From my seat: Chelsea (H)

By Ken Buckley 30/04/2017  87 Comments  [Jump to last]
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Everton 0 - 3 Chelsea

A trip out to the match is always welcome and after that dreadful day at West Ham Utd when all of them should have been locked up for impersonating footballers. We received team news at five-past-one that has us fretting for our credibility against such a Chelsea line-up and bench. Koeman had told us in his presser that the youngsters were not ready and here he was having to use three of them in our starting line-up and three more on the bench. Mind you, he also said we had no injury worries yet Schneiderlin was out injured, so it’s always difficult to believe a word you here regarding fan information even from the horse’s mouth.

The walk up was dominated by the opposing fans singing and chanting as they spilled out of hostelries but there seemed no malice in them. Evertonians were quietly contemplating the encounter and I do wonder if the thought that we have qualified for the knockout round of the Europa league sort of made it okay if the strong looking Chelsea team were indeed to prevail. Heaven forbid but if 7th was as high as many thought possible then the mood could be explained in the words ‘We have reached our goal’

Down Goodison Road which seemed the busiest of the season and into the ground in time for Z-Cars and the handshake. Our ref today was Jon Moss and he got the ball rolling as we attacked the Park End. We pressed early and Calvert-Lewin was thwarted in the box from our first meaningful attack but after a few minutes on our second attack the same player got into the box and had a shot that beat the keeper after a superb through ball from Barkley but not the post and the rebounding ball just evading Lukaku’s rather lame attempt to connect.

Although that was early doors it was our only real chance in a half that we competed well with Davies and Gana outstanding in keeping Hazzard quiet, Gana’s job, along with Davies breaking up play and in no way phased by the antics of Costa in the main as well as a few other prima donnas. Without creating a lot ourselves we did nullify most of Chelsea’s work but it was becoming clear that this mode would need to kept up all match just to get a draw as Chelsea demonstrated the art of good interpassing at pace in quick counters and fast one-twos in and around the box. Our back line was just about coping but clearances were hurried and merely gave the ball back to our visitors. When we did manage to put a few passes together, it usually ended without a final ball.

The half was progressing and I have to say more in Chelsea’s favour as we were stretched each time they produced a fast transition and when we did clear on too many occasions Barkley just lacked the craft, guile and precision to open a pathway and instead played a wayward pass that either put one of our players in trouble or returned the ball to Chelsea. It is so frustrating seeing Barkley play like this as going through my head is "He has so much more to offer"... yet I am still left waiting to see it. Quite perplexing.

Half-time: 0-0 and the chat is positive as were are still level and still in it. Us seeing it through and gaining a point was the view of most.

Second half started and it was clear that Chelsea had tweaked their formation and were more open and this was to have a bearing on the second half as with them interchanging positions at pace had us opening up as well when really we didn’t want to do that.

Chances came but mostly for them and a pattern was emerging. We were holding them out but their attacks were looking more dangerous than ours. We had a couple of marauding runs for Davies one of which he beat two men to the by-line but alas the ball left his control and went for a goal kick then a powerful run through their defence into the box before just toeing it to far forward and the chance was gone.

Jags aimed a back pass toward Stek but it lacked power and Stek had to charge out to smother at the feet of the in-rushing Costa. The two came together but the ref deemed Costa had fouled and booked him. A bit harsh but maybe the ref was just fed up with Costa’s play acting as every time he was tackled fairly or not he always ended up in a heap on the deck and not once did he require attention.

The half wore on and began to get quite feisty with fouls, bookings and staring with intent. Annoyingly our supposed red-hot duo of Lukaku and Barkley who both want action in the Champions League, played in a way that suggested the Eurovision Song Contest might be their best way in. Having witnessed the last five fixtures, including today, their performances have suggested they may find it a struggle to find clubs willing to pay the transfer fee and their requested wages. That is sad because those two fully focused and firing could do no end of damage to all our rivals and thrill us in the process.

The hour mark was reached and Chelsea were in our box and after a couple of attempts to progress they turned the ball out of the box and fed Pedro who went a few paces to his left and, just as Jags was sliding in, Pedro unleased a 25-yard rocket that completely beat Stekelenburg and they were one-up. Hard to blame anyone for that goal, just hold hands up and accept a superb strike, the Chelsea fans were in full voice now taunting Tottenham that they are coming to get them. Everton fans began the exodus on that goal.

Everton tried to rally with Davies leading the charge but Chelsea were now buoyed and Everton that tad slower. They say goals change games that one did as on 80mins Gana fouled Hazzard who took a low fast cross which rebounded off someone to power toward the startled Stekelenburg who reacted by instinct and got hands to ball but only succeeded in pushing it onto Cahill and the ball rebounded into the net. Drat I thought. Then with 4 to go Fabregas, on as a sub just seemed to stroll forward and such was our disarray he was able to look up and see Willian in acres so he weighted his cross and Willian joyously rammed it into the net. Cue more wild celebrations from our visiting fans and now a mass exodus from the old lady. The final whistle was welcome to those of us left in the ground.

MotM – Tom Davies

We haven’t had the best of run-ins and only Swansea, Watford and Arsenal for the players to show some fight but mainly classy joined-up footy. Let’s practice on the first two and then have a good go at the Emirates...

The manager, having fielded today’s team, is in a very good position to say to the owners and directors of football "Well, there you are v that’s what we have got to play top teams and get the Champions League that you say you would like via a league placing – we need big investment and some astute buying." I hope he gets it.

Swansea next. Always a nice trip out and will be even nicer if the players swap flip-flops for footy boots.

UP THE BLUES


Reader Comments (87)

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Mark Andersson
1 Posted 01/05/2017 at 02:09:13
As always, a great read, Ken... I never expected a win, after all we rarely turn it on in front of the media darlings. As you say, the two R's failed again but one will go, the other will stay.

7th is Koeman trait so he has fulfilled his job in season one. Next season is his alone, his team and management skills will be looked at more closely...

We're miles away from being top 4 contenders even if we keep Rom. Best of the rest and no better than the Moyes era.

Bob Parrington
2 Posted 01/05/2017 at 02:48:45
Thanks for a great report Ken, as usual.

The more I look at our team the more I am becoming convinced that we should let Barkley move on. He's a good lad and a not-so-bad football player but I think he slows our transitions down with a lot of ponderous play. With the team set-up we have currently, this doesn't work.

On another point, I was watching the game on TV here in Adelaide and it was massively clear that we were giving Pedro far too much space. I was saying we need to close him down or he will score. Sure enough – the rest is history.

Peter Barry
3 Posted 01/05/2017 at 03:03:20
How long must we persist in 'bigging up' Barkley only to be let down by him over and over and over again before we finally accept he is just not as good as we think he is or want him to be and that he never will be?
Peter Barry
4 Posted 01/05/2017 at 03:06:17
Oh and about that Lukaku being a 'World Class Striker'... you're 'avin a larf.
Alun Jones
5 Posted 01/05/2017 at 03:54:18
Thanks Ken. I missed the match so it's great to read it from you as it was.

As the season comes to its conclusion, I am pretty happy with Koeman's first season in charge. He has secured us European football and certainly made us a much more solid unit. We still have some way to go to match the regular top 4 teams but we are still a work in progress.

I am sure over the summer he will invest more money into the squad and come August I'm sure we will be stronger and more competitive. I would hope his own personal target next season is to break into the top 4 and have a real go in Europe; I see that is a viable goal to set for us.

Stephen Brown
6 Posted 01/05/2017 at 08:12:17
I think the best hope we have of breaking into the Champions League is by winning the Europa League!
Tony Sullivan
7 Posted 01/05/2017 at 09:16:22
Thanks Ken, as always a fair summary.

The Eurovision Song Contest line had me in stitches, just about sums the pair of them up. I hope they read your column – it would give them something to think about.

Jim Bennings
8 Posted 01/05/2017 at 09:16:40
It's been a relatively steady but frustrating season, let's be honest.

Looking at the inconsistencies of the two Manchester clubs and the way Arsenal are these days, it's much again like last season "what could have been" in terms of getting fourth place.

We have steadied the home form but, rather disappointingly, you look back over the season and still see too many of the old Everton habits which pretty much makes you realise that, no matter what manager is here, there's only so far you can take this current squad before the limitations are laid bare.

We went out of both Cups in weak fashion, lost both Merseyside derbies, still look totally in awe and fear of the better bigger teams especially away from home and our away form in general has been awful, some terrible performances.

I think he's got a big job on, Koeman, perhaps far bigger than he realised and I think, when Lukaku goes (24 goals yet embarrassingly nobody else got more than FOUR!!) Koeman is going to have to get it right finding the replacement.

I'd cut my losses with Barkley now too.

Its obvious he's not the answer for a club wanting top four challenges; yet again yesterday he failed to take the game by the scruff of the neck and we saw at the opposite end what a "world class" player can do when Pedro stuck one in the top corner, while Barkley just runs down blind alleys.

That's just it really with Barkley, he doesn't run with the ball anymore, he doesn't run, he doesn't shoot. At least in his first season under Martinez he did those things but, since the end of that 13-14 campaign he's regressed.

Koeman needs to quickly work out what he's going to be doing and get to work; no extended summer holiday this year.

Eddie Dunn
9 Posted 01/05/2017 at 09:27:23
Gana, of course was feted for his energetic shadowing of Hazard, however he blotted his copybook with that needless foul and his lame effort in the mini wall.

Pedro, on the other hand seemed to have been given the freedom of Goodison. Once we were behind the belief seemed to drain out of this team.

So often we watch an 18-year-old show more drive and aggression than any of his seasoned fellow pros.

Barkley was perhaps trying too hard and despite his early missed passes, did grow into the game, but in a deeper roll, from where he rarely looked dangerous.

I did disagree with Gary Neville on Sky though, who berated Ross for not getting the pass through to Lukaku. Lukaku ran a line that made it impossible, too close to Barkley with a close marker between them.

The thing that grabbed me, as illustrated in Ken's report, was how flat it seemed, both on the park and in the stands. Why is it that, with the Champions elect coming to play, and the memory of our worst drubbing of the season to gain revenge for, can all and sundry put in such a half-baked effort?

Brent Stephens
10 Posted 01/05/2017 at 09:35:06
Good report, Professor Buckley, as ever. Loved the line about Ross and Rom – Eurovision Song Contest being their best way into Europe!
John Raftery
11 Posted 01/05/2017 at 09:52:28
A fair account of the game, Ken. As you say, Chelsea's interchanging of positions at pace opened us up in the second half.

Gana did a competent job man marking Hazard but they also had Pedro and Costa popping up across our back line plus Matic and the two wing backs making runs into our area. With Gana out of his normal position, we had no holding midfielders to shield our back four.

Given the players we had available, I thought our team did as well as we could have expected. Coleman, Schneiderlin, Bolasie and McCarthy might have made a difference but I think Chelsea would still have won against our first choice eleven.

Our play was too slow when we gained possession with Barkley's procrastination often at the root of our problems. Tom Davies showed energy, guile and courage in midfield but as a unit we were rarely able to stretch the Chelsea defence with Lukaku reduced to chasing hopeful balls aimed in his general direction.

There is no shame in losing to a team of their quality but the game served to emphasise how much of a gap there is between the two clubs. Chelsea were able to bring on Willian and Fabregas in the last 10 minutes, two players who would walk into our team and probably any Premier League team below the top two.

As 7th place is now sown up, I hope Koeman persists with his use of the younger players. Kenny, Dowell and Walsh have done enough at Under-23 level to earn a chance in at least one of the remaining games. It would give them a useful taste of first team action especially as they will likely to be required on 27th July for the opening game in the Europa League.

Danny Broderick
12 Posted 01/05/2017 at 09:55:34
We need to overhaul the attacking options. If we could get some pace, power and workrate in the final third, we can finish in the top 6 next season.

The biggest problem we have is our attack. We don't have a striker who can hold the ball up in attack so that we retain possession. And we have no-one to win it back high up the pitch when we don't have it.

Personally, I would sell Lukaku and Barkley. I would love us to have more options in attack next season. We would be able to bring in Rooney, Vardy, Sigurdsson and Zaha to replace them. Get us a keeper and a centre half and we would be knocking on the door of the top 4.

Christopher Timmins
13 Posted 01/05/2017 at 10:14:38
Ken, sorry to hear that the trip to London was such a wash-out last week. Yesterday's game was hardly heart stopping but for 60 minutes we were competitive. With 7th spot in the bag and 6th just looking out of reach, it's hard to see where the motivation will come from over the next three games.

The table does not lie after 35 games, we are a long way off Chelsea and Spurs, a bit behind the three other North West clubs, close enough to Arsenal and a long way ahead of the rest.

We are a more organised team than 12 months ago and that will show itself in our points tally.


Steve Hogan
14 Posted 01/05/2017 at 10:29:53
Danny (#12),

What makes you think the four players you mentioned would automatically be available in the summer for Everton? Insider knowledge?

Paul Kennedy
15 Posted 01/05/2017 at 10:43:03
Is Schneiderlin scared to face the big teams? He's always injured before the games that matter – Liverpool, Man Utd, Chelsea... I did not really expect to win but it would have been nice to put up a show.

As far as I am concerned, and I know others will be entitled to their own opinion, I would let Lukaku go for whatever best price we can get. I know he is the Premier League's top scorer but he really is not that good.

As for Barkley, take whatever we can get – he is never going to be the player we all hope and, as it stands, he is mediocre at best!

The good thing to come from the last couple of performances is no one if fooled that the current group of players are good enough to move the club to the next level.

On a positive note, great to be in Europe next season!

Russ Quinlan
16 Posted 01/05/2017 at 11:00:11
Yesterday really showed up two things: first of all how much further we have to go to be able to compete for a top 4 place but also how far we have come since even the end of last season.

I always hate us getting beat, whatever the circumstances and the following hours are always a nightmare because, if I had a dog, it would have received numerous kickings,

However, I have just compared last season's Table to how this season currently stands.

We currently have 11 points more now than the end of last season and hopefully that will improve more by the end.

We are a comfortable 7th, where last season we finished tied with Swansea on 11th (and only 10 points above the Bar Codes who got relegated) having scored 59 goals with a massive 54 goals against, compared to 40 now.

That shows how much the defence has improved and even though most of us still think we need new (younger) faces in the back 4 there is no doubt we have improved and, thinking back to some of the atrocious games at Goodison last season, I think we tend to forget how much better we are now, most of the time !

We are currently 3rd in the home League Form Table, losing 2 compared to 8 last season and 5 the season before, and 9th in the away Table where we have only won 4 so far where we won 5 the previous 2 seasons.

I think when Koeman came in, the first thing we wanted him to do was make Goodison Park a Fortress again so that watching home games was more pleasurable for us punters then the previous 2 seasons and with the exception of a couple of games I think that has been achieved albeit with limited resources (so far).

The next step is to strengthen the squad (which we all know) and realistically push more for a top-4 place which will mean better away form and hopefully a good showing in the Cups.

Martinez held up the "Two Semi-Finals" card as an achievement, but it means nothing because we never looked like getting to the finals and even if we did, do you think his team would have competed? I for one would rather lose in earlier rounds instead of a Final, that is gut wrenching.

We are now also back in Europe and I'm sure Koeman knows how many more players he will need to compete on that front as well as all the domestic fronts.

I get really frustrated whenever we lose (yesterday was an example even though I think most of us knew!) look at the squads yesterday, incomparable!

But we have progressed compared to the dross we used to watch where sideways tippy tappy crap was the order of the day. It's taken Koeman a season to stead the ship and it will be interesting to watch the Transfer Window because a lot rests on how it goes. I'm sure the Club want to build on the progress so far as it would be criminal to let that progression fall away, but I am hopeful, certainly more than I was with Martinez, that the long term future is brighter than it was during Martinez's last two seasons – well, I hope it is anyway!!

Geoff Williams
17 Posted 01/05/2017 at 11:15:02
I start to believe in the hype surrounding Koeman – then I see Kone entering the field of play...
Barry Pearce
18 Posted 01/05/2017 at 11:22:25
Sadly, I have to agree with Peter (#3).
Brian Williams
19 Posted 01/05/2017 at 11:24:43
Geoff (#17),

As my auld aunt Betty used to say, "You can only piss with the cock you've got."

Kevin Turner
20 Posted 01/05/2017 at 11:42:34
Further evidence if indeed it was needed that whilst Koeman has made some good progress there is still a huge gulf in class between us and the likes of Spurs and Chelsea.

Goalie plus two centre halves urgently required. Jags can't go on forever and Williams is not the answer having regressed over the second half of the season. Robles and Stekelenburg are just good back ups and not Number 1s. Break the bank for Buckland or Hart.

Baines looks spent, I lost count of the times he passed backwards or sideways. That might be due to the lack of a partner on that side to replace Pienaar but time isn't on his side.

As for the thorny question of what we are going do with Lukaku and Barkley, I'd cash in now. Rom's value may never be higher and Ross isn't developing as much as his peers. This might be and probably is as good as it gets for him. Look at Dele Alli and how he's come on. To think there was a time we'd say Ross was a better player. He is ponderous on the ball nowadays all little drag backs and changes of direction but to little useful purpose. Ross, the goal is that way mate, at the end opposite our goal.

As for Rom I actually feel sorry for him at times as he's left up top on his own chasing lost causes. His hold-up play is shite and makes a mockery of the world class tag he attracts. He obviously wants away so let's take the brass and ask Walsh to earn his corn by finding us someone else with a lot more commitment to the cause.

Brian Murphy
21 Posted 01/05/2017 at 12:05:48
Great post as per usual, Ken.

I refrained from posting yesterday as I wanted to give a measured view on events and not an emotional one.

Yesterday really just reaffirmed where we are right now. Chelsea are a far superior team than us but then they are far superior to all bar Spurs. There's a top 2 this year and they look far better than all other teams in the league. Then there's the next 5 teams and we are in that group and that is real progress no matter how you look at it. We are 8 points behind 3rd and 14 ahead off 8th so that's good progress.

Next season is going to be a big one and I think we need to move on Rom or it's just going to be like trying to hold onto a girlfriend that's not that into you. Cut the cord, get the cash in (before the end of the month by the way) and reinvest asap. No point in getting the money in July/August and stat hung around when all of the top teams have there business done and all their new recruits are on preseason tours with them.

Also on Barkley I have been one of his biggest fans and we all want him to do well; sadly I think he need to move him on. He slows our play, seems to lose concentration way to easily which leads to giving the ball away and putting us under lots of pressure, this happened twice in the first half yesterday and better execution from Chelsea and they would have scored. He's had enough chances at this stage and he's never going to be the player we want him to be.

This of course leads to another challenge for Koeman. If we sell our 2 prized assists and get £100 odd million in and we also add £50M to that that means we can bring in 4-5 really top quality players. Problem is they will need time to settle and for me that means we won't make the big leap we all hope next year and it will be year 3 before we see real progress.

Ah well I'm an Evertonian, what's another year, eh?

Danny Broderick
22 Posted 01/05/2017 at 12:37:12
Steve (14),

No insider knowledge I'm afraid, but I feel they are realistic targets for us. We are the only club in the Premier League that Rooney would go to. We should be in the mix for Sigurdsson too.

I feel we would be able to attract the likes of Vardy and Zaha. Their clubs are not in Europe. Zaha and Bolasie provided great width for Palace a few years ago. He has found his form again after a poor couple of years.

Finally, I would love Vardy at Everton. He would probably cost no more than 㿊 million, but the way Koeman wants us to play would suit his game.

Wishful thinking anyway, but it's clear where the improvements need to be made in the team for me. If we can get 3 attacking players and a keeper in the summer, I'll be happy. If we can get a centre-half as well, that will be a big improvement.

David Hallwood
23 Posted 01/05/2017 at 12:43:02
Great report, Ken.

Nice one, Brian Williams (#19) – my gran also had some saying that would make the vicar blush!

Brian (#21) with regards Ross, I think he's a confidence player when he's on it he's good, but when he isn't.... And that isn't good enough for a top flight player and one, if we're to believe the stories, wants Champions League football.

The old saying when the going gets tough, has never been more relevant because I paid close attention to his game yesterday, and it was obvious he didn't want the ball, he didn't want to commit and most of the time was sitting about 10 yards off the play.

A hugely frustrating player given the one we saw that ran through the Newcastle defence to score one of the great goals, now just looks a shadow of his former self. Maybe he needs to move on, possibly to Europe, and as long as we invest the money wisely it'll be win-win.

I posted on another thread that Koeman must be seeing what we are, remembering that he played with some of the great attacking midfielders, and perhaps will move him on anyway.

Charles Barrow
24 Posted 01/05/2017 at 12:53:09
Koeman needs to play Barkley higher up the pitch – he's lost in a deeper role. We desperately need some options in attack – a real partner for Lukaku if he stays or if he goes, a main focus for the attack.

Kone, Calvert-Lewin etc aren't good enough. A couple of top strikers needed (and two young centre-halves – Martinez shouldn't have got rid of Duffy).

Andrew Clare
25 Posted 01/05/2017 at 12:54:47
We have progressed well under Ronald Koeman. I agree with the comments above on the whole, I would just add that in order to compete with the group above us we will have to sign at least 4 players of outstanding ability along with another 4 or 5 good squad players.

We know the positions in question, a goalkeeper, centre of defence, attacking midfielder and striker of the highest quality are required. It won't be easy as the best will want Champions League football.

Paul Birmingham
26 Posted 01/05/2017 at 13:18:13
Good calls, and the club must make some decisive decisions soon, this preseason we wont have much time to bond and build up with any new players.

The club needs a clear line of sight in terms of new players and I think soon this make over includes a new captain; Jags has been a good servant but we need a General on the park who leads by example with a vociferous controlled presence.

I'm content to say that there's been good times at Goodison but these were 30 years ago, but if we are to really break the mould this preseason is the time to start.

Moshiri and The Board and Koeman if they are serious that this time we need the finished items, which will be a hell of a challenge, and time is of the essence.

I hope the last few games don't become slumberland matches by Everton, there's pride, and futures to play for.


Paul Holmes
27 Posted 01/05/2017 at 13:53:46
I read some of the posts on here and sometimes I have to check my own sanity to see if I am watching the same game. Lukaku is the Premier League's top goalscorer and he is playing for Everton! That's right – the 7th best team in the league has got the top goalscorer!

If Lukaku can score that many goals with a supply line of no wingers and rubbish Ross Barkley, how many goals could he score in team with proper creative players, Hazard, Alli, Courtinho, Sanchez, De Bruynne etc.. etc.. – he would be in the 30 to 40 goal bracket a season!

Lukaku at 23 years old is worth 𧴜 million to a top team.

Eddie Dunn
28 Posted 01/05/2017 at 14:21:38
Some very measured contributions above, from Brian Murphy and others. I am frustrated with Ross Barkley but wonder if, because we are all aware of how good he can be going forward, that we kind of resent it when he plays in a deeper role.

It could be that with Calvert-Lewin, Valencia and Rom up field that Koeman had instructed Ross to play deeper.

I too have come to the reluctant conclusion that his play holds us back more often than it actually benefits us. Yesterday he put a cracking early ball in for Calvert-Lewin but soon was misplacing passes, or trying to play the pass that wasn't on. He has played okay this season but we judge him by a different measure to most of the others.

I think it would be better for him to have a fresh start, somewhere else, out of the Goodison goldfish bowl.

I also look forward to the departure of Lukaku. I want to see the money reinvested, and the likes of Sigurdsson, Rooney, and Vardy would all give 100%.

John Raftery
29 Posted 01/05/2017 at 15:21:05
Interesting to read some people see Vardy and Rooney as players we should invest in. One is 31 next January and the other 32 in October. Neither will have any resale value.

Both would essentially be short term acquisitions. Both would need to be replaced after two years if not before. Neither would represent a sensible use of our resources at a time when most fans would like to see us reduce the size of our over-30 brigade.

Sigurdsson is 27 and would appear be a good investment. Potentially he would offer us 5 years service and would be an upgrade on what we have at present.

Paul Thompson
31 Posted 01/05/2017 at 17:04:21
I don't normally listen to, let alone take any notice of, MoTD pundits, but they made two good points about our play.

First, the midfield played too high up the pitch, allowing Chelsea to continually run through with the ball. Gana normally blocks them, but was shadowing Hazard and Schneiderlin was, unfortunately, injured.

Second, we missed some really good opportunities to slip the ball through to Lukaku in dangerous positions. He is far from immune to criticism, but feed him the right ball and he will score.

Only Davies emerged with much credit from that performance, which, as others have noted, merely underlines the gulf in class. It's a recurrent cliche, but a big summer coming up.

Eddie Dunn
32 Posted 01/05/2017 at 17:11:52
John Raftery (#29). I know these players are getting on but for all of the talk about youth and potential, there comes a point in time when you just need some people in, who you know can do a job, even if it is for a year or two. We have plenty of young kids vying for places already.

Vardy is a fit as a butcher's dog and Rooney has nous, and would help all of our squad because he is a winner, has experience and despite his age, would be coveted by most teams in the Premier League.

Also, top targets in their early /mid twenties cost top money and will be earmarked by more attractive clubs than us, so let's go and get what we can. If Walsh can unearth some from under the radar too, then I would be pleased with a few tried and tested older heads.

Jack Convery
33 Posted 01/05/2017 at 17:26:55
Great report as always, Ken. New quality blood required.

We must buy Butland (cash plus Robles), Van Dijk (cash plus Funes Mori), Vardy – straight cash, and Sigurdsson – straight cash. If Man Utd want Lukaku, we get Rooney, Mata and dosh please. If he goes to Chelsea, we want Ake plus cash lots of cash. If Ross goes to Spurs, and I think he will, we want Trippier and 㿀m.

Can't wait for 17-18 – Bring it on !!!

Peter Roberts
34 Posted 01/05/2017 at 17:31:17
When Schneiderlin doesn't play, Barkley struggles.
Danny Broderick
35 Posted 01/05/2017 at 18:14:06
We need some players for now. The future is important, and I am hoping Steve Walsh will unearth some gems but, if we sell Lukaku, we will need to get proven quality in to replace him.

Hopefully Deulofeu has played his way into Koeman's plans with his performances for AC Milan and Spain in the last few months...

Geoff Williams
36 Posted 01/05/2017 at 18:21:59
Koeman selected a team and a system to contain Chelsea and not to beat them. Once they scored, his plans went up in smoke.
Phil Walling
37 Posted 01/05/2017 at 19:52:49
The experience with Martinez proves there is no guarantee that we shall improve season by season. Lose Lukaku's goals and we could well be scurrying round with the likes of Stoke and Watford next time round.

All the talk of monster signings is just talk and Walsh has shown that whilst he can sniff out a promising lower-order figure, he is lost when it comes to assessing much more than West Ham reserves.

Make no mistake, next season will see all clubs improve their rosters no end and lo beware those who don't get the cream of the crop. The gulf between the quality of the Sky Six and the Sorry Seventh already looks a chasm and even holding on to that 'also-ran' spot' may well be beyond us as Thursday night football also has to be accommodated.

Jay Wood
38 Posted 01/05/2017 at 20:51:49
Phil @ 37:

"The gulf between the quality of the Sky Six and the Sorry Seventh already looks a chasm and even holding on to that 'also-ran' spot' may well be beyond us as Thursday night football also has to be accommodated."

Doom and gloom hyperbole.

We are streets ahead of 8th place (14 points clear of WBA who are on 44 points – a mere 12 points ahead of occupying one of the relegation spots).

Ten clubs with a span of a just 10 points occupy positions 8-17. These are the truly 'also-rans.' Everton is not among them.

As others have noted, the 'Sorry Seventh' as you describe it means we are (currently) the poorest in the top 7 elite in the league. Chelsea and Spurs are way over the horizon from the rest, but the other 5 are tightly bunched. Eight points separate Liverpool in 3rd to us in 7th. That is not 'a chasm.'

Looking at the results of matches only between this elite 7 clubs, Liverpool lead the way with 23 points, Chelsea next with 22, then Spurs on 16. The rest are closely bunched – Man Utd 12, Man City 11, the Blues 10 and really dragging up the rear, the Arsenal with just 6 points.

That suggests it only needs 2-3 games more going in our favour and we are in with a shout to leap-frog over some of our fellow 'elite.'

It is Koeman's first season. We had a dreadful winless run ahead of Christmas. We have not been consistently good over a run of games, or even across the 90 minutes of a single game. And yet... the numbers – home form, goals scored, goals conceded, goal difference and points tally -– are all markedly improved. Opportunities were missed to gain another place or two in the standings this season. Arsenal can even now, still be reeled in.

Not hard to do, but I have a far more optimistic view than you Phil of where we are and where we could be in another 12 months.

Jim Bennings
39 Posted 01/05/2017 at 21:14:00
Danny,

Don't hold your breath on Koeman bringing back Deulofeu, mate, the manager clearly doesn't do out and out wingers which is why I found his signing of Bolasie strange because, since we've lost Bolasie, Koeman has released Geri and ignored Lennon even when he's been fit!

Yesterday we saw him play two square pegs in round holes on the flank, Valencia and Calvert-Lewin are just not wingers.

For my worth in this, I think Koeman has done more harm than good by not having wingers in away games where we have been crying out for some attacking guile and our inability get behind opponents smacks you in the face.

Jim Bennings
40 Posted 01/05/2017 at 21:20:59
Martinez's teams may not have been able to defend but last season it's no coincidence we scored three goals in SIX different away games and one of the reasons was the productivity we got from the flanks in Lennon, who was in rich form after Christmas last year, and to an extent as a substitute Deulofeu (remember those pinged passes through the middle for Lukaku?).

I'm no means saying Lennon and Deulofeu are the future but there's no ignoring the fact that, in away games this season, we look very very narrow and look unlikely to create many chances at all – let alone score many.

Chris Williams
41 Posted 01/05/2017 at 21:39:07
I as far as I'm aware, Lennon is injured currently. He is unavailable.
Dave Abrahams
42 Posted 02/05/2017 at 00:47:09
Jay (#38),

I love your optimism but please don't under estimate the damage being in the Europa League can do to Everton's performances in the Premier League next season.

I have already written off Everton's chances of finishing in the top four next season because of us being involved in the 'Handicap League'. I really hope I am wrong but can't see that I will be.

John Pierce
43 Posted 02/05/2017 at 01:36:10
Some debate about the Europa League and its value.

Well I'm in favour mostly – it allows us to attract better players, assuming we make the group stages.

Whilst people rightly say it can affect you league placing, I say ensure we have the recruitment to cope with, and not at the expense of the League Cup. I won't tolerate it. Be smart in the group stages for sure. You need to win three games.

So that segues into recruitment, I expect most of the squad to remain apart from the absolute dross.

I do expect numbers and I think most will be inducted into the side via the League Cup and Europa League.

Jay Wood
44 Posted 02/05/2017 at 02:19:33
Dave @ 42.

The debate about the 'burden' of the Europa League is one that frequently raises its head on these pages.

Step back and think a little. Quite clearly, there is no longer a closed shop at the top of the league with the same 4 clubs – Man Utd, Arsenal, Chelsea and the pinkies – all virtually guaranteed a Champions League place. First City put an end to that, then Spurs, and now we (as Spurs were just 3-4 seasons ago) are on the fringes.

Again, looking at the league table there is quite clearly an elite 7 clubs a good measure ahead of the other 13 clubs. Three of that elite 7 are ALWAYS going to miss out on the Champions League.

Whilst the Europa League is a lesser competition with poorer prize money, the very minimum of the elite 7 is to qualify for Europe. Everton simply MUST compete in Europe, year in, year out, if we are going to have any chance of realizing our ambitions of being 'a player' again.

Any and every game played in either of the European competitions improves a club's co-efficiency ranking, which helps ensure (with a high enough ranking) a higher seeding and potentially a more favourable draw which in turn can help a team go further in the competition.

It can become a virtuous circle in which our co-efficiency ranking spirals ever upwards.

As to the potential negative impact balancing European games with the domestic league, that is the challenge Moshiri and Koeman face in ensuring we have a deeper, stronger squad than at present.

Sunday's game was a stark reminder of how far we still have to go to (as I say...) be 'a player' again.

When we can come close to matching Chelsea's bench (Begovic, Zouma, Batshuayi, Chalobah, Fabregas and Willian), rather than Robles, Barry, Lookman, Pennington, Kenny, Mirallas and Kone, we'll be getting there.

In the interim, we should embrace the European experience and learn – as other WINNING English clubs have – to balance it and still remain successful in the domestic league and cups.

Embrace the challenge. Don't shy away from it.

John Pierce
45 Posted 02/05/2017 at 03:21:11
Jay, obviously you used 800 gazillion words but pretty spot on that. With the added prize of Champions League for the winners, an ambitious side looking to break into the hegemony is the model we seek: Sevilla.
Kevin Gillen
46 Posted 02/05/2017 at 10:23:33
Some great comments, spot on. I would like to make two observations.

One, that Calvert-Lewin has some gas!! He was our best player in the first 20 minutes.

Two, the referee should have sent Costa off before they scored, he warned him for simulation then stood right over him as he did it again and let him off!! Small margins in the big games.

If I were to make a third point it would be about Barkley, that boy needs some competition for his place! You can't stink the house out two weeks on the trot, even if you are playing in a deeper position because of injury, his passing was dire.

And before anyone says "Don't be negative about him," I really want him to succeed as much as any Evertonian does.

Bob Parrington
47 Posted 02/05/2017 at 10:26:29
Jay (#44) – Well put.

Just might have an issue with this depending on exactly what you mean. "Again, looking at the league table there is quite clearly an elite 7 clubs a good measure ahead of the other 13 clubs. Three of that elite 7 are ALWAYS going to miss out on the Champions League."

Are you suggesting that "any three" of that elite 7 are ALWAYS going to miss out on the Champions League? OR that the same three will? I think and hope that you mean any 3 of the 7, in which case I have no problem with your thought process.

Jim Bennings
48 Posted 02/05/2017 at 10:41:32
Kevin,

"Calvert-Lewin has some gas he was our best player for 20 minutes."

So he burnt himself out after 20 minutes,... sounds much like the reason Deulofeu was crucified for??

Kevin Gillen
49 Posted 02/05/2017 at 11:06:09
Jim (#8), we didn't really play well offensively and the lad has a lot to learn no doubt. I suppose my point is, you can see why Koeman rates him.

As for Deulofeu, I've been watching him in Italy. I would love him to come back to Everton.

Steve Jones
50 Posted 02/05/2017 at 11:50:39
It's been blindingly obvious that we've been crying out for a decent Keeper, a genuine Number 10 and a proven goal scoring back up striker for a good few years now to anyone with even a passing interest in Everton.

Not sorting these positions out last summer was bad enough taking into account Koeman needed to "assess the squad". (A 2 minute conversation with any Evertonian would have been enough to glean that information... hang on – isn't Kenwright an Evertonian? Maybe he could have mentioned it?) But not sorting out in January now we have the financial muscle is unforgivable.

It was also a huge mistake allowing Deulofeu (the man who has created more chances for Lukaku than anyone else in the last few years and has the genuine ability to change games) to go out on loan when Bolasie was already out for the rest of the season and we had only unproven kids aside from the inconsistent Mirallas and Lennon (who Koeman clearly has no time for) to play on the wings in our front 3.

So I may be in the the minority here but these are the reasons I think Koeman and the much lauded Walsh are culpable for costing us a tilt at the top 4. Yet again, another season wasted, and it's back to the drawing board.

Jim Bennings
51 Posted 02/05/2017 at 12:13:30
Steve

Totally agreed!

Koeman has done some good things but he's hung himself with allowing the team to exist since January with no serious pace out wide and every winger either injured, out of favour or out on loan.

Deulofeu was not that bad to be shipped on loan; he was erratic (most wingers are) but he could have been a different option off the bench in away games where we look clueless and statuesque.

Even in the Semi-Final last season it was Deulofeu's introduction which sparked some belief and he created the goal.

The way we are so narrow, and we will have the same debate this Saturday at Swansea no doubt when we offer a meek threat, I just don't like the way we are so narrow and I hope it's not a path that Koeman wants to always take.

Ian Hollingworth
52 Posted 02/05/2017 at 12:21:33
Didn't we have the same debates when Deulofeu was in the team? It is not like we were competing for the top 4 when he was in the team.

I agree our biggest problems are goalkeeper, No.10 and 2 new strikers. Oh and we also need at least one commanding centre-back. That would be just for starters if we really have the financial clout.

Sadly, I fear we may all be a little disappointed come the summer.

Anthony Hawkins
53 Posted 02/05/2017 at 12:28:53
I'm not sure it's all down to Koeman. Koeman asks for the players and it's Walsh and others who open the discussions with the clubs and players.

We suffered in the summer with not having Walsh in place from the start. January was a bit better but I fully expect Walsh to prove his worth this summer, bringing in some proper quality. If not, he has to go.

Lukaku can score but he's not done it against the top 4 and that's where he needs to be proving himself if he's to be the self-titled world class player.

Steve Jones
54 Posted 02/05/2017 at 12:58:09
Jim (#51) – Yes, I agree Deulofeu could definitely have made a difference, every game he plays he creates chances and he did not deserve to be sent out a loan.

Ian (#52) – I would much rather have seen Deulofeu come off the bench on Saturday than Kone. As Jim says in away games Deulofeu could have made a big difference, especially in the numerous draws we've had.

Bottom line is we are weaker without him and he should only have been allowed to go out on loan if someone better in his position had been brought in the January window.

Dave Abrahams
55 Posted 02/05/2017 at 13:13:14
Jay (42), I take on board your argument that the more we play in all Europe competitions the better our seeding will become for future years in Europe.

That's fair enough but, the way Everton are at the moment, I'd prefer Everton not to be in the Europa League next season; it will definitely hamper us in getting in the position to be able to qualify for Europe in 2018-19.

That is just my opinion and I understand thousands of our supporters will be itching to travel abroad and see us perform there, so good luck to them.

Matthew Williams
56 Posted 02/05/2017 at 14:15:36
Barkley was never a midfielder – give him his wish and play him upfront!!!
Paul Kossoff
57 Posted 02/05/2017 at 14:21:04
Keeper and ex-Blue, John Ruddy, just released by Norwich... Only 30 – should we get him?
Paul Ward
58 Posted 02/05/2017 at 15:16:17
Dave Abrahams (#42) ,

I agree 100%. The Europa league is detrimental to your chances of a top league position in the EPL, unless you have a monster squad.

Thursday Europa games means hardly any Saturday matches. Tired players, excessive traveling. For what? They won't win it.

Surely we would have been better, free of this Mickey Mouse Europa League to try to make the top 4 next season and qualify for the real thing.

Chris Williams
59 Posted 02/05/2017 at 15:25:14
I cannot remember too many occasions when Deulofeu has made a difference in a match on a regular basis in recent times. In his first season, yes... but not so often since.

I do recall him going off, knackered after an hour, or falling over looking for fouls repeatedly, to the aggravation of the Goodison faithful, on many occasions.

A major disappointment to be sure, but behave yourself; not for Everton on any recent series of performances.

Another one who didn't live up to his potential, sadly.

Shane Corcoran
60 Posted 02/05/2017 at 15:30:41
Steve (#54), might it be that the required quality of player to make a go at the Top 4 wasn't available in January? Why would such a player sign for a mid-table club in January?

From Koeman's point of view, perhaps he took the longer term view of waiting for the summer rather than be stuck with the lad he buys in January and then the subsequent fella that he really wanted in the summer.

Mike Gaynes
61 Posted 02/05/2017 at 16:00:09
Steve (#54), say what???

"Every game he plays, he creates chances."

You're clearly working off distant memories of Deulofeu, because your TV has apparently been out of order since the start of this season.

Appearances: 11
Goals: 0
Assists: 0
Chances created: 0
Through balls: 0
Shots on goal: 3

I'll bet you can't cite a single good moment for Geri since last May. He was an absolute disaster this season, and never has a player more "deserved" to be sent out on loan.

Brian Furey
62 Posted 02/05/2017 at 16:12:02
Dave @55 – you made me laugh out loud though I presume you didn't mean to... You said "being in the Europa League will hamper us qualifying for Europe the following year."

Is that the same as saying winning the title like Leicester did last year will have a detrimental effect on them doing well the following year and so they're better off not winning it at all? :-)

I presume you mean qualifying for the Champions League in 2018-19 but, in realistic terms, do you really think we're in a position to play Champions League football?

Look how poor Spurs, Arsenal and even Man City were this year in the Champions League and we are quite a bit behind those clubs. Look how tough it is for Arsenal, Liverpool, Man Utd and Man City to make that 4th place this year.

I think we need a few seasons of finishing in the Europa League places or winning a cup before we even think of getting into Champions League football.

Champions League teams play on Tuesday or Wednesday nights and then play Premier League games on Saturdays. Europa League teams have Thursday and Sunday games, so it's the same time-frame between games.

I for one would be happy to miss out every 2nd year if we were making progress in Europe like Seville did.

I notice the AC Milan fans are beginning to get fed up with Deulofeu lately as they are accusing him of diving too much and being a one-trick pony who is better suited on the right rather than the left where they have been playing him.

I agree, though, he would have been a handy player to have on the bench but that was his problem – he wasn't happy on the bench and had basically stopped playing for the manager to force a move. As soon as he moved, he started playing much better again and working much harder.

Dave Abrahams
63 Posted 02/05/2017 at 16:12:43
Mike, have a look at Everton's goal versus Leicester in the FA Cup in January.
Mike Gaynes
64 Posted 02/05/2017 at 16:13:20
Matthew (#56), amen!!!! Unfortunately, it will never happen.

Paul (#57) we need a #1 keeper, and unfortunately that's not Ruddy. He couldn't even keep his #1 place for Norwich this season... lost out to Michael McGovern. Unless both Robles and Stekelenburg are gone, I wouldn't even look at him as a #2.

Dave Abrahams
65 Posted 02/05/2017 at 16:26:19
Brian (#62), I don't really follow your logic regarding Leicester City, but you are quite correct – I did mean Everton qualifying for the Champions League in 2018-19.

By the way, Brian, I think if Everton had signed a good quality forward in January, we would have had a good chance of getting in the top four this season, although I have to agree with you in that we are not really ready at the present time.

Jay Harris
66 Posted 02/05/2017 at 16:32:45
I don't know why we keep harping back to failed or has-been players. We have come on this site moaning for years about our underachieving squad with no winners and some of you want to go with nostalgia.

The problems with the likes of Geri and Ross are well documented. They are far too inconsistent even in the same game.

The problem with the likes of Barry and Rooney is that their engines have gone and they are not physically up to the rigours of the Premier League.

Look to success for our role models.

Spurs = full of youth and athleticism.

Chelsea = full of skill, class and goalscoring ability.

Compare Erikson, Son, Delle Alli (although I hate to say it), Hazard, Pedro, Willan and we look at Ross, Geri an so on who collectively score a handful of goals compared to their equivalents at Spurs and Chelsea.

Jay Harris
67 Posted 02/05/2017 at 16:34:23
Sorry meant to add, Great report as always, Ken – and what a beaut about the Eurovision Song Contest!
Mike Gaynes
68 Posted 02/05/2017 at 16:34:37
Dave #63, OK, yes, I will give you that one. His only good five seconds of the season.

And then he just flat-out quit on Musa's gamewinner... was tracking his dribble, then simply stopped dead and put his thumb in his mouth while Musa cut in, took the return pass and knocked us out.

Since Geri was shipped out we've lost three games out of 15. I say we haven't missed him a bit. Wouldn't be at all opposed to bringing him back next season to see if his time in Serie A has matured him a little, because the talent is definitely there, but he stunk for us this season, no two ways about it.

Matthew Williams
69 Posted 02/05/2017 at 17:32:34
It starts with the League Cup; win that, then onto the Europa League... win that, then onto the Super Cup... win that, it means you can compete with the real big boys.

Then on to the Champions League, having bagged 3 Cups already... that we sadly have have never won in our history.

Koeman has to win the League Cup... or Goodbye!!!

Ian Jones
70 Posted 02/05/2017 at 17:58:34
Hi Matthew. We did win the European Cup Winners Cup a few years back but I take your point..

I don't necessarily think the Manager has to win the League Cup. I'd go straight for the Premier League title. That's the one that would satisfy me. If Leicester can win it, we can. Just need to play adventurously and hope for the best.

Jay Wood
71 Posted 02/05/2017 at 18:36:29
Dave @ 55:

"The way Everton are at the moment, I'd prefer Everton not to be in the Europa League next season; it will definitely hamper us in getting in the position to be able to qualify for Europe [I presume you meant Champions League..?] in 2018-19."

You see, that is flawed thinking for me, Dave. We have finished top 4 ONCE in the history of the Premier League. You cannot cherry-pick your opportunities in life, never mind within the Premier League.

There is no guilt-edged guarantee we will qualify top 4 next season (with or without European football). So why pass up the opportunity we have NOW to learn how to balance domestic competitions with European involvement?

It could even be a pathway to the Champions League's fatted cow if you win the Europa League.

To not embrace the challenge is one way to ensure Everton NEVER improve from "the way they are at the moment."

Dave Ganley
72 Posted 02/05/2017 at 19:26:38
Get sick and tired of these excuses about the Europa League before it even starts. What happens if we ever manage to qualify for the Champions League? Do we not want to be in that as we play twice a week?

Say it often enough and it becomes a ready-made excuse for the team not to perform after a Thursday game. We are not remotely ready for Champions League but we need to get used to European competition and the Europa League is ideal for that.

If it wasn't for the likes of Manchester United deciding that the Europa League was beneath them, then we wouldn't have all this nonsense about not worth being in it. Winning becomes a habit and, when you are winning, then it doesn't matter how thick and fast games come. Lose and it's a ready-made excuse.

I've seen some cracking games in the Europa League and its precursor, the Uefa Cup, none more so than Fiorentina at Goodison Park. Personally I can't wait for it and neither will the fans who go, home and away.

Brian Harrison
73 Posted 02/05/2017 at 20:18:47
Dave,

My problem with the Europa League is that Uefa decided that they didn't want anything to distract from their beloved Champions League, but felt they needed to replace both the Uefa Cup and the Cup Winners Cup.

So we have this competition which, because it can't clash with any Champions League games, has to be played on a Thursday night. Which means all league games following the Europa League have to be played on a Sunday.

While playing in the competition certainly helps in building our knowledge of European football, it does really pale into insignificance compared to the Champions League matches. I also think that UEFA have made a mockery of the competition by allowing 3rd-placed teams from the Champions League groups enter the Europa League.

Dave Abrahams
74 Posted 02/05/2017 at 21:19:42
Jay. (71), it should have been obvious I meant the Champions League – why would I want them to qualify for The Europa League when I am against it?

You are correct, we have only finished once in the top four since the start of The Premier League; most of that time, Kenwright has been on the Board or Chairman. I'm hoping that we will start to perform a lot better now Moshiri is in charge of the club, hopefully starting this Summer.

By the way, each to his own, you want Everton in the Europa League; I'd prefer them not to... doesn't mean I will not be going to the home games in this competition or that I will not want them to do well, even win it.

All I'm saying, and I've said it a lot, is don't be surprised if it sets our Premier League performances and results back.

Mike Gaynes
76 Posted 02/05/2017 at 21:35:07
Dave (#75), the way I look at it, we can take the chance, especially if we're able to add to the squad depth during the summer.

If European competition had cost us four wins this year, we'd still be 7th. We're up 24 on goal difference versus the closest team below us, WBA. Fact is, we're just a much better team than anybody behind us, and I view the Europa League as a chance to step up.

Dave Abrahams
77 Posted 02/05/2017 at 21:43:00
Fair enough, Mike, but I don't feel we will have a really strong squad even with a few good signings. We will not have strength in depth until a couple more transfer windows, and as you say yourself, we will be taking a chance.

On a brighter note, congratulations on you playing football again! Well done, keep it up. Best of luck for the future.

Liam Reilly
78 Posted 02/05/2017 at 21:46:58
Why does watching Atletico Madrid playing their rivals remind me of watching Everton against the RS?

Real really have the Indian sign over them.

Ian McDowell
79 Posted 02/05/2017 at 21:56:12
Liam just posted something similar on another thread. Really feel for the Atletico fans.
Nicholas Ryan
80 Posted 02/05/2017 at 22:43:35
My young daughter, who, bizarrely, is a Red [I know... it's a long story!] came up to me with a gleeful expression, and said: 'Well Daddy, I see you're in the Europoo League again'! ... hmm.

Anyway, we need to draw Lille again, so I can finish that lager that was interrupted by the tear gas!

Mike Gaynes
81 Posted 03/05/2017 at 06:31:34
Mr. Abrahams, your good wishes are much appreciated!
Mike Gaynes
82 Posted 03/05/2017 at 06:33:08
PS... how did you know? Don't recall posting anything...
Mike Gaynes
83 Posted 03/05/2017 at 06:34:27
Ian and Liam, that's only in the Champions League.

I believe that in La Liga, Atletico has lost only one of their last eight to Real.

Dave Abrahams
84 Posted 03/05/2017 at 09:22:24
Mike, one of the many Evertonians who made you so welcome when you joined our Everton family on your recent visit posted that you had played a full 90 minutes in a football game and added you didn't play in goal, also that you were a very good penalty taker, so that was great news for all of us on ToffeeWeb.

I'm sorry I can't remember who posted the letter, it might be on the thread that is dedicated to your recent visit.

Dave Abrahams
85 Posted 03/05/2017 at 09:25:58
Mike, just checked it was Mike Harrison.
Steve Jones
86 Posted 03/05/2017 at 10:05:34
Mike #61 Can't disagree with your stats aside from the Leicester assist as Dave #63 pointed out. What I can say is that Lukaku was gutted to see Deulofeu leave and went public on Twitter:

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/its-no-surprise-lukaku-miss-12497976

I still think Deulofeu would have been a better option on the bench than for example Kone at the weekend.

Bottom line is Deulofeu should only have been allowed to leave if someone better in his position had been brought in. If you want to challenge at the top you don't weaken your squad half way through the season. Can you really say Deulofeu wouldn't have made any difference in the last 5 months in all those away games we were crying out for something different & either drew or lost?

Koeman as manger is responsible for getting the best out of his players & in Deulofeu's case his one size fits all management style hasn't worked & left us with a player who wanted out. The best managers know which players need an arm round the shoulder & those who need a rollicking, Deulofeu is definitely in the former.

Mike as you are a fan of stats have a look at last seasons for Deulofeu (in the link at the top) when he was in and out of the team but seemingly happy under a manager who knew how to get the best from him. And no I'm not saying Martinez in a better manager than Koeman overall before people start!

Matthew Williams
87 Posted 03/05/2017 at 12:23:04
We did indeed, Ian... I just wish we could put a plan together to try and go after Cups we have never won.

On paper, the League Cup is the easiest to bag, a team can even lose a game in the Semi-Final and still win it!

We need to target this Cup first, 50 odd years and only 2 finals is a shocking record. A piece of Silverware before Easter comes round, direct entry into the Europa League, make a few quid along the way, a glorious day out for long suffering Blues worldwide. Our beloved club: WINNERS... ONWARDS!!!

For me, the road to glory starts there... Jose's 1st Trophy in England, remember!

Mike Gaynes
88 Posted 03/05/2017 at 17:44:45
Steve, I guess we differ on the manager's role. I say it's the manager's job to put the player in a position to succeed, but "getting the best" out of the player is up to the player himself. Geri clearly didn't do that this season.

I will grant you that he would have been a better sub this weekend than Kone. But IMO that's the first time we have missed him.

Christopher Timmins
89 Posted 09/05/2017 at 06:51:17
Ken,

I assume that Swansea was too painful to report on? Like Lyndon and Paul seem to be in the same boat. A game to be banished from memory!

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