Sigurdsson targeting seventh spot

Wednesday, 24 April, 2019 73comments  |  Jump to last
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Gyfli Sigurdsson says that confidence has returned to the Everton side as they pursue a seventh-place berth that would top last season's finish and possibly secure a crack at qualifying for the Europa League group phase.

The Blues' stunning 4-0 hammering of Manchester United on Sunday has vaulted them back into contention to finish as “best of the rest” behind the top six and they sit just a point behind Watford going into the final three matches of the season.

If the Hornets don't win the FA Cup or finish seventh themselves, that position will mean entry to the final qualifying rounds of the Europa League, something Everton last achieved two years ago under Ronald Koeman.

Sigurdsson scored one and created another at the weekend and he has spoken of the belief that the team has in itself again.

“The target now is to keep going and try to finish off the season strongly,” he told the Liverpool Echo. “If we perform like we did against United, we can definitely finish seventh. We've got a few tough games left, but there is a real confidence about the team after playing some really good football.

“We have been really positive going forward, and importantly we are defending really well as a team. Winning those three home games in a row like that, it gives everyone a lift.”

“I think it's the best we've played since I've been here. It gives us confidence, and that gives us the platform to show what we are capable of.”

The Icelandic star was asked how Marco Silva approached the game against United following Everton's abject 2-0 defeat at Fulham the week before, a result that looked to have put paid to their hopes of securing that seventh place spot.

"He told us not to perform like we did against Fulham!” Sigurdsson exclaimed. “He wanted us to perform like we had in the previous few games, it's quite simple.

"We knew how poor the performance was against Fulham and we knew how good the other performances were. It was just about getting back to our best."

 

Reader Comments (73)

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Jim Bennings
1 Posted 24/04/2019 at 07:46:01
For some reason 7th this season would feel like a real target met and oddly really satisfying, I don’t know if that’s because at one stage we looked like finishing bottom half or because the media have banged the Wolves and Watford drum about being best of the rest.

But certainly beating the two W’s to 7th would be quietly satisfying.

The big challenge for the weekend though is making sure we turn up at Selhurst Park and don’t allow it to become another Fulham.

We need to get the bare minimum at Palace a draw but I think if we turn up like we did against United then it’s a game we really ought to be winning.

Peter Mills
2 Posted 24/04/2019 at 07:58:24
I’m glad the Fulham performance has been mentioned, as it must not be forgotten amidst the joy at our other recent displays - our team has to show it can turn up every week.

Our final 3 games will be as much an indicator of our progress as the Man Utd game. Selhurst Park is a tough gig, a home game against an organised Burnley, finishing with one of the toughest fixtures going at Spurs.

While I can never wish any misfortune upon us, perhaps the greatest measure of progress would be for us to go a goal down in a game, and to come back to win.

I have been very sceptical about Marco Silva’s ability to organise a defence. He has been proving me wrong over the last few weeks, and I am delighted by that. Now, Mr Silva, build in resilience when we are in a losing position and there really will be a strong foundation for next season.

Mike Allison
3 Posted 24/04/2019 at 08:13:07
To finish 7th would send a message to the rest of the league, that although the top 6 are in a league of their own, so are we. Last season we had three managers and were shambolic, yet were one single result away from 7th, beaten by a Burnley team having their best season in decades. This season Wolves and Watford are doing a similar thing, whilst we’ve had fans calling for the manager’s head again, and yet here we are.

A bad, or indifferent, season for us is the same as a good season for anyone else outside the top six. To claim 7th would bring more than European football, it would cement our position as the leading contenders to the elite group, which at times this season has looked a long way off.

Andrew Clare
4 Posted 24/04/2019 at 08:31:22
Seventh would definitely be an achievement after such an erratic season-a season which we half expected with all of the changes at the club.
Crystal Palace is always a tough game, having said that we should be going there to win. When we have a good run and it’s interrupted by a poor defeat - Fulham -then it is a concern- it reminds me of a couple of strange results we had in the Martinez first season after playing so well. We must eradicate these frailties in order to progress. Winners have a tough mentality and staying power.
Danny Baily
5 Posted 24/04/2019 at 08:31:31
It's a wooden spoon but it's better than nothing. Let's get 7th and hopefully a Europa League berth.
Sam Hoare
6 Posted 24/04/2019 at 09:11:05
I think the competition for 7th is far higher than it has been for a very long time. Teams like Watford, Wolves, Leicester and West Ham are very decent outfits and with all of them have players that some of the top European teams covet.

Finishing 7th would be a good achievement I believe considering the amount of players we’ve had to bed in and changing style from Allardyce to Silva which are opposite ends of the spectrum.

I suspect we may have to get at least 6 or 7 points from last 9 to finish 7th which will be tough. I see us ending 8th or 9th. Which will do for me as a foundation especially given the football on display recently.

Dave Abrahams
7 Posted 24/04/2019 at 09:21:44
Sam (6), while the last few weeks have given us some great results and performances, except, as Peter (2) points out, Fulham, we have to look at throughout the season, and the four teams you mention in contention with us for seventh place, we never beat one of them at home, losing to three of them although we did beat two of them away.

I think we have turned a corner and can continue to improve, but I thought that before the Fulham game.

Justin Doone
8 Posted 24/04/2019 at 09:34:35
I'm not too concerned if we finish 7th or 10th, this season has been all about improvement from the last few seasons.

For me Wolves have deserved the plaudits but now at the end of the season it proves what a long hard season the competitive Premier league is and every teams form has yo-yod somewhat baring the top 2.

In terms of performances and actually playing proper football it's been a leap in the right direction helped by some great attacking signings, the type of player's we have been missing for a decade or more.

Pace, skill, vision, creativity and a willingness to work hard for the team. Both Richarlison and Bernard are showing what it takes to make a mark in the Premier league. Teams can't have lazy wingers and forwards, they need to run, tackle and cover just as much pitch as the rest of the team.

This is where I'm hoping Silva can make a marked improvement over the Martinez teams. Same attacking intent but a much more team oriented method.

A trip around Europe can be fun and it would be good exposure for Everton. But with serveral players futures to be resolved and at least two positions to be upgraded an early July start to the season may not be helpful.

We could give the reserves /u23's an opportunity but getting knocked out by a no name team wouldn't be help anyone's confidence. But I'm happy what ever happens. Just glad to see prioress being made.

Chris Gould
9 Posted 24/04/2019 at 10:06:39
Only Man City and Liverpool are consistent enough to go on a run like we have and not have the occasional slip. It will take time. The rest of the top 6 have a run of good results followed by poor ones. The Premier League is so competitive that you can never take results for granted. I think we have been fantastic since the 17 day break. 3 wins against the top 6, 1 draw against Liverpool, and 2 away wins. All without conceding a goal.
Of course Newcastle and Fulham were frustrating results and performances, but winning those games would have meant that we had taken 22 points from 24 which is title winning form. Instead, we have taken 16 out of 24 which is top 4-6 form.
It's a significant step in the right direction, especially when you consider that we played 4 of the top 6 in that run. We should focus on these positive results. We cannot expect to be at our best every week. It simply won't happen until we have a stronger squad and real competition for places. We have been shown a glimpse of what could be next season, but we need to continue to build with the same quality as last summer, and we need to find a way of keeping Zouma and Gomes.
Jim Burns
10 Posted 24/04/2019 at 10:07:53
Really torn on this one. On the one hand - as has been said above - it would be satisfying to reclaim our 'best of the rest spot ' and use it as a platform. Given the ' big dipper' ride this season I'd be happy with that and the fact that it could put us back into Europe - always something to look forward to and the very least we should be aiming for as a club.
On the other hand - an early start to next season and the fixture congestion that comes with the Europa could stall the rebuilding plans that are clearly in place. We know from bitter experience how disruptive this competition can be to league form ( Burnley this season ) and I don't think we are there yet with squad size to cope with it comfortably.
At this stage of our re- build and still to nail down deals for Zouma, Gomez and potentially retaining Gana, I can see a strong case for missing out on Europe this once and concentrating this summer on the medium term strength and consistency of the squad in the Premier...and as a minimum a Europa spot and trophy next term.
Roger Sunde
11 Posted 24/04/2019 at 10:10:11
We are Everton, 7th is top of the league.
Rob Halligan
12 Posted 24/04/2019 at 10:16:10
Everton normally return for pre-season training around 4th July. This will be about three weeks before the second qualifying round first leg of the EL, scheduled for 25th July when, for whoever finishes seventh in the premier league, will probably enter the competition. This may depend on the coefficient of whoever qualifies though. Didn't Burnley start in the first qualifying round this season because of their poor coefficient? The same could apply to Watford or wolves. We, on the other hand, could even enter the competition at the third qualifying round stage, due to our coefficient rating, first leg scheduled for 8th August.

Next season's premier league kicks off on 10th August. So for all those thinking it's an early start to next season for us, I don't think it is. It's two weeks, (or two days), big deal. Play four (or two) EL games rather than four (or two) pre-season games.

However, as I said on another thread, I personally don't think we will qualify for the EL, but I hope we do.

David Ellis
13 Posted 24/04/2019 at 10:29:53
I think finishing 7th is really important – as is qualifying for the Europa League. It helps with player recruitment and player retention. It helps the squad players to have a chance and allows the top players to play in Europe. It's another way to win a trophy and get into the Champions League and its more remunerative than it used to be. Good for sponsorship and commercial contracts really important and a necessary platform for cracking the top 6.

David Ellis
14 Posted 24/04/2019 at 10:40:50
As for our chances of making the top 7 -they're actually quite good.
Leicester have a horrible run in (City, Arsenal and Chelsea!)
Watford have the FA Cup to distract them.
Wolves and Watford have to play each other - so one or both of them must drop points.
Wolves have a game in hand...but its against Arsenal
Wolves have Liverpool away
Watford have Chelsea away
Wolves, Watford and Leicester seem to be stringing together very mediocore results lately - hence why we've got back in amongst them.
We have superior goal difference

7 points would do it 5 might be enough. But lets see. We need to keep playing

Jim Bennings
15 Posted 24/04/2019 at 10:42:44
I can't understand the mentality of not wanting European football at this club, nor can I understand when clubs like Burnley bemoan European commitments.

At Everton we have been starved of European exposure for far too long with only a handful of appearances when we have been in the main very poorly prepared.

The Europa League is not a burden if you prepare yourself for European football, as Arsenal and Chelsea have proven and to a lesser extent the Everton team under David Moyes in 2007-08.

It was only a problem under Koeman because soft arse spent more time on the golf course instead of working and preparing for the season that awaited us.

We aren't getting Champions League football anytime soon so for me, any kind of European adventure is worth it.

Tony Everan
16 Posted 24/04/2019 at 10:45:26
To finish 7th we will need 7 points minimum. I think we will find out whether it will happen on Saturday. To finish 7th we need to win, so what have we got to lose, go for it.

We have a point to prove against Crystal Palace, after our last visit to London. Anything less than a win and we will be needing to win against the dogged Burnley and away at CL chasing Spurs on the last day to have any hope of it.

David Midgley
17 Posted 24/04/2019 at 10:59:19
If we are a big club, and as Evertonians we know
we are. We need to make that transition on the
football stage. We should be playing in the Europa.

We have a big squad probably too big but it could be
turned to our advantage with the judicious use of
some of the U23's.

Everton needs to be testing itself. If we are out on
show to Europe it will also help with us being in the
window for the signing of future players.

Remember the parable of the man who buried his
talents.

Brian Harrison
18 Posted 24/04/2019 at 11:05:25
For me, Sigurdsson and Gana Gueye have been the two stand-out performers all season. 13 goals from a Number 10 is top 3 form. Yes, he has had a poor game here and there but, when we win, it's because him and Gana have had good games.

I hope we tell Gana he is going nowhere in the summer irrespective of who comes in for him, treble his money if we have to, he and Sigurdsson are so integral to the way we play. I don't see anybody in the Premier league who could replace him except possibly Kante and we have no chance of getting him.

I also think Richarlison has had a very good season, 13 goals from a wide player is a great return on his first season here.

Steve Ferns
19 Posted 24/04/2019 at 11:25:47
I've been looking into 7th position since Sunday. Prior to then, I thought it was beyond us.

Let's assume we beat Palace and Burnley, that's 6 points and up to 55, with one left to play.

Let's look at the other contenders.

First off, Leicester. They are on 48 points and have the following games left:
36. Arsenal at home
37. Man City away
38. Chelsea at home
Verdict: ouch! 51 points at best

Secondly, Wolves. They are also on 48 points but have 4 games left:
35. Arsenal at home, tonight
36. Watford away
37. Fulham at home
38. Liverpool away
Wolves are a good side and you can see them surprising someone, but 7 points is about their limit, so that's 55.

Finally, Watford. They are 1 point ahead on 50, and have 3 games left:
36. Wolves away
37. Chelsea away
38. West Ham at home.
They could easily take 6 points, by beating Wolves and West Ham. this would take them to 56 and leave us needing to get a point at Spurs.

I think that Watford are a hard-working team, who have had success due to this. Whilst they do have quality players, it is their endeavour that has carried them forwards. Now, if their players approach games with slightly less intensity, with one eye on the cup final, then Watford's performances, and by extension results, could tail off, meaning that you could easily see them taking less than 3 points from those games. For example, would you really go full force into a 50-50 ball, knowing injury could deny you the chance of playing in the cup final? Most of these players will be in their first Cup Final, their only Cup Final. This is a massive factor and likely to lead to them tailing off.

Wolves are more likely to beat Watford in the tussle between the two, but as long as they don't beat Arsenal today, then if they match our results in games 36 and 37, then I would say we have the better chance of beating their result on the final day. Can anyone really see Wolves winning at Anfield and making us have to beat Spurs?

For me, 7th is ours now, we just need to win our next two games. Palace are an excellent side away from Selhurst Park, but they've struggled at home. They prefer to counter-attack and being on the front foot does not suit them. However, if we take the game to them, it will play into their hands somewhat.

Burnley at home is a game you would expect us to win easily. They are safe now. They have nothing to play for, but this is Everton, right. We can't forget that! Last season we drew 2-2 away at Palace and lost at home to Burnley. So we are expecting to improve on results by a factor of 5 points, which is a big ask.

7th is very achievable, but a lot depends on tonight. I know we all be focusing on the big game in Manchester, but one eye on the big game at Wolves, blues. Let's hope Arsenal turn up, and play like they really do want to finish 4th, nothing less than a win will do for them. If Wolves win, then they are very much in control for 7th.

James Marshall
20 Posted 24/04/2019 at 11:37:16
Every blue should be rooting for Man City and Arsenal tonight - those 2 games will go a very long way to deciding how this season ends for us. We all want City to win the league (surely?!) and an Arsenal win tonight really does give us a decent shout of 7th place and the Europa League next season.

The EL should be our priority at the moment in my view - I've hared on about this for years, but if we want to be a top team we need to be able to handle European football and the league across a season.

Any team with aspirations to challenge for the top 4 requires this mentality within the club and all our players. We need to attract players who want European football as well, and the EL is a realistic target for Everton at this point in time.

If you've watched Spurs in recent years, their transition from a team on a par with us, to an established CL team with a fabulous new ground has been really well handled in my view. We should be keeping pace with them.

Tony Everan
21 Posted 24/04/2019 at 11:41:09
Steve, Burnley wont be easy pickings, I watched them against Chelsea on Monday and they were organised and resolute. Dyche has them back to what they were last season.

Barnes and Wood are a threat from long balls and set pieces, they could easy sneak a goal and defend with 11 men. They did it quite easily against Chelsea. It will be a right old battle of a game and there have been a few teams we have failed to break down over this season.

It will come down to our wide men breaking through their defence, and Burnley double up against that threat. Bernard could be the key for us.

A tough game, but a winnable one.

Steve Ferns
22 Posted 24/04/2019 at 11:48:18
Indeed Tony, but let's hope that now Burnley have hit the mythical 40 point mark, that their players will lose intensity and focus. The only thing is that if Cardiff beat Fulham, they will still not be mathematically safe. The reality is the goal difference is such that they are, and they only need a point to confirm it. They shouldn't get that point against City, and so I expect them to go to Goodison looking to get a point to confirm their safety.

You just hope that we have a plan of how to break down their rear guard and take the points. We should be capable of winning this now.

Daniel A Johnson
23 Posted 24/04/2019 at 12:05:23
I 100% see that we should be aiming for European competition but I just feel we're not ready yet.

Another 2-3 additions in the summer plus retaining Gomes and Zouma will help us.

Happy to miss it this season and get the team settled and ready for a big push up the league for 2019-20. Chelsea, Utd and Arsenal are there to be challenged judging by how we put them to the sword this season.

Neil Bowman
24 Posted 24/04/2019 at 12:55:21
Currently we've won 14, lost 14 and drawn 7. This highlights our inconsistency perfectly. Next season, we need to turn those losses into draws and the draws into wins to really prove ourselves. Finishing on more wins than losses this season would be a good end to the campaign and a foundation for next season.
Stephen Brown
25 Posted 24/04/2019 at 12:57:57
Europa league would be great next year. Hopefully it will provide game time for the likes of Davies, Lookman, Kenny and Calvert-Lewin assuming there's another striker in place?!

Is it dependent on Man City wining the FA Cup that 7th is a Europa League spot?

James Marshall
26 Posted 24/04/2019 at 13:01:21
It's a good point Neil, and also worth noting that 11 out of the 20 PL teams have a negative goal difference, and outside the top 6, only us (+6) and Leicester (+1) have a positive goal difference with Watford currently on 0.

Without wishing to state the bloody obvious here, the key is indeed consistency and scoring more than you concede across a season will see you in the top places.

James Marshall
27 Posted 24/04/2019 at 13:03:04
Stephen, yes, we need Man City to win the FA Cup to get the Europa League place for 7th. If Watford win the FA Cup, then only 6th in the Premier League is good enough to qualify for the Europa League.

They used to give the Europa League spot to the FA Cup runners-up if the winner was in the top 4 (Champions League) places, but now it goes to 7th spot in the Premier League.

Scott Ewers
28 Posted 24/04/2019 at 13:56:37
Spurs have had Everton's number for a long time now. 4 straight losses, at least a couple of those humiliating, including earlier this season at Goodison. Blues haven't beaten Spurs in the last 12 meetings. The moral of the story is that we can't count on even a point vs. Spurs.

So... to capture 7th (which I believe should be the goal), Blues will need to win the next two games and get some help from Watford and Wolves. Ideally they draw their match against each other - that's the easiest path. If Watford win that match, then we need a result for West Ham vs. them.

If Everton drops points in either of the next two, my guess is that the hope for 7th would be gone.

James Stewart
29 Posted 24/04/2019 at 14:07:40
@19 Nice summary. I agree I think we need 6 points to take 7th. That is no given though Palace are in decent form.

I think getting Europe is a massive positive and something we NEED to grow. Europa offers the winners a CL spot after all, which would be foolish to turn our noses up at.

Raymond Fox
30 Posted 24/04/2019 at 14:20:00
If we do qualify for the Europa I'm willing to bet our performances in the Premier League and other competitions will suffer.
There's plenty of examples in the past with the exception of your big 6, where playing that competition has affected performances in the League.
So for me given the choice I'd sooner give it a miss.
I think its safe to say that opinion seems divided on the issue, but if we do qualify we are in it like it or not.
Bobby Mallon
31 Posted 24/04/2019 at 14:29:45
we can play in the Europa and do well in the premiership we just have to make sure we don't sell all our players and we add a couple into the squad. If we want to play with the big teams we need a big team squad.
Jamie Crowley
32 Posted 24/04/2019 at 14:38:53
Today is a really big day in the League.

I think if Wolves beat Arsenal, we need to win out. We'll know a lot more about a push for 7th later today.

There's also that other game going on which might decide the title.

This afternoon / evening will be an enjoyable one for me at work, listening to two really important games with impactful implications.

Also, three weeks ago I started playing the "x plays y" game and tallying predictive points. I said then it would take a minimum of 57 points to hit 7th. I think that number stands. And if Wolves win today against a fairly flaccid Arsenal, we're behind the 8 ball for sure.

C'mon Gooners. Get it together and beat this upstart team led by the Holy Spirit.

Greatest managerial name ever by the way, that Wolves fella.

Derek Knox
33 Posted 24/04/2019 at 14:47:07
While I can see both sides of the coin regarding qualification and inclusion in the Europa League, I feel we have to start somewhere, if we have any aspirations of dining at the Top Table, and we should be going for it.

Many have said we are not ready, and others have quoted the last time under that saboteur Koeman, proved to be a bit of a disaster. Yes we are ill-equipped in terms of quality, but not in numbers, hopefully Marcel Brands can weave his spells in the Transfer Market in the summer and bring in more quality additions while also shipping out the surplus (not easy I know) players.

Integrating a few of the young hopefuls and adding genuine talent will give us the balance required to be firing on all fronts, in the bread and butter Prem, Cups and Europa too.

I doubt whether the mistakes of Koeman will ever be allowed to be repeated, and the opposition will be thoroughly checked out, before just throwing any mixture into the fray.

Fast forward to the end of the season, and as a few have mentioned 'that Fulham result' could well be the 'shot ourselves in the foot moment' as regards getting the required points. As Steve Ferns so eloquently listed the various scenarios involving the teams in contention, nothing but almost 100% effort and results in our remaining games will get us into 7th.

Mike Gaynes
34 Posted 24/04/2019 at 15:01:27
Raymond #30, how would we know? We've had stretches of absolutely awful games this year, and crashed out of both Cup competitions, without the "distraction" of the Europa. It would be just as logical to say we weren't playing enough games.

Making it back into Europe would be a vital next step, and I'd love to see us take it now, although I'm not at all confident that we're going to get to 7th. All the "win out" scenarios require us to play three more excellent games in a row, which we haven't done all season.

Palace will be a tough win even if we're not down three starters (I would expect both Richarlison and Digne to miss out), and the idea of getting points at Spurs is pretty optimistic.

Mike Allison
35 Posted 24/04/2019 at 15:15:10
To be scared of the Europa is to have a small club mentality. Get in it and learn to compete across 4 competitions using 22-25 ‘first choice’ players. That’s who we need to be, anything else is small fry.
Raymond Fox
36 Posted 24/04/2019 at 15:37:29
Mike 34, I suppose it depends what sort of squad we can put together for next season.
If we can keep our best players from this season and then add another 4 or 5 of real quality then maybe we could manage the Europa.

I'll still on balance stick with my opinion that we are better out of it at this time though.

Steve Ferns
37 Posted 24/04/2019 at 15:38:13
Jamie - I assume “win out” is an Americanism that means to win our remaining games. It is pronounced more or less the same as “win ‘owt” which means to lose them all!

Mike - I thought the pair had minor knocks? Has there been an update? Digne was on the pitch and moving ok after the game.

Ian Bennett
38 Posted 24/04/2019 at 15:54:43
It’s probably easier to win the Europa league (getting champions league football) than qualify in the top 4 - some should have a real go IMO.

United won it, Chelsea or Arsenal are likely to win it this year, so why not us? With the strength of English clubs of two English clubs in the final of the Champions League, it looks like another potential era of English dominance. We need to participate.

Jerome Shields
39 Posted 24/04/2019 at 15:55:57
We should have been firmly in the driving seat regarding Europa League qualification , but the performance at Fulham made it more difficulty. Everton have trouble finding consistency in the Premiership.

This is the main problem I see when they playing in another competition. For a number of years Everton have been out of all competitions after Xmas. This is why so many seen the lack of interest in the League Cup and FA Cup as it builds stamina in the squad, a poor strategy.

Everton playing in two or more competitions next season is alot different than out of two competitions before Xmas and struggling in the Premiership, like this year.

Alan J Thompson
40 Posted 24/04/2019 at 16:03:57
Silva should have told them earlier not to perform as they did against Millwall, or Spurs or...take your pick.
Kevin Prytherch
41 Posted 24/04/2019 at 16:24:02
Potential squad for Europa (assuming all senior players on loan leave, Zouma and Gomes stay and former U33 loanees come back along with Henri...

Gk - Pickford, Stekelenburg, Virginia
Rb - Coleman, Kenny, Connelly
Lb - Digne, Baines, Robinson
Cb - Keane, Zouma, Mina, Holgate, Jags, Pennington
Cm - Gueye, Gomes, Schneiderlin, Davies, McCarthy, Williams
Am - Sigurdsson, Dowell, Vlasic
Wing - Bernard, Richarlison, Walcott, Lookman, Henri
Cf - Calvert-Lewin, Tosun.

31 players, 28 outfield, only 2 strikers.

That will be Brands and Silvas starting point for next season, who goes and who stays?

Kevin Prytherch
42 Posted 24/04/2019 at 16:25:06
U33 loaners should have said U23 loanees
Mike Gaynes
43 Posted 24/04/2019 at 17:55:50
Steve #37, I've seen no updates, just guessing, especially on Digne -- maybe just a bruise that he can play through. But Rich's injury is in the ribs, meaning painful and slow to heal, and both times he went down almost untouched -- in going frame-by-frame on my DVR I didn't see much contact. That would indicate he pulled something in his rib cage, which would likely sideline him for weeks. Like I said, just guessing, but I would be shocked to see him in the side this weekend. Or next.

And yes, you're correct about the "win out" Yank-ism.

Kevin #41, you've got Connolly listed at RB, but I believe he almost never plays that position. Mostly a DM.

Alan Rooney
44 Posted 24/04/2019 at 18:00:28
Finishing 7th will give Watford more to play for = more exciting FA Cup Final
Frank Wade
45 Posted 24/04/2019 at 19:13:40
Kevin, the squad limit for Europa League is 25 plus anyone who is less than 21 on January 1st 2019 won't have to be registered - only Tom Davies and Joao Virginia in your list of 31 qualify, plus Beni Beningime. So as it stands, 4 of those you listed would have to sit out the Europa Cup.

Only 25 can be registered plus u21's for the Premier League as well, so it's pointless having more than 25 registered players aged 21 and over. There are also rules for 4 trained at club and 4 trained in England for Europa, but we have plenty to satisfy that rule. So I expect to see at least 4 leave on loan or permanently, plus one in one out for new signings.

Koeman's gaffe of naming a squad for Europa Cup with only one left back still baffles me, especially when he let Robinson, Garbutt, Galloway, Connolly go on loan.

Rob Halligan
46 Posted 24/04/2019 at 19:26:07
Should we qualify for the EL next season, obviously we need to strengthen the squad, and one player we should deffo be pulling up trees for is Andre Gomes. Barcelona have slapped a mere £18M price tag on him, so come on Everton, make him our first signing of the summer.
Steve Ferns
47 Posted 24/04/2019 at 19:30:23
Rob, I hear he’s signed and sealed already. Also, note how prominent André was around Goodison at the weekend. He was there. He celebrated with the players. He stopped for autographs. He’s very much part of the club. If he’s set to leave, why would he bother? Things I hear, and the things I can see, all lead me to the same belief. It’s a deal done some time ago and will be announced in the summer.
James Hughes
48 Posted 24/04/2019 at 19:32:41
Completely off topic. BIG NEV has just been on the BBC's one show.

Hope you get can watch it, Talks about how he hands over his twitter account to to help others, great man

Rob Halligan
49 Posted 24/04/2019 at 19:36:00
I hope so Steve. I'd heard rumours it was already a done deal, and that he'd been house hunting in the Merseyside area, but obviously it was only rumours.

Can we not sign him and announce it now though, after all Wolves have signed Jiminez on a permanent deal and he too, is or rather was, only on loan at Wolves.

Mike Gaynes
50 Posted 24/04/2019 at 19:41:09
Rob, reports are flying around Italy today that Lazio, Inter Milan and Roma are all interesting in bidding up that price. Spurs are known suitors as well. And all reports up to now have indicated that Everton has no option to buy on its loan agreement with Barca. If that's the case, he could cost us a lot more.

But right now Calciomercato is reporting that there is a buy option in the deal for that £18M, which would give us the inside track if true. I doubt it, but I hope so.

Either way, it'll ultimately be up to Gomes. If you and Steve are right and he loves it here, money might not be the deciding factor for a player to whom fan acceptance is so important, especially after his nightmare experience in Barcelona.

Paul Birmingham
51 Posted 24/04/2019 at 20:15:09
Focus on Palace, turn up like on Sunday, stay calm and out play a very tough Palace team.

If we win we are a step closer to Europe, but we need Watford to slip up, so hopefully Everton can sustain their form, and stay in the battle for 7th place.

It would be a good achievement all considered if we do qualify for the Europa and enhances the club profile and hopefully decent away days.

Let’s hope the players turn up on Saturday.

Jamie Crowley
65 Posted 24/04/2019 at 23:16:05
It's sickening how we completely destroyed Man Utd, and it's a bad day at the office for them.

Then Man City beat them 2-0 and it's all, "They played okay."

We've beaten Chelsea, the Arse, and Man Utd in the span of what, 5 weeks or so, and very little credit to us?

Maddening.

That little fire of contempt is starting to burn in my belly, and I have an insatiable desire to have a massive season in 2019-20.

Things are starting to line up well. God please make this happen. I'd give an arm and a leg to break 70 points next season, show some consistency, and scare the living fuck out of the "big boys".

Kevin Prytherch
66 Posted 24/04/2019 at 23:42:03
Mike 43 - didn't know where to put Connolly. He seems to have played in both full-back positions, wide midfield, defensive midfield and even a Number 10 role this season!!

Frank 45 - I wasn't advocating a squad of 31 - merely pointing out the starting position for Brands and Silva to whittle it down, even before new signings. Some decisions will have to be made on a number of them.

Mike Keating
67 Posted 25/04/2019 at 00:24:18
Let Wolves take the hit in the EuroDisney Cup. It's a pile of crap: Hard slog; No dosh; No credibility if you win the fucking thing apart from sneaking a place in the Champions League.

Let's concentrate on what we need to do next season:

Get rid of the shite players on mega wages;
Stop paying top dollar transfer fees for gobshites;
Bring through some of the youngsters;
Sign a top striker!

Ernie Baywood
68 Posted 25/04/2019 at 01:29:31
In the usual preseason "What are your expectations?" thread I recall posting something along the lines of expecting a drop off as a result of the huge changes at the club. Every organisation experiences that when they go through a transformation.

So I have to keep checking myself against that. My sense is that it's been a disappointing season yet we could still finish 7th. And we've got some players in the squad who I really believe could be successful at the club.

Jury still out on Marco. I can see his positives. He seems a good coach - players and insiders speak so highly of him. He sticks to basics. On the down side he's very basic in matches! But maybe that's ok.

This summer is massive. The structure has been in place for a year so should be ready to jump into action. We know what we need. We also have some potential issues around midfield if we can't secure Gomes and keep Gana - that would put us back a long way. But I'm optimistic - more than I've been for a while.

Now watch us drift through these last three games losing points.

Don Alexander
69 Posted 25/04/2019 at 02:26:04
The thing about the Europa League is that it pays peanuts unless you get to the last four, minimum, and even then it's way off the money of even the Champions League teams who fail to qualify for their second round, and thereby drop into the Europa to foul up the chances of those EL teams, like us potentially, already in it.

Our current squad is nowhere close to being sufficient to compete in the Premier League and a successful European campaign. The so-called "lure" of EL qualification might just seem attractive to dynamic YOUNG footballers but most of them will understandably be looking to sign for Champions League teams, obviously.

We still have a plethora of dead wood to get rid of, more than a few being on mega-buck wages/contracts, so as far as I'm concerned no Europa involvement next season, providing we then end up in the top six, minimum, will be very acceptable indeed. Only then will it be that we can start to hope we can begin to strengthen our pitifully inept, over-sized, over-paid squad (but there are some gems there, honest!)

And the chief architect of this debacle is out self-professed truest fan ever of course as he ponders what to do with his tens of £millions from Moshiri.

Martin Nicholls
70 Posted 25/04/2019 at 08:11:07
Don - its true that CL pays much more than EL but even so, EL is quite lucrative even if you don't reach semis. For example!e, despite our shocking performance in it last season, we still received £14million from UEFA as well as money from ticket sales etc. That said, most fans (me included) are more interested in the football trips than the money we can make.
Martin Nicholls
71 Posted 25/04/2019 at 08:14:37
Mike Keating #67 – I take it you also regard our one and only European trophy as some sort of Mickey Mouse cup?
Daniel A Johnson
72 Posted 25/04/2019 at 08:25:08
Hard to get excited about the Europa League when you end up playing a team called Oldboys from Nowhereikistan. I can honestly say I've not watched a single Chelsea or Arsenal Europa League match this season.

Unless you have a top 4 squad its too much of a drain to be travelling back from the arse end of Europe on a Thursday night to then play on Sunday.

At the moment, we don't know what kind of Everton will turn up week to week... the Europa League would simply kill us next season, it really would. Our Premier League form would fall off a cliff.

Let the media darlings Wolves get it then they can kill themselves next season and end up in mid-table obscurity.

Michael Lynch
73 Posted 25/04/2019 at 08:57:26
If Wolves make the Europa League, chances are they'll struggle in the Premier League next season. In fact, of the teams going for 7th, we're probably best placed to be able to handle both competitions – but with great difficulty.

Having said that, Wolves have been better than us this season. We've shone in a handful of games, mostly at the back end of the season, but generally have been hugely disappointing, whereas Wolves have been the opposite.

Jim Burns
74 Posted 25/04/2019 at 08:57:27
Mike at 35 – I don't see anyone on here saying they are 'scared' of the Europa League. I do see reasoned arguments that a pragmatic approach to getting our club properly sorted this summer and ready to consolidate 7th – who knows even push into top 6 – next season.

I can see both sides of the debate but my view is still to treat this restoration project as a two-season job and then really reap the rewards.

In the end, it's about what we all want – Everton back at the top table – it's never about a losing or negative mentality, it's about planning, building and waiting for the mortar in the first storey to set before we add the second floor.

I see Wolves aren't out of it yet after last night.

Jim Burns
75 Posted 25/04/2019 at 09:02:13
Martin at 71 - I can see your point but they were different times, different football landscape and a totally different tournament and trophy.
Derek Knox
76 Posted 25/04/2019 at 09:36:01
I think a lot will hinge on Watford v Wolves at the weekend, obviously the best scenario being a draw, but we would have to win at Palace, beat Burnley and at least get a point from the last game at Spurs.

Anything other than that, it is clearly out of our hands, both Watford and Wolves seem to be in a decent run of form, with Wolves possibly edging it. The way they beat Arsenal last night was fairly impressive. Although Arsenal have been pretty woeful away from home this season.

I still think the result at Fulham will come back to haunt us, but when you think back to the points we have squandered throughout yhe season both at home and away, we shouldn't really be in this position at all.

Kim Vivian
77 Posted 25/04/2019 at 09:45:27
We just need to win our last three games (!) and then it's out of our hands. Fate will determine if we find ourselves in the Europa League or not, for better or worse.

Myself? I am not really bothered either way because I can see both sides of the coin. Just that it means we start being involved in meaningful games a bit earlier after the summer break.

If we could be confident of a good tilt at this competition I would feel different but to be honest, as we stand right now, I'd rather we tried to construct a good assault on our own domestic competitions.

Derek Knox
78 Posted 25/04/2019 at 11:56:08
Kim, I have seen it mentioned more than once, on different sites, (no smoke without fire possibly) that Marcel Brands is organising a massive clear-out in the summer Transfer Window.

This does lend a bit of credence as opposed to being linked with every player on the Planet, so presumably he found homes for the waifs and strays, including the wage sapping non-playing ones on our books.

Should we make it into the Europa, (I hope we do) and the above 'deadwood clearing' takes place I would imagine that Moshiri has given the green light to adding some quality to our ranks.

Our involvement in the Europa would obviously help in attracting players, okay it's not the Champions League, but any team in CL not progressing, will possibly end up in the Europa anyway.

I like some of the names that we are being linked with too, but all the plates are still spinning till the end of the season.

Frank Sheppard
79 Posted 25/04/2019 at 12:14:20
I hope we have a strong finish to season. but I can’t help thinking Europa League via 7th might be a poisoned chalice and 8th might be better. The Europa nearly always causes hangover problems for teams the game after a Europa tie.
Perhaps better to finish 7th, or second in our league as I call it, and focus on the PL and FA Cup next season, and focus on 6th or 7th in the league.
Kim Vivian
80 Posted 25/04/2019 at 12:21:07
Derek - On balance I also would hope we make it into the EL but only, ONLY, if we can put together a decent campaign rather than just being another name in the pot. Of course, "Everton" is recognised as more than just a name but at the end of the day this is really a second string competition and if we're in there I hope to Christ we can come out the other end with some credit. I would, however, still prioritise our domestic options.

If we are having a boot sale (or yard sale as our US cousins would prefer it called) of our accumulated junk then hopefully that will go well, and the cash will be put towards plugging the holes we all now about in the squad. The last few games have given me hope so onwards and upwards team B & S. I am already looking forward to next season, EL or not.

Daniel A Johnson
81 Posted 25/04/2019 at 12:33:19
https://www.thestatszone.com/does-europa-league-affect-domestic-form

^^Interesting read

Kim Vivian
82 Posted 25/04/2019 at 12:45:34
That is interesting, Daniel - if not a little detailed. We will of course be looking at any relevance to Everton which also throws up some interesting stats but the final para...

"Again, it is interesting to look at the Spanish teams that have performed well in the Europa League over the last three seasons. Sevilla, Athletic Club and Valencia have all had a drop in points in their domestic matches prior to Europa League games – again suggesting they may be taking the Europa League more seriously than some of the clubs from other nations."

...is very salient.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

83 Posted 25/04/2019 at 13:39:57
That was an interesting read Daniel. Very thorough and detailed. Thank you.

It actually debunks a few myths about 'fall off', both before and after a EL game, with English teams actually scoring more points than their average over that season.

Everton's own record is more mixed: seemingly a marked above average points return in domestic games before a EL game, but less points won after a EL game.

Me? We can't cherry pick the seasons or competitions to play in Europe. It should be a bare minimum for Everton to qualify every single year to compete in Europe. It's down to the board and management, thereafter, to ensure we have the resources to compete on all fronts.

Isn't that what ambitious 'big' clubs do..?

Drew O'Neall
84 Posted 25/04/2019 at 14:46:37
Whether we finish ‘best of the rest’ or not is less important to me than being able to compete with, and beat, the best which is the real unique achievement from this season, for which the manager and team deserve our congratulation and ongoing belief.
Mike Gaynes
85 Posted 25/04/2019 at 18:10:42
Updated Gomes news: ESPN reports that Barca have now upped their price tag to €30m based on the interest in the player. And the latest rumored suitor is Arsenal. Reportedly Emery is a Gomes fan and even wanted to sign him last summer.
Derek Knox
86 Posted 25/04/2019 at 19:11:01
Mike G, I thought it was too good to be true, what was it that was being mooted £18M, just wait till Barca want one of ours, we'll get them back. :-)

I have also seen that Chelsea are unlikely to sanction the Zouma transfer, both while the transfer ban is on, and also that they have several ageing CB's and in the last year of their contracts.

Obviously they can't recruit any new players but maybe if the ban is altered, restricting recruitment of youngsters, but allowing them to buy senior players, it will change, but again they are talking, should that happen, the fee would be about £30M. Considering they only paid £12M, they will have almost tripled their money.

I have seen the links to Tammy Abraham, apparently Brands is a big admirer, but again the Chelsea Transfer ban could affect that one. I do like the lad and one thing he has over any possible foreign imports is that he has actually been consistent while on loan, Bristol City, Swansea and now Aston Villa and knows what the Prem is all about.

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