Just when we dared to dream a little…

A shocking performance at Bournemouth caps a chastening week where supporter expectations will have been realigned and sights will have been lowered.

Lyndon Lloyd 23/09/2016 52comments  |  Jump to last
AFC Bournemouth 1 - 0 Everton

Ronald Koeman himself has been pragmatic enough to acknowledge that his Everton team won’t win every game but, having overseen such a strong start to life at Goodison Park, it’s unlikely he would have expected to witness this kind of performance in a game in which the Blues were expected to do well.

Two defeats in a row, both under-pinned by really poor performances, have brought a swift end to the Dutchman’s honeymoon period at Everton and have thrown up some vexing questions and problems with a squad that still badly lacks sufficient depth.

With a display that was hauntingly familiar to the worst of last season, Koeman doesn’t appear to have the answers yet but he will have learned plenty from a chastening week where supporter expectations will have been realigned and sights will have been lowered.

Given that Everton should have won this fixture last year, that they beat Bournemouth on the two other occasions they faced them in 2015-16 and were coming into the weekend on a four-game winning streak in the Premier League, optimism was high that Koeman’s men could put the EFL Cup stumble against Norwich behind them by getting back to winning ways.

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Sadly, they never really got going — almost to a man they looked for the first 45 minutes as though they’d sleep-walked off the team bus — and they paid the price against a Cherries side that was on the top of their game as they carried out what seemed to be a masterful tactical plan by manager Eddie Howe.

In stark contrast to the visitors, who all too often couldn’t get the basics like ball control, foul throws and a simple five-yard pass right, Bournemouth were quick, sharp and hungry and they had registered their intent in no uncertain terms before they eventually took the lead in the 23rd minute.

Ross Barkley’s weak give-away before a minute had elapsed almost ended with Callum Wilson opening the scoring, but he glanced Charlie Daniels’ cross inches wide of the far post. Jack Wilshere would have notched his first Cherries goal had Seamus Coleman not got a crucial deflection on his side-foot shot that carried it onto the face of the crossbar. Then the energetic Jordan Ibe, who tormented Coleman in the early going before the Irishman eventually managed to shackle him a bit more, fired a shot that looked destined for the bottom corner until it, too, took a vital nick off Ashley Williams. That was five minutes before Harry Arter drifted easily past Barkley and shaved the outside of the post with a similar angled shot.

It was worrying just how much control the home side had assumed of the game by the midway point of the first half and just how easily they were retaining it. Everton struggled to get the ball off their hosts and when they did, they invariably gave it straight back. Surely even Junior Stanlislas would have been surprised, though, at just how much space he found himself in 25 yards from goal. With time to line up his shot, he arrowed a 25-yarder into the top corner of Maarten Stekelenburg’s goal to make it 1-0.

Had Everton scored first, as they did at the Vitality Stadium last November and again in March, things might have been different. It certainly would have put a different complexion on proceedings had Barkley not frozen by the penalty spot when an early Yannick Bolasie cross bounced past his feet in the second minutes or had Artur Boruc not pulled off an excellent save to deny Romelu Lukaku eight minutes later. The Belgian met Barkley’s in-swinging free kick with a downward header searching for the corner but the goalkeeper reacted quickly with a firm hand to push it away and Barkley himself then lashed wide after the rebound had been fed back to him.

Starting in spite of an ankle injury, Gareth Barry was visibly off his game and with even Idrissa Gueye looking fallible, the first half made uncomfortable viewing for the travelling fans who had come in fine voice. Barry went closest to equalising before the break, though, when he tested Boruc with a crisp 30-yard shot that the ‘keeper helped over the bar with both gloves.

Apart from a Kevin Mirallas effort that was deflected well wide, Koeman’s side barely threatened otherwise in the final quarter of an hour before half-time during which fireworks — not to mention some decisive action like his early substitutions against West Brom and Sunderland — might have been expected in the away dressing room.

There were no changes after the interval, however, either in terms of personnel or the pattern of the game from Everton, at least until an otherwise well-below-par Coleman whipped a teasing ball in from the right that Barkley met with a firm header that he planted wide of goal.

Two changes from Koeman in five minutes before the hour mark saw Barry make way for Tom Cleverley and the largely anonymous Mirallas go off in favour of Gerard Deulofeu but while Cleverley brought the kind of energy and purpose that the rest of the side had been lacking, the Spaniard offered next to nothing.

After wasting a rare break-away chance with a lame prod forward looking for Lukaku, his only other contribution of note was a dangerous, deep cross that Boruc had to bat away from under his bar in the 64th minute.

If Koeman felt, as he indicated after the game, as though his players’ second half efforts were closer to the level he expected, it was probably due to the fact that they had far more of the ball after half time and were the ones trying carve out the chances as they tried to get back into the game.

With no real creativity or drive in attacking midfield, however, they had no answer to Bournemouth’s suffocating pressing game and with Howe assigning double markers to the Blues’ wingers, Bolasie and then Deulofeu often found themselves boxed off near the touchline, starving the side of width and keeping Lukaku in familiar isolation up front.

Not once did Everton get into the clear behind the home defence during 90 minutes as the Cherries did an impressive job of making the tight confines of Vitality Stadium — it’s five metres longer than the pitch at Goodison Park and just as wide) feel much smaller than it actually is.

When Bolasie threw off his tendency to over-elaborate he was quite effective. He played a one-two with Lukaku on the edge of the box and had a rare sight of goal with quarter of an hour to go but smashed his shot narrowly over. And with the Toffees still in with a chance of grabbing a point right to the end, it was the former Palace winger’s excellent delivery from the right that substitute Enner Valencia just couldn’t react to quickly enough to steer home, his first-time shot flying a yard wide of the far post.

Even after seven matches in all competitions, it’s early days in the Koeman era and the manager and he is still on a learning curve when it comes to the strengths and weaknesses in his team. He can’t fail to have been concerned by the collective malaise that blighted this performance, however. Apart from Stekelenburg, who had little to do apart from pick the ball out of the net and smother an early Wilson chance, and Cleverley who made as much of an impact off the bench as he could, it’s hard to find any positives from any of the other individual performances.

More worrying was the shortage of game-changing options on the bench, with the team’s supposed difference-makers — Barkley, Mirallas, Deulofeu and Bolasie — all letting him down to varying degrees and Valencia again failing to illustrate convincingly what he can offer the team up front. It's for those reasons that talk of a top-four challenge this term have been shown to be wildly fanciful without significant investment in January.

As an opportunity to get things back on track, next Friday’s game against a Palace team that underlined their own resilience and aerial threat by coming back from 2-0 down to beat Sunderland at the Stadium of Light now takes on added significance. Hopefully, the manager will use the days in between to ram home some harsh truths and light a fire under some under-performing backsides because he cannot have been pleased at all with what he has seen this past week.

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Reader Comments (52)

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Stan Schofield
1 Posted 25/09/2016 at 01:09:36
This time last week the general thrust of comments on TW was (it seemed to me) that it was a great time to be an Evertonian, with Koeman being a tactical genius given his apparent adeptness at making changes during games, and his ability to motivate players.

The most negative caveats were (1) a lack of squad depth, which hopefully the January transfer window would address, and (2) a relatively kind set of fixtures to start the season. Overall, an impression of decent progress and a bright future in store beginning with the squad we've got and provided we subsequently get the right signings in.

One week on, and apparently things have changed. Now, a lot of comments suggest we're not much better, if at all, than last season, and there are now some question marks expressed over Koeman's approach. This evening, you could easily get the impression that we're doomed.

It seems odd to me that one week can produce such a change. It strikes me that either something has changed for the worse at Everton this week, or there's a degree of over-reaction on TW.

Ernie Baywood
2 Posted 25/09/2016 at 01:35:49
There's a degree of over reaction, Stan, but also some shock that we could be that bad! I can accept defeat, but that game had hallmarks of bigger problems.

Some of our performances were poor. But some were borderline unprofessional. Bolasie would have been dragged off in the Sunday League for the shit he was pulling.

Big test for Ron. His key trait seems to be that he will set high standards and not allow them to slip. Well he's got some big decisions to make now. What do you do when the majority of the team perform so badly?

Paul Holmes
3 Posted 25/09/2016 at 01:40:33
Stan, the problem why we are getting frustrated after one week is the other top teams are playing well and don't look like dropping points, while we struggle against a Bournemouth team, that let's face it, the top teams will beat easily.

Teams like Liverpool have pace in abundance, and looking at today's performance we are miles away. Barkley and pedestrian Barry would not get in any of the top teams' midfield because they are not fit enough to play at a high tempo, that's why our midfield gets overrun.

Koeman knows the score and will sort it out but it might take him and Walsh a couple of transfer windows to get the high energy players like Gueye in.
Dick Fearon
4 Posted 25/09/2016 at 01:50:07
What gets my goat are excuses made for Koeman being new to the job. We have just survived a sickening Martinez fiasco which saw us heading toward relegation.

Prior to that we suffered 11 years of misery under Moyes with his depressing "knives to gunfights" mantra. Now we have Ronald Koeman and already he has accumulated diehard support that accepts no criticism of him.

All three were/are among the highest paid managers in world football. To hear they are learning on the job is ludicrous. If they make a stuff up, let it be on their own heads.
Steve Brown
5 Posted 25/09/2016 at 02:10:28
This result shows how brittle the players' confidence still is – one defeat to Norwich and they look drained of every ounce of self-belief. Not surprising really after two years of under-performance.

I don't think Koeman thinks for one minute he can't be criticised – he has made some selection mistakes in the last two games. But a bit of balance please – the transfer window saw some great buys; TDD we are a joke; beat Boro – fantastic, lose to Bournemouth – we are crap; Koeman is a genius; no, he's useless.

This is a work in progress so we all need to be patient.

Kieran Kinsella
6 Posted 25/09/2016 at 02:18:44

The manager's pay is irrelevant. BK said he paid Moyes what he did as he believed Moyes as coach could offset our lack of spending on players and his record proves BK right. RM was a clown. Koeman is earning what he is because we had to pay over the odds to turn his head from Soton. Do you believe that Guardiola would do much better with these players?

The truth is we never replaced Arteta, Cahill or Pienaar. We believed somehow that Ross would be Gazza, Geri would be Messi, and even Ryan Ledson would be Roy Keane. In reality Ross is more Jodi Morris, Geri is more Ilie Dumitrescu and Ryan Ledson is no Roy Keane.

The likes of Gemmill, Pembridge and Mike Newell wouldn't look out of place on our bench as we have amassed a horde of journeymen. Doesn't matter how much the manager earns, he's not an alchemist.

Mike Gaynes
7 Posted 25/09/2016 at 03:49:35
Steve Brown #5, I got the exact opposite impression. Far from lacking self-belief, these players came out so confident they could boss the game that they looked downright cocky on the ball... and were dispossessed by the hustling Cherries one after the other.

Barkley, Bolasie, Gana, Barry, Bolasie again were all repeatedly caught lazing on the ball or dancing around it as if they could waltz through the defenders. And they all looked so surprised when the ball disappeared in the other direction.

This was not a timid, nervous side. It was a relaxed, cocky side. Too relaxed.

Darryl Ritchie
8 Posted 25/09/2016 at 05:48:11
I've read a lot of posts that pointed out that we had never lost to Bournemouth, and losing to a club that was, man for man, so much inferior, was disgraceful.

The truth is the team in blue, playing the way they played, would be hard pressed to get any points off of the team in red and black, playing the way they played... ever.

We were out-played and out-managed. We were on the back foot from the opening whistle. They pressed us, the way we should have pressed them, and we couldn't find a way around it.

Have the opposition found our Achilles heel already?

Alan J Thompson
9 Posted 25/09/2016 at 05:56:16
We looked back to the Martinez days of passing the ball around until it got to someone who had nobody to pass to. The movement off the ball was negligible, ball control and movement at pace seemed beyond us, central defenders were dragged out of the middle and players got themselves into positions where they couldn't possibly contest for or receive the ball.

I've seen better team performances by 11 blokes just pulled out of the nearest pub. Everton have to learn to play for each other and to beat the opposition's harrying and pressing by letting the ball do the work. I'd sum it up by saying that my MotM was one of the unused subs.

Brian Porter
10 Posted 25/09/2016 at 06:17:47
The seeds of yesterday's defeat were firmly planted on Tuesday when Koeman made the cardinal managerial error of changing a winning team. Six changes were too many with most of Tuesday's team not having played as a team together this season. Resting Jags and Rom, sure, they had minor knocks but the other changes guaranteed we lost our early head of steam.

Fast forward to yesterday and the confidence we'd shown in earlier games had visibly wilted on the back of Tuesday's defeat. Even when it was clear that Williams was struggling, Koeman kept him on when he could have brought Funes Mori on to add an serial threat at set pieces and who always plays as if his life depends on the result.

Instead, mostly like-for-like subs merely perpetuated the collective lack of intensity displayed by the entire team yesterday. For once, our new manager lacked imagination in his subs and it showed in the result.

Must do better on Friday or I sense a few knives will be being sharpened and pointed in Koeman's direction.

Rick Tarleton
11 Posted 25/09/2016 at 06:56:37
A terrible result, but rather like Liverpool's result at Burnley, Man Utd's up-and-down form, Chelsea all over the place etc. Only Man City look totally on top of their game; all other teams have at least one blot on the record.

How we react in the next match against an up-for-it Palace will be the acid test of where we are and of Koeman's managerial prowess.

Dick Fearon
12 Posted 25/09/2016 at 08:17:28
My earlier post was not meant to be a criticism of Koeman, I was just pointing out that we have barely recovered from decades of managerial excuse after excuse and should set higher standards than before.

Kieran (#6), reports from Twebbers and others who travelled to Bournemouth clearly show we were out-played on the field plus a problem of poor timing of substitutions that did nothing to alter the flow of the game. A number of our respected travelling correspondents also hinted our fitness levels were not up that of the Cherries.

I agree, the manager's salary is irrelevant to the players' performance during the actual game yet so much depends upon his ability to have his players physically ready tactically prepared motivated and working to a good game plan. The manager should have the nous to spot where matters are not going to plan and make suitable changes.

By all accounts, Koeman was remiss in all the above matters and hopefully he does not attempt to hide his own failures with a Martinez-like dollop of tripe.

Thomas Kelvin Jones
13 Posted 25/09/2016 at 09:02:24
A very disappointing performance. I believe Koeman has got his analysis spot on with regards to the team starting badly and finding it difficult to to find the pace... or, in yesterday's case, too late!

He also mentioned team work. Bournemouth presses like a team, Everton don't! On numerous occasions, Barkley was closing down on his own while the Bournemouth defenders would easily pass around him.

So there we go, how hard can it be to coach professionals to press together as a team!? Over to you Ronald!

Stan Schofield
14 Posted 25/09/2016 at 10:04:27
Thomas @13: I think we should say that yesterday Bournemouth pressed like a team, Everton didn't, rather than the more general statement. We've also been pressing like a team, including 8 days ago, against teams that (although on paper were easier opposition than the big guns) were well organised but not as good as us.

Bournemouth are no better than the others we've played; it's a case of us having played badly yesterday. If we'd played like we had been playing, chances are we would have won, and comfortably so. Because our wins have been comfortable, perhaps some complacency set in. Koeman was clearly fuming yesterday in the post-match interview.

Stephen Brown
15 Posted 25/09/2016 at 10:06:01
Lyndon's headline is very apt!

Being pessimistic is easily the safest mindset for being an Evertonian!

I haven't seen the game yet but really disappointed to lose. Win v Palace though and all will be back on track? (Going against my own advice there!)

I'm worried by the lack of game-changing options from the bench at the moment, especially with Ross's lack of form. More time for Dowell and Davies possibly?

Thomas Lennon
16 Posted 25/09/2016 at 10:30:30
I think if anyone expects – really expects the club to be turned around in eight months of investment is bonkers and we all know that.

To believe that we can suddenly start matching top 5 clubs on the field with consistency after decades of spending half as much or much less on wages is also mad. It will take years to build the club to compete with Spurs never mind top 5. The impact of this inability to spend is on player quality, squad depth.

If you lack quality, you can make it up with effort, fitness up to a point, and you can develop younger players but you aren't going to match those whose 'youth teams' are every club on earth for more than one or two players a generation.

The weaknesses in our side are obvious; sentimentality is a luxury we can't afford. As Koeman said, we need a second team as good as the first – I would add that some in the first team should be in the seconds. Top 4 consistently needs us to be able to (at least) double our wage bill in relative terms – until we have that we will have false dawns.

Terry Underwood
17 Posted 25/09/2016 at 11:06:06
Just as it was wrong to get carried away with a few good early season results, so it is equally wrong to get too upset over a couple of defeats. Look at the video, right the wrongs, move on.
David Hallwood
18 Posted 25/09/2016 at 12:03:21
Great report, Lyndon, as ever; the Vitality Stadium, oh what an irony!

I agree with the posters who said that this is an overreaction; it's a blip and we can't expect to go through the season without some shite performances.

Secondly, Koeman has got to be allowed to instill his philosophy, which is markedly different from BBS, and it'll take time; and let's hope that we don't go down the Sunderland route of changing managers as often as yer undies.

Slightly off the subject, there was an interesting comment by a journalist on the Sky program 'Sunday Supplement' (which is noteworthy in itself cos they normally talk complete shite) that the high pressing game favoured by Guadiola, Klopp, Pochetino, and Koeman, starts to run out of steam at the business end of the season, because it is virtually impossible for human beings, no matter how fit, to be at it for 8-9 months.

Tom Bowers
19 Posted 25/09/2016 at 12:22:35
Pace can kill you and, sad to say Liverpool have an abundance, hence the big goal tally so far.

We have Barkley, very skilful but generally pretty ponderous, and Mirallas, reasonably quick but can't tackle nor beat a man. Bolassie is quick and strong but others are very average. Only Gueye shows real skill and speed in midfield.

Changes have to be made, that is obvious ,and perhaps it's time to bring in Tom Davies again. Everton are also developing a bad habit of conceding first and in the last three games against average teams.

Steavey Buckley
20 Posted 25/09/2016 at 12:54:18
Everton in reality did not have a good enough transfer window considering how Everton flopped last season with basically the same players this season as last.

Mirallas is no winger.

Neither is Deulofeu.

Barkley is no different.

Lukaku is still getting no service.

Barry is getting no younger, but with no ready made replacement.

And the defence still crumbles once pressure is applied. Yet, Galloway was sent out on loan.

Paul Tran
21 Posted 25/09/2016 at 13:06:57
Martinez often stated that he likes his teams to start slowly and play their way into the game. Looks like that's one habit Koeman has yet to break.

Dan Davies
22 Posted 25/09/2016 at 13:08:19
As much as Everton did struggle for most of the match, I have to say Bournemouth should be given some credit, they played very well on the day and Howe deserves recognition too.

Everton for me can be a dangerous team on their day. I fear though the squad is still thin on quality, therefore we will struggle to find consistency week to week. It's still early days so no panic yet.

I can see us having a dip in the market come January mind if these type of performances get more frequent. Really need a result against Palace now to get back on track.

Derek Thomas
23 Posted 25/09/2016 at 13:13:34
The Blame Game begins; Think back to the first game Vs Spurs. The Players came out the traps under Koeman's orders just like Bournemouth, scored one, just like Bournemouth. But as Koeman stated and events seemed to confirm, we ran out of steam.

So they can do it... just not all the time... and I don't mean physical fitness-wise.

But mental fitness?? – Maybe there's more than Barkley with a problem... So why?

1) Just a bad day at the office?

2) They can't be arsed? – like Mike Gaynes says, plain over-confidence?

3) The New Manager bounce has worn off and they've reverted to their Martinez "can't be arsed" mode.

Thing is there are more arses to kick than Koeman has feet to boot with and a shortage of replacements if his auld Dutch leg gets tired.

You'll be earning your £6M Ron. Hop to it mate. Kick Arse, good style... Or Moshiri might have to kick yours.

Steve Carse
24 Posted 25/09/2016 at 13:29:52
Yesterday was all very worrying, from the manager down to all the players.

We were totally outplayed and outfought. But on the latter, how would anyone expect it to be any different when you play with 3 players (Barkley, Lukaku and Mirallas/Delofeu) who have no notion of closing down and winning possession?

The lack of any half-time changes was very surprising since it was clear that a structural adjustment was going to be required to change the course of the game. Only the (too) late bringing on of Valencia and so going 4-3-3 attempted this. In particular, the replacement of Mirallas by Deulofeu just gave us more of the same.

Paul Holmes
25 Posted 25/09/2016 at 13:30:44
Koeman has inherited a squad of players who finished 11th last season, he has brought in a couple of decent players who will improve us, once he and Walsh finish the jigsaw in the next couple of transfer windows. We need to buy players in midfield and attack who can press the ball and play at a high tempo like Man City and Liverpool (the game is changing).

Our start is good when you consider what happened in the last two seasons, so give Koeman and Walsh time because if we as fans can see the problem, I'm sure a top manager and top player for Barcelona and Holland can!

Stan Schofield
26 Posted 25/09/2016 at 13:42:40
Derek @23: Who knows which of the possibilities you've listed applies. But if I had to bet money on it, I'd bet on (1), a bad day at the office. Why? Because before this week we had been playing the pressing game that Koeman wants, with plenty of energy, players supporting each other, solid in defence, and a really good midfield.

He was really chuffed 8 days ago, but totally pissed off yesterday. Klopp has been in virtually the same situation at Liverpool, and it's only now clicking into place for them, but they have the same points as us. (I don't want to talk about Liverpool, but quite a few posts are saying how well they and others are doing, when in fact there doesn't seem to me to be that much difference, Man City being the stand-out exception.)

So I'll go back to what I said @1, there seeming to be a little bit of over-reaction to this week's events. Up to this week we've handled the games comfortably, and I'm hoping we do it again against Palace.

Jack Convery
27 Posted 25/09/2016 at 13:52:12
If I was playing for EFC yesterday I'd be thinking – we are second and if we win again today and Man City slip up at Swansea, we could be top – what an incentive.

Instead, we got a display that bordered on negligent. The attitude yesterday and Tuesday was awful. What has happened to the fight shown after Boro took the lead last Saturday?

Maybe Koeman's management style is not going down too well with the team / squad. I suspect something happened this week behind the scenes and it has unsettled things.

Koeman himself was very stroppy during his pre-match conference. His comment after the Norwich game – that he played the best 11 available – was surely wrong. The best 11 would have been the 11 who beat Boro, bar any injuries.

Something's not right. Friday's game v Palace will tell us if we are right to worry or this week has been a blip and just one of them things.

Oliver Molloy
28 Posted 25/09/2016 at 13:54:38
When we can go to their place and win with no ifs or buts – we just play them off the park, that is when I will start to dream. This in itself would give the club and the fans such a boost, it couldn't fail to be positive for all concerned.

For far too long, we have been suffering very ordinary sides getting results against us, like this week. Koeman coming out and talking crap like our former manager makes it even worse.

John Hammond
29 Posted 25/09/2016 at 14:57:10
Just one of those days. Bournemouth were absolute dog shit against Man City, it was laughable. Same for us yesterday. It's going to happen when we're still in transition.

Teams have a right go and we revert to the Martinez days. It'll still take a couple of months to eradicate fully. Barkley seems to have a great game then just slips back into uselessness – he needs to sort himself out. Gerry to start on Friday for me.

Paul Smith
30 Posted 25/09/2016 at 15:39:33
John not sure Gerry is the answer to anything mate, he's been worse than Ross lately.
George Cumiskey
31 Posted 25/09/2016 at 16:40:53
Any team can get beat one-nil away; it was the manner in which we got beat. It was a really poor performance all round, from the manager down to the players.

The substitutions were too late and the wrong ones in my opinion, Barkley should've been off at half-time and Cleverley has never influenced a match in his career.

It's okay saying Koeman is trying to get over his philosophy – you need the players clever enough and determined enough to take it on board... and sadly, we have too many players not capable of doing this.

Mark Daley
32 Posted 25/09/2016 at 16:57:15
It escapes me for the moment but there must be a word that describes the hope you have when you know there is absolutely no chance, as opposed to the hope where you know the odds are against you but it's not entirely out of the question. I'm afraid I'm just going through that typical phase in the season where my hope becomes the stupid kind of hope.

What did I do in a past life to be reborn as a Blue?

George Cumiskey
33 Posted 25/09/2016 at 17:19:10
Mark – it's called Evertonianism. 😥
Mike Powell
34 Posted 25/09/2016 at 18:20:40
We need about four or five more plyers. Deulofeu is piss poor and needs replacing; Mirralis is not doing it; we need another striker... and a right back and left back for when Baines is out. Oviedo is not very good.
Ken Buckley
35 Posted 25/09/2016 at 20:50:55
After watching yesterdays game I must agree with our manager that we need about three transfer windows plus the new owner and board backing him with a show of ambition and determination on the money front. In the game yesterday ,from about 15 mins in, I was convinced that he had put a team out that had key players carrying some injury or other and he knew he had to take the chance with them because of a paucity of suitable replacements.

There were players out there who were just not able to move with the ease that we have seen previously. I thought that the very fact that when Cleverley came on in a centre-mid position he looked far better in quickness of thought and deed than both Barry and Gana when in my opinion that is definitely not the case when all three are fit and feeling strong.

Seems to me we will have plenty more ups and downs yet but, if we can see improvement in all departments after each window, then we may be in a better position to either praise manager and board or indeed castigate them.

Friday night is a little early to be called and 'Acid Test' but it may throw up problems that we will need to deal with urgently in the next two windows.

Keep the faith, lads and lasses, and who knows – this time next year we will be a consistent team with the necessary back-up in each position. Until then hold tight and keep taking the medication.


Thomas Surgenor
36 Posted 25/09/2016 at 20:59:04
Hopefully yesterdays result can act as a kick up the arse. We wouldn't have scored if we were still playing. Far too wasteful with whatever opportunities came our way.

It's not the end of the world but a solid reality check. 6 games in, 5 against teams currently in bottom half. We've had a solid start but no more than that.

Michael Farrelly
37 Posted 25/09/2016 at 21:56:51
Eloquently written, Lyndon, as ever. Yes, it was painful to watch after such a promising start. I would have selected young Holgate at the back instead of Oviedo whom I feel is just not up to it at this level. I also feel that Lennon would have been a better option than Valencia late –on his speed around the box would have been the last thing Bournemouth needed as they looked to close out the game.

Occasionally you have games likes this in the EPL; they were at the top of their game, we were well below our game and the bounce of the ball never seemed to fall our way all match. Heads up, Evertonians – we will be back!

Raymond Fox
38 Posted 25/09/2016 at 22:08:12
By all means be optimistic, but sorry I've been uttering the same 'our players are just not good enough' for well over 12 months now. Not all the players, but too many in my opinion. If we are really serious about being a top 4 -6 team we need at least 5 top class players.

We have only Lukaku and Coleman who are genuine top 4 players in my opinion. I like our new signings, good players all, but top 4 players, not for me I'm afraid; as for the others, mid-table quality in the main.

We have a good enough manager, but we are lacking on the player front – that's our ongoing problem.

Phil Sammon
39 Posted 25/09/2016 at 23:26:57
A big pat on the back for Raymond Fox who has 'been saying this for 12 months.

All we need is another 5 top class players to build around Coleman & Lukaku. Presumably the remaining 4 players on the pitch can be any willing Sunday League player.

So there you go, Ron, problem solved mate. Spunk £200M on 5 'top class' players... doesn't matter who or where they play... we're gonna win the league thanks to Raymond Fox!

Dan Davies
40 Posted 25/09/2016 at 23:46:23
Ray @38, over the next two years, as our manager has said himself, you will see those five players. COYBB.
Anto Byrne
41 Posted 26/09/2016 at 02:32:18
Koeman has a 2-year rebuilding program and the last two games have brought us back to reality. It's best for Everton and Koeman that we go about our business under the radar. Keep expectations low like Moyes did and fight above our weight around the top 8.

We had a good start and we all got a bit excited so let's see some steady improvement over the coming months and see where we are come January.

Brian Porter
42 Posted 26/09/2016 at 06:50:12
I hope Koeman makes the entire squad sit and watch the Arsenal v Chelsea game this morning. The way Arsenal went at Chelsea in the first half-hour showed what we should be doing. By starting on the front foot, they had Chelsea beaten and totally demoralised by half-time. That's the way to do it, Everton, not wait until the second half to try and step up a gear.

I'm at a loss to decipher why we start each game slowly and tentatively instead of hitting the opposition early with high intensity and letting them know they are in for a rough ride. We seem to give everyone a head start and end up chasing the game by half-time... totally unacceptable in my opinion.

Back to Saturday, and with Bolasie totally ineffective, why didn't Koeman give Lennon the last 30 mins? We all know Lennon will run his legs off for the team and also provides a goal threat when he gets in the box, something Bolasie has failed to demonstrate so far.

Raymond Fox
43 Posted 26/09/2016 at 13:02:49
Phil (#39), so what's your solution? Have we more than 2 top 4 players at this time? Will we finish in the top 6 this season? The way the last transfer window went ,do you think we can sign even 5 top class players?

Man Utd, Man City etc don't shell out fortunes each season for fun, do they? We have spent good money but they're still players the money clubs don't want!

Craig Walker
44 Posted 26/09/2016 at 13:41:58
Stan @ 1 The reason we've seen such a swing in attitudes on TW is because we are so desperate for success. I am as guilty as anyone in that I cultivate forests of belief from an acorn that comprises 3 or 4 wins. We kid ourselves that we are getting back to where we belong on the back of a few good performances. My dad taught me one lesson when it comes to EFC, they always let you down and that's what they did on Tuesday and Saturday.

I was cautious after the good run of results because, when we analyse it, we still have the likes of Cleverley, Lennon, Kone, Oviedo playing significant roles. I don't think Barkley will reach his potential and we have too many players who are good for 1 game in 3. I think we all hoped that Koeman would sweep through the club and get rid of all of the dead wood but it didn't happen.

I'm still optimistic though because I think we now have a longer-term plan as a club. Koeman is a good manager and will get things right given the resources. We need some positive announcement on a waterside development and to make Goodison intimidating again for away sides. Hopefully we can bring in some reinforcements in January.

Liam Reilly
45 Posted 26/09/2016 at 15:04:33
There's no way on this earth that the club will sanction a large spending spree in January, because it's so rare that talented players become available mid-season. Most likely, this will be the core of the side until next summer's window when Koeman will be given a purse to overhaul the side and create his own footprint.

Koeman is no fool and wouldn't have accepted the role if he was presented improbable objectives for his first season in charge. Therefore I'd suspect a top half finish would be the realistic target for season one, and we can expect a season of ups and downs.

James Hughes
46 Posted 26/09/2016 at 16:56:18
God, what a crisis, new manger in-situ for 3 months. Then only buying 4 players during the window, all of whom have impressed. But you know what – same old Everton, one shit week and we are back to square one.

God help us if Palace get a point...

Tom Bowers
47 Posted 26/09/2016 at 17:27:12
I agree with George Cumisky that it was the manner in which they lost which was really disheartening. They were still in the dressing room for the first 25 minutes when Bournemouth literally won the game. That kind of start has to stop (no pun intended).

It has been basically the same all season and when the other team scores first, then it's all uphill. Hopefully certain things will change for the Palace game and we see this Everton side really taking charge early on.

Paul Conway
48 Posted 26/09/2016 at 19:13:44
Raymond Fox (#38).

I have to disagree with you... We need 7 or 8 top class players to play beside Coleman, Lukaku, Gana. There are a couple of good players in the team: Barry, Williams, who are very useful, but, not for the long term, due to there age.

The three Musketeers: Barkley, Mirallas and Deulofeu have blagged it now for too long, and will not turn top Class,contrary to some supporters views. Koeman knows we need radical change, but needs time.

People are saying we should beat ' the likes of Bournemouth and Palace. Without realising that these teams are just as well equipped to turn over an above-average, but not top six team, such as ourselves. After all, we did buy one of their players... and could do with buying a couple more!

Laurie Hartley
49 Posted 27/09/2016 at 10:39:41
Ken (#35) – OK.
Bob Parrington
50 Posted 27/09/2016 at 16:07:51
I missed the game as I've been in Phuket. In support of our sponsors, I drank Chang rather than Singha! Thanks to TW, I have caught up somewhat on the game.

Possible overreaction from some but I can't help feeling there is still a lack of passion in the playing staff when compared to the RS.

A few on TW agreed there should be a big clean out over the summer. Clearly this didn't happen. Does this mean we still have some rotten apples within? Or is this equally an overreaction?

Brian Furey
51 Posted 28/09/2016 at 15:11:07
I think Ron has already made us much more defensively sound with Gueye especially being a big reason for this. For me, our problems lie with Mirallas, Deulofeu and Barkley. They all go missing far too easy and don't have the mental toughness to stand up and be counted.

I am hoping Bolasie is different and, whilst he often over does it with the fancy stuff, I think he can still keep his head up and deliver good ball into Rom from either foot. Geri should be standing head and shoulders above players with the speed and skill the lad has but he often looks like he couldn't be bothered.

I think Koeman tried to work hard with Mirallas and Geri in pre-season to boost their confidence but it looks like both don't have the desire to work their asses off, week-in & week-out, to prove they are top players.

Brian Furey
52 Posted 28/09/2016 at 15:44:44
A lot of people on here were saying not to go for Charlie Austin but you got to admit he's off to a good start. Played in 7 games and has 5 goals already. Compare that to Bony who has played 4 and hasn't looked like scoring. Slimani looks like he's settled in well already. Looks like Danny Ings is well down the pecking order in RS land.

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