Wasteful Everton picked off in one-sided second half

15/10/2022 30comments  |  Jump to last
Spurs 2 - 0 Everton

Demarai Gray and Amadou Onana were both guilty of missing gilt-edged chances in the first half but Everton failed to muster a shot in the second

Everton lost for the second weekend in succession, falling to a “big six” team again in fairly meek fashion after Tottenham took control of this game in North London in the second half.

The Blues squandered two excellent chances in the first half but failed to register a single effort on goal in the second and, in the end, just didn’t have enough in the final third to deserve a share of the spoils.

A controversial penalty award following an error by Jordan Pickford allowed Harry Kane to put Spurs ahead just before the hour mark and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg doubled the hosts’ lead late on to kill the game.

With Anthony Gordon suspended, Dwight McNeil was drafted back into the starting XI but it was Demarai Gray who should have put Everton ahead when he did well to latch on to a brilliant ball over the top and wriggle away from Rodrigo Bentancur but having advanced on Hugo Lloris’s goal, he blazed well over the crossbar.

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Then, Amadou Onana seized on a mistake in the Spurs midfield by intercepting the ball in the centre circle and galloped through the defence but he could only scoop a left-footed shot narrowly over from 12 yards out.

Pickford made an excellent stop from Kane early in the second half, the England keeper beating away a volley from his international team-mate before Son Heung-Min missed with the rebound.

But when Pickford made a mess of a tame shot from Matt Doherty, Kane went to seize on the loose ball and went down as the keeper tried to recover and referee Paul Tierney pointed to the spot.

With almost nothing by way of VAR review despite some doubt over the extent of the contact from Pickford, the decision held and Kane hammered the spot-kick home.

In the closing stages, as Everton failed to create anything even after the introduction off the bench of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Bentancur crossed from the right to pick Hojbjerg out in acres of space in the middle and, after cutting the ball back onto his right-foot, he side-footed a deflected shot past Pickford’s despairing dive and into the top corner from just inside the box.

So the Toffees drop from 11th to 14th place and now sit just two points above the bottom three as they head for another tough assignment at Newcastle on Wednesday evening, with Frank Lampard needing to find some solution to his team’s worrying dearth of attacking threat.


Reader Comments (30)

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Benjamin Dyke
1 Posted 17/10/2022 at 08:54:12
Thanks as always for the report. The very soft penalty (but Jordan gave the ref a choice to make unfortunately) changed everything.

The gameplan to sit deep and be compact had worked and we created 2 glorious breakaway chances for Onana and Gray. Those go in, then we at least draw if not better.

When are we going to be able to compete with Top 6 teams? There are no easy matches in the Premier League – it's a cliche but it really rings true -– we can't afford a long losing streak again!

We are definitely stronger defensively this season but not so good in the final third yet and playing on the counter requires more clinical finishing. Let's hope Dom gets back in form ASAP.

Mick Roberts
2 Posted 17/10/2022 at 09:52:31
Fact is, while Lampard continues with his tactics of sitting back, we will struggle to win any game.
Clive Rogers
3 Posted 17/10/2022 at 10:18:29
I can only see us losing on Wednesday night, but the truth will be revealed in the five games after that when we play Palace, Fulham, Leicester, Bournemouth and Wolves. We need to get 10 points from those games.
Ajay Gopal
4 Posted 17/10/2022 at 11:11:21
Benjamin (1),

The only season that I remember from my TV following time with EFC (since 2003 probably) where we were in no fear of the opposition was Martinez's first season – the 'sin miedo' season. That was truly the only season of my following Everton that I felt we played without an inferiority complex.

Coming to the game, I see what Lampard is trying to do, and I support his focus to make us hard to beat. But, I wish he were more proactive during games to change the momentum.

Everybody could see that the game changed when Bissouma came on to replace Richarlison. They started getting on the ball and our goal was coming under increasing pressure. Lampard should have changed things quickly and put up a 4-man midfield ourselves to prevent getting outnumbered.

Instead, he made a bizarre substitution, taking out Coleman and bringing in Garner, which made Iwobi play as right wing-back, which further robbed us of any combativeness in midfield. Selecting Coleman to start with was plain wrong – Spurs were targeting that side all day long.

Going forward, Lampard should play Holgate there as a right-back until Patterson is fit. And what was the point of playing Rondon and Calvert-Lewin if there is no service? Iwobi and McNeil as wingbacks totally removed any attacking threat we had.

And Gana needs to sit out for a few games. And this may bring in derision, but I would play Tom Davies in that position – he was playing well until Lampard went with reputation (Gana) rather than form (Davies). For the next game, I hope Lampard changes things around to a 4-4-2:

Calvert-Lewin Gray
Iwobi Onana Davies Garner
Mykolenko Coady Tarkowski Holgate

Gordon, Maupay, Doucoure, McNeil to come on and change things if required, Gana to protect a lead or a draw in the last 15 minutes if we are in that situation.

Lampard and Thelwell have done a great job in recruitment during the summer, and the quality of the squad has significantly improved on paper. It is up to Lampard now to get his selections and tactics right to maximise the performances from the squad. At the moment, I am afraid he has not found the right formula yet and precious games are passing us by.

Rob Dolby
5 Posted 17/10/2022 at 11:43:13
I think Lampard got his formation and tactics spot on until we conceded the goal. The 5 at the back and 3 in midfield did really well. The 2 up top not so good.

Whether people like it or not sitting deep and hitting teams on the break is a successful strategy.

How many world cups have Italy won, how many trophies has Ancelotti, Conte, Mourihno won all playing this way.

The shite played like that yesterday and got a winner from a big boot up the pitch and a mistake.

The difference is our quality in the final 3rd. We need a host of chances whilst the best players need a couple.

My concern from both of our games against Utd and Spurs is the reaction to going behind in a game. We have to gamble more and change the way we play to at least have a go. In both games we had long periods of no drive or inclination to get the ball back.

The squad is defensively stronger than last season but offensively very much weaker. We need to try and cling to mid table and add quality in the final 3rd during the January transfer window.

Mauphey, Gray, Gordon, DCL, Rondon aren't going to be scoring 30 goals between them this season so Lampard is going to have to find goals from elsewhere.

David Bromwell
6 Posted 17/10/2022 at 12:13:03
Saturday was certainly a game of two halves, and Lampard's tactics appeared to be working. However, as soon as Spurs changed their formation, we were never in the game.

I too would like to see a change in formation for Wednesday as our existing midfield seem unable to control games. I particularly worry about Iwobi, who to me seems to have reverted to type.

Yes, he puts in lots of effort, but he cannot or will not tackle and he seldom provides an incisive pass. Indeed many of our players seem very lightweight and are easily pushed off the ball.

The good news is that, as far as we know, Lampard has options for Wednesday, so let's hope he can get his selection and tactics right so that we can compete for the full 90 minutes.

Tom Bowers
7 Posted 17/10/2022 at 12:28:37
It seems that, no matter how they shuffle the pack, we will not be a force to be reckoned with.

The squad is, for the most part, second-rate despite one or two players showing improved form this season.

Consistency is the key but, even with that, you will not get wins without class offensive players.

Hate to say it but RS got a Chelsea reject (Salah) and he wins games for them, even against top opposition.

Until Everton can find those gems up front, then we are doomed to a mid-table struggle.

What we have as forwards is just a mish-mash of players who are not up to snuff, and that includes Gordon.

The powers that be need to wake up and smell the coffee come January 1st; otherwise, we could find ourselves in a lower-table battle again.

Jim Bennings
8 Posted 17/10/2022 at 12:32:52
We need a centre forward, we knew that in summer, even if DCL was not injured this past year, we still needed a forward.

We could have took a punt on Brereton Diaz who I think would have suited the way we play more than Maupay does.

Maupay was used to Graham Potter football, quick tidy incisive passes around the box with teammates supporting him but here all we have is wingers trying to cross the ball to his head, the lad is about 5'8 for Christ sake.

I still don't trust Calvert-Lewin's fitness if I'm honest and it will surprise me if we can keep him on the pitch the rest of the season consistently.

I think people have this idea that as soon as Calvert-Lewin is back we are going to be scoring goals but it won't really happen like that.

We also miss a creative source in the middle of the park, dare I say James Rodriguez or Gylfi Sigurdsson.

Iwobi has excelled and his game is mostly about high energy but he needs some help in there, as Iwobi himself doesn't possess outstanding numbers in goals or assists.

Danny Broderick
9 Posted 17/10/2022 at 13:10:39
Rob (5) has it right…

Whether you like it or not, we have to play this way whenever we play away from home against the Top 6/7 sides who are plainly better than us.

The game plan was spot on. We should have been winning at half-time, but hadn't taken our chances. The concern was the way we played after the penalty – we never looked like getting back into it. No belief or quality going forward.

After Newcastle, which will be another tough game, we have 4 or 5 winnable games. Hopefully we have got some of the tougher games out of the way and our results will improve…

Jim Bennings
10 Posted 17/10/2022 at 13:25:23
It's sad that this time last year, Newcastle looked doomed to relegation but a takeover (without mega money spent so far) and a very shrewd appointment in Eddie Howe, now has us heading there with us behaving like they are Real Madrid.

How did / do Everton keep on getting it all so bloody wrong?

Neil Cremin
11 Posted 17/10/2022 at 14:00:51
Two comments:

Jim, when Eddie Howe (an Evertonian) was being suggested by some, most of TW were up in arms about lack of ambition. I also suggested Potter many years ago and got the usual wizard jokes.

We need a football man to tighten up defence and then start teaching our players to look up when we get a possession, especially near goal.

IMO, Maupay could have been MotM on Saturday with two tap-in goals had Gray and Onana looked up to see that Maupay had busted a gut to get in position to take a pass inside for a tap-in.

All our forwards are too selfish, running like headless chickens often down dead ends. Sometimes they get through and it looks great but, more often than not, they are dispossessed or shoot wildly. A little bit of composure and more faith in Maupay as a finisher could yield dividends.

Frank is a work in progress, so give him time to start building more belief in the squad.

Danny O’Neill
12 Posted 17/10/2022 at 14:15:36
Not having that Real Madrid comparison, Jim. They are Newcastle. Slightly more successful than Tottenham in terms of league titles and have built some big stands. Fair credit and they might do a Man City, but let's see.

Let's see how the Howe experiment pans out, Neil. I can't help thinking it's their equivalent of the Man City - Mark Hughes thing. If they're serious, they'll move on to bigger and better as soon as available. If not, they'll stay where they are.

And Neil, absolutely on the tap-ins. Had those players lifted their heads and had awareness about them, we're 2 goals to the good.

Let's go and get the points on Wednesday and sing bitter twisted and proud – even those who suffer from vertigo and struggle to see too far these days.

Raymond Fox
13 Posted 17/10/2022 at 14:20:26
The Top 6 are there because their squads have more natural ability than the rest of the teams.

Okay, that's simplistic and subjective but basically true, throw in that they can also attract the best managers and the rest of us have a mountain to climb.

The reality now is that you can't do a Man City or a Chelsea and buy yourself into the Top 4, so what's left?

There need to be changes to make the Premier League a fairer competition, but that's the crunch — just how you do that successfully, I wouldn't know.

That's probably a pipe-dream that won't happen in any case… but something needs to change.

If it can't be done, I fail to see how their stranglehold on the competition will be broken.

Christopher Timmins
14 Posted 17/10/2022 at 14:22:38

Composure and a lack thereof cost us in the first half, unfortunately. I am not certain if that quality is something that Gray will ever acquire.

I am looking forward to Wednesday and a positive result. I don't see the need to make wholesale changes from the starting 11 on Saturday, maybe Gordon for McNeil. More minutes for Calvert-Lewin and Garner.

I still think we are a lot better than last season and our points tally at the end of the season will bear this out.

Mike Gaynes
15 Posted 17/10/2022 at 14:40:28
Neil and Danny,

Onana is a defensive midfielder who probably gets one run in on goal a year, if that. To expect him to have composure in the situation is a little unrealistic in my opinion. If he'd scored, I'd have been very surprised. If he'd made the pass, I'd have been absolutely shocked.

Gray is another story. A veteran forward in that situation should do much, much better. But he is what he is.

Kevin Molloy
16 Posted 17/10/2022 at 14:48:40
I didn't watch the game, but a not unexpected result.

We are better than last season, much better. We will score enough goals to stay up once Calvert-Lewin is fit. I thought the two chances were well created, showing the athleticism which is now in the team.

Unlike a lot, I really like Gray. He's a real threat to any team, even one as defensively well-drilled as Spurs. We are lucky to have him. And Onana showed tremendous physical strength and speed to even be where he was when it just went over the bar. All good.

I'm surprised there is such rending of garments; we were absolutely terrible last season… Now, we are losing narrowly to Spurs on their own pitch – that is real progress; our defence and midfield are a thousand times better.

We'll be fine.

Neil Cremin
17 Posted 17/10/2022 at 14:53:20
Mike, I respect your point... but: 😀

Without meaning to be a smartass, but for me a defensive midfielder's job is to win the ball, break up play, and then look up for a pass and distribute it to launch an attack.

In the Premier League, the midfield area would be much more congested and require quick thinking. The only mitigation I would accept is that Maupay didn't call for the pass.

My point is that the next piece of the team-building jigsaw is to convert chances by looking at the best option and cut out the selfishness in our forwards (all are guilty, so it should be a coaching issue).

I know Tom got stick against Man Utd last season and he is a midfielder, so it doesn't always work but our forwards are always looking for the spectacular goal rather than the simple one. If Calvert-Lewin was there, we would have had the same outcome because of no lay off.

I know it's easy watching from the proverbial ditch but these guys are Premier League footballers – not Sunday league players.

James Hughes
18 Posted 17/10/2022 at 14:53:57
Jim - How did/do Everton keep on getting it all so bloody wrong?

Well we signed Koeman & Walsh who lost the paddle and we floated into Shit Creek.

No-one has been prepared to paddle using their hands until recently

Mike Gaynes
19 Posted 17/10/2022 at 15:12:05
Kevin #16, amen... but why didn't you watch the game??

Neil, I would just say that composure in front of goal is a rare talent, one of the most difficult to find even in top professionals.

As for Onana, he is by no means a distributor in my view. When he wins the ball, he passes immediately to whoever is open in front of him. He does it with touch and accuracy.

However, I've never yet seen him lift his head and look around before passing. (That will come with time, games and coaching.)

As I said, if he'd been able to do that while busting in on the goal at top speed, while trying to control a bobbling ball and find the target at the same time, I'd have been totally stunned.

Matthew Williams
20 Posted 17/10/2022 at 16:08:25
To me, we seem to go into every game with a European away game mentally:

We play with one up front, we pack central midfield with defensive players, soak up a tonne of pressure, and try to hit teams on the break.

Sadly, it all means that goals will be few and far away for us and our backs will be overworked game after game, while star strikers will be itching to play against us.

Steavey Buckley
21 Posted 17/10/2022 at 16:26:07
Everton keep signing defensive-minded players, that's why Everton don't score enough goals. But not signing a couple of strikers in the summer has made matters worse.
Dale Self
22 Posted 17/10/2022 at 16:59:12
The other thread looks like the live forum/postgame moan thing so let me whine a bit on this one.

Can someone explain to me, a retard, why Frank put Iwobi on the right in a flat three across midfield since McNeil and Gray were coming back on the sides? This was totally unneeded since Iwobi is fast enough to track back and was our only chance at making McNeil productive on the other side of the pitch. I don't think it would have made a difference with Gray since he was rarely looking back except when well blanketed by a fullback. Gana could have covered on the right if that's what it was about and relieved Gana of distribution for which he has no confidence right now.

We could have gone 4-5-1 with Iwobi as deep as needed and capable of pushing forward to possibly release Gray or at least 1-2 with McNeil until he could get separation for a delivery or Iwobi uses their reaction to lose the coverage. And why the fuck take Maupay off to bring on Rondon, seriously WTF?

Spurs were settling for shitty shots and we could have switched up any time and it was obviously needed. Frank put two forwards in situations they are not suited for and couldn't even figure out that he had the solution on the pitch. I'll stop there out of respect for the resurrection of some players' form under Frank but continued shoegaze decision making will undo that progress if he doesn't come up with better.

Jerome Shields
23 Posted 17/10/2022 at 18:14:12

A good reflection of the game. It is a never-ending requirement for better forward play at Everton. But the style of Everton's play lives and dies in the midfield and, under Lampard, support and pressing are a forward's lot.

Only when midfield support is evident is an attack serious. It is adjusting to this that Everton forwards find difficult, not being about to adapt positions and forward runs with the correct timing. Forwards coming in would have the same problem. So getting the – according to fans – 'Saviour' forward is not so simple.

There was good play by Everton in this game, only to be undone by individual errors – now an Everton trait that needs more work than anything else.

Paul Kernot
24 Posted 17/10/2022 at 23:15:29
Patterson and Townsend are really the only two who can and do deliver a telling ball into the box reasonably consistently. Both are injured.

Gray can do it superbly but only from a set-piece. Iwobi can and does now and then if we play him in his preferred position and even then, if his fellow midfielders have time and vision to give it to him at the right time.

Get Dom back consistently and get Patterson and Townsend feeding him, maybe McNeil on the other side, and things will change. Until then, the manager can only do his best with who he has available.

Steve Brown
25 Posted 18/10/2022 at 02:14:40
Given the lack of creativity in our attacking play, I wonder if Lampard shouldn't look at bringing Garner into midfield at some point and moving Iwobi forward into a central attacking midfield role behind Maupay or Calvert-Lewin.

It would require a change in formation, but any combination of Gray, Gordon and McNeil is a bit one-dimensional and relatively easy to combat. Plus they rarely score, while Iwobi looks like he has goals in him.

Danny O’Neill
26 Posted 18/10/2022 at 08:22:56
Paul Kernot, you bring out a good point. Gray can deliver from set-pieces. We've seen that happen.

Townsend is an underrated player who probably never hit the heights he could have done, for whatever reason. That goal against Burnley sums up what you say about his ability for a long-range strike if he finds space.

Brian Harrison
27 Posted 18/10/2022 at 09:19:59
I think that the games that are left before the World Cup starts will be the most important games for Everton and Lampard.

We have seen over the last few months that certain groups have been linked to either taking over at Everton or investing in the new stadium build. Now if we are to believe Moshiri, Everton is not for sale and he is just exploring the possibility of some new finances for the stadium cost.

Well, whether he is looking to sell or just attract new investment, it is abundantly clear that he is unable or unwilling to finance the new stadium cost himself. So new owners or new investors will want to know that the club will still be in the Premier League when the new stadium is built, as the chance of attracting the sort of money needed if the club is outside the Premier League is just not feasible.

So anything that endangers that will have alarm bells ringing and I am sure Moshiri will do whatever it takes to make sure that doesn't happen.

I suspect that, if we are in or near the drop zone prior to the World Cup starting, then I could see him changing the manager yet again. I think we are all fed up of the constant changing of managers every 18 months as it doesn't work.

I think the majority of fans like Lampard as a bloke and, unlike some of his predecessors, he has great empathy for the fans and the club. But none of that will protect him from the sack if we look like being in another relegation season.

So, as I say, the next 6 or so games are massive for Frank and Everton.

Tony Everan
28 Posted 18/10/2022 at 10:17:08
Brian, Martinez was approached for the job before Lampard and it sounded like he wasn't against the idea. Belgium laughed at the notion of job sharing with them.

It was a ridiculous idea. But it shows the way the board was thinking back then. With him likely free from December onwards they'd likely be courting him again.

I think you are right about the games leading up to the World Cup being make or break for Frank. With Calvert-Lewin back and a better run of matches, I have got confidence that we will be much better.

I think it will be made a lot easier for him if Calvert-Lewin can stay fit for this period. An important caveat: as well as finding something near top form – and that's not a shoo-in after so long out.

Brian Harrison
29 Posted 18/10/2022 at 11:54:56
Tony @28,

I think we all hope that Frank can keep Calvert-Lewin fit and the results improve.

I see the papers this morning are suggesting that Villa might move for Pochettino if results don't improve quickly. I think many owners worried about possible relegation will think the 4/5 week break during the World Cup is the perfect time to replace a manager under threat.

Let's face it, the teams that are struggling won't have many players away at the World Cup so it gives the new manager time to asses his squad over a 4-week period and that will allow him time to see where he needs to strengthen when the window opens a week or two after the World Cup has finished.

Justin Doone
30 Posted 18/10/2022 at 18:20:31
I'm happy that, for every away game, our game plan should be not to lose. Stay deep, compact and frustrate the home team. We played it pretty well until we conceded.

Why, because we don't have the players to go toe to toe. We still have slow centre-backs that are a liability when playing a high line.

I would not have changed anything for 10 minutes after conceding, staying in our own half and let them keep the ball. This would have ensured Spurs own fans got on their own player's backs for not playing forward because their manager is negative.

Then, if nothing changed, we press as a team, bring in a midfielder for Maupay and continue to frustrate.
10 mins left, happy to go Route 1 pushing Dom, Ron, Onana forward.

I disagree with some of the above. If a player is running full tilt in the box, he has to shoot. I would not trust them to pass to a team mate accurately enough.

I also don't think we cross the ball enough. For me every time we have the ball out wide I want a cross into the penalty spot and I want 4 or 5 players gambling to get into the box.

McNeil can cross from open play, Patterson too. Everyone else is a 1 in 3 or worse.

Agree our next 5 games are crucial. 10 points from 10 games is once again relegation battle form.

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