass was dummied by Aaron Lennon and found Coleman on the overlap but Idrissa Gueye skied the Irishman’s cut-back high over the crossbar.

Barry himself had a great chance to equalise after Oriol Romeu had taken Bolasie’s legs and the veteran midfielder found himself with a free header at the back post but he steered his header over. Ross Barkley, once again all neat touches and short passes but providing no penetration, had another opportunity but missed badly with a header, while Gueye despatched another effort into the stands on the stroke of half time.

Koeman bemoaned another lethargic first-half display from his team after the game and again suggested that their second-half showing was more how he wants Everton to play but it’s hard to see what he was referring to because the improvement was only gradual until desperation took over in the last 10 minutes.

And Southampton could have buried them by that point. Pierre-Emile Højbjerg smacked a shot off the outside of the post when he probably should have hit it across goal where two Saints attackers were lurking. Stekelenburg then kept the Blues in it with a superb sprawling save, diving to his right to palm Austin’s unchallenged header behind for a corner.

Prior to that, Gueye’s excellent slaloming run had been stopped by Romeu who chopped him down on the edge of the box but Lukaku swept the free kick over while Bolasie had unwisely elected to go it alone a few minutes later but finished his powerful run down the centre with a wild shot that flew a couple of yards wide. He would come closer a few minutes later when he curled an effort inches above the crossbar but those efforts were rare sights of goal for an Everton side that struggled to build coherent attacks all afternoon.

Some of the distribution in midfield and from defence was awful, another by-product of the lack of movement and options in forward areas. So often the tactic was simply to bang the ball through the middle, either in the air or on the floor and Barry in particular was guilty of whacking it straight to a Southampton player. (It is said that the Blues rarely play well without him in the line-up but, unfortunately, he had a bad day at the office.)

From the mid-way point in the second half, Koeman made moves to try and spark Everton into life, withdrawing the industrious but, again, ineffective Lennon for Gerard Deulofeu and then hooking Barkley for Kevin Mirallas with 20 minutes left. Instead, it was Southampton who almost scored again, the otherwise disappointing Baines getting a crucial foot to Sims’s shot from the angle and then hooking the ball off his goal line after Stekelenburg had got his gloves to James Ward-Prowse’s shot after the Saints midfielder had found himself with time in the box to chest down another cross from the right.

Ward-Prowse could and probably should have killed the contest when Stekelenburg spilled his shot to Austin but he failed to make proper contact on the striker’s square pass and the visitors escaped.

With Mirallas offering a bit more forward thrust than had Barkley and the urgency of the situation finally dawning on the Blues, Southampton were forced back more in the final 10 minutes. However, Bolasie’s greed got the better of him again as he wasted a good counter-attack opportunity with Deulofeu a better option ahead of him and Coleman’s shot from Mirallas’s cut-back from the byline was blocked. And Enner Valencia, a late introduction for Baines, dropped a near-post header inches wide in the 89th minute as Everton tried another last-ditch Houdini act.

It wasn’t to be though and Koeman’s men stretched a dismal record of results to just one win in eight Premier League matches. Somehow they remain in 7th place but the bottom half beckons again if results don’t improve in the coming weeks.

Again, worryingly, the manager doesn’t appear to have the answer to why his side lacks tempo and intensity in the first half of games and are producing so little in attack. Certainly, with the talent that exists in the squad on paper and Koeman’s own managerial experience, Evertonians are entitled to expect more — better distribution in the middle of the park, better finishing from the midfielders, better ball control and more invention from the attacking players.

Pleas for change have largely fallen on deaf ears so far, with the same personnel picked week-in, week-out when, from the captain on down, they are under-performing to a galling degree. The questions have been asked: Why no alteration to a tired and busted lone-striker system, one with which Everton have persisted now for two and a half seasons.

Where’s the youth? Depending on kids comes with its on risks, both for the team and the players themselves, but at some point you have to ask, with their willingness to please and, hopefully, pride in the jersey, could they do any worse? Or are we just going to sleepwalk to January where Koeman and Steve Walsh will attempt to buy the solutions to a deep-seated malaise that is threatening to make 2016-17 another write-off of a season in a long rebuilding job?

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Reader Comments (80)

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Christopher Dover
1 Posted 28/11/2016 at 19:30:25
I totally agree with your article.

I don't get why the same formation week after week when it just does not work. The same group of 13-14 players who show no fight until the last few minutes and the same old "we where better in the second half".

I don't want Everton to change managers every few months but something just has to change and soon. If we keep playing like we are then December will be a month to forget, it should be a month to look forward to with the matches coming up, but I am not looking forward to it.

Christopher Dover
2 Posted 28/11/2016 at 19:32:54
Just a thought, the photo of Koeman above looks like he's hitching a ride... wonder where? :)
Brian Williams
3 Posted 28/11/2016 at 19:42:30
We have to change to 4-4-2 and relieve Lukaku of some of the responsibility a lone striker has. Options between midfield and attacking areas are so limited at the moment.

We have to increase the movement in midfield and play the ball FORWARD. We have to shelve the "pressing" game as it never happens anyway.

We have to hope Koeman sees the light!

Jay Harris
4 Posted 28/11/2016 at 19:48:26
It seems the run of poor form since the Norwich game has, instead of galvanising the team and supporters, opened up even more divisiveness and finger pointing.

It may be simplistic but the timing of the actual signing of Lukaku and God knows what contract has coincided with the team spirit disintegrating.

Gordon White
5 Posted 28/11/2016 at 20:11:15
Couldn't agree more. Another awful display. Quite frankly embarrassing.
Alan Bodell
6 Posted 28/11/2016 at 20:40:26
I think most of our first team squad realise their days are numbered and, oh boy, are they showing it? but the trouble is we need more than 1 transfer window to get rid of the dead wood and until we do we will continue going one way, and that isn't up.

It's not gonna be a good season – that's pretty obvious.

Peter Roberts
7 Posted 28/11/2016 at 20:48:14
Are we back on the Lukaku lack of service again? Lack of interest, lack of touch, lack of aggression, lack of effort yes most definitely.

Lack of service? Well that comes from actually moving enough to evade the marker that has shoved him in his back pocket.

Brian Williams
8 Posted 28/11/2016 at 21:04:03
Jay Harris. What Lukaku contract?
John Raftery
9 Posted 28/11/2016 at 21:16:33
One thing is for sure, playing two wingers, be they Bolasie and Lennon or Mirallas and Deulofeu, just isn't working. It leaves us light in the central areas and Lukaku totally isolated. An option is to play one of them in a free role with a brief to get closer to Lukaku. Mirallas seems to me to be the best suited to that role.

Meanwhile, Barkley continues to prove he is unsuited to the forward midfield role in which he is currently employed. Whether or not he is suited to any other role is debatable but, in the past, he has shown he can score goals when arriving late into the box. So playing him in a deeper role may enable him to be more productive.

None of this will help us defend better than we are doing. Given we were unbeaten in the early games when Holgate played, there is surely a case for reinstating him to the team.

Brian Harrison
10 Posted 28/11/2016 at 21:24:32
What a roller coaster of emotions we have had in the last few months; we were all on an incredible high after the first 6 games. Most of us deep down knew that we were going to hit a rocky patch.

Then we had the Mayor telling us all that we would be sitting in a new stadium within 3 years. Then we had pictures of our new owner and Chairman being photographed at the Bramley-Moore dock site with a top architect. Evertonians were excited and the feel good factor was present for all to see.

Then, a couple of setbacks on the field, followed by comments from Koeman suggesting that Lukaku would have wasted his career if he finished his career at Everton. This following public criticism of Barkley and yet more criticism this week of club captain Jagielka. So from incredible highs to depressing lows all within the space of 3 months.

So I wonder what we think the next 6 months will bring, will Koeamn get things back on track with some clever signings or will we have to wait till the summer for that to happen. Can we hope that we hear some positive news on the progress of a new stadium, or will the "will we or wont we move" scenario go on for a few more months.

Oh the joys of being an Evertonian, and if we haven't got enough problems the other lot look as they could compete all the way for the title this year. I know some fans who live outside the city say they are not interested in what the other lot are doing, but it's hard if you live and work in the City, and they take great delight in us struggling. Now I am old enough to remember when they were in the Second Division and we were kings of Merseyside, but those are just distant memories.

Michael Farrelly
11 Posted 28/11/2016 at 21:25:58
I must agree with Peter (7) – Lukaku is such a lazy bastard!

He is so overrated. He is just not worth all the hype he and his old man tend to generate. His lack of movement is killing the team, and in particular, Ross Barkley who once in possession of the ball and facing goal in the final third rarely has an open option to play the ball through to. Lukaku specialises in left side channel runs whereby the defender fails to effectively challenge him and he gets to slot the ball to the right of the approaching keeper.

Apart from those it must be said largely self-made opportunities he flatters to deceive. He misses far too many gilt edge chances to be truly considered as a top-shelf striker. His first touch, it must be said is well below par, although he has improved in this area over the last season or so. He is so easily pushed off the ball for a player of his physical stature, it is very frustrating to watch unless he is in the 'mood' of course but we see him in the 'mood' only on the very rare occasion.

However, our major downfall is the lack of quality in the squad. I shared an evaluation on our squad on this site in pre-season and was lamb-basted for lumping Jags, Besic, Gibson, Oviedo, Kone, and several others as players who should be moved out. Granted Jags would be a tough call as he has been a magnificent servant but one feels his best is now behind him and we look extremely ponderous at times with both him and the ageing Williams playing together at the heart of defence. As for Gibson and Besic... well they are basically accepting wages for nothing and have been since signing for the club!

I am really fearing the outcome of the Shite game at Goodison, right now I would 'take and run with a 0-2 defeat' if it was on offer! That's how bad we are playing. Our only positive going into that looming encounter is the injury to the unfortunate Philippe Coutinho his absence may prevent a repeat of the Anfield 'train-wreck' of last season!

It is so depressing sitting through and viewing our games at the moment, so little to be enthused about. Surely we deserve better than the trash that's being served up at the moment!

Richard Reeves
12 Posted 28/11/2016 at 21:29:32
Brian, I agree and have made that argument before. We don't need two defensive midfielders and in a 4-4-2 formation. Barkley, who I think is better suited to play centre midfield, could link up play between midfield and attack which would free up someone to partner Lukaku.

Gueye and Barkley in the middle with Davies and Besic (when fit) as back-up; sell McCarthy, Cleverley and Gibson.

Denis Richardson
13 Posted 28/11/2016 at 21:38:09
Brian (#3), I agree we should stick two up top although I'd go with Mirallas given a free role behind Lukaku. Or even Deulofeu behind Lukaku.

I'd also be tempted to play 3-5-2 instead of 4-4-2, with Mori, Williams and Holgate at the back and Coleman and Oviedo as wing backs. I think it's time Jags and Baines were given a bit of a rest and eased out of the first team. 3 in the middle would allow Davies to have a run out with a bit more support around him until he finds his feet. At least with that formation we wouldn't be outnumbered in midfield.

Anything to get away from the plodding and predictable 4-2-3-1 with 2 CDMs in the middle.

Mike Doyle
14 Posted 28/11/2016 at 21:58:08
Defensively we were better with Holgate. Restore him to the defence and use Seamus as the right side of a 4 man midfield (Rationale: he's played there before, always gives 100% and cannot be less ineffective than our other wide men).

On the few occasions when we do attack Lukaku needs support and isn't getting any from the current set up. Logic suggests 4-4-2 would help – but who to play alongside him?

I'm struggling for suggestions from the current squad so maybe 4-4-1-1 – with Barkley or Deulofeu in an advanced central role might add an element of the unpredictable. They don't seem to know what they intend to do next, so perhaps the opposition might be confused too.

Mike Doyle
15 Posted 28/11/2016 at 22:10:26
Denis (#13) suggestions also make sense to me.

Still not sure what formation we are actually playing. Popular view is that we are 4-2-3-1 – but at times in recent games Ross seems to be deeper than the 2 x DMs – and much deeper than he played in RM's set up (when we created more chances) again = reduced support for Rom in the final third.

Contrast that with our friends across the park. Their midfield seem to bomb forward in support of every attack.

Joe O'Brien
16 Posted 28/11/2016 at 22:33:09
This lone striker formation is just not working and it remains to be seen if Koeman is going to be brave and admit it and change it. I was definitely in the 'give Koeman time camp' and still am but my patience is starting to wane.

It looks like he's not going to give the young lads a chance. That's what is starting to annoy me, it's a major flaw in my book, especially since there's alot of talent there. Koeman not knowing that young fella Sims wasn't in the youths is alarming.

Peter Cummings
17 Posted 28/11/2016 at 23:01:19
If, or more than likely 'when' we get knocked out of the FA Cup and unless there is a massive U-Turn in form, our season will effectively be over with nothing to look forward to except a possible relegation battle.

If the present shambles continues, with a manager and players seemingly devoid of passion and ambition, a billionaire whose spent nothing and a boardroom that goes AWOL as the crisis continues.

We are sick and tired of the endless excuses and quotes from players that they are as sickened by results as the fans and 'they must do better next time' and then don't bother to turn up 'next time'. In fact, the only ones who do turn up every time are the finest fans in the game bar none. God bless 'em every one,

Matt Butlin
18 Posted 28/11/2016 at 23:09:58
I don't know about you guys but I'm numb to this now. I've supported Everton since I first stumbled across them as a whipper snapper against Coventry in the 84-85 season so I know what could be. It winds me up a treat that we're not 'what could be' though.
Kase Chow
19 Posted 28/11/2016 at 23:21:40
We are absolutely awful.

Boring to watch and easy to play against. So far, Koeman has brought nothing new to the table.

Mike Gaynes
20 Posted 28/11/2016 at 23:39:21
Most of the suggestions here make at least some sense, but Richard (#12), I gotta call you out on your Barkley post.

The ongoing idea that this pipe clog, who slows every play he's involved in, could ever "link up play between midfield and attack" is as strange in my opinion as the repeated suggestion that he could be a deep-lying midfielder despite not having made a good solid tackle since 2013.

I've proposed in the past that Barkley could be turned into a decent second striker at some point, but his midfield play continues to show not a glimmer of either intelligence or grit. It's no coincidence that this team continues to significantly raise its performance levels, most recently on Sunday, when Barkley is subbed out.

He was not missed when benched before. He should be benched again.

Don Alexander
21 Posted 28/11/2016 at 00:13:21
The visible problems are that, not only do we run less distance than all but four teams but we also run more slowly, hence no "bombing on" advancement. This indicates we're unfit or that collectively the players have reached their maximum aerobic capacity, or they don't give a shit, any of which should cause them to be dispensed with.

I cut the defence some slack despite the increasing frequency they're starting to resemble leg-dangling Harry Worth as the crosses rain in because of the hopelessness of everyone but Gana and GazBaz in pressing, tackling or just getting in the way of the hordes these days running us down, every fucking week. That sort of abject performance should get the lazy cowardly posers the bullet too.

I hope Moshiri is good to his word and that plans are in hand to cash in on our, ha-ha, "gems" in January and then to put some of his considerable own in to allow proper players to be bought in.

To make us attractive to even more players in the summer, Koeman and Moshiri need to move heaven and earth immediately or their "project" will go the way of everything else touched by the dead hand of Kenwright.

Nicholas Ryan
22 Posted 29/11/2016 at 01:11:32
'Catch 22' i.e. We need to buy big in January, but by then, we'll be so far down the League table, no-one will come!
Mick Davies
23 Posted 29/11/2016 at 02:14:13
Jut seen an interesting stat on SSN: we've only scored 2 goals in the first 30 mins of games this season. We're down there with the strugglers.

If we can't get fired up until after half time, then the clueless one needs to set Dunc on them before kick off

Neil Gribbin
24 Posted 29/11/2016 at 06:22:56
The players, the same players who downed tools last season, have done the same. Or some of them have.

I think Koeman continually saying we need better players has finished a few of them...

Would anyone give Niasse a go? I certainly would now he is banging them in for the U23s.

Brian Porter
25 Posted 29/11/2016 at 06:23:19
A couple of posters have mentioned Holgate already but there's another interesting statistic to be taken into account that many are overlooking. During our early season good run of games, and perhaps significantly during our last win (and last clean sheet, when Holgate wasn't playing), Ramiro Funes Mori formed our centre back pairing with Williams.

Koeman however has brought Jagielka back into the team both times after injury and we are now seeing the folly of his decisions. Why are some people so keen to dismiss Funes Mori's abilities?

Obviously the new coach of Argentina agrees with his predecessor and Funes Mori is fast becoming a regular for the national side. He wouldn't be selected regularly if he didn't have the skill to play for one of the best international teams in the world. He has youth on his side and I think he should,be given an opportunity to build a partnership with Williams, as Jags, for all his good service now looks slow, leaden-footed and ponderous and hesitation has crept more and more into his game. Funes Mori also presents a goal threat at set pieces that we're sadly lacking at present.

Come on Koeman, look at what was going right in the beginning. You had the makings of a good team fir a few heady weeks, then you took out Mori and Holgate, played your favourites instead, and the rot set in. It's not too late to change things, but does our manager have the guts to do it?

Darryl Ritchie
26 Posted 29/11/2016 at 07:20:29
We have a real dilemma on our hands, with no clear-cut way out of it. Our manager, so it seems, has no answers. Four of our rearguard, Jagielka, Williams, Stekelenburd=g and Baines, are on the other side of thirty. Not over the hill, but not getting any younger, either.

Koeman seems reluctant to give the kids a chance to show what they can do; or perhaps he knows what they can offer and, in his opinion, they greybeards give us a better chance. The problem is, lately the veterans just aren't getting the job done.

Up front, we are as ineffective as any club in the league. We can't pass the ball well enough to go through a defence. We can't cross the ball well enough to go over a defence. We can't dribble the ball well enough to go around a defence. Our set plays are poor. Our buildup is so slow, that we rarely cause the opposition any trouble. NOBODY moves without the ball. We are the easiest club in the league to defend against because NOBODY moves. Everybody, including the manager, seems to be out of ideas.

We have a grand total of five (5) shots on target, the last three games. Pitiful... just pitiful.

Lukaku can't play with his back to goal. He's too static. He's too easy to mark. He needs a strike partner, who can be the target man and feed him as runs the channels. The problem is, we don't have anyone like that, at the moment; and even if we did, I don't think Koeman would play him. He seems to prefer one striker with wingers firing crosses to him in the box... hold on... we suck at crosses... and our striker's heading of the ball, could be better. Not good.

The manager keeps going on about "high pressure". High pressure? Hell, we don't even give low pressure!

It's getting to the point where I don't really care if we get a result versus Manchester United. I just want to see some effort; a bit of passion... the other keeper having to make a few saves, would be nice.

John Hammond
27 Posted 29/11/2016 at 08:23:11
Every team in the Premier League had us figured out last season and without Koeman's pressing game (or anything else) being implemented then nothing's changed. The Swansea game would've been perfect to experiment.

Go 4-4-2 or 3-5-2 as mentioned by a few people on here. Gana and Davies in the middle, Get Barry sat in front of the back 3 of FM, Holgate and Williams. Put Bolasie alongside Lukaku or give Valencia a chance. Do something!

Ajay Gopal
28 Posted 29/11/2016 at 09:14:17
Jags, Stekelenburg, Baines are past it. Barry at least has some brains that no one else has, but he is SLOW – no getting away from that. Bolasie and Barkley have no footballing brain between them, Lukaku offers too little to the team.

Based on this assessment and needing to build from the ground up, I would go with a 4-4-1-1 or 4-4-2 formation until we are able to strengthen in the January transfer window. I would also bring back Galloway from WBA if he is not getting playing time.

Robles
Coleman, Holgate, Williams, Funes Mori (/Galloway)
Deulofeu, Gana, Davies, Cleverley
Calvert-Lewin, Valencia

Subs: Stek, Jagielka, Lennon, McCarthy, Bolasie, Barkley, Lukaku

This would be the 'shock treatment' that the team badly needs.

The reason to include Cleverley is he appears to be one among the few footballers at Everton with an iota of a football brain, and he could thrive given a run of games. Deulofeu because maybe if he is given a free role, he could be the creative spark and with Valencia and Calvert-Lewin in front of him could try and create something. Davies, Holgate, Funes Mori and Calvert-Lewin would bring some much needed energy into the side.

On another note, Oumar Niasse scores again for the U-23s. Koeman should be man enough to swallow his pride and give him a chance in the senior side – maybe as a 5 minute cameo to see what he has to offer.

Joe O'Brien
29 Posted 29/11/2016 at 09:23:54
I am shocked, Ajay, that you've got Cleverley in that team. He should be one of the 1st to be dropped from the squad. He doesn't bring much to the team... and that's being generous
Eddie Dunn
30 Posted 29/11/2016 at 10:02:24
There are many problems with our team as illustrated above. Various personnel have had a chance (like Cleverley) but we don't seem to be any better whoever plays.

The big problem is the lethargy all over the park. The only players who seem to have a spark are Gueye and Coleman. Bolasie sometimes looks like he might produce, but his crossing is poor and Barkley is trying hard, but seems lacking in confidence. Lukaku has displayed his impotence, and inability to be a target man.

The team are missing the vital ingredient that we were all complaining about in the transfer window – a creative midfielder, a Mahrez, a Payet, a Coutinho, a Mata. We have no-one with an eye for a cutting pass, we seem to be afraid of playing the first-time ball. Everyone wants to take a touch, stop, think, and the option has gone!

Our ponderous build-up play often ends with Barkley on the ball, he looks up to see two banks of defenders and somewhere in the middle of them all, stood , like a marble Roman God, is Lukaku. Barkley will decide not to risk the ball to him and we shuffle it this way and that, until we play a loose pass and we are on the defensive again.

The obsession with wingers and one up top is costing us. Our midfield is too porous, and Lukaku is too static, and needs help. Funes Mori has to play instead of Jags, and we need a new left back.

Koeman needs to see the light. If he can't see the inadequacies, then we are in trouble. We can't carry on making the same mistakes over and over again or we will be down in the dogfight and no-one will want to come to us in January.

Dave Pritchard
31 Posted 29/11/2016 at 10:15:26
Hard to see any positives at the moment.

I recall at the start of the season one press report, I think it was by Tony Cascarino, who was alone in saying that Everton were in for a very difficult season and that Koeman would be gone before the season ended. Wonder if he had any inside info as at the moment he seems to be on the right track.

Rob Halligan
32 Posted 29/11/2016 at 10:27:12
Agree with Eddie (#30), and probably a few others. Lukaku needs support up front.

Two games which stick out for me from last season are Southampton away and Sunderland at home. Both times Kone played alongside Lukaku, and both games produced emphatic wins.

I'm not saying Kone is the answer, but it shows Lukaku seems to play better alongside somebody else. When on his own, Lukaku has at least two defenders marking him. If there is someone alongside him, then it makes the defenders think a bit more.

By the way, what has happened to Kone?

Dave Pritchard
33 Posted 29/11/2016 at 10:33:51
I was wondering whether Kone was injured or becoming another Niasse.

Silly question now – is Gibson injured?

John Daley
34 Posted 29/11/2016 at 11:12:01
"During our early season good run of games, and perhaps significantly during our last win (and last clean sheet, when Holgate wasn't playing), Ramiro Funes Mori formed our centre back pairing with Williams."

Jagielka began all 5 league games during our (brief) unbeaten start to the season. Funes Mori started the first two only before being displaced by Williams.

John Davies
35 Posted 29/11/2016 at 11:33:29
Good point, Rob (#36).

He looks a better player with someone next to him or even near to him. The current formation leaves him isolated. A change in formation is required without exposing our fragile back four.
4-4-2 would expose the lack of pace of Barry.

I would look at either 4-3-3 with Bolasie left but with license to come inside and, until we can sign someone in January, probably Mirallas right but license to come inside. Both could tuck in next to Lukaku when the play develops down their respective opposite sides.

The security of 3 in midfield allows the full backs to get forward. Something we haven't seen a lot of this season.

Ajay Gopal
36 Posted 29/11/2016 at 11:54:05
Sorry to make the same points again, but what we seem to be lacking in the team are 'players with intelligence'.

We never replaced Pienaar, Arteta, Osman, Cahill, Yakubu, Carsley, the old Baines, Distin – players with limitations, but they were all smart. I cannot say the same thing about the present crop = except Barry (who is getting long in the tooth) and maybe, Gueye and Williams.

I suspect Cleverley and Deulofeu are also capable of using their brains, but the rest of the lot: Coleman, Jagielka, Baines, Lukaku, Barkley, McCarthy, Bolasie, Lennon, Mirallas, are just capable of doing the 'headless chicken' act.

Frank Crewe
37 Posted 29/11/2016 at 12:12:06
Here's a question. When was the last time Lukaku was booked? When was the last time he barged a defender over trying to get to the ball? Went in on a goalie in a 50/50? Even took a dive to get a penalty?

He scores from time to time but he rarely shows commitment to the cause. In his entire career he been booked 10 times. In all his 116 Premier League games for Everton he's only been booked 6 times and only once this season. Hardly any at all. Especially when you consider that these days the refs are a lot quicker to get the cards out than a few years ago. These days, Andy Gray would spend most of his time sitting out suspensions.

This is why the fans don't think he's doing enough. He's a big guy yet he doesn't use it enough. He wants his chances served up on a plate. It just looks like he's playing out his games until the end of the season and he can move. He simply has to put himself about more. Get stuck in even if it means getting booked more.

Now maybe I'm being harsh. Maybe another forward would help him. But while we play this 4-2-3-1 formation that isn't likely to happen.

Personally I would like to see a 4-1-3-2 with Gueye as our sitting DM.

Stekelenburg
Coleman Williams Holgate/Funes Mori/Jags Baines
Gueye
Bolasie Barkley Deulofeu/Lennon
Lukaku Mirallas

This formation would give the opposition's defenders more to do and help us to keep the ball in their half. Two DMs is simply making the team defensively minded and they'll pass sideways or back before they'll pass forward. Mainly because currently they have nobody forward to pass too.

Clive Rogers
38 Posted 29/11/2016 at 13:02:21
Too many old men. Three of our back four are well in their thirties and it showed. They were so slow. It was a mistake to bring in a 32-year-old to play next to a 34-year-old. Neither of them can get off the ground.

Every corner was dangerous. We struggled to clear them. Williams is slow on the turn, keeps getting caught out of position and is poor in the air. Barry had a poor game, no tackles and passes going astray. He's fading fast.

Bolasie looks a poor signing. He loses the ball far too often, runs into blind alleys, and his shooting is erratic. He's spent most of his career in the lower divisions and only scored 10 league goals for Palace in 4 years.

Ste Traverse
39 Posted 29/11/2016 at 13:27:08
I can't believe what I've just read. Some joker slagging Lukaku off not because of his goal return or his all round play, but because he doesn't get booked enough.

WTF!!!

Gary Lineker didn't get a card in his entire career and it didn't do him too much harm now did it.

Do we really want Rom to be another Big Dunc and miss plenty of important games through stupid suspensions?

And also loads seem putting Tom Davies forward at the moment. I'm not sure why he's suddenly the answer to our current woes.

Brian Furey
40 Posted 29/11/2016 at 13:39:24
A few weeks ago, I was with the attitude lets give Koeman a chance and see what he can do. Yes, he has inherited a poor ageing team and he needs time to make changes so lets be patient and give him time to change things around and let him build his own team.

The Chelsea result was coming in my eyes but it's the lack of passion, fight and it looks like the players don't want to play for Mr Koeman. Now a lot of the blame for that should go towards the players in my eyes but I've come around to thinking Koeman should have enough managerial skills to be at least getting decent performances against Swansea and a poor enough Southampton side.

Amazingly we are still 7th which no doubt Koeman is grateful for but he is showing no signs of getting his players to work as a team and somehow change things. With such a tough December coming up, you would imagine he will be under HUGE pressure come January when two of his better players leave for the African Nations Cup.

I wonder what Moshiri thinks of him now and of the pressure when things aren't going well.

I believe he will spend a lot of money though in 2017 but at the moment I'm not convinced Koeman is the man to take us forward. Who we bring in will be crucial to his future but at the moment he is already under huge pressure.

Mike Gwyer
41 Posted 29/11/2016 at 13:49:31
We all know that Lukaku wants to go, I mean seriously, this boy wants out and it would seem that most blues will be glad when he does fuck off. Even Koeman has given him his blessing and has let Barcelona know that he's available; Messi's days are numbered, is all I can say.

Watching Sunday's game was just shocking and was a pitiful attempt by players who do not give a fuck about themselves, the fans who travelled, but far worse, this truly great club. The players who are supposed to feed Lukaku no longer give a fuck about him increasing his goal tally. For me, they and every other fucker who is connected with this club would just like Lukaku to fuck off ASAP, but much, much sooner if possible.

We have games coming up where we could take a good spanking and that seriously is no lie. For fuck's sakes,Liverpool are scoring goals for fun against good teams, fuck knows what they will do at Goodison in 3 weeks time.

Koeman needs to look at other options than Lukaku leading the line because what was working has ended, for everybody. We need a team of players who are willing to work for each other, players who play with passion and are proud to wear the blue jersey.


David Booth
42 Posted 29/11/2016 at 14:15:35
Anyone who thinks the January transfer window will miraculously provide an answer to all our problems and enable Koeman to prove his worth is deluding themselves.

I confidently predict:

There will be no stellar signings.

Any significant spend will only be after the sale of Lukaku, and/or the likes of Cleverley, McCarthy, Lennon, Oviedo, Kone, Gibson & Besic etc.

Incoming players will be of the calibre Koeman has already bought – aging, on the cheap, inappropriate and in desperate haste as the clock ticks down on deadline day.

Don't forget, our new manager has already brought in almost half a team, compared to his debut at Southampton, where he lost half a team right before the start of the season.

Yet look at the relevant statistics from, his first 13 games here and there:

Everton: W5, D4, L4, F16, A15 (+1) 19 points

Southampton: W8, D2, L3, F23, A9 (+14) 25 points

He has made NO impact whatsoever so far and – combined with the abject, boring, predictable, lethargic, clueless, shapeless way we have played in every game bar the opener – we are in more of a mess than we perhaps realise.

He needs to get some strategy imposed well before the next transfer window, the significance of which is assuming holy grail proportions right now.

Until Koeman shows us what he can do with the tools at his disposal, we're fiddling while Rome burns. Thinking we can either afford to, or are capable of buying our way out of trouble in January is farcical.

Much as we still need an influx of new players, that, in itself, is NOT the answer. We need a new philosophy first from top to bottom, encompassing the whole easy-going culture we have allowed ourselves to slip alarmingly into during the last 20 years.

You can't buy that. It has to come from those who lead the team, on and off the pitch.

Peter (#17) made mention of the 'billionaire who has spent nothing' which, when combined with a manager who seems incapable of doing anything, is a worrying formula for a continued slide in to mediocrity.

I am not at all convinced that Moshiri will spend anything apart from what we net on outgoing transfers, or that Koeman has shown a single sign of being the man we need.

To put things in perspective, this is by far the most frustrating, depressing, stupefyingly annoying time I can remember in 50 years as an Evertonian.

Worse still, virtually EVERY supporter can see what needs doing – it's absolutely blindingly obvious – apart from the man who is paid a staggering £6m a year to do something about it.

He's been dreadful so far and I feel no conscience about saying so. Worse, I cannot see any indication whatsoever that things will get better. If he couldn't get a reaction from the players after Chelsea (and Swansea), what is he doing?

Oh how we need a League Cup moment like Oxford United away, quarter of a century ago... But of course, we are too good to try and win that nowadays, aren't we?


Gary Edwards
44 Posted 29/11/2016 at 14:22:44
It must have been a warm evening in Southampton... our lot were sweating their 'nads off without seemingly running around that much.
Steve Brown
45 Posted 29/11/2016 at 14:33:33
We will need to bring in up to ten players over the next two transfer windows. So, given an average Premier League player can fetch £15 - 20 million, we will need to sell.

Nobody will want Lennon, Gibson, Niasse, Cleverley, Mirallas, McCarthy etc so we will sell Lukaku next summer.

Who would I target in January? Shoot me down but I would go for Giroud, Depay, Van Dijk and Calhanoglu.

Zahir Jaffer
46 Posted 29/11/2016 at 14:41:38
Jelavic, Naismith, Yakubu, Johnson, Anichebe, Jo, Beckford Kone are the list of strikers we've had over the past 10 years. If anyone thinks any of them are better than Lukaku then I would care less about your footballing opinion.

We had Saha and Eto'o who were way past their prime. Saha was on a pay-to-play contract due to his injuries and Eto'o barely lasted a season due to his dressing room distress. Neither of them were team players.

Lukaku has scored more goals than Messi and Ronaldo when they were his age. There are a handful of other players to hate on before reaching Lukaku.

Baines's lack of ability to beat the first man with his corner kicks, his decline in crosses into the box over the past few years. His diminishing pace.

Jagielka's ineptness, his lethargic reactions, his poor jumping ability, his amateur positioning and movement, his lack of leadership.

McCarthy's inability to play a forward pass

Barry has the brains but having a 36-year-old being our most consistent player is just appalling. His legs can't keep up.

Barkley Mirallas and Deulofeu are our most inconsistent players. Barkley has improved over the last few games but for a midfielder he lacks the simple abilities of tackling pressing and winning the ball back.

If Deulopfeu can't change the game in these 30 minute cameos, then he doesn't merit a start.

Mirallas is turning out to be a poor mans Aurnatovic.

Cleverly, Lennon, Gibson, Valencia, and Besic are squad players at best.

At the end of the day, it's not even about the players, but the team. We don't move as a single organism. It's obvious we have no aspirations of winning anything and are content with settling for mediocrity. Maybe it's not most of the players that need changing, but the mentality.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-3792878/Everton-boss-Ronald-Koeman-says-Champions-League-hopes-not-realistic.html?0p19G=c

His pragmatic conference could have been the catalyst to the team's downfall. Whenever Raneiri was asked the question, he stated the same thing: "We take it game by game."

Pochhetino stated they could win the Champions League and didn't even qualify for the last 16.

The best thing is keeping the players in the moment and not letting their heads get into a wobble.

Colin Glassar
47 Posted 29/11/2016 at 14:47:13
Impotence is the word. The impotence of some decent players who can't be bothered to play with any conviction or cohesion and the impotence of the poor fans who have to suffer this garbage, week after week with no signs of improvement.
Phil Parker
48 Posted 29/11/2016 at 14:49:22
Before our League Cup game against Norwich, we had momentum: forward. Since making 8 changes to the team that was not even match-fit yet, we have momentum: backward.

Instead of players trying to get into a winning team to prove they were good enough, they were given an unnecessary chance to prove they were not, which they all accomplished comfortably. All so avoidable.That's apart from the fact that we threw away one of our two hopes of a trophy.

Now, Ronald has given himself real problems. Time to earn his money. Or has he been told just to have us right in a couple of seasons? Bring some kids in now, and give us something to lift us, because the players you are selecting are letting you, us and the club down.

I would have said they are letting themselves down, but I am sure that the vast fortunes they are stealing from us are making themselves and their agents quite content. Speak to Unsy and Joe, they will tell you about youngsters dying to proudly wear our shirt and give everything for our club. No more excuses. Enough is enough.

Patrick Murphy
49 Posted 29/11/2016 at 15:20:20
Zahir (#46) In those days when we had to rely on those strikers you list, we were a team crying out for a centre-forward. Now we're a centre-forward crying out for a team. Which is best?

Neither in reality but a team lacking in one area can still eek out results; a team lacking in nearly every department is the one we are witnessing at the minute.

Mike Gaynes
50 Posted 29/11/2016 at 16:41:51
Mike Gwyer (#41), sorry, I think that's malarkey. The players who "are supposed to feed" Lukaku aren't failing to do it because they don't care about his goal tally. They're failing to do it because they can't. They don't have the ability to do it. That's why we need a playmaking #10 in January.

Ajay (#28), please tell me you're kidding about starting two players up front that you've never seen play. Nobody here has seen anything from Valencia that excites us, and the other guy has never even appeared for the first team. Sure, shake up the line-up, but Lukaku ain't the problem.

Brian (#25), I agree that Funes Mori should get the start over Jags next game, but NOT because he's in Argentina's side. They've had a terrible year in qualifying, especially on defense, which is why they got the new manager in the first place. Funes Mori was their lowest-rated defender in both the Brazil humiliation and the right-the-ship win over Colombia. He's in their lineup because, like us, there's nobody better available right now.

David Booth
51 Posted 29/11/2016 at 17:06:14
Cesc Fabregas anyone?

Blatantly surplus to requirements at Chelsea and I hear from someone with good contacts at the club that he will be on his way in January.

Or a long-term favourite of mine, who demonstrated his worth just a week ago: Gylfi Sigurdsson.

Heard a report on the radio this morning that we were also interested in Virgil van Dijk, which would be fantastic. Him and one of the above would do for me.

Fabregas is a mean-spirited winner, the type of temperament we are so critically short of right now. He may also be available on loan to begin with too, which will doubtless appeal to our penny-pinching owners.

Van Dijk is no 'after you Claude' exponent either.

However, following all the bullshit about the targets we were allegedly after in Summer, there is no way we will cough up circa £40m for him unless we sell Lukaku – and then we'd have to spend as much replacing him too.

So time for Moshiri to show what level of financial commitment he is prepared to make. Is he willing to invest some speculative capital in the transfer market, or is balancing the books his modus operandi?

Sadly, I fear it is the latter.

Rick Tarleton
52 Posted 29/11/2016 at 17:17:49
After a week of hand-wringing and comments by manager and players, I really thought I was watching an action replay of the Swansea game I'd watched at Goodison the previous Saturday. Possession without purpose, square balls from the midfield, no movement at all up front and every time the wingers got past their man, they failed to find a blue shirt.

Lukaku finds it impossible to make a run that might create space for another player, his mindset is totally set upon his own chances of scoring. He needs to watch Costa or Sanchez.

Koeman can talk well, but he is having minimal impact on his players. He seems almost to have accepted that his tenure here is not working.

I suggest that he looks at the age profile of his squad for the pressing game he wishes to play. I also suggest that the rigidity of his formation, two wide men, two defensive mid-fielders and two big slow central defenders mens that there is no flexibility whatsoever.

Next week will probably be either another repetition of the last two games or possibly a repeat of the Chelsea debacle. This team is poor and it is lacking in football sense. It cannot improvise.

Ian Jones
53 Posted 29/11/2016 at 17:47:37
Frank at #37. I know what you mean with your comments about Lukaku and his bookings tally. While I don't want to see our players going around too aggressively, a little more from the big man wouldn't go amiss.

Re his last booking. Against Southampton last Sunday. Recent enough for you :)

Mike at 50 in response to Ajay at 28 about including players we haven't seen play yet. How will anyone ever find out whether they are good enough to play if they never get a chance?

Rashford didn't too badly when he arrived on the scene. Sims on Sunday did well on his debut. Of course, whether they will still be around in 10 years or even 2 is another matter but they were given a chance.

Personally, I would shake the line-up. May be unfair to Lukaku but how do we know he is not part of the team's problem. Leave him out. See how the team does without him for 2-3 weeks. I am on record as saying that I don't like him that much.

I am also a fan of Gibson as he can pick a pass. If he could stay fit, he could be a useful addition to most teams. Good all round experience. Knows what he is doing. Just doesn't stay fit long enough... to prove it.

However, having said that, even if he stays fit, the way the game is going these days, seemingly all about speed and movement, I think he would struggle in the Premier League...

Good to contradict myself!

Steve Harris
54 Posted 29/11/2016 at 18:24:30
Thanks Ajay, been feeling utterly depressed and almost suicidal about our embarrassing performances lately but you saying that Cleverley has a 'football brain' really made me laugh out loud for the first time for ages! You were joking right??
Mark Murphy
55 Posted 29/11/2016 at 18:27:11
"Embarrassing lack of service"

All those corners under the crossbar in the Swansea game that Giroud or even Charlie Austin would have buried don't count then??

Zahir Jaffer
56 Posted 29/11/2016 at 18:34:18
Patrick (#49),

I like the way you phrased that.

Still begs the question if we should build a team around him which Koeman seemed to be doing by bringing in Bolasie, as they go way back. The failed attempt to get Witsel, Lukaku's Belgium compatriot. Bids were also put in to get Perez and Giabiddini as a support striker for Lukaku, I presume.

However, Perez chose Arsenal and Napoli didn't let Gabbiadini go. The hopes of Barkley stepping up this season to become our diamond and play maker haven't helped either.

I honestly think if we got Witsel and a support striker we wouldn't be in this mid-table mediocrity. Or would you start from scratch and revamp the whole team? Which will most probably happen at the end of this season. Hopefully in early June, with no Euros or World Cups, we can recoup that money and rebuild a new team.

Looks like Steve Walsh has more work cut out for him this season than the main man Koeman himself.

Peter Lee
57 Posted 29/11/2016 at 18:59:24
At the Swansea game, a guy behind me screamed that Koeman had no Plan B. I am struggling to see a Plan A.

He says that he wants to play a pressing game. If you do that then the whole team moves forward and players make sure that they get within 2 or 3 yards of "their" man. If you do that, and move as a unit, then you don't end up near the bottom of the stats for distance covered.

I saw little evidence of pressing in the first half and not much more in the second. The manager sat with his arms folded all the first half. I can only assume that he was content that they were playing to his orders.

To illustrate my point about a whole team press, at one point in the second half, Lennon covered the keeper in his 6-yard box and Lukaku and Bolassie had closed down the back four options. However, our back four was sitting 25 yards inside our own half and there was so much room on the pitch for the keeper to knock the ball into that the front three had wasted their time.

I can't remember such a disinterested or dispirited performance from an Everton team since the last months of Mike Walker. Currently what we see is no better than last season.

Posters have concentrated on players not being good enough or formations being inappropriate. Well, we have a better squad than anyone we have played this season apart from Chelsea, Man City and Spurs. We play 4-2-3-1 like most other teams and we are floundering.

I said previously that the jury was, for me, out on the manager. I think that the verdict is in. He has nothing to offer this club and this squad.

Jack Convery
58 Posted 29/11/2016 at 20:34:18
This lot couldn't press grapes... but I bet they like an expensive wine!
Rick Tarleton
59 Posted 29/11/2016 at 20:49:08
I'm not sure passion and effort are the answer, they ought to be givens at any level at the top a lack of them is unforgiveable. However, I'm more disturbed by the team's lack of tactical awareness. I was at Goodison for the Swansea game, I watched the Southampton game on television. It was the same game

A tepid start, then a lot of possession, but no idea what to do with the ball when we had it. The same rigid formation, a back four, two defensive mid-fielders, two wingers, Barkley in a no-man's land and Lukaku who can't hold the ball up playing as the lone striker. The formation never changes, we swap the wide men over, but the replacements do the same as the men they replaced. We don't try a Plan B.

Koeman has one strategy and it isn't working. It took Moyes a few seasons to enrage ToffeeWeb, Martinez two, Koeman's managed it before Christmas in his first season.

Surely it is obvious, whatever Lukaku's talents are, he is not mobile enough to play like Drogba, or Costa as a lone striker. Surely, he can see that Gueye and Barkley are running into a wall and then they check back, because there is no movement ahead. Surely he can see that his wingers can't cross to a blue shirt, that his corner taker is gifting the ball to the opposition keeper and that his central defenders are ponderous, brave but ponderous. Every Evertonian I speak to can see these things, but Ronald Koeman apparently cannot.

We need a system, that our players can manage, not a system that is used whatever the circumstances and whatever the players we have. Good teams can think and change their game, ours look as though they are running in trenches down set lines.

Mike Gaynes
60 Posted 30/11/2016 at 07:26:46
"Well, we have a better squad than anyone we have played this season apart from Chelsea, Man City and Spurs."

Whaa??????

Peter (#57), thanks so much for dropping in from your planet. We welcome visitors from other worlds.

Ian Jones
61 Posted 30/11/2016 at 08:40:37
Morning Mike Gaynes,

Sorry, couldn't resist this one: Ben Woodburn.

Guess not many had heard of him before last night, 17 years old, scores for Liverpool. Okay, not against a Premier League team's defence, but still given a chance... according to the media, he is their next young superkid. No pressure on him then...

I am sure we have plenty of youngsters itching for their chance to show what they can do.

Ray Roche
62 Posted 30/11/2016 at 08:53:44
Peter, it's virtually impossible to play a "pressing game" with one up front. Southampton's defence had so much time and room with only Lukaku to worry about (and he couldn't worry a sheep with a pack of dogs) that they could stroll about and bring the ball out at their leisure.

You have to defend from the front, pushing forward and not letting their players settle on the ball or turn with it. We just don't have the players to perform that kind of game. We might have a couple in the Under-23s or on the bench though.

Peter Roberts
66 Posted 30/11/2016 at 11:59:12
Ray – why are Chelsea able to do it? Liverpool and Spurs too?

The answer is that they don't indulge a sulky striker who only thinks about what his team mates can do for him and not what he can do for the good of the team.

Liverpool have a superb goalscorer in Sturridge but that hasn't meant anything – he doesn't work for the team so he doesn't play – that's what you call management in action.

If the furthest forward player is trotting towards defenders then are the players behind him going to press? No – not at all. Its not all about Rom but it starts with Rom and he isn't up for doing that.

Time to bench him for a player who will put in the shift required.

Ernie Baywood
67 Posted 30/11/2016 at 12:13:24
Rick (#59),

I believe he can see them but is choosing to tread water until he can buy better players. Why get yourself judged for trying something new when you were brought in to spend money?

I don't see what some see in him. All the talk of his honesty. I find him deliberate and calculated. He's actually got me yearning for Bobby's deluded optimism.

I hope he achieves all the individual success he craves, because we will have done well, but I struggle to think of him as someone who will ever 'get' our club.

Andy Meighan
68 Posted 30/11/2016 at 12:26:16
Wednesday... And not one of our under achieving players have been wheeled out to tell us how they are going to put it right against Manchester United and kick on from there.

I'm shocked, I really am. Maybe, just maybe, the penny has finally dropped.

Sam Bull
69 Posted 30/11/2016 at 13:48:05
Well, here I am again to moan about Lukaku... Yes, he can scores goals when he wants to. No movement from him at all, he has the touch of a baby elephant and turns about as quick as the QE2.

The amount of times he stands still with his hand in the air calling for the ball... sometimes yes he should be passed to, but if his back is to goal, there's a big chance he will mis-control and lose possession and we will be countered.

Now Koeman has hinted that Lukaku should or could be playing for Barca... yeah, I can see him getting in the team ahead of their current three attackers.


.

Mike Gaynes
70 Posted 30/11/2016 at 16:36:16
Ian, good morning back at ya...

I have no problem with folks calling for youngsters like Davies, Holgate or even Galloway whom they've actually seen play (the latter dazzled us last year but has been glued to the West Brom bench on loan). But people calling for Calvert-Lewin based on his nice face in an interview crack me up.

As for our itchy youngsters, we have TWers who do watch the U-23 and U-18 games... and none have reported anything resembling a Woodburn. But I'm all for giving the best of them a chance in the early Cup ties... just not in the league games, thank you.

Personally, I think Niasse has earned a chance, but I'd give Valencia the first one... I liked the way he attacked those two headers on Sunday.

Steve Carse
71 Posted 30/11/2016 at 17:01:49
Mike (70), what is 'a Woodburn'? Anyone who is given a game and manages to score an open goal? Or have you already been sucked in by the media coverage to believe that this kid is 100% going to make it?

I suspect amongst the current young Everton strikers playing for the U23s and U18s there'll be a few who could do 'a Woodburn'. Of course whether they are ever likely to get the chance to do 'a Woodburn' under the current managerial team is a totally different matter.

Ian Jones
72 Posted 30/11/2016 at 17:08:12
OK, Mike, I get your point about calling for those who have been seen already, and giving Valencia a go. Perhaps call on Calvert-Lewin when we are 4 up with 10 minutes to go...

Jon Cox
73 Posted 30/11/2016 at 19:33:44
No matter how much we analyse the situation, say how good it's going to be in the future,

"Butter" it up till our hearts content, there is only one thing to understand and know.

The reality of the situation, if continued at its current trend, will mean that we will be relegated.

You could say that this comment was "for the benefit of Mr K".

Raymond Fox
74 Posted 30/11/2016 at 22:41:02
While I have not taken to Koeman as an individual, and he's messed up big time in interviews, he did manage Southampton to two 6th places in the League in the last two seasons.

What's wrong with our squad is simple enough, most are not individually or collectively skilled enough to compete at the very top of the League. How can we be when the 'big six' spend fortunes on players that are the cream of the crop and we spend peanuts over and above the money we get from players sold! It's been proved over the last 20 years that approach will not work.Each year we are hoping for a minor miracle that doesn't happen, we shouldn't be that surprised should we?

Whilst saying all that, I do agree that the least that the players can do is to come off the field exhausted at the end of a game.

Mike Gaynes
75 Posted 01/12/2016 at 00:41:49
I love your optimism, Ian!
Mike Gaynes
76 Posted 01/12/2016 at 00:44:47
Steve (#71), I was only responding to the callout of Woodburn by Ian (#61).

I've never heard of the kid or laid eyes on him... nor seen any media coverage.

Duncan McDine
77 Posted 01/12/2016 at 07:15:29
I'm just glad that we managed to get some points on the board at the start of the season, because I hoestly can't see many points coming in before 2017. I've been to 3 games so far this season (Bounemouth, Chelsea, Southampton away) and still yet to see an Everton goal... or even a decent attempt!!!
Ian Jones
78 Posted 01/12/2016 at 07:33:56
Duncan.

Some of us have been looking for answers from the team and management for the poor performances. Some also wonder whether we as fans could perhaps influence the players more.

Are you considering going to any more games? Your record seems to be consistent. Just saying!

:)

I only get to a handful of games each season, mostly at Goodison, and I am generally lucky to see us score and play reasonably well, so hang on in there... the goals will come... but expect it's hard going watching us at the moment.

Peter Barry
79 Posted 01/12/2016 at 09:08:29
Bringing in kids of course entails risks but doing 'the same thing over and over and over again and expecting different results is a sign of madness' – Albert Einstein.

Teams can get into a downwards spiral of defeat after defeat, just look at Villa last season, and Everton are showing all the signs of going the same way. Oh how soon those soaring pre-season hopes have been comprehensively dashed.

Sam Hoare
80 Posted 01/12/2016 at 09:46:32
Something is very wrong and its difficult to put a finger on it. Lazy or inept players? Tactical system that's not working? Low confidence? Lack of 'chemistry'? Or likely some complicated combination of all those things and more?

Usually there is a relative consensus on what is needed to fix the problem but this malaise seems to draw very mixed solutions from the most educated of fans.

The only thing that we seemingly can agree on is that something needs to change because we have not even looked remotely close to winning a football match for the vast majority of the time in the last 3 months or so.

So change the formation or change the personell or preferably both. Get some of the energetic, confident youngsters in the team as surely they could not do much worse.

How about:

Stekelenburg
Coleman Holgate Williams Galloway (recall him)
Dowell Gana Davies Bolasie
Calvert-Lewin Lukaku

Maybe that's one youngster too many and you could slot Baines back in, even though he was woeful against Soton and lets in so many crosses from his side. Either way, Koeman needs to show that he's not as stubborn as the man he took over from.

Paul Burns
81 Posted 01/12/2016 at 21:44:45
Don Alexander (#21) – that would be a top post just for mentioning Harry Worth but everything else you said was spot on as well.
Mike Berry
82 Posted 02/12/2016 at 10:58:56
It's obvious that our No 10 needs support. So what happened to Traffic Kone? Is he back on the M62?
Declan Campbell
83 Posted 02/12/2016 at 11:32:53
Thank you, John Daley, for correcting Brian Porter, whose obsession with Funes Mori is outrageous at this point. All he does is come on here and say how great he is.

Well, pal, he is not, he's average at best and stop with all this Argentina shite, you don't have to be as good as Messi to play for them.

Declan Campbell
84 Posted 02/12/2016 at 11:48:11
Sam Hoare – enough with the teams... that team would get hammered by anyone by the way!

Why should Galloway get a game if he can't get a game for WBA?

When have you ever seen Calvert-Lewin play, but of course throw him in versus Man Utd.

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