Everton pegged back at the last gasp in agonising fashion

By Lyndon Lloyd 05/04/2017  66 Comments  [Jump to last]
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Manchester United 1 - 1 Everton

This really was tantalisingly close to what would have been a hugely important win. Having clung to a 1-0 lead handed to them by Phil Jagielka’s first goal since May 2015, Everton were within touching distance of a second win at Old Trafford in a little over three years. Unfortunately, the time added on by abysmal referee Neil Swarbrick proved to be a bridge too far for the Blues and Ashley Williams’s goal-denying handball gifted the equaliser to Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Manchester United will feel as though they got their just desserts for their ceaseless pressure during the closing stages, a period when they peppered the visitors’ area with a succession of long balls. It was a strategy devoid of subtlety — more bet365 Stadium fare than “Theatre of Dreams” — but with the veteran Swede and Maroune Fellaini in their ranks and a host of red-shirted players looking to pick up the second ball, it ultimately proved successful.

Yet Everton, who were full value for the slender lead they took into half-time, could well have won this game with a bit more composure on the counter-attack, particularly late in the second half when United were pouring forward and their defence was one well-placed pass away from being torn open for a decisive second goal.

That they didn’t was partly due to Romelu Lukaku’s single-mindedness (some might say greed) and partly due to more mis-steps by Ronald Koeman who arguably got the starting XI spot on but erred badly in electing to withdraw Kevin Mirallas as early as he did (the player was not happy at all with the decision) and later throwing Dominic Calvert-Lewin on up front when the pace and directness of either Enner Valencia of Ademola Lookman would surely have been a better option.

Lacking natural speed or trickery — and, it seemed, any studs on his boots! — Calvert-Lewin unfortunately offered nothing in support of a visibly exhausted Lukaku who let the side down himself with some awful ball retention towards the end. With the ball not sticking at all up front for Everton, United were able to maintain their aerial bombardment from deep and from the flanks, leading to Williams blocking Luke Shaw’s goal-bound shot with an obviously out-stretched arm. The result was a spot-kick for Ibrahimovic from which he finally beat the unlucky Joel Robles.

It was a desperately disappointing end to a laudable defensive stand by an Everton defence that was marshalled superbly by Jagielka and Williams, both of whom belied their advancing years with excellent individual performances. To their right, Mason Holgate had also been mostly stellar as a right back deputising for Seamus Coleman, while Idrissa Gueye and Gareth Barry had done their part to keep United at bay until the last minute of the match.

Everton had started the game as though they meant to put the disappointment of Saturday’s Merseyside derby behind them. But it was Jose Mourinho’s men who almost struck first after just five minutes when Ibrahimovic capitalised on Holgate’s missed tackle and looked to fire a shot across Robles into the far corner of the goal but was denied by a brilliant saving tackle from Williams.

A long spell of pressure from the Blues eventually ended with them taking the lead after 21 minutes, though. A free kick on the left flank ultimately ended at Mirallas’s feet on the far side of the area and he forced David de Gea into blocking his shot from a tight angle behind for a corner.

From that set-piece, Williams’s looping header caused confusion between the goalkeeper and Marcos Rojo and Jagielka astutely flicked the ball behind him, through De Gea’s legs and into the net.

That drew an almost immediate response from United, although Lukaku had the chance when he dragged a shot wide in the 26th minute. With referee Swarbrick in wholly unpredictable mood, however, Everton unwisely courted trouble just outside their own box when Mirallas inexplicably hauled Jessie Lingard down and handed Daley Blind a shooting opportunity from 20-odd yards. His direct free kick was accurate and looking like it could creep inside the post but Robles clawed it out the air, spilled the ball as he collided with the post and Ander Herrera could only fire the rebound off the face of the bar.

The Toffees had a terrific chance to make it 2-0 when the United defence opened up in front of Lukaku and Mirallas made a great run into oceans of space to his right but the Belgian striker ignored his compatriot and went it alone instead, his shot being charged down by a defender and Tom Davies’s first-time rocket off the rebound striking Mirallas on its way to goal.

Six minutes before the interval, Herrera arrowed a shot seeking the corner of Robles’s goal but once more he flew across his line and made a finger-tip save to foil the Spanish midfielder with a top-drawer save.

Where Everton had been strong in the first half, they began the second in less convincing fashion and it would set the tone for the remainder of the game, where they were less sure in possession, lacking conviction in the final third and increasingly reliant on a defence that would be augmented by Matthew Pennington midway through.

Another ill-advised foul in a dangerous area outside the Blues’ area gave United their first sight of goal when Barry cynically checked Ashley Young, most likely out of frustration that the referee had taken no action when Rojo caught Idrissa Gueye with a potentially dangerous challenge just seconds earlier.

Paul Pogba, on as a half-time substitute, connected with the resulting free kick but saw his header come back off the crossbar with Robles beaten.

Things threatened to boil over when Mirallas, who looked to have the devil in him all evening, stole the ball at a drop-ball when the home team had expected him to do the sporting thing and kick it back to De Gea. That prompted an aggressive reaction from Young who was booked, but only after a word in the referee’s ear from his assistant.

The pressure from Mourinho’s men appeared to have told with 20 minutes to go, though. Lingard swung a cross in from the right which Ibrahimovic wrestled Pennington to reach but while he headed home off Robles, his celebrations were cut short by a marginal but probably correct offside call by the linesman.

And the same due combined a minute from the end of regulation time for what looked to be a legal carbon copy but Ibrahimovic headed over when he looked odds-on to score.

In between, Ross Barkley, who had veered in the match from busily effective to profligate and wanting too much on the ball, had narrowly missed finding Idrissa Gueye in the centre of one breakaway and then taken far too long to try and pick out Lukaku from another.

Lukaku himself had gone on one of his trademark rampaging runs where he powered past Rojo down the right flank but had burned himself out by the time he reached De Gea and the keeper was able to block his right-foot shot. Barkley had joined him in support and would made an ideal candidate for a surprise move — i.e. Lukaku not going for glory — but the striker didn’t ever seem to consider the option.

Two more counter-attack chances came as United were throwing men and the ball forward as time ticked on but awful ball control from Lukaku and then Calvert-Lewin mean that both opportunities to either advance and score the killer second or simply run the clock down in possession simply evaporated.

There was a crushing inevitability about the way United punished Everton for failing to do that in the last minute of stoppage time via Ibrahimovic’s calmly-struck penalty. Barry’s clearing header dropped only as far as Shaw, his looping header back into the box was prodded away from Fellaini by Jagielka, again to Shaw who bobbled a right-foot shot that was heading towards the bottom corner if neither Robles nor Williams could stop it. The ‘keeper may have saved it; the defender did, but illegally and he was sent off for deliberate handball.

Such are the fine margins of Everton’s season and what looks very likely to be the difference between a close tussle for the top four or five and a seventh-place finish. In what was a pulsating game at times, United looked ragged and vulnerable enough at the back, particularly when the match opened up at the end, that any kind of clinical attacking from the Blues would surely have resulted in a second goal.

Again, you couldn’t help feeling that Valencia, who combined to such great effect with Lukaku against Hull last month, or Lookman, who would have enjoyed himself against the shaky-looking Bailly, would have been better options off the bench than Calvert-Lewin. Koeman clearly sees something in the young striker to have instilled so much faith so early in his Everton career but he had a cameo to forget at what was a crucial juncture of a vital fixture in the context of the Blues’ season.

There may yet be some twists and turns in the final seven games and the Blues could put more pressure on their immediate rivals with back-to-back home games but this must go down as an opportunity frustratingly missed.

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Reader Comments (66)

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Jim Bennings
1 Posted 05/04/2017 at 06:57:11
We didn't need Jose Mourinho to tell us the obvious that Ronald Koeman's switch of Pennington for Mirallas swung the invisible pendulum in Man Utd's favour.

They were visibly worried by Everton's counter attacks and we looked dangerous going forward with Kevin Mirallas there but, rather than leave him on for another ten minutes or so or at least change him with another like for like busy attacker in Valencia or Lookman, he goes for a really David Moyes-esque defensive move in Pennington, way too early in the second half especially with us looking good for a second killer goal.

He's gone down alot in my estimation Koeman since the Middlesbrough away game, he got it badly wrong at Spurs, badly wrong at Anfield and last night had it right but then took away our best chance of killing the game dead with another poor choice of sub.

Even if we had held on last night (you just knew we wouldn't, this is Everton) he still made crazy substitutions.

What is the Calvert-Lewin love-in really all about??

He pays £10 million for a far more threatening zippy looking Ademola Lookman but seems to see something in Calvert-Lewin that I'm afraid I don't.

I know the lad is young but he looks so untidy and immobile, whereas Lookman or even Valencia offer good movement and a busy industrious option.

Koeman for me despite having the millions has flunked it on too many players of the same ilk.

He floods the midfield with stoppers and should see that last night when he had Mirallas on the pitch that Everton ARE BETTER WHEN A NATURAL WIDE MAN PLAYS!!

The ignorance for a balanced midfield away from home has in my opinion cost us finishing 4th in a mediocre Premier League when the top clubs are in transition.

The Champions League was there for us this season, as Leicester proved last season; you can achieve it if you believe you can. Sadly, our mentality away from home has killed us all season.

Hold what you have and hope for the best.

United much like Liverpool, Middlesbrough and many before them were there for the taking but we couldn't do it.

Lukaku has failed his test to prove people wrong about being a flat track bully, and a bid of £30 million plus should also see Barkley moved on, if ever a guy failed to live up to the hype it's this fella, skillful but the brain of a peanut and decision making of an 8-year-old on a school playground.

I've now come to terms with the fact Ross Barkley will never be the answer to what we need in an attacking midfielder, at least to be where this club is aiming to be, he's simply not got the tools to be, or if he has, at the age of 24 nearly, has still not opened the box.

Sadly I'm not convinced at present given last summer's dealings I'd trust Koeman to spend the cash wisely. Let's not forget he was willing to splash megabucks on Sissoko, another flop at Spurs.

I do worry Koeman's mentality is just going down the same route as David Moyes.

I don't see many differences this season to Moyes last season, and it's certainly not as good as Martinez first season, although more stable than last; at least last season we had two Semi Final Cup runs.

I can't help but feel like this season promised more than its delivered.

Steve Harris
2 Posted 05/04/2017 at 07:21:01
Couldn't agree more, Jim, swapping Pennington for Mirallas is one of the worst decisions I've seen in my 49 years of watching Everton. I would love someone to explain to me the thinking behind it.

And don't get me started about Calvert-Lewin!!

Mike Dolan
3 Posted 05/04/2017 at 07:56:55
You guys get on my tits a bit. Tonight we were magnificent. We were brilliant. What the fuck where you looking for that I couldn't see?

Great that you are looking at the worst decision you have ever seen made in 49 years. This was one of the 20 best games we've played in the 60 years I've been watching them.

Steve Harris
4 Posted 05/04/2017 at 08:08:49
Great response, Mike!

So you think 9 wins out of the last 101 away games at the so called big 6 is acceptable then? And the reason we've got such an embarrassing record is because of frightened, defensive tactics like last night.

To compound it all, he then comes out after the game and says we needed a second goal!!! How the fuck were we going to score a second goal when he takes off our most lively attacker on the night and switches to the same defensive formation that failed so miserably last Saturday??

If getting a draw at an average Man Utd is one of the best 20 performances you've seen in the last 20 years, then that doesn't say a lot about us does it?

Jim Bennings
5 Posted 05/04/2017 at 08:09:05
Mike

One of the best 20 games in 60 years?

I'm assuming you are just being sarcastic and are as frustrated as the rest of us?

If not then please quickly dispatch whatever you have been taking/drinking to the rest of us and we might just start seeing it from your fluffy cloud.

Gary Russell
6 Posted 05/04/2017 at 08:17:17
I have to ask, Mike, are you taking the piss?

We lacked composure to keep possession. Baines was cack, his defending is nonexistent, and what's happened to his thrusts forward?

And I don't give a crap how many goals Rom scores. We need eleven players on the same page, not prima-lazy-fucking-donnas.

As for Koeman, he needs some Dutch courage. He needs to go for it. What was sickening is you just knew they were gonna score, even after the 92nd minute passed.

Yes, this is how we are. INFURIATING. Grow a pair, Ronald.

Ian Jones
7 Posted 05/04/2017 at 08:18:50
I know we are all disappointed at the result last night but hindsight is a wonderful thing. It's all ifs and buts.

I assume Ronald made his first sub as a reaction to Man Utd making their second and third subs which probably changed their own formation. They were always likely to start their stampede to our goal at one point in the game. To us, taking Mirallas off seemed a bit strange but putting an extra defender was his way of dealing with it and it nearly worked. It did invite further pressure.

Perhaps Ronald assumed the players he entrusts, either starting or as subs, have the necessary tools to realise what's happening in the game and adjust accordingly.

Mourinho made a comment about Shaw which suggested he played the way he did last night as he was on the pitch close to him and was being talked through the game. I get the impression that Shaw wouldn't have been on the pitch if Mourinho hadn't been able to keep in touch with Shaw. That may say more about the modern player having to be talked through games.

Those writing off Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Matt Pennington are premature, hopefully! Two difficult games to start or come on as a sub. Let's get behind these youngsters and give them encouragement.

However, passing with the right amount of weight and how to look up should be introduced in training immediately. Most of the players were guilty of passages of poor passing. So frustrating.

It's a pity but it looks like the reason we may not edge into the top 4 is our losses against teams like Watford, Burnley and Southampton and draws with Middlesboro and Stoke.

But then it's a game of ifs and buts. If we had gained at least 10 extra points from those games we would be approaching games against the so-called top 6 differently.

Onwards and upwards!

Peter Thistle
8 Posted 05/04/2017 at 08:21:16
All Lukaku cares about is winning the golden boot. There was never a millisecond when he thought to lay it off to Barkley. Hope he's gone this summer, selfish prick.
Jim Bennings
9 Posted 05/04/2017 at 08:33:21
Ian,

I hear what your saying, I never like to have a pop at young players but Calvert-Lewin really doesn't look much, you usually can tell if a lads got something a bit different. As soon as I saw Lookman yes he's raw but he looks a footballer.

Calvert-Lewin very lumbering and doesn't seem to possess either a turn of foot or pace, if I had to wage a bet I'd say in a few years time he'll prosper at a decent Championship club.

Much the same can be said of Pennington, a good career at lower level awaits.

Mark Taylor
10 Posted 05/04/2017 at 08:44:21
Performance was not the best last night; however, we are down on numbers which exposes the need for further reinforcements to edge up the table next year. Man Utd were able to bring on top quality players that can change the game.. We were merely replacing tired legs with youth.

I think the most important event over the last two games is West Brom only picking up 1 point. We are now a shoo-in for European football, which if we all think back to August must have been the realistic target... No more than this.

Ian Jones
11 Posted 05/04/2017 at 08:55:46
Jim.

Fair point about Dominic about his pace. I wonder if he is struggling to be match fit. I also remember players like Ratcliffe and Sharp struggling in their early days... they turned out okay.

Here's hoping .

Jim Bennings
12 Posted 05/04/2017 at 08:55:57
Question is, though, Mark..

Do we desperately want the Europa League??

Thursday and Sunday football mainly travelling to far flung places to play minnows in Russia, Ukraine or Romania then a ready made excuse for manager, players and fans alike as to why the league form has dipped?

I'm not sure it's going to benefit us in any way shape of form to be honest.

I wanted a real tilt at pipping one of those clubs above us to fourth considering it's been there for the taking this season again but we have wilted in too many away games and looked too clueless in others.

7th represents best of the rest, which is basically a pretty mediocre bunch of clubs.

It's more stable than last season but you struggle to see how Everton will ever really move on to the next level when no matter how much money is available or who the manager is... Old habits die hard.

Christopher Timmins
13 Posted 05/04/2017 at 09:18:04
Given the depleted nature of the squad and the events of Saturday lunchtime, it was a great response from the team. Whatever about the substitutions last night, he, the manager, stuck by his players after Saturday and they produced a much better performance.

If the majority of contributors on this site had their way, not many of the back four or the goalkeeper would have started last night and they were all superb!

Damned if you give youth a chance, damned if you don't!

With 7 games to go, we are likely to finish 7th, obtaining in excess of 60 points – take a look at where we finished last season and our points total!

Andy Meighan
14 Posted 05/04/2017 at 09:44:15
Great post, Jim (#1). Couldn't agree more. And said myself last night them subs had echoes of the Moyes era. They were ripe for the taking because in my view. They're an average side but once again it was the "What we have, we hold" mentality.

This season could have given us so much more but away from home Koeman has been found wanting.

Let's be honest, that side last night should've started Saturday and I'm convinced we would have seen a different outcome. We'll never know that now, will we... "Master Tactician"? – I think not, Ronnie boy.

Peter Murray
15 Posted 05/04/2017 at 10:08:24
This was a magnificent performance. Against a backcloth of injuries, stupid national managers, and the lunatic fringe called the Liverpool bench, we produced a performance of steel and determination. We showed that we had regrouped since the Anfield experience and came within a minute of a victory which we deserved through our determination.

There is a worrying element in the ceaseless carping criticism. Young players are being singled out again. Pennington and Calvert-Lewin are the future. Don't put them through what Ross Barkley has had to endure. Encourage them.

This time, Ronald Koeman has every right to be "proud".

Brian Dagnall
16 Posted 05/04/2017 at 11:26:53
To be honest I find most comments here OTT, both the optimistic ones and the negative ones. Seems to me Mr Koeman is in his first season as manager and has inherited a ragbag of players, some good some average and some not-so-good. Every manager in the country wishes that when he makes a substitution, the guy he sends on plays a blinder but deep down he knows he is just taking a gamble.

My impression is that Everton are a club on the up, even though we all know we will have many frustrations on the way. I know many people here think he makes tactical errors, substitution errors. Well they can have their opinions and sometimes they may be right. But he makes his decisions before and during matches not sat at a keyboard after the event. Give him a break; we are moving forward.

Digressing, I do feel Tom needs a rest; he is a bit young to play so many consecutive games.

John Raftery
17 Posted 05/04/2017 at 11:37:16
Koeman got it right last night with his starting eleven which begged a question as to why he did not start with that eleven last Saturday.

He got it badly wrong with his two second-half substitutions. Man Utd were there for the taking with only two defenders on the pitch in the closing stages. Lookman with his close control and pace or Valencia with his experience and eye for goal would have been better options. With both Lukaku and Barkley flagging in the last 20 minutes there was a case for bringing them both off.

I thought the back line and the defensive midfielders, Barry, Gueye and Davies played superbly. Jags and Williams always look more comfortable when they are defending deep in their own box with at least three covering midfielders in front of them.

Rick Tarleton
18 Posted 05/04/2017 at 11:59:09
I see that after the last two games Lukaku is now hinting he may stay. Is that choice or necessity?
Jim Bennings
19 Posted 05/04/2017 at 12:00:08
We understand that Koeman is in his first season and nobody of rational mind suggests we replace him (although I have doubts he'll stay long due to his own choices).

There has been some steady progress at home but away from Goodison there's still a very cautious approach that is much akin to the David Moyes era, the same kind of substitutions and in the main yielding the same kind of hard luck stories.

We are in a very strange stage and truth be told we have been since Moyes left in 2013... We had a decade of stability that towards the end of Moyes tenure became rather mediocre stability with the majority accepting a glass ceiling was never to be broken.

With the introduction of Roberto Martinez, a new found belief, a fearlessness existed for one season. In many ways, Martinez became a victim of his own first season in that expectations were so high that his following two years brought about so many emotional roller-coasters only to end in disaster with all us forlorn and low about Everton.

Koeman's arrival prompted genuine beliefs that he could finally wrestle this club from the doldrums and change the mentality of inferiority that had existed for almost two decades prior (with the Martinez exception of 2013-14).

Koeman had a sudden impact at Southampton, taking the side away to Chelsea, Manchester United (twice) and also Tottenham last May and winning, also winning away at Arsenal in that time.

It was a mentality we believed we would quickly adopt and felt certain that this season we would see a vast improvement in our application and willpower away to the top sides, which is the main thing over recent years that's held us back from nicking a Champions League slot.

Truth be told we have seen much of what we saw under Moyes in those games and next season these fixtures will again be put under the microscope as its almost become like a mental health test these days to see if the team can pass it.

As much as we may hate to admit it, only Roberto Martinez has come close to getting to the bottom of that mental block and breaking the glass ceiling when he took bold Everton teams to Old Trafford and the Emirates and fought toe to toe with them.

Let's just hope Koeman can at some point do the same.

Brian Williams
20 Posted 05/04/2017 at 12:05:24
Rick (#18)

I think it MAY have something to do with the fact that Koeman has made a few noises intimating that Lukaku wont be sold this summer as he's under contract for two more years. A bit of preparation for a climbdown maybe?

Patrick Murphy
21 Posted 05/04/2017 at 12:12:35
Rick (#18),

Despite his poor decision-making and his inability to hold the ball up, I thought Rom looked more interested than normal last night and I wouldn't be surprised if he signs a new contract.

What effect that has on the rest of the squad is anybody's guess and I don't even want to think about the effect it may have on Peter Roberts or Kevin Rowlands. :)

Ian Jones
22 Posted 05/04/2017 at 12:45:24
Here's how a Man Utd contact of mine saw the game – thought it might be of interest and a fair reflection of the game!


‘Very disappointed in fact. Actually, probably more frustrated than disappointed.

Starting with the easy bits – Zlatan's goal should obviously have stood (and that's a fact); crashed two efforts against the crossbar with the keeper well beaten in each case; a constant bombardment of Everton's last third; Everton should probably have gone 2 or 3 up with some clear-cut chances from counter attacks.

But... Everton played a fantastic defensive game, having gone ahead with a more-than-a-bit of a speculative attempt... a tad lucky, but fortune favours the brave. Shoddy, shoddy defensive wor.k

However, the frustration stems from the fact that United are simply not good enough to break down defenses. Yes, we can put them under great pressure, but we make it way too easy to simply nod or hoof the ball to safety, as all that United do in the first place is just loft the ball into the area and hope for the best. No way is that good enough.

And Everton's defence just found it all too easy to deal with... until the very end of course.

And Lukaku is a greedy fuck – at least twice he should have laid the ball off for an easy tap in goal. But instead, he went for self-glory. And that is why he's not a world-class striker and probably his downfall for his ambitions to get into a Champions League team. For the time being, anyway.

Everton probably should have had two players sent off, but that's an entirely different debate.

I think Everton did great on the night, and United were simply mediocre.

So... that's not so much of a rant as a tirade borne of frustration.'

George Cumiskey
23 Posted 05/04/2017 at 12:48:11
Ian, stop saying "in hindsight" – it was foresight as soon as he made them substitutions​, everyone knew what was going to happen.
Thomas Lennon
24 Posted 05/04/2017 at 13:04:11
I think Koeman took over a Southampton side built by Pochettino that operated under little pressure and recorded several big scalps. Koeman had more cash to spend – buying well (at least 8 decent players) , amongst others Sadio Mane, Forster, Long – and proceeded to do well despite losing several big names prior to his first summer.

For one reason or another we didn't get as many players in last summer as I am sure we would have liked (decent defensive midfielder, good centre-back, stopgap goalkeeper, decent winger, stopgap forward on loan). Three first team players teetering on the edge of retiring, several more in the squad.

We have had considerable success using youngsters and developing players at home but they will struggle to last a season. We need half a team of better quality players (who will perform under pressure) this summer, I think everyone knows that. Judge Koeman by this time next year (top 6?), but don't expect to stick in top 4 until we are sat on the banks of the Mersey.

David Booth
25 Posted 05/04/2017 at 13:47:20
Still virtually speechless about the Mirallas/Pennington substitution.

Mirallas did not appear injured or tired. He posed a constant threat on the breakaway and as a release mechanism for our defence. He offered vital support for Lukaku, who after Mirallas's withdrawal just became an easy, isolated target for United's defenders.

With almost half an hour to go, we simply invited United to come at us, with no real 'out ball' or counter threat. I really expected more of Koeman, who was an uncompromising winner throughout his playing career. He looks a bit of a shithouse to me so far.

Tactics like those will not – as ably demonstrated – ever break this ridiculous self-imposed hoodoo we have on such 'big game' occasions. They were there for the taking last night and what did we do? Revert to Moyes mode.

After Saturday and last night, allied to our visits to Chelsea, Spurs and Man City (when, let's be fair, we were battered from start to finish and spawned a point), we are as bad as we have ever been away from home on such occasions.

Not yet convinced at all about Koeman's tenure so far or his ability to elevate us up to the next level. Lost interest after Mirallas was taken off, as I've seen it all before – 60-odd times!

Steve Harris
26 Posted 05/04/2017 at 13:55:53
David (#25)

Summed it up perfectly, mate, but when I alluded to the same thing earlier, I was called a "moaning old fucker!"

Neville Jones
27 Posted 05/04/2017 at 14:04:16
Well said, David, I also cannot see why Koeman, having failed on Saturday, has gone back to a back 3 when we didn't need to.

If I was trying to give Man Utd a chance to get back in the game, then that, taking off Mirallas (no wonder he was fed up) and putting on Pennington (a good lad but wrong choice) would have been the way to go about it. Shouting abuse at the online commentary doesn't help but I began to wonder if he really wanted to win. Pretty flabbergasted.

Is Koeman, rather like Martinez, obsessed with a certain method (3 at the back. it doesn't suit us and never will. Why Enner Valencia wasn't used, god knows, he's a good player and has saved our blushes as he transforms the team, a useful sub.

If Lukaku can't put any effort into a derby, god knows what use he will be to a so called "top four " team. Without Dunc's guidance, I think he will go downhill so maybe cashing in if he wants to go, especially will stupid comments about Everton lacking "ambition" is a good idea.

Mike Gaynes
28 Posted 05/04/2017 at 14:14:37
Brian (#16), spot on.
John Ronnie
29 Posted 05/04/2017 at 14:18:48
Gutted after last night, took me ages to get to sleep. Koeman made a huge error taking off Mirallas. I was screaming at the tele last night to bring on Valencia to support both Kevin and Rom

We should have gone for them and made it 2 or 3, they were awful and there for the taking.

Typical bloody Everton, could have had 4 points from the last 2 games and we'd be sat nicely in 5th looking up at that shower.

Mike Gaynes
30 Posted 05/04/2017 at 16:34:21
I think the bigger story coming out of this game will be what happened between Williams and Lukaku. Williams scorched Rom during the second half for his lack of effort, and after Williams was sent off, Rom appeared to "shush" him. Short clips of video can be deceiving, but this one makes Lukaku look like an absolute ass.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/football/2017/04/05/romelu-lukakus-on-pitch-row-ashley-williams-casts-doubt-everton/

If this is what it appears to be, then my opinion on Rom is about to change dramatically. No bigger booster up to now, but something like this would burn the bridge from my perspective.

Jim Burns
31 Posted 05/04/2017 at 17:29:41
Rick @ 18 – whatever he may or may not be hinting, after his greed last night and his disrespect towards Williams, I simply don't give a fuck.

I'm sensing his mouthing off and 'me,me,me' antics both on and off the field are / have pissed off a few in the changing room and if that's the case that particular poison needs a serious antidote quickly.

For me, he can go.

Mike Dolan
32 Posted 05/04/2017 at 17:31:43
I honestly think that Everton's performance was brilliant, gutsy and if every away game is played with that level of intensity we have a future full of silverware. A great performance from our well coached rag tag team.

If we look at Man United it is a team of much better players than we have at the moment and we took it to them and almost stole away with three points. Why didn't Koeman field the same team in the derby? Because maybe he couldn't because as we all know he cannot play the same team on three days rest and we have very little on the bench.

Why was Lukaku so sluggish at Anfield well that's what happens when a player has played too many games in a short period of time, is that why Mirallas didn't get to play?

Anyway brilliant game by the Blues even if the draw away from home against what is on paper a better team that is managed by a world class manager is not good enough.

Jay Wood
33 Posted 05/04/2017 at 19:45:16
This is the game I saw last night.

Given this game came so close on top of yet another Analfield no-show, a few on here were getting their excuses in early that our mentally fragile team would be easily turned over by United. They weren't.

Everton were comfortably in control for most of the first half. The entire defence was resolute, allowing very little into the penalty area and what did get through was repelled by firm headed clearances, excellent goalkeeping, blocking, tackling or shepherding of the opposition player away danger zones.

Our transition play from defence to midfield to attack was also slick with impressive counter-attacking. Momentum and opportunities to create further goal-scoring chances in that 1st half were thwarted at critical moments by poor execution of a simple pass (Gueye a couple of times, Barry and Barkley), losing their footing (Mirallas), or not seeing the pass to play in another player (Barkley and Lukaku). Unlike recent seasons, we are once again carrying real threat from corners, one of which we scored from.

We were well worthy of the half time lead.

We remained in control at the start of the 2nd half, although United started to carry more threat with the introduction of Pogba at half time. In the main, they were still reduced to firing in hopeful balls from the flank or deeper which again, every one of our defenders dealt with with aplomb.

On 65 minutes, Mourinho made the last 2 of his substitutions to add more weight to his floundering attack. Two minutes later, in reaction to this, Koeman made the first of his own substitutions - the much criticised withdrawal of Mirallas for Pennington.

(I immediately thought how ToffeeWebmanialand would react to this). I raised an eyebrow, but held judgement on how it panned out. As it was, there was not a great deal of change to how the second half had played out until then: United with very little guile from midfield to attack, the Everton defence holding firm.

Ibramovic had an offside goal ruled out. The ONLY decent wing ball from United in the 2nd half that Ibramovic looked certain to score from got a nick from the EXCELLENT Williams to do just enough to deny the chance. That was pretty much it.

I honestly was not at all anxious watching the final 23 minutes after the Pennington sub. The lad played his part with the rest of the outstanding defence. I concur with Koeman's post match assessment. The way we (and they) were playing, I couldn't see them scoring.

As I saw it, with United pressing for an equaliser but us comfortably repelling them, we continued to counter with menace. Only poor awareness of where other players were, poor execution of a simple pass, or poor support at a critical moment, denied us a vital second to put the game to bed.

One of those was Ross not looking up from the left and hitting a ball for Lukaku to run onto in the acres of space on the right. Another was Lukaku making one of his powerful runs from the half way line and CLEARLY looking up to see if he could play Ross in, but our diamond was casually jogging towards the penalty area and was a bit behind the play, so Lukaku took the shot on himself. Shortly after this, Ross was withdrawn and Calvert-Lewin introduced. He was in a great position to draw defenders and play in Lukaku, but played a woeful, nothing ball straight to the opposition.

As I've said previously, Koeman must see something in C-L to keep playing him (so soon after returning from injury, too), often ahead of both Mirallas and Valencia. The kid has had his moments, also, but in the last 2 high pressure games, he hasn't produced. My gut feeling is that Valencia would have been a better choice than C-L, but maybe - just maybe - Koeman is playing the longer game here.

He was bold - possibly too bold - with his selection at Analfield. But here, he stood by the kids again. Holgate, after a slightly wobbly start, looked as good as early in the season when he first came into the side. Once again, I like his fight and feisty nature. He doesn't back down to anyone, no matter their seniority or ability. I liked how he squared up to Ashley Young.

I was pleased for Pennington. He didn't wilt or crumble when he came on. As for C-L, is this a sign Koeman considers this young man can bloom, as early as next season, and he isn't too interested in giving game time to a loanee he has no intention of retaining (Valencia), but would rather C-L gets more minutes under his belt this season, with 7th place and a Europa League place (almost) nailed on?

For MOTM it is very hard to call between 3 much maligned senior players, Jags, Williams and Barry, but Jags gets my vote.

The equalising goal was unfortunate. Yes, you can nitpick and say Williams might have moved forward rather than backwards at the time; that his handling of the ball was stupid; that Robles would in all likelihood saved it. I won't join in the decrying of the player or his act.

We were 15 seconds away from a victory that would have seen us leap up to 5th. This in spite of the team not yet playing consistently well under Koeman over 90 minutes, or over a sequence of games. And yet, we have suffered only 2 league defeats in 2017. Think what Koeman might just achieve when the team does start playing consistently well.

As for the Lukaku-Williams barney, what sheltered lives have a few of you been living? For an incident that lasted less than 10 seconds and is quite common in professional team sport, some are making wild presumptions and unfounded assertions about our players' personality and character traits.

Our mid-80s all-conquering team had many an on pitch barney. Bally was an absolute pain in the arse with his team mates.

No, I for one thoroughly enjoyed last night's game and took encouragement from it. How the first reaction of many on here at the final whistle was to be immediately critical of individuals and tactics, rather than talk up the many positives, is beyond me.

Paul Tran
34 Posted 05/04/2017 at 20:03:15
That's spot on, Jay.
Peter Warren
35 Posted 05/04/2017 at 20:15:02
Niasse scores again!
Mike Gaynes
36 Posted 05/04/2017 at 20:24:09
Jay (#33), it was far more than ten seconds. Williams was at Rom twice in the second half (and even Baines yelled at him once) for Rom's lack of defensive help.

Paul (#34), off-topic, hoping to meet you in Scotland next week when I come over from the colonies. Any chance?

Darren Hind
37 Posted 05/04/2017 at 20:38:57
"We continued to counter with Menace" ... "Only poor awareness of where the other players were, poor execution of a simple pass, or poor support at critical moments denied us..."

I sometimes wonder if you actually think about what you write. That makes no sense at all... it's utter drivel

"Menace"? How many saves did their goalie make? Did we rattle their crossbar when I wasn't looking? Have a few efforts that went agonisingly close?

Your report is, once again,longer than the match itself. We all saw the game we don't need you to tell us about these imaginary menacing attacks... or put a rosey spin on the disappointment of being twatted on Saturday and blowing a fantastic opportunity last night... most of us can't take the real truth.

Paul Tran
38 Posted 05/04/2017 at 20:58:40
Mike (#36).

Will be difficult as I'm working from home all next week. I'm up in Nairn which is close to Inverness. A real pain as I've been working in Glasgow this week and last week. Let me know what you're doing and I'll see if I can fit something in.

Colin Glassar
39 Posted 05/04/2017 at 21:00:05
I was a bit bemused by the Mirallas-Pennington switch but it did, in fact, work well.

What I thought was the big mistake was Ross for Calvert-Lewin. He might turn out to be good but he's not very quick and when united were throwing everyone forward, and leaving acres of open space, Valencia or Lookman might have been, with their speed, the better option.

Still feeling gutted after that.

Paul Tran
40 Posted 05/04/2017 at 21:07:32
I'll be brief, Darren. We had good breaks that should have yielded chances but for shocking decision making. Not the same as smacking the woodwork, but a decent creative midfielder and a striker with nous would have done more with the space.

The defence was superb and Davies nullified Carrick so they had to play hoofball – meat and drink to Ashley and Jags. We missed the win because we couldn't keep the ball and weren't crafty enough at the end of the game.

Jay Wood
41 Posted 05/04/2017 at 21:14:43
Darren ole son, for someone to write "I sometimes wonder if you actually think about what you write. That makes no sense at all. It's utter drivel," you then need to be on pretty firm ground in your own response.

The very two clauses you copy-paste in your opening paragraph do not contradict each other. They complement each other. The first clause refers to really good situations we created on the counter. The second clause reports actual events in the match (which I presume you did watch) as to why we did not take full advantage of them. Simples.

What is imaginary is your spin on my view of the game. I reported true, verifiable, actual incidents in the game that "all [of us] saw." That my perfectly legitimate personal interpretation of the game does not conform to your own bombastic view is just too bad, Darren. Suck it up.

I certainly don't claim extraordinary auditory powers or attempt to pass off as indisputable fact such baloney as you are inclined to offer, such as repeatedly claiming that Koeman is a no risk loser who will never achieve anything at Everton because he delayed Seamus Coleman taking a thrown in the dying minutes away to 'Boro.

You have your pessimistic, negative view and interpretation of events. I have my optimistic, positive view of the game. It really is best you don't try and get into a sideshow of semantics, because you inevitably always manage to trip over your own tongue.

And thanks again for taking such a keen interest in my posts that you never read.

Mike Green
42 Posted 05/04/2017 at 23:26:28
The only thing I can think with the Calvert-Lewin thing this week is that he wants to give players their chances and test them where it really matters.

He gave Ross the captaincy in the League Cup, then promptly dropped him when he didn't step up. He gave Deulofeu the number 7 shirt, talked him up, didn't like what he saw, put him on loan.

Conversely he dropped Robles, Robles stepped up and he's stayed in. He put Davies in, Davies stepped up, he stayed in. Coleman stepped up and stayed in. Gana has been an ever present when available. I think he might be saving Lookman for another day after his debut goal and cameos but I think he's happy with what he's seen so far.

He saw enough of Niasse, McGeady, Gibson, Oveido to just say no.

There are obvious exceptions (our centre halves...?) but I think the theory generally pans out?

I think he's now doing a job on Calvert-Lewin to see what he's got, and he'll only know that once he's been tested for real.

That can be my only explanation for it. Sink or swim. Step up, or jog on.

Darren Hind
43 Posted 05/04/2017 at 01:03:17
Jay

The problem you have is, we all saw the match, we don't need you to give us a twisted deodorised version a day later.

"Attack with menace"? wtf are you talking about lad ? Surely attacking with menace would in some way involve clear cut chances ?.

Let me explain this game to you – somebody needs to

When we broke out of defence, we had 3-4 chances to create chances, opportunities to create opportunities. We did not take any of them – that's why you wont need to take your mitts off, to count the number of genuine efforts we had on goal. In order to justify a claim the we attacked "with menace" you need to be able to point to one or two chances. You cant because you are spouting your usual pie-in-the-sky drivel.

Many have come on here saying what a good positive performance it was and they would be right, but in your desperation to be smarter than the average "ToffeeWebmanialand" bear, You are trying to recreate and entire match, one which doesn't entail United missing sitters, hitting the bar twice, having a goal chalked off and our goalie giving, what many neutrals are calling a MotM performance.

Its apologetic nonsense, chiefly designed to exonerate your hero's Lukaku and Koeman of all blame for a lost opportunity. It won't wash. You are not talking to people who didn't see the game and you can't pull the wool.


"I thought we defended with great aplomb at Anfield". "If it wasn't for our players going to ground too early, Our central defenders playing miles apart, our gormless manager sitting on his hands as young players were repeatedly exposed, we'd have deffo kept a clean sheet" – Jay Wood offering an "optimistic" view of Saturdays game by using two sentences which "compliment" each other.


Jay Wood
44 Posted 06/04/2017 at 03:02:37
Here we go again, Darren. Tough night shift, was it? You really are not very good at structuring a convincing argument or following a train of thought, are you old son?

As you have repeated twice in your two posts to me, "we all saw the match." And as I'm going to repeat a second time to you, your saw and interpreted the game from your perspective. I saw and interpreted the game from my perspective.

Breaking news! Not everyone who sees a match agree on one singular interpretation of events and performances.

Don't like or agree with my interpretation of the match? You wish to disavow my right to hold a contrarian opinion to your own or to express it on here? Ain't gonna happen any time soon punter. So, as I said in my previous post, suck it up.

My post was an attempt to "exonerate my heros Lukaku and Koeman of all blame???" Deary Lord. Anyone who uses the 'your hero' line is mentally still running around the playground in school shorts, with scabby knees and 'Our Cilla' crooning 'Oh you are a mucky kid' in the background, unable to debate like an adult. An infantile comment. Why am I not surprised?

As per normal, in the absence of genuine debate, you invent and attribute comments and opinions to me about SATURDAY'S game (fuck knows why) I haven't made and don't hold, convincing yourself you've made a telling point. In truth, you get lost in your own fog and fugue.

To paraphrase your own utterance (as it appears to be the only level you are capable of posting at), you hold on to your twisted odious view posted within minutes of the final whistle. I'll stick with my "deodorised version" given 24 hours after the event, if that's all right with you Darren.

Jim Hardin
45 Posted 06/04/2017 at 03:21:31
Mike Green,

You mean Koeman was right about Niasse? The same Niasse who scored again for Hull? Koeman gets it wrong more than most on here want to admit regarding players, formations, substitutions, Ross Barkley, Brian Oviedo, Stekelenburg, and Robles.

As for the non-captain of the team yelling at Rom, that was unprofessional. Pathetic by Williams and overstepping his bounds. Rom should have dropped him right there. Williams should have saved it for the dressing room. Wonder if Williams did that kind of yelling at his teammates before or even after Coleman's leg was broken? Probably not.

But then he goes and gives away two points, well, glass houses and all that. Rom should yell at him for screwing up scoring chances on set-pieces (I mean Everton chances) since Williams knows everything except his own freaking job. Rom can always wave at him the next game while Williams is in the stands.

Darren Hind
46 Posted 06/04/2017 at 06:38:43
"You really are not very good at structuring a convincing argument."

Maybe not, but I'm an awful lot better at it than you are at putting up a decent defence. You have been repeatedly invited to tell us about these "menacing attacks" which had threatened the United goal all night and guess what?

You think by waiting for hundreds of posters to pour out there emotions after a game you can somehow come across as calmer an more intelligent. You don't, you sound like a prat.

"A few on here were getting their excuses in early."

What a strange thing to say, Who were these people ?

"I immediately thought how "ToffeeWebmanialand" would react"

You were actually thinking what people on here would say? In the middle of a match? ... and you accuse others of getting their excuses in early. You were planning yours 20 minutes before the end.

"I concur with Koeman's post match assessment, The way we (and they) were playing. I couldn't see them scoring" ...

That my old china plate would suggest you are as gormless as your hero. Did alarm bells not start ringing when Pogba hit the bar? When Robles made a fine save? When Williams, Jagielka and Barry all threw their bodies on the line to deny goals ? when a goal was disallowed? When we dropped deeper and deeper because your hero's substitution had given United more freedom to attack?

While everyone else was dreading and bracing themselves for, the almost inevitable clear cut chance. You were oblivious to any danger at all? ... is that you idea of a calm assessment?

The fact that you feel the need to explain in bold text how Lukaku looked up, would suggest that you know he only had to role the ball back to the penalty spot and Barkley could have ended it there and then.

It's your outrage towards anyone who criticises your hero's which is infantile. The desperation to clear them of all criticism – the mistrust of all those 'orrible people "ToffeeWebmanialand" who might just tell it like they saw it.

Grow a pair and admit, One stunk the gaff out and the other couldn't control his anal nerve when it really mattered.

John G Davies
47 Posted 06/04/2017 at 07:37:23
Aye Aye Jay.

Anyone who had a heart.

John Daley
48 Posted 06/04/2017 at 08:10:19
"As for the non-captain of the team yelling at Rom, that was unprofessional. Pathetic by Williams and overstepping his bounds. Rom should have dropped him right there. Williams should have saved it for the dressing room."

Disagree entirely. The combination of defensive doggedness and on-pitch nark prepared to dish it out was exactly the sort of player many thought (rightly or wrongly) we were picking up from Swansea and had long been calling for prior to his signing. That we hadn't really seen that guy before the other night had been something of a disappointment this season.

The fact Williams wasn't captain on the night doesn't mean he must either keep it muffled, whisper in Jagielka's ear for him to pass the message on in his 'official' capacity as 'club orator', or wait until they get back in the dressing room when it will be too late for any effect his words might have to make any difference whatsoever to the match they were trying to win.

It's not "unprofessional" (or unusual) for a senior professional to dish out a verbal blast / kick up the bum to a teammate not seen to be pulling his weight when everyone else is putting a shift in, sweating bucket-loads and throwing their bollocks in front of anything that moves.

Everton's most successful side ever was stuffed full of MEN who wouldn't hesitate to hand out a few mid-game home truth's to anyone they thought was hiding, being a bit half-arsed or whose muzzy/mullet combo was way too Miami Vice for a night out in Maghull.

Only one of them might have been Captain in name, but they all knew the importance of keeping everybody firmly on the same page, focused and fighting for the cause. They didn't just waive that responsibility because they weren't wearing a bloody armband.

Williams was absolutely right to go a little radge at Lukaku's 'Uncle Buck' like back-tracking and ball retention, because it was repeatedly putting the team under unnecessary pressure. The 'unprofessional' reaction was Lukaku's finger-to-the-lip "husssshhhhh"ing. A gesture akin to saying "Fuck you. I don't care what comes out of your gob. Your opinion means about as much as a cock on a chocolate mouse".

The correct reaction would have been to fire a few words back in return, think 'right, I'm going to show you' and then roll up your sleeves to prove him wrong. Instead, Lukaku opted for a blatant display of disrespect, a bit of a sulk, a retaliatory shot when Williams was sent off, followed by a pathetic whinge to a wanker in red.

Jim Jennings
49 Posted 06/04/2017 at 08:21:24
Three points from me.

1. Williams or any other senior pro, is well within their rights to let a teammate know if they don't think they're doing enough to help out when we don't have the ball.

2. Why is it assumed or accepted that Lukaku talking to Pogba was him having a pop at Williams? How many people on here can lip read French?

3. This petty point scoring between The Hind and two or three others on practically every thread is getting really tiresome. "Your hero"? Seriously, grow up.

John Daley
50 Posted 06/04/2017 at 09:03:54
"Why is it assumed or accepted that Lukaku talking to Pogba was him having a pop at Williams?"

Jim,

When venting to Pogba, Lukaku gestured toward the tunnel, appearing to mimic the arm movement that got Williams sent off. Given what had just gone on between the two, it would be a bit hard to swallow Rom had a sudden about-face and was now sticking up for him.

John Ronnie
51 Posted 06/04/2017 at 09:11:06
Sky really are a bunch of pricks.

Watching the headlines this morning and they are talking of Chelsea's run in and mention they only have to play one of the top six no friggin mention they have to come to Goodison.

Okay, I know we aren't sat in the top 6 but we bloody well should be. They just fucking love those above us.

I really do dislike that organisation.

Brian Williams
52 Posted 06/04/2017 at 09:20:26
Having looked at the footage for the first time since watching the game, I'm not sure Lukaku actually "shushed" Williams. If he was, you'd expect his finger to be pressed against his mouth like we've all done at some point in our lives, to the Mrs (yeh right) or the kids. Lukaku seems though to have his finger in front of his face in a different gesture?

I'm just not 100% any more after looking at the clips I've seen. Not saying "that's how it was and if you think differently you're wrong" (enough of that on here already) but just that it doesn't look as clear cut to me now.

John Daley
53 Posted 06/04/2017 at 14:39:55
That's the way they signal "button it" at all the 'big' clubs, Brian. True Champions League lids know letting your finger connect with your own lip is a massive faux pas .....unless done in a really fucking coy way when asked if you're going to be signing a new contract.

James Hughes
54 Posted 06/04/2017 at 15:19:29
Williams out for the next three games, no Funes Mori, Coleman absent as well... it all looking rosy isn't it. Never mind that, though – let's just bitch amongst ourselves, it's good fun.

JD (#48), I am really not sure who that post was was aimed at as I really don't want to go through them all.

If a fellow poster was saying "Rom should have just dropped him there" – well, words fail me. One man sent off now becomes two –and to what benefit? That would have really helped, wouldn't it!

Dave Abrahams
55 Posted 06/04/2017 at 15:40:53
James (#54) – surely Williams is only out for one game?
James Hughes
56 Posted 06/04/2017 at 16:11:00
Williams got a straight red, not foul play I know, is that not a three game ban? One would be better.

Tony Abrahams
57 Posted 06/04/2017 at 16:29:45
Paul, if you can get to Goodison on Sunday, I will get you a ticket, even if it's probably easier to get from where Mike is coming, than where you have got to go next week.
Alan Bodell
58 Posted 06/04/2017 at 17:47:22
I was at the game the other night and it was a good point. We played well, yes, but they could easily have took the 3.

Two things stand out for me are that Lukaku has absolutely no plan B, if he has a decision to make he's fucked and that Calvert-Lewin needs to change his boots as not for the first time he goes slipping every time he's near the ball, not just Tuesday but he's done it every time he's on.

Oh, £50+m for Lukaku? I'll go to church more often I promise.

Rob Halligan
59 Posted 06/04/2017 at 18:31:32
James (#56),

Williams is suspended for one match only, according to the OS.

http://www.evertonfc.com/news/2017/04/04/williams-suspended-for-leicester

Jay Wood
61 Posted 06/04/2017 at 02:03:54
Ber-limey Darren. I tell you what – seriously! – I'm on my feet here, applauding your post. Laughin' me tits off, but genuinely in awe of how much rage you have in you.

Any one recall that look Jimmy Bullard gave Big Dunc at Wigan when he got sent off for a blatant punch? Bullard, looking askew at Ferguson, wondering whether to laugh at or be a bit wary of a complete psycho? Link

That's kinda the expression I've got on me face right now.

Dunno whether your Viagra is playing hell with your hormone levels, whether your night shift and sleep deprivation is taking its toll, or whether you take a cocktail of recreational drugs to induce the near permanent manic state you display on these pages Darren, but whatever it is, it makes for magnificent entertainment.

Hysteria on steroids.

Let me respond to your latest (self) wrecking ball (must expunge mental image of Darren Hind, posing like Miley Cyrus on said prop).

“You have been repeatedly invited to tell us about these "menacing attacks" which had threatened the United goal all night and guess what?”

Quick scan back through the posts and …. Hmmmm …. NOPE! Not one single request put to me to do just that.

Fabrication and smoke and mirrors #1.

“You think by waiting for hundreds of posters to pour out there [sic] emotions after a game you can somehow come across as calmer and more intelligent.”

Eh? I genuinely have no idea what point or connection (if any) you are trying to make here. For someone who first waded in on this thread @ 37 with the words: “I sometimes wonder if you actually think about what you write. That makes no sense at all... it's utter drivel” you really should take your own advice.

Gibberish and smoke and mirrors #2.

You quote me (as always, out of context) as saying "A few on here were getting their excuses in early" and label it as “a strange thing to say.”

Errr … why? Common enough phrase, used in a variety of situations. “Who were these people?” you demand. Look up Lyndon's match preview thread. Plenty of posters predicting we would get nothing from the game because (to complete the doctored sentence I actually did use) “our mentally fragile team would be easily turned over by United. They weren't.”

Devious doctoring added to a taking out of context and more smoke and mirrors #3.

You quote me on my thoughts when Koeman replaced Mirallas with Pennington: "I immediately thought how ‘ToffeeWebmanialand' would react", adding sneeringly “You were actually thinking what people on here would say? In the middle of a match? . and you accuse others of getting their excuses in early. You were planning yours 20 minutes before the end.”

A couple of things here Darren. For most normal people (and this appears to be a novel concept for you), there are many thoughts on diverse subjects swirling around their head simultaneously at any given moment. My prime focus – as it always is – was on the game. I never participate in the live forum. I never post on MK's running match commentary whilst the game is in play. Only sometimes at the interval, or at the end of the game.

As it was, my (fleeting) thought you attempt to deride was clearly confirmed here on TW. I never looked at the reaction on the live forum at the time of the substitution, but others commented that the forum “exploded” in rage. The after match thread was dominated by posts on this very subject – yours very much among them. Thus, you helped confirm what I anticipated.

You attempt to somehow pass that off as proof positive that I was “getting my excuses in early.” Ehrm … help me here. Who and what am I excusing in my posts? And you go on to call me ‘gormless?' Oh the irony...

Sorry to break this to you Darren, my thunderous little rain cloud (and I realise this may be traumatic for you to discover, being such a fundamental part of who and what you are), but … just because you think something, just because you say something, just because you write and post something … doesn't make it true.

Shocking, isn't?

Yet more fabrication added to warped logic and we clock up smoke and mirrors # 4.

Next, you quote my comment: “I concur with Koeman's post match assessment, The way we (and they) were playing. I couldn't see them scoring.”

Yep! That was how I felt. Now normally, I too am a quivering wreck when Everton are under the cosh as they were. I genuinely did not have that sensation on Tuesday. As I also originally wrote, “The entire defence was resolute, allowing very little into the penalty area and what did get through was repelled by firm headed clearances, excellent goalkeeping, blocking, tackling or shepherding of the opposition player away from danger zones. In the main, United were reduced to firing in hopeful balls from the flank or deeper which again, every one of our defenders dealt with with aplomb.”

It is a view which is evidently shared by the loveable ‘Lawro' who knows a bit about defending (caveat, crap pundit, hapless predictor) who wrote today: “By the end of their draw against Everton on Tuesday United were just chucking the ball forward.”

Did we ride our luck a couple of times? Most certainly, but the way the defence played they also most certainly deserved their luck. As it was, we only conceded to a penalty, 15 seconds from time.

If being mightily impressed by our defence and their combination of resoluteness and calmness under pressure makes me gormless, I think I can live with the label, in the same way you will have to live with the whiff around you because you were apparently cacking yourself.

Trying to dictate how and what another should feel, think, react and say – kerching! Smoke and mirrors #5.

Then we have “It's your outrage towards anyone who criticises your heros which is infantile.”

As a specialist in rage Darren, care to share with me any examples of my alleged ‘outrage?'

And once again Darren, repeating the moniker ‘your heroes' (more than once) and immediately labelling me infantile just further exposes your idiocy.

More fabrication spiced with infantile name-calling and - BINGO! - smoke and mirrors #6.

Finally, your anal reference is an appropriate one. You do tend to vent out of yours a great deal.

My very first line in this thread was “This is the game I saw last night.”

I stand by my view.

You hold to your pessimistic negative view of the performance. I'll hold to my optimistic positive view.

All your belligerent, bombastic, blustering ain't gonna change my view.

So to repeat to you for a third time:

Suck. It. Up.

John Pierce
62 Posted 07/04/2017 at 03:54:55
Having a day or two to reflect. I'm still giving Koeman pelters.

But perhaps his selections and substitutions hint at something I in my emotional myopia not really given a thought to. Namely game time to players he thinks he will keep and to get them used to playing the big cats?

I've thought we should finish higher than 7th however when Koeman executes the shit he pulls away from home I get my teeth wailing and gnashing with more expletives than a drunk fella stumbling home.

His impact at Southampton was marked and quick. His results away from home very good and several noteable wins at places we only won at when mullets were still in fashion and players appeared on top of the pops. Why not at Everton?

So perhaps after all my frustration Koeman has 'settled' for 7th and wants to feel out players who might make an impact nect year. Mirallas and Valencia strongly fall into the other category, leavers, hence their restricted game time?

But in a fatalistic turn to undermine my own argument why hasn't young Lookman got some minutes? Or Lukaku rested?

Who really knows, not I, but in a season were it felt mostly over after the cup exit I need to see something from now until the end of the season as Koeman seems to have stalled us in 7th?

I really don't like the fella do I? Just never warmed to him.


Darren Hind
63 Posted 07/04/2017 at 06:56:03
OK Jay

To summarise

You STILL cant give a single example of United's Goalie being troubled by all those "menacing attacks" (despite numerous invites). Hopefully that'll teach you the difference between giving an opinion and making shit up.

You most definitely were thinking of what people would say on here about the substitution which surrendered the initiative and were getting your excuses prepared

And you do the funniest line in "not being bothered what other posters say" in TW history

Jay Wood
65 Posted 07/04/2017 at 12:47:13
All covered in my posts on this thread, Darren.

Keep on sucking!

Alan J Thompson
66 Posted 07/04/2017 at 13:03:59
Didn't their 'keeper save at the near post from Lukaku with Barkley, was it, open in the box? May be he just wasn't troubled.
Gary Russell
67 Posted 07/04/2017 at 13:46:21
OK Jay, Darren, we get it. Time to move on?
Philip Yensen
70 Posted 11/04/2017 at 12:54:03
All season there has been a question mark over his substitutions. He's good at handing the initiative to our opponents.

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