Everton 1 - 2 Luton Town

Prior to last weekend’s win at Brentford, Sean Dyche had challenged his players to “change the story” that has dogged Everton for the past couple of years. They may have temporarily tried to alter a paragraph or two by beating the Bees and emerging victorious from their revenge mission at Villa Park in midweek, but the wider narrative persists, particularly at Goodison Park where the Blues have lost all four of their home games so far this season.

They’ve lost seven of their last eight at home which, in the cold light of defeat, defies belief for a club of Everton’s stature and the calibre of players in its current squad. It's also a damning indictment of the manager. For all the Dyche’s talk of changing the story — he trafficked in the same phrase after the match today — it’s a tale so depressingly familiar to Everton fans that it’s been practically chiseled into the brickwork at Goodison Park in recent years.

Luton were coming off the back of a Carabao Cup defeat to lowly Exeter (albeit with an under-strength side) and were still searching for their first-ever Premier League win. Despite all the optimism engendered by back-to-back away wins in the space of four days, every Evertonian must have had a gnawing feeling about what was coming. They’ve seen it over and over again.

Searching for a first win in the big league? Come to Goodison. On a long, barren, winless run of results? Come to Goodison. A striker who’s not scored a goal in a couple of years? Come to Goodison. Far from the Grand Old Lady being a desired and required fortress, she has become a charity for the beleaguered in recent seasons — including, at times, her own team thanks to the support of its fans when the chips have been down and, perhaps, a long-lived ghost-like defiance of its heroes from the past that has hung around the place determined not to allow this grand old club sink into the obscurity of the EFL.

Maddeningly, for the first 20 minutes or so and at times later in the first half, Everton were actually pretty decent, with some neat interchanges, effective approach play and probing passes. Once again, though — and here’s that well-worn narrative again — they couldn’t convert that early dominance into goals and that was ultimately their undoing when they proved incapable of completing the comeback that Dominic Calvert-Lewin began when he plundered a goal late in the first half to make it 2-1.

Having failed to score in their opening three home games and not managed to score more than one at home at all under Dyche's stewardship so far, hauling themselves back from a two-goal deficit was always going to be a tall order, even against the side that was widely expected to end up with the worst record in the Premier League season. But Everton’s ineptitude was staggering at times as was the increasing lack of guile in their approach in the second half as Dyche threw on more and more attacking players, a strategy that proved singularly ineffective.

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Just as he did after the games against Fulham and Wolves, the manager will point, with some justification, to the chances his charges created and subsequently missed. He fell back on the xG crutch in his post-match comments and while it is one of the most annoying statistics in football given that the only one that matters is the final score, it does illustrate a certain attacking momentum, however sporadic, and proves that decent openings were created but not finished off. More importantly, though, attacking metrics mean nothing in terms of results and points if you can’t defend set-pieces in your own box.

Had Dwight McNeil’s stunning fourth-minute volley flashed a couple of feet further to the left, Calvert-Lewin’s rising header in the fifth been aimed either side of the goalkeeper, or James Garner’s left-foot shot five minutes after that curled inside the far post by the same margin, this could have been a very different game. Likewise, had the inviting 11th-minute opportunity that fell to Idrissa Gueye fallen to practically anyone else in the team, Everton might have taken an early lead.

As it was, the Senegalese miserably failed to hit the target and his midfield partner Amadou Onana will feel he could have done better with his own chance at the end of a lovely passage of play in which McNeil found Vitalii Mykolenko who back-heeled the ball smartly to the Belgian on the edge of the box but he swept the ball narrowly wide.

While plenty of ire has been aimed at Everton and their manager, credit should also go to Luton Town. Teams feel they can come to Goodison now, soak up the early pressure, grab a goal or two, see the home fans turn and then dig in and that is precisely what Rob Edwards’s men did.

Their determination to come and make a game of it had been evident in the early going with some powerful runs forward and Marvelous Nakamba tried an ambitious half-volley that failed to trouble Jordan Pickford. It was from set-pieces, however, where it was quickly evident they might find some joy, with Dyche’s defence struggling to deal with the dead-ball situations.

Tom Lockyer powered an uncontested header over in the 23rd minute and then bounced another off the top of Mykolenko’s head and over a minute later. Third time was a charm for the Hatters from the resulting corner, though, when Carlton Morris was left free to meet Alfie Doughty’s ball in and crash it off the underside of the crossbar.

Ashley Young took one touch and attempted to belt it off the goal line but Lockyer had thrown himself at it and the veteran’s clearance crashed off the Luton defender’s leg and in to make it 1-0 to the visitors.

Worse was to follow seven minutes later when Everton played themselves into needless trouble deep in their own half and James Tarkowski was penalised for chopping Morris down in a dangerous area. Doughty stepped up to take the resulting free-kick and picked Morris out behind the painfully unaware Mykolenko to steer an impressive first-time shot across Pickford and into the far corner.

Despite being somewhat shell-shocked, Everton responded and were at least able to get one back from the break but Dyche will be disappointed the game wasn’t level going into half-time.

Perhaps chastened by his earlier miss, Gueye passed up a decent chance to test Thomas Kaminski and instead screwed an aimless square ball to no one across the box. McNeil then whipped in an excellent cross that was met by Garner but the midfielder’s header thumped off the bar and back into play.

The hosts did score, albeit only after a lengthy review by Video Assistant Referee Paul Tierney as he forensically analysed two separate calls for potential offside. Garner’s measured chip into the six-yard box found Onana tussling with his marker to meet it, the ball broke to Abdoulaye Doucouré’s touch around the keeper’s out-stretched was too heavy but Calvert-Lewin did well to readjust his back leg enough to drag it over the line.

Needing his side to get back to parity quickly, Dyche made an uncharacteristically early substitution at the start of the second half that saw Gueye withdrawn and Jack Harrison thrown on for his Premier League debut. The loanee from Leeds was one of the brighter spots in a frustrating second period but even he wasn’t able to create a decisive opening for the Toffees.

Calvert-Lewin would see a decent effort deflected into Kaminski’s grateful grasp in the 51st minute, Tarkowski had to make a last-ditch block a minute later at the other end to prevent Chiedozie Ogbene from making it 3-1, Morris had a goal chalked off just past the hour mark for an offside decision against Jacob Brown and Garner got away with what looked handball in his own area shortly after that.

In between, Tarkowski’s sumptuous flighted ball had found Calvert-Lewin in the Hatters’ box but the striker’s volley flew across goal and the wrong side of the post and Harrison’s delivery for Beto, who had come on for Doucouré, left too tight an angle for the Portuguese at the back post and he could only find the side-netting.

Clear-cut openings were few and far between for the Blues as Luton frustrated them with the low block but Beto really should have equalised with 15 minutes to go when Harrison got above his man to meet a deep cross from the left and nodded it across for the striker but he headed it disappointingly over from a glorious position in front of goal.

Beto then stretched to try and convert Garner’s neat pass but couldn’t get his foot around it before Dyche made two further changes, taking Young off in favour of Nathan Patterson and then McNeil off for Arnaut Danjuma and it was the Dutchman who was found by another raking Tarkowski ball over the defence but his cushioned volleyed pass couldn’t find a Blue jersey in the centre.

Beto missed again with a header but was, in any case, clearly offside and the final chance to grab a point fell to Calvert-Lewin when Tarkowski clipped a ball down the right channel and the striker snatched at it, firing into the side-netting from the angle.

The final whistle blew to a chorus of boos that would have given plenty of food for thought for the three representatives from 777 Partners who had taken up the empty seats in the Directors Box to get their first look in person at what they hope will soon be their challenge.

They will have got a keen sense of the deep frustration of Everton fans who no doubt felt embarrassed for the optimism with which many of them had approached this game and the clash with another relegation rival in the form of Bournemouth at Goodison next weekend.

All of that goodwill towards the manager and players from the previous two away games will have evaporated on the back of what was another unforgivable home defeat, yet more criminal defending and an ongoing lack of cutting edge up front at home. Everton may have started well, as they so often do, but football is played over 90-plus minutes and, as a manager, you need to be able to adapt effectively when things don't go according to plan.

Dyche will need to very quickly show he can find the answers in both areas of the pitch and the boldness to ditch the safe midfield duo of Gueye and Onana at times, like against supposedly inferior opposition. Certainly, simply throwing balls up to two big strikers had little or no effect and Everton looked better in the early stages when they at least tried to play football, as they did at Brentford and Villa.

The consensus appears to be that there is little appetite to get rid of Dyche and neither anyone with sufficient authority nor the money to do it. The knives are out for him now, though and he simply has to get a result against the Cherries next weekend because things only get more challenging with trips to Anfield, the London Stadium and home games against Brighton and Manchester United in the weeks to come.

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Reader Comments (33)

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Jerome Shields
1 Posted 02/10/2023 at 07:06:37
It's all down to preparation. With a extra match during the week weaknesses in the training regime were exposed.Not helped by the Managers changes in the attacking structure.

The opposition cannot limit attacks, but they can reduce their effectiveness by channeling, pushing players out of position and allowing shots from awkward covered angles. Hence a goalkeeper can look like a Motm.

In the second half the opposition defensive line was allowed successfully to compact midfield resulting in no Everton shots on target.

Set peices were simply not worked on during the week.

As for Luton they put into affect the plan they had been working on all week No wonder having seen the Everton team, the Luton Manager told his players in the dressing room, we can win this game. There are loads of lower placed Premier League teams who have done just that.

It was as bad as it looked for the Manager and Finch Farm.

Danny O’Neill
2 Posted 02/10/2023 at 07:21:28
A fair assessment of the match Lyndon.

A different outcome if we convert our early chances. But once again, we didn't; a re-occurring theme. I became very frustrated with the increasing tactic to pump the ball up as the game went on.

I don't really know why a team that performed so well against Brentford and for most of the match against Villa can get stage fright at Goodison. Is it psychological? Is it weight of expectation to keep a run going and build momentum?

I have no explanation.

Go and beat Bournemouth before we head to our former ground.

Rennie Smith
3 Posted 02/10/2023 at 09:48:37
For me it's the same old story, they get to the final third and haven't got a clue. They switch the ball across the midfield, because they run out of ideas or are simply passing on responsibility. In the end, someone chips it hopefully into the corner where the standard floated cross comes in that either the keeper happily picks out of the air or it sails over the back post.

It's all so pedestrian it's easy to defend against, switching play is an attempt to pull a sitting defence out of shape, but when it's done so slowly and deliberately it's easy to handle. I don't know where it comes from but we need to be more dynamic, even a few simple triangles wouldn't go amiss. It looks like we've gone back to the fear of keeping a shape, playing the safest pass (which even that sometimes doesn't come off), getting rid of the ball because it won't be my fault when it all breaks down. I know Dyche will say shape and organisation makes you hard to beat, which I'm ok with, but when you're losing to Luton and need some inspiration players like Garner need to be given the chance to be more creative. He can talk all day long about taking chances, but as I remember, their keeper didn't have to make a save in the second half.

Kevin Naylor
4 Posted 02/10/2023 at 10:26:24
It's patently obvious from all bar Dyche that Gueye should now be benched for good and only used as a sub if we are trying to close out a game (a rarity I know). Beto although it's early days, is already looking like a dud so if DCLs injury issues reappear then we are going to struggle even more for goals. Get Harrison fit and starting along with Garner in the middle and we may just get some results, but we know there always seems a shit one round the corner and Bournemouth next looks all to familiar. Lose that and Dyche will have to go imo as 5 defeats on the trot at home is a stackable offence for any manager. Don't care who they replace him with as they surely couldn't be any worse.
Brian Harrison
5 Posted 02/10/2023 at 11:06:54

Usually you report games fairly without any bias towards any particular player, but in this report you say about Gueyes chance in the first half, that his partner Onana will feel he could have done better. You then go on to say that Dyche will have to be bolder in the coming games and not rely on the safe option of using Onana and Gueye. Seems you are suggesting we use the same midfield pairing that we used in the 2nd half which created nothing. Yet you even say in your report that we created a lot of chances in the first half. Regarding Onana feeling he could have done better with Gueyes chance, this is a man who has scored how many goals in the league since he has been here. He couldnt even convert a chance from a yard out and luckily it fell to DCL to score. Lutons 2nd goal was because Onana failed to control a ball played to him then ended on the floor trying to retrieve it and gave away the free kick that led to their goal.

Gueye is and always has been a defensive midfield player and not known for scoring goals so why Dyche wants him to play in such an advanced role is beyond me. I would suggest that if you want to make comparisons between Gueye and Onana and have a look who has made the most tackles and the most interceptions between them, I will give you a clue its not Onana. In fact Sky a couple of weeks back had Gueye in the top 3 of midfielders who made the most tackles and the most interceptions, so leave him in front of the back 4. Despite us playing with your preferred midfield pairing in the 2nd half we created nothing and our most creative player McNeil hardly had a touch 2nd half was that down to him or the ineptness of the midfield to control and create any openings.

Rob Jones
6 Posted 02/10/2023 at 11:49:53
Two problems:

1) Dyche sets us up like an away side at Goodison. No matter who the opposition is. It's important to play on the front foot, engage the crowd, and put them under pressure.

2) The players aren't clinical at all. Dyche can talk about 23 shots on goal, but their keeper barely had a save to make, and not one of the 12 shots taken in the second half hit the target.

The story won't change as long as we're still writing to the same structure and using the same key storylines.

Rennie Smith
7 Posted 02/10/2023 at 11:50:40
Completely agree Brian, what is Onana? He's not an attacking midfielder as he never breaks forward, he's not a defensive midfielder as there's always a big gap between him and the centre backs, so just what is he? Apart from swinging his arms about to gee-up the crowd, what does he actually contribute?

I think it's him that needs benching because he probably thinks he's a big time player, untouchable while the likes of Gana get all the grief. He's got no competition, I hear he gets rave reviews when he plays for Belgium, is that because the pressure is on and he knows there are plenty of players to take his place? He clearly has something but I don't know what it is for us at the moment.

Oh and Kevin#4, jesus talk about flip-flopping, Beto was being hailed as a breath of fresh air just a few games ago and now he's "already looking like a dud". I know fans are fickle these days but come on.

Mick O'Malley
8 Posted 02/10/2023 at 13:09:12
You can slag Onana all you want, if you think he’s garbage sound, but don’t forget Dyche picks him every single game, him and Garner played really well the other night, and it wasn’t Onana who gave the free kick away it was Tarkowski who came in from behind and pushed the Luton forward in the back, we conceded from 2 set pieces due to shocking marking. There was no need to bring Gana back in on Saturday, so honestly don’t understand why a manager would change a winning team, playing players out of position just so he can pack the midfield with defensive midfielders against the mighty Luton
Kevin Naylor
9 Posted 02/10/2023 at 13:16:16
Ronnie @ 7, firstly I said it was early days but one performance against the mighty Doncaster doesn't bode well at the moment but he has a bit of time to establish himself. Also I wasn't one of the one praising him after 2 games, if he score 1 in 3 or even 4 that will do me, but his current total of zero PL goals doesn't look like being added to anytime soon.
Alan J Thompson
10 Posted 02/10/2023 at 13:19:05
Brian(#5); Are you sure that it wasn't Doucoure that "couldn't convert" that fell to DCL rather than Onana?
George McKane
11 Posted 02/10/2023 at 13:28:14
I felt that - maybe - we had turned a corner last week - somehow a new confidence - dare I say style and belief - sadly all fell apart on Saturday and went down the drain with the rain - personally just cannot figure out what is going on from top to bottom at Goodison - on and off the pitch - just no idea whatsoever.
Eddie Dunn
12 Posted 02/10/2023 at 13:46:15
George- I agree. It is mystifying how the group fall off a cliff once they go behind at home.
I do think that all of the uncertainty upstairs is effecting them.
The confidence just drained away.
I was advocating Garner in central midfield but in fairness Gana had kept us ticking in that first half, even though he is not the player he was.
Garner started well but as he tired, he slowed play down. Balls that needed to go from A to C were giong through B first.
Mcneil was absolutely rubbish. Awkward, sluggish, one-paced and tired alarmingly..and yet was only swapped with Danjuma with five mins to go.
The manager has to take the blame.
He sets the tone and picks the team.
He was trying to lay blame on his players after the game. He needs to front-up.
George McKane
13 Posted 02/10/2023 at 14:01:26
Eddie - agreed mainly - big decisions decide big happenings - for me Gaye and Young are now Bench Players - Mc Neill seemed to be limping most of the game and when going off - but - he put some decent crosses in that just were not applied or taken - Dyche had to be brave - it’s his job - he seems to fall back on what he thinks is reliable - Aristotle - a good Evertonian - said - “For extreme illnesses you need extreme medicine” - I heard him when he said it in The Dark House - not too late yet for a turn around - an upward trend - but Dyche himself has to do something different to what he is doing now to make that happen - best Blue Cosmic Wishes to you Ed and all Blues - I am watching the games from the warmth of my home/ bed - due to my own illness - but I really miss going to the game and wish I was physically there even though I am Metaphysically - take care.
Bill Fairfield
14 Posted 02/10/2023 at 14:08:31
I really thought a corner had been turned with the results at Brentford/Villa. At last I was witnessing mental strength. And so it continued for twenty minutes against Luton. Then we fell behind,and it was as you where. The second half was totally brainless. The manager has a long way to go,to toughen up this consistent mental weakness.But I think he knows it.
Tony Abrahams
15 Posted 02/10/2023 at 14:19:12
Brilliant George - but maybe it’s Aristotle, that this squad is genuinely lacking?

Two good performances followed by a disastrous defeat, I think I saw some green-shoots in those two away wins, but finding consistency is probably going to be the hardest thing for this squad to achieve this season, simply because they lack real leadership imo.

Kevin Edward
16 Posted 02/10/2023 at 14:30:06
Lyndons headline sums it all up, was anyone really so surprised by the events of last Saturday?
That’s why it’s so so disappointing, we all see what’s happening in real time but the manager and players are just not good enough to take the initiative.
For the teams outside of the top 7 or 8 the margins are fine, play well and you can win home or away against each other.
So Bournemouth on Saturday is key, but we may have to rely on Bournemouth not being very good on the day.
We want to see our team as individuals playing well and having an impact, it’s not much to ask someone earning (?) those amounts of money. If they can’t do it then they should be dropped, let someone else have a try.
Hopefully Dyche will get lucky and one or two of DCL, Beto, Danjuma, Garner, O’Neil will step up in performance.
It’s going to be another slog through to January it seems. Not surprising that Evertonians are running out of steam already, carrying this bunch along.
If your reading this Team Dyche then get it sorted.
Mal van Schaick
17 Posted 02/10/2023 at 15:56:48
Just when we think that we are making progress, we take another backward step.

I don’t like to single out on individuals, but Young had poor game, losing possession on many occasions up field and hence putting pressure on the defence as Luton counter attacked.

I agree with some that the centre midfield needs to be looked at, because of creativity issues and defensive duties. Maybe drop Doucoure into centre midfield and drop Ghana.

All in all, the manager has to take some responsibility for setting up the team the way he did and his tactics. I cannot understand for the life of me, why he changed a winning formula from the previous wins?

John Raftery
18 Posted 02/10/2023 at 17:50:34
At least we, and hopefully Dyche, learned what won't work in home games when the team is chasing the game.

Top of the list would be Calvert-Lewin and Beto playing together up front. The duo, essentially wanting the same sort of service, drew the rest of the team into bypassing midfield and hitting long balls.

Meanwhile, in midfield, both Garner and Onana, who had put in a strong shift at Villa, looked fatigued in the final half-hour on Saturday.

Dave Downey
19 Posted 02/10/2023 at 21:59:06
I'm afraid there's no option but to wander down memory lane again and recall the '85 semi-final against Luton and the bedlam that ensued following first Sheedy's late late equaliser and then Mountfield's storming headed winner.

I was there with my Dad and what a game that was, against a dogged, not to mention talented, Luton team. Mick Harford gave even Van den Hauwe pause for thought.

But you have to take the rough with the smooth and 10 years earlier, almost to the day, it was relegation candidates Luton who (alongside the mighty Carlisle United) scuppered our 1974-75 title hopes with a 2-1 win.

And so here we are, nearly 50 years later, having come full circle and Luton get their first Premier League win against us. And who would bet against them ending up relegated once again? Unless, that is, we take their allotted place...

Barry Hesketh
20 Posted 02/10/2023 at 00:05:52
This is not a cry of 'Sack the manager'; however, the raw statistics on his previous 38 Premier League home fixtures, with Burnley and now at Everton don't make for good reading.

Dyche's team's have lost 19, drawn 11 and won just 8, scoring a measly 29 and conceding 56 goals in those matches.

35 points on home soil over two full season's worth of home games isn't great is it?

I know it's a little unfair to judge him on his latter days with Burnley and his relatively early days at Goodison, however, his overall record is one of fairly short-lived boom, five or so unbeaten at home, followed by a fair few losses.

Dyche's away record in his last 38 games away, has produced 8 victories, a dozen draws and 18 defeats, amassing 36 points. His teams have scored 44 and conceded 62.

Of course, just because his previous games have produced those results, doesn't mean that this trend will continue, but it does suggest that we're in for a trickier campaign than we might have imagined at the start of this season.

Lyndon Lloyd
21 Posted 03/10/2023 at 01:20:18
Brian (5), some confusion over what I intended to say there — my fault as it was written awkwardly. What I meant was that Onana will feel he could have done better with his own chance, not Gueye's, but, as you point out, neither is very effective in terms of shooting.

My view is that I don't think we should have had both Onana and Gueye in the side against Luton. It's true that the midfield pairing that Dyche went with in the second half looked worse but I think context is important — we were chasing the game at that point and employing increasingly ineffective long-ball tactics that largely by-passed midfield.

I feel that Garner is wasted out wide and is better centrally and that means dropping one of Onana and Gueye, which isn't an easy decision. Gueye has very good ball-winning metrics, made a noticeable difference coming on at Doncaster and, despite the "eye test" of some dreadful giveaways in his own half, has decent pass-completion stats.

Onana, when he's in the mood, like he was at Villa last week, can be very effective on both sides of the ball and has the potential to do most of what Gueye does and, on balance, probably has a better shot.

I'd have started with Onana and Garner and seen how things went but that's just me.

Kieran Kinsella
22 Posted 03/10/2023 at 01:45:49

I posted on here recently Dyche's record over his past 50-plus games has been dreadful. Has he lost his mojo? Or have circumstances conspired against him?

Laurie Hartley
23 Posted 03/10/2023 at 08:37:32
Whether it was a fluke or planned I think Dyche stumbled upon the correct formation for the squad 3 4 2 1

Patterson & Mykolenko are the future - this set up will in my opinion bring the best out of them.

It also provides multiple options for the 2 & 1.

I think he should set up like that home or away.

Another Bournemouth week coming up - they haven’t won this season. No doubt you have made a mental note of that Lyndon.

A must win game for Dyche in my book.


Brian Harrison
24 Posted 03/10/2023 at 09:52:36

I think you perfectly sum up my criticism of Onana, when you say "when he is in the mood" and that's the problem its all to infrequent that he is in the mood. I did say that for me he had one of his best games since joining the club against Villa, both he and Garner played well in midfield. But was that because we played initially 5 at the back, so for those suggesting Onana and Garner should be in midfield because of their performance against Villa then they should also accept that we have to bring in Michael Keane as we did against Villa.

So if you are going to play Onana in midfield with Garner you have to have the extra cover that a 5 man defence gives you. Since Dyche has been manager you very rarely see our fullbacks overlap so I think we can accept that it was definitely 5 at the back against a weakened Villa side.

Eddie Dunn
25 Posted 03/10/2023 at 10:34:00
Two points that probably haven't been made yet.
Firstly Dyche has had a habit of starting season poorly but slowly improving as the season unfolds.
Let's hope this continues.
Secondly Garner, when switched to centre-midfield didn't do as well as he had in previous games. This could be down to the fact that we went two up front and thus the holding two(Onana and Garner) had more space to cover.
I see the inclusion of Young as our biggest problem.
He is now only good enough to cover the two fullback slots. He doesn't last the full game, has little impact going forward and is useless on set-plays.
Patterson is defensively a worry, but he has got pace and does like to get forward. He will learn on the job.
I get the impression that Dyche is merely waiting for Seamus to return.
The shortcomings in Young result in whoever is covering in front of him, being overloaded.
Garner has been caught napping several times when Young has been too far behind him and the space has been used by the opposition.
Harrison with Patterson would have been a much more potent combo.
Mc Neil just didn't look fit.
Just a couple of guys "off it" and those margins result in defeat.
The midfield is lacking any incisive, clever play.
Oh for a Maddison!
Mark Taylor
26 Posted 03/10/2023 at 10:44:33

You talk about 'the calibre of our players' but surely if they were truly of a decent calibre, they would not lose 7 our of 8 at home, including against some of the weaker teams in the EFL. Even if I managed the team.

Given what we continue to witness is a mere continuation of what we have witnessed over 2 or more years, might I suggest this 'calibre' might be getting over estimated through wishful thinking, given the accumulated evidence? The only two I can see who are definitely not Championship level are Pickford and Branthwaite.

To be fair, some of the others are good championship going on borderline premiership level, but it's a poor quality squad. Consider the football 'skills' of our usual midfield three. It's not exactly inspiring. Can't shoot, can't pass, can't control the ball or a combination of all three. Then consider our full backs and compare against, for example, Coleman and Baines from our not so distant past. The contrast in quality is alarming.

Martin Farrington
27 Posted 03/10/2023 at 11:32:11
Mystery WTF #1: Continuing the Onana and Gueye in the centre (the consistent that has had us nearly relegated for 2 seasons).

Mystery WTF #2: Our defending is atrocious at set plays despite massive height advantage (in almost every case).
Zonal marking is a huge failure and the root cause. Having our smallest on their tallest is mental. Having a row of static 'dollys' across the 6-yard box. Being 5 yards or more too near the free kick thus leaving a huge gap to the rear third of the undefended area. Opponents put two players in that area.

Mystery WTF#3: Why Jordan Pickford is rooted to his line and several times behind it!!! A keeper should dominate the 6-yard box.

Mystery WTF#4: We bought wingers and put Garner on the right.

Mystery WTF#5: DLC jogging into box. No gut-busting runs outwitting markers. No anticipation. Doucoure needs to up his game and get in there more.

Mystery WTF#6: We all know we have a smaller squad with a few additions. We are not that much better than the relegation teams of the last few seasons, if at all.

Mystery WTF#7: None of the new boys have featured really other than the aged Young. Dyche should have started with the side that began at Villa. Whipped off Garner for Gaye as soon as he tires (50-60 mins).

If we are ahead, then get Beto up top and Calvert-Lewin there for the flick-ons or layoffs to push the opponents back further.

I fear more of the same come Saturday.

Barry Rathbone
28 Posted 03/10/2023 at 12:00:44
Interesting reading Frank Lampard's comments today when asked if the Everton job was "unmanageable" he disagreed but said lots of stuff behind the scenes complicates matters.

His comments on the Goodison crowd regarding the ever shittier home results was interesting.

Incomparable in big games but not so much in lesser games, the gist being a lack of patience kills the players.

Frank Thomas
29 Posted 03/10/2023 at 12:27:12
Dyce had no money at Burnley now he has some he has fallen into trying to get for free or buy 'safe proven players' like Young. This was a pattern with Moyes in his early days when he bought every 'bargain' player only to discover the reasons the players were cheap or even free.

Young was involved in both goals that Luton scored yet Dyce has stated his right and left backs are not really good enough confidence builder.

Last night Chelsea won after many losses this season and the manager has not criticised the players during their bad run. I think this shows the lack of confidence that Dyce has with his own training, tactics and teams selection. Is this the reason he always seems to be sweating when giving interviews?

His release of the players training was noticeable to me for the lack of accuracy in those clips. Dyce is the coach how about doing some intense shooting and some positional practise.

It is not an accident that the Liverpool, Man City and Arsenal players are positioned where they are they are coached to move to those positions.

About a change of manager. We should be looking and we should target the managers of foreign teams who are consistantly challenging for league and cup finals. Klopp was one such manager and once he got the resources his training and tactics have paid off.

What I don't understand is why the manager does not have to write a detailed report on every game and present this to the board. If he used the 'Feynman learning technique' it would make him examine every aspect of the game and he could look back on previous game reports and train players appropriately.

One last thing off this subject have you noticed that Lampard is trying to rescue his career by saying bad things about the club. In short it was not me but Everton. Frank you forgot to mention two stints at Chelsea and other clubs, if they were perfect why did they need to change manager and why did you fail so badly?

Barry Hesketh
30 Posted 03/10/2023 at 12:37:03
Frank and all the other managers, pick a style / formation, pick your best players to suit that style and get on with it, all those who believe that there is some mystical formula that all others have missed or that Goodison is too difficult a place to ply their trade should do one.

The Goodison Park crowd, is no different to any other fans, at any other venue. Unless you rile them up by misplacing passes one after the other, or the officials annoy them. Playing tic-tac-toe at the back is a recipe for disaster for teams at the lower reaches of the league, and only delays the inevitable punt upfield.

All of those managers we've had previously seem to believe that Evertonians are from another planet, yet here we are in the same city as our cousins, share our family, work, leisure time and meals with them, yet we are painted as being very different in the demands we make of our players, than those placed upon their team, by the fans wearing red scarves.

What sort of a question was that from Bill Kenwright by the way when he asked Lampard "Do you think a Cockney can manager Everton?" It's the likes of Bill and company who have painted the Everton fans as some sort of strange entity compared to everybody else's when in the main we are mostly similar to every other set of supporters.

I just want to see a reasonably proficient football team who can get enough points to stay in the division, and I don't really care what style the manager employs to get there, if that's what makes me different to all of the other Premier League teams supporters then so be it.

It's a simple thing, get your players to pass and move, run and tackle, shoot and sometimes score, then the manager won't have any issues, what's so effing complicated about that?

Evertonians are different to most other fans in the Premier League, they've kept going back for more, despite seeing some terrible footy for large parts of the last twenty-years, yeah we are different, we're bloody stupid!

Duncan Lennard
31 Posted 03/10/2023 at 13:20:09
Ah, cheer up, Lyndon.

At least you won't have to record a new podcast this week… you can just re-run one of old ones.

Maybe the club has been told we will be docked as many points as we've accumulated by the time of the hearing. Might explain a few things.

Sean Mitchell
32 Posted 03/10/2023 at 14:17:25
Well, winless Bournemouth next.

What could possibly go wrong?

Steve Croston
33 Posted 03/10/2023 at 19:10:10
For me, Dyche has a little credit in the bank because of those 2 brilliant away wins last week. However, this loss was 100% his fault, because he changed a winning formula and started 4 central midfielders at home against the weakest team in the league.

He should have started the exact same lineup and team that started against Villa. 3 centre-halves might seem negative, but it gave Garner and Onana licence to get forward and support the front 3. Width provided from 2 wingbacks of Mykolenko and Patterson (who was excellent against Villa btw) would have seen us win.

Anything but a win against Bournemouth and I want him gone.

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