Things will get worse before they get better for luckless Blues

by   |   21/11/2021  83 Comments  [Jump to last]

Like most Premier League sides, Everton were handed their annual away defeat to Manchester City this weekend. A sobering 3-0 scoreline, continuing a run of six games now without a win. Everton though, haven’t won at Manchester City since December 2010. Their recent overall record against the current Premier League champions is poor, to say the least. Losing each of the last eight fixtures against them in the league and only managing one victory over them in the last 8 years, a 4-0 thrashing courtesy of ‘that’ Tom Davies goal at Goodison Park in January 2017.

The last we saw of Carlo Ancelotti in Everton colours was scurrying away from the Etihad Stadium after last season’s final day 5-0 capitulation. Everton ended the season in 10th, Manchester City finished in top spot and clinched the title for the fifth time in the last 10 years. The difference between the two clubs, in every aspect, could not be much starker.

Manchester City were once the sky-blue equivalent of their Merseyside counterparts. The second team in the city, in the shadow of their more successful red neighbours. In much the same situation as Everton have found themselves for too many years now. Then came the Commonwealth Games to Manchester, a new stadium, and new multi-billionaire owners, and any comparison between them and Everton soon disappeared. City now have the upper hand over Manchester United whilst Everton have fallen even further behind their Merseyside rivals. With the Goodison derby match on the horizon, the situation is looking bleak.

Indeed, looking at the fixture list over the next month and the treatment room at Finch Farm, it would appear that things could get a lot worse before they get better. As well as that derby match, between now and Christmas, Everton face Brentford (a), Arsenal (h), Crystal Palace (a), Chelsea (a) and Leicester City (h). An extremely tricky set of fixtures at any time but, if the current injury list continues, some have suggested Everton could be sat in or around the relegation zone at Christmas.

To rub salt into the wounds, Everton lost another player to injury against Manchester City with Demarai Gray pulling up early in the game with what appeared to be a groin strain. Add to that Richarlison picked up a one-game suspension with his fifth yellow card of the season. Everton could therefore go into their next fixture missing first-choice players Yeri Mina, Abdoulaye Doucouré, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Richarison and Demarai Gray, along with squad players Andre Gomes, Tom Davies and Mason Holgate also still unavailable. A significant factor in any expectations.

Such is the situation, if we could click our fingers and transport ourselves to Christmas Day, I’m sure most of us Evertonians would do so.

If, and this is a big 'if', Everton can manage to get through to the New Year without hitting the panic button, then things should begin to look somewhat brighter. The January transfer window should offer the chance to bring in one or two additions, those missing from injuries should have recovered, and the fixture list looks much kinder than pre-Christmas. Everton do not play any of the current Top 8 in the Premier League between Christmas Day and the end of February.

The one major issue in this timeline is the current manager, Rafa Benitez. Due to his previous employment, he will no doubt be given less leeway than most other Everton managers. The reasons outlined should create a sense of togetherness at the club. Supporters, players, and coaching staff should all come together in adversity and drag us through this tricky period. And if perhaps this was last season, and the once adored Signor Ancelotti was in charge, this would surely be the case. However, he is not, having turned his back on the club at the first opportunity.

Maybe though, if those who claim to love the club as much as they say they do were to try and forget who Benitez’s previous employer was and remember what the adoration of our last manager brought us, Evertonians could come together and support the team through this tricky period. The New Year brings hope of a turnaround in fortune; however, there is a long way to go before then. There are therefore two choices at this point: hound the manager out during December… or support the team through into the New Year. Which one will we choose?

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Dale Self
1 Posted 22/11/2021 at 20:45:24
Sorry, Kevin, but I'm taking the other side of the one major issue being Rafa. The line that he is afforded less time due to his past affiliation with the Red Shite is also off the mark. If that could be overlooked for the appointment, it makes little difference now, although Moshiri would surely like to keep that perception for some future contingent utility.

Also, having a go at Carlo is rather careless at the point where it seems obvious that he was able to do more with less. That is an empirical observation, not hyperbole. Count em up, subtract Gray and Townsend and look at the results and style (okay, okay) of play. We really need to focus on the front office as we attempt to lay blame. The present manager is doing all that is possible with the hand he was dealt.

Mick O'Malley
2 Posted 23/11/2021 at 08:14:54
I'm not having Benitez – not only because of his Red Shite connections, it's because he is making the defence worse.

I wasn't Ancelotti's biggest fan but he had got the defence playing well; this dickhead has got us conceding from set-pieces – we've conceded the 2nd most set-piece goals in the Premier League, and he has also lumbered us with that pudding Rondon – whom he insists is training well and contributing!

I can't wait to see the back of Benitez; we need someone the whole fan base can get behind – not a divisive shithouse like Benitez. Who that is – god knows… but, if Benitez is going to bore us with this defensive shite, we might as well have kept Allardyce!

Sean Roe
3 Posted 23/11/2021 at 08:55:24
I really don't understand this fixation with Benitez managing Liverpool before us.

The man is Spanish, I very much doubt he cuddled up underneath a Liverpool duvet as a 10-year-old any more than he did an Everton one.

He is a football manager, that is his job; I would imagine he does his best for whichever team he is managing at the time.

Tony Abrahams
4 Posted 23/11/2021 at 09:21:18
Ancellotti got us 10th, after spending around £60 million.

Benitez started the season well, although we didn't play any of the better teams, and then lost his only two real forwards, the only midfielder that could play for a better team, and arguably his best central defender, although I'd say the other one that's had to play, despite struggling with long Covid, has the potential to be our best player in that position.

Ancelotti, whose away record was unbelievable, only really got points by playing a certain way, and I'm really not sure any manager in the world could do much better with our present squad whilst so many players are injured.

Tony Everan
5 Posted 23/11/2021 at 09:52:39
There's no choice anyway: Benitez is Moshiri's man and is here for the long term. He will have complete trust in him to turn it around as the season progresses. ‘Resistance is futile' as a cocky Dalek once said.

For the next 5 weeks, it is going to be a Dogs of War situation: fight, aggression, long balls, a packed midfield, headed or scrambled goals from corners and free-kicks. It's going to be dirty, disgusting and ugly Sam Allardyce football. Points by whatever means.

Gradually, when players come back from injury, and with the addition of two or three reinforcements, we will stabilise. From January onwards, we will resume a more normal service and cement our expected mid-table 8th to 12th position.

Next season, with further investment and squad adjustments, has got to be better.

Niall McIlhone
6 Posted 23/11/2021 at 09:52:54
Hi Kevin.

I agree with Tony (#4) on this: Quite apart from the issues with the injury crisis – which is arguably the worst Everton have had for a long time – exactly who is out there (apart from Allardyce) who might come in to the Premier League and get a tune out of this ragbag squad?

Am I deluded in thinking that the manager is the least of our concerns right now? The responses to Paul the Esk's cogent analysis of the club's structural problems leads us much more to the dysfunction higher up, and most respondents seem to agree with Paul on this? I won't expand, because Paul the Esk sets out the complex problems much more lucidly than I can.

The national press would love to run this trope about our fans hounding Benitez out of his job, mainly because he is ex-RS and we cannot get over the "small club" jibe. Better to hunker down, support those in blue shirts, and hope for some lucky points in the 3 weeks until Doucouré returns, and hopefully Calvert-Lewin not long after.

Finally, I'd like to make the point that Nkounkou's loan should be terminated forthwith, and he be made available on the bench; Digne looks lost right now, we need back-up at left-back and should not be relying on Godfrey, who is getting better at centre-back as he recovers.

Mick O'Malley
7 Posted 23/11/2021 at 13:25:27
I'm not having that no-one else could do a better job than Benitez is doing now.

We had one shot on Sunday, he gave up in the League Cup, we have been subjected to Rondon, and if you think him being Ex Red Shite doesn't matter, wait til the kopites are ramming it down our throats after our annual derby disaster.

The man is a relic. I don't recall too many clubs beating down his door to bring him back from China – only our clueless owner was interested in him.

I am gutted he is our manager. I'd take Allardyce every day of the week over this gobshite.

Tony Abrahams
8 Posted 23/11/2021 at 13:53:04
Made two cracking signings whilst he was Everton manager, Big Sam, and I'm also sure he won a League Cup whilst managing Burnley, which just shows how hasty Moshiri was in getting rid of him.

I've also heard rumours that Allardyce told Moshiri that Everton needed to move certain members of the backroom staff on, and because he was close to Duncan Ferguson, this might just sound like I'm bashing the academy again.

Barry Hesketh
9 Posted 23/11/2021 at 14:20:37
Tony @8,

Apart from managing clubs to the playoffs, I don't think Big Sam had any major cup success and I'm certain he hasn't had the Burnley gig – yet!

I can't remember if Burnley has won the League Cup; if they have, it must have been in the very early days.

Tony Abrahams
10 Posted 23/11/2021 at 14:34:54
I meant Bolton, Barry, but after looking, he's got the same League Cup record as Everton, with losing finalist being the best he's ever achieved.
Kieran Kinsella
11 Posted 23/11/2021 at 15:21:27
Not sure why people keep fixating on the tricky fixture list until Christmas.

Obviously Liverpool and Chelsea are top notch but the rest are run-of-the-mill Premier League opponents no better or worse than anyone else.

Who would you prefer to play instead of newly promoted out-of-form Brentford? Or flat-track bullying mentally fragile Arsenal? Or nosediving Leicester? Or bubble-waiting-to-pop Palace?

It's not like there are four other teams out there that are so obviously weaker than these. Even Norwich have won two in a row.

John Boswell
12 Posted 23/11/2021 at 15:24:57
What I would love to see from all of our players, every match, is a look of determination, of self-belief, of belonging on that pitch and being ready to match, and better, anything that the opposition can do.

I saw the look I am referring to on the face of Reece James of Chelsea on MotD on Saturday night. Until our beloved Everton can assemble a squad with that attitude and skill, we will never challenge in the Premier League.

This is going to be a long haul; I hope to see it come to fruition. COYB.

Barry Hesketh
13 Posted 23/11/2021 at 15:41:21
Kieran @ 11,

Ordinarily, those fixtures wouldn't be so concerning, but our lack of bite up front is the worry as all of the sides we will encounter in the next month or so are able to score goals.

Brentford will be a test because of the injury situation; Arsenal will likely not play as poorly as they did last weekend.

Palace is always a tricky trip, but we have a decent record at Selhurst Park. Leicester City at Goodison has become a bit of a difficult fixture for Everton in recent times.

Obviously, if a number of our absentees return in good form, we may not be in crisis mode come Boxing Day; let's hope that is the case.

Jay Harris
14 Posted 23/11/2021 at 16:35:46
Benitez has had the worst luck of any manager in recent history, although I believe some of our injury crisis is down to pushing the players to raise their game and they are not up to it physically.

It seems to me (apart from Mina who was injured due to his Columbian efforts) that most of our injuries are midfield and forwards who we have expected to work harder.

I believe we will not see any improvement between now and January, apart from a few scraped points here and there, but I hope that the club will pull out all the stops to get the reinforcements we need.

Michael Lynch
15 Posted 23/11/2021 at 16:55:59
I would agree that Rafa is the least of our problems. In fact, if we hound him out (or allow the lazy media to do it), then we'll really be in the shit.

Rafa's already talking about the second half of the season like he's pretty much written off the next few games. Sadly, he's probably right and I would suggest that our job, as fans, is to not get on the backs of our players. The last thing they need is lack of confidence to add to their lack of talent, energy, and intelligence.

Things can only get better in the New Year... and if they don't then we're going down. We have to get behind the team, even when they're shit.


Tony McNulty
16 Posted 23/11/2021 at 17:53:10
Mick (#7),

I think it was Maurice Chevalier who, when asked how he felt on approaching his 70th birthday, replied: "I don't like it, until I think of the alternative."

Along with many others (and I assume you), I really, really, really did not want Benitez. However, given where we are (and to which end of the table I fear we might soon be heading), I'd rather have him at the helm than Lardicio and Sammy Lee again. Would they be able to turn this lot around with little or no cash available?

You may prove me wrong, but I can't think of too many other alternatives with any sort of a track record squeezing out points when cash is tight and you are stuck with a sub-optimal, injury-hit squad.

John Zapa
17 Posted 24/11/2021 at 03:36:48
I think the length of Benitez's reign will depend a lot on the support (or lack of it) from the match-going fan. Up to now, I don't believe the majority have yet turned against him: however, many did leave very early in the City game which shows their feelings.

In my opinion, if the Brentford game is lost, along with a humiliation in the derby, it will be near the end for Benitez

Gary Smith
18 Posted 24/11/2021 at 08:43:11
I rotate my second season ticket seat between 2 of my 3 kids (middle-sized one gives in occasionally and comes too). Even during Koeman, Allardyce and Silva, they'd fight for each match between them. Today, they are fighting over who has to go the derby with me next week.

One will give in and take it on the chin; we're Everton after all. I'm shitting it too. I think this will be the game that turns fans from the “get behind them” support we seen against Spurs to complete anger and frustration.

It's the make or break game for Rafa (and others too) – especially if there isn't a win at Brentford.

Barry Hesketh
20 Posted 24/11/2021 at 09:55:04
Jerome @19,

I suspect your post has arrived on the wrong thread... no matter, I find your declarations hard to fathom as you write things as if they are fact, but when fully examined, they are nothing short of somebody making up stuff to fit a particular agenda.

There is a big push to get rid of Benitez.

There are elements in Everton who see Benitez as a threat and will not be helping him in the coming months.

If you could provide a little proof to substantiate your often wild claims, it would help to give your posts something more than rumour based on hearsay based on nothing more than an overactive imagination.

Nevertheless, your posts do provide food for thought, even if they are too close to conspiracy theory territory.

Kevin Prytherch
21 Posted 24/11/2021 at 09:57:33
Benitez has hardly covered himself in glory.

Changing the set pieces from a system that worked well, stubbornness in playing a clearly unfit Rondon and Godfrey, hounding James out of the club, refusing to see that a 2 man midfield wasn't working until forced into it.

I don't want him sacked as I believe that all managers need at least 3 seasons unless things are going seriously wrong, but he does need to improve already.

If we get to the New Year and aren't in a relegation fight, I would use the second half of the season to see what the current set of youth players are like. Give Simms, Dobbin, Onyango and Branthwaite some serious playing time.

They'll either prove to be good assets or will increase their sell on value. We can't sit there and watch another load of talented kids stagnate in the U23s because we don't give them a chance at the highest level.

Tony Everan
22 Posted 24/11/2021 at 10:24:26
Kevin, Brentford could be a litmus test for that eventuality. DCL, Gray, Richarlison all out , does he go with Rondon, Iwobi or Simms through the middle?
Out wide, does he go with Gordon on the right, Dobbin on the left? Or does he pick Iwobi?

Possible team?

Keane Mina Godfrey
Coleman Doucouré Allan Digne
Gordon Simms Dobbin

Probably not, but I am struggling to put Iwobi or Rondon into the side, as they offer very little almost non-existent goal threat, bravery or energy. They are easy to play against.

The problem is the kids are inexperienced and we don't really know how they will respond to the pressure. Perhaps now the stars have aligned though, due to injuries, suspension and totally unconvincing alternatives. The time has now come to chuck them into the deep end and see if they can swim.

I can feel a song coming on:

It's now or never
Come, hold me tight
Kiss me, my darling (Ooh)
Be mine tonight
Tomorrow will be too late (Ah, ah, ah)
It's now or never (Ooh)
My love won't wait

Dave Abrahams
23 Posted 24/11/2021 at 10:33:03
Tony (20),

I enjoy your posts, usually, because they are balanced and make a lot of sense to me and you have put the pros and cons of your team selection when we play Brentford at the weekend... but Tony, would you honestly start the game with that team?

Robert Tressell
24 Posted 24/11/2021 at 10:37:09
I expect Simms, Dobbin and Branthwaite may feature (not all from the start) against Brentford.

They might just go with Simms ahead of Rondon. Unfortunately, Rondon is just so immobile it's rendered him completely ineffective.

If it is Simms, I hope the crowd is patient and doesn't instantly write him off as Championship at best if he's anonymous (which he might well be especially if we play poorly).

Tony Everan
25 Posted 24/11/2021 at 11:54:44
Dave likewise, I enjoy reading posts from you and your Tony, they always from the heart and often strike a chord with me.

Regards the team, probably not... but, at the same time, I can't immediately think of a miles better alternative. I strongly suspect Benitez will go for experience and try to be as compact as possible – a 4-4-1-1?

The approach will be to stifle, frustrate and poach a goal and another from a set-piece via Keane's or Mina's head. Benitez will see this as the best way to get a point or three on the board and, although it sticks in the throat, he's probably right.

Either way, I'm not my usual optimistic self. My "glass half-full" is down to the dead shithouse flies and warm beer bit.

Dave Abrahams
26 Posted 24/11/2021 at 12:14:24
Tony (23), unfortunately there are not many alternatives, although I wouldn't be against Dobbin or even Simms coming on in the last 20 minutes or so if we are behind.

I think Benitez will go for it the way you suggest he will, and at the moment, because of injuries and suspensions, I think that is the only way because every point is valuable and vital.

Do we have enough players with the fight, energy and commitment to even play this too defensive way?

I think a lot of genuine Everton fans are feeling the way you describe yourself in your last line. I hope the squad bucks us all up at the weekend.

Jerome Shields
27 Posted 24/11/2021 at 12:56:14
I agree with the heading of this article, but believe Benitez will get little help, either from the players, management or money for the foreseeable future. I would go so far as to say there is a concerted effort to get him out. He is too much of a threat to the status quo and has aready taken on the culture at Everton, a lot earlier than other managers.

Where is the committement to support the manager? Poorly prepared, poorly funded and poor performances.

Mick O'Malley
28 Posted 24/11/2021 at 13:01:08
Tony @16,

I despised Allardyce, but we knew what we we're getting with him. I honestly cannot see Benitez doing anything here, we need a manager we can all get behind, like the first Kendall spell I remember as a 13-year-old – that first game against Birmingham, the whole ground was buzzing – or when Royle took over just before the derby victory.

I know it's hard to find someone we can all get behind but how the hell Moshiri thought Benitez was the answer was beyond me. Oh well... it is what it is, I suppose... but it's so fucking depressing being a Blue sometimes.

Jay Wood

29 Posted 24/11/2021 at 13:03:25
Barely 6 months into the job and there is 'a concerted effort to get [Rafa] out' by players, management and backroom staff?



Craig Harrison
30 Posted 24/11/2021 at 13:48:56
What are the chances if any we will get a points deduction for breaking ffp?
Nick Page
31 Posted 24/11/2021 at 14:02:03
Quite simply, until we all get behind removing the current board, backroom staff and all the other parasites and hangers-on, and turn this football club into a professional, well-run business enterprise with a solid vision and strategy both on and off the pitch, all of this talk about managers etc is quite frankly, completely and utterly academic. It's up to you!!!

“Let not any one pacify his conscience by the delusion that he can do no harm if he takes no part, and forms no opinion. Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing. He is not a good man who, without a protest, allows wrong to be committed in his name, and with the means which he helps to supply, because he will not trouble himself to use his mind on the subject.” – John Stuart Mill

Dave Abrahams
32 Posted 24/11/2021 at 14:15:24
Jay (27),

I'm hoping that Usmanov and Moshiri provide the backing for Benitez and keep him in charge as manager for the foreseeable future and more of the present staff and some of the boardroom go the way of Donachie the fitness coach, that will be plenty of evidence for me.

Jay Wood

33 Posted 24/11/2021 at 15:02:49
Stirring stuff, Nick @ 29.

And what are you personally doing to effect a 'regime change' you call for, other than quoting a 19th Century philosopher on a footy forum..?

Tony McNulty
34 Posted 24/11/2021 at 17:08:55
Mick (#26)

I am genuinely surprised that Rafa has not had more of a positive impact than he has. He has done nothing at all to address the sorts of defensive and other problems you have correctly raised in your posts.

Or maybe some of these players are even poorer than we thought. I would rather have a pantomime horse than Iwobi, for instance.

Time will soon tell if Rafa is past his use by date. I am beginning to think that he was brought in 100% because of what they knew in the summer about FFP and the state we were in.

Depressing, as you say. No-one should be ready to head for the garage with the shotgun and the half a bottle of whisky just yet though.

Robert Tressell
35 Posted 24/11/2021 at 17:48:58
Tony @32. Unfortunately, where I have landed is that the players are worse than we thought.

Gomes, for example, might be classy on the ball and have a history with Barcelona – but really is probably no better than players like Luka Milivojević at Palace. And possibly less suited to Prem football.

Iwobi has talent but after a few false dawns now looks finished here (I get the impression he's had it with the club and needs to leave to regain some purpose and confidence).

I could go on. But the point is we have a very mediocre squad which relies on some pretty poor players when injuries hit.

So Benitez hasn't improved things as much as we'd hope but being realistic I'm no longer expecting serious improvement before a new phase of squad building is complete.

This season is about bedding in youngsters (Gordon, Branthwaite and one or two others) and bringing a couple in, in January.

Summer may then involve an overhaul – and, once that is done, I think expectations can fairly be raised.

Dale Self
36 Posted 24/11/2021 at 18:02:20
I know I've already weighed in heavily on the Rafa assessment so I'll be quick about this.

The lack of a sustained system has contributed significantly to the players' decline. Roles and tendencies that would be worked out over a season or two have been entirely disrupted by rotations necessary due to injuries. Add to that the stresses of a small squad that forced us to play upcoming talent out of position.

As we take toll of the damage, let's consider the frustration of well-meaning players that have lost considerable confidence due to these systemic problems. Yes, a few were simply folding like a taco at times but overall the shocking decline in performance is down to too many changes and no sustained system.

Ian Horan
37 Posted 24/11/2021 at 18:10:59
People attacking the manager need to put their prejudices aside. No team has had the level of injuries in such a condensed timeframe and been able to perform.

Give the man a chance, for fuck's sake, we have lost James's goal or assist contributions (I think it was 12), Sigurdsson (I think it was 13), Richarlison's and Calvert-Lewin's goals for the last 8 games. So in which Harry Potter like world are we going to magic up those goals and win matches? Reality needs to become your friend!!!!!!!

Robert Tressell
38 Posted 24/11/2021 at 18:39:16
Dale & Ian, really good observations.

A few, like Holgate and Iwobi, have played about 4 positions each and neither know from one week to the next whether or where they will be playing, in what formation and with what players alongside them. What a mess.

The other issue, and understandably people aren't going there, is how much we're missing Sigurdsson – who scored and created goals consistently. He may not have been everyone's cup of tea but he had end product. The club has lost circa 13 goal contributions in his absence.

There are so many problems at the club dating back many years in some cases. It won't be fixed by any manager in one season, especially one with only £1.7M to spend.

Steavey Buckley
39 Posted 24/11/2021 at 18:39:52
Everton are a club in a major crisis, and will be in the bottom 3 by Xmas.

Every club in the Premier League don't want to be Everton right now. Everton are the least likely club to win on Saturday. The fault for Everton's failures has to be always with the manager, whoever he is, because he chooses the team and is responsible for the results.

Danny O’Neill
40 Posted 24/11/2021 at 18:41:33
Maybe as the weekend approaches, my disappointment is transitioning into blind optimism again. But that next 4 fixture list quoted by Kevin doesn't phase me other than the Chelsea match. The rest are as hit and miss as we are. Forget City or even Mordor, Chelsea are looking ruthless. They have the air of Champions about them. I was so jealous when they landed Tuchel.

That said, I do agree, right now, it is a case of riding the storm and seeing this through until the end of December. There's still a lot of season to play and points to be won.

Without insider knowledge, I am also minded to believe that the manager has been trying to increase the tempo, the intensity and the fitness levels. It's just that it has broken the players we have; the players he was largely dealt with. I don't think that's a negative on the manager; he's trying. It's the mentality and fragility of the group he has inherited.

Tony Everan
41 Posted 24/11/2021 at 18:43:41
Robert, you've mentioned Branthwaite twice in this thread. We've found a diamond with this lad because he has the mental attributes to compliment his footballing qualities. He seems unfazed to me, and was it you(?) who said he looks head and shoulders above U23 level whenever he plays there?

The boy can't stay in limbo-land too long, he needs to be properly blooded or to go on loan. He needs some competitive action to develop. To do nothing is doing him and his talent a disservice.

Him and Godfrey are still very young for centre-backs but we should be looking at nurturing and creating a great partnership between the two. It has all the potential to be a long-term bedrock foundation for the club.

The reticence at the moment has to be Branthwaite's ability to be strong enough physically, challenging top class Premier League attackers. This important core strength will continue to improve and I'm really looking forward to seeing if this partnership is given an opportunity to prove itself.

Ian Horan
42 Posted 24/11/2021 at 18:43:59

You are right: Everton will definitely not win on Saturday. I will even give 1000/1... as Everton play on Sunday this week!!!!

Rob Halligan
43 Posted 24/11/2021 at 18:48:35
Steavey, you seem so sure about Everton being in the bottom three by Christmas, why don't you put your mortgage on it?
Tony Abrahams
44 Posted 24/11/2021 at 18:55:42
Put half on Everton being in the bottom three and the other half on Benitez getting the sack, or maybe 40% each on both, and save 20% for the double, might make more sense, Rob.

The club is in crisis, and I don't think Moshiri has uttered a word to us fans in years, which is a disgrace really when you think about his open letter to the Arsenal board/fans when he was trying to get a say in how their club was being run.

It could also be argued that Benitez was having a very positive impact until injuries struck, although I'm aware the fixtures were not the hardest at the beginning of this season.

Danny O’Neill
45 Posted 24/11/2021 at 18:59:10
Steavey, Rob,

I'll take a 2021 version of the 1983 Christmas if they give me a 2022 version of the finish to that season.

To the title of the thread; things may get worse but then they may get better, just when you can't see where it's coming from.

Dale Self
46 Posted 24/11/2021 at 19:08:18
So O'Neill's Law is the opposite of Murphy's Law?
Steavey Buckley
47 Posted 24/11/2021 at 19:15:17
Rob, you have to see it this way. Everton are on a bad run of results. The Everton defence is awful and Pickford does not give the defence that much confidence.

The Everton midfield does not exist and it is a toss-up between Tosun and Rondon who is the worst striker in the league. But can you name me any club right now in the Premier League who want to be like Everton? The answer is None – including the bottom 3 clubs.

Brent Stephens
48 Posted 24/11/2021 at 19:18:56
Steavey #37:

"The fault for Everton's failures has to be always with the manager, whoever he is, because he chooses the team and is responsible for the results."

The person who chooses others, who fail, is the one at fault?

So whoever chooses Benitez is at fault?

Brian Murray
49 Posted 24/11/2021 at 19:26:05
The old saying: "a fool and his money are soon parted". Serves Moshiri right for listening to idiots and letting them have an influence. I get the feeling that he's very sore about that wasted half a billion and the drawbridge is firmly up from now on. Salvage our club, mate, and get professional people in.
Tony Abrahams
50 Posted 24/11/2021 at 19:27:35
Moshiri should have listened to Kenwright about appointing an ex-red, although I'm hoping that one day Benitez is going to be revered by the blue half of the city, just as much as our chairman's reign has been enjoyed by the red half.
Danny O’Neill
51 Posted 24/11/2021 at 19:28:42
I wouldn't call it law, Dale. Maybe O'Neill's foolish blind faith.
Danny O’Neill
52 Posted 24/11/2021 at 19:37:15
Yes, Brian. Unfortunately it took him several years and a fair wedge to get his fingers burned.

He didn't become a billionaire by surrounding himself with idiots. He's obviously used to trusting and empowering those in key positions to run his business with minimal interference.

Unfortunately, he didn't check out the CVs of those he empowered and gave an open cheque book to at Goodison.

Take ownership, Mr Moshiri. Get your people in and have them run this the way you want it run.

Mike Doyle
53 Posted 24/11/2021 at 19:39:14
Nick # 29,

I'm sure you are right; however, it all hinges on Moshiri deciding things need to change and taking action. Unless he does, the cosy, undemanding, jobs-for-the-boys culture will continue to roll on.

The one I can't decide on is Brands. Other posters have commented that he seems a highly respected figure within the game but, without knowing what he actually does here, it's difficult to know.

Joe McMahon
54 Posted 24/11/2021 at 19:41:23
Tony @48 can we not move on? He has managed other teams than Liverpool also. He's won trophies and has Premier League experience. I've never been a bitter so not bothered about any Liverpool links (they win things).

Our current manager is not the problem.

Dale Self
55 Posted 24/11/2021 at 19:50:42
Danny, with all due respect, I am going with O'Neill's Edict… or maybe O'Neill's Theorem.
Brent Stephens
56 Posted 24/11/2021 at 20:02:52
Dale - "O'Neill's edict".

Don't suggest O'Neill's Bull!

Bill Gienapp
57 Posted 24/11/2021 at 20:09:48
"If we could click our fingers and transport ourselves to Christmas Day, I'm sure most of us Evertonians would do so."

I certainly would, but that's because I want presents!

Dale Self
58 Posted 24/11/2021 at 20:15:46
Don't get me in trouble, Brent. I do that rather well on my own. ; )
Stephen Vincent
59 Posted 24/11/2021 at 20:34:49
Ian #35, we lost James' assits and goals because Benitez didn't want them under any circumstances.

Steavey #45, I think it's the defence that fails to give Pickford confidence, look at his form for England with better players in front of him.

Steavey Buckley
60 Posted 24/11/2021 at 20:48:25
Stephen #57,

Even the Everton fans have no confidence in Pickford when it comes to corners and free-kicks, as the opposition looks for free headers on Pickford's goal.

Steavey Buckley
61 Posted 24/11/2021 at 20:54:42
Brent #46,

The manager always carries the can for any side that fails to win matches.

David Pearl
62 Posted 24/11/2021 at 21:02:27
Steavey, they shouldn't be getting free headers in our box. Pickford is the least of our worries.

If Rafa Benitez goes, and l don't think he will, l'd go for Bilic.

Tony Abrahams
63 Posted 24/11/2021 at 21:29:45
Seriously, Joe, I'd only ever listen to Kenwright when he tells the world he's standing down, mate – and even then, I'd struggle to believe him.
Jerome Shields
64 Posted 24/11/2021 at 21:40:01
The heading on Kevin's article is right, but not because of the reasons most think. There is a big push to get rid of Benitez.

During the previous International break, Benitez confronted the rest and recovery regime that prevailed. The resulting resistance manifested itself in the following two games. This was even after, on the Friday, Benitez's 'Improve in all Departments' speech, prior to the Watford game.

Benitez was clearly not happy with preparations and the response he got in that game convinced him he had to act. The Head of Medical Services was sacked and we got a committed Everton against Spurs.

But, prior to that game, Benitez admitted he was not certain of what the January transfer budget would be.

Another International break and another unfit Everton. Some effort was put in by some players, but preparations had been weak.

Now, we have a really under-pressure Benitez in the run-up to Xmas, not knowing what transfer budget he has, and an injury list that could have some players on it who are not in a hurry to play.

It is end-of-season Blues in November that has gotten rid of managers, the exception being Silva. There are elements in Everton who see Benitez as a threat and will not be helping him in the coming months.

Support Benitez to Save Everton.

Nick Page
65 Posted 24/11/2021 at 21:44:36
Mike @51…

If enough people let Moshiri know he will have to act. And that anger shouldn't be placed on the manager's doorstep as it's another easy out for Kenwright and his mob of sycophants.

Incidentally, I'm watching the excellent City v PSG game…. and I was wondering how many ex-City players are employed by the club in staffing and coaching roles? And I wonder how many City fans care?

Tony Abrahams
66 Posted 24/11/2021 at 21:56:38
I'm watching the same game thinking about what makes these players so special Nick?

Is it their first touch, is it their movement, is it their awareness, or is it all the above combined with a great physical desire to never stop running?

I loved watching Guardiola, during the first half, when City, were not getting quite tight enough. He was pulling faces at someone, giving an expression that looked like it was asking, “Are you lot fucking kidding me” then he started pushing his hands together in a forward motion, because this Manchester City team are always about playing on the front foot. A fantastic football team, who know the value of hard fucking work.

I've heard a similar story, Jerome, and it's the reason I was prepared to accept Rafa Benitez in the first place.

Rob Dolby
67 Posted 24/11/2021 at 22:10:51
What makes the players on both sides so special tonight?

World class managers? World class players or 2 of the richest owners on the planet buying the most expensive players? Probably all 3.

In our case, we haven't got any of the 3 attributes above, and when we do get a world class player, they are soon sold off.

The least we can expect out of the Blues is hard work. How many of our players walk off every game leaving everything on the pitch? Not many.

Tony Abrahams
68 Posted 24/11/2021 at 22:16:45
The harder you work, the more you enjoy it, and that’s another thing that you never get the feeling, that many of our players do Rob.
Nick Page
69 Posted 24/11/2021 at 22:22:58

It's all that combined, as you say.

Look at Bernardo Silva… 5-ft 8-in at a push, 65 kg? He's everywhere, tackling, hustling, intercepting. Great feet, and quick of mind… but he's definitely better under Pep (who is an absolute nutter / genius) surrounded by a team bred to win and not accept defeat.

Rooney said something similar in an interview when he was at Man Utd and they lost and he asked them all where they were going out and then got a bollocking about accepting defeat… which he said was fine at Everton. And that's what Kenwright et al has overseen.

John Moores must be turning in his fucking grave. It's all about breeding a winning mentality and not accepting defeat… and learning from defeats and setbacks.

Throughout our “storied” history we haven't learnt, and we have also been unlucky (two World Wars and the Heysel ban)…. but the last 25 years have been fucking depressing to the point where I just can't be arsed anymore. It's awful.

City used to say they were cursed and someone put a hex on Maine Rd. And then Sheikh Mansour swept in fresh from Bill's rebuff because he wanted to keep control of his train set. Remember, only Bill could sell Everton to anyone. And what would Everton do in this situation? It's so so so fucking bad, it's untrue.

Jerome Shields
70 Posted 24/11/2021 at 23:16:25
Tony, it is a tall order, Benitez.

You are right: Man City are a hardworking team and they will have worked very hard on the training ground. To play on the front foot like that is the result of hardwork and the results are good play. Even when they do not have possession, they work hard. An industrious side like that gets the breaks. I do think that Chelsea have the edge though.

The whole Everton set-up is just coasting along, it is an absolute disgrace.

Rob, they are not fit enough before they get on the pitch. . . never mind put that extra effort on it. We used to get effort in two out of every three games; now it is one in three.

Derek Thomas
71 Posted 24/11/2021 at 23:51:30
The solution is simple... probably too simple for these days though.

You might not be able to out-box the other guy, but you can try to outwork him.

Make a virtue out of a necessity. Embrace being the underdog, go full-on dogs of war, a wall of 4 at the back, 4-4-2, KITAP1, work your bollocks off.

Which is more likely? Benitez preaching it or the players buying into it?

Kevin Prytherch
72 Posted 25/11/2021 at 07:46:41
Derek – it worked for Ferguson.
Tony Abrahams
73 Posted 25/11/2021 at 08:30:04
It worked against Chelsea, but then Leicester had the freedom of Goodison in the League Cup Quarter-final (I was in the Top Balcony admittedly) so I'm not sure about it working for long with this current squad, Kevin?

Ancelotti's pug-ugly football produced an incredible amount of points away from Goodison but, every time he went 4-4-2 at home, I thought we were getting outplayed by some of the poorer teams in the division.

Jerome Shields
74 Posted 25/11/2021 at 09:19:54
One big problem now overlooked is competition for positions. The modern footballer on high wages needs competition. They are happier without and will see out their contract in the best possible condition, especially if they have no ambition to play for a winning team. Fans who always want to win and would love to play at that level find it very hard to understand this.

Everton is rife with players like this who have worked their way into a long contract and they will do enough to look after the contract. They are not unduly concerned about League position or even in some cases playing.

At Everton, individuals or a group are dragging their heels right across 'all departments'. That is the problem that Benitez is trying to address at the moment and he is not getting the reaction he should be.

To a certain extent, Benitez had the feet taken from under him by not having backup in various positions. It is not just injury that is the problem, it is the absence of competition. This gives power to the players and those that look after their training, fitness and injury problems.

Why were key players loaned out? Why have Everton got not back-up for right- and left-back? Why is there still (after years) no replacement for Lukaku? Why was the Head of Medical Services sacked? Why does the Manager not know his January Transfer budget?

Some players are part of the problem. Coleman is determined to play on at Club and International Level. He played two Internationals in the week prior to the Man City game. What would be his attitude to an understudy or replacement? Would he welcome the mention of bringing either in? Is he looking to get a position like Baines?

Mina is always injured after International duty with hamstrings. At least 2 weeks of his recovery was spent abroad. The way to prevent hamstrings is hard training.

Delph, when he lost the ball outside the penalty area in the Man City game, went down as if injured, but had to get up because the play was that far past him. There are probably other players swinging the lead and getting help to do so during training and by Medical Services. Those who are not playing get this mythical status of new powers, which they did not have when playing, increasing value and reported transfer interest. Why play?

They tried it on with most managers, including Ancelotti; do we really think they would not try it on with Benitez? Benitez is trying to get improvement in all departments and the Head of Medical Services has been sacked. What do you think the reaction to that has been in the games since the International break?

Brian Harrison
75 Posted 25/11/2021 at 10:20:36
There is no doubt that injuries to key players haven't helped and I think, until we get these players back from injury, then we are going to struggle. This obviously hasn't helped Benitez.

As for the paltry £1.7 million he has had to spend, this was never going to be able to bring about the changes he is looking for. But Benitez is a shrewd operator and he will have known the financial situation well before he signed his contract, and he will also know how long those financial constraints will go on.

He has brought in new members to his backroom staff, a new Assistant Manager, a Sports Scientist, and a new Fitness Coach, but all these people were with him at some point at Newcastle and that hardly turned out very successful.

I read yesterday that Lewis Dobbin is out of contract this summer and Everton haven't spoken to him for months about a new contract. I have only seen glimpses of Dobbin so I can't comment on whether he deserves a new contract or not. But, if he is not in the long-term plans of the club, then why has he been given a place on the subs bench for the first team? Surely if he has no future here, some other young player would have warranted a place on the bench?

I also noticed, despite his sub appearances for the first team, after the U23s game the other night, Unsworth said that both Simms and Branthwaite are first-team players – but no mention of Dobbin who, unlike the other two, has at least had some minutes on the pitch for the first team this season.

Why also has Nkounkou been sent out on loan with no other natural left-back in the squad to back up Digne? You have to ask who is monitoring the progression of our young players. Like many, I read last year that Everton had recruited a scout or scouts to look for talented young players from South America... Brilliant, as many talented players have come from that part of the world, but does anybody know if we have actually had any kids coming from there since the appointment of these scouts?

Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
76 Posted 26/11/2021 at 12:07:26

Seven of your rambling and barely coherent posts on this thread already and the familiar issues with lack of proof or evidence for your statements about what goes on behind the scenes.

We need a full explanation of how you come to know what you claim as facts, or please include an admission that you are making it all up, as your own 'interpretation' of what is out there for any of us to read.

Tony Abrahams
78 Posted 26/11/2021 at 13:44:48
If you use the words, “this is my own interpretation”, then maybe they might become more coherent posts Jerome.
Brendan McLaughlin
79 Posted 26/11/2021 at 17:08:50
Think Jerome would be better beginning his posts with "Once upon a time "
Tony Abrahams
80 Posted 26/11/2021 at 19:09:04
Everton used to exist to win trophies, would obviously be the next sentence then Brendan.
Don Alexander
81 Posted 26/11/2021 at 19:47:28
Jerome's opinion (and I read it as "opinion") is something I agree with. It's always dismayed me that we've often, for decades, looked lethargic in comparison to successful teams, and as often as not against other less successful teams.

I go on about my disdain for Finch Farm, as many others do, and whilst I realise former players may be saying it mischievously I really think we have to take account of what former players have said when moving to their next club, Vlasic and Walcott in particular, namely that the new training regimes were making them physically fitter.

That said, there's always gonna be some of us who seem to want written statements, copies of club documents or whatever before they'll vary their own opinion I suppose.

Brendan McLaughlin
82 Posted 26/11/2021 at 00:44:24
Don #81

I don't think anyone on TW ever actually asks for proof or evidence when someone simply states their opinion on a particular subject. However, when a poster makes fairly sensational claims, it's only natural that others will ask them to clarify the basis on which they are making those claims.

Off the top of my head, Jerome has recently claimed that there is already an "anti-Rafa" bloc working within EFC, that some players have downed tools in response to Donachie's departure, that the whole footballing side clocks-off during international breaks, that the boardroom comprises two camps consistently at loggerheads... I could go on. Surely, it's not unreasonable for others to ask on what basis Jerome is making these not insignificant claims?

Jerome recently strayed into commenting on two matters that could (at least to some extent) be "fact-checked". One of these involved the bizzare suggestion that he had been vindicated when he predicted against popular opinion at the time that Manchester City would not win the Premier League... last season!!!

Don Alexander
83 Posted 27/11/2021 at 02:23:30
Brendan, trust me, my steadfast opinion (repeat, "opinion") re Finch Farm has more than a few times been challenged by its defenders for want of "proof".

To me, Jerome is merely stating his opinion. I agree with his stance on the unfitness in mind and/or body of our team. It boils my blood too.

Given that we're now into our sixth manager in the 5 years since Mysterious Moshiri bought in, and that's overlooking the "reigns" of the two Finch Farm leeches, I think Jerome might just have a point when it comes to absurdly well-paid bog-standard players downing tools on the basis of self-preservation whilst on the contracts of their lives – and TW shows Jerome and I are not the only ones to think so, in less explicit terms.

Barry Hesketh
84 Posted 28/11/2021 at 16:16:16
Where is it written that things will get better?
Jerome Shields
85 Posted 28/11/2021 at 00:17:27

The evidence is right before your eyes, when you watched Everton today. A team with enough players not prepared, unfit, not able to do basics. Un-practised, aimless crosses, un-practiced set pieces, un-practised finishing and poor pass completion, accompanied by lack of effort and work. All enough to affect the teams performance.

This was not all dreamt up today, this all happened during the so called preparation, or lack of it, on the training ground and has been the case since the previous International break. It has happened previously with other managers, even Moyes nearly every third game.

Where is the left and right-back back-up? Where is the money provided for a back up forward, during the Summer Transfer Window? Where is the attempt to even get such a forward? Where is the money for the January Transfer window? ( Warning: Don't make any bets) Where is the work and effort on the pitch? As Ancelotti would ask. Where is the required tactical and technical ability level of many of the players who played today?

It is easy to blame the Manager, he is easily got rid of, especially when so many of the above factors are being worked against him. Get rid of Benitez, Get rid of Ancelotti and if Guardiola was Everton's next Manager, get rid of him, because he would not survive with such factors against him. Who will the next Manager and who would want the job even on big wages?

Why is this so? and you predict who in the internal Management will be sacked? My answer is none of them. When Benitez is gone, they will rally enough to survive in the Premiership and will get rid of the next Manager who attempts to progress. Even if Everton buy the most promising footballers in the world, they will drag them down to their mid-table level, as many a young Everton footballer who thanked his lucky stars when he got away would tell you. .

The problem at Everton is there are enough of cheating types, with support at most levels within the Club, to control the Culture of the Club and exert pressure on Manager and produce the results on the pitch to get rid of him. There are ones that will be quietly celebrating today's defeat.

It's a thundering disgrace what is going on at Everton and has been going on for years.

If anyone has not realised all this by now, you will get all the evidence in the world in the coming seasons, which will only end up one way. Relegation and bankruptcy, because even with this Surviving failing Culture there will be a day reckoning, because even with the largesse of Moshiri and friend they are not too big to fail.

Michael Keane was my MOTM he had little to do and was rarely challenged.

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