Mason Holgate starts on the bench again
Middlesbrough 0 - 0 Everton
Idrissa Gueye returns to the side for Everton's trip to relegation-threatened Middlesbrough. Barry makes way with no Mirallas or McCarthy on the bench.
Ademola Lookman gets his second start in the Premier League, with Tom Davies returning in midfield. Lennon, Koné and Valencia provide the reserve firepower from the bench.
Tom Davies kicked off but Williams resisted the punt upfield, Everton circulating possession within their own half for the first two minutes, Schneiderlin failing to find Lookman wide left. Schneiderlin won the ball back, fed Barkley wide right, who jinked inside getting Davies in close but with his back to goal he could do little with the creative ball.
Everton, in their all-black strip, were playing very confidently, and moving the ball around well, Gana releasing a great ball for Davies to chase. With heavy freezing rain and sleet coming down, the pace of the game was lively and relatively open, Traore giving the home fans a lift whenever he got on the ball.
Everton were dominating possession with slow build-up from the back, letting Boro form up their defensive wall with no element of real pace, and struggled to force through despite the energy of Davies and Lookman. When Boro did get the ball, there was an element of danger with Everton looking a little shaky at the back.
Adam Forshaw, previously of the Everton Academy, was playing his part for the home side, getting in a number of foul tackles. But the Blues' passing was just a fraction off on key forward balls, with the Boro players closing down well. Gana found Lukaku on the right with a nice ball and the big man did well to run in but slipped comically and spooned the ball behind as he set up to cross.
Lookman was a livewire and seemed to have bamboozled two defenders before the ball was stolen off him by Traore as he went down in the Boro area, but no foul. Some brilliant Everton passing saw Fabio concede Everton's first corner, taken from the right by Barkley, with a brilliant outswinger that fooled everyone, but Baines returned a brilliant ball to the back post; Funes Mori, however, was not the man to make the most of it.
More very scary attacks by Boro made the Everton defense look Sunday League as the ball pinged about but each time, Traore it would not fall quite right. Davies released Lukaku who had a trademark run in on Valdes to score... only he fired too close to the oncoming keeper who saved well with his outstretched leg.
More brilliant work by Davies looked to release Lukaku again but he had strayed offside. He started coming deep — too deep, as he twice was forced backwards into Everton's half under close attention from Boro defenders.
Some brilliant passing saw the ball out to Baines and a promising cross but Lukaku was called for a foul by Mr Dean. Another fabulous move saw Coleman cross in well to Lookman, whose shot was saved at close range, then Barkley dancing into the area and Lookman coming so close but denied by more tight last-ditch defending to block his shot after a brilliant drag-back.
Baines and Lookman then combined on the left, Lookman making great space and lashing in a low shot, just wide of Valdes's goal. More panic at the back for the visitors, though, as the ball seemed to bounce off Funes Mori and needed a hoof from, of all people, Idrissa Gueye to clear the lines. Some brilliant football from Everton in the first half, but not too many clear-cut chances to score.
Boro won an early corner off Traore after the restart and it needed a header from Coleman to clear. Traore then powered forward and lashed a shot that may have been deflected wide. Danger signals, as Boro seemed brighter and quicker to the ball.
Traore again ran in, forcing Coleman and Williams to bring him down on the edge of the area. Forshaw's free-kick was fortunately headed straight at Robles. In comparison, Everton seemed to have been given bromide in their half-time cuppas as they lacked the energy and desire that was so evident before the break. Forshaw was replaced bu Guedioura before the hour mark. Koeman's response to Everton's poor showing was to swap out Gueye for Valencia.
Barkley finally got forward but has shot was always going wide. Valencia showed pace and intent, running the right side channel. Poor defending from Funes Mori led to a Boro corner that Baines had to clear off the line to repel Gibson's header.
Sub Ramierez fouled Lookman with his first touch, Barkley wasting the chance into the two-man wall. Barkley brilliantly put Lookman through but again, Valdes saved a certain goal with that left leg. At the other end, Guedioura lashed a fearsome shot over Robles and the bar. The next change was Lennon for Lookman, with a quarter of the game remaining.
Ramirez shrugged off Schneiderlin and drove forward past impotent Everton defenders but clipped his cross too far wide. Davies, who had been quiet for much of the second half, started to get more involved but looked to be tiring. Nothing seemed to really be working with Boro winning the second half on points, Karana making his final change with 10 minutes left: Negredo off for Gestede.
Funes Mori was again beaten too easily but Guedioura thankfully spooned it well over as the game became disjointed entering the final 5 minutes. Ramirez was booked for treading on Baines but Barkley's cross was too close to Valdes. A strange last sub by Koeman, Barry for Barkley preceded the chance of the game for Boro and the Save of the Century by Robles, a fantastic one-armed reach to push over a bullet header from Ramirez that was goalbound all day long.
Everton built an attack in the last minute but it was just too slow, Baines's cross evading Lukaku. Baines tried a Barkley backheel that Valencia did not anticipate, Barry picked out Valencia but his pullback to Lukaku led to Everton's second and final corner that came to nothing in 3 mins of time added on.
The match ended in torrential freezing rain, a disappointing scoreline for the very vocal travelling troupe from Merseyside, and two points dropped in pursuit of the top six.
Middlesbrough: Valdes, Chambers, Bernardo, Gibson, Da Silva, De Roon, Clayton [Y:31'], Forshaw (58'Guedioura), Traore, Negredo (82' Gestede), Stuani (66' Ramirez).
Subs not Used: Ayala, Leadbitter, Guzan, Downing.
Everton: Robles, Baines, Williams, Funes Mori, Coleman, Schneiderlin, Gueye (62' Valencia), Davies, Barkley (87' Barry), Lookman (73' Lennon), Lukaku.
Subs: Stekelenburg, Jagielka, Holgate, Koné.
Referee: Mike Dean
Reader Comments (239)
Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer
1 Posted 11/02/2017 at 14:18:07
2 Posted 11/02/2017 at 14:19:06
It strikes me as unbalanced with the only real width coming the full backs.
We are not playing a particularly creative side so we've might get away with it.
I guess we'll see if our much self vaunted midfield can plug the gaps when we bomb forward.
3 Posted 11/02/2017 at 14:22:51
I hope the 3 in midfield can fulfill their potential as a very strong unit (that is surely the future), and hope we can still look like a force without the excellent Barry.
4 Posted 11/02/2017 at 14:39:15
If we are to challenge the top four places this season, or beyond, we do need to strengthen the squad.
However, given the strides made by Holgate and Davies thus far this year, and by Galloway and Browning (pre-injury) last year, hopefully there is more to come from our U23 prospects, including those that are oft mentioned, but have not yet made the "step-up", like Walsh, Ledson, Pennington et al.
5 Posted 11/02/2017 at 14:40:00
I thought we have looked our best with 3 at the back and Seamus and Baines bombing forward and linking well with midfield.
No width in this line-up but still capable of all 3 points.
6 Posted 11/02/2017 at 14:43:05
7 Posted 11/02/2017 at 14:44:49
8 Posted 11/02/2017 at 14:50:59
9 Posted 11/02/2017 at 14:53:28
10 Posted 11/02/2017 at 15:14:37
12 Posted 11/02/2017 at 15:56:18
13 Posted 11/02/2017 at 16:17:05
14 Posted 11/02/2017 at 16:24:14
15 Posted 11/02/2017 at 16:37:57
16 Posted 11/02/2017 at 16:39:25
17 Posted 11/02/2017 at 16:54:38
18 Posted 11/02/2017 at 16:59:41
We got dragged into a scrap against a very very poor attacking team and basically for me failure to beat these type of teams means we are now just playing for 7th nothing more, deep down I think even Koeman knows that.
Koeman has solved the bad home record from recent seasons, hopefully next season he can get a more clinical team away from home, our lack of killer instinct away from home always holds us back, was the same in the Moyes era when the form at Goodison was strong.
The team is crying out for a more consistent attacking central midfielder, Lukaku back to living off scraps today with no support or service..
Still think we lack that sprinkle of stardust in attacking midfield areas.
Maybe we just have to take 7th as progress and move on in the summer with some key signings, Siguardsson etc.
19 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:01:30
Needed a bit of luck there but we missed our best chances or Valdez saved them. Robles made a great save and Baines cleared off the line.
Not a game for the purists or for silky soccer. Not a classic to be sure.
20 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:01:31
21 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:02:10
They did a job on Lukaku. They got their tactics right. No doubt all the Lukaku bashers will be out the woodwork again...
22 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:04:07
23 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:05:20
24 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:05:39
Why is nobody doing off-the-ball running? Why is nobody looking for spaces that players can pass to? Why can't they pass the ball on the floor? Simple direct passes. Is that too much too ask for a professional football team?
Slow movement and sideways and backwards passing equals frustrating football. Koeman, sort it out.
25 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:07:07
Difficult game, at least it's an away point.
26 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:07:31
27 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:08:02
Let's just beat West Brom and West Ham to 7th, get a bit of pride back this season and build again in summer, hopefully next season a better run in the domestic Cups and a stronger more consistent challenge for 5th or 6th.
28 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:09:13
The result didn't bother me as much as the performance, we lacked bite in the tackle and Boro at times cut through the midfield and defence like a knife through butter. At the other end we looked bereft of ideas and lacked the sheer will to win.
Never mind on to the next game after a short trip to warmer climes for the players, can't help feel that any real hopes of Everton qualifying for Europe via the league ended today.
A poor match and a pretty poor performance by Everton.
29 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:11:56
We may well buy another one but the one Koeman may want may not have been available this window. Lots of people here were calling for Negredo when he was available. He was dogshit today, thankfully we didn't panic buy the likes of him.
30 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:13:37
In those conditions against Boro it was never going to be a great game. We struggled in midfield, struggled the get the ball up top, struggled to keep the ball up top, struggled to get any quality service into the box, struggled to play with any pace, struggled to keep our footing, struggled to string any passes together other than between our defense. It was just a struggle against a side that does quite well defensively, especially at home, in dreadful conditions.
Wish we could have gotten three points to continue to push up the table, but it was just one of those days. A point and we move on. Doesn't mean we're now suddenly stuck in 7th and everyone above is out of reach. Go for three points next match and be glad we don't have to live in Boro. Christ the suicide rate up there must be sky high having to live through that weather.
31 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:19:44
There is a player in Lookman but he needs to keep his head up and look at options before pulling the trigger.
I thought the midfield trio did not work at all. Constantly running into each other and forcing our 2 CBs too far apart. At least we kept our unbeaten run going.
32 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:19:52
33 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:20:22
We put some nice moves together and Boro's strategy was just to kick lumps out of Davies, Barkley and Lookman.
And what a save by Joel.
Onwards and upwards. We'll take 3 points from Sunderland.
34 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:21:19
We should have gone all out for Dohlberg, and although hindsight is wonderful, the fact we wanted Gabbiadini in the summer and then didn't bother in January smells of bottling it, surely, as he's now proving; he didn't become that bad in 6 months!
35 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:23:16
36 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:27:01
Disappointed not to get the 3 points, but the unbeaten run now extended to 8 in the PL. Our best undefeated run in 3 years.
With a 2 week break and warm weather training between now and our next game home to Sunderland, this draw doesn't represent the end of any hopes of climbing a place or two in the league before season's end as some are suggesting.
With 3 of our next 4 games at home to Sunderland, Hull and WBA, that offers us a great opportunity to get points on the board before the end of March.
Onwards and upwards, as ever.
37 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:30:56
We got a point at a hard place, but to be in or around the top 5 or 6 next season it's games like this, Bournemouth, Watford, Burnley and Hull away that we need to get 7 points from not just 3 which is what we took combined, especially when Everton wins at places like White Hart Lane, Anfield are nigh-on impossible...
38 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:31:39
It starts with the formation, our centre defenders are so limited it dramatically effects our style of play. Sure a back 5 has its negatives but it also helps limit the deficiencies in Williams and Funes Mori. We also get width from Baines and Coleman
That width was lacking totally today and we persisted in going down the width of the penalty box. Not until the game opened up post 70 mins did Baines really get forward.
The formation is on Koeman and his failure to change it, a recurring issue with him?
Yes, I agree, the game was a played in filthy conditions but both sides had to contend with it... so hey ho.
I guess Lookmans chance was as good as it got for us, Rom isolated again mostly due to the formation. Very frustrating but not a surprise.
39 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:32:00
Talking of Vikings, they seem to be in good voice at Anfield this afternoon.
40 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:36:55
The rest of the season is about bedding the new and the young people in and then we can get started quickly, I hope, to secure the essential reinforcements in the summer.
Good to see Joel doing well again. Otherwise I thought we were okay but no more than that, and you could just feel the 0-0 looming.
41 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:42:53
42 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:48:27
It could very easily have been 2-0 to Everton today.
43 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:52:19
So quick, strong, direct and can finish.
45 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:53:37
They are hard to break down and we just didn't put away the chances that we made.
Onwards and upwards.
46 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:54:05
On the upside, I really like our goalkeeper, getting better and better and still has plenty of mileage left.
We are just a creative player short right now from big things.
47 Posted 11/02/2017 at 17:54:38
48 Posted 11/02/2017 at 18:00:13
We have much to be optimistic about but I think we can all calm down now and enjoy the rest of the games without worrying too much about where we are going to finish.
49 Posted 11/02/2017 at 18:01:41
50 Posted 11/02/2017 at 18:06:05
51 Posted 11/02/2017 at 18:09:50
52 Posted 11/02/2017 at 18:18:13
Schneiderlin, Funes Mori and Williams don't do for me, as all 3 players play far too deep. The gaps between the Everton centre halves and Schneiderlin and the rest of the team were far to deep.
Although Valdes is praised for the saves he made against Lukaku and Lookman, their efforts were too close to the goal-keeper to have any real chance of beating him, since most Premier League goal-keepers will stick out a leg if they can't reach a shot with their arms or hands.
53 Posted 11/02/2017 at 18:28:08
Whilst I'm optimistic about our medium- and long-term future, can we stop any talk about catching any of the teams above us this season? It's not going to happen.
Failing to beat Borough today showed that. I would love to be wrong though!
54 Posted 11/02/2017 at 18:28:50
We have too many central midfielders and not really one that naturally stands out as a regular support for Lukaku, it's games like today when you need to get men in and around the box to break through a stubborn defence, today and maybe too often away from home we just don't commit men.
It's not a bad result but it's another lesson to go with quite a few other away games this season that we need to find a killer instinct, need to commit more men to get the win, it's the difference to challenging the top sides and just being on the cusp with no way of getting in.
55 Posted 11/02/2017 at 18:30:48
Not sure on the formation today. Davies as central attacking midfielder and Barclay out right didn't work. Valencia should have kept his hat and coat on as he was totally ineffectual Gueye also looked off the pace.
Any idea why McCarthy and Mirallas weren't included in the squad?
56 Posted 11/02/2017 at 18:36:44
Clean sheet and a continuing unbeaten run, that's okay. Last on MotD, deservedly I think.
57 Posted 11/02/2017 at 18:38:13
58 Posted 11/02/2017 at 18:39:44
59 Posted 11/02/2017 at 18:52:08
But comments in the thread about lack of width are surely right. Coleman was often on his own trying to make progress down the right. We are missing Bolasie.
Just watch England bring game changers off the bench against Wales. Valencia and Lennon do not do it.
60 Posted 11/02/2017 at 18:52:32
61 Posted 11/02/2017 at 18:54:39
In the past 3 games he didn't show at Stoke nor again today, did anyone actually think he would score when he was clean through in the 1st half?
I would actually take any offer for him in the summer, as for me he does do enough, limited movement, not particular good in the air. getting better at holding the ball up.
The size of him, he should be making defenders worried, put one on their arse in the first minute to let them know, what the type of day there are going to have! Does he NO!
Bye bye and good riddance.
62 Posted 11/02/2017 at 18:56:02
63 Posted 11/02/2017 at 18:58:55
Tough game, not sure what people were expecting on here from Middlesbrough but they got stuck in and made it difficult. It was up to Mike Dean to do his job but after his enforced break he decided to play things safe and bottled two big decisions for red cards.
Missed having Mirallas available but it's a good point and the team deserves credit. People moaned on here for a 6-3 last week so I guess 0-0 didn't stand a chance.
64 Posted 11/02/2017 at 19:02:53
65 Posted 11/02/2017 at 19:13:35
66 Posted 11/02/2017 at 19:17:31
'God help us' more like!
67 Posted 11/02/2017 at 19:29:04
68 Posted 11/02/2017 at 19:29:39
69 Posted 11/02/2017 at 19:31:14
70 Posted 11/02/2017 at 19:32:31
71 Posted 11/02/2017 at 19:34:14
"I would actually take any offer for him". What, like 60p? A tenner? £15m? State a price, lad.
Probably one of the stupidest statements in a long, long time.
72 Posted 11/02/2017 at 19:35:49
73 Posted 11/02/2017 at 19:38:06
Far be it for me to suggest that the long list of never-posted-before Evertonians are a bunch of Reds with nothing else to do after a disastrous run, but surely any genuine Blue would recognise that we are on a fantastic run of form, and the occasional away point against shit negative anti-football shit (Stoke, Boro) rather confirms that.
74 Posted 11/02/2017 at 19:39:14
The upward trajectory you speak of under the Dutchman is more like a gentle slope, who has us in the position we normally have occupied across the last decade. Progress, maybe? Or top of the also-rans, or bottom of the top 7. Take your pick.
75 Posted 11/02/2017 at 19:40:04
76 Posted 11/02/2017 at 19:40:08
My main complaint is Joel and Williams constantly hoofing the ball up the field and giving possession back to Boro on every occasion. For a forward it's a nightmare receiving service like that.
Williams is just too limited to play in this team. Joel apart from his hoofing is playing very well. We are still in shouting distance of the teams above us and we are definitely progressing as, not long ago, we would have lost a game like that.
77 Posted 11/02/2017 at 19:41:26
Davies played well in a cluttered midfield. I like that he gets into the area to support Rom. Is it me or is Davies's range of passing improving game by game. This kid is so impressive.
78 Posted 11/02/2017 at 19:43:03
However, I have been repeatedly disappointed by Enner Valencia who seems to become invisible whenever he comes on. God help us if Lukaku leaves and we have to rely on "cover" for him.
82 Posted 11/02/2017 at 19:49:07
83 Posted 11/02/2017 at 19:58:02
Getting back to the game, I'm really disappointed with a draw but shit happens in football. You can't win 'em all, unfortunately.
84 Posted 11/02/2017 at 20:00:11
I felt we had done enough to win it but unfortunately didn't. Valdes had 2 great stops. Davies was inches away on 2 occasions from breaking the deadlock and a better pass from Rom to Ross would equally have won us the game.
My only negatives are a bit of indecisiveness at the back and that Lennon and Valencia offered nothing when they came on. Funes Mori backing out of that tackle also got me agitated... absolutely criminal!
I doubted the signing of Schneiderlin but he impressed me today. Good work ethic and sharp in the tackle.
I can't believe all the negatives on here. I honestly felt that Boro played for the draw and were very difficult to break down. On so many occasions when they finally got into our half, they just turned and went the whole way back to prevent a quick turn over.
85 Posted 11/02/2017 at 20:01:58
There was no Everton forward within 6 yards of him at times. Each time he received the ball, there was a minimum of 2 defenders on him.
Apart from Lookman who has just started to ply his trade, the likes of Valencia and Lennon couldn't supply him, These 2 are definite candidates for the deadwood stage!
If anybody has any doubts about Lukaku's ability, just take a look at his first goal against Man City... Absolutely sublime!
86 Posted 11/02/2017 at 20:02:25
Take a fortnight without a match, re-group, and press on for the rest of the season.
87 Posted 11/02/2017 at 20:04:00
You had an opinion, it was countered, somewhat in mirth and in some part in derision without personal insult. It is a forum after all?
Every manager loses games they shouldn't, that's the point, and the improvement is there sure but not to my mind as great as people think.
Enjoy your pint 🍻
89 Posted 11/02/2017 at 20:06:48
Improvement? I'll take that.
91 Posted 11/02/2017 at 20:09:33
I can't believe you expect a goalkeeper, under pressure from a backpass, to stand around, pick out a player 50-60 yards away and deliver a match-winning defence-splitting Ronaldo-esque peach of a pass! The poor lad got hammered one time for constantly playing out from the back under orders from Martinez!
92 Posted 11/02/2017 at 20:10:49
Simple fact, When Chelsea looked to ship him out after an ineffectual World Cup for Belgium, did any of the top European clubs come knocking for him? No!
Last season when he allegedly said he wants Champions League football did any top European or British sides come knocking? No!
If somebody offered what we paid for him, would I take it, yes in a heart beat.
I have been a season ticket holder at Goodison for coming on 50 years, so yes I can recognize a good player when I see one; I can also recognize a "lazy" one when I see one.
93 Posted 11/02/2017 at 20:12:33
96 Posted 11/02/2017 at 20:26:09
But you always thought Lineker would score and he usually did.
97 Posted 11/02/2017 at 20:30:34
98 Posted 11/02/2017 at 20:43:28
Scoring is an art, and as he's only 23, he is still perfecting that art and honing his skills. Without him, we'd be up to our nostrils in it.
Remember how he scored for fun in Europe, and bagged (excuse the pun) plenty at a struggling West Brom, including a hat-trick at Old Trafford? He's more Latchford than Lineker but, unlike our one-season wonder, or 'boy wonder' Owen, he won't wane through a loss of pace.
What he really needs is more assistance from his team mates, as we saw last week with Ross, Macca and Seamus all giving him the support he needs.
99 Posted 11/02/2017 at 20:44:57
Does that not even get close to topping the scoring charts?
100 Posted 11/02/2017 at 20:46:06
We lost 2 games in 3 months at one point last season and yet it didn't end very well.
101 Posted 11/02/2017 at 20:46:49
I just think that we are a far better team when Rom is at it.
102 Posted 11/02/2017 at 20:52:47
Wait to the end of the season, and then come up with some other reason why we are not progressing. You have the right, after all.
John, let's agree we are a far better team when the man who has scored 8 in the last 9 is 'at it'. That I'd say he is currently 'at it' and you think otherwise is neither here nor there.
To finish on a point we can all agree on, it's a grand old team.
103 Posted 11/02/2017 at 20:54:41
It is a grand old team, we just happen to vent our frustrations on this site... but, as you say, COYB.
104 Posted 11/02/2017 at 20:57:34
105 Posted 11/02/2017 at 21:03:08
106 Posted 11/02/2017 at 21:23:43
Today was one of those games against a team who were fighting against relegation, had only allowed I think 10 goals against them at home and in atrocious conditions, and we are expected to have an easy game. As Koeman said there are no easy games in the premier and each team gives you a different problem to play against them.
We played well in the first half and like you would expect from a home team, Boro came out for the second half with more effort.We could have won but their keeper done his job and they could have won but our keeper done his, so maybe a point was a fair result even if we expected better.
We are not a top 4 team and we may not even make the top 6, but there are signs of improvement and that is what we expected for this season. We cannot say one week that we our rebuilding and the following weeks say we are rubbish. We have to expect there will be games like this and put up with it.
107 Posted 11/02/2017 at 21:25:03
● We have a good goalkeeper.
● Lookman and Davies will have had their confidence massively boosted by their selection. Both are first-teamers now and will not have to break their necks in cameos.
● Lookman and Davies will have learned a lot from a dour game under dour conditions.
● Middlesborough are not a bad side and they are motivated. It was not a bad result.
● There are good times ahead, in fact they started when we thumped Man City.
108 Posted 11/02/2017 at 21:37:05
Back to today and I still think it was a poor performance overall, as there are the usual problems within the team, too easily giving possession away, not being confident enough to try a daring pass, particularly from the back, and too often punting it forward aimlessly which leads to the opponents gaining confidence.
The previous performances away at Hull, Stoke and Palace had their merits but today I thought we lacked so many of the qualities needed to win the game, lacklustre up front, muddled in midfield and shambolic at times at the back. The conditions didn't help but it is the same for both teams and football after all is a winter game.
109 Posted 11/02/2017 at 21:55:30
110 Posted 11/02/2017 at 22:09:44
● Ronaldo scored 77 Premier League goals by his 24th birthday.
● Rom is already on 76 and is still a few months away from his 24th.
111 Posted 11/02/2017 at 22:47:57
Seemed a fair result to me on to the next one.
Lukaku is class. End of story.
112 Posted 11/02/2017 at 22:51:20
113 Posted 11/02/2017 at 22:53:47
I was very surprised in the improvement of Adama Traore for Boro. He was a scrawny ineffective kid at Villa last season. A Barca academy player who was behind Deulofeu, both in stats and reputation, albeit a year younger in age. He looks a different player this season and looks like he's been hitting the gym. He looks a better player than Deulofeu now. Could be an option in the summer maybe?
We should have signed a quality striker to bring on or replace Rom for games like today. It looks like Gabbiadini could have been an excellent signing. I wonder why we seemingly lost interest in that deal?
114 Posted 11/02/2017 at 22:59:49
115 Posted 11/02/2017 at 23:02:11
I like it.
Concise, direct and truthful.
116 Posted 11/02/2017 at 23:07:21
TW poster shoots himself in the foot. Lives to write crap another day,
119 Posted 11/02/2017 at 23:55:11
I think a lot of us have fell foul of getting carried away with some of our good run of results rather looking closely at our performances! Some of our defending and all round play has been dodgy to say the least the workrate and intensity seems to have dropped a bit!
The saving grace is it is early days under Koeman's regime and money in the bank!
121 Posted 12/02/2017 at 00:15:47
If we don't win against this sort of opponents, then we are not worthy of a top 6 place.
122 Posted 12/02/2017 at 00:18:24
123 Posted 12/02/2017 at 00:48:15
With Boro playing 3 in CM the centre was very congested, particularly with Ross dropping back to try and get on the ball and Fabio tracking him. Plus Lookman naturally drifting inside left no space and our midfield struggled to find time and room. We had no natural width or options to provide any from the bench.
Valencia coming on briefly got some support up for Rom, but in taking Lookman off (why?) for the ineffective Lennon we lost that. One option would've been to get Holgate on and push the fullbacks forward to provide wide options, not sure why we didn't try that. Without McCarthy and Mirallas, half our bench was useless, highlighting the need for improved quality in the summer.
124 Posted 12/02/2017 at 00:55:35
"...but one who works for 90 minutes and works for the team, will do for me if he can score that is a bonus."
You seem to have player positions confused. That above is more a description of the priorities of a midfielder or defender. Lukaku is a striker, so a better description would be:
"One who scores, and if he can work for the team, that is a bonus".
See, if Lukaku "worked for the team" (however you define that) but scored goals infrequently only as a bonus, he wouldn't be classed as a successful striker, and would be playing for a team like, say, Middlesbrough.
"I just think that we are a far better team when Rom is at it."
That's eye opening. Does it apply to all the other players, and the goalkeeper too?
125 Posted 12/02/2017 at 01:37:09
Where we are now is exactly where we should be, 6th or 7th. On a good day, we might, briefly, stand on our tip toes, stretch and lightly brush the bottom of 5th with our finger tips... see 4 vs Man City and 6 vs Bournemouth. Until we up the overall quality and cut out the 3s vs Bournemouth and the draws at Stoke & Boro... how ever 'difficult' they might be in the wind and the sleet of January & February, 6th or 7th is it.
Better teams mostly win these we didn't, so what does that say?
One thing it does say, to me at least, is that we have improved some we would've lost this and Stoke... and maybe even at 3-2 stuffed up the Bournemouth game too, under the previous regime.
Re the bench, I don't believe for one minute the 'slight injury' claims It was bench rotation to keep the lads happy-ish.
126 Posted 12/02/2017 at 02:01:39
They drew with Arsenal 0-0 and City 1-1 away. Spurs were very lucky to beat them 1-0 at WHL.
Boro have not been hammered by anyone, and are notoriously hard to score goals against, therefore a point against them away from home is a decent result, especially given that things change over a season, players mindsets change and so does motivation.
It was also fucking miserable up there today cold as all hell, and pissing it down by the end. These things make a difference whether you believe it or not when you're playing football performances ARE affected by these things.
Boro are close to the bottom 3 so are scrapping it out you have to dig a bit deeper when making sweeping judgements like, "better teams mostly win these" etc. That's a meaningless term and actually not true.
127 Posted 12/02/2017 at 03:05:02
Later, we'll beat someone that beats 'Boro at The Riverside (or we already have). We're still much improved from earlier in the season, and just need to keep that improvement going the team and the manager.
128 Posted 12/02/2017 at 03:59:41
IMO Barkley had a solid game as did Bainsey.
Watching it on TV in Adelaide, watching the weather shots even made me feel cold!!!
129 Posted 12/02/2017 at 04:05:13
For once I found it hard to think what Everton could do to change the game. I think we shouldn't downplay the weather conditions here as I think they were definitely not conducive to playing good football. So really, a point away from home was okay.
Lukaku was isolated a little bit too much and Valencia was brought on to rectify this, but hey ho, we are unbeaten in 8 and going in the right direction, keeping another clean sheet ourselves. I have been rather impressed with Mr Robles recently.
130 Posted 12/02/2017 at 04:12:22
Yes, the weather can be a great equaliser, especially when you play in those conditions a lot more than your opposition. I saw a few players lose their footing and it is difficult to weight a pass, although we did get some decent balls through.
It appeared to me that we were trying to get balls through the middle, which was the right thing to do as their defence seemed very capable of repelling attacks with width. But for me, it was a decent point.
131 Posted 12/02/2017 at 04:28:52
Barry's legs might not allow him to play the full 90 minutes but I would start him over these 2 and then sub him out when he runs out of steam. My fear is Schneiderlin will play no matter what as we paid £24M for the benefit. Davies is improving and he can pick a pass going forward.
I thought Ross was quality today and cannot believe the Echo only gave him a rating of 6 and Schneiderlin 7. I must have been watching a different game!!!
132 Posted 12/02/2017 at 04:36:05
We buy strikers 'who work for 90 minutes and work for the team'. Anything else is a 'bonus'.
133 Posted 12/02/2017 at 04:47:09
We haven't... unless everybody hits the top notes together on a good day, got enough about us to win these games yet. But hopefully we will soon.
Leagues aren't won (like 84-85) by thrashing United 5- whatever; it never does you any harm to do it, but it takes more. They're won by battling in poor February conditions at places like Leicester and Boro... then scoring 2 late-ish goals.
I know though that one man's 'telling it like it is', can sometimes be seen as 'having a go' or 'nit picking'.
When those 4-0s and 6-3s become the rule rather than the exception, we will all be a lot happier.
The Emperor isn't, like Martinez, totally bollocko, he just needs a jacket, tie and some shoes just not brown ones.
134 Posted 12/02/2017 at 04:49:19
135 Posted 12/02/2017 at 04:59:29
I noticed many years ago that most of those "Ratings" became wildly off from what I saw. I think it was the Daily Mail that introduced them (and their "Entertainment" score) back in the seventies, at least that's when I first saw them, and they seemed to be an accurate reflection.
Anyway, I haven't read papers for years so have to trust that most unreliable of sources, my own opinion!
136 Posted 12/02/2017 at 05:02:01
"URGENT! This may be of interest to you or someone you know. A friend of mine has 2 tickets in the corporate box to Everton v Sunderland on the 25th Feb. He paid £300 each, but he didnt realise when he bought them that it was going to be on the same afternoon as his wedding. He is looking for someone to take his place If anyone is interested, its at the Wigan registry office at 3pm. The brides name is Nicole .shes 5'4, size 8, great legs and is a really good cook .she'll be the one in the white dress!!!!"
137 Posted 12/02/2017 at 05:20:49
138 Posted 12/02/2017 at 08:06:58
139 Posted 12/02/2017 at 08:23:40
Koeman had the chance to put things right in the window, but buying another defensive midfielder and a rookie winger was never going to solve our main problem, which is obviously the fact we haven't enough goalscorers.
Having seen Gabbiadini's brilliant performance at Sunderland, he looks just what we needed to help Lukaku share the burden up front; inexplicably we chose not to sign him. Koeman has a few more windows to put things right, but he should of sorted out the problem by now.
141 Posted 12/02/2017 at 08:55:24
I wonder what happened to the Napoli striker, now at Saints, who has hit the ground running? My issue is in the summer was that Moshiri made a big point via Sky's Jim White that we had bid for this fella etc. So what happened that we did not go back for him in January?
142 Posted 12/02/2017 at 09:50:37
143 Posted 12/02/2017 at 10:12:14
Schneiderlin will get 7 every week because he is a star signing from Man Utd whereas the others have to earn it and are judged by different standards.
I put him down as a Koeman vanity signing at an exorbitant price.
144 Posted 12/02/2017 at 10:20:54
Sorry, I wasn't taking a dig at big Rom I love him to bits. But this is a game that was crying out for a bit of magic from someone, except we have Valencia and Lennon. Geri would have been great with a bit of spark. We really need that extra creativity this summer.
146 Posted 12/02/2017 at 10:27:58
Looking back, we where probably a little unlucky not to get the three points.
On a more positive note, I've been very impressed with Robles lately. Dare I suggest he might be the answer to our goalkeeping problem?
147 Posted 12/02/2017 at 10:30:56
We are improving.
148 Posted 12/02/2017 at 10:56:02
We shouldn't worry about Lukaku leaving as I am sure Koeman will find the right replacement(s). When Lineker left I was disappointed but look what happened there we won the league the following season.
The manager is the most important person at the club not the players. I was devastated when Kendall left because I knew that he was irreplaceable.
149 Posted 12/02/2017 at 11:02:21
150 Posted 12/02/2017 at 11:05:14
The rest of the season is about giving the young lads like Davies, Lookman & Holgate the relevant experience and game time to improve and fully integrate into the first team ahead of next season and also give Schneiderlin time to get to know his new team mates which he seems to be doing just okay with.
I think we all know where we're lacking in this team. We badly need a couple of quality centre-backs. Think Jagielka's time at the club will be up in the summer and Funes Mori is too much of a liability to be in the team week in, week out. Williams is ok but I don't think it helps him or the team having Funes Mori at the side of him. We could do with a younger, fresher centre-back to partner Williams or 2 new centre-backs to go straight in the team.
I think we could do with a goalkeeper but each week Joel seems to make me doubt that. Think he's been really good of late with his saves, command of his area. He hasn't done a lot wrong since coming in.
Central midfield is a strong area for us now, especially with regards to the defensive side of things and players that can do a job screening the back 3/4 or Nick balls and break things up. We all know what Gueye brings to the table and Schneiderlin is similar but has that quality on the ball. Those 2 will be main stays in the midfield in the long run. Then I feel we need a more creative central midfield that breaks into the box from deep, offers a goal threat from that part of the pitch and can pick a pass going forward to compliment both Gueye & Schneiderlin. I'm not fully convinced Barkley is that player. He doesn't seem to break forward enough and go beyond Lukaku and get into the box, he likes to hang back and look for the ball too much. Even playing as a wide forward in a front 3 he drops too deep and isolates Lukaku. We need to find that Scholes, Lampard "type" that is great at breaking away from the midfield and bursting beyond the striker and chipping in with goals.
Then we need some quality wide options. Lookman looks promising but needs time to adjust and find his feet. He could be a real threat next season once he's integrated into the team and our way of playing. So him, along with Mirallas, are options wide left, but were seriously devoid of any quality down the right and that's why Barkley as been put out there but he doesn't get up there and close to Rom, he drops too deep into midfield cos he wants to be involved and on the ball.
Watching Gabbiadini at Southampton it looks like we could of missed a trick there. He usually prefers to play from the right and cutting in, linking up with the front man and when you watch him his movement is spot on and he likes to play one two's and spin off his man and go behind and imo he would of been a great foil for Lukaku coming in off the right. And he would offer us another goal threat! And obviously we need another centre-forward to compete with Lukaku and sometimes partner him and help him out.
Big summer ahead to get those type of players in to push us on to the next level though. As it stands, are squad is only good enough for best of the rest, it's nowhere near good enough for the top 6 and beyond so we need to find the quality and bring it in to hopefully kick us on to the next level. But it's vital we do finish best of the rest and hope Man Utd win the league cup and a top four side wins the FA Cup so it gives us a spot in the Europa League as that will help to entice better players.
151 Posted 12/02/2017 at 11:05:23
Tell me kind sir, do you get up extra early and practice the blatantly fucking obvious? Do tell...
152 Posted 12/02/2017 at 11:09:54
153 Posted 12/02/2017 at 11:16:06
154 Posted 12/02/2017 at 11:18:15
As an aside, what about these Barkley rumours? I can't imagine Ross refusing to sign a new contract but, who knows eh?
155 Posted 12/02/2017 at 11:20:06
Just galling to watch Man Utd brush away similar opposition and a reminder of what the squad can be lacking.
A shame Mirallas and McCarthy weren't available to switch things I hope it was that straightforward.
156 Posted 12/02/2017 at 11:21:20
I'm not getting involved in any Lukaku argument but the comparison with Ronaldo isn't a great one tbh as, in his time in the Premier League, he was a winger and only the odd time did he play directly as the striker. At that point, Rooney was in his prime and the main man upfront for Man Utd. So that stat for Ronaldo is very impressive for a winger!
157 Posted 12/02/2017 at 11:33:54
For me, the lesson of recent weeks is that the centre back pairing isn't at the right level. Funes Mori just isn't good enough, and we should focus on a big old fashioned stopper, particularly one who is good in the air for next season. He's a bit of a thug, but I think Shawcross does his job week in week out at Stoke.
We also need new cover for Baines, and should look no further that Hull's left back, Andy Robertson. He was very good in an attacking guise against Arsenal yesterday. If Hull do get relegated, they will surely cash in on him.
158 Posted 12/02/2017 at 11:46:48
We need one / two central defenders and a creative player in midfield. It does look as if the current keeper may make the Number 1 spot his own. Fair play to him if he does, I for one doubted him.
Yesterday also showed that McCarthy does bring something different to the team. The manager is overloaded with central midfielders; given that we are out of the Cup and not in Europe, this may become a problem.
159 Posted 12/02/2017 at 11:55:36
That just ain't gonna happen. Get wise!
160 Posted 12/02/2017 at 12:07:27
At the end of the day, after getting shut of the amount of shite that we did in January, we need to not only improve the first team, but fill out the squad with better players. We need a good first team and good options to call upon from the bench. So yeah, you figure it out and get wise .
161 Posted 12/02/2017 at 12:18:12
I just don't get this club anymore or the reaction sometimes to how we do business. It's not our job to find the players who can improve the squad, that's what Walsh and Co get paid the big bucks to do. But since Koeman raged about inadequate transfer activity after the Leicester game, we signed one, defensive, holding midfielder who looks to be very impressive but, that was it. Lookman arrived before that Leicester rant which betrayed the real feelings of the manager rather than now when the window has closed and he's been asked, politely I'm sure, to shut up.
I've seen this weeks stuff online in which there's the usual "we don't want numbers for the sake of it, we need quality" comments. But that familiar refrain doesn't have it for me because there was I'm certain decent quality out there in January at Forward and Centre Back. It may not have been Lukaku £80m quality of course, or even a fit Van Dijk type quality st £35m.
But there were options and we've dithered, again. But we got rid of all that dead wood didn't we? Hurrah, it would have happened in the summer anyway and how did it really help now? They were never getting games or holding back youngsters.
Why does it matter that a couple of great games from the hugely impressive Tom Davies and what amounts to a few minutes from the promising Lookman seem to have kidded everyone that a one-win-in-ten run and some indifferent holiday period performances didn't signal a need to urgently strengthen? Koeman knew it was needed and lost his rag eventually.
But what really drives me crazy with performances like Boro, and to a lesser extent Stoke, is that the strength in depth wasn't there to make the difference at a time when there is, or probably now there 'was' a genuinely real chance to up,a gear and finish 5th or who knows, steal a Champions League place?
Why not sim that high after exiting cups so early? Why gamble on the emergence of Tom Davies as the touch paper for better results or worse why gamble that Rom will never get injured ? Why not see the huge plus from a massive turnaround in January and seek to get us into a position where we can use our new found financial muscle to compete for the best because we are playing in Europe or even that unlikely but possible Champions League place? Where's the bloody ambition. I'm fed up of hearing about progress and development when the 'now' was there as something exciting yet many suddenly seem comfortable to fight for 7th and forget about a few weeks ago when it was all total shit.
Yesterday I saw a few on Twitter shouting again about our 'brilliant' transfer windows in the summer and January. It's beyond my understanding how they were brilliant. And yesterday at Boro, thanks to a couple of injuries, we lacked the edge on the bench to change a game that, whatever you say about the amazing Karanka team organization or the terrible weather, was just so winnable, and those dropped points will make that surprise final position even less likely.
We are still 9 off third today and 8 off the shite in 4th. It should have been closer. I just don't understand why more can't see the chance that was there for us. Surely it was worth a risk in the January market, however difficult it might have been?
162 Posted 12/02/2017 at 12:23:59
163 Posted 12/02/2017 at 12:24:26
The fortunes paid for the likes of Bolasie and Schneiderlin were surely not value for money and whilst Gueye has delivered, the others have been disappointing.
However we see it, without Romelu, we would be down amongst the dead men. So perhaps you are right six or seven it is!
165 Posted 12/02/2017 at 12:49:46
Why are you spouting such utter shite?
"The fortunes paid for the likes of Bolasie and Schneiderlin were surely not value for money."
Schneiderlin has played three full games. How can you possibly reach that conclusion? Have you got a crystal ball?
Bolasie had a decent enough start until his season ended through injury.
Who are the others that have been disappointing? For all the stick Williams appears to get, our defence is much more solid. 27 goals in 25 games points to that.
Maybe it's Lookman who has disappointed you? Or is it the whopping £1m we forked out on a reserve keeper?
166 Posted 12/02/2017 at 12:53:23
The Form Table makes enjoyable reading:
Koeman is improving us more and more every week.
Shame we could not have taken 3 points yesterday. Down to Valdes that we didn't.
We would have lost that game if the previous manager was in charge.
167 Posted 12/02/2017 at 12:54:22
Another away point.
Another clean sheet.
Our unbeaten run continues.
If only we could pass the ball better and have at least one player in our ranks that likes taking pot shots from long range... gotta be worth a try now and again!
Let's bring more misery to Moyes with another fine win at home and keep chasing down the top 6.
168 Posted 12/02/2017 at 13:23:26
We need to stick with 3-5-2, it suits our play, it gives us real width & we can always find a route up to Rom to work from. Keep with the youngsters they add pace and drive and always fire us fans up.
We're improving... slowly, but surely... just ensure no team this season does the League double over us and keep the unbeaten run going, lads!
169 Posted 12/02/2017 at 13:35:47
But next season... (always next season).
170 Posted 12/02/2017 at 13:37:34
I believe Koeman's and Walsh's transfer business has been very good. I don't think Stekelenburg and Valencia are the answer, but one cost a nominal fee and the other is a loan signing. I'm just gutted we didn't renew our interest in Gabbiadini in January... Saints look as though they've got a bargain.
171 Posted 12/02/2017 at 13:53:43
As for Gabbiadini... How many strikers have we seen over the years who have started on fire only to fall away in their second season? Pelle, Vardy, Michu and our very own Jelavic spring to mind. Time will tell.
172 Posted 12/02/2017 at 14:16:34
Spot on, can't agree more.
173 Posted 12/02/2017 at 14:36:06
Williams is hardly setting the world on fire either and don't forget the efforts to spend £30m on the last day of the August transfer window.
To date, the purchases have been mixed.
174 Posted 12/02/2017 at 14:42:26
There is no international tournament and if we get business done early then we give ourselves the best chance of making a serious bid for top 4 (Europa League qualification may also be a factor).
I agree with Mark that we are frustratingly close this time round and I think a lot of us are disappointed with yesterday's result in truth. These chances do not occur as of right and we cannot afford to spurn them. There will not be much, if any, excuse for the new regime if we are falling short this time next season.
175 Posted 12/02/2017 at 14:45:39
If you look at the last 12 games, we are W6 D4 L2, which is 22pts out of 36 not a bad return. Obviously the Football Manager predictor in us has us winning every game, but as we all know football ain't like that.
I'm watching the Burnley v Chelsea game at the mo; now that should be a walk in the park for Chelsea, but Burnley are giving them a game and it's 1-1 at present and it could go either way there ain't no gimmes in the Premier League.
Yes, we are a work in progress and I'm in agreement of what we need, but do we need to be "glass half-empty" about what is a decent-to-good second half of the season?
176 Posted 12/02/2017 at 14:54:02
Koeman is doing a great job, he us sorting out the Martinez mess; he as brought in some good players and I believe, when he buys a few more quality players, in the summer we will be challenging for the top four next season. It wont happen overnight.
We got a draw at Boro we never lost. Yes, it wasn't the best performance but it was a well-deserved point. Get a grip, John.
177 Posted 12/02/2017 at 15:24:01
We didn't get at them enough. On the rare occasions we did, we created good chances for Lookman (twice) and Lukaku, all foiled by good saves/blocks.
The next stage in this team's development will be grabbing back the game and bossing it against rugged, cussed teams like Boro and Stoke. Yesterday showed why we'll finish 7th.
178 Posted 12/02/2017 at 15:26:56
Listen very carefully: we were very shit for nearly 3 years and were the easiest team to score against.
Koeman has made us difficult to beat again in a very short time and it's getting harder for opposition teams week on week to beat us.
That's progress in the real world, by the way. To listen to some, you would think Koeman had Real Madrid's squad at his disposal!
Be calm, be patient and stop moaning!!!!
179 Posted 12/02/2017 at 15:32:10
It seems like the lack of ambition has spread to the fans like a disease.
180 Posted 12/02/2017 at 15:34:02
When you talk about the efforts to spend £30m euros on summer deadline day, I assume you mean the efforts to sign Sissoko?
You can't really criticise signings that never even happened. It looks like we dodged a bullet but at the end of the day you don't know for sure whether Sissoko wouldn't have been a success for us.
Some players succeed at some clubs and fail at others and unless you have access to a crystal ball or live in a parallel universe, you cannot say for sure. I wouldn't say Williams has been a bad signing.
I think Lookman and Schneiderlin look excellent signings on the little we've seen. Gana was one of the signings of the summer. Bolasie was our most creative player until is injury and Williams was the best we could get at that time. We needed and experienced organiser. IMO he's been okay. We're conceding fewer goals.
We discovered in the summer that it's not as simple as having a load of money to spend. Witzel wasn't interested, Sigurdsson wasn't interested, and there were others I can't think of at the top of my head. Unfortunately, until we have a vastly improved league finish, we'll still be competing with teams like West Ham, Stoke, Saints and Baggies for players; interestingly we're above those teams.
As I said, there's far too much despondency, particularly towards Ronald Koeman and Lukaku. Tbh, it's ridiculous.
181 Posted 12/02/2017 at 15:41:20
184 Posted 12/02/2017 at 15:50:36
Bad conditions. Well drilled, well disciplined side, working hard and running more than the opposition, will invariably be difficult to beat.
185 Posted 12/02/2017 at 15:58:27
Yes he has scored 16 goals... great! Looks an amazing record!
If you take the 4 against Bournemouth, 3 against Sunderland and 2 against Watford, you are left with 7 goals. Meaning he has scored 7 in 21 games.
Now you lot on here will say he does it all on his own with no support! There is no creativity in the team!! Well, I haven't seen him score 16 individual goals this season! Have you?
For a midfielder to create for his forward he needs a few things from the striker!
I didn't see any of that from Rom yesterday.. and I didn't see it against Stoke either.
In fact... there has been 14 games this season were his performance has been awful! You could also say games he has scored in he has been awful too!
We don't get enough from this player, week-in & week-out. He needs to give our midfield more options. Because when he is in the mood, up for the fight against defenders, full of movement and running, he can be unstoppable!
He was so static yesterday, it was untrue and it's a typical performance from him rather than a good one! He needs to spread his goals over more games and that's just the truth! He will do that by actually putting a bit more into every game!
Too often he goes on runs without scoring, then it's covered up when he hits 4 against a shite defence! 16 goals.. he should be on 20+
If you find it acceptable he is the least hardest working player in the whole of the Premier League then that's fine for you... for me it's not good enough when you have that sort of talent!
I want to keep him but if you feel he does enough and it's the players around him responsible and not him you are the stupid ones on here commenting!
186 Posted 12/02/2017 at 16:07:52
Eddie Howe has key defenders missing and has decided every game will now be a case of "you play we play"; I think some have gotten a little carried away by that game and result. The Man City game aside (when we took all four of our chances), every one of our games have been like yesterday's dull as ditch water.
I'm astounded at the naivety of people who think we are going to catch the RS and other teams above us.... are they expecting these teams to declare? How many positives can a club take out of so many crap performances?
We need wins. Depending on our keeper making world class saves to get a point against relegation fighters will not take us where we need to be. To turn draws into wins, we need a manager who has a sense of adventure, Koeman's time wasting when Seamus wanted to take a quick throw said just about everything.
Martinez-type threads, talking about Martinez-types of performances, with a liberal sprinkling of Martinez "pie in the sky" optimism.
Champions league? Some people really are having a laugh... Koeman's desperation to settle for what he had yesterday speaks volumes about the limits of his ambition. This is as good as it gets under this fella.
187 Posted 12/02/2017 at 16:21:49
He has improved us; wins, a fixture list which if league positions are reflected is likely to end in an excellent return at the Old Lady.
Clearly we are harder to beat, defeats have come but (Chelsea apart) we don't get spanked, we stay in the game. Our goals against is hovering around 1 per game.
Subjectively, I wrestle with it when several times his selections have veered from eyebrow raising to the damn right weird. Praised for changing it decisively several times, we should also question why the poor selections in the first place?
Forced into playing a system and personnel because poor results and form from established professionals, he has to a degree lucked into the changes.
So with a new found stability he seems to want to change things unnecessarily, when our schedule has be lightened by two dismal cup exits, why?
The last two games feel like a warning: we had to work very little to beat a porous Bournemouth, ignoring how defensively exposed we were... and, but for an impotent Boro team, might have lost again at a poor side just like we did at Burnley, Watford & Bournemouth.
There's a lot right with this team, but still some gaping issues to resolve and that would to me mark Koeman out if he can improve them.
Progress is tangible but shouldn't stall because we have little left to play for, if we are honest about it.
Question: Can a Koeman team ever play with the handbrake off?
188 Posted 12/02/2017 at 16:56:25
7th position this season.
189 Posted 12/02/2017 at 17:19:23
Thank you for your balanced view. Others must remember that, at Southampton, Koeman was only there for a couple of years and he made progress. With more time he will do an even better job here, of that I am confident.
Have patience. It will happen, regardless of whether Lukaku stays or not.
190 Posted 12/02/2017 at 17:20:23
Totally agree our performances since the New Year have been dreary dull.
Apart from the 6 against Bournemouth...
And of course the 4 versus Man City, total shite...
Oh yeah, and the 3 against Southampton.
All that aside, with an 8-match unbeaten run, including 5 consecutive away games, it's just been unbearable.
191 Posted 12/02/2017 at 17:30:53
192 Posted 12/02/2017 at 17:35:43
Won 4 drawn 2 with a +11 goal difference.
193 Posted 12/02/2017 at 17:42:06
194 Posted 12/02/2017 at 17:53:38
195 Posted 12/02/2017 at 18:05:40
196 Posted 12/02/2017 at 18:07:08
It says everything when you need to use the two games I use as an exception to support your argument.
Anything to say about the other twenty?
197 Posted 12/02/2017 at 18:20:33
198 Posted 12/02/2017 at 18:21:08
We do have a big problem scoring goals but this is not a new thing at Everton. We have trouble scoring goals consistently even with the league's leading scorer playing every game. It really isn't so much about having one brilliant striker it's about having the team be a brilliant striker. That is the only way you will ever score consistently. It also means that every player on the team becomes a complete player in his position.
Koeman has done really well establishing a reasonably solid base but we still have several players who are stop-gaps at best and do a good job making up the numbers. A player like Lukaku, while on his day looks a world class striker, offers nothing on other days and often has problems passing the ball 10 yards.
I am not saying sell him because perhaps he will get better at some of the basics involved in his position but I am saying that he is great for Everton now but as the team improves he just has to improve as an all round team player. A big fish in a little pool.
199 Posted 12/02/2017 at 18:34:41
200 Posted 12/02/2017 at 18:38:34
The main reason we didn't win, was because of a brilliant display by a goalkeeper, who played 535 times for Barcelona, won La Liga 6 times, the Champions League 3 times, was in a World Cup-winning squad, and a Euros-winning squad. He also won the Zamora Trophy for the best keeper in Spain 5 times (more than anyone else, including Iker Casillas).
This afternoon, Chelsea got an away point, against a very well-drilled, miserly defence in utterly appalling weather and pitch conditions. Antonio Conte pronounced himself, overall, satisfied.
Time for a bit of perspective, folks!
201 Posted 12/02/2017 at 19:27:59
Ah, memories of misspent youth.
202 Posted 12/02/2017 at 19:44:48
This season, only 3 teams have conceded less than us.
203 Posted 12/02/2017 at 19:46:46
Now there is no doubt we have improved of late but we are still playing with an overload of DMs. We've gone from Barry and McCarthy to Gana and Schneiderlin. Now this is an improvement but still they are both DMs and don't get forward or score much.
Schneiderlin has made 304 senior appearances in 9 years and has only scored 20 goals (probably why Man Utd let him go). Gana has made 244 appearances in 9 years and has scored 7 goals. So in a combined 18 seasons they have scored 27 goals.
One of these players, and I don't care which, has to be dropped because I doubt either of them is suddenly going to become prolific goal scorers.
We pick one and next to him we play Davies because he's creative, he gets forward more, and is a box-to-box player.
If we are going to continue to play with 6 or even 7 defensive players on the park then the likelihood of us ever scoring enough goals to allow us to win enough games to challenge the top 4 is pretty remote.
I see no need to pick two DMs, especially when playing three CBs. One is enough. We need more creativity and support for Rom.
If it was up to me I would go:
Holgate, Williams, Funes Mori
Coleman, Schneiderlin or Gueye, Davies, Baines
205 Posted 12/02/2017 at 20:03:48
Our current manager inherited many Championship players, an antiquated dump of a stadium, and a team that has won zilch for 22 years. He has had just 7 months into his first season. Our previous relegation manager had 3 years, and our manger before that had 11 years.
So, on balance, I think you need to give Ronald some slack, as turning the once great Everton FC into a force again is such a mammoth a task it could quite possibly be beyond any manager.
Apparently the best managers in the world, with endless talents of squads, transfer budgets, fantastic stadiums are currently 5th and 6th in the Premier League, so Ronald (with what he has in comparison) is not doing so bad in 7th.
Wise up and stop ranting.
206 Posted 12/02/2017 at 20:12:38
I agree about being over reliant on Lukaku, we definitely need more goals from Ross and the rest of our midfield. When you looked at our squad at the start of the season and looked at the goal records of our players, its the thing Koeman has to improve the most.
But he has improved this team both in players and mind set, they are all well aware that, if you don't perform the way he wants then your brought off, or left out the following game.
We have gone 8 unbeaten winning 5 that's not a bad return, and other than a bad run of results will finish at worst 7th. Now most fans said they would accept a top half finish in Koemans first season.
I know some will say well Martinez managed to get 5th in his first season, well I would say 2 things, first he took over a well drilled side, and when he left the team couldn't defend to save their lives. The team very rarely altered, and you could put down at least 7 players who started every week regardless of performance. Even Koeman's critics have to agree that he will drop people who don't perform. And the other massive plus is he doesn't try to kid anybody in his after-match press conferences, he just tells it as it is no bullshit.
207 Posted 12/02/2017 at 20:49:00
Top of the form table (Man Utd being the only other team unbeaten in last 6), we have the player top of the scoring charts, not to mention young player of the month.
But for some, everything and everyone is still shit?!
I get "nothing but the best" etc, but we really do need to temper that with a little dose of reality every now and again.
208 Posted 12/02/2017 at 21:07:27
We have no quality wide men, Ross struggles to do the dirty work as a ten and Rom performs better in a front two!
Lookman's got bags of talent but he is too lightweight to be a starter every week!! I hope I'm wrong but I get the feeling we're going to regret letting Deulofeu go on loan and not buying more attacking quality!!
209 Posted 12/02/2017 at 22:09:01
He is the PL top scorer playing in a mediocre team. He may look lazy but that is his style. Some players run around like rabbits on heat but not him. Anyone old enough to remember Fred Pickering, Bob (walk on water) Latchford and Graeme Sharpe will know that top goal scorers often look like big lazy lumps. They knew where the net was!!!
What the know-alls need is for Lukaku to miss a few games (God forbid) and they will realise how effective he is.
210 Posted 13/02/2017 at 05:54:45
It seems to me we would have been better served by Deulofeu's couple of moments of magic coming off the bench rather than Lennon. Similarly, Valencia may be more experienced but, for his input so far, might we not have been as well served by one of our younger strikers?
A bench of goalkeeper (obviously), a defender, a Midfielder, a forward, someone with some versatility (Besic when fit?), and a couple of lazy, unfit sods who just happen to be able to produce nothing more than a few moments of magic from time to time.
211 Posted 13/02/2017 at 07:25:49
As far as Rom is concerned I'd sooner we have him than not!
212 Posted 13/02/2017 at 08:57:35
Next week, away to his previous team Blackburn, he's up against a big old-fashioned centre-half in Mike England who has him in his back pocket.
So yes he knew where the net was but didn't do much else. Any comparison with any current player is purely coincidental!
213 Posted 13/02/2017 at 09:11:24
214 Posted 13/02/2017 at 09:33:46
Pickering had a goal ratio better than a goal every other game. I've seen people refer to him as a carthorse on these forums but I'd love another (English) forward who could score goals like he could. No-one comes close to him for Everton in post war football.
216 Posted 13/02/2017 at 10:03:17
Pickering has a goal-to-game ratio of one goal to every 1.7 games, Graham Sharp has a ratio of 1 in 2.9 games. And we go into overdrive about Big Rom.
217 Posted 13/02/2017 at 10:12:37
Although I do feel like we should be putting the likes of Boro to the sword, a point was not too shabby.
Our problem today was the bench; nobody there (IMO) was of sufficient quality to make anything happen.
The central midfield spot is well catered for now but we probably need a couple of offensive players in the Summer either to come straight in to support Lukaku or to put more pressure on Barkley.
218 Posted 13/02/2017 at 10:41:12
For us it was possibly the worst we've played in the league for the last month and a half or so. Yet we drew and possibly should have won.
No team has it all their own way in this league. Look at Chelsea yesterday.
Chalk it down and move forwards.
219 Posted 13/02/2017 at 11:23:00
In terms of his goalscoring ability (two-footed and good in the air) he was most certainly that. Fred's career with us was cut short by injury but he deserves far more credit than is given to him by some.
220 Posted 13/02/2017 at 11:28:23
221 Posted 13/02/2017 at 11:29:32
In all reality the top 6 are all quite a bit ahead of us I think in performance and I can't see us catching them. There is only 2 points between 2nd and 6th place and so even next year, should we spend well, I think we'll still struggle to make that top 5 or 6.
Koeman knows that leagues are all about being defensively strong and that's the main change he has done with our team. He knows he has a quality striker who will win us matches with moments of greatness so it's all about keeping it tight and not conceding too many. Away matches in bad weather are tough games to win and so a point away to Boro keeps us ticking along nicely.
I just wish West Brom would stop doing so well. They've got two easy enough home matches before coming to Goodison on 11th March. We've a tough away game to Spurs the week before.
222 Posted 13/02/2017 at 11:40:46
Dangerous player, Big Fred. Should have played more for England. Converted by Blackburn from a full back, we payed £85k for him, a record at the time.
223 Posted 13/02/2017 at 11:46:06
To be honest, I was talking about the last three home games, seems fairly relevant to look at how the team is progressing. Unbeaten in eight league games is a pretty good effort. Not exactly time to be planning Champions League trips but progress all the same.
I've certainly enjoyed the football a lot more this season than the previous two for sure. Although I only go to home games these days, based on experience, the worst part of any away trip is the journey home having been beaten.
You seem to have made your mind up about a manager who is trying to build a side. Seems to me so far he is on the right track considering our results have improved. I will be certainly giving him more time and not reaching a conclusion after 25 games.
224 Posted 13/02/2017 at 11:47:57
'I accidentally ended up on a website' is not normally accepted in a court of law although I believe it might have worked for Pete Townsend.
225 Posted 13/02/2017 at 11:52:27
226 Posted 13/02/2017 at 12:08:43
227 Posted 13/02/2017 at 12:23:53
I thought Fred was a very good player for the Blues, good control, could beat a man, had a terrific shot, could handle himself, got stuck in, maybe lacked a bit of pace but all-in-all gave good value to Everton. He was unlucky to be left out of the 1966 FA Cup Final dream but his replacement helped us to win the match.
Apart from the goal ratios, I think Joe Royle, Graham Sharpe, and obviously Alex Young were better than Fred but I think you were talking about his goal ratio so fair enough; if not, it's back to opinions and yours is as good as mine.
228 Posted 13/02/2017 at 12:49:28
229 Posted 13/02/2017 at 13:05:50
230 Posted 13/02/2017 at 13:08:48
231 Posted 13/02/2017 at 14:10:45
Seriously, thanks for posting. He certainly has better hair now than he did with us.
232 Posted 13/02/2017 at 14:11:07
Purely on his goals-to-games ratio, Dave. Like you, I would put Young, Sharp and Royle ahead of him as footballers but, if you wanted someone to score goals for you, Fred was your man. Hugely underrated player, how would he be viewed if injury hadn't shortened his Everton career, I wonder?
Martin, I well remember that game too, didn't that defeat end our long unbeaten home run? I know (think) that we were unbeaten the previous year when we were Champions.
233 Posted 13/02/2017 at 17:01:02
All that rain and cold wind and slippery pitch and an opponent that doesn't let many goals in. There is that heavy ball and sodden football kit, but they could have changed their boots because they had a warm-up before kick-off.
No, these superstars get top top money, luxurious travel to and from the stadium, may have even stayed in a hotel the night before. The supporters had a 4-hour journey, a walk to the ground, sat wet and freezing for a couple of hours, and then all the way back.
Whoa, my bleeding heart! Bad conditions, simple football, pass and move, not even a muddy pitch. Arrogance and negativity and a manager that has as much touchline activity as Martinez... zilch. Most coaches parade up and down the line, not ours.
234 Posted 13/02/2017 at 17:09:53
235 Posted 13/02/2017 at 17:25:21
What I would take issue with is your apparent insistence that our manager – the manager of Everton FC, remember – should be jumping around in the technical area like a demented jack-rabbit, as if this somehow says something about his commitment, involvement, player empathy or whatever.
236 Posted 13/02/2017 at 17:34:58
However, reading some of the posts on here and you would have thought we were going backwards! Let's just have a look at cold hard facts first!
We have been knocked out of 2 cup competitions early doors. Massively, massively disappointing. I wouldn't argue that with anyone!
However, Koeman has been here just 7 months in total. He inherited a team that most can agree was on a decendancy, and he followed a manager who was much berated for putting too much emphasis on cups and not enough emphasis on the league! We now have a much improved defence, coupled with a keeper who has grown in confidence. We have the top premier league scorer in our ranks as at this moment.
On top of this, four young players have come to the fore in the shape of Davies, Holgate, Lookman and Calvert-Lewin. We have massive competition in midfield, although we lack that elsewhere. But , in comparison to last season, we are much better off! We were defensively inept last season; this season, we have the fourth best defence in the league! Also, players under-performing under Martinez are now, in general, doing better.
For those who slag Lukaku off for scoring 4 against one team, 3 against another one etc, I guess if he scored just one in each of his games, but we lost or drew those games, you wouldn't complain that he didn't do enough to finish them off... right????
My question is, if you are not pleased with the progress that has been made, what would appease you in terms of league positions etc?
My last point is this: I think that the recruitment has been pretty good – not perfect, but good. We have finished 11th for 2 seasons, were generally seen as a team in decline, so who would want to join us that could join a champions league regular? Recruitment, under the circumstances, has been pretty solid and has improved us!
For those who bemoan a lack of cover in the full-back positions, what player worth their salt would join knowing they were going to be understudies to Coleman and Baines? When Ovideo joined, he could do a job on the left midfield too, thus had options outside of just cover.
It is the same for a striker, you have ambitions, but know you will be second fiddle to Lukaku and will only get a game if he is injured, banned or rested! Why would you join? For the money alone? Is that the type of player we want?
237 Posted 13/02/2017 at 17:48:09
238 Posted 13/02/2017 at 18:33:03
However the weather happens to both sides not just our team. Have Everton never won in a sleet storm before? I'm sure someone will have the statistical run down for us .
Perhaps we might look at the aimless hoofs employed by both Williams and Mori or the fact we played with a back 4 not a back 5 or our singular failure to get up and support our centre forward as more pertinent answers to a poor performance? All things not affected by the meteorological phenomenon at Middlesboro'
Was it more the Riversod? Than Riverside? The pitch was fine and those players are conditioned to be able to play in all conditions. You take advantage of the conditions offered up to you and adapt better than your opponents.
We could just face the fact we were lame, not very good rather than looking for a natural disaster on which to hang our hat on for the mitigation for not beating a relegation candidate.
Hands up now, we were poor and it had nothing to do with the rain, wind and sleet.
239 Posted 13/02/2017 at 18:37:53
240 Posted 13/02/2017 at 18:52:10
He has been here 5 minutes. Give him a chance.
241 Posted 13/02/2017 at 18:56:31
They were magnificent in my view.
They closed us down all over the pitch, they were rarely further than arms length away from their men and they put a foot in and a shoulder most often, illegally more often than not but they were getting away with it; few injuries resulted. The referee was poor in intervening to stop this.
Always difficult when the entire team is at it but the Rugby Union approach is to tell the captain that the next one gets yellow carded, then goes to the sin-bin.
When I played myself, a long time ago, we operated on the basis that, whatever the ref let the oppo away with, we'd do the same and try and push it further. Caused chaos sometimes at amateur level with poor refs. Shouldn't in the Premier League.
In addition, I don't think we picked up a second ball at all in the game. Could talk about baffling set-up of the team but, if you don't compete, it matters little.
242 Posted 13/02/2017 at 19:02:32
243 Posted 13/02/2017 at 20:37:28
Goodison still has a lot more going for it than to be referred to as "an antiquated dump of a stadium".
Just because the bog roll holders don't play mp3 while you crap, doesn't take away from the fact it has one of the best atmospheres you will find anywhere in this league.
What bearing does the age of the stadium have on the manager's performance anyway?
Brian, post 206:
"...the other massive plus is he doesn't try to kid anybody in his after-match press conferences, he just tells it as it is – no bullshit".
Koeman's frankness may have its uses but he's gone too far at times. Elsewhere in the media it's being reported that Barkley may delay the signing of a new contract until the summer. He's apparently not happy with his treatment by/relationship with Koeman. Most of the top six are reported to be "Monitoring".
It's media talk of course, and may be based on an attempt to unsettle but Koeman's public gobbing off has provided the ammo. Truth about the performance of the team, professionally and diplomatically delivered, is welcome. The rest of it, not so.
244 Posted 13/02/2017 at 20:55:10
We brought in 2 and the likes of Kone & Valencia will be gone in the summer. Other players like Jags possibly will move on, maybe someone like McCarthy or Besic even with the options we have in central midfield these days, so that could end up being 9 players moved on from the first team squad in the space of 2 windows?!
We are going to have to make up those numbers in the squad. We are going to have to fill out the squad with better players than the ones we've let go, some will need to be of real quality to walk into the team imo, it's what we need.
It's all very dependant on the finances we will have available and are willing to spend on individuals come the summer but I reckon were gonna need around about 5-6 new players at least!
Now like I say, depends on what we spend on individuals cos I can't see us forking out £20-30m a piece on 5-6 players. But we do need a quality CB, creative CM and right winger who will all walk into the team and make us better and they won't come cheap.
Then we definitely need a CF option, then imo another CB option unless one of the likes of Browning or Pennington all of a sudden make an impression on Koeman and change his thinking and we could probably do with an all round midfield type that can fill in anywhere in the attacking roles and give us an option.
Me personally I'd love us to go for van Dijk for CB but at £40-50m I can't see it when we need a fair few players so need our transfer budget to stretch, plus he'll be wanted by some of the CL clubs.
Michael Keane would be a great option and he would cost around £20-25m. I'd want Sigurdsson as the creative CM and he'd cost similar. And by the sounds of it we bid for him both in the summer & January so I wouldn't be surprised if we went back in for him has Koeman is a big fan!
For right wing I can't think of anyone of note off of the top of my head but for someone of real quality you'll be looking at £20m plus upwards! So that's potentially £70m or more there! Are we even going to spend around that in total all summer, let alone on 3 players? Time will tell?!
Then we definitely need a CF without doubt, so what is that going to cost? For me we're going to need to spend £100m at least in the summer to revamp the squad and fill it with quality and fill it out with good options. Will we do it though, that's the big question? Even with investment?!...
It's going to be an interesting summer either way, that's for sure.
245 Posted 13/02/2017 at 21:01:41
Honestly, the guy was dreadful for Napoli this season. He'd basically plummeted to the bottom of their depth chart, which is why the club slashed their asking price in half. Literally NO ONE on TW was clamoring for us to pursue him in January, so there's no point dwelling on it now. Besides, his current goal rate is hardly sustainable, given that 33% have come off his forearm.
As for the match, I'm pleased to see so many level-headed responses on here. It wasn't a particularly bad performance, nor was it a particularly good one. Ultimately, a scoreless draw felt like a fair result, based on the balance of play.
As many have argued, those judging Middlesbrough strictly on their league position are doing them a great disservice. Their defense is stingy as hell, and given that Arsenal and Manchester City both settled for draws with them at home, you can throw out that "if we had any ambition, we'd beat them" rubbish.
246 Posted 13/02/2017 at 21:35:48
I doubt we'll regret not signing Gabbiadini any more than we will Slimani.
247 Posted 13/02/2017 at 22:06:49
There are better players out there.
248 Posted 13/02/2017 at 22:13:33
249 Posted 14/02/2017 at 00:36:43
250 Posted 14/02/2017 at 03:54:37
Now him and Lukaku would be a fine pairing!!
251 Posted 14/02/2017 at 06:58:16
Problem with Aguero is, apparently Pep doesn't like his lack of pressing, so...
252 Posted 14/02/2017 at 07:03:53
Interesting. So that's him and reputedly, Barkley (caveat: if the rumours are true).
Is this a new ratcheting up of player power?
253 Posted 14/02/2017 at 09:14:52
Cracking shout by Will (#252) about Rashford, he would suit us down to the ground, either to support or as backup to Rom. Young enough to do his time on the bench but would get loads more playing time with us than them.
Someone also mentioned Aguero earlier, we can but dream! Imagine getting him in January in time for the derby.
Finally, Phil (#235) suggests he wants a manager such as "Jurgen Top Banter Rock God Klopp" jumping up and down on the touchline and screaming shite in the fourth officials face whilst simultaneously playing to the crowd and demanding more "passion" from the terraces.
Well I don't. That, my friend, is bad "wool behaviour", leave it to that lot, they will turn on him soon enough and he will go from endearing to irritating over night.
254 Posted 14/02/2017 at 09:38:13
255 Posted 14/02/2017 at 09:46:43
According to the brief report in the Everton programme from the following season:
It was after only three minutes that Fred Pickering opened the scoring for Blackburn in last season's game. Twenty minutes later the same man scored a great goal to increase his side's lead and bring on the Goodison gloom. Left-winger Harrison registered Rovers' third goal before Alex Young opened Everton's account with a goal after half-an-hour.
Everton came more into the game after this although their labours were not rewarded with any more goals for the time being. Indeed, it was again the visitors who scored the next goal and Fred Pickering scored it. Although Everton did what they could in the circumstances (Jimmy Gabriel had been a limping passenger for most of the game, in addition to other troubles) it was not until only five minutes remained that our second goal went in. This was a header from Derek Temple and the effort completed the scoring for the afternoon.
256 Posted 14/02/2017 at 10:49:30
We were hammered away by Man Utd, beaten at Bolton, kicked out of it at home by Burnley 3-4 and after 4 games were 16th out of 22. Form was up and down.
Then in November, with Bryan Douglas (who Shankly tried to sign before he was at the RS) pulling the strings and the rest of them getting their retaliation in first... coupled with Fred turning the knife and adding the goals.
Douglas was in the form of his life and ripped us a new one on his own. So much so that Harry took on board the 'new' fad of 'man-marking' and next season put in Dennis Stevens at wing half just to follow him about... all to no avail, we still lost 2-3 at home, though Fred did score against his old club.
257 Posted 14/02/2017 at 13:03:09
I actually posted that my issue is that in the summer Sky's Jim White claimed that Moshiri told him we had bid. If this is true then my question is: Why did we bid in the summer but not in January?
Regardless of whether he is any good or not, someone at Everton FC thought he was in the summer, allegedly.
258 Posted 15/02/2017 at 17:41:54
I have just checked my 'Everton Head to Head' and it was one year later, 24 October 1964, that I saw my first Everton defeat.
Interestingly it shows that, whilst The Blues lost both those home games, we won both the away games during those 2 seasons.
The Blackburn player that used to terrify me was Bryan Douglas. He should have had a lot more England caps than 36 (Wikipedia).
Add Your Comments
In order to post a comment, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.
Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and Talking Points submissions across the site.