Consistently Inconsistent

Yannick Bolasie's ACL hammer blow has sharpened focus on the three remaining wingers whom Koeman has been rotating for weeks searching for reliability

Lyndon Lloyd 08/12/2016 104comments  |  Jump to last

Saturday's draw with Manchester United — the fourth 1-1 draw at Goodison Park in just seven Premier League games — may have extended Everton's disappointing run with just a single victory to nine matches but the performance that earned it, as toothless as it largely was, at least provided some crumbs of optimism.

Wholly absent in too many of their recent displays, the Blues finally showed some of the fight and spirit that is a bare minimum requirement for any player that pulls on the Royal Blue Jersey in the second half. It was rewarded with a late equaliser but it couldn't mask the glaring deficiencies from which Ronald Koeman's side still suffer going forward.

Just seven goals from their last seven league fixtures paints the picture fairly succinctly of a team struggling with offensive production and it's a problem rooted in a number of factors which can't be overcome with sheer effort alone. Neither a counter-attacking outfit, a passing side nor an effectively direct one, Everton's is a team without any discernible identity under Koeman's stewardship. It is led by a player who has again this week been talking up his lofty ambitions but who, as Sky Sports's Matt Cheetham persuasively argues, isn't prepared to put in the requisite mileage to engage in the pressing from the front demanded by his manager or provide the movement up front to create space for his supporting players to work in.

The Belgian has at least weighed in seven of the Blues' 17 league goals this season, proof that even if he is mostly static, he will score goals if you put them at his feet or head where it counts. Damningly, just four goals have come from the other attacking players in the side and just two from Koeman's revolving cast of wingers. Ross Barkley's struggles for form have been well-documented and could fill a separate article on their own — suffice to say that, with two Premier League goals and one assist thus far and having been dropped back to the bench again last weekend, it looks increasingly unlikely that he can fulfil the creative No.10 role that Everton so badly need.

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Tellingly, though, like Seamus Coleman and even Gareth Barry, the 23-year-old has scored as many goals all four of the wide players combined and it's there where one of Everton's biggest shortcomings lie, particularly now that Yannick Bolasie is surely out for the remainder of the season.

The Congolese's acquisition over the summer was greeted with a mixed reaction from Evertonians who baulked at the £25m paid for a player renowned for his inconsistency. Having assessed the squad he inherited from Roberto Martinez, however, Koeman clearly saw the need to add some pace and power to his flanks, something that Bolasie has certainly provided and they are attributes that will be sorely missed in the coming months.

He has, almost inevitably, been criticised for his lack of end product but he has unquestionably been the Blues' most effective wide player so far. By his very nature, he can be frustrating to watch for long periods but can be relied upon to deliver a handful of telling moments in a match. He has created four goals for Lukaku, scored one himself, set up a number of other chances that were squandered, and generally provided an unpredictable outlet for balls out from the back. With no one else like him in the squad, the manager will surely have to return to the transfer market in January if he wants to replace him.

In the meanwhile, Koeman's search for a successful formation or formula will continue. While Bolasie has been ever-present since he arrived from Crystal Palace, the manager has been rotating Kevin Mirallas, Gerard Deulofeu and Aaron Lennon from week to week, no doubt hoping that one of them can find some form over the course of a game let alone successive weeks. None of them have, making Bolasie his most productive attacking midfielder.

Pilloried by supporters this season — with good reason until Saturday, it has to be said — against Manchester United Kevin Mirallas finally put in a 90-minute shift that suggests he could be an answer if the rest of the team can start producing at the same time. The Belgian international harried and pressed from the front and at least looked hungry to make something happen in attack and he might have grabbed an equaliser earlier than Leighton Baines's 89th-minute penalty had David de Gea not diverted his half-volley over the bar.

Mirallas has otherwise been poor in what is a very important season for him. Neither a reliable second striker nor out-and-out winger, he has to show that he can be a creative spark playing off and behind Lukaku and Bolasie's injury suggests he could get the chance, at least for the next month. More committed displays like Saturday's can only help but he has a lot to do to convince his manager and the fans that he can shed his “consistently inconsistent” image.

Deulofeu, the Spanish “magician” whom Evertonians regarded as an almost unthinkable coup, first when Martinez was able to attract him to Goodison on loan in 2013 and then last year when he was signed for just £4.2m, has disappeared as a threat almost completely this year. For a brief few weeks last season, starting with that brilliant cameo at West Bromwich Albion, Blues fans thought Everton had found the reliable provider of Lukaku's goals but he has lost his way alarmingly since.

Scoring goals for fun for his country at U21 level, Deulofeu goes to pieces in the box in an Everton shirt and both ability to beat a man and his delivery from the flanks have deserted him. Again, with no other reliable option, Koeman has regularly turned to him to see if he can reignite his spark but, thus far at least, his best days seem a long way off.

It's a shame because his attitude appears to be spot on and he has, by his own admission, been putting the work in at Finch Farm. The hope is, of course, that the groundwork eventually pays off for him on the pitch where it counts.

“In my daily work I am much more professional,” he recently told “I'm more mature. I have changed the way I play at Everton. It shows in every training session, and even if you do not play, you are happy because you know that there is no doubt of your training and your sacrifice.”

Then there's Lennon, another winger who enjoyed a brief purple patch last season when he took the chance afforded him to play in the FA Cup by turning in a man-of-the-match performance at Carlisle, the start of a seven-game sequence in all competitions where he scored four times. After the 2-0 win over Chelsea in the cup quarter-final, however, Everton would win just one of their next 10 games and Lennon, a starter in almost all of them, came to be seen as part of a failed team under Martinez's failed tenure.

He hasn't been alone this season, of course, but Lennon, despite his industry and willingness to track back, has done almost nothing to convince Koeman that he is any kind of answer on the right wing. Unless something significant changes in the pattern of his career dating back to his Tottenham days, it's hard to see him being a regular feature of the Dutchman's starting XI.

Few Blues will be holding their breath but the combination of Bolasie's KO and the impact the change to a two-striker formation had on Everton's attack against United will hopefully have convinced Koeman that he needs to move away from this dogged reliance on the 4-2-3-1 system that he has thus far, with a couple of exceptions, rigidly adhered to. Even he hasn't been much of a goalscorer, Bolasie's versatility has allowed the Dutchman to keep banging away with the same setup for weeks but, depending on the faith he has in the three remaining wingers, he must surely start dabbling with other options in the coming weeks.

Everything from pushing Coleman and Baines forward into wide midfield roles to blooding a player like Kieran Dowell has been mooted by fans but the scope of any experimenting by Koeman is likely to be narrow. In the short term, that might mean giving Enner Valencia a run in a 4-4-2 alongside Lukaku and affording Mirallas and one other one more run of games to impress.

Longer term, he and Steve Walsh will almost certainly be looking for reinforcements in the January transfer window, with Memphis Depay an obvious target. (It's a pity that Everton weren't able to swoop for Ivan Perisic in the final days of Frank de Boer's reign at Inter Milan at a time when the Croatian was said to be unhappy.)

Whether the Dutch forward proves to be a solution remains to be seen; if nothing else, he'll add to Koeman's revolving door of inconsistent wide players and restore his fourth option in Bolasie's absence. If he can be joined by a genuinely creative attacking midfield addition to the centre of the park, another striker and fresher legs acquired to ease the burden on Gareth Barry then things might really start looking up. Otherwise, the pace of Koeman's Goodison rebuilding job will remain achingly slow.

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Reader Comments (104)

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Colin Glassar
1 Posted 08/12/2016 at 07:49:36
I thought we had a world beater with Geri but he's been very disappointing since returning on a permanent deal. As for the other two, well I've never rated either of them so I'm not really disappointed in how poor both of them are.
Paul Conway
2 Posted 08/12/2016 at 08:04:36
We are in a crisis right now. As I already stated in another post, and it was hammered home last night, with Leicester losing 5-0. We are among the clubs in the Premier League who have shipped 5 goals or more in a game. The others being Palace, Hull, Swansea And West Ham. No surprise then to see all these teams in regression.

I now feel nausea when I see these players names on the back of our shirts. They are blaggers. I have been saying it for ages... No top six teams will come in for these players. The are well below Premier League standard. They would probably struggle to get into a Newcastle or Brighton team.

They, and they alone are the cause of our negative comments. There is no point in blaming the boss, he probably has nightmares before match day I do sometimes feel I want to take a pill and wake up when Koeman has his act together, as I feel there is more misery on the way.

It wasn't so bad when we were in the Moyes purple patch. At least then we thought the players were good and had potential to realise. Now, they have been all found out.

I am proud to support Everton, but this dross doesn't make me proud!

Liam Reilly
3 Posted 08/12/2016 at 08:08:30
Lukaku really needs to just shut up. His latest comments are similar to Homer Simpson's "Why won't you let me live!", re the club not being willing to let him go in the summer.

Whilst I agree that the wingers are inconsistent, he needs to press more from the front so the wingers can push up. As it is, he leaves a gaping hole that's exploited by good teams passing from the back and no effort from the wingers will address that.

Best finisher we've had since Lineker but time to move on in the summer.

Brent Stephens
4 Posted 08/12/2016 at 08:09:08
Good piece, Lyndon. Seems that a big fault of several of our players is awareness and / or decision-making. Barkley has superb skills in receiving and controlling a ball, turning his man, and accelerating away – all in one smooth and seemingly-simple movement – but then continues to run head-down and eventually pass, without seeing what's on.

Likewise Bolasie and Geri, with skills that often excite but who dash our hopes with that lack of awareness / decision-making. And Jags all too often appears like a rabbit in the headlights when it comes to deciding what to do with the ball.

Contrast that with Gana – one of his great attributes is his awareness of what's on – an example being against Man Utd with that quick, deft, long pass from right to left in our half without needing to control the ball that came to him – he knew what was on even before the ball came to him.

David Barks
5 Posted 08/12/2016 at 08:23:16

How exactly do you post a comment only about Lukaku in response to a well written article about the needed improvement from our wingers. It's like a person running up to a house on fire and instead choosing to criticize the exterior landscaping.

He doesn't leave a gaping hole. If he's up top it's incumbent on other players to get up front with him. But OK, the completely ineffectual play of Lennon is Lukaku's fault, totally makes sense .

Kim Vivian
6 Posted 08/12/2016 at 08:23:59
Who were "the other club" who supposedly nearly bought Lukaku?
Darryl Ritchie
7 Posted 08/12/2016 at 08:28:33
The wingers will never score goals. Their job in Koeman's attacking strategy, is to supply Lukaku. Everyone is supposed to supply Lukaku.

If that fails, we're out of our 'comfort' zone, and struggle to score. Without a creative type in the midfield, to quarterback the offence, I don't see that changing.

Brian Williams
8 Posted 08/12/2016 at 08:28:43
I may come across as over critical but I have to disagree with you, Lyndon, on Mirallas's 90-minute display against Man Utd. It was his best performance so far but for me there's still too little of it in a full 90 minutes. There were times when he'd run towards a Man Utd player in possession and then slow down and stop a yard or two short and not actually press or harry. It's the simple things like this that let him, and a few others, down.

The annoying thing is that's it's the simple things like that that make a huge difference in the game. When forwards press and harry defenders, even when they're not going to win the ball, the defenders hurry, and make mistakes. It puts them under pressure, they don't like it, and it shows when they make mistakes or hit a wayward pass. We then get possession and can build.

I think this is the game Koeman wants to play and he must be so frustrated because we DON'T play it. It's not rocket science either. You press AS A TEAM high up the pitch (defending from the front if you will) and give defenders much less time on the ball so they make more mistakes. We benefit from that!

Paul Tran
9 Posted 08/12/2016 at 08:48:17
On Sunday, Bolasie got the ball outside our box and sped away like a whippet. He looked up, no blue shirt in sight, carried on running, again no blue shirt, then he was swamped by three red shirts.

That sums up our attacking play this season.

Bob Parrington
10 Posted 08/12/2016 at 08:57:12
Why aren't we including Valencia in this. From his cameo vs Man Utd he has the speed and, perhaps now he is fit, the staying power to go with his skills?
Dennis Stevens
11 Posted 08/12/2016 at 08:59:12
If the senior players are not capable of working to his instructions, maybe Koeman should reconsider making more use of some of the youngsters instead. He might be pleasantly surprised by the result.
Ajay Gopal
12 Posted 08/12/2016 at 09:01:41
Of the 3 wingers that Lyndon mentions, Deulofeu, in my opinion, has the best chance to break through. He obviously has the talent, but his confidence has been shot. If he can get a goal, even a fluke goal, that could kick-start his career again.

As the article mentions, he is working hard in training, he just needs a break to make things happen for him and Everton.

Dave Abrahams
13 Posted 08/12/2016 at 09:12:47
Brian Williams (#8),

I agree entirely with you about Mirallas on Sunday, he had a great second half, he was very good. First half, apart from two very good free kicks, he was poor. That said he was the busiest player on the park, directing players here and there like a traffic policeman, without getting involved himself.

Mirallas has got it all on his day, but never looks like he is going to be a consistent player for the blues, same with Deulofeu. Lennon hasn't got many fans on here; I'm of the opinion he still hasn't had enough games this season to be totally written off – he is involved all the time he is on the field and helps the team because he is a team player unlike the other two.

I would however like Deleufeu to be given a chance in the position he plays for the Spannish U21s as a No 10.

Keith Knowles
14 Posted 08/12/2016 at 09:20:33
All 3 need to go (plus quite a few more); they have been given enough chances.
Martin Nicholls
15 Posted 08/12/2016 at 09:24:05
I'm with Colin and Ajay on this in that I remain hopeful that Deulofeu will develop into the player I think he could be.

Also, I agree with Dave that it would be worth trying him as a No 10; however, now that one of our wing options (Bolasie) is out for the foreseeable future, I think there's even less chance of seeing that happening.

Peter Murray
16 Posted 08/12/2016 at 09:31:38
The short term answer has to be Valencia alongside Lukaku. However,the problem is much deeper than the underperforming wide players.

You hit the nail on the head with your description of Everton as a team"without a discernible identity". Against Man Utd there was hardly any of of the pressing but still a lot of the hoofing. Sustained passing moves were infrequent

The players seem unsure of their roles,playing without confidence. Why is this? Is Koeman too rigid?Have certain players decided not to play? Are there tensions in the coaching set-up? Or what?

Whatever the reason(s), morale seems rock bottom.

Alun Jones
17 Posted 08/12/2016 at 09:32:39
I think Mirallas is better off playing just behind the main striker, he has quick feet and good eye for goal. If Ross can't fill the role, I'd like to see Mirallas given a go there rather than out wide.
Liam Reilly
18 Posted 08/12/2016 at 09:44:22
If you bothered to read what I said, David, I would argue that some of he inconsistencies in the wingers arises because Lukaku doesn't press the ball, which leaves them chasing shadows.

Chase lost causes for long enough and you'll run out of steam and confidence.

Again, just to be clear, I'm not saying it's all Lukaku's fault, but he doesn't press the ball.

That clear enough for Ya?

Andrew Clare
19 Posted 08/12/2016 at 09:45:34
Bar Lennon, none of these players are team players. I'm talking about Lukaku, Deulofeu & Mirallas and unfortunately Lennon is just not good enough for a top 6 side.

I mentioned this on another post but just look at Borussia Dortmund. That's what I call team play at its best. They remind me of our mid-eighties teams – everyone playing for each other, everyone on the same wavelength. The team we have at the moment couldn't be further away from that approach.

I am sure Koeman wants to mould the team as a unit that attacks and defends in unison so a clear – out is definitely required.

There isn't any room for inconsistent players if we want to play that way.

Peter Roberts
20 Posted 08/12/2016 at 10:20:00
Completely agree with Liam (#3)...

The big issue is "wingers" supposedly There to serve King Rom who sits on his throne on the penalty spot being fed grapes and swigging wine till one of his servants puts the ball on a plate for him to devour... if its a little shy of perfect then the King will throw his arms up in the air and condemn them to the dungeon.

Time to get someone on the throne who will put a suit of armour on and lead the troops to battle.

This has been a long time coming with Rom. Demands have been made of him to press – he couldn't press a shirt laziest player I have ever seen. The rest of the team starting with Barkley appear exasperated with him and the sooner he leaves the better.

For me, it's not about the wingers – it's about a static, arrogant, surly manchild with an ego that far exceeds his ability. His lack of movement gives the others absolutely nothing to work with and that's what we see – nothing.

But this is Everton isn't it . That lot across the park suffer fools for a tenth of the time that we will They bought Balotelli and Benteke who along with Lukaku, Adebuyor and Berbatov are 5 of the most laziest, over indulged strikers I've seen in the Premier League. What they do is let them know that scoring the odd goal isn't good enough – work with the team or you are out... low and behold – out they go.

What do we do? We indulge this brat through thick and thin... how many sides would tolerate goal droughts and completely inept performances the way we have with him?

2016 YTD in the Premier League:-
31 games
10 goals scored over 8 games

He has had continuous goalless patches of 11, 5, and is currently on 4...

When he scores – aside from the game that precedes one of his barren runs, he tends to go only one goalless game... this usually creates some ridiculous fan fare and hype and his response is to put his slippers on and light a cigar.

Sick and tired of this player. Imagine if Alex Nyarko was a player who scored the odd goal? Our wonderfully indulgent fans would have had him here long enough for a testimonial. Forget the fact that he didn't care for the shirt and wouldn't run, tackle or do any of that stuff – the odd goal would have wiped the minds of any fans who had the potential to run on the pitch and offer to swap shirts. They would have tolerated his no shows that negatively impact the team just so they could see him hit the net again.

In 2015-16 no outfield player averaged less distance over 90 minutes than Lukaku, in 2016-17 only 3 have covered less.

Mark Andersson
21 Posted 08/12/2016 at 10:33:30
Great read, Lyndon. So why, if it's so simple, does the manager not see what most on TW see?

Oh yes... we only think we know what we're talking about. I can never get my head around players not giving a 100%; even if you don't like the manager, do it for the fans or at least yourself.

The reality is they simply don't care. Koeman will be judged by his boss this time next year. The fans will give him less time.

Jim Wilson
22 Posted 08/12/2016 at 10:44:28
It really is time to get shut of Lukaku. He is a major cause of our problems with his attitude and laziness. When he is involved in a difficult game, his control goes to pot so he hides. Add Mirallas and Deulofeu's inconsistency to the mix and you can see why we struggle.

A top team can't afford one player to be inconsistent never mind three. Martinez failed to see this let's hope Koeman does.

The irony is it is Barkley who seems to be the manager's scapegoat, and he is the one I would persevere with, but without Lukaku messing up his game.

Ray Roche
23 Posted 08/12/2016 at 10:57:33
Totally off topic but I've just seen the news that 5 year old Bradley Lowery, the little Sunderland fan everyone took to their hearts when we played them, has been given a diagnosis that his condition is now terminal and his life expectation may be as short as two months. Puts things into perspective, doesn't it?
Winston Williamson
24 Posted 08/12/2016 at 11:11:07
At a certain time, Mirallas was one of my favourite current Everton players. I also liked Deulofeu for his skill, Lukaku for his impact in his loan season.

My mindset has changed. Mirallas has had enough chances and is now time for a new challenge for him. Lukaku does score goals, but I'm worried of the effect he has on the whole culture at the club. I can imagine a few players at the club thinking "Who does he think he is? Strutting around like he's won something" – he's won nothing by the way.

Of the players mentioned in the article I think Deulofeu is the one who deserves the most leeway, as he has not had a run in the position he plays for Spain U21s. I say play Deulofeu with Valencia and see if we become more mobile and fluid – what have we to lose at this moment in time?

Dean Cooper
25 Posted 08/12/2016 at 11:17:50
A lot of Lukaku bashers on this site. Remember, it wasn't so long ago we had the likes of Jelavic, Anichebe and Stracqualursi up front..

Each of them had either a good touch or worked industriously for the team. You can't possibly wish that for the team again?

Clive Rogers
26 Posted 08/12/2016 at 11:29:42
I completely disagree that Mirallas put a 90-minute shift in. He was very poor first half and most of the second when playing central. He only came to life when Cleverley came off and he was moved to the left flank.

He was clearly not good enough for a central role. He's 29 now and has had chance after chance in all the front roles. Time for him to be moved on.

Kevin Tully
27 Posted 08/12/2016 at 11:32:19
A fair assessment, Lyndon. People tend to forget Koeman has given all the current squad a chance to prove themselves, but not one has stepped up to the mark and made themselves undroppable. Some players are unsuited to the pressing game, full stop.

When you look at our recruitment over the past 25 years, it's been an absolute shambles for a club of our size. Who was the last truly world class player we signed as an unknown, or for a relative pittance? Have we ever unearthed a gem as all the other top teams have done over this period? I can't think of one, you couldn't go that long if you tried without signing at least three or four real class players. Arsenal signed about 5 in one season!

Hopefully we have finally arrived in the modern football world by putting a proper scouting network in place, but until then, the £4-8m pound players you mention above will perform at a barely average level, and will continue to be mid-table players.

Maybe half of these players don't believe they will be sold in the near future, they have become that comfortable at a club without ambition? "Lovely old Bill will never sell me." We may witness a huge change in attitude once a few of their pals are actually shipped out, and they start to believe their career may be going down the pan after all. Osman & Hibbo said the club wasn't the same, let's hope so.

John Raftery
28 Posted 08/12/2016 at 11:38:34
I can't remember the last time Deulofeu had a worthwhile shot on goal. He seems to have lost the ability or confidence to shoot on sight. His goal at Arsenal in his first season showed what he was then capable of. His crossing in the early weeks of last season was excellent but we have seen nothing from him in this calendar year.

Most of the time he has been a liability. Unless he can rediscover the sort of form that gives us an end product in goals and assists to continue playing him is a waste of a place in the team.

As for Mirallas, he looked more effective in the free role he had in the second half. Like Hazard, he never looks comfortable when restricted to a wide position. Roving around behind Lukaku he has proven he can score ten goals a season which our team is crying out for.

Aaron Lennon has always struggled to deliver a sustained end product. At 29 that is unlikely to change.

How to get the best out of Barkley? What are the options now that Koeman must have reached the same conclusion as we have, that he is not suited to the No 10 role? Lyndon, I look forward to reading your thoughts on that one!

Chris Williams
29 Posted 08/12/2016 at 11:43:16
Spot on, Kevin. Just not good enough under three managers, ageing, not developing, serial bottlers. A real toxic mix there for all to see. Unfit for the style of play, or just unfit.

Not Koeman's players but it's all his fault somehow.

Alan Bodell
30 Posted 08/12/2016 at 11:44:37
Peter (#20), superb piece and so articulate and although his TW defenders on here have been pretty quiet this season, I fear you will get heaving incoming, akin to the US Marines at Khe San.
Brian Harrison
31 Posted 08/12/2016 at 12:01:00
The heading in this post sums Everton to a tee, consistently inconsistent, and this has been going on for a long time. I would not have just criticized the wingers in this respect it is virtually true of 7 or more of the team. Seems no matter who Koeman selects the team and individuals are inconsistent, not just over a period of games but in individual games.

When Deulofeu arrived, I thought at last a player to get me off my seat, he had pace, trickery and goals and assists in him. I don't know what has happened to him but he looks a shadow of the player who first joined us. I still believe there is a player there and of the 3 wide players mentioned for me he is still worth persevering with.

I would hope against Watford we start with the team that finished the game. When we had Valencia alongside Lukaku and Mirallas and Deulofeu breaking from midfield we carried a threat. I think if we start with these 3 they can all inter change positions to give the opposition something to think about.

Scott Hall
32 Posted 08/12/2016 at 12:07:33
If my memory serves me correctly, Kevin Mirallas was a striker in Greece and the lad can finish but he is never afforded the opportunity at Everton to be the man in the box nor the furthest man forward. He's always out on the wing where he has a tendency to go missing.

I'd love to see him get a run of games up front with the instruction of staying central. He's got a good touch, he can beat a man and he has a shot on him. He's also a completely different player to Lukaku and could compliment him quite well in my opinion if he was allowed to stay in and around the 18-yard box.

Deulofeu has got ability in abundance, he hasn't become shite overnight. He needs a run of games in one position and he needs to have more than one player to aim at in the box. At the moment, he picks the ball up on the wing, looks up and sees one lazy bugger standing in the area. If that was me, I'd look to pass inside too.

Paul Burns
33 Posted 08/12/2016 at 12:11:35
Too much emphasis is put on wingers, the problem is we need another forward alongside Lukaku...

Opposing defences have it far too easy with us and it unbalances the whole team. We've got to give them more to think about in the oppositions final third and that would give the wing men more time and space to operate.

As it is, it's a cakewalk for teams playing us and it's about time we got on the front foot because the present set-up is a proven failure.

Patrick Murphy
34 Posted 08/12/2016 at 12:11:54
It's all about the team ethic and Everton have too many individuals who think it's all about them and what they do. Lukaku who is an intelligent person is not a team player and never will be a team player. If we had him or someone similar five years ago we might have been able to afford to have him in the team, but not now when we have so many other 'look at me' types in the squad.

It has been widely reported that Lukaku has said the following in recent days:

"First, I need a coach to work with who believes in me as there is no point in signing for someone and then realise on the spot that the system is not designed for me."

That tells me at least that Rom believes that his team-mates are there to fulfil his needs alone. Good luck in finding a Champions League club who will tolerate such an attitude, Rom – Everton FC may be as good as it gets for you.

James Byrne
35 Posted 08/12/2016 at 12:13:32
Good article, Lyndon, and it raises the valid point about the quality of some of the players big Ron inherited and the style of football he wants to play.

I think it is obvious now that players such as Gerry, Mirallas, Barkley, Lukaku, Jags, Baines, Lennon, McCarthy etc are not good enough or finished under Koeman. I'd even add Bolasie to that list although he might adjust in an improved squad over time.

There needs to be a clear out over the next few transfer windows so it will be interesting to see this development taking place.

I'm right behind the manager; I think we need to be patient and see how next season starts off after a squad upgrade!

Paul Burns
36 Posted 08/12/2016 at 12:16:11
If Koeman continues with one up front, it won't matter what players he gets in to play wide, it will fail.
Fran Mitchell
37 Posted 08/12/2016 at 12:17:02
A year or so ago, Deulofeu was looking the real deal. We were even worried that Barcelona would soon trigger the buy-back clause, that is how good he looked.

Pace, skill, directness and he seemed to be a player that made things happen. With him on the pitch, goals were inevitable.

Then he got dropped and he seems to have Lost 'it'.

God knows what it is, but If he could play to his best then we have a real high quality player on our hands.

Lennon is just bang average.

Mirallas is on the wane, and should be shipped out. Dowell deserves a chance.

Paul Conway
38 Posted 08/12/2016 at 12:21:54
Kevin Tully at (#27)

Excellent perception and puts things well into perspective. Barring Rooney, whom we sold, imho, if we had of produced 25 Rooney's , we would have sold the lot.

Our training ground is not called Finch Farm for nothing. It's just that not having grown or nurtured serious talent over decades, we don't have much to sell at the Farmer's Market these days.

Nathan Rooney
39 Posted 08/12/2016 at 12:25:33
Great article, Lyndon, I can't really argue with any of it, things are so frustrating at the moment. I am holding onto the vain hope of a good transfer window – gawd help me!

With regard to Lukaku and his latest little spouting to the medjah about his terrible confinement at HMP Goodison and the god awful service he is provided with, well the kid is so full of the brown stuff, his parents should have christened him Portaloo Lukaku.

I'll get me cloak.

Michael Penley
40 Posted 08/12/2016 at 12:27:37
There are two sides to consistency. The players mentioned in the article are going through a bad patch – but there's a possibility they will come good again. We need to give the new management time to work with them, and undo the Martinez effect which explains the laziness and low work rate from the players.
Raymond Fox
41 Posted 08/12/2016 at 12:34:37

Mirallas frustrates the life out of me too, there's a quality player inside Mirallas but he doesn't turn up very often. Why, who knows!

Lennon is worth retaining in my opinion, he usually puts a shift in and was scoring a few goals last season if my memory serves me right.

As for Deulofeu, again I would persevere as there's a quality player in him somewhere, but as you say, Lyndon, we don't see that player enough! I do think that he's always closely marked now as the opposition probably regard him as a danger man.

Personally, I think a top quality midfield creator would make a world of difference to our performances; that's our number one priority at the moment. Fans on here have been saying this for a very long time now and we are still waiting!

Lukaku's not a back to the goal player, he needs passes he can go forward onto, with his size he should be a monster in the air. Again he doesn't often get crosses where he can use his head which is a mistake in my eyes.

He's built more like an heavyweight boxer, he's never going to be near the top of the running most table, but needs to try harder to make himself available to pass to. Again he's also very closely marked now by the opponents which does make a difference to his performances.

Having said that Aquero and Sanchez are always marked men but they have the class to score even so.

Iain Johnston
42 Posted 08/12/2016 at 12:50:40
Peter @20...

2015-16 Lukaku scored 3 goals from January to May and two were pens... ONE outfield goal in 5 months.

2014-15 Jan to May, 4 goals and again 2 pens... TWO outfield goals in 5 months.

He should live in Yellowstone as he goes to sleep in January and doesn't wake up until September.

I agree, Lukaku is the problem; his signing was also the catalyst to many of the issues which we have now. Martinez spunked his whole budget on him at a time when very senior players needed replacing rather than being given contract extensions. Chelsea had already said we could have had him for a further season on loan.

Would we have payed £28m the following summer? I very much doubt it.

Anthony Hawkins
43 Posted 08/12/2016 at 12:53:05
Most of the team's issues stem from a poor spine and backbone to the team. The centre-midfield and centre-defense pairings are not right. Get those right and they give the other players freedom to do their thing.

I don't have any real answers but the pairing of Jagielka and Williams isn't working. Barry or Cleverley and Barkley or whomever isn't working. That's a massive gap right down the middle.

What it does is put the emphasis on the other players to make weight and cover areas they shouldn't need to. Yes, it's a team game but when players are distracted from the role they need to fulfill to cover for other, weaker areas, the team loses shape.

Barry, Gibson and Cleverley are not the solution although Barry brings a much missing quality to the team.

The other issue is that none of them want to run through a brick wall for the team. Tim Cahill had it, Phil Neville (like him or loathe him) had it, Dave Watson had it. Players with a passion and determination to do what was necessary. Ownership on the pitch.

Get these right and the wide players have more freedom and would provide more opportunities for the forwards.

The calls against Lukaku require a bit of balance. Yes, he can be perceived as lazy but it's tough to be overly critical when he's the second highest goalscorer in the league.

Yes, he could he have more goals if he put in the effort and no, he's not a player like Suarez (who is??).

It's an odd time as an Everton fan as we know we can out perform teams on our day. It's just the team doesn't appear to click when it matters.

Jack Convery
44 Posted 08/12/2016 at 12:58:38
These three are on the way out.

Lukaku will go when Koeman believes the team can score the goals; Lukaku now does. Lukaku is not and never was part of Koeman's long term plans. The way Koeman wants EFC to play needs an energetic forward line who press the oppositions defence and pinch the ball back high up the field. Lukaku cannot do that and never will.

In fact, the players who cannot or will not play the pressing game will go sooner rather than later. EFC's next centre-forward will be a player in the Costa mold. Someone who doesn't give the defenders a minute. I reckon whoever it is will be the last piece in the puzzle as it's goals that keep you in the Premier League. This is why Koeman will hold onto Lukaku and cash in when his target(s) become available.

Danny Broderick
45 Posted 08/12/2016 at 13:07:17
I don't think Deulofeu or Mirallas can be trusted as wide players in a 4-4-2. I believe that Lennon and Bolasie could, but now that Bolasie is injure, who will play wide if we want to play 4-4-2? I don't think Depay could be trusted in a 4-4-2 either, as a matter of fact.

I was hoping we would switch formation a few weeks back, because it's clear that Lukaku cannot play up front on his own. I don't mind having a lazy striker though if he is a goalscorer. There have been countless strikers over the years who didn't do much outside the box.

Lukaku can be as lazy as he wants if he is going to score 25 goals, for me. However, this must be in a 4-4-2, with someone doing the donkey work alongside him. If he is up front on his own, he gives us no options by being so static.

The transfer activity in January is going to be interesting. We have a few square pegs in round holes at the minute. We need a couple of new players to come in to complement what we have already got.

Kristian Boyce
46 Posted 08/12/2016 at 13:08:26
When Deulofeu goes on the Spanish U21 duty, he's a different player. He is the all-time leading goal scorer for that age group and is the focal point for that team.

Back in the summer, when Lukaku was given his extended break, he was our forward man for a number of games. From the couple I saw him play, I thought he was great in a more advanced role.

Bernard Dooley
47 Posted 08/12/2016 at 13:10:28
Scott (#32), yes Mirallas, or Kevin Antonio Joel Gislain Mirallas y Castillo according to Wikipedia, was used as a striker by Olympiacos, scoring 34 goals in 52 games for them, 20 in 25 in the season before we signed him. Obviously, the Greek Superleague is not the Premier League.

Enner Valencia's Premier League record at WHU is eight goals in 54 games (playing wide?) but he has 19 goals in 34 games (playing centrally?) for Ecuador. These players have goals in them, but can we find a way of utilising them in such a tough league as the Premier League?

Peter Roberts
48 Posted 08/12/2016 at 13:25:02
Dean Cooper (#25):- "A lot of Lukaku bashers on this site. Remember it wasn't so long ago we had the likes of Jelavic, Anichebe and Stracqualursi up front.. Each of them had either a good touch or worked industriously for the team. You can't possibly wish that for the team again?"

Yeah, I also remember it wasn't so long ago that we had no money to work with in the transfer market and that is why we had those players. Have you conveniently forgotten that this lad cost us £28m? He cost more than the previous 3 or 4 record signing strikers COMBINED1 We blew our whole budget on him cos he didn't want to fight for a spot at Chelsea. He cost us twice the amount of our previous transfer record.

So you are saying if we get rid of Lukaku for whatever overinflated fee it will be – we will have to buy strikers like Anichebe, Stracq and Jelavic? Why is that? is the money that we spend on Lukaku gonna disappear down the back of the Goodison sofa? Of course it isn't chances are we will get £40m+ to spend on someone who may actually do a decent impression of someone who cares for the shirt and scores the odd goal whilst they are at it.

I tell ya – I do feel sorry for the likes of Barkley... I can only hope that we still have him when we buy a striker who will move for him and give him options to pass to.

I mean correct me if I'm wrong but...

Chris Gould
49 Posted 08/12/2016 at 13:27:09
Ray Roche (#23), that truly is incredibly sad news. Heartbreaking.
Brian Hennessy
50 Posted 08/12/2016 at 13:50:08
I think it's too easy to blame Lukaku for our problems. His job is to score goals and he does it regularly and would score more with the right service.

While Mirallas, Lennon and Deulofeu are all inconsistent, I think the root of our problems lies in the fact that we have no player in the squad who can play the No 10 /playmaker role.

My biggest disappointment of the last transfer window was the failure to sign Mata from Man Utd. That type of player just has to be the No 1 target in January, otherwise we will continue to have no link between our wingers/midfield and Lukaku up front.

Tony McNulty
51 Posted 08/12/2016 at 13:55:52
As long as he's here, Lukaku needs help and support up front, and he also needs better service.

His strength has never been as a target man (which Martinez seemed to want to turn him into). Now are we asking him to run around all game as part of some vague “pressing” philosophy?

Is the plan to get him so that he's too knackered to run onto balls when we're on the break, or too tired to finish when the ball is in the penalty box (his position when he scores most of his goals)?

If we were to sign Messi, we'd probably call back the PE teacher. No more strolling around the centre for our Lionel. Get him to change his game. Maybe get the goalie to punt balls to him so he could try and head the ball in the centre circle with his back to goal? We could also hire Rodney Marsh to teach him how to tackle.

Ian Jones
52 Posted 08/12/2016 at 13:57:05
Hi Ray. Missed your post about Bradley until I saw the post by Chris. Very sad news. Certainly does put things into perspective.
Justin Harvey
53 Posted 08/12/2016 at 14:07:49
I have always like Mirallas – he offers more of a goal threat than the other two and can be trusted more with the ball at his feet. He hasn't always done enough defensively but then name a winger who does. His biggest problem was that he hasn't played enough football over the last two years and needs an extended run in the side.

Geri has ability in spades but he is too lightweight and rarely makes the right decisions, often giving the ball away cheaply; perhaps he too just needs a longer extended run in the side.

Lennon is not good enough to be starting games, when we signed him I thought he'd do as a squad player but I now think that he is at best workmanlike and at worst a liability and doesn't look good enough to even warm the bench; he should be moved on ASAP.

Steavey Buckley
55 Posted 08/12/2016 at 14:20:27
The time to turn things around should have happened before the start of this season to stop the same players from being consistently inconsistent when the same players were with Martinez, who usually flatter to deceive. This merry-go-around will probably carry on till next season.
Peter Roberts
56 Posted 08/12/2016 at 14:35:19
Brian (#50) "I think it's too easy to blame Lukaku for our problems. His job is to score goals and he does it regularly and would score more with the right service."

For far too long his masquerade of goals has papered over the cracks of a very flawed player who concedes possession at an alarming rate in a transitional phase of play which is pretty destructive to the shape and flow of our team.

I'm not trying to make out that I know more than the next man about football – in fact my knowledge around defensive organisation is pretty abysmal – what I do know pretty well is the key element of a striker being able to do some KEY work for the team and he fails abysmally. His goals don't even make up for his ping pong shins and complete lack of intelligent movement that restricts the likes of Ross Barkley into making side ways passes. His inability to even pressure a defender into making a hurried pass is a disgrace.

Sign Mata? What was he going to do? strap a motor to Lukakus back and get a remote control to make him move where he needs him to? The issue isn't the No 10 – the issue is the complete lack of intelligent movement from Rom and his inability to play one touch football quickly and precisely.

Tony (#51)...

Help and support up front? You mean someone else to do what he is supposed to do himself? Yeah that used to be the old 4-4-2 before Managers cottoned on to the fact that you can just get your players fitter pack 5 in the midfield and get your striker to do a bit and have the 5th player a hybrid attacker/midfielder.

It's 2016 now... Micky Quinn retired 20 years ago. Even old school poachers like Jermaine Defoe have had to adapt their game – but our 23-year-old "beast" can't do that he has actually said his next move will depend on the system. Well he can say goodbye to his so called ambitions of Champions League etc cos he ain't gonna get a servant bought in for him.

You are right about one thing though – tiredness. He will get tired for a through ball or a finish if he is doing the running that he should be doing – the reason? He's unfit. Probably 4-5 kg overweight... he's never had a work ethic and it isn't gonna start now.

For the time being we may as well give Valencia a shout next to him as he showed on Sunday what a bit of movement and work up front can do for the team. Get to January and if we have a suitable candidate lined up then pull the trigger and get shut of the lad. Good riddance.

James Stewart
57 Posted 08/12/2016 at 14:37:16
Deulofeu – How this guy is a professional footballer is beyond me. Zero intelligence and his awareness and work rate on an 11-a-side pitch is a total embarrassment. Not a viable option.

Lennon – Looks past it. Hard working player and admirable character but simply not good or quick enough anymore to cause any danger.

Mirallas – Make or break. Seems like the only one who might be able to make a push for a regular spot but how many times have we said that? I would show all 3 of them the door come January.

Surely Dowell or a more compact 4-3-3 with Davies and Valencia is the only option now. I would prefer to see any of these given a go over Deulofeu.

Jay Harris
58 Posted 08/12/2016 at 14:58:27
My biggest criticism of Lukaku isn't that he is lazy – it is that he can't hold the ball up.

I thought he worked hard against Man Utd but he was second to every ball. Van Dyck had him in his pocket the whole game.

Given his size and bulk he is also the poorest header of a ball I have ever seen at centre-forward.

It is interesting that the majority of posters are talking about the inconsistencies up front not at the back or defensive midfield. Doesn't that tell you something.

Rick Tarleton
59 Posted 08/12/2016 at 15:09:13
Barkley's problem is that, when he has moved forward in that stylish controlled way, there is no end product. The reason there is no end product is simple: there is no movement ahead of him. If he was at Tottenham and he had Kane ahead of him, or at Chelsea with Costa or Man City with Aguero or at Liverpool or Man Utd or the vast majority of Premier League clubs, he would have someone up front who runs the channels, someone who creates space for himself or the other forward players.

Lukaku does not do that, he wants a pin-point pass to his feet, preferably in a counter-attacking position where through his strength he can get through on to the keeper and finish, as he did in the Man City game. Barkley, and Gueye as well, get into a threatening position and they then have to check back,and hope that Coleman or Baines can provide someone with whom they can work. It is slow and ponderous and it all stems from how static the Everton formation is.

John G Davies
60 Posted 08/12/2016 at 15:33:20
Rick (#59),

Perfect summation. Bang on the money. As a result of this, Barkley has to take too many touches, is closed down and loses possession.

The crowd gets on his back and his game deteriorates.

Tim Sharpe
61 Posted 08/12/2016 at 15:34:31
There was an article on Sky Sports yesterday that showed Lukaku has covered the least amount of distance in the Premier League this season. he came 503rd out of 503 players.

Everton not playing to Romelu Lukaku's strengths under Ronald Koeman

Regardless who plays around him, he needs to move more!

Trevor Peers
62 Posted 08/12/2016 at 15:36:15
Rick, how is it then when Barkley plays for England, who do have players with movement in front of him and to the side of him, that he still makes no impact whatsoever?

Get over Barkley, and let's buy a player who can actually run the midfield, with the class and quality we require, is the only answer, if we are ever to move forward. He's had long enough to prove himself.

Raymond Fox
63 Posted 08/12/2016 at 15:42:36
You're correct, Rick, about the lack of movement – especially the midfield to the front of the team. For experienced players, it's basic stuff really and it's been the same for 18 months at least, surely their told about it.

Without players trying to lose defenders, the player in possession has no good options to pass to... as I say, it's kids' stuff.

Mike Gaynes
64 Posted 08/12/2016 at 15:43:26
Ray (#23), I'm crushed. That's a kick in the stomach. Hoped against hope that this wouldn't be the outcome.

Still proud of the way our club and fans stepped in to help support the little guy.

Rick Tarleton
65 Posted 08/12/2016 at 15:55:18
Ray Roche's post puts everything into perspective, we're arguing about how lazy Lukaku is or how profligate our wingers are and a little boy and his parents and family are facing life and death. Like every other Everton supporter, my heart goes out to the boy, Bradley Lowery, and his family.
Peter Roberts
66 Posted 08/12/2016 at 16:02:30
Trevor – what England games are you referring to? You need to go back to last year for his real opportunities before the Deli Alli love-in and at that stage he was doing things like getting MotM against Estonia. It looks like you are prescribing to the media scrutiny place on him – most unfairly.

I mean... Deli Ali in the Euros . absolute joke and Ross didn't get a chance?

It's hilarious – the lad gets slated and no-one has a clue whatsoever about what he has to deal with in having a statue in front of him who just runs in a straight line. He probably had more intelligent team mates when he was 14 years old.

Paul Merson called it absolutely spot on when sat with Kevin Sheedy on "Fantasy Football" – the lad is exceptionally talented and is playing the hardest position.

It's okay, though sensitive Ross fits the bill of the scapegoat... a nice quiet kid with more talent in his little toe than most players have full stop. Whether it be dinosaur Roy Hodgson shouting at him or downplaying a man-of-the-match performance against Ecuador. Or whether it be one of the lids on the terrace – frothing at the mouth because Ross made a sideways pass instead of going on a run past 5 players.

I hope that Lukaku goes asap and we get in a striker who is a willing runner and link-up player. Only then will we see the best of the lad.

Mike Gaynes
67 Posted 08/12/2016 at 16:13:48
Another good piece, Lyndon. Well done noting the extensive contributions of Bolasie, who comes in for a lot of stick on TW.

I would point out that Lennon's "purple patch" was only nine months ago, and extended to a great goal in May. I believe his lesser form this year is due to lack of playing time, not being "past it", and he's worth staying with a bit longer. He certainly puts in as much effort as anyone we have except perhaps Gueye.

I would argue that the problem with Geri isn't lack of consistency. It's TOO MUCH consistency. As a right winger, he has one real move... the stepover dribble and quick move toward the byline, either for an early cross or a pullback from the line. Now that he's been thoroughly scouted, defenders just sit back and wait for the move – and shut it down. No amount of hard work and good attitude will help until he expands his game, or unless he plays a different position. I heartily agree with Dave (#13) that he's worth a try in the #10 slot, where his great first touches will benefit him.

Tim (#61), that's a great article, thanks for sharing that. It's a little less damning of Rom than the raw statistic... it essentially says he doesn't run much because he's not given through balls to run onto, which is absolutely correct. But yes, he does need to move a whole lot more.

Jim (#22), sorry, but the idea that Rom is the reason that Barkley's game is a mess... I got a great big laugh out of that one. Barkley's problem is Barkley. Period.

Andrew Presly
68 Posted 08/12/2016 at 16:20:59
The fascination with out-and-out wingers has also nullified our full back threat which a few years back made us the envy of the league.

I'd like to see a return to width provided by the left and right back with the 3 behind Rom playing more as versatile but generally centralised attacking midfielders with 2 like Gana and Schneiderlin behind them.

As close to what Arsenal are doing as we can get, basically.

Patrick Murphy
69 Posted 08/12/2016 at 16:25:30
Everton's problem is that there isn't a single forward-thinking player that the team can rely on for a whole match never mind a whole season.

At least Rom does take enough chances to keep our heads above water, but going forward we are the lamest bunch in the division and, given some of the teams in the league, that is a terrible indictment of all connected with the club.

Mike Gaynes
70 Posted 08/12/2016 at 16:34:20
Peter (#66), Ross Barkley is a million-dollar talent with a ten-cent footy brain. With a ball at his feet he makes worse decisions than any other similarly talented #10 that I have ever seen. He creates nothing for other players. He has only the two alternatives you suggested – the sideways pass and the attempted dribble past five defenders. The anticipatory, creative pass is utterly beyond him. When was the last time you've ever heard the phrase "Great ball from Barkley!"?

Additionally, his defensive disinterest is surpassed only by Rom's. The one midfielder we have who will NEVER provide ball pressure or track an attacking player's run back to the end line is Ross.

I suggested long ago that if we went to a 4-4-2, the logical second striker would be Barkley. IMO, there is no hope, none at all, that he will ever become a competent #10.

Rick Tarleton
71 Posted 08/12/2016 at 16:36:21
I don't rate any of our wingers. Deulofeu finds it easier to beat his man than the others do, but that's about it.

However, one of the reasons their final ball is so bad so often is that they haven't a clue where their big centre-forward will be. I've never seen such a big striker who is so poor in the air. He's never moving onto a cross looking to power a header towards goal.

f you've gone past a full back at speed you haven't time to look up and check if Lukaku's made the run, you hit it and trust the big man will be there. He isn't and they look even worse.

It's the off-the-ball movement that's the key to success in football and it is that which we have not got.

Don Alexander
72 Posted 08/12/2016 at 16:45:00
The three wide boys cited would never get a game for another aspiring European-qualified team.

Mirallas has had more than enough time and opportunity to make his case in whatever way he wants but just doesn't do it.

Deulofeu was sent away from Barca for good reason, failed on loan to Sevilla, and has never looked like improving himself at Finch Farm (and were expected to applaud his assertion that he works hard there? – give me strength) and his one gift, as described above, is comfortably dealt with these days by just about every defence.

Lennon has a fresh, comfortable three year contract and has seemingly long since accepted he'll never hit the heights he hinted at 10 years ago, but a least he puts a shift in when he plays, even if it ain't always welcomed in terms of product.

Lukaku is a conundrum and I think that Ron bigging him up in the press recently is the prelude to getting as much as poss, as soon as poss, off any team who feel a need for a 6'-3" target man who's often unable to control or accurately pass a ball, is afraid to compete for a header (regardless of who's playing wide), who'd seemingly prefer to play in a tu-tu rather than challenge to win the ball back, and who all the while displays an ego that makes Liberace seem shy.

Thank God I ain't the manager!

Trevor Peers
73 Posted 08/12/2016 at 16:45:36
Peter, nice quiet sensitive people, as you put it, don't make good playmakers. Quite the opposite, you need to be bloody minded, hard as nails and very smart with a massive ego.

The thread is about consistency, none of our attacking midfielders are consistently good enough, including Barkley, whose position in the team is vitally important.

Peter Roberts
74 Posted 08/12/2016 at 16:57:33
Regarding Bradley Lowery - there just aren't words to describe how I felt when I seen the picture his dad cuddling him. Absolutely devastating. So so sad. xxx
David Pearl
75 Posted 08/12/2016 at 17:04:12
Yes, poor little boy.
Liam Wilson
76 Posted 08/12/2016 at 17:04:29
We have had many, many great wingers down the years. Some better than others. But the current crop are really disappointing. For example, anyone remember if Dave Thomas or Ronnie Goodlass were ever "Consistently Inconsistent"? I often wonder if these two were playing today, would Lukaku's goals-to-games ratio be better.
John Daley
77 Posted 08/12/2016 at 17:17:24
Deulofeu was actually looking decent throughout the first half of last season and seemed to have added a final product to his play. He was whipping the ball in early and at pace at every opportunity and causing all sorts of problems for opposition defences.

As well as the crosses that were finished off, there were many more just begging to be buried if more bodies had piled into the box or if our sole striker was slightly less statuesque.

His threat was not just coming from out wide either. On a few occasions he received the ball deep and played perfectly weighted first time balls down the middle to put Lukaku in on goal. Then, all of a sudden, he was removed from the starting line-up by Martinez and only started 3 games from mid January until the end of the season.

Despite that he was still Everton's most prolific creator with 19 assists, according to this piece in the Echo that included (along with the 'official' stats) the number of assists that should rightfully have been his, i.e:- times his crosses forced defenders into fatal errors, own goals etc.


Barkley was the only other player in the squad to get over double figures with 15.

Despite their struggles to get going thus far this season (not helped by constantly being in and out of the side), these two players still represent this sides best chance of conjuring a breakthrough, even if it's just by virtue of their occasionally being capable of taking defenders out of their comfort zone by giving them something more to deal with than a lazy punt down the middle or a lofted, 'can't be arsed looking where I'm aiming', lump into the box.

Bolasie, for all his 'unpredictability' and willingness to run, is far too loose in possession, with the ball spinning off and sliding away from him so often he seems semi-permanently dazed and confused like he's just crawled to safety out of a dinosaurs arse covered head to toe in 'slick glide' lube. I find the stat (in the article linked to in Lyndon's OP) that a player who receives the ball as much as he does only manages to pull off 16 accurate passes per game, pretty unbelievable.

Add that to Lukaku's continuing struggles to make the ball stick and it's no wonder we struggle to get any attacking moves worth the name underway when those two are our main out balls.

James Hughes
78 Posted 08/12/2016 at 17:24:54
Trevor (#62), while I agree the with sentiment, our recruitment has not been good for a while. So getting in a player who can run the midfield may be wishful thinking, certainly in the short term.

Look on the bright side: Barca are now coming in to exercise the buy-back clause on Deulofeu. £50 mill I heard, such has been the level of skill, dedication and commitment he has shown.

Gordon Crawford
79 Posted 08/12/2016 at 17:43:54
If we had Costa, Sanchez or Aguero then we would be much higher up the table. These guys work their socks off every time they play. We have the laziest striker I've ever seen play in an Everton shirt.

As for our wingers... well, at the minute, I wouldn't care if they all went. But maybe, just maybe, if we actually played 4-4-2, then we might get some joy from them. This is all very hypothetical though.

Trevor Peers
80 Posted 08/12/2016 at 17:53:04
James (#78) agreed, finding such a player will be devilishly hard, and a compromise is probably going to have to be the solution. If we found a good trio of players who could blend well to produce enough creativity and drive, then the goals will start to flow again.

That is one of the tasks Koeman is faced with, and is being paid a fortune to implement; good luck to him, we are are just interested observers.

Mark Morrissey
81 Posted 08/12/2016 at 17:55:16
Andrew @ 19 is spot on. Lennon is the only team player but he is past his best. However, he would be my pick over Mirallas and Deulofeu.

Why, because it's a team game. I sense that Deulofeu wants to be but doesn't know how. Kevin doesn't want to be because it's all about him, just as it is with Rom. It's the clubs big issue. There is no Leicester or Spurs mentality with this team.

Very few teams have it in the Premier League. Sometimes pure quality gets you through but team spirit is required if you want to win games and you can't buy that. Your manager gives you that.

Brent Stephens
83 Posted 08/12/2016 at 19:17:45
Just seen the posts about young Bradley. Puts a dark cloud over the day.
Ian Brandes
84 Posted 08/12/2016 at 19:25:06
All of this trio would look a lot better, and probably perform better if Lukaku had a top class strike partner.

He is an excellent player on his day, but not up to the lone striker role. No criticism there. Who is in today's Premier League?

Also I think the likes of Mirallas and Deulofeu need to be told how wonderful they are or can be, and that may not be happening.

Lennon is a grafter but, this season, his body language is not good. An unhappy player at an unhappy club?

Dick Fearon
85 Posted 08/12/2016 at 19:26:34
Banging your head against a brick wall is another way of describing Lyndon's piece.

Over far too many years I have had the temerity of mentioning the shortcomings of various Everton players. For some unknown reason, these frauds gather a legion of supporters who leap to the defence of their favourites. Barely a handful could be classed as being genuine international standard and LL's description of their inconsistency perfectly sums them up.

As stated by an earlier poster, Evertonians seem to have unlimited patience with these second raters, and I am buggered to see why.

Colin Glassar
86 Posted 08/12/2016 at 19:38:55
I've now come to the sad conclusion that Ross might have to leave Everton to rescue his career. The last manager indulged him and harmed his development, this one doesn't seem interested in developing local talent and a small, vocal section of Everton fans have given up the ghost and just criticise everything he does, or tries to do.

Seeing Ross with his head in hands during the Man Utd game, it seems to me that he realises his boyhood dream is coming to an untimely end.

Ian Brandes
87 Posted 08/12/2016 at 19:47:09

I hope you are wrong, but fear that you are correct.

Ross may need a change of manager, as will some of the others coming through, to realise his true potential.

And that will come sooner rather than later, I think...

Ian Riley
88 Posted 08/12/2016 at 19:54:41
Our inconsistency has been over many years. Our squad has been very average for many years. Perhaps both are linked... Just a thought!
Rick Tarleton
89 Posted 08/12/2016 at 19:55:30
Colin, you are almost certainly right and it is a crying shame. Barkley is a symptom of the main problem, not a cause of it, which is the inability of the front players to move off the ball and create space for themselves or the attacking midfielders.

Lukaku has great strength and is a good finisher when allowed to run onto a ball. But he makes life difficult for the midfielders and the wingers because of his lack of mobility and his unwillingness to make runs unless he thinks he is almost certain to get the ball. He will not run the channels or attack the ball in the box, thus making the wingers, Barkley, Gueye etc, look stupid when they keep checking back.

Jon Cox
90 Posted 08/12/2016 at 20:16:37
Note to Mr Walsh:

Get your people out there in football land who can spot players who are NOT centre-forwards, but can score goals.

With the amount of amateur leagues around surely you can find these lads. If not, collect your P45 cos you're no use to us.

By the way guys, get rid of "The Bad Apple" in January and we'll be twice the team we are now... and you know who I mean..

John Pierce
91 Posted 08/12/2016 at 21:07:45
I actually think the players mentioned have loads of ability. Bottom line is their attitude makes them weak players. Bolaise is the exception – a better player by some margin.

Deulofeusimply will bever be brave enough to get hurt, Bolaise would and does, City away sticks out.

Mirallas is a selfish shit who's given us some amazing moments in games but rarely can you say he was good for 90 mins.

He also has a temperamental side, rare to see a winger gave so many red cards on his slate.

Due to the Bolaise injury, I'd keep Mirallas but happy to see Lennon and Deulofeu shipped out in January

Kristian Boyce
92 Posted 08/12/2016 at 21:32:25
This sounds rather strange, but I always thought Barkley should have had a loan out to another country, possibly Spain, to help his development. The couple loans he had when he was a kid out to the Championship may have toughened him up a bit, but skill wise I doubt it added much.

Tom Bowers
93 Posted 08/12/2016 at 21:57:05
Most of these posts have correctly indicated the problems and I am sure the club recognize them to at this stage of the season.

Everton are in a slump and I see it as a mixture of underachieving players and a new manager's attempt to get something going but not having much success because of the players' form.

With less than a month to go to the halfway stage and the transfer window, one can only hope the club and the manager have some new players in mind to turn things around after the break.

What I don't want to see are new players that are having difficulty getting a start with their current clubs. We have quite a few of them already and they are proving to be what they are, benchwarmers. I am sure Man Utd will be moving some players but I do hope that Mata and Memphis are not targets for Everton.

My own feeling is that Everton have some youngsters who deserve to have their chance at starting a few games now that the existing squad has shown nothing but lethargy for weeks.
Tony Dove
94 Posted 08/12/2016 at 22:04:03
I think Douglas Bader would have scored a load of goals if he got the service that Lukaku seems to be looking for.
Jim Wilson
95 Posted 08/12/2016 at 22:29:54
Well said, Jon Cox, I totally agree. He really is a bad apple and it will spread if we don't act.
Oliver Molloy
96 Posted 08/12/2016 at 23:01:35
Who's the bad apple, Jim... John?
Len Hawkins
97 Posted 08/12/2016 at 23:06:01
Liam (#76), Dave Thomas was playing with a proper centre-forward who could head a ball, he could ping pinpoint balls onto Lukaku's head all day long without the result he enjoyed with Bobby Latch.
Joe O'Brien
98 Posted 08/12/2016 at 23:50:01
Colin, I hope you are wrong, I still think he's got a massive part to play. I think he would have been brought on Sunday only for the injuries to Bolasie and Colman.

I'd keep Mirallas, he looked in the mood on sunday, I'm hoping it'll continue. Could Deulofeu be used as a No 10? We'd have to get rid of Rom tho because he wouldn't move for his through balls. Lennon needs to be left go for sure.

I hope Barkley still had a future though, I've got a feeling Koeman feels the same.

Barry Jones
99 Posted 09/12/2016 at 03:06:35
Peter Roberts, all your posts on this thread are accurate and well written. I agree entirely with every point you have made regarding Lukaku's effort (or lack of it).

The calls for either more support or better service are bogus. As you correctly pointed out, the likes of Mick Quinn and Clive Allen have not graced our fields for some time now (thank god). Rom will be fatter than fat Ronaldo far younger I feel (and never in his class either).

Paul Kelly
100 Posted 09/12/2016 at 06:55:56
Can't the title just be "Inconsistent", sort of like people "who agree to disagree", why can't they just "disagree"?

Where I agree about consistency (still with me?) is that, at this moment in time, I really don't know who to blame for our shambolic performances. Is Ronny a really shit manager? Have the players downed tools twice in a row (sort of like those train drivers in London – twats) because they can?

What is apparent is this: Ron needs to work with the tools he's got and make them work until he gets some shinier ones, and those not-so-shiny tools need to realise they have to bust a gut for the badge because I fucking demand effort (as every other fan does) from each and last every tool who pulls on that hallowed jersey, which I feel I'm not seeing at the moment.

Unacceptable. Wish I was a tool who could make a difference to the machine that is Everton, but I can't; only the tools there can get us running like a well oiled machine.

Don't fuck up the Derby!

Peter Roberts
101 Posted 09/12/2016 at 10:37:42
I will try to put some balance on the Lukaku criticism...

First off, it's true: I absolutely can not stand him. I don't think I've ever disliked a player so much in my 30+ years as an Everton fan. Why is that?

Okay... lets have a look at similar candidates. Barmby, Neville, Nyarko, Pistone, Cottee. Strange mix there, isn't there?

What have they all got in common? Laziness? Lack of ability? Nope. it was that not one of them "got Everton". In fact, I would go as far to say that they all took the proverbial in a sense of a fashion and some got away with it till a point.

Neville?! - some may ask... getting all excited about his tackle on Ronaldo and his passionate finger pointing and model-pro façade. Nah, not for me. I found him one of the most patronising players to ever wear an Everton shirt – and the worst thing was that he thought he had fans kidded. He revealed his true colours in some ridiculous interviews "top half is a fantastic achievement for a club like Everton", "I couldn't take a penalty against United"... yeah all that.

I am a prime candidate to understand what a player who "gets Everton" is. My first season was 1984-1985... I was fortunate to watch one of the best teams that mixed ability with a desire to play for the shirt who could play or fight – take your pick.

Back to the Belgian: maybe if he didn't have such a huge gob I wouldn't dislike him as much – that gob has made it abundantly clear where he sees his abilities vs the stature of our club. Something I completely disagree with – as a footballer he is a poor player.

However that is the problem – he puts his head above the parapet. If you are gonna do that you best be bulletproof. The odd smattering of goals and concerted efforts doesn't kid me. Dividing the total number of games and total number of goals to give a number of 2 point something doesn't wash with me.

What washes with me is watching a 5'-10", twice busted-knee, heart of a lion Steven Naismith offer more of a physical threat and menace than the supposed 6'-4" "beast" who only seems to put in a shift when his abilities have been questioned.

I'm not for one second saying that we should stock the team up with Stephen Naismiths but the very fact that a career threatened, lesser athletically gifted, much maligned player had the ability to change games more than this lad really does get my goat.

Sadly – players of the ilk of a Naismith, Cahill who would spill blood for the shirt and then go and spend time with the fans or people less fortunate are a rare breed. Complete opposites, like Lukaku, seem to be the norm.

Phil Sammon
102 Posted 09/12/2016 at 10:53:36

How did Naismith change more games than Lukaku? Rom is not on my Christmas card list either... but I think you are in desperate need of a good, long lie down.

Peter Roberts
103 Posted 09/12/2016 at 11:01:23
In terms of "time played" as a central striker, Phil, I would say, relative to expectations and reputation, Naismith was like a shot in the backside for Lukaku.

You would often see games where Lukaku was toiling away looking laboured and then Naismith would enter the fray. Similar to the game on Sunday when Valencia came on, he would inject some urgency and disruption... engaging in niggles with centre-halves. Give him a one-on-one and it was in the back of the net... the bigger the game, the better.

Phil Sammon
104 Posted 09/12/2016 at 12:42:47
'Relative to expectations and reputation, Naismith was like a shot in the backside for Lukaku.'

If that's your mindset, Peter, simply lower your expectations of Lukaku and enjoy a wonderful goalscoring showcase.

Peter Roberts
105 Posted 09/12/2016 at 13:18:11
Do you really think so, Phil? If you look at numbers, then yeah, it's not bad – reasonably good – but, to me, he is nothing more than a Tony Cottee in an American Footballer's body.

Same type of player – all about waiting for his team mates to put it on a plate for him. How many goals has he scored where he has done a great piece of skill to set up the chance for himself? Or picked up a ball, held it up, laid it off, and got on the end of the cross – like an Alan Shearer? Very very rare indeed...

I'm probably doing Cottee a disservice as he had a reasonable touch and could hold up the ball quite well for a little fella.

You see, I watch Everton and look for Everton to put points on the board. I don't look at our striker and how many he's got so I can boast to the kids in the playground that our striker is better than theirs – I grew out of that a long time ago.

It took me a while to realise why we never won the league with Lineker – putting all your eggs in one basket means that, when that player has an off day (Oxford), you lose points. When you have strikers who can bring the likes of Steven and Sheedy into the mix, like Sharp or Gray, then having an off-day meant that the team could still score goals.

Christopher Timmins
106 Posted 11/12/2016 at 10:04:16
After one win in eleven, I think in fairness that we are consistently bad! Poor teams go on such runs!

I can only imagine that our points total for the calendar year would have us in the bottom 6.

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