I was very surprised to see Sean Dyche choose only two centre midfielders against Manchester United in the abscence of Abdoulaye Doucouré. Leaving Idrissa Gueye and Amadou Onana on their own to win the midfield battle at a place like Old Trafford was a mistake.

I think most people thought bringing in James Garner for Doucouré was the obvious thing to do and I hope Dyche now realises this error and plays Garner against Fulham.

Yes, having Demarai Gray and Ellis Simms in the team together gives us more attacking options but if you don't have an effective midfield they will not see enough of the ball to cause problems.

If Dyche is going to revert to 4-4-2 from 4-5-1 Gueye needs a reliable passer with him and Onana is not that, he is too unreliable. Better to have Gueye with Garner and then decide whether to give Onana or Tom Davies the Doucouré role or go with Gray.

I don't like making too many changes to a team but one thing I would like Sean Dyche to consider is bringing in Nathan Patterson at right back and moving Seamus Coleman to the right flank of the midfield.

I think this would make the right side defensively stronger and I actually think it would give us a greater attacking threat down the right too. Both Patterson and Coleman are dangerous going forward and Seamus wouldn't have the problem of getting up and down the pitch as much. But his influence would still be there in a better position.

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It would also release Iwobi to play in his best position, where Doucouré has been playing.

It is getting very worrying now, we need a few wins, and anything we can do to give us more attacking options should be considered without, weakening our midfield too much.

If Dominic Calvert-Lewin is fit or close it is time to play him. It is time to ask him to fight for the club. Play him for 60 minutes and then bring on Simms or Gray or both, but keep Gueye and Garner together in midfield.

There are nearly 40,000 Evertonians who pay good money to support the team and thousands more who would like to. If DCL can't see this and think he now has to do everything he can to help the team there is something very wrong.

If we could beat Fulham it will be massive; if we don't the trap door starts to open.

And if we can beat Fulham I would consider a formation of 4-6-0 against Palace with Gray Davies and/or Onana making runs into the box. Palace will not be easy as no game is now. But I'd like to think we could pinch a 1-0.

I'm tempted to say I would take 6 points from the next 4 games, and 6 from the 4 after that but I have no idea if that would be enough.

We have to aim to get at least above Leeds. I can see Leicester suddenly coming up with a good run of form but Southampton and Forest are definitely going to fight on. Bournemouth keep picking up wins as do Wolves.

So we must fight on no matter what and hope it's the other teams that pick up the injuries, suspensions, bad refereeing and bad luck.

The madness of this club is obvious. First we send Simms on loan when we could have done with him, then we bring him back only to send Tom Cannon on loan. Unbelievable.

In view of this I think Dyche should have players like Sherif, Okoronkwo, Mills on the bench. I cannot see how it would do any harm to give them 10 minutes or so in a game. James Vaughan did it why not some of the youngsters we have now.

They would be itching to play and would give their all. It's desperate times and we should try anything we can that might just change a game.

All I can say to the supporters is:

Keep up your fantastic support

Keep off the pitch no matter what happens

Keep the faith and no matter how the dice fall this season and next season one day it will all come good


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Reader Comments (44)

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Paul Kernot
1 Posted 12/04/2023 at 05:49:35
Good, straight forward comments Jim. How many times did we get done by a long ball v Man Utd? A stronger midfield v Fulham will hopefully mean we won't lose the ball so often.

I do like the suggestion to push Seamus on with Patterson behind him too.

Finally, I just watched Tom Cannon put 2 very well taken goals past QPR. Nkounkou is at it too. We have the players. We just need to stay up.

Derek Thomas
2 Posted 12/04/2023 at 08:00:52
Spot on; Goodison Park or Garston Park, the game is both won and lost in midfield – always was and hopefully, always will be.
Tony Abrahams
3 Posted 12/04/2023 at 08:31:35
When a manager is doing a very good job, then diverts away from his tactics because he loses one player, then it makes me worry.

I couldn't understand why we set up like we did on Saturday. I hope that the players haven't lost any focus because of it.

Players should just get on with it, I know, but we are talking about a very fragile group here, and because they should have been managed better, I hope it doesn't lead to a drop in intensity this Saturday.

I'm sure I'm not the only one getting blue in the face, so hurry up, Dominic lad, it's getting to a really key stage in the season now and we really need your physical presence to help move us away from the relegation places.

Brian Harrison
4 Posted 12/04/2023 at 10:20:06
I am sure had Doucoure not have been suspended then Sean Dyche would not have made any changes. But seeing he had to make a change he only had 2 options, either bring in Garner and leave Gray up top, or be more adventurous and play Simms with Gray just behind. Also when we did concede the first goal we had 9 men in and around our box, and because Onana failed to track McTominay as he did all game they scored. Again the 2nd goal didnt come about because we were over run in midfield it was just a mistake by one of our most consistent players.

Also Simms had a great chance to open the scoring before they scored, I wonder if he had would people still have criticized the team selection. Obviously Lampard has left Dyche with little or no attacking options and so far Dyche has done brilliantly. Hopefully DCL will soon be back playing and that will make a difference especially when Doucourés suspension ends.

Robert Tressell
5 Posted 12/04/2023 at 11:06:45
Agree we need a central trio. Garner, Gueye at the base and Onana with more freedom has a good blend. Onana sheer size can cause problems if he gets in the opposition box.
Tony Abrahams
6 Posted 12/04/2023 at 11:09:55
Yes Brian, I’d have still criticized the manager if Simms had scored because I couldn’t believe how wide open we were on Saturday, and I thought his tactics were dreadful.

Play 4-4-2 by all means, but play it with a lot more method than we did on Saturday, because it was just like watching a Lampard performance.

You give Lampard a lot of stick for leaving us short of forwards Brian, but I think you are being very unfair to him and haven’t really looked at the bigger picture imo, mate.

I agree with you about Onana, and he is another reason why I think playing 4-4-2 was stupid on Saturday, but if we would have got eleven men behind the ball, and looked to counter United over the top, the way they did it to us (with ease) then I would have understood what Dyche, was trying to do.

I can honestly say I couldn’t understand why we played so open on Saturday, because it just never made any sense whatsoever, imo.

Mal van Schaick
7 Posted 12/04/2023 at 11:11:57
The Fulham game brings a conundrum of problems caused by missing Doucoure when we had a settled team and system, and were looking like getting points from games.

Do we play with win-backs, three central defenders and try and make sure not to concede whilst trying to get all three points, or do we play different systems a standard 4-4-2, or 4-3-2-1?

For me, I would start with wingbacks, put Gray in behind Calvert-Lewin or Simms in a free role and see how that goes. We can always revert to other systems.

The most important thing is to make sure that all the players know their roles and what is expected of them and get the 3 points which at imperative for our survival.

Dave Abrahams
8 Posted 12/04/2023 at 11:13:03
Robert (5),

“Onana's sheer size can cause problems if he gets in the opposition box.”

Go way… who'd have thought that!!

Tony Abrahams
9 Posted 12/04/2023 at 11:16:09
Mal, I think your last paragraph says it best mate, and this is why I personally wouldn't be tampering with a formation, that has been making us a lot more competitive in most games?

Don't bite, Robert, but from my own personal experience, I genuinely don't think Dyche needs to let Onana listen to Defour, when he could just invite the likes of Dave and Brian (I can imagine he'd be the same) to Finch Farm, and let them speak to him about the demands and requirements needed to be a success in this country.

Christine Foster
10 Posted 12/04/2023 at 11:27:17
I think its time for Dyche to open up about Calvert-Lewin. Will he or won't he play again this season? Is he "physically fit" or is it a mental issue or is it a longer-term injury?

The games are running away from us and so is the hope that Calvert-Lewin will play a part in our fight. If he is a whisker away, then great; if he isn't, then tell us; if he doesn't know, then say so…

Why? Because it's the hope that gets you… if he isn't going to be there, then good luck to the lad and our best for a recovery – but at least we can understand where and why we are where we are with him... Too much to ask?

Christine Foster
11 Posted 12/04/2023 at 11:42:24
Tony, we were dreadful though, not just too open, we were second to the ball if that, every ball.

The ball over the top, used so effectively by Spuds once again killed us, targeting both full-backs who were caught marking nothing time and time again. Out of position, too far forward, too far in. Both lost in no-man's land. That cannot be allowed to happen again.

The two centre-backs cannot turn and cover quickly enough, too slow, leaving the whole defence vulnerable. We almost need the old sweeper to counter the diagonal balls over the top, one centre-half in front of the other. Radical these days, I know…

Gana is no workhorse; if he gets booked he is next to useless, which is a real problem. Onana, I just don't think he does enough; he can't tackle, he can't shoot, can't head the ball, his passing is poor…

So we have two in the middle who don't have drive and lack creativity. Maybe Garner? Davies is too much like Gana and Onana without the creativity either, we get over-run in midfield.

Gray up front sort of worked, Simms didn't, but he did give us a focal point, which is handy at different points in the game. Perhaps start with Gray up front and Garner in the middle?

Eric Haworth
12 Posted 12/04/2023 at 13:10:32
Tony #6,

I totally agree about the 4-4-2 but for slightly different reasons. In my book, it wasn't so much about who played where, it was more the high press, leaving acres of space behind that was our undoing and exploited throughout the first half.

Man Utd we're simply dropping long balls in behind our ponderous defence, who were then faced with the impossible task of trying to defend whilst retreating in panic facing their own goal. We were a shambles, and only had Pickford, poor finishing and blind luck to thank for not being 3 or 4 down by half-time.

I said exactly the same on another thread, and for the life of me couldn't understand why having drilled our squad from Day 1 into operating a low block, which by the way clearly better suited the personnel at his disposal and secured us much-needed points.

Sean Dyche then reverses it and adopts a high press that clearly didn't work for his predecessor, costing him his job, and exposing the shortcomings in the likes of Michael Keane, just when he was regaining some form & confidence. We need to revert to the low block PDQ before we squander more points.

Christine #10, I'm likewise mystified by Calvert-Lewin's health issues, although I fully sympathise with his incapacity whatever the cause. What I'm really struggling with is the need for secrecy which just breeds speculation? We don't need the specifics, that's confidential between Calvert-Lewin and his medical professionals. But is it his physical or mental health and wellbeing that the club are keeping a lid on?

If it's mental health issues, then it's unlikely we'll be seeing him anytime soon and certainly not before the end of the season. So why not say and end all the speculation?

If it's physical, then that's a whole different ball game (excuse the pun). Because if it's serious and not yet healed, then he wouldn't be “on grass” to quote Sean Dyche, and they'd just need to confirm he's out till next season to end the speculation?

However, if it's not that serious and healed, then it begs the question, why at such a critical stage in the history of our club, haven't he and the club decided between them it's time for him to take to the field to join the fight? With only 8 games remaining, he could be nurtured through if necessary, and he's then got the whole of pre-season to recover if he ultimately does break down, having got us over the line.

Just tell us and all this speculation on the state of his wellbeing and potential availability would cease? But, then again… this is Everton FC!

Tony Abrahams
13 Posted 12/04/2023 at 13:38:45
This is exactly what I was trying to say Eric, and only mentioned Onana, because Brian, quite rightly questions his work rate, but was suggesting that if Simms, would have scored, then not many people would have been complaining.

I also thought it was the “most unadventurous” we have been since Anfield, because a lot of passes ended up going backwards, before ending up with Pickford firing the ball’s forward, and I haven’t seen this for a while?

Simms and Gray can also both run, but because of our tactics we never brought United on to us, which might have enabled us to catch them on the counter attack, whilst exploiting McGuire’s lack of pace, but as Brian also said, we had nine men behind the ball when McTominay scored, so maybe it might not have made much difference to the overall score line?

Remembering United’s first goal, how many powderpuff tackles did different Everton players put in? (I hadn’t read your last post, Christine)This is another thing that wasn’t quite right on Saturday.

Dennis Stevens
14 Posted 12/04/2023 at 13:44:27
I was a bit surprised by Dyche's approach to the match at Old Trafford too. When I saw the team, I assumed that he'd moved Gray out wide to accommodate Simms up front and so moved Iwobi into his preferred attacking central midfield role. That would have been less of a departure from the way we've been lining up recently.

However, maybe Dyche viewed it as a bit of a free hit to try out something different. A loss away to Man Utd is no surprise; there'll be much more pressure to get a result at home to Fulham. I suppose it keeps the opposition guessing somewhat.

John Chambers
15 Posted 12/04/2023 at 14:04:13

I'm with you re Iwobi and Gray and that is what I'd do against Fulham. A lot of people want Garner in, and he might make us a bit more solid, but this is a game we must win against a team out of form so I think we have to make “positive” changes.

Eddie Dunn
16 Posted 12/04/2023 at 15:25:14
I agree with most of what Jim says. The reason we looked more like a Lampard team was because we didn't have Doucouré – the man who Lampard fell out with.

The tactics were, in hindsight, wrong, but our quickest player was exposed in his left-back position several times. Godfrey's pace saved him once and Pickford prevented an absolute drubbing.

We were lucky he pulled off that string of saves or our goal-difference would have been even worse and our morale would have taken a hammering.

We need Garner in that midfield. Onana is incapable of tracking runners and lacks the discipline to protect the back four. Gana was run off his feet doing the work of two men. The only way I can see Onana keeping his place is if he is pushed forward in a similar manner to Doucouré.

I would keep Simms on the bench and start with Gray up top.
Perhaps we will see Calvert-Lewin on the bench?

Godfrey was terrible and will surely be replaced by Mykolenko.

Barry Rathbone
17 Posted 12/04/2023 at 17:46:00
Such a knife-edge.

Our best team is barely above Championship level so one or two absences makes the whole thing even more flaky. Dyche must weep at the lack of real options and sit in his office trying to channel Houdini.

Feel for the guy.

John Raftery
18 Posted 12/04/2023 at 21:07:49
I would prefer Patterson in front of Seamus. I have yet to be convinced by Patterson's defensive play. He gets caught out of position too often and can be careless in possession. He does however have the energy and running power to be a threat further forward.
Danny O’Neill
19 Posted 12/04/2023 at 21:20:59
I've said it elsewhere on these pages, I'm not comfortable with 4-4-2 in the modern game. It exposes the midfield. We could debate all day, but having two strikers when you don't control the middle is counter-productive, in my opinion.

Good point that, John Raftery. We were the same with Seamus if I recall and played him as a right midfielder for a while.

Jim Wilson
20 Posted 13/04/2023 at 09:56:02
John @ 18 - I agree Coleman might be better defensively but if Patterson is played at right back and has Seamus in front of him it will help him enormously. Either way it seems to work. At least In my head anyway!
Ajay Gopal
21 Posted 13/04/2023 at 09:59:37
From their performances at Man United, Onana and Godfrey don't deserve to keep their place. Plus Simms, although he didn't play badly, is still better suited to come off the bench.


McNeil Garner Gana Davies Iwobi
Mykolenko Tarkowski Keane Coleman

SUBS: Godfrey, Holgate, Simms, Maupay, Onana, DCL (hopefully)

Jim Wilson
22 Posted 13/04/2023 at 10:05:15
Ajay @ 21 - I like the look of that team!
Mark Murphy
23 Posted 13/04/2023 at 10:20:28
I don’t understand why Iwobi continues to get a free pass.
Paul Cherrington
24 Posted 13/04/2023 at 10:22:44
Good article and agree with the comments above too - midfield is where games are won and lost. don't understand why Dyche just didn't bring someone in for Doucoure and leave the system alone. seemed a strange choice for an experienced manager like him.

Onana seems the natural one to move there as he doesn't do enough off the ball playing in a more traditional midfield role for me yet.

News of DCL being back training properly is great news - hope he stays fit now. Makes we wonder if the manager has told him straight we need him for these last few games and encouraged him to get back out there if poss.

Mark Murphy
25 Posted 13/04/2023 at 10:32:39
I love Seamus Coleman - he’s my favourite since Leighton Baines hung up his boots and he’s incredible BUT…
It’s time to give Patterson the right back berth and settle that back four.
Seamus is a full back and I totally disagree in this modern game of accommodating non specialists out of position as an option - it’s experimental and should only be used if there’s no other option due to injuries.
I also vehemently disagree with throwing Keane up front.
IF DCL isn’t fit then Simms should be given the role of lone striker and told to do his job. If he’s not up to it then he’s got no future here. He’s 22, not a kid!
Based on that my team for saturday would be:
Patterson Keane Tarks Myko
Gana, Garner
Gray. O’Nana McNeil
Simms (or DCL)

Hey!, Gana Garner Gray ole ole!!

Derek Thomas
26 Posted 13/04/2023 at 11:14:55
Mark @ 25; If there has to be changes on the right, then it seems obvious that the older, more experienced defender - Coleman - plays at RB, while the Younger...presumably fitter more energetic...Patterson plays the more advanced 'up and down' wingback-ish role
Jim Wilson
27 Posted 13/04/2023 at 11:56:14
Mark @ 25 - just to point out that Seamus has played wide right of our midfield before and looked very comfortable in this position.

Whilst I wouldn't call him a specialist in this position I wouldn't call it experimental either.

Laurie Hartley
28 Posted 13/04/2023 at 12:22:43
Christine # 11 - in response to this part of your post:-

“The two centre-backs cannot turn and cover quickly enough, too slow, leaving the whole defence vulnerable. We almost need the old sweeper to counter the diagonal balls over the top, one centre-half in front of the other. Radical these days, I know…”

Ben Godfrey is that Man.

Tony Abrahams
29 Posted 13/04/2023 at 12:33:18
I was hoping that Godfrey would develop into a Des Walker type of central defender Laurie, but he hasn’t really played much in his natural position, so it’s hard to determine if he will eventually become good enough to play this role?

The obvious choice would be Brainthwaith, a player PSV were prepared to pay their record amount of money for, and this should definitely be enough to make Everton realize, how much potential this kid has got?

Danny O’Neill
30 Posted 13/04/2023 at 13:23:09
I am willing to give Godfrey a bit more time. Not only has been playing out of position affected him (left back for what I think is a naturally right footed centre back?), but he broke his leg this season.

It wasn't long ago he was voted Young Player of the Season by Everton supporters. Out of sorts maybe, but there are a number of factors at play.

On Coleman, I remember him playing wide midfield and it's not to say we couldn't do that with him or Patterson. What I did used to say at the time however, was we lose some of the impact a full back can have in the attacking sense if we push them into that position. It may sound odd, but they are already too high up the pitch with none of the space they are accustomed to. They literally run into a dead end.

I thought Seamus and most full backs are better coming from deep on the overlap.

I'm going to hang myself out for ridicule here Laurie. But mention of sweeper gave me a sudden thought. If he's got another season in him, Seamus in that role with 3 centre backs? Any from Godfrey, Keane, Tarkowski, Branthwaite and, if still here, Holgate or Coady.

It would probably need a 4-5-1 formation, I think.

Agree with you on Branthwaite Tony. What I have seen of him, a big powerful centre back. Still very young for a centre back as well, but there would be enough experience around him and he plays without fear.

Jim Wilson
31 Posted 13/04/2023 at 14:00:57
To cover Christine's point about playing 2 centre halves. I couldn't agree more. Two tall and slow centre backs can be a liability, especially when we are playing a team that doesn't have a tall forward and only has quick and tricky forwards.

Like you Laurie I thought Godfrey was bought to be the sweeper for the centre half, like Kevin Ratcliffe was for Mountfield or Watson. But injury has hampered this idea. I also think Holgate could do the job and he has been unlucky this season as he was actually playing well at the start of the season when Lampard was insisting on playing 3 centre backs.

Tony Abrahams
32 Posted 13/04/2023 at 14:04:15
Seamus is injured so it’s probably either Patterson or Godfrey, for Saturday’s game.
Robert Tressell
33 Posted 13/04/2023 at 14:06:53
Danny, Dyche had a good track record developing defenders in particular like Mee, Keane, Tarkowski and Trippier.

I'm hopeful / confident he'll do good things with Godfrey who is still finding himself after a very disrupted period. Same for Mykolenko, Patterson and Branthwaite. This will be easier after a pre-season and the very stressful present circumstances which offer such little room for error.

In the meantime I don't think we need a sweeper, a back 3 or wholesale changes. We just need to play a bit deeper to guard against balls over the top. Also, very few sides are as good as Man Utd at present which will make life a bit easier

Laurie Hartley
34 Posted 14/04/2023 at 05:19:47
Tony, Danny & Jim - Godfrey has three qualities I like in a defender, pace, physicality, and courage. I don’t think he is a centre half. I think he could be coached into becoming a very good defensive midfielder.

I keep hearing noises, mostly from his agent, that Onana fancies, Chelsea, Arsenal, and apparently Newcastle. Given our limited transfer funds I would sell him, buy a striker and convert Ben Godfrey to a DM.

He was before your time fellas (maybe not Jim?) but the best sweeper I have seen in a blue shirt was John Hurst who was converted from a striker by Harry Catterick. Can’t comment on Radcliffe because Iimited football coverage in Australia during his era. But From what I did see they most definitely have the same characteristics.

Danny Seamus will have earned a rest by the end of this season but I hope the club finds an off field role for him.

As for Young Branthwaite, I reckon he will go all the way - he has got it all for a centre half including pace. Pep will have his eyes on him I am sure.

Danny O’Neill
35 Posted 14/04/2023 at 06:27:40
Laurie, I know a few have said that about Godfrey. I'm not so sure. He tends to have a tendency to want to rampage forward. Not a bad thing, but a defensive midfielder needs to hold the position in my view. But his pace could be useful moving across both sides of the pitch to snuff out trouble. Pretty much as Gueye does now.

Alternatively, he could play in a back three. But I often think that of Mykoloenko. And I don't see Dyche playing a back three. Certainly not now, as Robert says. I'm still having flashbacks of that high line at Old Trafford last week Robert.

I'd like opinion here, when we talk defensive midfielder in the modern game, do we mean the original concept of sweeper? I'm going to need the older than me generation to educate me, but I have it in my head the sweeper patrolled in front of the defence whereas in my lifetime it has become associated with mopping up behind. I could be wrong.

Either way, the sweeper gets a bit of a free role. Obviously one of the most famous was Beckenbauer. I thought Matthaus played that role well too. And, dare I say, the 4 foot 8 inches (exaggerated) Mascerano do it for Barcelona? Apparently Bobby Moore was considered similar, but before my time and I never saw him apart from his twighlight and I was too young to take much notice.

In terms of fairly recent Everton examples of converting defenders into that role. Heitinga could do it. Jagielka could but not in the Premier League and we ditched that thought early on; after about 2 games I think. Phil Neville, but he had the versatility to play in a number of positions. I still recall us trying Alan Stubbs in the 2nd half against Norwich in the FA Cup at Goodison. Lasted about 10 minutes before Moyes switched it!!!

For me, the important thing for a sweeper / defensive midfielder is to read the game and anticipate trouble. If the centre backs are challenging for the ball, the sweeper / DM is anticipating were the second ball is going should they not win it. As well as breaking up play, winning the ball back and distributing an often simple pass.

Not a lot to ask! It takes a certain type of player to do it successfully.

Robert Tressell
36 Posted 14/04/2023 at 07:42:40
Not sure about the origins, Danny, but there's a good video on Tifo football of how the back/pass rule has eradicated the traditional sweeper position. That sort of player (Mattias Sammer is the best example in the modern-ish game) has moved in front of the centre-halves, becoming a specialist holding midfielder with a strong range of passing and positional discipline – like Makalele, Busquets, Rodri and Fernandinho – the latter two (like Mascherano at Barca) being capable of playing centre-back in a back 4.

We've certainly lacked a proper holding midfielder for a long time now. Onana might mature into the role but I suspect he'll be sold before he does so.

As for a sweeper, not sure. I think the main priority is to develop Branthwaite to his potential. He'll find that easier with a quality holding midfielder ahead of him.

Tony Abrahams
37 Posted 14/04/2023 at 08:28:22
I like those three attributes in any defender Laurie, but I think the best defenders always have great positional sense, and this is where Godfrey has got to definitely improve.
Eric Haworth
38 Posted 14/04/2023 at 09:34:02
Tony #37 Agree wholeheartedly. Unfortunately this attribute is missing in more than Godfrey, hence many of our problems. Can add Mykolenko, Patterson, Keane, Holgate to that list, as well as Onana as a DM.

I would also suggest that THE most important attribute that hasn’t already been mentioned and is critically missing from that list, is the natural ability to sense danger, before it unfolds as a real threat. You would expect it to be a professionals basic requirement as part of having football intelligence and a natural “football brain”.

For anyone who’s read Pep’s book it’s one of his key requirements, and you can see it running right through almost everything he does, and consequently you see a so-called talented attacking midfielder like Silva automatically popping up in their own box to snuff out danger when a defenders been dragged out of position.

It’s nothing new, and we most recently had it as a feature of our play under David Moyes, with the likes of Seamus, Baines, Arteta, Pienaar, Cahill, Jags, Carsley, Osman, etc. May not have all been world-beaters, but I would suggest we’re all “intelligent footballers”. Something that’s unfortunately sadly lacking from this crew, with 1or 2 exceptions.

Ian Bennett
39 Posted 14/04/2023 at 10:13:35
Ben Godfrey is a slide on the arse defender. The best defenders don't do that, because they're not out of position to need to do it.

Think Bobby Moore, Baresi etc.

For me Godfrey is nearer a 400m runner than a top defender. He's so much to learn. Great pace and physicality, but this has made him a poorer defender in other attributes. He's going to have to improve and quickly, because once that pace goes, he's going to look out of his depth.

If you could get £20m for him, I would move him on.

Danny O’Neill
40 Posted 14/04/2023 at 11:19:27
A bit harsh on Godfrey in how I see it Ian.

Let's see him more in what could be his natural position rather than as a makeshift left back, which he clearly isn't, so I won't judge him on that.

Positioning is linked to awareness, anticipation in order to read the game Tony and very important traits for a defender to have.

It's always been one of Michael Keane's downsides.

Although he can score the odd gem of a goal. Here's for one tomorrow.

Paul Birmingham
41 Posted 14/04/2023 at 22:26:52
Good debate on sweepers, and going back in time, Ruud Kroll, played left back, or as a sweeper, a total footballer, one of my favourite players.

He made it look easy, of course playing in great sides at Ajax, and Netherlands helped. As respectively for their clubs and countries, did Baresi, RIP - Scirea, and Kaiser Franz, and Maldini senior.

But these players, were total footballers, and they could literally have done a good job anywhere on the park.

In the modern game, of the last 30years, the role has changed in that design of full backs, and midfielders, and wingers to change shape and drop and push, means there’s a degree of more versatility required from players, but the traditional role of a sweeper, has not been lost.

Rice for West Ham, but a shift in every game, helps out his defence, to midfield and attack.

Lothar Mattheus, was an immense midfielder, with a great engine and vision on the pitch and he covered his defence, midfield and attack, perhaps the best, any footballer, of the last 37 years.

It’s a great debate, and reflects how the games has evolved over time, pitches, stadia, equipment, footballs, coaches, formations, and players.

But for Everton to win tomorrow is what counts.

Simon Dalzell
42 Posted 16/04/2023 at 14:04:58
Absolutely Jim. I wish Dyche had read your wise words before completely balllsing it up with the 4/4/2 and also bringing the hapless Maupay back in. How can he get it so wrong?
Tony Abrahams
43 Posted 16/04/2023 at 14:38:12
Once again I can’t understand why Dyche has moved away from what Mal@7, says in his last paragraph. It’s strange, it’s confusing and it’s very concerning, and if he doesn’t rectify it soon, then farewell to the big league Everton.
Jim Wilson
44 Posted 16/04/2023 at 19:03:02
Totally agree Tony. It makes no sense. We had the replacement for Doucoure in Garner against Utd and Davies for Onana yesterday. Sometimes it is just about numbers in midfield.
451 for the rest of the season with Simms up top for me Simon
I would even consider 460 against Palace to try and steady things. A point would be good and try and build on that.

But like you say it is now very worrying what the hell Dyche will do.

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