After 10 games in the Premier League we have now reached the end of the First Quarter in Season 2023-24. 

Still plenty of football to be played but I think a few things are becoming clear.  Some good, some bad.  Here’s a few observations.

League Position

The table has us in 15th place on 10 points. However, with 3 wins in the past 5 games, we are building momentum. Only teams in the Top 8 are in form this good.  So it seems fair to expect this will extrapolate to more than 40 points over a 38-game season – perhaps about 45-ish points.

There’s already a bit of distance between us and the three promoted sides (anyone still wanting to replace Sean Dyche with Vincent Kompany now?) and Bournemouth (our closest match, player for player).  We should be confident that distance will grow, which means we won’t be relegated despite the gloom merchants who (a) have an irrational hatred of Dyche, and / or (b) refuse to acknowledge the good early-season performances because of the crap results.

I predicted a 13th-place finish at the start of the season which still looks about right to me.  Obviously, a bit crap but I think that would represent over-performance for a team with about the 15th best squad (not just First XI) on paper.

We could even finish in the Top 10 but it will take luck with injuries (something we can’t control) and plenty of heart and hard work (something we can control).

Cups Competitions

Not much to say other than we’re still in both cups and Dyche appears to take them seriously.  It’s not often we can say that at this stage of the season. With a bit of luck, we can have a decent cup run.  It would be absolutely brilliant to win a cup. The club (and me) would get a huge lift.

First XI

Finally, a clear First XI is emerging with square pegs in square holes.  It’s a fairly consistent 4-4-1-1 / 4-5-1 / 4-3-3 variant which suits the players at our disposal. 

The clear structure, consistent personnel and sensible tactics (more below) mean that young players are developing and improving.  It also means that partnerships are emerging across the pitch for the first time in ages.  Consequently, we’re becoming a “more than the sum of its parts” team.

We’re also seeing some (albeit still patchy) outstanding individual performances from Branthwaite, Mykolenko, Onana, Garner and Calvert-Lewin. This time last season, it was only Pickford at this sort of level and maybe McNeil (and all too briefly Mina).

A special shout-out to Sean Dyche too regarding Dominic Calvert-Lewin, making sure the player was in proper physical condition before returning him to the starting line-up.

Unfortunately, there’s not much depth beyond that First XI – although the likes of Beto, Chermiti and Danjuma (and, who knows – even someone like Godfrey) may yet make a telling contribution. 


Despite being labelled a dinosaur by some (largely down to having the temerity to have once over-achieved with penniless Burnley), Dyche is astute tactically – and the well-organised, low-possession, counter-attacking system makes sense for a developing side carrying a few limited players. 

However, this poses some problems.  Christopher Timmins wisely noted in a thread that we are “top 10 without the ball; bottom 10 with the ball”. 

Whilst we can work on that and are improving, I think the lack of quality in key positions will mean we’re going to look a bit rubbish:

·       When the opposition scores first, and can then sit back a bit;

·       At home against other mediocre teams who play us at our own game; and

·       Against quality teams, like Arsenal, who did a job on us by adapting their tactics to nullify ours.

This means home form in particular might be extremely infuriating. Because of our lack of quality, Dyche is going to struggle to find an answer to this.  This will get mistaken for tactical inadequacy with calls for the new flavour of the month manager (or the likes of Potter or Lopetegui) to step in to replace our "dinosaur".

However, add prime Richarlison and Sigurdsson to this team and you’d see the difference. It’s not a case of shuffling between formations or swapping one limited player for another. What we really need is better players and more of them. 


Unfortunately, it looks like we might have to get through the season with more or less what we have now. The financial issues mean we probably can’t afford to buy in January. The youth academy shows no sign of producing a quality youngster ready for the first team and (very sadly) it looks like Dele Alli is not (for a variety of reasons) going to rebuild his career (and his life) with us.

This means that injuries and possibly Afcon could really hurt. It might be that, more than anything else, which holds us back this season.  If Dyche could be given funds for just two £25M players (peanuts these days), I think we would be pushing Top 8.

Reader Comments (45)

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Tony Everan
1 Posted 30/10/2023 at 20:11:51
It is now the biggest issue for Dyche to deal with. Finding a way to be effective in home games against mediocre, and let’s be truthful poor, teams , when the onus is on us to have the guile and creativity to break them down.

How do we solve this with the players we have? It’s often seen as sacrilege to change a winning side, but maybe it is necessary to get the home wins?

I’m not sure because it would mean swapping Doucoure for a creative no10 Odegaard, Madison, Gibbs-White, Sigurdsson. This is a player we don’t have, and a player that Thelwell is probably looking for.

I’ve toyed with he idea of dropping Doucoure bringing Gana into the midfield and playing Garner in the no10 position. He gets into the box and has a good shot, also a creative instinct. Not really his role though so not convinced enough.

Another angle at home is working on getting our full backs overlapping. Getting better more dangerous crosses in from behind the opposition defender. Much more difficult to defend against and much better supply to Calvert-Lewin. I think with the players at our disposal this is currently the key to breaking down teams and changing our fortunes at home.

Thanks for the article Robert, a very fair appraisal.

Paul Kernot
2 Posted 30/10/2023 at 20:27:43
Tony #1.

Your comment regarding overlapping backs is very valid. Even one of them and I think our right-back has enough about him going forward if he were given license to. Keeping the defence solid enough to cover him would then be a key of course.

Dave Abrahams
3 Posted 30/10/2023 at 20:35:34
Paul (2),

Patterson has provided one assist v Sheffield Utd and against Bournemouth, in a brief cameo, put two good crosses along the 6-yard line which were not attacked by the strikers.

He will improve the more he plays with Harrison who is experienced enough to drop back when Patterson attacks the opposition defence.

Danny O’Neill
4 Posted 30/10/2023 at 21:23:46
I'm still struggling to come down after yesterday, Robert.

We may not be much better, but even when we lose, aside from Villa in the league, the results are close. You are talking one or two goals, not a thrashing.

We don't collapse easily and have a lot more resilience about us.

Mick Davies
5 Posted 30/10/2023 at 21:38:21
One type of person that gets right up my nasal passage is an "I told you so".

When things start working out, they shout the loudest. If they're proven wrong, it's all quiet. Such confrontational language in an article is unwarranted, especially after the decades of pure crap us Evertonians have endured; so please leave it until later in the season before you start as your prediction could be premature.

You just want to hope Dyche listens to the fans and doesn't keep picking his mates Young and Keane.

Dennis Stevens
6 Posted 30/10/2023 at 21:57:34
Interesting assessment, Robert. I'm glad that Dyche has moved Garner more centrally – does this mean he's realised that Onana & Gueye just don't seem to make for a very good midfield combination, but either of them probably work better when paired with Garner?

I'm hoping the likes of Beto, Danjuma & Chermiti will offer more as the season progresses, but I'm rather concerned about our lack of decent defensive & midfield cover. We do look a bit thin outside of the first XI. I hope they can all stay fit right through to Wembley in May!

Paul Birmingham
7 Posted 30/10/2023 at 22:34:18
Thanks Robert for a very honest appraisal.

I reckon, there's a good chance of a Top 10 finish, with luck staying free from injuries. A good feeling, and sense of 1983, to me, but year on year, the squad is in a different place, and their mentality has changed.

A long way to go, but starting v Burnley and to get a head of steam going for Brighton.

In adversity we often become stronger, and believe, and I think all Evertonians, have this in their DNA, and Sean Dyche and his Team, deserve credit for this transformation of the first team squad.


Alan J Thompson
8 Posted 31/10/2023 at 06:00:14
For me it is the change in midfield that has us looking better which is again seen in the improvement up front. By playing Garner and Onana together in the middle we seem to have two players who move into space to receive a pass whereas Gana seems rarely to move to receive a forward pass or make one. Doucoure seems as ever but the space made by the other two seems to also allow him time and space albeit he doesn't always make the best use of it. Add to this two wide players in McNeil and Harrison with McNeil frequently moving inside and a return to form of DC-L. Once we get Patterson regularly moving forward we might see Mykolenko have more options as to me he seems to look before crossing and doesn't if he doesn't see a good option then holds back so he looks indecisive.

As for the Manager, I've said before I wasn't enamoured of his appointment but he deserved the chance to continue after his efforts in avoiding relegation but I am sometimes disappointed that we seem to be trying to be difficult to beat rather than trying to win, or as somebody put last week's game, we out-Moysed Moyes.

As for the next transfer window, it might be sometime before we have funds, regardless of an Independent Commission's findings, unless we sell first which I can only hope would not be our better players but who else could raise the funds we might need. Sell our best to buy someone better than those not quite up to it? As we all know that would not be this Manager's fault.

Robert Tressell
9 Posted 31/10/2023 at 06:50:39
Young, Keane and Gueye were presumably all valued for their experience early on – but we seem to have moved past that now (with Dyche's hand finally forced by Young's injury).

Probably took too long in retrospect – but maybe the concern was Branthwaite, Patterson, Onana and Garner might crumble if played together. I expect they will have their ups and downs. But it's good to see them showing some personality as well as ability.

I could have mentioned set pieces and subs which seem to be a bugbear still. I just haven't thought too deeply about it although quite a few posters have noted issues here.

The next big thing will be getting McNeil and Harrison properly fit and sharp, and linking up with the full backs.

Laurie Hartley
10 Posted 31/10/2023 at 07:01:24
Good thought-provoking article, Robert. For home games, I think we have to get Danjuma involved. He has good ball control and goals in him. I think he might be the player you are looking for, Tony @1.

That would mean Doucouré or McNeil being rotated with him but I suppose that is what squads are for.

Tony Abrahams
11 Posted 31/10/2023 at 07:36:17
I hope you are correct with regards Keane and Young, Robert, but you know what these football managers are like when it comes to playing experience over talent.

I’d definitely prefer to see the younger players make their mistakes but grow, because this will hopefully be a season which should see us gradually moving away from the relegation places and possibly even cementing us as a mid table side, so why not let the younger players learn?

I’d still like to see how Doucoure could do playing on the right, meaning Harrison would switch to the left, but only because I think McNeil, might have a lot more to offer, if we could get him to play more centrally?

Ajay Gopal
12 Posted 31/10/2023 at 09:12:50
Nice article, Robert, thank you.

We got to remember that for the first few games, we had Maupay as our lone striker, and that was the reason we were unable to convert chances and resulted in a meagre points return.

Once we got McNeil, then Calvert-Lewin and Harrison fit, we have started to look quite potent.

One thing that concerns me is the lack of time for our substitutes to come in and make a difference, but I suppose Dyche's priority is now to get some points on the board and get the first XI stable and comfortable with each other.

He may then start giving some more game time to the likes of Beto, Chermiti, Danjuma, Dobbin. If Thelwell can pull off getting Philips in from Man City, that would really help the squad.

We also need to offload Godfrey and Keane (or at least one of them) in the January transfer window and bring in one or two dependable centre-backs who could be reliable backups to Banthwaite and Tarkowski. But Rome wasn't built in a day, and we need to be patient in building up the squad.

I am still hopeful that Dyche can work his magic on Dele Alli – like he did with Calvert-Lewin – and we can start seeing the Dele of old. I suspect that Thelwell is doing some quiet back-room work to try and renegotiate the terms of Dele's contract.

Rob Dolby
13 Posted 31/10/2023 at 09:27:31
The big difference is the fitness of Calvert-Lewin. Without him, the team would be in a mess home and away.

A fit Calvert-Lewin in the team and we win against Fulham and Wolves. He was the difference at the weekend.

Dyche has his hands tied with the squad we have but it is his job to get a tune out of players. Mykolenko has stepped up, Branthwaite is one of the first names on the team sheet. Garner has forced his way in.

I would give us a D for the first quarter results. We had easy games on paper which we blew.

Moshiri averages a manager every 18 months so Dyche has until the end of the season before being replaced regardless of results.

If 777 Partners take over, his days could be up even sooner.

We are a basket-case off the pitch with Dyche holding things together on it.

Kim Vivian
14 Posted 31/10/2023 at 09:29:39
Now that we are actually starting to put points on the board – however fine the margins be – I'm starting to feel a fair bit more relaxed about the prospects for this season and onwards.

Had we been a little less wasteful and those fine margins not gone against us vs Luton and Sheffield Utd, we'd be up around 8th/9th in the table now.

Factor in also, say, a point from Wolves and the picture would be quite rosy. A more realistic reflection of our ability in my opinion – I do think we have been punching below our weight.

Christopher Timmins
15 Posted 31/10/2023 at 09:42:20
Robert, you (like I) predicted a 45+ points season and the last month has given us some cautious reasons to believe that might now be an achievable target.

Rome was not built in a day but with solid foundations being created we may see a more attractive way of playing in the years ahead, it will be years rather months though I suspect.

Hopefully, in 2 years time we will have cleared out the remaining deadwood, moved into our new stadium, and be giving out about a mid-table finish.

Barry Rathbone
16 Posted 31/10/2023 at 10:08:33
Doing very well given the circumstances.

Despite a possible points deduction, Moshiri doing a Moshiri with his 777 appointees and the passing of Kenwright leaving a rudderless ship, the playing and coaching staff seem pretty happy and focussed.

A genuine first team has emerged with players who can play and we're going in the right direction. It's just a matter of fans keeping their nerve when results go against as they surely will. Dyche has done a great job given what he found here.

Sam Hoare
17 Posted 31/10/2023 at 10:40:37
Good piece Robert. Frustrating to think that if we'd got Beto in earlier or DCL had been a month or two ahead in his rehab we might well be sat on 15 or 16 points or more (xG has us on 15.85 which would see us 8th in the table).

I agree that 13th would be a good result for us this season given how close we've been to the drop the last 2 years. And I think we look on course for something like that. Much will depend on injuries but Dyche continues to do a good job in my eyes and Thelwell also deserves credit for managing to significantly improve this squad whilst only paying £3m up front.

Branthwaite has exceeded even my quite lofty expectations and will presumably drop off at some point. I wonder what moves we're planning for January, by which time we will presumably know what our punishment for FFP is and whether the 777 takeover is fully viable or not.

David Ellis
18 Posted 31/10/2023 at 10:49:17
Good OP but not sure I understand the reference to worrying about Afcon. None of our first XI is African. Gana is the only one in the whole squad I think?
Stu Darlington
19 Posted 31/10/2023 at 11:14:44
Definitely vibes are much more positive than at the same stage last season.

We need to solve the problem of winning games at home pretty quickly. I'm hoping that persevering with Onana and Garner more centrally and seeing Harrison settle more into the side will give us the necessary skills and pace to break sides down.

Of course that means both fullbacks getting forward more often confident they have cover behind them.

I'm not sure where Godfrey fits into the equation because I literally wouldn't know where to play him. What is his best position? He is a good athlete when fit, but his positional play can leave a lot to be desired. I'd be looking to move him on in January.

I'm not going to make any predictions after only 10 games but I think we have a good enough squad to finish mid-tableish, providing we don't suffer any major meltdowns or injuries.

My major concern for the club's future is our financial situation. We are in a dire situation, more so than many fans I talk to realise I think. These dubious American “investors” I use the term advisedly! — are not the answer in my opinion. They don't have the money or the right business plan for the club. I wouldn't trust them as far as I could kick them.

Barry Hesketh
20 Posted 31/10/2023 at 11:50:22
Stu @19,

Weirdly we have the same number of points from ten matches, this season, as we did last season. From that point on, despite beating Palace, the wheels started to fall off.

Hopefully, that won't happen this time around.

Robert Tressell
21 Posted 31/10/2023 at 12:21:07
Dave #18, Doucoure will play for Mali I think.

I suppose being optimistic, I might have ruled out Dele Alli a bit prematurely. Dyche has done well getting Calvert-Lewin into good shape.

I struggle to get my head around Alli playing for us again but what do I know? I've no inside information etc. So maybe? How incredible would that be to suddenly have a player of that calibre available?

Dale Self
22 Posted 31/10/2023 at 12:42:01
Mick, I read through the OP and could not find that quote anywhere.

I'm all for decorum but shouting down a constructive take that was originally ridiculed by some of your negative mates who now claim sensitivity to this article's tone is preposterous. Get your shinpads on, the season just started.

Jay Harris
23 Posted 31/10/2023 at 13:54:35
Good thought-provoking article, Robert.

There has undoubtedly been a marked improvement in our general play under Dyche and in the absence of a goalscorer our results remained poor.

But with the addition of Harrison and the return of Calvert-Lewin, we have looked slightly more potent – especially in the use of Doucouré breaking forward.

Before the disastrous start to the season, I predicted around 52 points so I am in agreement with your 45-point prediction.

However, games are tight and the margins are fine so results really are unpredictable this season as some of the big guns have already found out.

Let's see how we do against Burnley and Brighton and that will give us a better indicator of how this season will pan out – ignoring financial issues and points deduction possibilities of course.

Stephen Vincent
24 Posted 31/10/2023 at 14:00:47
Robert #21, It seems as though he has already turned his back on Mali.

Mali: Has Abdoulaye Doucouré already turned the page on the Eagles?

John Gall
25 Posted 31/10/2023 at 14:43:27
An interesting, forensic analysis, though I'm mystified how the identification of these flaws still leads to a positive overall assessment.

In all the following situations, Robert acknowledges we "look a bit rubbish":

1) When the opposition scores first, and can then sit back a bit.

2) At home against other mediocre teams who play us at our own game.

3) Against quality teams, like Arsenal, who did a job on us by adapting their tactics to nullify ours.

That's a lot of scenarios where we look crap!

I fear Dyche is too cautious and incapable of crafting teams with energy, flair and spirit. Burnley is his spiritual home – the gutsy underdog – which is, at best, all he is capable of turning Everton into.

Christ, I so hope I'm wrong but I see too many games on the horizon where we are incapable of keeping possession and creating chances. A few decent results recently has sent us all a bit giddy with excitement – the thirsty man in the desert imagining an oasis.

Dale Self
26 Posted 31/10/2023 at 14:54:56
I think much of the “air” under the happy clappers’ wings is about the resolved uncertainty on style and the clear evidence that we can turnover a squad without risk now. Admittedly, it is air for now but think of it as the kind of air that supports and indoor tennis court. The support is not really visible but is obviously ascertainable. This air is the air of confidence and belief in a system that gives some players a chance to get back some lost time in the football netherworld.

Again, while we are still at a numerical place where some valid references can be offered to question this progress, the cost of getting to this place and initial returns in investment make a decent case. It might be good to focus on football not character or past argument positions as the project continues.

Robert Tressell
27 Posted 31/10/2023 at 16:18:07
Stephen #24, that's very good news about Doucouré.

John #25, I think the positivity is because, after a really awful few seasons, there aren't even more flaws. There will be plenty of games ahead where we can't control possession or create chances unfortunately. But that's not really Dyche, that's the quality of the players unfortunately.

You want better; then you need about £300M or so to spend on players (which would help us catch up with Villa).

John Raftery
28 Posted 31/10/2023 at 17:42:08
Thanks, Robert, for a well-balanced assessment. We have had too many false dawns for anyone to be too excited at this stage. I do believe however Sean Dyche is building sound foundations for the future.

In particular, I like the way he has prioritised making the team solid. That was always a priority for all three of our trophy-winning managers since the Second World War.

There will obviously be many challenges and blips ahead. In those periods, it will be important for the club, owners and fans alike, to keep faith with a manager who seems to know what he is doing.

Dupont Koo
29 Posted 31/10/2023 at 01:33:39

Thanks as always for your measured assessment. My biggest concern with Dyche so far this season was his blind-faith on Ashley Young (his legs are gone to such an extent that even his free-kick prowess is now affected) and Michael Keane (Dyche should see by now, like most of us did, of Keane's regression into a Championship-calibre player). Glad that Young's suspension & Keane's struggles enabled Jarrad and Patto to come out of Dyche's dog-house.


Agreed with your point that we lack proper cover on defense. We aren't, however, going to get anything meaningful done on that end until the salaries of Keane, Holgate & Godfrey are off our books (Rejoice! We are 19 months away from having their reportedly collective salary of £‎230K/week off our books! Start the countdown!).

While I would gladly book an out-of-town Uber for Keane & Holgate right away if there are clubs willing to take most of, if not all of, their salaries off our hands before June 2025, I'm terribly sad that the injuries might have taken away almost all of Godfrey's pace that he based his game upon.

Fingers crossed that we are going to see more of Beto, Danjuma & Chermiti later in the season. Beto & Danjuma have proved that they can contribute in the right circumstances and I am not selling my stocks on Danjuma and the Calvert-Lewin - Beto partnerships yet! (FYI: My Arsenal-supporting brother and a large number of his fellow Gooners would gladly take Danjuma off our hands in a nano-second.)

Alan @8:

Just seeing Onana taking the ball from Tarkowski Branthwaite, turning towards the opposition goal, and carrying the ball upfield past the centre circle in the past 2 games were absolutely delightful to say the least: no more passing sideways by Gana!

Stan Grace
30 Posted 01/11/2023 at 08:44:08
Jay #23,
"Let's see how we do against Burnley and Brighton and that will give us a better indicator of how this season will pan out." I admire your optimism.

As a fervent believer in the 'Everton that' mantra, I'd prefer to see how we do in the next 27 league games to give me a better indicator of how this season will pan out.

Jimmy Carr
31 Posted 01/11/2023 at 09:46:56
Good article - as you posted other concerns regarding Dyche are his use of substitutions, the occasional appearance of Michael Keane (sell him, please) and a certain inflexibility if we go behind.

But I've been slowly won around by his work and Thelwell's too by the way. There seems to be much common sense in Dyche's approach. Very little talk about footballing philosophy and such bollocks, and more emphasis on fitness, partnerships on the pitch and a professional mindset.

I would like to see Sean learn a bit from some of his mistakes and evolve a more attacking mindset at home. That will be a challenge for him.

The previous manager he reminds me of is David Moyes, so I'd be happy if he just got us to below that glass ceiling instead of constantly skating over the relegation trapdoor. I've not seen any comedic calls for Graham Potter recently so he must be doing something right. Stability is important right now.

Jim Lloyd
32 Posted 01/11/2023 at 12:30:49
Sadly, I don't think we could give Keane away, considering the wages he's on. Maybe if we sub the wages.
I think we're doing well. the team is blending together and we've got good players in the team and at least 3 excellent ones, and it's looking like Onana might well be turning into one.
I think both young full backs are coming on fine but, like Seamus before, it might take them a while to take on the role of overlapping full backs.
However, we've got two good wingers now, and 'm hoping that both wings now can form good partnerships between full back and wing. On purely looking at us since McNeil, Harrison, Calvert Lewin have come back from fitness; and Branthwaite comingh into the side like he's a seasoned international, we're looking a decent side. We've got Danzuma and Beto to choose from as well. And with a bit of luck Seamus will be back in the squad, sooner rather than later.
I don't know about Godfrey. When he first came, he played at right back on a number of occasions and looked good. In fact, I couldn't wait to see him at Centre half. But for whatever reason, he's not looking anything like the same lad.
Still we're doing well. A bit thin on the ground but doing well. I think plaudits are due to Dyche and Thelwell.
Mick Davies
33 Posted 01/11/2023 at 15:48:51
Dale; There’s already a bit of distance between us and the three promoted sides (anyone still wanting to replace Sean Dyche with Vincent Kompany now?) and Bournemouth (our closest match, player for player). We should be confident that distance will grow, which means we won’t be relegated despite the gloom merchants who (a) have an irrational hatred of Dyche, and / or (b) refuse to acknowledge the good early-season performances because of the crap results.

That is a confrontational stance, aimed at fans who weren't happy with the terrible start to the season. Most on TW were predicting a really strong start against our weak peers, but it seems Robert knew something we all didn't, and we had no need to worry. Wonderful thing hindsight - hope he can help with my fixed odds coupon this week (By the way, I am not in the 'Dyche out' brigade, but don't blame anyone who is)

Bill Hawker
34 Posted 01/11/2023 at 23:38:58
My only real issue with Dyche is that I feel he waits too long to get a sub on. Against West Ham, McNeil was absolutely gassed (and wasn't playing that well either) so that would have been a great time to get a fresh pair of legs on the pitch.

McNeil ended up playing the entire match. Not a great decision in my opinion in terms of risk and reward.

Jim Bennings
35 Posted 02/11/2023 at 14:25:07
So far it's been better than I expected I'll be honest.

I knew we had some decent performance levels in the first few home games but the lack of goals and results meant that I couldn't feel comfortable with it.

However I think the turning point was winning those back to back away trips to Brentford and Villa in the Carabao Cup.

I know we lost to Luton after that but the results seem to have taken a upturn since then and there seems to have been more belief more hard work since the likes of Harrison and Branthwaite have been in the side.

I'd look at the next two fixtures with a hope of getting 4 points from them and then on to a difficult December which will also no doubt shape our second half of the campaign.

In reality we should be looking at beating Fulham and making the Semi-Finals of the Carabao Cup in which the games will then take care of themselves.

January should see moves hopefully for the Gomes, Keane and possibly Godfrey with one or two incoming that can and will make a greater impact than the three above.

Jim Wilson
36 Posted 03/11/2023 at 22:28:44
Great article, Robert.

Big test tomorrow. It might give us a better idea on where we are.

But 5 wins in 7 looks impressive. If it hadn't been for the Luton blip, things would be looking very good.

Annika Herbert
37 Posted 05/11/2023 at 06:39:19
A good, informative read. Up until the prime Sigurdsson bit.
Mike Gaynes
38 Posted 05/11/2023 at 07:06:19
Righto, Annika.

With Sigurdsson, we never finished lower than 12th and were never threatened with relegation.

Without him, we finished 16th and 17th and stayed up at the last desperate breath.

But of course there's no connection at all. (eye roll)

Tony Everan
39 Posted 05/11/2023 at 08:08:37
Doucouré is a great player to have in the squad, but we are missing a Sigurdsson type No 10 who is more creative on the ball, can score goals, deliver more assists and has work rate too in effectively pressing.

Thelwell will be scouring the markets. By no means am I saying drop Doucouré for this player, but we need options to mix up our approach rather than be predictable. It's a player we need to progress and to make the squad stronger.

Jim Wilson
40 Posted 05/11/2023 at 21:58:56
Mike @ 38 - and with Barkley in the team we never finished lower than 11th.

It's a funny old game, isn't it!

Robert Tressell
41 Posted 05/11/2023 at 22:01:29
Vaguely related but Barkley did very well for Luton's goal today – just like old times.

Jim Wilson
42 Posted 05/11/2023 at 22:09:51
He did Robert. Barkley had tremendous potential, or should I say talent. It is hard to believe that the club backed Koeman instead of Barkley.

How we have managed some of our best homegrown talent is one of the reasons that has led us to where we are today in my opinion. But that's another tragic story.

Peter Moore
43 Posted 05/11/2023 at 23:04:34
Thanks, Robert,

Really good to read your largely upbeat and positive outlook. I share your optimism should we avoid being blighted again injury-wise.

If the decision on possible points deduction is imminent, I think whatever it is, we should take it on the chin and focus on making progress on the pitch. Rather that than the uncertainty of an appeal process dragging on.

More off-field distractions should be avoided for the purposes of clarity and focus. UTFT.

Jim Bennings
44 Posted 06/11/2023 at 06:30:14
Interesting debate on the Sigurdsson - Doucoure thing.

Two very different types of player; Sigurdsson far more comfortable with the ball at his feet and was more creative and more of a goalscorer.

Doucoure more a player that does things on quick instinct, almost like a Tim Cahill lite type player.

There's no doubt that we miss that type of player that Sigurdsson was, however, someone to score 7-10 goals a season and open things up more.

That has to be our next area to improve in my opinion.

Peter Moore
45 Posted 06/11/2023 at 11:31:37
With the form Doucoure is in since the start of the season, whilst not as stylish as Siggy, he is as effective in my opinion. A sledgehammer rather than a silk glove, but a smashing player to have on our side when fit and firing.
He has a more powerful burst of pace too, a very good weapon in today's game. Defenders must hate facing him. Bolsters the midfield and attack. Probably one of the first names on the team sheet I guess. A talisman for our rejuvenation under Dyche. Amazing turnaround considering his being frozen out by Frank Lampard, without explanation according to the player.

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