Idrissa Gueye is in line to make his competitive debut
For one reason or another — often financial — it's been rare that Everton have gone into a new season feeling fully prepared and, once again, the Blues approach a kick-off to the campaign with a degree of apprehension in the air.
Where the team has looked “under cooked” in previous seasons because of World Cup hangovers or just generally disjointed pre-season programmes under Roberto Martinez, this time the club is behind schedule due to the managerial changes that have seen Ronald Koeman and Steve Walsh come in to replace the Catalan's failed regime, and what the new boss blames on a late start to pre-season.
Koeman hasn't been reticent when it comes to highlighting the shortfall in fitness of his new charges and even bringing forward the start of pre-season training hasn't provided him with enough time to address what was a noticeable problem under his predecessor last season.
And even though he was earmarked early, Koeman wasn't unveiled as the new Everton gaffer until mid-June, while Walsh's appointment wasn't confirmed until five weeks later. So there has been a lag when it comes to putting squad-building plans in place once the Dutchman had had a chance to fully assess what he inherited in terms of players.
Koeman's latest comments suggest, however, that he had expected to have landed more signings than the three he has managed to date, the club having pursued their targets but becoming frustrated in their attempts to get deals over the line.
The upshot is that Everton won't begin 2016-17 or their challenging assignment against what was an impressive Tottenham Hotspur outfit last term in as strong a position as anyone at the club would have hoped. Fitness doubts over Seamus Coleman and Romelu Lukaku, two players without equal in their respective roles among the current Everton squad, and the fact that new defensive acquisition, Ashley Williams, won't be ready have further complicated the situation.
Still, as ToffeeWeb's more in-depth preview of the new season concludes, even if he begins his first season at Goodison in less-than-ideal circumstances, Koeman still has plenty of talent to work with. The club's sequence of warm-up games in which they failed to win any of their last four friendlies may have thrown up concerns that the old habits of the Martinez era will die hard but they are inherently poor indicators of how things will go when the real business gets underway this weekend.
While much of the side will pick itself, two factors will be important in determining how Koeman sets his side up tomorrow. Firstly, whether he opts for a back three or a more conventional flat back four; and, secondly, whether Lukaku will have recovered sufficiently from the gash he sustained to his heel in last weekend's friendly against Espanyol to start.
Ordinarily, Williams's unavailability would surely make a back four, with Phil Jagielka, fit again following a hamstring injury, lining up alongside Ramiro Funes Mori, the most likely solution. If Coleman misses out, however, Koeman could be looking at a choice between two inexperienced players — either Mason Holgate in a three-man unit or Tom Davies as an emergency fullback.
Lukaku's availability will be an equally important factor in how the Blues line up from an attacking standpoint. The Belgian is expected to play, which should pave the way for Kevin Mirallas and Gerard Deulofeu to play alongside him as the wide attackers in front of Ross Barkley, Gareth Barry and expected debutant Idrissa Gueye.
If Lukaku can't play, then it would seem, based on his pre-season form, that Deulofeu would be best deployed in the No 9 role where his pace and mobility can be used to unsettle Spurs' back line, with Mirallas and Barkley pushing on in supporting roles.
Like Everton, Tottenham have been relatively quiet in the transfer market this summer but making targeted additions up front, in the form of Vincent Janssen and in midfield with the purchase of Victor Wanyama from Koeman's old club, Southampton. Mauricio Pochettino is no stranger to playing with two strikers and, with Moussa Dembele suspended, both of those two new signings could make their debuts tomorrow.
Overall, the Argentine may feel that the most pressing area of concern in his squad after last season is psychology, with Spurs having looked at one point as though they might be able to pip Leicester to the title before they faded badly at the last and dropped to third on the final day of the campaign. Certainly, Tottenham looked formidable in many respects last term and until that final-day hammering at the hands of Newcastle, they had the best record away from home in the top flight.
That will make for a stern test as Koeman makes his Goodison bow but the optimism of a new season coupled with a raucously expectant crowd and the unpredictability of opening-day fixtures could stand Everton in good stead. It goes without saying that a victory to kick off the new campaign over a top-four contender would transform the mood among Evertonians, particularly with the promise of more signings to come before the deadline.
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Last Season: Everton 1 - 1 Tottenham Hotspur
Predicted Line-up: Stekelenburg, Coleman, Jagielka, Funes Mori, Baines, Barry, Gueye, Barkley, Deulofeu, Mirallas, Lukaku
Full details: ToffeeWeb match page
Reader Comments (97)
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1 Posted 12/08/2016 at 21:27:14
I predict 2-1 to the blues.
2 Posted 12/08/2016 at 21:29:53
3 Posted 12/08/2016 at 21:32:07
4 Posted 12/08/2016 at 21:34:43
I just wonder how Robles will feel back on the bench?
5 Posted 12/08/2016 at 21:36:36
6 Posted 12/08/2016 at 21:46:57
7 Posted 12/08/2016 at 22:24:08
I'll be cheering with crossed fingers. 1-0 Blues
8 Posted 12/08/2016 at 22:28:39
9 Posted 12/08/2016 at 22:45:21
11 Posted 12/08/2016 at 23:02:14
Still, I'm hopeful of a result tomorrow. Business finally starts again tomorrow.
12 Posted 12/08/2016 at 23:03:51
13 Posted 12/08/2016 at 23:06:46
I expect to see a lot of commitment from both sides which should raise the crowd.
Cant see us keeping a clean sheet yet so I'll go 2-1 to the Blues.
14 Posted 12/08/2016 at 23:07:24
A bear pit of an atmosphere rubbing it up them and the referee every chance we get.
Who knows if Koeman is the man, but let's show him what it is to be the manager of a Everton FC, this is his first real experience and test as our new manager.
It appears he is going to take no crap from anyone so I would expect the players will be up for a big performance against a very good Spurs side a top result could set the tone for the season.
15 Posted 12/08/2016 at 23:07:28
16 Posted 12/08/2016 at 23:44:33
3-1 to the Blues.
17 Posted 12/08/2016 at 00:01:52
We haven't looked that great in preseason (again) but here's hoping for a great start. 1-0 Mirallas penalty...
18 Posted 12/08/2016 at 00:04:17
I just can't share the sentiment. I don't feel we're ready on opening day. Throw in our rather abysmal opening day recent record - and hell it might be a positive, winning record for all I know, I just can't get past the scars of that Arsenal opener (Lescott douche-fest) - and I frankly fear the worst.
Spurs look dangerous to me. And we just... I dunno I don't have a warm-fuzzy about this one.
19 Posted 12/08/2016 at 00:04:39
How the feck can you play Jags (45 mins pre-season) although great excuse by Jag lovers to shout out "He's been injured all pre-season"! Also, play Gerry central and high.
Again, how can anyone think that Mirallas deserves a jersey? He's done feck all for 18 months, and the same goes for that useless twat people call a centre-forward. These two could play blinders all season, I wouldn't give a feck â€“ they still don't do enough for the team consistently... fecking waste of a jersey!
Please don't come back with Lukaku and his goals, he's missed twice as much has he scored. Also, his overall game is fecking shite! When will we ever learn! Clean slate, get rid!!
20 Posted 13/08/2016 at 00:27:09
Our preparation again is poor. Players going or could be going. Manager sends the excuses early. Not fit. Might take a month to get going with new players.
I would love to be wrong, 1-3 score!!!!!
21 Posted 13/08/2016 at 00:37:17
Here we are, as ill-prepared as ever for the start of a new season.
All the anticipation, talk of budgets in excess of £100m, daily links with the sort of player we can evidently still only dream about, new owner, new manager, new director of football: yet hopes are hanging in tatters with just over 12 hours until kick-off in the first game.
Once again, we have to resign ourselves to the soul-destroying deja-vu of what looks another season of anti-climax, unrealised potential, un-rectified squad deficiencies, silence from the powers-that-be and what still looks very much like a firmly-entrenched â€˜sell-to-buy' modus operandi.
For whilst we have all been remarkably patient with Ronald Koeman and quite rightly given him and Steve Walsh the requisite time to â€˜settle and assess', we are worse off than we were at the start of last season, the year before and certainly the year before that?
After weeks, nay months, of constant speculation about the likes of Witsel, Milik, Mata, Koulibaly, Arnautovic, Carvalho, Wijnaldum, Indi, Hart, Forster and Schmeichel, we've ended up with Fulham's downwardly-mobile keeper, another defensive midfielder from the worst Premier League team for years and a 32-year old centre half, who isn't even fit!
As is the Everton way nowadays, we have discovered a belated hunger for the scraps left on the transfer table – but not who we really hoped for and certainly not at the ludicrous prices being quoted.
Opinion on our latest apparent targets seems divided, although it has been fascinating to read some of the panic-inspired, talk-them-up psychology on ToffeeWeb, as Evertonians try to reassure themselves that Kone (who cost a rumoured £5m in January and now is valued at £18m after just 15 games for Sunderland) and Bolasie at a staggering £25/30m, are just what we need.
Most worryingly of all however is that this beyond-the-eleventh-hour flurry of activity only began to happen after John Stones was sold. Clearly, it would appear, Everton are still very much a sell-to-buy club.
It seems clear that in reality, nothing has changed in that department. One really could be forgiven for asking â€˜where's the money Mr Moshiri?'
I am sure that I am not the only one now dreading taking my seat tomorrow. Key players missing, new ones not bedded-in (or unfit), and a poor pre-season of Martinez-like performances.
In short, not a lot to get excited about against one of last season's worthy front runners and I can see us getting whipped tomorrow. That's not pessimism by the way, just resigned realism.
But if you know your history, there may be a ray of hope: the last time we opened with Spurs at home, followed by West Bromwich Albion away, we lost 1-4 and 2-1 respectively – and went on to win the league by 13 points in 1985!
So I guess if we do lose tomorrow, there's no reason to get too depressedâ€¦
24 Posted 13/08/2016 at 01:29:24
... who has been in charge for a grand total of no league matches.
25 Posted 13/08/2016 at 01:39:55
FFP says we can't spend like fools before we sell â€“ that's not a failing of the club, it's adhering to the rules as they stand.
Idrissa Gueye has better passing stats than N'Golo Kante and almost matched him for tackles and interceptions â€“ I don't care where he played before, I just want players of that ilk in the Royal Blue.
To write Ashley Williams off as an unfit 32-year-old is ridiculous... he's a vastly experienced defender, better than Stones at this moment in time and is likely only just on his way down from cloud 9 after a spectacular effort in the Euros.
We may lose tomorrow (God knows our opening day performances are usually off the boil) but this will be a better season than last and if we are honest with ourselves, that's what we want every year!!
27 Posted 13/08/2016 at 02:00:06
28 Posted 13/08/2016 at 02:34:05
The Martinez disposal could have been executed earlier. It could. Would that have allowed Everton to have secured Ronald a moment earlier?
Surely having Ronald and Co in earlier must have made certain that we weren't faced with an unfit, incomplete squad at seasons start. No.
We HAD to wait until the season was well and truly finished, over and into "downtime" to snare Ronald and Co. To catch them away from work, when they were more pliable, open to persuasion, OK simply off guard.
Without the right man at the helm, the plan is only a plan. So, we waited. Predatorially, and then enacted the plan.
It wasn't ideal that the Euros were being played out, but Everton aren't the only club with a player or two involved, are we?
The PL season commences today, but doesn't complete until all 20 clubs have played 38 fixtures.
Under ideal circumstances we would already be better equipped, but then, under ideal circumstances we wouldn't be entering a new season with a new manager, replacing a disfunctional squad, would we ?
This, is EVERTON !
29 Posted 13/08/2016 at 03:02:03
Deulofeu, Mirallas & Barkley.
30 Posted 13/08/2016 at 03:56:58
How the hell are we worse off than last season.
We have got rid of Martinez and his 4th division backroom staff.
We have replaced him and his cronies with one of the most highly rated management teams in the Prem.
We have got rid of a brooding player "with potential" who cost us big time last season and brought in one of the defensive stalwarts of the Euros and very experienced and highly thought of Premiership defender.
We have brought in a DM whose performance stats last season put him on a par with Kante and we have brought in a very experienced keeper and GK coach.
31 Posted 13/08/2016 at 05:28:39
32 Posted 13/08/2016 at 05:51:44
We do have a talented if enigmatic group of players and the impressive way Koeman has gone straight to the core of our defense replacing a weak defender in Stones with a strong defender in Williams.
If the goalkeeping problem is not totally solved we can at least say we are 100% better in this crucial position than we were going into last years disastrous season.
Defensive Midfield will be much improved with the acquisition of Gueye who will not only help stiffen the entire defense but allow the full backs to get forward which is something that has been missing the last couple of seasons.
We are nowhere near the finished product but hopefully we have started to build a sound base. This is as much as we could reasonably expect given the shocking total surrender of the last two seasons.
2-1 Everton, Del Boy scores 2 and plays 90 minutes and Spurs will look very frustrated.
33 Posted 13/08/2016 at 06:13:32
Spurs are a fine team, but if we get in their soft southern faces from the first whistle and have a bit of luck - then we can win.
Let's have a cauldron of an atmosphere!
34 Posted 13/08/2016 at 06:34:56
Holgate Jagielka Funes Mori Baines
Lennon Barkley Mirallas
35 Posted 13/08/2016 at 07:05:23
37 Posted 13/08/2016 at 08:30:38
I make no apology for my optimism. A better manager with proper focus on a strong spine, fitness and effort allied with skill can only have us going in the right direction.
Every year, fabulous players and managers enter this league and they often get caught out by it. We've got an experienced one and the fact he's going for PL players tells me he's learnt quickly.
For our existing players, this season could be the last chance saloon, so surely we'll see some improvement?
Onwards and upwards - COYB!
38 Posted 13/08/2016 at 08:42:23
39 Posted 13/08/2016 at 08:42:34
Spurs are a well honed outfit with two added class players. They press and are together as a team and pass well and break well.
Idrissa and Holgate are big plusses and I am looking for improvement and impact from Ross and Del boy.
Looking for Idrissa to intercept a few today and launch Rom, Del and Barks on powerful forays!
Fingers crossed today and completion of three signings this week and upwards and onwards.
40 Posted 13/08/2016 at 08:45:33
41 Posted 13/08/2016 at 08:49:08
Kick ass, boys. COYB.
1-0 in stoppage time will do me!
42 Posted 13/08/2016 at 08:58:35
Today is yer last chance, Koeman. Lose today and yer out.
No idea what today holds. Don't know what team we or they will put out so wouldn't like to predict. OK, 2-2.
Our fitness level at 70% of what Koeman wants is probably 10% fitter than under the Spanish manager.
43 Posted 13/08/2016 at 09:05:57
Did I log in to the Leeds Utd board by mistake?
2-1 to the Blues, scrappy, nervous game but the start of a new era
Come on you Blues!!!
44 Posted 13/08/2016 at 09:16:31
45 Posted 13/08/2016 at 09:16:56
Deulofeu, Mirallas & Barkley. They don't work hard, create enough chances or score enough goals. We need to replace at least two of these players to improve as a team. They are luxury player's, you can maybe afford to carry one but not three !
In saying we're a bit too nice, RK seems to have identified this weakness and is trying to buy the type of quality player that's required to rectify this long standing problem.
46 Posted 13/08/2016 at 09:19:17
Regards to the lack of signings, you can't pressgang players into coming to Everton, knock them out and carry them to Goodison, signings take time, they will come before the end of August. Koeman is a very good manager but he can't produce miracles, especially after a few weeks in charge of the job. Patience and more patience is needed.
47 Posted 13/08/2016 at 09:20:50
48 Posted 13/08/2016 at 09:24:33
49 Posted 13/08/2016 at 09:32:48
Let's get behind them and be the best 12th man that we can!!!
50 Posted 13/08/2016 at 09:35:50
My thoughts precisely.
51 Posted 13/08/2016 at 09:37:25
52 Posted 13/08/2016 at 09:39:22
53 Posted 13/08/2016 at 09:41:28
55 Posted 13/08/2016 at 09:43:22
56 Posted 13/08/2016 at 09:46:34
What affect with Mourihno have and how long before we get Mata?
Will Pep and his Martinez style tactics really work in the premiership? And how long before we get Joe Hart?
Why didn't Arsenal strengthen properly again?
Are Spurs really any good?
Can Chelsea really turn it around with the addition of only 1 real first team player?
Will the red-shite go down this year? Will Leicester go down this year?
I'd better turn on sky sports... That Paul Merson will have all the answers!
57 Posted 13/08/2016 at 09:49:11
Don't expect similar outcomes today or this year but today for all fans should represent excitement and hope if not expectation. We will be a better team this year. We will be more difficult to beat. We will sign another 3/4 players before the deadline. We will finish in the Euro spots, perhaps via the cups.
Stuck in Italy today so can't get to the game. Anyone know any decent streams we can tap into? Also got MOBDRO on the phone, is it being shown on any of those channels?
58 Posted 13/08/2016 at 09:49:14
Mirallas and Deulofeu on the scoresheet.
59 Posted 13/08/2016 at 10:01:44
60 Posted 13/08/2016 at 10:04:09
We have to remember this is still early days for this, (mostly) new regime, so let's leave some of the judgement calls on ice for a couple of months eh!
I can totally understand if RK decides not to start Williams today, as a centre half he wants to give him time to train with his new team mates, that makes sense to me. He will play next week.
I think the 70% fitness he is talking about is in equation to how fit HE wants them to be, not their ability to perform today,(I hope).
If we get to September and RK hasn't got the players he wants in, or held onto those he wants also, then I will begin to have questions about what is going on transfer wise.
So for now, let's just get behind them for what will possibly be a difficult August and whatever the results, try to give them some confidence to build on for the future.
61 Posted 13/08/2016 at 10:04:14
62 Posted 13/08/2016 at 10:05:21
Tottenham have one of the most cohesive squads but we are at home - which I hope starts to mean something again.
As long as Moshiri genuinely wants to invest then we will be fine - but business so far has been fairly typical of the last ten years.
I guess we'll know where we are at come the end of the transfer window.
63 Posted 13/08/2016 at 10:13:14
What ever happened to Charlie Austin? We all wanted him at one stage. I think Ronny will try to make us hard to break down defensively. He knows Del is a weakness on the right wing.
64 Posted 13/08/2016 at 10:14:35
Will definately have the crowd behind us today, so hope we are pragmatic enough to stay in the game, and then hopefully the fans will push us on, and help us win the game.
65 Posted 13/08/2016 at 10:19:44
66 Posted 13/08/2016 at 10:23:30
67 Posted 13/08/2016 at 10:27:07
68 Posted 13/08/2016 at 10:30:55
ps: I can let you have the number of the Samaritans if you are as suicidal as you sound.
69 Posted 13/08/2016 at 10:39:54
70 Posted 13/08/2016 at 11:11:20
71 Posted 13/08/2016 at 11:17:52
72 Posted 13/08/2016 at 11:24:39
73 Posted 13/08/2016 at 11:32:00
We've just got rid of one daft twat, please don't let this fella start talking bollocks.
Just concentrate on getting them where they need to be.
We have to be positive today, The crowd will be up for it. I'm expecting a win
74 Posted 13/08/2016 at 11:36:04
Koeman hasn't highlighted fitness as a concern and by bringing in Williams has gone a long way to sorting out the defensive anarchy that we witnessed with Booby.
A word to my namesake David(#21)-keep calm and watch the game
75 Posted 13/08/2016 at 11:41:16
Undertaking null and void if Kone A gets a start today or the manager comes out with Martinesque excuses if we lose.
Not confident enough to bet on a home victory and expecting 0-3 !
76 Posted 13/08/2016 at 11:41:32
I've made it 1-1 in the Super 6. Hope you're right.
77 Posted 13/08/2016 at 11:54:32
Everton V Utd, 0-0 (a night game) and the effect was..lasting.
In a few minutes I will be jumping on the 81 and heading there to watch our opening game of the 2016/17 season.
50 seasons of pain, frustration and (some) joy.
(did I mention pain?).
It's also (more or less) 1000 portions of curry and chips*, 17,000,000 Bensons, 5 trillion frustrated cries of 'Oh for fuck's sake Everton!' and 700 shouts of 'Moyes/Bingham/Lee/Walker out!' (each)
(* that one's accurate but doesn't include cup games).
Up the Toffees!
78 Posted 13/08/2016 at 12:20:52
Aww snap...! is a regular occurrence and often the site simply won't refresh.
Like I say - no geek but any help or advice welcomed.
79 Posted 13/08/2016 at 12:24:01
I should also make it very clear I think we have a fabulous manager in Koeman. I particularly love his calm, good humoured, but assured and authoritative approach.
I have no doubt whatsoever that he will, given the right support and resources, put us back where we belong.
But I still maintain that we are far from where we should - and need to - be on the first day of the season.
I'm just a bit disappointed as a fervent Evertonian. Not depressed or moaning for the sake of it. I want the best and believe that at the time of writing, we are far from ready.
But come 3.00pm, I'll be roaring our team on with the rest of you.
So irrespective of my concerns, COYB!
81 Posted 13/08/2016 at 12:27:49
82 Posted 13/08/2016 at 12:28:13
83 Posted 13/08/2016 at 12:46:11
Martinez' legacy includes a whole host of negatives, but securing Geri for a second spell was a big tick against his name. Yes the Spanish speedster is inconsistent and infuriating, but without his electric pace and dribbling ability we would face an opposition today ready to push up. I noticed that team's became more confident of holding a higher line against Lukaku as they felt more confident of one on ones, but not so with Geri where they would drop deep to nullify him. We could not take advantage as we lack aerial prowess in the attacking areas, or indeed a goal scoring midfielder who could come late from deep - someone like Cahill.
Our recent record vs the Lilywhites is patchy so a draw would be a fair result.
84 Posted 13/08/2016 at 12:46:18
I hope the Sunderland model isn't the future of Everton.
85 Posted 13/08/2016 at 12:51:33
86 Posted 13/08/2016 at 12:52:28
From here until Christmas, he should have more than a good perspective into the players he inherited, before possibly dipping into the January window. So, for the short term, we are in for an interesting ride.
87 Posted 13/08/2016 at 12:57:40
88 Posted 13/08/2016 at 12:59:55
89 Posted 13/08/2016 at 13:03:02
90 Posted 13/08/2016 at 13:05:32
91 Posted 13/08/2016 at 13:08:56
92 Posted 13/08/2016 at 13:09:34
93 Posted 13/08/2016 at 13:26:11
In a nutshell, self-absorbed, overrated bottlers - have been since the early Sixties. That rant alone should guarantee them three points today - sorry about that.
94 Posted 13/08/2016 at 13:29:52
But back to topical issues. Been champing at the bit for today to come around and Just hope this kick off to the season doesn't become an anti climax. A win today would be more than I expect but would be a hell of a start and what a message it would be.
95 Posted 13/08/2016 at 13:33:31
Pity we are playing Spurs today instead of an middle of the table sort of team.
The positives are a new manager, plus the first game of the season, so Goodison should be rocking, especially if we can get off to a good start.
All in all I'd take a point now though.
96 Posted 13/08/2016 at 13:51:09
I'm in Koh Samui, Thailand on holiday and found a bar showing our match. 9pm our time, so excited for the new season.
Long shot here but don't suppose anyone's out here in Chaweng, Koh Samui and fancies some COYB?
97 Posted 13/08/2016 at 13:53:45
98 Posted 13/08/2016 at 14:00:23
99 Posted 13/08/2016 at 14:04:37
Davies Holgate Jags Funes Baines
100 Posted 13/08/2016 at 14:06:37
Just digressing but does anyone agree that Mike Dean is one the poorest referees if not the most gutless after not penalising Fuchs of Leicester just now?
101 Posted 13/08/2016 at 14:07:39
104 Posted 13/08/2016 at 14:13:18
Once again? It's his first game in charge. What a whinge arse comment. Made even worse by the fact Holgate gets a start.
Maybe should have waited for the guy to actually name the side before having a go at him over his team selection?
105 Posted 13/08/2016 at 14:13:51
Hopefully the speed of Delboy and Mirallas with Barks in support can produce the goals.
106 Posted 13/08/2016 at 14:33:02
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