Derby Day Christmas Blues

Graeme Beresford 20/12/2016 4comments  |  Jump to last
I've always been an Everton fan. Ever since my Dad took me to my first game at Goodison Park, I was hooked. The colour Blue represented everything for me in a school were the majority of lads supported Liverpool. I proudly wore my salmon pink, yellow, black, white and obviously blue kits with pride. I've been to Goodison many times throughout my life, some good times, some bad times... but I suppose everyone of those football matches has been special for its own reasons.

Sometimes it was the bonding between myself and my Dad. Many times were over a few seasons in which me and my two best mates had season tickets in the Lower Gwladys Street. Some have simply been on my own in the ground watching the Blue boys play and win, such as the Arsenal game last week. For me, one thing that is apparent right now is something isn't right.

This comes less than a few hours after watching Liverpool sickeningly score a late goal, right in front of their fans, and I want to criticise them so much but the reality of it is... I can't. There's a problem at Everton right now, there's a major problem and I'm struggling to understand what it is but I think I've got a few points which attribute to the problem.

The first is definitely Ronald Koeman.

Now, I am never a person to criticise a manager. I feel they do a very hard job and ultimately our opinions on them is totally results based. Even towards the end of Martinez's reign I was still a believer he could turn it around. My problem with Koeman is his apparent inability to get his tactics correct. As a manager, to me, this is what I base my opinion on. Tactics are a massive part of football nowadays.

Even if you have the best players in the world a manager will still train you how he wants you to play and expect you to play that way on game day. My problem is that our players don't seem to be able to play the way he wants... Or the way he wants isn't working. Again, it's a results game and our results and performances just aren't right.

In my opinion, the tactics are all wrong. Why are we playing with one striker up front? Why are we playing with two wingers who don't get any support because we're playing two defensive midfielders with a misfiring-on-all-cylinders Ross Barkley in the middle as well, the system isn't working. What happened to 4-4-2 or even thinking sod it and playing three up front. Surely we've got to do something different because our opponents know what we are going to play. Koeman is the man who is being paid millions a year to figure this out.

I truly can't be annoyed that Liverpool have scored a jammy off-the-post tap-in because the truth and fact in the matter is that we played well for twenty five minutes and apart from that they totally dominated the game. Their goal had been coming for twenty minutes, the difference between us and them is their goal was always coming, our's wasn't, and never seems to be. We were holding on and that's not the way we should be. We might not have world class players, but do Liverpool?! I think with a better system, better tactics we would of given ourselves a better opportunity to win, and that ultimately is what it's about.

Another problem – and again I suppose this boils down to the manager – is the team selections. Why do we keep playing the same players who are contributing nothing? We have got to start asking ourselves what are these players doing for the 90 minutes to help our team win because, again if I'm honest, good footballers will be based on stats, their goals, assists, passes made, crosses, amongst many more.

So I ask us all to explain based on yesterday's derby match, arguably the biggest match of Everton's season, what did Lennon, Valencia, Ross Barkley, Lukaku, Baines even Barry do? What did all of these players do to warrant their starting place next game against Leicester? None of these players did a job last night, certainly not a job to win, and if it was a job to draw and 'win' a point then that certainly backfired.

I remember watching Pienaar overlap Baines week in week out and vice versa. I remember Gravesen running round like a headless chicken but showing heart and fight in every game. I remember Phil Neville leading by example and trying to fire his players up; I remember Tim Howard, Neville Southall and Nigel Martyn actually being good goalkeepers. I remember Tim Cahill somehow finding the smallest space in the box, jumping high up and heading the ball into the roof of the net. I remember Dave Watson, Unsworth, Keown, players who were hard, hard working and seemed to like playing for the club. Can someone tell me how these players are earning the money they get paid week in week out for mediocre results?! Watching that Derby tonight it felt like nobody cared, there was no heart.

Another problem is the curious Ross Barkley. I watched a video on Facebook the other day which wished Ross a happy 23rd birthday. This video had his top 5 goals and one goal was the one he scored away at Norwich. The commentator after the strike says 'great goal from the 18-year-old Ross Barkley'. That was the statement that hit home to me. Five years have passed from that goal and Ross Barkley hasn't improved his game in many areas. His positioning, his off-the-ball runs. His confidence, his awareness, his skill, nothing seems to of developed and yet again after last nights performance we are still waiting for a game where at the end of the ninety minutes you say "Wow, Ross Barkley!"

I love the fact he's a home grown lad but sentiment only goes so far. Is his time to impress now over? I feel as though it may be. The amount of times in the derby match I swore before Ross Barkley's name was on another level as he constantly does the wrong thing. I don't think I've ever been more frustrated with one single player.

Lukaku is another one. An amazing goalscorer but truly one of the laziest players I've ever seen in an Everton shirt. I do feel for Rom though as working that line on his own up front is again down to Koeman's tactics but Rom needs to work harder and battle until he is knackered; we never seem to see him do that. The problem in itself is having one lone striker, unless all the midfielders are quality such as Arsenal, Man City, Man Utd, then the lone striker system doesn't work. We're expecting Lukaku to hold up play until others join him, yet his touch is probably the worst part of his game. Most of the time anything fired into him will end up with a poor touch and right back to the opponents.

There's also then Deulofeu. What's happened to the mercurial winger who used to run at defences like lightning? Nobody could actually cope with him, his crossing, his pace and skill. Remember the West Brom away game, he was unreal? What has happened? Does Koeman not like him? Why isn't he playing? To me he is one of the very few danger men we have yet we don't even play the lad. He scores nearly every time he plays for Spain U21s. If Koeman doesn't trust him then he needs to put him in the Under-23s and give him a few games of full ninety minutes and see how he does.

I know if I was managing Everton right now there's no way on Earth I wouldn't start Gerard. There's just no way. Goals win games. Starting Enner Valencia over Gerard to me is a decision I will always question. Sure in two games he's played against Arsenal and Liverpool he's done okay but he's a head down and run into trouble player. He's not a natural winger, nor would I consider him a striker, so what the hell is he doing on the right wing? It baffles me.

Another problem is the lack of giving these apparently incredible young talents a chance to impress. If the old guard can't do it then surly it's time to sit them on the bench and tell the youngsters this is all about you. When's Browning, Galloway, Duffus, Dowell, Holgate, Kenny, Davis, Jones, Walsh, Henen, even Niasse – when are these players ever going to be told, 'you know what son, Jags has been awful all season so I'm playing you on Saturday'.

I personally would like nothing better than to see a team sheet with a simple 4-4-2 consisting of some of these guys instead of the tripe we have to put up with now; at least they will show some heart and have a go. Does Koeman even attend their games? Does he watch the Under-23s at all? It makes you wonder doesn't it.

Anyway, there's definitely an underlying problem within Everton. Is it one of the above points, a mixture of all, or am I just ranting because, yet again we can't beat Liverpool, they have the glory in the City over Christmas and we're left wondering "What if?" Would we trade all of our points for a win over Liverpool... Of course not so we have to look beyond it now and make the rest of the season count. I just hope come the end of the season we're not wondering "What if?" again, but on a much bigger scale.

Do we need to buy players in the transfer window... I think we would all say most definitely but who and how will they improve were we are lacking right now. It's a tough old job supporting Everton Football Club, it's a tough old job indeed in comparison to how our Liverpool friends and family have it. They are blinded by their luck, but let's rejoice in the saying things can only get better, starting with Leicester away to put aside our Christmas blues. All the best boys and girls. Let's keep our heads up, after all....

We're Everton, aren't we?

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Reader Comments (4)

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Danny Broderick
1 Posted 20/12/2016 at 21:07:35
The tactics need to evolve, but it's clear that Koeman doesn't trust the attacking players. To be honest, I probably wouldn't trust them myself if I was in his shoes! The trouble is, he is stuck with them, at least until January, because of the transfer window.

We need to buy a striker, as a foil for Lukaku (who fluffed his lines again in a big game, by the way). I believe the lack of alternative strikers in the squad is why Ronald hasn't changed the tactics.

Koeman can't make the changes he wants to make at the moment, so he is stuck with someone else's squad. He needs to do some business in January asap, because it seems that the current lot are incapable of doing what he wants. That will end in tears of it's allowed to fester. 2 or 3 new players are definitely needed.

Martin O'Connor
2 Posted 21/12/2016 at 04:41:16
Some good points.

I think tactics are wrong at the moment or to be precise we only have one tactic. That is to press but the team clearly cant do this for 90 mins so we need to be able to game manage so we know when to press and when to not. Once we lost McCarthy against the shite that was it as only Gana had the legs to press in the 2nd half.

Also Rom needs some support holding the ball up is clearly one of his weakest aspects and when he does hold it up or wins a header there is no one in a mile of him.

Clearly a squad shake up is needed and Koeman has not got the players he wants, but we must expect more of him and a few more plans instead of Plan A and that's it.

Phil Walling
3 Posted 22/12/2016 at 23:25:29
I bet you felt a lot better for getting that lot of your chest, Graeme . I know my mood improved whilst just reading it!

Trouble is there's feck all we can do apart from seeing another 'What a manager' make a bloody fool of himself and them that appointed him.

But, as you say, "We're Everton, aren't we?"'

Peter Laing
4 Posted 22/12/2016 at 23:36:43
Time will tell. At the moment Koeman seemingly still has the trust and respect of the one man that truly matters – Farhad Moshiri. Moshiri appears to have a plan regarding his project and there will evidently be key performance indicators built into Koeman's contract. If Koeman fails to meet expectations then regardless of his contract he will be relieved of his duties.

Moshiri has gone on record effectively stating the above and, for a man that has been hugely successful in business, I would guess that he is ruthless enough to act decisively should such action be required. This is a new era for Everton and a time for optimism, not pessimism, despite how we are currently feeling.

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