Where is Gana?

by   |   26/04/2017  76 Comments  [Jump to last]

Having been substituted in the last 2 games you might think its only just come to my attention... but he seems to have lost his mojo since returning from the AFCON. It might be his partnership with Morgan. Perhaps he is missing Barry. Or is it that Koeman has yet to find a way to fit all his favourites into a side whilst retaining the kind of shape and flexibility that's required to win both home and away. Do we really need Gana and Tom Davies both doing the same job?

Next season is again going to be very interesting. I'm not overly keen on the 4-3-3 we play... in fact I'm not overly keen on the way we have played under Koeman all season. Though I do think he has superior man-management skills, ambition and potential than his predecessors.

Maybe we have to wait for him to stop holding his breath to get the funds he needs to play his way. Next season, a few more teams I'm sure will adopt this 3 at the back and 4 across the middle and that might spark Gana back to the player I loved from last year.

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Jim Bennings
1 Posted 26/04/2017 at 15:47:09
I honestly don't think Gana and Schneiderlin works in games against the likes of West Ham and Burnley.

I think as fans we tend to get a bit carried away too quickly. Don't get me wrong Gana is good at breaking the play up but some fans have carried on like he's the next Patrick Viera. For me he hasn't dominated a big game yet.

We did the same with Besic, and fact was that Besic is just a cruncher, he never looked like being box to box and had few other strings to his bow.

Gana played well in the first month or two of the season but his form dipped after that to be honest. Whether it's down to the way Koeman sets them up or what, I don't know but you can't see Schneiderlin or Gana ever really being box to box players on a regular basis.

I think back to when we had the likes of Fellaini, Carsley, Cahill, Arteta and Pienaar – you could see variety there and goals.

I look at midfield now, I see two holding midfielders who rarely look like crossing the halfway line and a few attacking midfielders that never look like scoring more than a blue moon.

Terry White
2 Posted 26/04/2017 at 15:47:29
I think you have hit the nail on the head, David.

In an earlier article, I questioned whether Gana and Schneiderlin could play together. I was quite rightly questioned on this view so that I have revisited my thoughts.

Gana was an inspiration to us in the first half of the season. He was everywhere, nicking balls, laying them off, a joy to behold. Off he went to AFCON and Tom Davies came into to the team. He too was a revelation – doing the same thing as Gana.

It is noticeable that I think both their performances have dropped off in recent games as perhaps each is aware of what the other is trying to do and neither of them are being allowed to play their natural game. Neither of them are natural playmakers and are being asked to do more of that playing in front of Schneiderlin.

So, can Gana play with Davies? That now becomes my question also.

Steavey Buckley
3 Posted 26/04/2017 at 16:21:02
Gana works better in tandem with McCarthy, who is rarely fit for Everton these days, while making more effort to be to fit for the ROI.

Guess who pays his wages – and it ain't the Republic!

Don Alexander
4 Posted 26/04/2017 at 16:24:16
He's a good effective player and will hopefully kick on next season, with others such as Morgan, Tom, Jimmy Mac and Mo Besic, to improve further and thereby win a place.

To improve our league position, players like Gana and the rest of his competitors may well not be picked every match. Most of the trophy winners have benches stuffed full of talented, expensive, international players after all.

Jim Bennings
5 Posted 26/04/2017 at 16:30:05
They are all just stoppers though!

Besic, McCarthy, Gana, Schneiderlin... to be fair, Davies looks more positive going forward but we need to stop overloading our midfield with these defensive players, it didn't work in the first half against Burnley and Koeman should have spotted it before the selection for last Saturday at West Ham but we got more of the same, it stops the opposition but simply stagnates us as an attacking unit.

Maybe this is more prevalent away from home and because we lack a creative "lock picker" but we need more than just stoppers who break the play up and lay it off, we need a match-winner in that midfield area next season, perhaps then we'll begin to appreciate our defensive midfielders more but, as it stands, I just feel we look square-pegged in that area.

Shane Corcoran
6 Posted 26/04/2017 at 16:55:07
What's the story with his name? Is it Idrissa Gana Gueye?
Steve Barr
7 Posted 26/04/2017 at 17:16:02
Shane, I believe Gana is his middle name.
Kieran Kinsella
8 Posted 26/04/2017 at 17:21:54
Steavey and Jim,

I get what you're saying but, in fairness, Schneiderlin and Gana haven't had much time together. Hopefully with a good pre-season, they'll figure out how to play together better.

Paul Tran
9 Posted 26/04/2017 at 17:23:18
No problem with Gana. The problem is the 'creative' players. They don't produce enough, especially in the big games. We won't go up the table till we get a couple of players who make things happen and score from midfield.

We conquered all in 1985 with two 'defensive' midfielders. Of course Reid and Bracewell were better, but I'd love two players half as effective as Steven and Sheedy right now. That's the standard.

Can Koeman and Walsh spot them? Can the club attract them? We'll see...

Don Alexander
10 Posted 26/04/2017 at 17:42:28
Ditto to the signing of more effective attackers, scorers and creators. I've been banging that drum on here for ages. The defence including the goalies, albeit not perfect, are sound against all but the very best. After all only four teams have conceded fewer than us up to now, but an effective centre-back would be welcome to improve competitiveness.

Next season I'll put up with more disappointment against the Sky-babes providing we regularly beat the many lesser teams. Against whom, this season, we've too often let ourselves down. More points against them might just have been the difference between 7th and 4th this season, and fourth next year would do for me.

However, we cannot continue to harbour players who just won't put a shift in when we're not in possession, and whoever then gets the deep midfield shirt/s may also then be able to risk a foray into attack to even score themselves. Simples!

Jay Harris
11 Posted 26/04/2017 at 17:54:14
Totally agree with you, Paul.

The lad could do it all by himself even.

I'm yet to be convinced by Schneiderlin despite all the euphoria.

Fellaini and Pogba are much more box to box.

I hate to start another Lukaku debate but if he held the ball up better we would bring all the midielders into the game more.

Peter Gorman
12 Posted 26/04/2017 at 17:59:31
I'm not sure where the problem is; both Idrissa and Schneiderlin have been playing fine, if not great. Idrissa gets substituted when the team needs a shake-up.

To my mind he has had only one game where he failed to live up to his ability which was unfortunately home to Liverpool. Other than that, you could generally bet your house on him making a well-timed tackle or interception.

I'm with Paul Tran – point the fingers at the 'creative' ones when the game slips us by. Schneiderlin and Gueye are potentially one of the best midfield partnerships we could wish for.

Dave Williams
13 Posted 26/04/2017 at 19:03:22
I agree with Jay. If Sharpy was in this team the midfield would have more space in better areas of the pitch and would no doubt perform much better especially in a creative sense.

Lukaku is a goal scorer and I have likened him before to Malcolm MacDonald – contained too easily by top class defences and creates nothing for teammates. If he moves on I think it will be similar to when Lineker left – huge loss re goals but the team would play better football – problem is, back then we had Sharp and Heath to score goals plus Sheedy and Steven; now... we have no-one.

Stan Schofield
14 Posted 26/04/2017 at 19:17:07
Shane @6: He likes to be called Gana, his middle name, because it was his grandfather's name. Apparently it was his grandfather who introduced him to football and encouraged him. I think that's why it's on his shirt.
Danny Broderick
15 Posted 26/04/2017 at 19:18:52
I have to agree with Paul Tran (#9),

Reid and Bracewell were defensive midfielders. Schneiderlin and Reid can fulfill a similar role for us.

I think this article is a slight over reaction to a dip in form. I went to the Hull game at home, 4-0, and Gueye and Schneiderlin were my men of the match. Away at Man Utd, Gueye was immense also. His form may have dipped - but is that surprising, considering he played at the AFCON?

I'd suggest giving him some slack. Even when he is not playing well, he still covers more ground and makes more tackles than most midfielders I have ever seen.

For me, the problem is not Gueye and Schneiderlin. The problem is what's around them and in front of them. On their day, Mirallas, Davies, Barkley and Lukaku are great options. However, they all have their off days (understandably in Davies's case, because he is only 18). Unfortunately, you ever really know what you are going to get from them.

Get a striker who can hold the ball up, and some attacking midfielders/wingers we can rely on, and the whole team will improve.

Andy Crooks
17 Posted 26/04/2017 at 21:44:00
I have felt for a while that the admirable Koeman lacks confidence in his defence. The back four, or three, is protected to the detriment of creativity and guile.

In my view, a line up that contains Gana, Schneiderlin and Davies is dull, one-dimensional, conservative and full of fear.

Darren Hind
18 Posted 26/04/2017 at 22:07:44
He went to ground again and earned himself another unnecessary booking. Perhaps Koeman wasn't pleased with him because he was off shortly after...
Mike Gaynes
19 Posted 26/04/2017 at 23:41:18
"Gana played well in the first month or two of the season but his form dipped after that to be honest."

Jim (#1), not sure whether you were down a cave somewhere in October, November and December, but Gana was brilliant through those months too. Clear MotM against both Arsenal and the RS in December.

And please nobody tell Darren, because we don't want to disturb his fixation about Gana going to ground too often, but he's still leading the Premier League in tackles by a truly ridiculous margin – 126 tackles in 27 games. That's 16 more than Kante. Even coming off at half-time in the past two games he still increased his lead. The man is a ball-winning machine.

My feeling is that Gana, Davies and Schneiderlin simply haven't learned to click yet. They're still falling over each other sometimes. Personally I also prefer the 4-2-3-1 to the 4-3-3, but that leaves Davies on the wing and I'm not convinced that's his place.

James Doran
20 Posted 27/04/2017 at 00:13:47

I can see 4-2-3-1 being Koeman's preferred system for next season – rotating Schneiderlin, Gana, Davies and Besic in the 2 (I think McCarthy will leave in the Summer).

Europa League football and good domestic cup runs will mean there will be plenty of football for all 4 of them!

Mike Gaynes
21 Posted 27/04/2017 at 00:49:58
I like your thinking, James, although as I've posted here many times before, I see zero chance that Besic will be a part of the picture.
Steavey Buckley
22 Posted 27/04/2017 at 16:39:14
Kieran Kinsella (#8),

I said before Schneiderlin was signed that the Everton midfield would not gel as well, as Schneiderlin likes to play more deeply.

This may help the defence having another defensive reinforcement but this is about taking one step backwards with the opposition taking one forward. If Everton are to have 3 in midfield, they should play together as one unit.

David Barks
23 Posted 27/04/2017 at 17:27:33
Schneiderlin is capable of playing the deep midfielder role all on his own. There is no reason to stick two players in that position as it just creates a situation where two players occupy the same space. It removes an attacking player which means the opposition can just press up.

Gana isn't a distributor, his passing at times has been quite awful, especially earlier in the season. He is good at breaking up play, but isn't as skillful with the ball as Schneiderlin is.

I just don't understand why this is needed, unless you go with a three at the back with two, attack first, wing backs. That's why it works with Chelsea, because you have three solid defenders and the two in the middle, Kante and Matic, there to help out. Their wing backs get forward quickly and always look to get at the opposition. Yes they track back when needed, but being defenders is not their primary job. They have Victor Moses playing as a wing back for God's sake.

Baines used to be able to play that role but he's not the quick player he was in the past. Coleman can absolutely play this role and we've missed him, although he too is not as skillful with the ball as the likes of Moses.

If we play three at the back with two skillful attacking players at wing back, I think Schneiderlin and Gana can work great together. But we don't have that right now so they cancel each other out.

John Pierce
24 Posted 27/04/2017 at 17:51:52
Gana's substitutions in the last 2 games at half time betray the issue at hand. Some believe its early yellow cards that stunt his game; I think it's tactical ineptitude.

If the whole team played further up the park,t hen it might work. The improvements made this season might be limited by the lack of pace at the back and the reluctance of the team to step into that space especially away from home. I would like to see attacking players in the middle with Schneiderlin at the base of a midfield triangle. The emphasis on those players to take that space away from the opposition and go beyond the play.

Have to say a bit of a leap but with the season withering in the vine, if Besic is fit I'd like to see him paired with Davies, as a template not a long term solution.

At home we benefit from teams generally sitting deeper allowing us to take that space. In both home and away I don't see us imposing ourselves, too reactionary. Maybe pacy defenders might give us that confidence, but it is mostly a tactical flaw rather than a deficiency of personnel, to my mind.

Why with a striker as deadly as Rom wouldn't you try and impose yourself? Or at the worst, chance your arm. Many things can be leveled at the Belgian Behemoth but wasting a chance isn't one of them. Be proactive, Ronnie, laa.

Derek Cowell
25 Posted 27/04/2017 at 18:07:52
John at 24,

He wasted a match winning chance at West Ham through – bottling it.

Brent Stephens
26 Posted 27/04/2017 at 18:08:23
Mike (#19), "He's still leading the Premier League in tackles by a truly ridiculous margin – 126 tackles in 27 games. That's 16 more than Kante. Even coming off at half-time in the past two games he still increased his lead".

Those stats are quite something. Especially the last point.

Derek Cowell
27 Posted 27/04/2017 at 18:13:08
I think that Gana is significantly underrated. He is one of those players who you don't notice until he's not playing. Those incredible stats, if correct, say it all!

Peter Reid was also underrated as doing the 'ugly' stuff and breaking up play is not 'sexy' like scoring goals etc but almost equally important in the great scheme of things.

Just look what Kante brought to Leicester and now Chelsea. In fact, Leicester just couldn't do it without him this season.

Colin Glassar
28 Posted 27/04/2017 at 18:48:44
Gana is in West Africa. I'll get my coat.
John Pierce
29 Posted 27/04/2017 at 19:17:22
Hands up there, Derek (#24), he totally ducked out of that cross.

But when he has a shot, he doesn't often miss... you catch my drift?

Darren Hind
30 Posted 27/04/2017 at 19:30:53
Mike, your getting carried away with your stats again.

Gana does the same job as Kante, but he does it in a different way. Gana as you say is a tackling machine and by pointing out he goes to ground too readily on a recent thread, I was not nursing a fixation, I was merely confirming an observation I made months ago. He has been booked about 10 times this season and he has been on his arse for most of them..

A decent player, but Gana's not in the same league as Kante. While Kante can and does tackle, he is more a picker of pockets, he reads the game and makes numerous interceptions every time he plays, He gets there first which means he doesn't have to go to ground or make as many tackles. He was booked three times last season. He does have a touch of the Gareth Barry's about him this season – He will step across a man and take a yellow "for the team", but there is much, much more to his game than tackling

one is recognised as a prolific tackler, the other a champion, a supreme reader of the game. Kante will win his second title in two years (with two different clubs) he will be crowned footballer of the year after being runner up last season. A top top defensive midfielder.

Chris Gould
31 Posted 27/04/2017 at 20:04:46
Kante has made only 5 more interceptions than Gana this season, Darren. That's with playing 3 games more.
Kante has been booked 9 times, only 1 less than Gana.
Gana is way ahead in tackles.

The stats don't suggest he is performing better, just that he's in a better team.

Although, I do accept that stats don't always tell the full story.

Darren Hind
32 Posted 27/04/2017 at 21:16:29
"The stats, don't suggest he is performing better, just that he`s in a better team"

Meanwhile the Facts...

Kante played for a team that had just escaped relegation last season, they were transformed and they absolutely pissed the league. He left them and guess what... yep, they're struggling again. "Better team"?

He joined a team who had been at their lowest ebb for years this time around and guess what ? They're pissing the league too.

Given the choice; I wonder how many managers would choose Gana over Kante? ... Silly Stats over cold hard facts?

Mike Gaynes
33 Posted 27/04/2017 at 21:41:13
Darren (#30), got a few more stats for you... like the fact that at 4.7 tackles per game, Gueye is far and away the leader across all the major European leagues (Kante is second at 4.2, followed by some Mainz guy at 3.7).

What you have is a focus on his missed tackles, which are hard to find because Gueye has a 75% tackle success rate. That is mind-blowing. (Kante's is 69%.) He's also superior to Kante in Duels Won and Successful 50-50s. And as Chris points out, his interception rate per game is the same as Kante's.

"A decent player"??? Mate, Gana is probably the best pure ballwinner in the world at this point, unless there's some tackling machine out in Argentina we haven't heard of yet.

Obviously Kante is the superior player overall, a gifted passer who reads the game with the ball at his feet in a way Gana cannot. Probably in the world's Best 11 at this point. Superb. Of course. Never said or implied otherwise.

But to portray Gana as just an average player who goes to ground too often and misses tackles... sorry, man, but that's just bananas. What he does, nobody does better. Including Kante.

Chris Williams
34 Posted 27/04/2017 at 21:44:02
I blame Koeman. We should never have signed him.
Brent Stephens
35 Posted 27/04/2017 at 21:54:58
As you say, Mike, Kante is the superior player overall. I never took your use of the stats to suggest otherwise (you'd just end up on your arse making assumptions like that).
Mike Gaynes
36 Posted 27/04/2017 at 21:57:22
Chris #31, "The stats don't suggest he is performing better, just that he's in a better team."

No, that's a couple bridges too far. Kante's passing stats are dazzling, and just watching him shows his importance to Chelski's attack.

Gana is more than his equal defensively, but he's rarely a significant contributor in attack.

Peter Lee
37 Posted 27/04/2017 at 22:29:05
I recognise what John Pierce says about playing further up the pitch. I have said regularly that we are too stretched and that Gana and Schneiderlin are 5 yards too far advanced. We need both to be in better contact with the back four. If that were so then Gana could be equally as influential as Kante.

Chelsea play with a tight back three and Kante in front of those. Given that few teams play with genuine width, playing through them is difficult, to say the least, and as the forward player Kante is in pole position to make all those tackles and interceptions, knowing that if he misses there are three behind to pick up the pieces.

Sunday, I would play Calvert-Lewin left side moving upfront when we have the ball alongside Lukaku. I'd get the ball up early and I'd have Gana looking Kante in the eye.

Usual back four, Barry tight in front, Schneiderlin and Davies/Barkley in front of him.

Without the ball we pull in to 4-5-1. Simples.

Andy Crooks
38 Posted 27/04/2017 at 22:38:25
Just looking at games, not looking at stats... well, it seems to me that Kante is a superb player, really top class.

Gana is good, functional and ours.

Darren Hind
39 Posted 27/04/2017 at 22:39:27
Did you know Big Sam has stats which can't be beaten as any international manager? 100% record... That's why I ignore stats, they are by-and-large totally meaningless.

So I will give you a couple more facts... Regardless of Kante's obvious superiority with the ball, which I didn't for one minute think you were disputing, the Premier League teams he plays for always concede less than the team Gana plays for.

He has intercepted more balls than Gana and he is generally recognised as the best defensive midfielder by reporters and fellows pros alike – do you think he was nominated for Player of the Year for the goals he scored? ... for his assists?

I did not say, "Gana is average"; I said he was decent, but he will never be better than decent (ie, top class) because he isn't good enough with the ball.

You deny he goes to ground to readily because you are totally reliant on stats and you can't find anything to back it up. You seem to want to ignore the type of booking he has received this season.

I'll tell you what, Mike, forget the past. Let's just look at the future, now that I have brought this flaw in his game (but not his stats) to your attention. You will be on the lookout.

We'll talk again...

Mike Gaynes
40 Posted 27/04/2017 at 22:43:49
Peter, sorry, but I haven't seen a thing from Calvert-Lewin that tells me he's ready for a challenge like Chelsea, and any line-up that includes Calvert-Lewin and excludes either Davies or Barkley gets a big "no-way" from me.
Mike Gaynes
41 Posted 27/04/2017 at 22:51:05
Fair enough, Darren. Language barrier... on this side of the pond "decent" means "average".

It's like "just about"... which means "just barely succeeded" over there and "just barely failed" over here.

Chris Gould
42 Posted 27/04/2017 at 23:03:01
Mike, I agree that Gueye isn't quite at the all round level of Kante, but he isn't far behind, and definitely would improve the offensive part of his game with better players alongside him.

Darren, I said that the stats don't suggest Kante is performing better.

Emphasis on 'the stats don't suggest'.
Not, 'this is proof that Kante isn't better'.

Stats are obviously not always an accurate measurement of a player's worth, but Kante was not single-handedly responsible for Leicester's triumphant season. He was a vital cog, but they had many players who performed out of their skins last season. It was never going to be sustained success.

And yes, Kante played in a 'better team' than Gueye last season (Aston Villa) and he's playing in a better team than Gueye this season.

(Which would account for his teams conceding less. Every team conceded less than Aston Villa!)

In the last 2 seasons Kante has had one less yellow card than Gana. When you consider all of the tackles Gueye puts in then I don't think you can criticise this.

But, Darren, all in all, I agree that Kante edges it. I just think you are slightly over critical of Gana. As Mike says, he is better defensively, and that is his primary role.

Pundits and media will fawn over Kante because he has played in the miracle Leicester team, and now he plays for one of Sky's faves. Gueye played in a shite Villa team where it was impossible to look good, and now a 7th placed team who are not fashionable.

Dan Davies
43 Posted 27/04/2017 at 23:57:14
Mike, can I ask your opinion of Besic please?
Gordon Crawford
44 Posted 28/04/2017 at 01:20:20
Kante is very good, but in the two seasons I've seen him play, I haven't seen anything truly special.

Gueye for me is equally just as effective, but because he hasn't had the fortune of playing in two successful teams then he is judged differently. Gueye in my opinion would shine in any of the top six.

I also don't think him and Schneiderlin compliment each other at this moment in time. Besic could be another very good player, but sadly he is injury prone.

Jay Harris
45 Posted 28/04/2017 at 01:49:57
I don't trust stats, I trust my eyes and I have to say how many MotM performances did Gana come up with until he went to the Afcon and Schneiderlin was brought in?

The lad has shown what he is capable of and, for me, if he was allowed to just play his game, he would be just as good, if not better than Kante.

Peter Lee
46 Posted 28/04/2017 at 01:50:16
Mike, it's about occupying their back their back three and giving us the option of stopping their easy balls out. At the very least they would need to pull their full-backs back.

High balls will be an option and we've a much better chance of getting under them and winning second ball with a second tall man in the mix.

Last time at Chelsea Luis looked crap. He's still the same player but he is protected by their shape. We won't disturb that with Lukaku on his own in the middle of a back three and Kante.

It's not a straight swap for Davies or Barkley, it's a change in shape and tactics.

Schneiderlin and (I'd prefer) Davies would be left and right to block space for Hazard and Willian/Pedro but also able to get forward to support a press when we are looking for second ball. I think we would also retain the ball better and for longer in this way.

Without a genuine sitter in front of the back four and support wide and forward of him we will surrender far too much space and spend the game on the back foot.

Paul Ferry
47 Posted 28/04/2017 at 02:12:13
Interesting that the comparison for Gana has to be the best defensive midfielder in the league and I'm sure some might say the world right now.

I'd happily settle – with our future eyes on the to 4 – for him to be say 4th best. I'm sorry but the sheer cumulative weight of Mike Gaynes's stats have to mean something. The league table is a stat and I for one congratulate our Gana for having such wonderful stats across a broad range of contributions.

He also seems to me to be getting into more forward positions in the last month or so but he needs to be more 'creative'.

He is for me the most outstanding buy of the Koeman near year so far.

Mike Gaynes
48 Posted 28/04/2017 at 05:08:08
Dan (#43), I've been pretty repetitive on Besic, but at the risk of boring everybody who has read my opinion before...

I think he's already done at Everton. He's a one-dimensional player, all defense, no attack, and therefore not a Koeman type of player. In his case the stats are ugly – 48 appearances, zero goals, zero assists, two chances created for other players, five shots.

Also, Koeman got a good look at Besic before he was hurt... managed against him three times when we played Southampton, five appearances in this preseason.

And even before the injury, Koeman was shopping like crazy for defensive midfielders last summer -- Gueye, Witsel, Schneiderlin, Sissoko, Delaney. A manager who already has Macca, Barry and Gana at the same position doesn't offer 㿅M to Witsel and 㿊M to Sissoko if he rates Besic at all.

I know there are lots of folks here who still like him based on that brilliant performance against Man City. If they're right and I'm wrong, I'll get laughed at. A lot.

Mike Gaynes
49 Posted 28/04/2017 at 05:14:17
Paul (#47), with a price tag of only ٥M, I'd say he's the buy of the year in the Premier League.

Kante cost Chelsea 㿊M.

Brent Stephens
50 Posted 28/04/2017 at 07:10:11
"Did you know Big Sam has stats which can't be beaten as any international manager? 100% record... That's why I ignore stats, they are by-and-large totally meaningless".

I've never until now seen anybody try to use Sam's one game as England manager to argue that he has a 100% record. So why present that argument just to knock it down. I think this is what's called a strawman.

Stats aren't in themselves "by-and-large totally meaningless" – it depends on how they are used.

What are being called "stats"* here is little more than counting things and maybe producing a percentage. And we all use them when it suits – to say, for example, "He has intercepted more balls than Gana" means you must have counted things (but without the greater exactness of a percentage).

[* I've yet to see, for example, Spearman's coefficient of rank correlation used on TW! Could that be used to assess the relationship between, say, total player spend and final league position?! Now that would be interesting...]

Mike Gaynes
51 Posted 28/04/2017 at 07:29:53
Brent, I believe Spearman was a QPR supporter, and therefore can safely be disregarded.
James Watts
52 Posted 28/04/2017 at 07:49:45
Got to agree with Mike here. Gana, at £7m, is pound for pound the signing of the season. Certainly for us, and certainly in the top 3 in the Premier League in my opinion.

I think he's done pretty well since the AFCON, but I think the biggest difference for me is, when he left, our midfield was complete gash. When he came back, he had Morgan and Tom to play with so possibly not as easy to stand out as it was previously.

But, anyway it's presented, he's one of the first names on the team sheet. Well, for me anyway.

Chris Williams
53 Posted 28/04/2017 at 08:25:13
I think we may get a different perspective on some of these players when we see them in the context of a properly balanced team with proper attacking players and some creativity, backed up with at least one dominant centre-half and a proper goalkeeper.

At least I hope so.

Chris Gould
54 Posted 28/04/2017 at 08:29:59
I think I read that Leicester were in for Gueye before he went to Villa. That would suggest Kante was their 2nd choice. Could Gueye have helped inspire Leicester the way Kante did?

We may never have heard of Kante had Gueye chosen Leicester.< In answer to my own question: I don't think Gueye would have had the same effect as Kante for the reasons Mike and Darren mentioned.

For me, he lacks confidence going forward, but I think with encouragement he could offer more. He has the energy to go box to box, but possibly needs a bit more belief when in possession.

In saying that, I think he's told to perform a specific job: break up play and then pass it to the nearest blue shirt. He is outstanding at this.

It will be interesting to see how they match up on Sunday.

Amit Vithlani
55 Posted 28/04/2017 at 09:03:44
I have a rather different view – it is the set up of the team which requires an advanced press and tackling machine on the one hand and a deep lying blocker/passer like Schneiderlin on the other.

Koeman was using Coleman and Baines to penetrate for much of the season with Barkley and Mirallas behind Lukaku. That was 5 attack minded players.

Coleman's injury has upset the balance as, whilst young Mason has done well, he doesn't provide the same penetration as Seamus.

James Hughes
56 Posted 28/04/2017 at 09:22:35
A bit simplistic to imply Kante joining the Chavs is the reason they are pissing the league. The team was in open revolt against Maureen last season and wouldn't play for him at all.

Conte has also completely changed their formation and style and while Kante is a part of that team he is not the catalyst. No doubt a good player but not streets ahead of Gana

Peter Gorman
57 Posted 28/04/2017 at 10:23:06
I attempted to rebut Darren's strawdog arguments about Kante being superior to Gana last night but the computer froze and I gave up.

On reflection this morning, it obviously is the case we just have different opinions but personally speaking the national love-in for Kante is very much to do with the fact he plays for a very press-popular team, in London, who are champions-elect. There is nothing to my mind to suggest he is far superior to our Idrissa, that is based on watching both of them play.

I appreciate you aren't 'fixated' on Gana going to ground Darren, but even if you spotted that a few times then surely you've spotted the numerous times more he has stolen the ball off the opposition and really bailed us out at the back. It is like watching an artist at work. Your description of Kante being the master 'picker of pockets' could be applied to Gana just as well and then some.

On balance, he is justifiably a massive fan favourite and those inconvenient stats only back up the impression he has given us all season. That there is no massive gulf between their talents is probably best reflected in the unfortunate statement the adoring press have to constantly make; "...second only to Everton midfielder Idrissa Gueye."

James Hughes
58 Posted 28/04/2017 at 11:03:01
Sky Premier League preview:

Everton have a very good midfield with Schneiderlin, Gana and Davies complementing each other very well. Also tipped us take all three points (for what it's worth).

Oh cause knob crust Lawro has us down to lose, again

Shane Corcoran
59 Posted 28/04/2017 at 11:46:16
Peter, Kante was class last year, for Leicester. I think he was nominated for Player of the Year but beaten by Mahrez. Did I miss the ToffeeWeb meeting where Leicester are now one of the Sky 19, with only poor old Everton being left out?

In my opinion, Gana had a very good start to the season but has tailed off.

Granted, I haven't seen as much of Kante, but from what I've seen, I rate him quite a bit higher than Gana at this point.

Tony Abrahams
60 Posted 28/04/2017 at 11:48:41
Good thread this, good opinions, and I think we might just find out a bit more about these two players, by watching them play against each other on Sunday.

People were raving about little Gana Gueye, at the start of the season, and although he impressed me I never really get excited about someone who isn't great at passing the ball. He never hides though, and he can keep going to ground as far as I'm concerned, but I'm sure he will improve this side of his game, when we have more players in the team who can really keep the ball.

Honestly, I wouldn't swap him for Kante until I see him play in a proper team where every player really knows and really wants to do their own job.

Brian Furey
61 Posted 28/04/2017 at 11:52:35
I think one of the main things Koeman wanted to do when he joined our club was to make us harder to score against. Any good manager knows that to do well, especially in the league you make your team hard to score against and when you have a striker like Lukaku you probably don't need a lot of goal scorers from midfield.

So I think Ron knew we were quite weak and slow around central defence and so bringing in both Gana and Schneiderlin certainly give the defence a lot more protection. I think both players have given Koeman the desired result and most would say his first season was a success with us looking very likely to qualify for European football again.

However, bigger challenges lie ahead for the management team with us more than likely going to need to replace our main outlet for goals either this summer or next year. We probably need to find a new centre-half and keeper and bring more goals into our midfield area.

If Rom does go this summer you would imagine Koeman's big challenge would be to finish in the top 6 again as it will be a lot harder to score the number of goals we scored this year.

On another note, this could be a very interesting weekend at the top of the table. Should we beat Chelsea at home and Spurs beat Arsenal, they will only be one point behind Chelsea. Would most TW'ers prefer Spurs or Chelsea to win the league?

Also if both Man Utd and Man City win and Liverpool don't win away to Watford on Monday night then the RS will drop to 6th.

Chris Gould
62 Posted 28/04/2017 at 12:03:08

I couldn't care less which of those two won the league. More importantly, if the results went the way you mentioned, we would jump above Arsenal.

If Spurs do win the league, then they would have done it in a way that we can surely follow. They haven't spent big in comparison to Chelsea or the Manc clubs, and they have gone with youth. If they can do it, then so can we!

Thomas Lennon
63 Posted 28/04/2017 at 12:22:45
Besic – we haven't seen what Koeman can do with him yet, wait and see.

Gana vs Kante. There is only one way to solve this.

Sunday, be there.

Paul Tran
65 Posted 28/04/2017 at 16:56:45
The problem with all of this is that too many people expect/hope midfielders to be the box-to-box dynamo that bags ten-plus goals a season. Not many of those about these days.

Gana is like a predominantly defensive midfielder. An absolute screamer of a player for ٥m. I don't really care if he's better than Kante or not, but, if push comes to shove, I'd go for the player who has been the lynchpin for successive championship winning teams.

You can mangle all the stats you like. I still like to watch a game and trust my eyes rather than the Opta merchants.

Brian Harrison
67 Posted 28/04/2017 at 17:25:35
I see Koeman has said in his press conference that he will be looking for players who can score goals in the coming transfer window. Apart from Lukaku with 24, the nearest to him for league goals has a pathetic 4 goals: this includes Barkley and Mirallas.

I have no idea if Lukaku will be here next season, but take his goals out of this side and we will be lucky to make the top half without a dramatic improvement in the quantity of goals from everybody else.

Although Barkley's general play has improved, his goal record is simply not good enough, considering he plays just off Lukaku. Our midfield players will also have to increase their goal totals, maybe that's why Gana has been subbed quite a lot recently.

Lev Vellene
73 Posted 28/04/2017 at 18:32:54
I feel that Schneiderlin may be more comfortable being in a mainly defensive midfield role, while Davies must be allowed some freedom to defend, roam and fight; but Gueye should be used for what he so much wowed us by in the first half of the season, that is winning balls and interrupting the opposition!

If those roles were adhered to, that review about them complimenting each other wouldn't be too far off! But if Gueye and Schneiderlin are too much locked into similar roles, then we only need one at a time, I feel, if we are also to have an attacking threat!

Dan Davies
76 Posted 28/04/2017 at 19:19:05
Mike @48, stats and points taken. It will be interesting to see how Besic is treated next season. Do you have similar stats for McCarthy?
Danny Broderick
77 Posted 28/04/2017 at 19:58:52
Why are we comparing Gueye to Kante? We are comparing a £7 million player to a £30 million player.

I think Gueye has been a really good player for us, possibly our player of the season, which no-one would have predicted. Let's celebrate his success, rather than criticise his deficiencies.

Tony Abrahams
79 Posted 28/04/2017 at 20:23:33
What's 'lobscouse', Lev? Was it Ronnie Goodlass's goal at West Ham from 40 yards in the seventies?
Don Alexander
80 Posted 28/04/2017 at 20:25:51
Gana to me is a very good player in a team comprising players deservedly only 7th based on the limits of their abilities and/or characters. Kante this season is surrounded by vastly better players than ours and they provide many more options for a pass but he too in my opinion is no more than a very good player. To be a great, like Bally for instance, he'd also have to be a prolific scorer who was also able to regularly grab games by the goolies and win them almost single-handedly. He can't do that and neither can Gana, so to me they're very, very similar.

And just in case you want to cite Leicester last season, they fielded teams who, from 1 to 11, worked their bollocks off from the first to last minute in every game I saw them play. Kante therefore again had more options to pass when he had the ball.

Sadly, we have players in attack who do not make those efforts or runs (and even you sort of allude to this at #64 despite the fact that in other threads you hold Koeman alone as personally responsible for your disappointment) thereby denying Gana and others in midfield the same sort of opportunities to shine.

Hopefully the acquisition of a committed talented striker and midfield attackers will provide what we all, repeat, all, want to see. With better players around him Gana might just surpass Kante too but, obviously, he might not. I wish him well.

Brian Williams
81 Posted 28/04/2017 at 20:43:34
Ah Lobscouse, back to our roots!!!
Lev Vellene
82 Posted 28/04/2017 at 20:48:23
Tony (#79),

That is, as I understand it, why you are all 'scousers in Liverpool, as you were known for your dish.

Today, "lobscouse" is the same as "lapskaus" in Norwegian, so just a fancy word for a stew with anything you have available to throw into the pot, I guess! :)

That hinted-upon lob (?) was one I never saw, by the way, as I was born in '67 and only became a (now) life-long fan around '77 or '78!

Mike Gaynes
88 Posted 28/04/2017 at 22:11:18
Dan (#76), yes I do.

In attack, Macca averages about two goals and two assists a season, and two chances created for others. In 104 appearances for us, he has six goals and 7 assists. (Averaged exactly the same rates at Wigan.) Not very dazzling, but obviously better than Besic.

Defensively, Macca makes only about half as many tackles per game as Gueye, but his success rate is absolutely astounding -- about 79% for his career. He lacks the quickness to the ball of Kante and Gana, but when he does get there, he almost never misses.

However, McCarthy is in every way less involved than Gana. He makes fewer interceptions, recoveries and clearances and gets into fewer duels. Last year, in 29 games, Macca won just seven 50-50 battles. In the same number of games this year, Gana has 23 wins.

That's why, much as I like him, I believe we won't miss Macca very much.

Gavin Johnson
91 Posted 28/04/2017 at 22:13:10
This seems a silly argument. Kante is clearly the better player of the two. As Danny states #77. You're comparing a 㿊m player who is player of the year with a ٥m player from a relegated side.

People concentrate on stats far too often nowadays. The most pedestrian midfielder around can have amazing stats. The 90% pass accuracy doesn't tell you that the player passes like a crab.

IMHO, Kante offers more. He can do more with the ball because he's the better all round footballer. That all said, we only paid ٥m for Gana and got an absolute bargain. Even if Gana was described as a poor mans Kante that's still pretty decent because Kante is the absolute best at what he does.

Dan Davies
95 Posted 28/04/2017 at 22:34:03
Cheers Mike. For some reason I just prefer Besic to Mcarthy, not sure exactly why. I think possibly both their days are numbered.

Their both good players on their day just a shame their both injury prone. Although we could both be proven wrong! Saying that I'd love to see both come good.

Anyways love Gana.

Ernie Baywood
105 Posted 29/04/2017 at 02:04:59
My view, a dynamic player like Gana will stand out when he needs to cover ground. McCarthy looked brilliant when Martinez had us going end to end. Remember the stats about the relative percentages of Earth being covered by water and Macca?

As we slow the game, these players will have less influence. Right now, we're asking him to influence games on the ball... it's not his strongest area.

If we're winning though, who cares what Gana looks like? There are very few players you would base your tactics around and Gana isn't one of them. He'll be ready to do what he does best when we need him.

Regarding the stats, I'm not sure they have much validity (as interesting as they are). McCarthy in the last two Martinez seasons can't be compared to Gana under Koeman, and certainly not to Leicester or Chelsea with Kante. Such different styles of play need completely different things.

Jay Wood
107 Posted 29/04/2017 at 13:54:47
There was a worldwide March for Science last weekend which staged well-supported demonstrations in defence of science and, specifically, empirical research.

Now empirical research is a way of gaining knowledge by using direct and/or indirect observation or experience.

Applying that to a person's evaluation of the Everton team and its players, that equates to how any one individual evaluates the team's/players' performance in any given game. In doing so, a spectator can call on both qualitative and quantitative data to help inform his/her opinion.

Qualitative data tends to be descriptive in nature, often subjective and – because it is not presented in numerical form – it is harder to analyze and reach concrete conclusions in comparison to quantitative data. In relation to Everton, that is an individual's assessment of a game and players' (and the manager's) performances.

As its name implies, quantitative data gathers data in numerical form (footy stats, in the case of Everton) and is concerned with measuring and ranking things.

The staging of last week's March for Science was in response to Trumpism and a growing political tendency to deny established scientific research and facts.

To baldly state, as Trump and his cabinet do (and some in this thread and TW in general also do) that they "don't believe the science" (ie, the quantitative data) is to be a denialist.

What they truly mean is: "the data is not convenient to my opinion, my politics, my position. Therefore, I deny their legitimacy and ignore it."

The delicious irony is, having poo-poohed the use of statistical data that challenges their point of view, they readily turn to quantitative data to prop up their own position.

The March for Science was not in defence of scientists and their jobs. It was a march in defence of the search for truth.

It was a riposte to a loud, angry, belligerent political group who wishes to shout down and ridicule any opposition with the temerity to challenge their own, often prejudiced, often wobbly, views.

I choose to 'March for Science'. Empirical evidence – both qualitative and quantitative – are legitimate and anyone who tries to exclude or deny either one of them is being possibly mischievous or malicious in their intent.

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