Ronald Koeman remarked last week that he was fully aware of how difficult the Everton job could prove to be, at least in the early going, and the Dutchman is certainly being challenged as his team grinds through a run of just one win in nine league games.
Not only that but he has now been hit by the loss of Yannick Bolasie to an ACL injury which will deprive him off his most expensive signing and most productive outlet on the flanks. It's a turn of events that will have significant ramifications not only for his and Steve Walsh's January transfer plans but also for this weekend's trip to Watford.
Having fielded Bolasie in every game since his arrival from Crystal Palace, Koeman will be forced to turn to one of his similarly inconsistent but less reliable wingers while also needing another of them to perform on the other flank. It provides a terrific opportunity for perhaps two of Kevin Mirallas, Aaron Lennon and Gerard Deulofeu to step up and stake their claim to Bolasie's starting role.
It's possible, of course, but unlikely that one of Enner Valencia, Tom Cleverley or Ross Barkley could be pushed into a wide role, depending on what formation the manager opts for at Vicarage Road. Valencia was ineffective as a winger at West Ham and even cited that role as a major factor behind his poor form for the Hammers in his second season with the club. Cleverley struggled on the left side of midfield against United last Saturday and Barkley exposed the futility in Roberto Martinez continually trying him out wide.
Given how more effective the Blues were in the closing stages against United after Valencia had been introduced for Bolasie in the second half, there is a growing number of Blues fans who would like to see Koeman try a 4-4-2 formation for once to see if it affords Romelu Lukaku any more room and lessens the attention on him from opposition defenders.
While the Belgian could certainly help his own cause more by offering more movement across the forward line, there is no question that he has been starved of service. Koeman acknowledged both aspects of Everton's faltering attack in his pre-match press conference but the statistics don't read well for Lukaku.
A recent analysis highlighted that the Blues' striker has covered less ground than any other Premier League player this season and he has been outshone by his compatriot, Christian Benteke, who has had twice as many shots over the last five games even though Crystal Palace have been on an atrocious run of results since they came to Goodison Park at the end of September. Something has to change by thus far the manager doesn't seem to have known the answer.
Ex-Belgium boss Marc Wilmots once likened Lukaku and Benteke to lampposts but the Palace man has been far more active recently despite his team's awful run
A three-man defence and a return for Phil Jagielka is another option for Koeman — albeit a less interesting one — against a Watford side that have proved, on the one hand, how effective they can be at times this season but also how erratic they are on the other. A 4-2 win at West Ham and a 3-1 home win over Manchester United signalled that new manager Walter Mazzarri might have quickly found a winning solution. They've won three times since, beating two struggling sides in the form of Hull City at Leicester at home and edging Middlesbrough away but they also got hammered 6-1 by Liverpool and fell 3-1 at West From last weekend.
The Hornets are a physical side and won't provide Everton with an easy ride this weekend. Miguel Britos and yellow-card magnet Valon Behrami both return from suspensions but Roberto Pereyra serves a ban of his own and Craig Cathcart is ruled out with injury.
As difficult a test as Watford could pose if they're on their game, there is scope for Everton doing something they haven't really managed since the opening day of the season — unsettling the opposition early and getting out to a quick lead to sow doubt in the minds of their players and fans.
Show the kind of intensity with which they finished the game against United last weekend for the majority of the 90 minutes and they will clearly stand a great chance of finally getting that next victory, one that will keep them in and around the top six. Another draw would be of little use points-wise but it would at least help foster some sorely lacking confidence ahead of two difficult assignments back at Goodison.
3pm 12:30pm, Saturday 10 December, 2016
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Last Time: Watford 1 - 1 Everton
Predicted Line-up: Stekelenburg, Coleman, Williams, Funes Mori, Baines, Barry, Gueye, Lennon, Mirallas, Barkley, Lukaku.
Full details: ToffeeWeb match page
Reader Comments (89)
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1 Posted 09/12/2016 at 08:53:04
2 Posted 09/12/2016 at 09:06:40
Holgate, Williams, Funes Mori
Coleman, Gana, Barry, Baines
Subs: Robles, Jagielka, McCarthy, Davies, Deulofeu, Barkley, Calvert-Lewin
3 Posted 09/12/2016 at 09:20:14
No team work ethics. Koeman is struggling to get anything from this bunch.
As always I wish the traveling fans all the best and hope I am completely wrong.
4 Posted 09/12/2016 at 09:22:50
5 Posted 09/12/2016 at 09:23:48
I'm not even sure what team is our best line up now; should Barkley play? Probably not... but he is a scarcity in our team – someone that can get a goal from distance.
Lyndon's team on paper looks quite strong, but too many players are not performing and the system – if we have one – is not working well also.
6 Posted 09/12/2016 at 09:35:21
I like the look of Gareth's team selection, that would offer a far better chance of success, but I would be shocked if it were chosen.
7 Posted 09/12/2016 at 09:42:16
My team (4-4-2):
Holgate, Williams, Funes Mori, Baines
Coleman, Gueye, Cleverley, Mirallas
Subs: Stekelenburg, Jagielka, Barkley, Valencia, Barry, Davies, Lennon.
8 Posted 09/12/2016 at 10:07:49
Stekelenburg is probably the better of a rubbish two, he does seem capable of pulling off some great saves although I do feel a keeper should be judged on his ability to do the simple things consistently (such as not letting a Middlesborough striker head the ball out of your hands when you're about seven foot tall).
9 Posted 09/12/2016 at 10:08:47
10 Posted 09/12/2016 at 10:39:19
Holgate, Funes Mori, Jagielka, Coleman
Davies, Gana, McCarthy, Deulofeu
More attacking with less focus on Rom
11 Posted 09/12/2016 at 10:53:22
12 Posted 09/12/2016 at 10:56:20
13 Posted 09/12/2016 at 11:02:30
There's no way Williams won't play... and there won't be more attacking with McCarthy in midfield.
14 Posted 09/12/2016 at 11:05:04
16 Posted 09/12/2016 at 12:01:16
At the start of the season I felt he was trying to play to Lukaku's strengths and we were creating and scoring quite a few goals. Now, you look around the team and wonder where the hell are the goals going to come from. Bolasie, whilst very frustrating at times was at least one guy that can suddenly beat a man and create a chance but alas he's now fallen by the wayside and suddenly Koeman must be very worried.
Koeman, a bit like Moyes, is a much more defensively minded manager and I think this is why we play with the back 4 and 2 defensive midfielders every game. This was fine when your other attacking players were full of confidence and they were creating chances. Now we look terrible and often just hoof the ball up to Rom asap and get frustrated with him as he has no support and often loses it.
Most of us are hoping the Jan window will be a busy one and will save our season but how often are we let down by that window and let's face it, why don't look to appealing to anyone at the moment. Whilst we are probably glad to have dodged Sissoko, I'd say he's feeling the same about us.
I get the feeling players like Deulofeu, Lennon, Lukaku, Mirallas can't wait to get moved on as their body language says I don't wanna be here or to play for this guy. I wonder does Ronald miss the South coast as well and the lower expectations from the fans. He reminds me of when Mark Hughes was in the Man City job and you knew he was doomed to fail.
17 Posted 09/12/2016 at 12:06:46
18 Posted 09/12/2016 at 12:19:43
I'd rather give out free raffle tickets to the fans, pull a number out of a hat and let the competition winner pull on the shirt.
20 Posted 09/12/2016 at 12:23:14
21 Posted 09/12/2016 at 12:49:01
I'm just glad it's not the 4:00pm game on Sunday – at least it will be over tomorrow.
I've been one of Lukaku's biggest fans but I can't wait for him to go now, he's bone idle. "Who will pay for him?" is the question. It's interesting there was no comment from the club about this Summer move.
22 Posted 09/12/2016 at 13:05:18
23 Posted 09/12/2016 at 13:42:45
Isn't it where he plays for Spain U21s?
Either way, we need a performance tomorrow...
24 Posted 09/12/2016 at 13:50:46
I've already written this, but partnering Lukaku with Valencia up top and putting Deulofeu behind them (remember all Geri's through balls to Lukaku last season?) might be THE solution.
Therefore, as you folks post your starting XIs, here's mine:
Holgate - Williams - Funes Mori
Coleman - Gana - Barry - Baines
Lukaku - Valencia
25 Posted 09/12/2016 at 14:13:45
As others have said, he seems to play there for Spain U21s, so why not give him a run in that role?
I don't think it'll happen, though. It will probably be 4-5-1 [yawn]; we desperately need a win though, because honestly can anyone see us troubling Arsenal with their movement and speed? And both scoring for fun.
If he plays Cleverley tomorrow, it's an insult after his shambolic performance last Sunday Time to deliver, Ronnie boy. Nothing tomorrow and it's going to be a long bleak winter...
27 Posted 09/12/2016 at 14:20:43
28 Posted 09/12/2016 at 14:30:29
In my opinion, and an increasing number of Evertonians, Lukaku is no longer interested in performing for us and at least needs some support to take the pressure off him, Niasse could be the answer if given a run ,
Although I initially didn't rate him at first glance, I hear Unsy has vastly improved his game and deserves to be considered instead of being ignored and blatantly insulted by a man who refuses to change his ways, a la Martinez.
The game is live over here in Canada at 7:30 am and we also have the MLS Cup Final in Toronto to follow COYB.
29 Posted 09/12/2016 at 14:39:38
As for goalkeeper, I agree with those who feel that neither Stekelenburg nor Robles are the answer; However (and not forgetting Sunderland last season), Robles is the lesser of two evils.
30 Posted 09/12/2016 at 14:54:42
Robles might not be our goalkeeper solution, Stek is definitely not.
31 Posted 09/12/2016 at 14:55:33
32 Posted 09/12/2016 at 15:14:02
Davies deserves a prolonged spell to show what he can do and several more should be given some time as substitutes. Everton fans are knowledgeable enough to give them time to develop, even if this means making mistakes.
The rest of the squad have been given ample opportunity to show what they are capable of – or more to the point – what they are not capable of.
33 Posted 09/12/2016 at 15:17:29
My overall concern is we don't create much of anything. This is saddled with an obvious overall lack of any pattern of play. Against United, I watched Funes Mori and Williams stroll out with the ball on numerous occasions, look for something short then hoist a big one into the channels after shrugging their shoulders. It smacks of the Moyes era.
I wouldn't mind if we were getting the results. If I could see a tactical end game. I can't. I don't understand how we are trying to play. In the early games (Sunderland away) I was really encouraged by what appeared to be an instruction to Deulofeu and Bolasie. As soon as the ball goes wide, feed Lukaku with whipped crosses. Now it seems pedestrian and without purpose.
34 Posted 09/12/2016 at 15:57:09
I would also beef up the midfield by bringing McCarthy in freeing Barry to be more creative and play Mirallas with Lukaku up front (the only 2 natural goalscorers we have).
I would also put the last keeper to keep a clean sheet for us in so my team would be:
Holgate, Williams, Funes Mori
Coleman, McCarthy, Gueye, Baines
Barry (Barkley 2nd Half)
35 Posted 09/12/2016 at 16:06:59
36 Posted 09/12/2016 at 16:08:14
Perhaps, subconsciously, I just want 2016 to end!
37 Posted 09/12/2016 at 16:10:14
38 Posted 09/12/2016 at 16:14:25
I think you are all being very hard on Stekelenburg. Yes, he made a huge blunder last week, but I still think he's a good keeper and is a lot more experienced than Robles.
39 Posted 09/12/2016 at 16:16:38
He is the product of 'total football' a man who played with great players and great clubs. He is probably just as concerned as us that he can't get this group of players to play that way. It will happen but not with this lot.
Look at Borussia Dortmund – now that's a team.
40 Posted 09/12/2016 at 16:19:46
It's not just last week.
He has been far more error prone than Robles ever was and IMO was largely responsible for the slaughter at Chelsea.
41 Posted 09/12/2016 at 16:26:00
But Deulofeu on the team sheet? You must be joking
42 Posted 09/12/2016 at 16:26:13
I use the word 'static' instead of 'lazy'... but I mean lazy!!
44 Posted 09/12/2016 at 16:51:08
Robles tomorrow please – and that's only because we've nobody else.
45 Posted 09/12/2016 at 17:04:31
46 Posted 09/12/2016 at 17:08:31
Stekelenburg is far too inconsistent for an experienced pro, so I would start with Robles. After all if the captain can be dropped then so should others who are making regular mistakes.
Incidentally, if Lukaku doesn't pull his finger out, I would drop him next week, and put Kone up top. Might wake him up – Martinez eventually did it ,and it did make him play better.
47 Posted 09/12/2016 at 18:12:10
48 Posted 09/12/2016 at 18:15:30
Maybe the penny has finally dropped. He's not up to it!
49 Posted 09/12/2016 at 18:21:09
That way more forward thinking players can be included in the team.
Coleman, Williams, Funes Mori, Baines
Lennon, Mirallas, Deulofeu
50 Posted 09/12/2016 at 18:22:55
Barkley is a fine player and under the right manager will become a great player. He is maybe a little short in confidence but Koeman's handling of him isn't helping.
I have serious doubts about our manager.
51 Posted 09/12/2016 at 18:26:04
52 Posted 09/12/2016 at 18:34:12
53 Posted 09/12/2016 at 18:34:35
Koeman will go with a conservative approach, of that we can be certain. Nothing wrong with that, as long as we break with intent and aggression.
Groundhog Day again. We all dare to hope this is the turning point. Some mugs (me) will even have a cheeky Ayrton on 0-2.
Hope springs eternal. We may not be champions this time next year, but who knows? We could all still be millionaires.
54 Posted 09/12/2016 at 18:42:19
The main problem I have with him, and this has always been the case since he broke his leg, is that he can't or won't tackle and chase people down.
Apart from that, the only thing that lets him down is his team mates lack of movement. Barkley could be a top class footballer in the right team and environment.
55 Posted 09/12/2016 at 18:47:04
If he needs experience, ship him out on loan if you must; anywhere but here.
56 Posted 09/12/2016 at 18:48:00
That's what I shout at my laptop every game. Wouldn't be nice if they did all of this? Should be bare minimum for professionals, but these sensitive lads are different, aren't they?
We've been waiting for a turning point for weeks. It's not going to happen in January, it's going to happen with these players.
I keep saying to myself that we're 8th without playing well, what will happen when we do?
A strategy, 1-0 will do me!
57 Posted 09/12/2016 at 18:58:12
About the only names that have deserved their place on the teamsheet are Gueye, Coleman and Barry. Perhaps Bolasie at a stretch, though we won't be seeing him for some time sadly. All the others have been inconsistent at best or terrible at worst.
I'm trying to convince myself that its all about adapting to the new system and one or two decent results will turn around the form and performances but it's getting harder and harder to believe.
The last outing vs Man Utd did seem to represent a marginal step forward so there is that to be hopeful about. I'd still argue that a handful of kids should be included to provide fresh impetus if nothing else. Holgate's inclusion seemed to have this effect last week. I also think that Lukaku badly needs a partner to spark, shame or help him to his best.
Holgate, Williams, Funes Mori Baines
Coleman, Gueye, Barry, Mirallas
Might as well have a proper look at Valencia to see what he can do and I think Seamus will put the graft in on the right side of midfield and is as capable as any of our other midfielders of creating or scoring a goal. Barkley and Deulofeu to come on when we concede the first goal...
58 Posted 09/12/2016 at 19:18:10
It's not the ability to pass that I think is his weakness – it's the ability to see in time the pass that is on.
I also agree about the tackling weakness. Though, interestingly, signs of some life there this season.
I think we all are desperate for him to do well. I really am.
59 Posted 09/12/2016 at 19:42:09
60 Posted 09/12/2016 at 20:08:35
The team I'd like to see tomorrow, and file under more chance of winning the lottery is:
Coleman, Funes Mori, Williams, Baines
Deulofeu, Gana, Barkley, Mirallas
For me, Barkley isn't a Number 10 – he's a centre-mid all day long. Another possibility is Holgate at right-back, Coleman aat right-midfield, and Deulofeu instead of Valencia, but I'd like to see Valencia given a run out.
61 Posted 09/12/2016 at 20:35:56
That being the case, it is time for Rom to demonstrate his worth.
62 Posted 09/12/2016 at 20:36:39
Contrast that with Lukaku who thinks he is one of the best strikers in Europe but will not put a good shift in to help the team. He has to do his fair share of the graft, no matter how poor his industry and general play is, he is never substituted, as others have pointed out, is this to stop his value falling when he eventually goes.
I know it must get on Lukaku's fans nerves the way we criticise him, but he definitely doesn't pull his weight. I hope he has a go tomorrow, it will not be before time.
63 Posted 09/12/2016 at 20:47:42
I've said it repeatedly but unless whoever plays in those five shirts ups their running, tackling and sheer effort from the horribly low levels so much enjoyed and relied upon by our opponents, we're going nowhere, and with results-don't-matter millionaire contracts like our squad take for granted, it wouldn't matter if Jesus H Christ was our manager.
64 Posted 09/12/2016 at 20:56:41
They are also betting that we will finish 7th in the League, do they see something we cant?
I wouldn't be keen to take either bet, but it seems that they are none as harsh a judge as us!
65 Posted 09/12/2016 at 21:29:05
66 Posted 09/12/2016 at 21:41:39
Everton Supporters Club NY.
67 Posted 09/12/2016 at 22:30:04
If Rom insists on being a lazy twat, aka the Sun, then Valencia needs to be the stars and run around him.
Any keeper but Stekelenburg
Clearly Holgate but he'll pick Coleman
Funes Mori by default
Gana & Barkley in the middle, eyebrows raised all over the shop
Davies for fuck sake Ron on the right mate
Mirallas on the left
Sun & Stars up front.
Based on that, no square pegs in round holes, basic shape, 2-0 win.
68 Posted 09/12/2016 at 22:41:58
69 Posted 09/12/2016 at 22:59:58
Galloway impressed me last season; is he going to be sidetracked. Browning is back to fitness, I believe. Davies is another that will probably go to waste.
70 Posted 09/12/2016 at 23:16:13
71 Posted 10/12/2016 at 01:06:04
My money's on exactly the same formation, with that useless twat Cleverley in there somewhere and Valencia catching cold on the bench until the 81st minute.
72 Posted 10/12/2016 at 01:15:25
Most successful teams play one up top, but that man works hard (Aguero, Costa, Lewandowski) and compliments good movement into the box from other players in deeper positions.
With 4-4-2, there is a greater chance of losing the midfield and you end up having less possession and creating less chances. The simple answer is boot out Rom and try Valencia up top. I am sure that this would bring a big smile to the other ten faces in blue.
73 Posted 10/12/2016 at 01:24:57
Mister Dehenneys, Carmine Street. Round the corner from were you are.
Open for the game always. Beer available breakkie etc.
74 Posted 10/12/2016 at 02:19:02
I would start with Robles and Valencia, play Barkley further forward. At least give it a go, try something different... if it goes tits-up, then bring on Lukaku and the like.
One thing's for sure we need to try something different.
75 Posted 10/12/2016 at 04:00:08
76 Posted 10/12/2016 at 04:25:48
77 Posted 10/12/2016 at 05:53:45
I've said many times that the biggest problem we have is we don't have intelligent movement. How on earth can Barkley (or anybody else) pick out a killer pass when Lukaku is standing still? Or Deulofeu has gone too early? What happened to Baines offering all game? We complain that Lukaku has a poor first touch, but when was the last time you saw a midfield player busting his balls to get up to join him, or go beyond him?
Stagnant players leads to predictable football. Predictable football inevitably leads to hoofball. Hoofball without movement leads to misery.
Football can only be beautiful if you work very hard at it... and I don't mean the Moyes run-through-a-brick-wall type of hard work when opponents have the ball. I mean the sort of work teams like Barca put in when THEY have the ball. players all over the pitch offering the man in possession options. Players prepared to make runs that may go unrewarded with the pass, then doing it again... and again.
You don't need world class players to play good football; of course having players like Inesta, Xavi and Messi helps, but just look at what Eddie Howe is doing down in Bournemouth. Most of his players would be considered "decent" at best, but fuck me do they entertain their fans? Howe may not be considered a top manager, but he has an infectious enthusiasm for playing the game the right way and his players all seem desperate to get in on the act.
I cant remember the last time I have seen consistent, intelligent movement from an Everton team. Perhaps Pienaar and Baines? but even then it was more a result of the two players "gelling" than anything Moyes preached.
Koeman MUST know the value of good movement. He grew up in a country which prided itself on "Total football", ffs. The problem he (along with many other top players who've become managers) has, is getting his players to play the same way? Does he and his staff have the communication skills? can they influence games from outside the playing area? We know the could act, but can they direct?
78 Posted 10/12/2016 at 05:59:01
Holgate, Williams, Funes Mori;
Deulofeu, Davies, Gibson;
Why doesn't Gibson play? He is by far our best midfielder.
79 Posted 10/12/2016 at 07:46:51
That is a truly damning stat and no amount of poor service hides the fact that Lukaku is simply not putting the effort in. A hungry striker starved of service would move around more, drop deeper, change his game and try something different to get more of the ball, even if it means he's having a pop from 25, 30 yards out.
Two games and not a single shot attempted? That is just ridiculous! And he's supposedly worth £65m?
80 Posted 10/12/2016 at 08:06:33
Without Lukaku, we're in the scrap at the bottom of the table.
81 Posted 10/12/2016 at 08:28:45
The only point I would not completely agree on is while the other players don't make Barkley's job easy, its not the only reason he's not developing into the player we hoped.
He doesn't appear to have the sharpness of mind required to get to the very top. I hope with more coaching he can overcome his shortcomings but I have serious doubts that he will.
82 Posted 10/12/2016 at 08:34:22
83 Posted 10/12/2016 at 08:46:03
The movement and pressing has stopped and I can't help thinking that, for the second time running, we've got a manager who has good ideas without being able to communicate them to his players, as say, Conte clearly does.
I can see the argument that he's got a hodgepodge of players who aren't quite good enough and that we'll be better with better players... But will he get them? And surely we could be seeing better than what we're seeing
84 Posted 10/12/2016 at 08:47:36
Lukaku stands up there alone and we effectively have 7 defensive players behind him.
Do we always need to play two defensive midfielders? As much as I like Barry, I think that role could now be filled by Gana, thus freeing up a spot to an attacking player!
85 Posted 10/12/2016 at 09:00:28
86 Posted 10/12/2016 at 09:25:47
Why not start the game at Watford with the same line-up and have a bloody go?
Maybe that's too naive!
87 Posted 10/12/2016 at 09:42:29
I have mentioned it before on other threads, Borussia Dortmund are the prime example. They drew 2-2 with Real Madrid at the Bernabeau in midweek. Watch that and you will see a team playing like a team for the full 90 minutes. If they can do it, we can do it. I'm sure this is what Koeman wants.
As already stated we played like it for 30 minutes last week, let's play like it for the full 90 minutes today. If the players can't adapt, get rid of them. It must be made clear that we don't want prima donnas at the club.
88 Posted 10/12/2016 at 10:01:00
I echo your sentiment's exactly! But I also acknowledge the fact that player's who are physically strong and fit, have good technique and have a footballing brain are the best players out there and they cost top whack!
Players like Rooney, Gerrard, Suarez who are pure bread natural out and out footballers are few and far between. I've come to the conclusion that most professional footballer's have their own certain strengths but in general all have to work on a lot aspect's of there game and it's down to their own desire and the coaches to improve their weaknesses and mould them into complete' players!!
My point is it's very hard to 'polish a turd'! And we haven't got time to to 'make' Barkley the special player we all want him to be. He should be showing a lot more already if he's going to become a top class player!!
For me, Barkley is not and never will be a Number 10! For me, he should be moulding himself on Frank Lampard and Yaya Toure deep lying ball playing central midfield player who powers through the middle and arrive's on the edge of box to plough shot's in! Barkley has strength, speed and power not number ten qualities such as being nimble, quick footed quick minded being able to see a pass before it's happened!!
Everytime I've watched Barkley play from the halfway line, I've been impressed. when he is up top where the options are limited and the emphasis is on beating your man or using a bit of guile he is useless!
I really hope Barkley doesn't get let go and sign's a new contract because I like most blue's would love nothing more for him to become our main man our talisman and become good enough to be our captain but if I'm being really honest I think if that was going to be the case we would know it already!
Hopefully Koeman will change the hoofball style today with Bolasie out put Barkley back in the team and we will win 3-0 with Rom and Ross the goalscorers!! COYB! FTRS!
89 Posted 10/12/2016 at 10:45:12
92 Posted 10/12/2016 at 11:12:35
94 Posted 10/12/2016 at 11:36:13
95 Posted 10/12/2016 at 11:51:45
Midfield of Gana, Barkley and Davies,
Wingers of Coleman and Deulofeu.
Attack Lukaku and Mirallas or Valência.
96 Posted 10/12/2016 at 11:53:40