Everton 1 - 3 Manchester City

There was no stopping Manchester City's second-half steamroller at Goodison Park after Everton had taken the lead through Harrison in a strong first-half display. 

Abdoulaye Doucouré misses out again, though, and neither Seamus Coleman nor Ashley Young are expected to be passed fit although Coleman is named on the bench. That again limits Dyche's options in midfield where Amadou Onana, James Garner and Andre Gomes are the only remaining fit central midfielders and all play tonight.

Beto is preferred to Dominic Calvert-Lewin upfront but at least the two strikers got to play alongside each other for a portion of the last game at Spurs. 

An early cross in was met by Beto but he was too far out to threaten Ederson. The visitors, though, locked down possession pretty quickly and rapidly regained it through poor Everton passes as soon as they lost it. Grealish forced his way in and somehow Alverez was unable to convert.

But City kept toying with the Everton defence, recycling the ball around the home penalty area. Branthwiate covered well at the cost of the first City corner, Walker's shot deflected wide. Garner drew a good free-kick off Stanes, Gomes playing in a decent enough ball but all it won was a throw-in. Garner's recycled ball in was too far ahead of Beto.

Foden got through but drove his shot over. But City got forward again with far too much ease Alverez taking a decent shot that Pickford put back into play and Nummes got to the rebound, Pickford saved a certain goal with his shin!

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Everton were being forced to defend and had few ideas going forward with Beto forced to chase it down, Beto doing well against Akanji with Gomes then fouled. A good ball in by Gomes drew Ederson out to punch clear. Everton kept them engaged until City countered and Everton worked hard to keep them honest in midfield.  

Everton were at times playing a high line without the ball but, when they got it, Beto lost the ball and Grealish was in, shooting low for Pickford to save well. The Blues responded and forced a corner, McNeil, putting in a great delivery but Garner could not get to it. 

Silva was picked out with a pinpoint cross but his shot was very high off target. But Everton got forward well and, in a complex interplay with Garner and Beto making key touches,, McNeil broke forward and Harrison had a very simple finish from his excellent cross for Everton's first goal. 

City of course surged forward to respond, and set up Rodri for a killer strike but he drove it high and wide. Everton pushed back, Mykolenko winning a corner on the left, Gomes delivering to the far post where an absolutely superb first-time strike by Harrison with the outside of his boot was pawed behind by Ederson. 

There was some great high pressing from the Blues, but they could not create the chance their excellent approach play warranted. Beto chased down a ball over the top and Stones did well to clear but he went down injured in the process… and stayed down after the offside flag was finally shown, breaking Everton's great tempo and crowd spirit. 

Patterson had to manhandle Grealish for a yellow card. The ball in was headed goalward by Rodri but hit Tarkowski and went behind for a corner that was cleared. Another City attack was thwarted by good Blues defending at the 18-yard line and they looked to build down the right, then switching to the left but Beto could not claim the ball in. 

From a Garner free-kick McNeil was too strong in his efforts to reach the ball. City moved the ball around the Everton area with threat but Beto launched a clearing hoof. The next time they came forward, Silva won a corner but it ended up back with Ederson and Everton strode off with the half-time lead. 

After the restart, Everton were doing well to disrupt City attacks but the long ball forward wasn't sticking to a blue shirt and Everton had to defend, forcing poor shots from City. Beto tried an audacious shot from a narrowing angle.

City's patient forward play was again disrupted by solid Everton defence and good fighting play from Beto going forward. But City played the ball around well and won a corner. But with nothing much happening Fiden, just smacked one and it was far too clever for Pickford, flying past him at the near post. 

Then a great cross in from Alvarez was just glanced by Grealish and rolled beyond the far post. City kept piling forward.  Garner got forward with the ball but Ake stole it far too easily and City threatened to dominate the play after what must have been a half-time rocket from Pepe Guardiola. 

A brilliant piece of play out of defence by Onana was greeted with a nasty foul off the ball, not seen by the referee, and Everton were back in defensive mode, Patterson forced to concede a corner, Akanji finally shown a yellow card for the foul on Onana.

Gomes caught Foden in a very dangerous position, Alverez forcing a Pickford save with his set-piece over the Everton wall. The ball circled around with a poor punch from Pickford and wild blocks until Onana was accused of handball from a range of a yard or so, very harsh. Penalty converted by Alverz.  City had stepped up  3 gears since the break and simply torn Everton asunder. 

Calvert-Lewin and Keane replaced Beto and Gomes. Mykolenko won a corner off Walker, Garner looping it high to the far post and Tarkowski could only head it behind. 

Everton tried their best to compete for the ball high up the field but it was the visitors who finally won a pinball challenge down by the corner flag.

Garner played a brilliant ball forward to Harrison who played in Calvert-Lewin perfectly and he had to score despite being under pressure... but he could only bundle it past the post for a goal-kick. Tarkowski then took out Alverez after winning a 50-50 ball City bizarrely getting the drop ball.

Branthwaite was in a bit too heavily on Walker for his yellow card.  Everton were fighting hard with the crowd behind them to get back at City any way they could. But it was getting just a little bit ragged, as Harrison was replaced by Danjuma. 

Paterson cleverly pushed Grealish into McNeil, and a yellow card for the City player! Everton were playing up, McNeil's ball forward just over Calvert-Lewin's head. 

Into the final phase of the game and McNeil tried to play in Danjuma but Ederson was out quickly. Alvarez fired just over Pickford's gloves and the Everton bar.  But what should have been a routine clearance became a dreadful mess up at the back by Pickford that saw Branthwaite gift the ball to Bernado Siva and he needed to produce a controlled finish under illegal attention from Branthwite for City's third that killed the game.  

A fierce Foden shot rattled the post with Pickford well beaten. Foden got another opportunity to lash one at Pickford, who saved it this time before the final  whistle went on a seemingly inevitable defeat once City showed up after the half-time break, 

Everton: Pickford [Y:63'], Patterson [Y:38'], Tarkowski, Branthwaite [Y:77'], Mykolenko, Gomes (65' Keane), Onana, Harrison (80' Danjuma), Garner, McNeil, Beto (65' Calvert-Lewin).

Subs: Virginia, Godfrey, Coleman, Hunt,  Dobbin, Chermiti.

Manchester City: Ederson, Walker, Stones (43' Gvardiol), Akanji [Y:58'], Ake, Nunes, Rodri, Silva, Foden, Grealish [Y:81'], Alvarez.

Subs: Ortega Moreno, Phillips, Kovacic, Gomez,  Bobb, Susoho, Lewis, Hamilton

Reader Comments (224)

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Stephen Davies
1 Posted 27/12/2023 at 18:47:17
Beto starting??
Simon Harrison
2 Posted 27/12/2023 at 19:25:30
Interesting bench;

Neves Virgínia
Ramalho Chermiti

No Metcalfe? Only one keeper!! Again a left-sided player, in Mackenzie Hunt, but no right-side players again? Other than Coleman.

Interesting line-up. The Beeb have Gomes playing as one of the double pivot in a 4-2-3-1 (Really a modified 4-4-1-1 maybe?)


Simon Harrison
3 Posted 27/12/2023 at 19:28:36
City's line up, and yes Rodri is playing (Damnit!!)

Walker Stones Akanji Aké
Nunes Rodri
Bernardo Silva Foden Grealish


Ed Prytherch
4 Posted 27/12/2023 at 19:35:10
Lewis Hamilton on the bench for City :-)
Dennis Stevens
5 Posted 27/12/2023 at 19:36:23
I hope Gomes is in the more advanced midfield position - the further away from our penalty area the better!
Stephen Graham
6 Posted 27/12/2023 at 19:40:56
Simon (3), let’s hope an early double booking for him
Simon Harrison
7 Posted 27/12/2023 at 19:42:10
Let's hope so Dennis.

Mind you, let's hope Gomes has a blinder! In the good sense!

He looks much more assured in the 8-10 slot and he is definitely not a 6-8... As proven by his last four years at the Club.

His first year showed promise before 'that' Son tackle(..?) Which was OK, because he cried and said sorry!

Simon Harrison
8 Posted 27/12/2023 at 19:44:12
Stephen, I'd take a straight red in the box, and watch in disbelief as City get the free kick!! Hehe 😜

I just hope City are tired from their high-temperature exertions and find the cold and wet uncomfortable tonight. Heat to cold, even after a few days can disrupt how the body works.

Rob Hooton
9 Posted 27/12/2023 at 19:54:29
These are shite, 3-1 to Everton!
Robert Tressell
10 Posted 27/12/2023 at 19:58:09
That's a good, balanced first XI for us. COYB
Michael Kenrick
11 Posted 27/12/2023 at 20:02:50
Very interesting in-depth inquisition with Dominic Calvert-Lewin on Amazon.
Jerome Shields
12 Posted 27/12/2023 at 20:02:52
Glad Beto is starting. Gives them something to think about. Hope that Dyche does not get the same lesson as Lampard got last February after selecting Gomes for the Newcatle game after his outstanding unmarked game against Brentford. Gomes will be being marked for sure tonight..Dennis he will be going deep to get on the ball.
Derek Knox
13 Posted 27/12/2023 at 20:04:37
I believe Tommy Fleetwood is there too, with The Ryder Cup !
Simon Harrison
14 Posted 27/12/2023 at 20:09:52
Michael, what section is it in please?

No worries Mike, in the Dyche interview

Mike Gaynes
15 Posted 27/12/2023 at 21:07:55
I have not sat down the entire first half. Superb.
Dave Abrahams
16 Posted 27/12/2023 at 21:12:29
Loved that sentence Michael, ‘ Harrison had the simple task of scoring Everton’s FIRST goal, so there’s more to come, you’ll do me Michael.
Don’t think I’m suffering from paranoia but while Patterson got a deserved yellow card, Stones in the ninth minute, yes I checked that and Rodri deserved yellows for poor fouls but escaped.

Come on Blues your doing well let’s get those extra goals that Michael has seen coming.

Les Callan
17 Posted 27/12/2023 at 22:06:09
Never a pen, but how Onana gets a game beats me.
Les Callan
18 Posted 27/12/2023 at 22:11:00
We need those points back.
Mike Doyle
20 Posted 27/12/2023 at 22:14:25
Again. Gave it a good go - but created 2 decent chances. Wish we had a midfielder like Foden.
Michael Lynch
21 Posted 27/12/2023 at 22:16:17
Not a pen for me - that and DCL’s Miss was the difference. Unlucky to get nothing from our last two games. Back in the dogfight now though.
Sam Hoare
22 Posted 27/12/2023 at 22:16:21
Tough game. City were very good in the second half and the small margins didn't go our way. People will no doubt want to moan at Onana but it was Pickford who was our weakest link tonight, a few decent saves but two goals that he should have done better with too.

Pick ourselves up and go again. Tough few games coming up against an in-form Wolves and Villa but we need to get more points back on the board.

Christine Foster
23 Posted 27/12/2023 at 22:17:29
To be honest until the last goal I couldn't criticize anyone in the team, Fodens goal was class, that was never a penalty, but Pickfords stuff up killed the game. Overall we did ok but never good enough.. onwards and upwards..
Stephen Davies
24 Posted 27/12/2023 at 22:17:49
Les # 17
Indeed. He jogs around and does ' Missing ' very well..Fair play to him.
We needed him to bite a few legs in Midfield.
Others grafted, he watches them.
Danny Baily
25 Posted 27/12/2023 at 22:18:26
No complaints from me. Did everything right, just need a bit of luck when you're playing one of the best sides on the planet.

There's no comparison with this time last year. We create chances, we stay in games.

Robert Tressell
26 Posted 27/12/2023 at 22:18:48
Mike # 20, if we had Foden as our attacking midfielder we could go toe to toe with Man City.

We were very good today. Unlucky with the penalty which killed the game and well deserved our half-time lead. Pissed off at the result but we look a really decent side. Just missing some quality in attacking midfield and on the flanks.

Don Alexander
27 Posted 27/12/2023 at 22:18:53
Once again there was heavy bias from the ref to our opponents, the absurdly given penalty epitomising it.

Full credit to those playing for a club owned by a buffoon billionaire but when you're up against a financially bent club owned by mega-billionaires who merely wag a finger to get our Parliament and Premier League to acquiesce to their skulduggery it's hardly surprising is it?

Minik Hansen
28 Posted 27/12/2023 at 22:19:04
I hope Onana is learning from his mistakes, that goes for Patterson too.

Have a happy new year blues, I took a long trip from Greenland to Las Palmas for a Christmas holiday! Here’s for a great 2024 for Everton. COYB NSNO UTFT. Over and out.

Pat Kelly
29 Posted 27/12/2023 at 22:21:09
Beto and DCL have reached their level and it’s not good enough for the PL.
Tony Heron
30 Posted 27/12/2023 at 22:21:42
Why were we only playing with 10 men? Should have brought Onana on!
Peter Moore
31 Posted 27/12/2023 at 22:22:45
City benefitted greatly from the return of Rodri (who should have been booked first half, rather than just spoken to). He gave Foden and others confidence to impose their quality higher up the pitch.

We fought and never gave up.

Reasons to be looking up as the New Year approaches.
Keep our bottle and keep the standards up and we shall move further upwards as the weeks tick by I feel.


Jerome Shields
32 Posted 27/12/2023 at 22:23:20
Good first half, poor second half. Penalty was never a penalty.T wo errors by Pickford, beaten on his near post, with no cover just outside the penalty area.

Second was plain stupid. He was not even thinking of protecting his goal. Calvert-Lewin failed to convert the chance he was brought on for.

Ed Prytherch
33 Posted 27/12/2023 at 22:24:16
Played well and lost, again. Close decisions that can go either way always seem to go against us.
We are being sucked closer to the bottom three and we need to turn good performances into points.
George Cumiskey
34 Posted 27/12/2023 at 22:25:38
Spot on Jerome, and add to that Onana should of been the first sub he was shocking.
Dale Self
35 Posted 27/12/2023 at 22:26:21
Disappointing ending but there was enough there to maintain excitement for the project. Harrison is finding his moves even with all the hard work in our third. Gomes needs a bit more match time to get the tendencies understood. Before long we will have a way of getting into the final third with more purpose. At that point our fitness should win a few.
Mike Doyle
36 Posted 27/12/2023 at 22:30:04
Robert #26] by “missing some quality” I suspect you are in the same camp as my wife (who doesn’t really like football but watches occasionally as she was at school with the mother of Tottenham’s Ben Davies) who likes to point out how often our players seem to give the ball away/ misplace passes.
Anthony A Hughes
37 Posted 27/12/2023 at 22:30:25
Incredibly harsh penalty, the rules for handball need seriously reviewing.

Pickford is either brilliant or a complete fucktard sometimes.

Neil Tyrrell
38 Posted 27/12/2023 at 22:30:50
Ref showed us yellows every chance he got, and that penalty would never have been given at the other end.

Strange one taking off Harrison and Gomes, we didn't show much going forward after that outside of Calvert-Lewin's miss. He's turning into a really good replacement for Maupay.

Onward to Wolves.

Jack Convery
39 Posted 27/12/2023 at 22:31:28
Why did the ref not go and look at the TV ? HE may well still have given it but surely, like at Spurs he goes and takes a look.
Mike Doyle
40 Posted 27/12/2023 at 22:31:30
Is it true that we haven’t won a game since Rob Halligan returned from holiday- or is that just a vicious rumour??
Charles Brewer
41 Posted 27/12/2023 at 22:33:06
I think that was the first time I’ve ever seen Pickford slip up like that and it was all too late anyway. DCL’s (latest) easy miss and lack of serious ability to control or run with the ball or show serious commitment makes him very doubtful for the future.

I thought Beto was as good as we have any right to expect and Gomes, while not MotM was decent in a very fast game which is not his style.

Onana is basically very languid without the skill or timing to get away with it - but he should get no blame for the penalty. McNeil, Harrison and Garner fought an excellent and intelligent battle and mostly won their duels and the two fullback were our best players up against the best that. City had.

So all good except for Onana, who had some good moments, and Calvert-Lewin, who had none.

Mike Hayes
42 Posted 27/12/2023 at 22:33:09
Typical to get a penalty against us - good fight need to take all three points on Saturday 💙
Rob Jones
43 Posted 27/12/2023 at 22:33:30
Undone by a world class strike and a penalty that should have been overturned by VAR. Am I happy? No.

But we go again.

As for Onana? Penalty aside (which wasn't his fault, it was very dodgy), he again offered little. As he did on Saturday. His head's gone at the moment. If we had other options, I'd want him benched.

Sam Hoare
44 Posted 27/12/2023 at 22:34:04
Worth remembering that we'd be 10th without the deduction right now.

City and Spurs are 2 of the 4 hardest games in the league right now I'd say and we were pretty unlucky not to come away with 2 or even 3 or 4 points. Keep playing like we have recently and we should be absolutely fine (especially if we get any of our points back).

Anthony A Hughes
45 Posted 27/12/2023 at 22:34:04
I thought Harrison played well.

Dyche should have left him on and taken McNeil off who was poor tonight.

Ray Jacques
46 Posted 27/12/2023 at 22:34:50
Season won't be judged by that result.
My worry is that looking at the upcoming fixtures until the end of March, I think we will be hovering near the bottom three for a while as it doesn't get better until April. So we need to stay with the team and it will all come good. Last couple of seasons I would have been in a state of panic, but this season I feel confident.
Pickford oh dear and DCL desperately needs a goal.
Andy Meighan
47 Posted 27/12/2023 at 22:35:37
We played well 1st half. 2nd half we were poor and were second-best.

Yes, the penalty was a joke –what is he meant to do with a shot at him from 2 yards?

Saying that, Onana was poor tonight and Harrison and Garner put him to shame with their work rate.

Gomes wasn't up to much but at least he tried, Onana just strolls around like he's some sort of prima donna and it wouldn't bother me at all if anyone comes in with a decent offer for him in January.

For me, the home form is worrying. What's that now… 6 home losses? Absolutely dreadful stat.

Mike Doyle
48 Posted 27/12/2023 at 22:35:45
Mike 42] our chances v Wolves are enhanced by the fact that neither the EPL or Sky are interested in either of us.
Tom Bowers
49 Posted 27/12/2023 at 22:39:54
An expected result and the usual bad finish to the year. Should have gotten a point at Spurs and the usual penalty shootout mess cost us in the league cup.

Let's all hope the new year gets us back on track.

Simon Dalzell
50 Posted 27/12/2023 at 22:41:17
Not a penalty for me. Lunging block like that. you simply can't put your hands by your side. Gutted.
Richard Duff
51 Posted 27/12/2023 at 22:42:06
Par for the course that. The Stones injury stopped the game at the wrong time for us as we were in control and looking dangerous. To then get done by a modern day penalty ( never given even 2 years ago), and the equivalent of an own goal is not so bad.

We lost which is annoying, but they are better player for player in every department, speed, balance, skill, control.

We are way better than at any point in the last 3 years. We have energy, fitness and some creativity. It’s no shame to lose like that, just disappointing.

Terry Farrell
52 Posted 27/12/2023 at 22:45:57
Loved Pato v Grealish. Pato was having none of it and at the end Grealish had lost it. Some good performances. Not a gomes match and he was chasing shadows but we had none else. Dont get the pen. Did VAR even look? Its meant to be if your arm is in an unnatural position. It was blasted at him from 1m away and he was blocking the shot with his body and his arm was close to his body and ahoulder not flapping about or up like a periscope. It was a terrible decision. Not sure the 3 at the back was a good move id like to have seen Dobbin come on and gone shit or bust.
Brian Wilkinson
53 Posted 27/12/2023 at 22:46:23
No Mike@40 we haven't won a game since our great good times guy popped up on the site again, please Mike or Lyndon put it in room 101, convinced we are cursed with the guy.

Anyway back to the game, not a lot you can do when City can spend as much as they like and get away with it, where we had to sell Richarlison and Gordon and still get stung with 10 points.

I guarantee had Keane blasted a shot close range and it struck the City player, no penalty would have been given, due to the closeness, had it been given, var would have jumped straight in, that is what we are up against.

All we can do is move on to the Wolves game.

Onwards and upwards Evertonians.

Colin Glassar
54 Posted 27/12/2023 at 22:48:08
Despite two contentious losses we are so much better than the last couple of seasons.

This team is fitter, better organised, mentally stronger and more together than we've been for ages.

We might not get a European spot but neither will we be sweating on results in April.

Kevin Molloy
55 Posted 27/12/2023 at 22:48:22
The main problem we have is two games a week. We can't do it, simple as that. It's energy that is proving our undoing, or rather the lack of it.

That fat weasel Tyldesley bemoaning city's fixture list, my word what a ghastly little shite he is.

Dave Lynch
56 Posted 27/12/2023 at 22:48:26
It hit his hand first so was always gonna be given. Shearer even said the handball rule is not fit for purpose.

I thought we lost our way when Gomes went off, he was not letting their playmakers settle on the ball at all.

Calvert-Lewin is playing like he knows he's being sold in the window.

Christy Ring
57 Posted 27/12/2023 at 22:54:11
Penalty was a shocking decision but why am I not surprised?

Our performances against Man City and Spurs definitely deserved better

John Atkins
58 Posted 27/12/2023 at 22:54:27
We deserved more than 0 points from the last 2 games, void of luck and shocking refereeing decisions.


Mike Doyle
59 Posted 27/12/2023 at 22:54:32
Dave 56,

I have some sympathy for Dyche. Gomes played well but has hardly played this year so was probably knackered - and had been booked.

At least he went 3 at the back and had a go with the players available.

Kevin Edward
60 Posted 27/12/2023 at 22:55:19
It was a great effort, we don't have the ball players to match Man City. As the 2nd half pressure mounted you could see we were creaking and they would prosper. Maybe if Calvert-Lewin had put that chance away, it might have made a difference.

Can't fault the set-up and tactics, we rightly played to our strengths and on another day it may have worked, but in the end they upped their game.

Move on to Wolves etc. We are so so much better now, even after a few set-backs, we should have enough to climb away to mid-table.

Although the penalty was harsh, I actually thought the ref let a few tasty challenges go and tried to let the game flow, I think Man City knew they'd been in a game.

100% better than the ‘folding' Everton of previous years, a good battling performance but we just don't have the quality for 90 minutes.

Rob Jones
61 Posted 27/12/2023 at 22:56:32
Doucoure is the biggest miss. Gomes has done fine. But we need Doucoure back.
Tony Abrahams
62 Posted 27/12/2023 at 22:58:16
Enjoyed the game, but still think that football is getting destroyed by the inconsistencies of the referee’s.

City are an absolute joy to watch. I sat near the halfway line rather than behind the goal, and it was very refreshing to see a team basically playing with five attackers spread right out across the pitch, and it was also refreshing to see Everton, trying to play on the front foot as much as they possibly could.

Gomes, was rusty, Onana, doesn’t try to get involved enough, so it was left to James Garner to carry the fight, and although I thought he had a very good game, the middle of the park belonged to Rodri, and the way he kept City ticking along all night, is probably what wore us down in the end?

The team is definitely getting better, but with no sale of the club expected before the transfer window closes, then it’s imperative that certain players don’t get injured. I also thought that we coped with City better, once we changed to a back five, and although Lewin should have scored, I also think VAR might have intervened if he had.

Mike Doyle
63 Posted 27/12/2023 at 23:02:20
Rob 61,

I agree. Doucoure has an athleticism that no one else can match, thus is invaluable- for 75 mins at least. Hope he's back for Wolves.

Tony Everan
64 Posted 27/12/2023 at 23:03:43
Game was effectively decided by the penalty decision. It was a fatal blow. The ref pointed to a corner, the Man Ciy players screamed at him and I'd bet he's got a voice in his ear saying ‘it's a pen, it's a pen'.

Is this really the law of the game, it was blasted from 2 m away, his arm wasn't in an unnatural position and pretty close to his body given the context of the play, I can't come to terms with this being right.

As has been said, if this shot was against City at the Etihad, the ref would say play on. I'll wager we'll see a similar decision against a sly six club later in the season and it gets waved away like it's nothing.

I thought the lads put in a good shift, very difficult over the 90 minutes against so much quality and a billion pound squad. However, we weren't that far away from getting a result.

Barry Rathbone
65 Posted 27/12/2023 at 23:08:33
We're so far removed from City, Liverpool and Arsenal we need a visa to get in their grounds. Defeats like this are the nearest things to racing certs but if we keep knocking a few points off the sub elite and lesser lights we survive and that's the name of the game these days.

Tony Abrahams
66 Posted 27/12/2023 at 23:09:52
According to something I’ve just read on the echo website, it was Liverpool who have been punished again tonight because of the inconsistent referees.

I wish we brought in referees who needed a visa Barry.

Kevin Molloy
67 Posted 27/12/2023 at 23:11:38
The capacity for corruption is now raised a thousand percent with the VAR. What with the guy at Stockley Park now effectively being the final arbiter, who knows what pressure, what texts he's getting in that critical period when a decision is being made?

Does anyone really think that these refs are not subject to psychological pressure, when the game has billions flowing through it? Piss off the wrong people, and you can forget about a comfortable post-career circuit of the studios. Keep the right people happy, however, and things could go very well.

Look at Clive T tonight, singing outside City's balcony all night, it was pathetic. And totally self interested. He knows what side his bread is buttered if he wants to keep commentating. No nasty comments about the big clubs or the Premier Leaague. Did you hear him about the points deduction: "It's not new you know". It's always happened apparently.

Dave Abrahams
68 Posted 27/12/2023 at 23:14:51
Mistakes and a hooky penalty cost us the game. We had a good first half then City put more into their game but the penalty was a very hard decision. How could Onana possibly get out of the way of that, the ball was only a yard or so away from his hand. Pickford's cock-up but the lid on the game for City.

Patterson, Mylolenko, Branthwaite, Garner, Harrison, Tarkowski pulled their tripe out. McNeil worked hard and provided the goal. Beto tried his best but fails to get hold of the ball too often.

The screaming demented dervish made some good saves but had an off night, Dominic might have done better with his one chance. We were playing a very good team and they proved to be the better team which they will do against most teams, so let's get at Wolves on Saturday.

Rob Hooton
69 Posted 27/12/2023 at 23:17:33
Fine margins (a combination of bad luck, mistakes and dodgy handball laws) conspired against us tonight, against the current English, European, and World Champions. We were pretty damn close to getting at least a point from the game.

For the penalty, I thought Onana was protecting his face instinctively, which I always thought was ok - not under the current daft interpretation of the Laws!

Much to take heart from, big game at the weekend with a team more our level. Onwards and upwards.

Si Cooper
70 Posted 27/12/2023 at 23:22:53
There is only really one debating point - the absolute lunacy of that penalty.
Had to endure that idiot Clatternberg justifying it because it’s a shot at goal!!! Why does that matter? We’ve all seen them given from crosses and just contested balls in the box.
His analysis might have stood up to some scrutiny if it wasn’t so obvious that the shot was mishit and it is only because it wasn’t actually goalbound that it ended up hitting his arm. What is a defender to do other than make sure his arms aren’t widespread and instrumental in preventing an on target shot finding the net otherwise unopposed.
We’ve also seen handball not given specifically because of the short distance although the arm is well away from the body.
Was Michael Oliver on VAR duty again? I’d seriously love to be able to subject him to a polygraph test on the two key decisions from our last 2 games.
Dave Cashen
71 Posted 27/12/2023 at 23:24:32
Another painful loss. I thought needed to keep City at bay for another 10-15 minutes, but credit where its due. they're a great side. Young Foden is a natural talent. His early strike turned the game. We are miles behind the best, but this time last year we were light years behind them...Progress ?

if the ball didnt strike Onana's arm it would have smashed into his face. What sort of interpretation of the rules makes that the preferable option ?

Mike Doyle
72 Posted 27/12/2023 at 23:28:20
Tony 62] Anyone who appreciates football surely must appreciate the combination of Rodri and Foden. 2 x top class midfielders.
However without Gundogan, Riyad Mahrez and the injured DeBraune I don’t think Man City carry the same threat as in recent seasons!
Jim Lloyd
73 Posted 27/12/2023 at 23:32:16
I thought we did as well as we could. We scored a good goal and frustrated City. As someone's jkust said, City are a joy to watch (even with the play acting) but we did well. I'll have to watch it again, but it looked like City's first goal took a slight deflection, but I'm taking nowt away from the shot, it was well hit.

The penalty was a joke (a sick one) Onana was sliding in to the shooter, who shot form 2 yards or less. How could it not hit him. Unless the rules have changed. A free kick/penalty was given for Deliberate handball. There was no way that Onana (I think it was him) deliberately put his hand out to stop the ball as it rolled up his arm as he was trying to balance. Tony's just said it. The decision was a nonsense.

The third goal? Well I think that was Pickford farting about and losing control with his foot. Still. He pulled off saves that kept us in the game for a long period.

I'm proud of the lads really (yet again!) I think City are a great footballing side, But we made it really hard for them.

As Barry's said, Our nuimber one aim is to get away and keep away from the relegation places, and, if we get no (or very few injuries) we've got a good chance of doing so. What happens re takeovers, investments of anything outside of the football we play, we've no influence over.

We just keep supporting our team and we should do the job.

Paul Birmingham
74 Posted 27/12/2023 at 23:35:49
I don't mind losing, but on Sunday, Odegaard gets off free after playing basketball in the penalty area, and Onana at point-blank range can't get away from a shot.

The game is fucked, with the misuse of the VAR and referees being the main decision-maker on the parkare gone.

Everton worked hard had no luck again and got punished.

But plenty of hope to take to Wolves.

Mark Taylor
75 Posted 27/12/2023 at 23:39:45
We fought valiantly but it was clear, to me at least, that City and their players are in a different league to most of ours.

Hopefully that won't be literally the case at the end of the season. I think I've seen enough in the past few months, including this match, to think the worst won't happen.

But we do need the new owners to be approved. Otherwise, that could derail things and we may need to sell a player or two to finish the new stadium. If so, I hope we get fair value and don't get preyed upon.

Peter Mills
76 Posted 27/12/2023 at 23:40:05
Just back from the game so I haven't seen any of the incidents on telly yet. I'm with Tony Everan (#64), play was down at my end, I'm sure the referee awarded a corner following the penalty shout, then had someone in his ear within a second and he pointed to the spot.

To anyone who did watch on telly, or was at the match and is more astute than me, did Guardiola make any specific tactical change at half-time? After the break, City were a different team, much more organised, I couldn't quite make out how that came about.

The incident shortly after Foden's goal, when Grealish flicked the ball and it drifted past the far post, was curious. Everyone seemed to assume the ball had gone out of play for a goal kick, and stopped. In fact the ball didn't go out, Grealish actually went after it and brought it into play from the goal line, but the referee decided to award a goal kick.

It was a tough night, we played about as well as we can. But, as we have seen so often, a dodgy decision by the referee and/or a daft mistake by one of our players, changes the course of the game.

Danny O’Neill
77 Posted 27/12/2023 at 23:45:00
On the last coach out of Liverpool heading home.

I'll reflect in the morning when I eventually get there, but no shame in defeat there from what I watched.

A dubious penalty and a Calvert-Lewin sitter away from a point.

I can't comment on Jordan as I'd turned to talk to the person next to me. But did save us several times with some great saves.

Bill Gall
78 Posted 27/12/2023 at 23:48:20
There was a discussion after the game with Glenn Hoddle and Dermot Gallagher over the penalty, with Hoddle saying it is the ruling that needs changing and Gallagher agreed with him. He stated that, under what the refs have been told, the ruling was correct and agreed that the ruling should be changed to deliberate handball, and that was not deliberate, as have a number of penalties in the Premier League.

Our major problem is the millstone around our neck with the 10-point deduction that has given the teams below and around us an extra incentive.

Man City were too good for us, I noticed we had them pinned in and around their area and about 12 to 15 passes later the ball was in the center circle and we were rushing to get back.

Yes, it was the penalty that changed the game, but it was the referee that gave it and only the VAR could have changed it but that would have not happened as the ruling was correct.

According to Dyche, in his comments after the game, the managers have been had discussing trying to get the rule changed with other complaints but so far have not succeeded.

Tonight it was a better team that we played and Everton have to be congratulated for the effort they put into the game through the 90+ minutes.

Bill Gall
79 Posted 27/12/2023 at 23:57:29
Another comment came up from Glenn Hoddle, who did not agree with the penalty.

He said "Could you imagine if that happened in the last minute of a World Cup Final, and following the rules they gave a penalty, there would be a riot!"

Kieran Kinsella
80 Posted 28/12/2023 at 00:17:58
On ridiculous reffing, I don't have USA Network, so I was watching Chelsea v Palace.

A tackle was waived away in the Chelsea box, Palace hit them on the counter and with better forwards would have scored.

Play resumed with a goal kick, another play under way then suddenly the VAR intervened and awarded a penalty for the initial tackle.

Had Palace scored, there was ample time for a restart before the VAR intervened. Can you imagine the chaos suddenly chalking off a Palace goal and rolling the clock back five minutes for a penalty? Utter shambles.

The reffing has become the center point of the game. Inconsistently applied overly harsh rules. Even the RS lost a legitimate goal at Spurs due to a communication breakdown and missed the chance of an identical penalty to the one we conceded — correctly by the ridiculous rules tonight.

All this fuss about FFP and us being penalized for supposedly cheating. Yet the game has no integrity because of the arbitration of games. The Premier League, UEFA and so on should address that before it becomes their next costly lawsuit

Jerome Shields
81 Posted 28/12/2023 at 00:18:21
On to Wolves as Dave says.
Ernie Baywood
82 Posted 28/12/2023 at 00:23:49
Skim reading the above I think there's some very harsh takes. Calvert-Lewin's effort was far from a sitter and I can't believe anyone points at Pickford for their first goal. He was never getting anywhere near that.

I thought the midfield got completely outclassed by an elite opposition, not helped by not being able to string two passes together. Mind you, people underestimate how hard City work. It's more than just quality that they have.

Error by Pickford amounted to taking a poor first touch at a stage of the game when he was gambling on not just simply clearing the ball. He was far from the only one to take a bad touch tonight.

Sometimes the opposition is just better. In that second half, City showed that they are just much, much better than us.

Penalty was harsh. Obviously. Looked like he wasn't going to give it and then decided to under pressure. If he hadn't given it, I doubt that decision would have been overturned.

Rob Dolby
83 Posted 28/12/2023 at 00:30:03
For 25 minutes of the first half, we gave them a game and scored a decent goal. Man City are a top team and moved the ball quicker in the 2nd half but we did gift them the 3 goals.

Who was closing Foden down on the edge of the box for their first?

The 2nd only gets given against teams like us and never against the Top 6.

The third was a goalie mistake but, let's face it, Pickford kept us in this game with 3 or 4 good saves during the game.

Plus points are we never folded and gave them a game. Another half-decent performance from Patterson.

We are causing teams problems and look to win games on the front foot.

Harrison played well, pity we never got the ball out to him more.

Garner is becoming the main centre mid at the club.

Mykolenko my MotM.

We can go to Wolves and give them a game. These are the games we need to pick up points in. Spurs away and Man City at home are almost free hits as we don't expect to get anything.

Phil Wood
84 Posted 28/12/2023 at 00:38:37
I thought we gave everything tonight but were undone by a great strike, a dodgy penalty and a goalkeeping mistake.

Foden and Walker are great honest players but I have no time for shits like Grealish and Alvarez.


Rob Halligan
85 Posted 27/12/2023 at 00:38:43
Mike # 40… just a vicious rumour, as I was at Burnley the other week.

That penalty decision was a joke. What's Onana meant to do, get the ball smashed into his face from about a yard, and get sparked out, or put his arm up to protect his face?

That had to be the quickest VAR decision ever, or the shithouse referee simply played the shout and gave the penalty. He pointed for a corner, so what changed his mind?

Oh I know, all the Man City players screaming for a penalty. It's amazing when you consider that a few seasons ago at Goodison, that Rodri almost caught the ball in his own penalty area and no penalty given, not even reviewed by VAR, yet Onana in protecting his face is penalised.

I just hope that Guardiola remembers that, as ultimately that decision gave his team the league title.

We all know that Man City are head and shoulders above any team in this league, and will now probably go on some crazy winning streak and end up winning the title.

I really thought beforehand that with our recent winning streak and an excellent, but ultimately fruitless performance at Spurs, we could get something from the game, and for 50 minutes it looked on.

Alas, it was not meant to be, but, as many were saying earlier on, it was seen as a free hit so nothing lost!

Andy Riley
86 Posted 28/12/2023 at 00:40:15
The problem with all this is no-one knows who is making the decisions.

To my view at the match on the penalty, the ref quite clearly gave a corner. City players then mobbed him and he gave a penalty. So he effectively over-ruled himself. Has he therefore decided that he'd made a clear and obvious error?

Surely the correct procedure is to stick with the original referee decision for a corner and the non-penalty decision to be reviewed by VAR? They can only then overrule if it is a clear and obvious error.

Once again, rules seem to be made up as they wish or go along and leaves a stench of possible corruption.

Mike Oates
87 Posted 28/12/2023 at 01:06:22
Peter Mills # 76

Guardiola said he did make a change at halftime: he overloaded his midfield with his full backs coming inside, with the intention of sucking Everton midfield into centre of pitch and therefore creating space for his wingers to attack our full backs.

He knew his midfielders could move the ball so quickly to get past our midfield. Rodri and Foden crucial to them. They had to speed up play.

Derek Knox
88 Posted 28/12/2023 at 01:36:00
Accurate passing and clinical finishing was the real difference between us and them tonight (last night now) and they had spent a hell of a lot more on players than we had. Still, I was very proud of our lads and their effort which couldn't be faulted.

I felt Onana was very profligate with his passing and lack of accuracy, which was easily intercepted too often. Thought as I feared before the game that 'shithouse refereeing and lack of clinical finishing' could be our nemesis and proved to be the case.

All-in-all, if we keep playing like that (first half) we should win more games than we lose. That point deduction is like the Sword of Damocles, but still feel we can emerge as proud victors in most of the remaining fixtures.

Kieran Kinsella
89 Posted 28/12/2023 at 01:41:36

Today, Pickford is the villain. Last game Gomes was world class.

The fact you can flip those descriptions for 99 percent of their games is overlooked by some.

Kunal Desai
90 Posted 28/12/2023 at 01:46:22
I so desperately want the Premier League and Richard Masters et al to crumble and crumble hard. It's becoming hard to watch with corrupt officiating.

Premier League clubs can be bought as overseas investments, it's about time the Premier League were bought out. The whole top to bottom of this organisation needs cleansing. Every single official from the VAR to the linesman to the referee in this league need to be made redundant. I'd openly welcome the likes of UAE to an outright ownership of our league.

A creation of two leagues would be better for all, one a European Super League and the remainder owned outright by UAE. Officiating would get cleaned up in no time.

Yet again we have been shafted by inept officiating in consecutive games.

Enough is now enough.

Bob Parrington
91 Posted 28/12/2023 at 01:51:43
Shit refereeing was a game changer here. But it's now in the past.

Time to look forward and concentrate on winning the majority of the rest of our games.

Alan J Thompson
92 Posted 28/12/2023 at 02:01:08
I've just finished watching what passes for Optus service of 5 seconds of action followed by 5 seconds of freeze frame on replay and have not read any comments.

I thought we sat back too much which seemed to mean Garner and Onana went missing too often and McNeil's lack of pace was shown up and after we scored we seemed to stop getting men forward to help out the lone striker.

Maybe we can take a lesson from the way City spread the defence by having men wide on both sides of the pitch, I don't think Grealish spent much time not standing on the touchline.

As for City's goals, the first was a great strike but when you are sat back defending your lead as Everton did then somebody should have been nearer to Foden to make taking that shot more difficult, getting between him and the goal.

The penalty was just a farce. It may have hit Onana's arm but the ball was never deflected or stopped and went on to hit him in the face. The ref was positioned nearer but allowed himself to be over-ruled by a distant linesman. Totally ridiculous.

And the third just has to go down to Pickford's stupidity on possibly one of the few occasions he didn't put his foot through it.

We should have done better.

Jonathan Oppenheimer
95 Posted 28/12/2023 at 02:25:10
Tough match, but as others have said, proud of the boys. If Harrison's strike with the outside of the boot goes in, it's an entirely different match.

As for the penalty, it is true Brooks was not going to give it. I'm 99% sure it was the assistant who told him it was handball, which in some circumstances I can understand but with proximity to ball and his natural position I don't like.

What then would've been interesting to see would be if the VAR would've intervened and I'd bet they would have. As others have said, it's how referees are told to call it when they see the arm looking like it's up high. I don't like this call, as a referee, but I understand why it was given.

On to Wolves. We really need and miss Doucoure.

Jamie Crowley
96 Posted 28/12/2023 at 03:07:53
Had to watch with one eye as I drove to GA.

I watched the game and not the road far too much. Arrived safely, and I have to say the drive flew by watching the game!

From what I saw, we didn't play poorly and I can't fault any player. No complaints, just came up short on the day.

I thought it was 100% a penalty. It's harsh, but if your arm is up above your head – and it was for Onana – it's a penalty nowadays.

Harrison was great. I also thought Patterson played very well.

Onwards. Need to find 3 points against Wolves for sure.

Laurie Hartley
97 Posted 28/12/2023 at 04:43:04
Jonathan # 95 - yes we miss Doucoure badly. We needed both him and Gana playing to have any chance against that team. The way all the city players find space and control the ball is something to behold.

So beaten by the team that has won 5 trophies this year including the World Club Championship.

To be honest, I didn't expect anything from this game but I am still fed up.

Andrew Clare
98 Posted 28/12/2023 at 07:41:59
'Rome wasn't built in a day'. That's the way I view us at the moment.

Like Laurie, I am fed up because we lost but we have to take the view that City are the finished product and we are still a work in progress. Dyche is working wonders with the squad and his philosophy has transformed the team in his short time here.

Yes, the result was bad last night but it's clear to see that the future is looking much brighter.

Peter Quinn
99 Posted 28/12/2023 at 07:46:39
Some thoughts.

Excellent first-half display, I thought Beto did really well, and a very well taken goal by an ever improving Jack Harrison.

City really put the foot on the accelerator second half, how good are Rodri and Foden? Unbelievable first goal.

Never a penalty, it was Turning Point 1.

Yet another golden chance missed by Calvert-Lewin: Turning Point 2.

I wish Onana was as good as he thinks he is. We have won four out of six league games in December and competed so well in the other two. Doucouré is as important to us as Rodri is to City.

Wolves will be tough but we will compete, Beto to start for me, at some point we need to go to 4-4-2.

We are leaving 2023 behind in a much better place!

Garry Martin
100 Posted 28/12/2023 at 08:48:19
Yes we got beat, however, we really have to put things into perspective and take onboard the main points and learn:

1. City are very good.
2. Referees are getting worse
3. It was never ever a penalty.
4. Everton miss Doucoure badly.
5. 4-4-2 a must now.
6. Calvert-Lewin needs a goal.

Peter Mills
101 Posted 28/12/2023 at 08:53:09
Mike Oates #87, thanks very much for your reply.

The change certainly worked - at times, I was thinking Pep had brought on 2 subs at halftime without taking anyone off!

Tony Abrahams
102 Posted 28/12/2023 at 09:14:16
I also thought that incident was strange, Peter M@76, because the ball didn't seem to go out and then after an age, the linesman standing right next to the corner flag, decided to put up his flag as though to indicate offside.

The refs are currently changing or being forced to change the narrative every few weeks and it just comes across as very condescending, when watching the game.

I genuinely thought our goal was going to be chalked off the way the City players and especially Rodri got right in the refs face but, instead of brandishing the yellow card to a couple of City players, he seemed to slowly take his time whilst obviously waiting for confirmation in the VAR room that there had been no foul?

This took at least 30 seconds, whereas the decision to change from a corner to a penalty, took around 2 seconds, again after four or five City players “vehemently” (I heard that on the highlights I watched last night) claimed for a penalty.

How Gomes got booked but Rodri never did also showed a worrying lack of consistency, but I suppose this side of the game has been like this, with the refs seemingly scared of upsetting the best teams.

I love watching football live from inside the stadium and although Michael's match report might be able to pick up some things a lot better from the close proximity of the television screen, I genuinely thought Grealish was a bit snide in the tackle which got him a booking, because he had just been given a little shove from Patterson, after being getting wound up by Tarkowski for the previous 5 minutes.

Maybe the shove looked worse on TV because, if that was in the box, the City player would have had a right to go down, and might have even got himself a penalty. This is why I'm losing interest in watching a lot of top-level football nowadays.

I actually prefer watching Morecombe playing in League 2 because, although the standard isn't as high, the much higher honesty levels definitely make up for this.

Alan McGuffog
103 Posted 28/12/2023 at 09:25:42
We will triumph at Wolves. Sin miedo.
Oliver Molloy
104 Posted 28/12/2023 at 09:33:24
Calvert-Lewin should have scored and the game may have been different.

He needs a goal and quick.

Mark Murphy
105 Posted 28/12/2023 at 09:45:43
I watched the game on Amazon.

1. The ball did go out when Grealish claimed it hadn't.
2. The ref changed his mind for the penalty because his linesman indicated it. (First time in years I've seen a linesman make a fucking decision!)

Overall, a valiant effort but lack of real quality where it matters. We miss Doucoure and we need to keep Tarkowski and Branthwaite together.

I'm worried that the rumour that we're going to sell one first teamer in January will mean cashing in on Branners! That would hurt me more than the 10-point deduction did. UTFT

Joe McMahon
106 Posted 28/12/2023 at 09:53:07
It's so frustrating, as the margins are fine. Calvert-Lewin needs to work 25 hours a day on finishing (we should have sold him for big money when he was hyped up). No way are Newcastle sniffing around.

Pickford needs to stop shouting at everything and everyone and do his own job properly. Sick of his pathetic antics.

We really do need a result at Wolves, but they are playing well and scoring for fun.

Mark Murphy
107 Posted 28/12/2023 at 10:06:29
And I don’t want to pile in on Onana but the fcuking irony of him gesturing to the street end to ramp it up!!
Michael Lynch
108 Posted 27/12/2023 at 10:13:14
Foden was brilliant for them, and at times they looked like the City of last season, but we still should have got something off them.

The more I see the penalty, the angrier I get. On the other hand, Pickford had one of those games where he gets incredibly over-excited – he was shouting at our defence over nothing even more than usual. On days like this, he reminds me of a puppy, running around chasing bits of paper and barking at everyone. He clearly has problems.

David Hallwood
109 Posted 28/12/2023 at 10:19:58
I posted before the Spurs game we're long overdue a spawny win, a "How the fuck did we get the 3 points?" game, or a dodgy penalty, or the opposition down to 10 men.

Well I got my wish: sadly, it was Spurs and Man City that were the beneficiaries of the spawny win and dodgy pen; so the wait goes on.

It's hard not to be 'woe is me' or paranoid, but for fuck's sake, our luck has got to turn someday.

As for yesterday, I thought we played really well against a team that's on another planet, but mistakes and below-par performances from some of the team undid us.

It's difficult to be critical of Pickford but he should be saving Foden's goal, regardless of how well it was struck, and their 3rd is a result of a ball-playing keeper being too clever.

But onward and upwards.

Anthony Dove
110 Posted 28/12/2023 at 10:26:18
Agree fully with Joe @106 and Michael @108.

Pickford does not seem to have been taking his medication recently.

Mike Price
111 Posted 28/12/2023 at 10:26:34
Joe #106,

I completely agree with you; despite some good saves, he still costs us as many points as he saves with his regular mistakes and never dominating his box.

Calvert-Lewin had a short purple patch and I'd love him to have another, just so we could get rid of him.

I'd love to get our money back on Onana and Beto too because our big money signings don't look as good as other teams' low-cost signings. This has been Everton's problem for years and why we're in the mess we're in.

Brian Harrison
112 Posted 28/12/2023 at 10:27:15
In the irst half, Man City didn't pose too many threats to our goal and we scored after pressing them in and around their own box. Even as good a set of players they are, when put under pressure, they can make mistakes. Also in the first half, they didn't play with much pace.

Obviously Guardiola got into them at half-time and in the 2nd half their pace increased as did their intensity.

I was a little surprised Foden's shot went in from that distance but, sitting in Upper Bullens, it was difficult to see. I did hear Dyche after the game say Pickford was unsighted as the shot went through Beto's legs.

The goal lifted City and, after that, we were having difficulty getting any possession.

Having seen the still pictures of the penalty, it looked very harsh. But we still had a chance to equalise but Calvert-Lewin put his shot the wrong side of the post, and City then added a 3rd from Pickford's mistake.

I think we could have been a bit braver at times and seemed reluctant to throw too many men forward. I realize you have to be careful playing against a talented team, but sometimes fortune favours the brave.

I thought our back 4 were very good the whole game. Harrison as always worked hard and took his goal nicely. Beto worked very hard as the lone striker and, without Doucoure, we struggled to give him any help. Gomes did okay and probably 60-odd minutes was about right to sub him.

Again, you can't fault this team for work rate but, like against Spurs, we just lack that bit of quality that's needed at times.

I know I am not his biggest fan but Onana has to do more than he currently is doing. He very rarely goes forward with the ball, let's players run off him without tracking back, and for a guy of his size was easily outmuscled by much smaller players.

I know many on here rate him but by now he should have picked up what playing in the Premier League is all about and he hasn't. There are large sections of the game when you forget he is there and, for a central midfield player, you just can't go missing.

But I couldn't post without praising the only City player who cost nothing: Phil Foden. This lad has everything: he scores goals, a great passer of the ball, great first touch, can go past people at will, and is very hard to shake off the ball. I looked at him and Grealish, who cost £100M, and Grealish for me is nowhere near Foden's class.

So onto Wolves after 2 very tough games, and yes they are in a good run of form but, for me, if we apply ourselves, this is a winable game.

George Cumiskey
113 Posted 28/12/2023 at 10:33:49
The biggest difference between Man City and us last night was their ability to find a man with nearly every pass whereas we are sadly lacking.

Not many long balls, just short sharp passing and City's players' ability to find space, pass and move… simple, really.

Rob Dolby
114 Posted 28/12/2023 at 10:40:41
Brian @112,

Pickford kept us in the game in the first half with Man City's first shot on goal and a fantastic double save late in the first half. He also pulled off a great save from a free kick in the 2nd. He has enough credit in the bank to be allowed the odd mistake.

It didn't cost us the game but it sealed the victory for them.

I agree with you regarding Foden – he was the stand-out player on the night.

Laurie Hartley
115 Posted 28/12/2023 at 10:44:18
I have liked the cut of Patterson from day one and think he is improving in a similar way to that of Mykolenko. I hope we can keep Branthwaite - the problem is we would make a huge book profit in him. If we can keep him we will end up with a top class back four.

Beto worked very hard but he is not quite there yet. I think he will improve with more game time. I hope to see him given time with Doucoure playing in that advanced roll.

Harrison had a good game I thought. I saw him go past there fullback on the outside at one point - I would like to see more of that.

Garner is turning out to be a very solid midfielder but we need a ball winner to play alongside him Gana. He was sorely missed in that game.

I watched Money Ball again the other week and one line from Brad Pitt jumped out at me - “if he is such a good hitter why doesn’t he hit good”?

Ah well, I watched the extended highlights of Brentford v Wolves. The Brentford centre back gifted Wolves two goals - the second not long after Brentford had got back into the game at 2-1. I think Wolves will find us a much tougher proposition.

Danny Baily
116 Posted 28/12/2023 at 10:45:38
Plenty of positives from last night.

Regarding the standard of officiating, this is best in games like the one against Palace, where the refs are seemingly under less pressure in the absence of one of the moneyed clubs.

That bodes well for our next outing.

Brian Harrison
117 Posted 28/12/2023 at 10:47:19
Rob @114,

You are absolutely right, Pickford did make some great saves to keep us in the match but, as I said in my post, I couldn't see very clearly how he had been beaten from Foden's shot.

I also said Dyche said it went through Beto's legs so that's why.

I don't think even Pickford would deny it was his howler for the 3rd City goal. Pickford has very rarely let us down.

Ian Edwards
118 Posted 28/12/2023 at 10:47:21
I'm not getting too upset about the penalty. We would be raging if not given at other end for us.
Rob Halligan
119 Posted 28/12/2023 at 10:47:28
Would this handball have been given down the other end?

Onana Handball Decision

Rob Halligan
120 Posted 28/12/2023 at 10:49:25
Well, I think we all know the answer to that one!

Rodri Handball vs Everton

Stephen Davies
121 Posted 28/12/2023 at 11:04:46
My issue with modern-day handball penalty is that nowadays it is more a lottery – more than likely, if it hits your hand or arm in the penalty area, it will be a penalty. In the past, it was looked at with the view of it being either deliberate or reckless.

For a lot of them the defender can't do anything about it. The shot is hit at them with speed and their momentum puts that body part (which they have no control over) in the way...

Subconscious bias by referees also comes into play.

Tony Abrahams
122 Posted 28/12/2023 at 11:57:49
Ian @118, I think you make a very good point, but this is unfortunately where football is presently at, with most fans wanting everything, but fuming when similar things go against them.

I think if we would have been given that penalty, then the City players would have got the VAR involved to a greater degree, and then it's anyone's guess what would have happened after this.

Like when Everton got a penalty against Spurs, but then it was overturned because the VAR said Lloris had got a hand to the ball, then my guess is a similar conclusion would have possibly been reached if Everton had got a similar decision last night.

We will never know, is the obvious answer, but because I have little faith in the honesty of the officials, then that's how I feel nowadays, unfortunately.

Tony Abrahams
123 Posted 28/12/2023 at 12:00:56
I thought Stones going off helped City last night. Stones is a player I really admire, but he was playing in something of a nothing roll imo.

I thought City definitely played even higher up the pitch, and also a lot quicker during the second period.

Eric Myles
124 Posted 28/12/2023 at 12:10:27
Rob #120, it must have taken you ages to type that out!

You could have just put a Link

Brian Wilkinson
125 Posted 28/12/2023 at 12:24:59
With the effort we put in against Spurs, and then the quick turnaround for our next game, I thought we handled Man City pretty well in the first half. Gueye and Doucoure were both missing for the game and Gomes having to play two games as well was asking a lot in regards to fitness on his side against a fast-working Man City team.

City could make changes in almost every position; we had no one on the bench who could have come on and filled the midfield slot, not even Ashley Young who could of at least slotted in midfield.

We gave City a damn good go; unlucky with the penalty, last goal avoidable, other than that, running on half empty, but they never gave up. It took a world class save by their goalie to stop Harrison putting us 2 nil up.

I think Tarkowski had enough of Pickford ranting and came very close to giving him a slap but decided on a push instead. Credit to Pickford, he kept his mouth shut on Tarkowski, then that tackle Tarkowski did near the end, hard but firm, crunching tackle that one.

I agree with others: Pickford at fault for two of the goals, but made some cracking saves that kept us in it, a mixed evening for Pickford.

What you have to remember as well, City can buy and spend as much as they like, have players like De Brueyne and Haaland out and still have more than enough in reserve, whereas we have to sell the likes of Richarlison and Gordon and still get slapped with a points deduction.

I do not hear the Premier League approaching City, advising them to sell the likes of Foden or Rodri, that's the bigger picture to look at. Forget the result, look at what we were up against! When you are down to the bare bones in midfield, that was a very decent performance again last night, the players are giving everything.

Rob Halligan
126 Posted 28/12/2023 at 12:57:35
Eric, it was a link, but it came out the way I posted. Still, exactly the same picture!
Rob Halligan
127 Posted 28/12/2023 at 13:16:22
Stephen # 121……..I was doing a lot of thinking whilst out walking the dog, about some of what you say. Referees are referees probably because they were never good enough to play the game. So, thinking about that penalty yesterday, I would love to sit down with John Brooks, the referee yesterday, and ask him exactly how he would have tried to block that shot from Ake, which was blasted towards Onana from no more than a yard away. His obvious answer, I think, would be he wouldn’t know because he never played the game. Would he think it’s possible for a player to jump the way Onana did, in an attempt to block the ball, and keep his arms down by his side? Again, I doubt very much he would know. It’s a natural thing to extend your arms, either when jumping for a header, or, like Onana, trying to block a shot. No doubt Dermot Gallagher came out with some bullshit defence for the referee on Ref Watch this morning, which I unfortunately missed.
Mike Doyle
128 Posted 28/12/2023 at 13:36:27
Rob 85,

Apologies. I thought you were still out watching the cricket.

Rob Dolby
129 Posted 28/12/2023 at 13:41:53
The 'cheating' chants from City fans last night, although tongue-in-cheek, just highlights the disparity in our treatment compared to just about anyone else in the Premier League.

We are being made examples of probably due to some past run-ins between the league and club.

City have spent billions and pay their squad players 3 times that of our star players but are allowed to continue. We are on a knife edge from going under and the Premier League are putting the boot in.

Should we be one of the first clubs to join the proposed European Super League as a protest against the way we are being treated? I am sick of the Premier League. It's not a sporting contest anymore, it's a money contest.

Mark Murphy
130 Posted 28/12/2023 at 13:59:14
Rob H,

“Referees are referees probably because they were never good enough to play the game.”

Love that! It's similar to what I say to gobby rugby players who sneer at football. "Rugby players are just people who have to catch a ball with their hands cos they don't have the skill to control it with their feet."

Rob Halligan
131 Posted 28/12/2023 at 14:09:32
Mark # 130.

LOL……I always say anyone can play rugby, providing they can hold an egg-shaped ball and run like Linford Christie!!

Paul Hewitt
132 Posted 28/12/2023 at 14:11:43
Mark @130.

They might not have the skills as a footballer. But they're ten times a man.

Raymond Fox
133 Posted 28/12/2023 at 14:46:34
They need to come up with a decision on the appeal we have made sharpish.

It should not drag on to when the season is over and what they decide could alter who stays in the Premier League.

Hopefully we will be in a position where what they decide does not matter.

Peter Mills
134 Posted 28/12/2023 at 15:17:32
Mark #105, thanks for your comment regarding the ball Grealish pulled back from (over) the goal line. My seat is above that line, in the Main Stand, and I thought it stayed in, but I'm happy to take your word for it if that's what the telly showed.

Since I was a small boy, it has always fascinated me how we all see a slightly different game from each other. My first games were viewed squashed between my dad and either my grandad or brother in the Upper Bullens. After the match, we would meet my dad's pals on the corner of Gwladys Street, they used to stand in the Bullens Road Paddock, and they might as well have been at a different match.

That's when the arguments would start. I used to take it all in and loved it. I watch my grandson do the same thing now, and I occasionally give him a wink.

It was very poignant to see my brother on the big screen last night as one of the supporters we have lost during 2023. It was a nice tribute to many people, our club has its faults but it does some things extremely well.

Jamie Crowley
135 Posted 28/12/2023 at 15:28:53
Rob Halligan -

Rodri's was 100% a penalty.

Unfortunately, despite some protest in previous posts, Onana's was 100% a penalty as well.

The real issue is the inconsistency in decisions and most importantly the VAR. I've said a thousand or so times, the VAR implementation in the Premier League has been really shit. Your pictures point out just how terrible it's been.

Walking down the dark path a little further, you do begin to wonder why these "bigger" teams seem to get more favorable decisions time and time again?

Last week with our perfectly good goal called back against Spurs is another prime example. An AR (Assistant Referee, Yank term) is 12 yards from the play, judges correctly the Gomes challenge to not be a foul, and then the entire thing is called back?

The faint stench of corruption is on the wind perhaps?

I would love it if someone could track the VAR decisions – favorable or unfavorable – by club and see where those numbers pan out?

Brian Wilkinson
136 Posted 28/12/2023 at 15:29:05
Ref gave a corner, it was the linesman that alerted the ref.

Unfortunately, the stupid rule says it's a penalty, that rule needs reviewing for a change in the rulings.

Danny O’Neill
137 Posted 28/12/2023 at 15:40:57
In retaliation to the "kissball" jibes, I often respond by labelling the egg-chasers failed footballers. All friendly banter of course.

I actually find Rugby very confusing and complex with so many rules for a seemingly simple game. At least their officials know the game, are transparent and their version of the VAR mostly works.

Same here, Peter. Yesterday until his blooper, Jordan Pickford was up there for his several saves. Fast forward to this morning and I'm being told he was poor and at fault for all 3 goals. As you say, funny how we can all watch the same match and see it different.

It is a nice touch by the club. My son arranged for my Uncle's name to appear a few seasons ago. He had a dog called Blue who roamed the streets of Speke from morning until night. He knew that estate better than most humans.

Paul Washington
138 Posted 28/12/2023 at 16:01:01
Tony #123,

Re Stones, we were quite dominant at that phase of the game and Stones's injury seemed to kill off the play and indeed the crowd as well.

He was later replaced shortly afterwards so it was a genuine injury, typical Everton that moment!

Rob Halligan
139 Posted 28/12/2023 at 16:02:44
Jamie # 135……..I think many will disagree with you about it being a 100% penalty.

I don't know if you are aware, but many years ago, a penalty may have been awarded if the referee thought it was “Hand to ball”, ie, the player deliberately moved his hand towards the ball, but not awarded if it was “Ball to hand”, ie, the ball unintentionally hit a players hand.

That yesterday was definitely a case of Ball to hand. Onana had no idea where the ball was heading, his sole intention was to block the shot, and he barely had time to think where his arm was.

Brian Denton
140 Posted 28/12/2023 at 16:23:33
Very frustrating last night, because they can hoover up the good players, and FFP etc has closed the door behind them because they (and especially Chelsea) got their financial doping in early.

It'll be interesting to see how Newcastle finesse the system.

Brian Wilkinson
141 Posted 28/12/2023 at 16:26:57
Not hard to understand Rugby rules, Danny, each team has 5 tackles to score a try or gain metres by kicking on the 5th tackle, cannot play a forward pass, cannot get in the refs face, captains only to approach the ref and call him sir, any nonsense and 10 minutes in the sin bin.

Any disputes goes to the screen with commentary from ref and the VAR heard and various angles and slow motion, showing the incident on the big screen instead of a freeze frame and line drawn.

Players knock hell out of each other, then shake hands at full time.

If you get chance, Danny, you should try and watch some rugby league games on Sky in the upcoming season, run so much better than football.

I know Jim L will not agree with me but Wigan Warriors have strengthened and will be the team to beat in the new season.

Danny O’Neill
142 Posted 28/12/2023 at 16:36:29
I only really watch the Six Nations, Brian. It's the intricacies that confuse me. I've never played the game so I don't know what's going on half the time.

Interestingly, when travelling to the States, I watch American Football. This might make sense, but as I got to sort of understand it, I could see parallels with Rugby League even though they are totally different games.

Advance a certain distance in four downs or turn over possession. I think Rugby League is similar with the number of tackles. But I'm no expert on either.

Football is confusing me right now. A game I've played and followed since I can remember!!

Barry Hesketh
143 Posted 28/12/2023 at 16:56:15
When the 10-point deduction was implemented, Everton found themselves second-bottom of the table, and 2 points from safety.

Trying to be optimistic, despite the last couple of defeats, shows that since that day:

Burnley have taken 7 points from 7 matches giving the Clarets 11 points.

Sheffield United have taken 4 putting them on 9 points,

Forest have also taken 4 points to take their total to 17 points.

Luton have been the most galvanised in recent weeks taking 9 points from six matches, putting them on 15 points.

Everton have taken 12 points from seven games giving us a total of 16.

Although it hasn't been a great festive period for the club so far, we should all be mindful of the position we started from due to that points deduction, and not be too down-hearted going into the second half of the season.

Brian Wilkinson
144 Posted 28/12/2023 at 17:05:46
Rugby league miles better than Rugby Union Danny, once that clock hits 80 mins hooter goes, none of this play until the ball goes dead. :-)

Once Everton's new stadium is opened, I would not be surprised if they held the magic weekend there, where every Super League team plays there over a weekend – 3 or 4 games Saturday, the remainder Sunday. Get to watch all games in a day for a cheaper price than one Premier League game.

Danny O’Neill
145 Posted 28/12/2023 at 17:22:38
Not quite the same but I wish we would just stop the clock in football, Brian. Then it finishes on 90 minutes.

Call me suspicious, but another pet hate. Subjective adding of time by the officials with no explanation or transparency. And the amount of times I am convinced they allow play to carry on beyond that to see if a goal can be scored.

I'm getting old and becoming more of a conspiracy theorist!

I do think Everton will utilise the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock for a lot more than we've been able to do so with Goodison. I can only think of the Bellew fight. Rugby, Concerts… dare I say NFL with our potential US owners on the horizon?

Stephen Vincent
146 Posted 28/12/2023 at 18:08:06
Brian #140,

I have a feeling that it may come back and bite Chelsea on the bum. Whilst it may make sense to do what they did from a P&S point of view, what they have now is half a squad of players on huge wages that they are effectively stuck with for 7 or 8 years, most of whom will be pushing 30 by the time their contracts end.

Take Wesley Fofana, signed for £75M on a 7-year contract which expires in 2029 on a minimum of £200,000 per week, injured for much of this season. Who the hell are they going to sell him to? And if they can find someone prepared to pick up his wages, will they ever recover his written-down value?

Brian Wilkinson
147 Posted 28/12/2023 at 19:26:12
I agree with a stop clock, Danny, would work much better.

Could well do, Steve, pretty sure Chelsea will find another way though. A better idea would be for teams to only be able to loan out a maximum of three players, instead of 8, that could stop the top clubs from stockpiling on players.

Robert Duncombe
148 Posted 28/12/2023 at 20:11:14
Good to see that Kulusevski conceded a penalty for shirt pulling in the penalty area.

Another over-sight by the officials when we played Spurs and Onana had his shirt pulled by Kulusevski on at least two occasions in the area!!! They make it difficult for us don't they!!

Mark Murphy
149 Posted 28/12/2023 at 20:20:58
The trouble with that argument, Robert, is that Doucoure got away with an even more obvious one at Forest.

I couldn't believe the VAR looked at that and gave nothing.

Robert Duncombe
150 Posted 28/12/2023 at 20:31:01
I missed that one, Mark. Nice to get the benefit of bad judgements for once then!!
Peter Mills
151 Posted 28/12/2023 at 21:30:56
Mark#149, you are showing a worrying tendency towards objectivity!
Tony Abrahams
152 Posted 28/12/2023 at 22:55:24
Jamie says that it was 100% a penalty. Mark rightly points out that the VAR missed a shirt pull against Forest that could have resulted in a penalty, just like the one that was missed on Saturday at Spurs, but the same as the one given to Brighton tonight.

Some of us said that the VAR would just give these referees another layer to hide behind when it was first implemented, and I think the people who had this view have been proved right.

How many people would have been arguing that Danjuma's shot had crossed the line on Saturday, if the game never had goal-line technology? This technology proved the ball hadn't crossed the line because it's black or white, whereas most of the decisions that are given by VAR are still completely subjective, and this even seems to be the case, with some of the offside decisions, imo.

The only thing that has happened with the VAR is that it has made football a lot more controversial than it has ever been before. This will eventually kill the game if it's not rectified, because one day people will surely get fed up listening to Dermot Gallagher, and realise that it's just not worth it anymore.

Speaking for myself, I watch football for many reasons, but the controversy is slowly killing my love for the game. I'm sure I'm not alone.

Kevin Molloy
153 Posted 28/12/2023 at 23:03:44
Tony, I don't celebrate goals any more. How can you, when you know a cloud hangs over the decision for 2 minutes each time. The VAR is the worst thing to happen to football since Bosman.
Eric Myles
154 Posted 29/12/2023 at 01:05:52
Jamie #135, there is a VAR tracker. I think it's on the ESPN website, I'll try to look for it and post a link.

Every week they do a round-up of VAR and non-VAR decisions and explain why they were correct or wrong.

When I say non-VAR decisions I mean they consider whether VAR should have been reviewed and give reasons why or why not.

And I think I've seen a season review as well.

Before VAR there was a website named "You Need Specs" which reviewed penalties and incidents involving goals but I don't know if that still exists.

Eric Myles
155 Posted 29/12/2023 at 01:15:57
Jamie #135


Peter Quinn
156 Posted 29/12/2023 at 07:31:24

Probably best we do not share this link and the information contained in it with any RS fans!

Duncan McDine
157 Posted 29/12/2023 at 08:34:21
Funnily enough, when I first saw the VAR introduced (pretty sure it was at the World Cup), I thought the officials handled it very well. Toenails offside didn't enter into the equation... it was just used in case the ref or lino made a bad mistake (easily done, we're all human).

Skip forward a few years to the way it is currently used in the Premier League... what a disaster. Week after week, there are game-defining mistakes and inconsistencies, so they need to go back to the drawing board and simplify the way it is used.

Ray Roche
158 Posted 29/12/2023 at 09:38:10

“Ball to hand”… how many times did we, as kids, say that?

I'm beginning to think that the only fair way to get around this handball fiasco is to make every handball a penalty, regardless of intent, or where on the arm from, say, the elbow down that the ball touches the arm. This would deprive the referee of any opportunity to show favour. There are several rule changes that the governing buffoons have brought in to the detriment of the game but the VAR in its present form takes the biscuit.

And why do they bring in new rules that are forgotten after the first week?

Only the Captain can approach the referee. One player booked and sent off and then….?

Two players sent off, one retrospectively for simulation and then…?

Moving the ball back for refusing to retreat 10 yards?

Leaving the pitch at the nearest point when being subbed?

Time wasting by keepers? Some get booked, most get a referee tapping his watch.

The game is becoming a joke, all the above appear to be at the referee's discretion and we know where that can end up!

Tony Abrahams
159 Posted 29/12/2023 at 09:45:47
It's just the way the whole game has gone now but, three or four weeks ago, players were getting booked for running towards the referee to remonstrate with him, but I witnessed quite a few City players doing this to the referee at least three times on Wednesday night, and the only thing that happened was they got a penalty.

I honestly thought the ref was going to disallow our goal the other night, Kevin. Rodri, (definitely) and a couple of other City players (I think) flew right at the ref, complaining about something I hadn't seen, (maybe because of a post blocking my full view) and instead of the ref giving him a yellow card. (Wasn't this the new rule last month?)

He definitely took his time and seemed to hang around the City penalty area, rather than walking back towards the halfway line. I was genuinely thinking he was going to disallow the goal, but then it came on the big screen, and it was obvious Rodri had fucked up in the wind.

Posting at the same time Ray, although I could imagine if every handball became a penalty, the players might stop shooting at the goal!

Rob Dolby
160 Posted 29/12/2023 at 10:07:02
The game is being run by money men and bureaucrats. The finances have never been so high. A lot of people are making a lot of money at the top of the game.

The rule makers are loving the spotlight and bureaucracy they are bringing to the game. The more controversial the decision, the more talking heads on satellite TV around the world can spout rubbish about it which brings in subscriptions and advertising revenue.

Ref watch, all the old refs getting a comfy chair in Stockley Park or a spotlight position on Sky Sports trying to explain why a decision is right or wrong… then back-tracking in the very next sentence.

These people, if not refereein,g would be attracted to tin-pot power jobs like being a traffic warden and yet they control the game of football.

There needs to be a way to make the job more appealing to ex-players. The game itself is pretty simple, it's the rule changes, interpretation and inconsistently that infuriates the fans.

Unless it's ridiculously obvious the other 14 clubs always get the shit sandwich whilst the other 6 get the softest of decisions. The introduction of the VAR has just reinforced that position.

Jimmy Carr
161 Posted 29/12/2023 at 10:09:39
No shame in losing to Man City; if Harrison could have scored that second goal, who knows?

We need something from the Wolves game though and we're already stretched. Our second stringers – Gomes, Patterson, Danjuma, Dobbin, Beto etc – may increasingly get more chances as the season progresses. We will now find out whether they can step up to the plate.

No doubt that Dyche has improved us, but we need to get some more points tucked away to avoid another nerve-wracking second half of the season.

Rob Halligan
162 Posted 29/12/2023 at 10:16:36
This is where my corrupt thinking mind comes into play, but this goalline technology they use, where-by the referee's watch bleeps if the ball crosses the goal line before being cleared.

What's to stop, say Michael Oliver when reffing us, saying his watch never bleeped, and therefore the goal is not awarded, or do the assistants and fourth officials also have a bleeping watch?

Tony Abrahams
163 Posted 29/12/2023 at 10:23:49
When you get to those levels of paranoia, Rob, then it won't be long before you are taking a gun into the ground mate!

Seriously though you have now got me thinking that Danjuma's shot went in, and rather than give us the goal, they have chosen to use the freeze frame shot that was taken one hundredth of a second earlier. I can't be alone because my predictive text has written most of this post!

Michael Oliver definitely appears to have it in for Everton though, but maybe I've just been inflicted with the same uncontrollable paranoia as your good self, Rob.

Brian Harrison
164 Posted 29/12/2023 at 10:39:52
I really don't understand the game I started playing over 70 years ago.

We used to have to have all the ball inside the quadrant when taking corners, now just as long as some part of the ball is touching the outside line, it's okay.

Handball offences were only given when the referee deemed you moved your hand towards the ball to gain an advantage.

Players now can obstruct a forward getting to the ball before it goes out of play, yet I can't remember when the obstruction foul was given.

With corners, players are pulling shirts and wrestling with their opponents, but most offences go unpunished. So the question to Howard Webb is what constitutes a foul in the box?

Danny in his post earlier said about Rugby, well this is probably the big difference with football. Years ago, a player would never show he had been hurt in the tackle, and I didn't ever see a player rolling round to try and con the ref, which is now a regular occurrence.

Yes cheating has become a major part of the game, now I don't see that in rugby. Usually there are some very big guys playing rugby who smash into each other yet I never see a rugby player rolling round banging his fist on the floor.

Also maybe because rugby started in a public school that they think the fans who watch can be shown any contentious issues that occur on the big screen and listen to the officials discussing what the outcome should be. Yet football fans aren't shown anything on the big screen or hear what the officials are discussing.

Jimmy Carr
165 Posted 29/12/2023 at 10:55:28
The VAR was partly introduced to counter the constant criticism of refereeing decisions by ex-players providing 'analysis' on Sky, MotD etc. Despite referees not having access to such technology, pundits would routinely eviscerate their decisions with the benefit of slow motion, multiple camera angles and the rest of it. Ex-players are the most biased, non-biased commentators going.

Providing refs with access to the same technology was meant to counter this, but clearly it hasn't worked as rules are always open to interpretation, referees are still human and are still prone to error. In fact, it's made things a little bit worse.

I would say keep the VAR for offsides and goalline decisions and scrap the rest of it. However, it won't stop the game being controversial and the rules being open to interpretation. We'll be back to where we were pre-VAR. But at least the game will flow better and we can go back to blaming the ref. Pundits will love it, as they can sit safely in the TV studio and tell us exactly what the ref has got wrong again!

Re VAR and the rest of it, I don't think the dice are loaded against Everton anymore than they are loaded against anyone outside the big clubs. But that's not new. For every Sheikh Mansour there is an Alisher Usamov. ToffeeWeb posters like to conveniently forget the facts when a good conspiracy theory will do.

Let's not forget, football is an entertainment business... all the controversy about the VAR is good for business.

John Williams
166 Posted 29/12/2023 at 10:56:21
You are correct, why are quadrants still painted at the corner flags? No one takes any notice of them!!

When is the ball out of play? Who knows these days, we have seen some bad decisions this season.

When is a two-footed tackle not a red card?

Even offside decisions are often a joke (his toe was ahead of the line), some really good goals wiped out.

We should go back to the original rules: if any player is in an
offside position, it should be ruled out.

Tony Abrahams
167 Posted 29/12/2023 at 10:56:42
Cheating is the biggest issue, Brian, and it is because of this that I have a bit of sympathy for some of these referees.

A lot of these refs are very arrogant though, but I'm not sure this would be the case if we could begin to hear them having to explain how they have come to make certain decisions on a regular basis.

You gave handball last week ref, but have decided it wasn't handball today? It doesn't make sense ref, can you explain what's different about today, rather than last week?

Bring in a sinbin for cheating, give the watching spectator more transparency, and maybe the players and the public might even begin to respect these referees.

Ian Jones
168 Posted 29/12/2023 at 11:01:15
Rodri's reaction to falling over as he passed the ball to McNeil which led to our goal was ridiculous. No idea what he was complaining about. Probably embarrassed.

The award of the penalty was annoying, although, and I think some have already said this on TW, we would probably have been aggrieved if we hadn't been awarded one given the same circumstances.

Given the trajectory of Ake's shot, I feel it would have sailed over the bar if Onana had not got in the way.

Onwards to Wolves who can rightly lay claim to have been severely affected by VAR decisions this season.

Paul Smith
169 Posted 29/12/2023 at 11:03:54
Remember all those horrendous on field decisions when replayed on TV caused consternation and uproar and important enough to decide titles, relegation and prize money - that's why VAR it was introduced as far as I'm aware and to that end it has been a success.

The problem is its application, last week it was used to rule out a corner in a game I was watching. I literally have no clue when it can and can't be used and it needs simplifying and clarifying for brain-dead football fans like myself.

Tony Abrahams
170 Posted 29/12/2023 at 11:04:40
Carrying this on, John, a thought crossed my mind the other night, about why we even have linesmen taking part in the game anymore.

Stones got injured because the linesman never put up his flag, even though he knew that Beto was offside, and when Calvert-Lewin should have made it 2-2, about five City players, flew over to the linesman screaming at him that he should have put his flag up.

It doesn't matter, I thought, because if the shot goes in, the VAR is going to review it anyway, and this is one just one of the grey areas that you will never be able to get transparent and consistent decisions if you think about things logically.

Ian Jones
171 Posted 29/12/2023 at 11:12:10
I also think there have been so many minor alterations to the rules made by IFAB over the years that the ordinary fan, players, managers and probably refs don't understand the subtle nuances.

It's certainly not the same game I played all those years ago.

Jimmy Carr
172 Posted 29/12/2023 at 11:12:56
Paul, 169, agreed. It needs to be scaled back. But the rules will always be open to some interpretation.
Brian Harrison
173 Posted 29/12/2023 at 11:25:37

Like you, I do have some sympathy with refs: when they see a player rolling round making out he is seriously injured, it must have an impact on their decision.

I also think most refs are now totally confused, as they see colleagues some weeks penalising certain things and other refs completely ignoring them. We were told that VAR was introduced for clear and obvious mistakes, but now virtually every goal is scrutinised.

Surely the answer is to let the referee and linesman do their jobs and if they decide it's a goal then it has to be something really obvious for the VAR to overturn it. Everybody accepts the goal line technology is working, and UEFA are trialling an automated way of assessing offside, so with these aids get back to the officials making the decisions.

The Spurs game highlighted the problem perfectly, both ref and linesmen decreed the challenge by Gomes was fair, but with Michael Oliver being supposedly our best ref and he tells a virtually inexperienced ref to have a look at the screen, its very hard for that young ref to then stick with his original decision.

Barry Hesketh
174 Posted 29/12/2023 at 11:27:27
I would insert a rule that states pulling shirts/shorts in any area of the pitch is a red card offence. I just can't see how such an obvious and unnecessary action can be tolerated. Until it's dealt with properly, it will continue to happen.

I like the idea of unintentional handball being rewarded with a direct free-kick rather than a penalty kick, perhaps use the entirety of the D of the penalty area as a natural place to take the kick from, where the attacker can choose any part of the D from which to take the kick.

I also note that the first female referee had a very quiet match in her first appearance in the Premier League, could the reason be that she didn't or doesn't carry the baggage that many of her male counterparts seem to, ie, she didn't arrive on the pitch with some pre-determined agenda due to previous experiences with certain players or clubs?

Tony Abrahams
175 Posted 29/12/2023 at 11:28:24

Sensible post mate, but I think I could give you a couple of facts about Michael Oliver, when he suddenly began to referee a lot of Everton games towards the end of the 2021-22 season mate, whilst also mentioning a decision that ultimately helped Man City win the league.

Agree Brian. I've seen Oliver give some of the most appalling penalties against Everton (two in three/four years at City, come to mind) and although he could spot the foul that ended up costing Everton a goal, he never saw the shirt pull? We all keep saying the same thing, let's hear these referees explain themselves.

Mark Murphy
176 Posted 29/12/2023 at 11:30:31
Tony, as I mentioned earlier, the linesman in this case was the one who indicated the penalty – he put his flag across his chest and the ref changed his mind. The first time I've seen a lino do his job in years and it's predictably against us!

It makes me laugh how many times I see a lino look to the ref before indicating which way to give the throw-in – and don't get me started on foul throws-in the Premier League!!

Tony Abrahams
177 Posted 29/12/2023 at 11:40:07
A whole thread is turning into the ineptitude of this present system towards officiating the beautiful game, Mark, which is right up my street because I wrote something on this very subject a few weeks ago, but it never got published or turned into a thread!

If it was the linesman who indicated it, then surely the ref could have just asked to go over to the screen without the help of his mates in the studio, because I'm certain it won't be long before a phone call stops a weekend of Premier League football in this country – in a similar way that a phone call once stopped the Grand National getting run – unless they just decide to carry on without their mates in the studio when they eventually get the call!

ps: It wasn't me – honest.

Brendan McLaughlin
178 Posted 29/12/2023 at 11:51:34
Brian #173,

As I understand it, the "clear and obvious error" mantra only relates to the circumstances in which the VAR will automatically overrule the referee.

It doesn't mean the VAR won't look at incidents that aren't clear and obvious errors but, in these circumstances, it will be down to the referee to decide if he wants to revisit his decision.

Tony Abrahams
179 Posted 29/12/2023 at 12:17:31
Whilst nearly every player is a cheat, I think every single player knows when someone is trying to cheat him, so I would just like football to simplify everything and maybe adopt something that seems to work in tennis.

You win some and you lose some, but before you get that frustrated and bored with the whole system that you might eventually want to turn your back on it, then hopefully something changes.

Isn't that what Brian is saying, Brendan, when he says that he doubts an inexperienced referee would stick with his original decision when he has got a much more experienced official guiding him?

Brian Wilkinson
180 Posted 29/12/2023 at 12:57:26
With the handball being given, stand by for players outside the area deliberately hitting the ball towards a defender's arm. In a crowded area, there is not much chance of getting a shot past the congested area, so let's go for second best and see if we can draw a handball or penalty, or a sneaky dribble in the area and chip the ball up onto a player's hand.

Do not be surprised within the next few weeks, more penalties are awarded for the same thing. It will not take long for crafty players to catch on, and bring it down to a fine art of drawing a handball.

Shirt pulling and holding players is another annoying subject. I'm not sure on this one: if the rule is set in stone, then the VAR should be able to review once the corner is in play. Any holding or shirt pulling can be intercepted by a separate VAR whose sole purpose is to watch corner kicks, and he can get straight on to the ref's ear-piece if this has happened. Other than that, a 10-minute sin-binning.

Alan McGuffog
181 Posted 29/12/2023 at 13:21:20
Mark... you are spot on. They generally stand there like one of Lewis's even when events happen right in front of them and the ref is unsighted. And yet they like to be counted as "assistant referees".

I actually blame the egos of the EPL referees. Too many of them love to hog the limelight, favourable or not. Their attitude is still back in the Sunday League... "throw-ins and offsides lads, I'll do the rest ".

Assistant referees? My arse.

Tom Bowers
182 Posted 29/12/2023 at 13:30:51
The controversy will continue as long as the stiffs at the FA do nothing about it. The VAR is becoming a joke, if not already.

Handball penalty calls used to be given if there was clear intent. Now they are given willy-nilly whether the player has absolutely no time to react and of course teams like City, Man Utd and Liverpool will always get the majority of those.

So yesterday, why did the VAR not give a decision on the Welbeck dragback which was obvious to all and then refer it back to the referee? What a palaver.

The first West Ham goal was also a palaver and should have been disallowed if the VAR was competent. Surely they should have had a better view of it from a different angle.

The technology and people assigned to officiating it should be disbanded.

Geoff Lambert
183 Posted 29/12/2023 at 13:39:54
That is a very worrying three defeats in a row, and a tough six games ahead. We need Doucouré back and Coleman to start a few.

We have got to put our chances away if we are going to get anything from the upcoming six games.

Christine Foster
184 Posted 29/12/2023 at 13:47:22
One of the so-called major initiatives that the VAR was lauded to bring was the ability to ensure refereeing errors did not have a major impact and could be reviewed. In some ways, the inconsistencies of the referees or the paucity of quality could be rectified with a review in real time elsewhere.

Those inconsistencies have not only been exposed but doubled at those making the VAR calls are the same ones who get it wrong when they officiate on the pitch. Exactly what the hell did one expect when they allowed the very same people to make calls on another referee?

They have compounded the problem to the point where no-one sees value in the concept. The varied interpretation of laws, the constant changing and reinterpretation of others has made it not only a mockery, but a lottery.

1. Clarify the offside rule, only a clear air gap between defender and forward constitues offside.

2. Handball is only handball if it's intentional or prevents the ball from entering the net.

3. Holding players with hands or arms in the penalty area is a foul. A penalty should be awarded.

4. Football is a contact sport. Contact between bodies is expected, it is not foul play and unless there is an intent to foul as judged by the referee, not the VAR, no foul is awarded for contact.

5. Indirect free kicks should be reinstated.

6. Should the referee or officials miss any incident affecting play or player's behavior, the VAR should inform the referee who makes an on-field decision.

7. The VAR should utilize non-active referees and players and not current match referees.

Will it fix the problems? No, but it will make the game more realistic and stop the cheating.

Barry Hesketh
185 Posted 29/12/2023 at 14:02:48
Geoff @183,

Remember, that due to that 10-point deduction, Everton's home record – such as it is – has been nullified and every point we've won at Goodison has been taken off us. Therefore, it's only our current away total that is counting towards our league placing.

We're all concerned about our plight, but there's realistic concern and being downright alarmist, and that's how I view your post.

Twelve points earned from the last seven games suggests, if replicated in the next fourteen matches, will see us achieve safety, fairly comfortably, even with the 10-point deduction.

Ian Pilkington
186 Posted 29/12/2023 at 14:10:17
Spot on as usual, Christine.

One week we get the perennially incompetent Oliver, Taylor or Tierney refereeing the match, the next week we get them presiding over the referee as the VAR.

Thoroughly depressing.

Rob Halligan
187 Posted 29/12/2023 at 14:43:22
Thinking back to the disallowed Calvert-Lewin goal last week, if Stuart Attwell, the referee, and whoever the linesman was, and both had a clear view of the challenge by Gomes, think it was not a foul, yet took the view of Michael Oliver who was the VAR and then ru!ed the goal out, then both should be suspended from Premier League duties, because quite clearly they do not recognise a foul when they see one.

Premier League – Corrupt as Fuck!!

Barry Hesketh
188 Posted 29/12/2023 at 14:57:41
Rob @187,

Yet again Michael Oliver will be the VAR for tomorrow's match – that's a lot of influence to be given to one official in recent games involving Everton.

Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
189 Posted 29/12/2023 at 15:45:44
As we continue the debate of our points total.

Without the deduction - we would be 10th. That is the quality of the team we have.

We are now 19 games through the season – half way. We are 5 points better in those games compared to last season – that's after deduction of the 10 points.

Even if we only match the points in the remaining fixtures that we achieved last season, we still finish on 41 points – or 51 if we got our 10 points back.

And Geoff #183, we only took 7 points from the next 6 games last season – 4 draws and we beat Palace. More than 23 after 25 games, even less to worry about.

Conclusion – I'm not worried (at the moment, but we are Everton) so you should not be either.

Bill Gall
190 Posted 29/12/2023 at 15:49:17
New ideas to improve the game are always welcome, but controversial points should be addressed quickly and remedied. The points that Christine #184 make are the most controversial and should be not only discussed but acted on.

True understanding of the rules must be adhered to in all games, not what an individual official believes is the correct one.

A prime example was demonstrated this week when a Tottenham player pulled the shirt of an opponent, the referee never gave anything but, on advice from the VAR, he was told to look at it and gave a penalty. The same player had pulled an Everton player by the shirt to the ground in a previous game with neither the referee nor the VAR saying anything.

The other major point is the offside, when the rules were made there were no computer or electronic devices that could draw various lines across a pitch and determine that the goalscorer had a bigger nose than the defender therefore was offside.

No one is saying that the VAR is not an improvement to the game, but with all new products there are sometimes problems and usually they are addressed as quickly as possible.

The VAR is a new product that mistakes are being made but ignored. The problem with the negative side of the VAR is the effect on various teams' league positions and finances that can be affected by improper calls.

We can't get rid of the VAR, but surely the flaws should be taken care of' sooner not later.

Brian Wilkinson
191 Posted 29/12/2023 at 15:51:33
Okay, in regards to the VAR, every single week there is a few instances of either officials or the VAR making the wrong decision. We can blame refs until the cows come home, they have the VAR to hide behind, yet when for once both the linesman and official made the right call against Calvert-Lewin's goal disallowed at Spurs, on the instruction of the VAR asking the ref to check the monitor, the ref then changed his decision.

Refs are no longer able to make decisions or common sense on their own.

You only have to look at the Carabao Cup games, without a VAR, how many of those games from the first round, right up to the quarter finals did we see, that hardly a game was spoken about over bad decisions, refs were allowed to ref the games without interference and, to be honest, on a whole the games were great to watch without the VAR.

The VAR is now brought in for both semi-finals and the final, and I guarantee it will be a talking point for one of the semi-final teams. Why not play the whole competition without the VAR, instead of bringing it in for the semi-finals?

Those cup games have shown that if, the refs are allowed to ref the game, they will get more decisions right than the VAR.

Rob Halligan
192 Posted 29/12/2023 at 15:53:13
Christine, regarding your point No 5…

I didn't know indirect free kicks had been removed, as surely things like an offside, obstruction or a back pass and the goalie picks the ball up, is an indirect free kick?

Barry Hesketh
193 Posted 29/12/2023 at 15:58:47
Phil @189,

I agree with what you say, however, we are only 1 point better off than at the halfway stage of last season.

Following the defeat in the 19th fixture, by bottom club Southampton at Goodison, we had 15 points, we now, after the deduction of 10 points, we sit on 16 points.

But your main points do still stand.

Barry Hesketh
194 Posted 29/12/2023 at 16:16:47
Chris Beesley from the Echo gives his views on the inconsistencies surrounding penalties awarded or not awarded. Everton still await a penalty to be awarded in their favour, after half a season of league matches played.

Last year, Everton's official statistician Gavin Buckland spoke on the ECHO's Royal Blue podcast about referees being affected by crowds/hype and consequences in matches involving big teams. The numbers he crunched to support his theory were illuminating.

During the 2019-20 season when stadiums were full until coronavirus restrictions were enforced from March onwards, just two penalties were awarded for teams playing against Manchester City and Liverpool. In 2020-21, when matches were largely played behind closed doors, this figure skyrocketed to 18 but when the crowds returned in 2021-22, it plummeted again to just one.

Dejan Kulusevski penalty decisions stink – enough is enough now for Everton

Tom Bowers
195 Posted 29/12/2023 at 16:19:33
Yes, the points deduction leaves us down with the lowlifes but we are a much better team than that.

However, there is little difference between most teams on any given day and the recent results of many teams have proven that. Man Utd, Arsenal, West Ham, Spurs and the Barcodes will attest to that.

Trying to get a good run going is more difficult than ever in the Premier League.

Dyche is doing a good job with what he has but he has weaknesses at the back which have cost us of late.

Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
196 Posted 29/12/2023 at 16:20:49

In American Football, one of the tie-breakers for admission to the play-offs is "Strength of Schedule".

So comparing 19 games to 19 games ignores this. If last season we were home to Spurs and drew but this season we were away at Spurs – then 19 games v 19 games is not a true comparison.

My comparison is the results from the same 19 fixtures last season as we have played this season:

West Ham (a), Newcastle (h), Chelsea (h), we lost and this season we won: +9 points.

Brentford (a), Palace (a), Forest (a), and Burnley [Leicester] (a) we won but drew last season: +8 points.

Brighton (h) we drew but lost last season: +1 point.

Arsenal (h) we lost but won last season: -3 points.

All other results were the same as last season. Total: +15 points.

Kevin Edward
197 Posted 29/12/2023 at 16:24:40
I do like a good discussion on the current status of the VAR.
But clearly it's being used to protect the Premier League brand. It's killing the game for fans, but stoking up the excitement for media and the pundits. Only the demise of the Premier League will kill it off now.

Unfortunately Everton are cannon fodder for the VAR cronies.
So only taking opportunities such as putting clear chances away, minimising individual errors, and winning against those teams around us can keep us safe.

For me, we are heading in the right direction, but must not lose at Wolves.

Barry Hesketh
198 Posted 29/12/2023 at 16:25:21
Sorry Phil, I apologise wholeheartedly. I prefer your take on it.
Nick Page
199 Posted 29/12/2023 at 17:08:15
Good article that in Echo regarding penalties.

Agree with Kevin, that the VAR is set up to protect the brand. And the brand is their favoured Top 6 clubs – the Super League Six. Unless these refs are living in caves, they know who these teams are and what is expected of them when officiating.

If Everton score against one of the pirate clubs, the VAR will look for a reason not to give the goal. And vice versa. Same with penalties. The worst one I ever saw was the Dele Alli one at Goodison. They weren't having a bar of it.

The numbers speak for themselves. It's legalised corruption, and they know it. And they're so arrogant they don't care.

Tony Abrahams
200 Posted 29/12/2023 at 17:41:47
I'm sure that this discussion would bring about similar frustrations or even feelings of corruption, right across the board of most fans around the country, so if things don't change soon, I genuinely think the Premier League bubble could begin to start losing some air.

I've said before that I now watch a bit of League Two football and, although the standard isn't as high, the game is a lot more honest; even though the refs are still poor, at least the game flows.

Maybe the television companies think that they might be able to lose a little bit of air because playing the games inside empty stadiums during Covid showed them that they don't need a crowd.

I'm not sure, but football does seem to have reached a tipping point for many old school football fans. I might be wrong.

Geoff Lambert
201 Posted 29/12/2023 at 17:55:18
VAR or no VAR, it makes no difference – there is still human error, whether it's on the field or in the Stockly Park VAR room.

There have been so many historic refereeing blunders that the VAR would have changed for better or worse. As Tony says, the time it takes to come to the decision is what is ruining the game.

Barry Hesketh
202 Posted 29/12/2023 at 18:04:29
Tony @200,

It's also right and proper to consider what the younger supporters think about the game and how it's officiated. With the advent of iPhones etc, technology looms large in younger people's lives, far more than it does with some of us older fans.

Many of the young supporters are well used to video games and particularly those such as FIFA 2023. As an ageing population of football fans begin to stop attending, due to other commitments, ill-health and perhaps less disposable income, younger fans are required to fill their seats on a more regular basis.

Will the VAR and other technological innovations attract or repel new fans? I would guess and it's only a guess that the game may seem more attractive to younger people with technology in full view, whilst us older folk will continue to rile against it, because it's not the game we grew up following.

Barry Hesketh
203 Posted 29/12/2023 at 18:25:46
Just in case anyone in the modern media are forgetful, should Everton get all or any of the 10 points reinstated, here's what happened to that well-known North London outfit, who Everton beat on the way to lifting the FA Cup in 1995.

Tottenham Hotspur began the season coming to terms with arguably the heaviest punishment ever handed out to an English club. As punishment for financial irregularities committed under the club's previous owners during the 1980s, they were fined £600,000 and were docked 12 league points as well as being banned from the 1994-95 FA Cup.

Manager Ossie Ardiles reacted defiantly by adopting an impressive new attacking formation, while chairman Alan Sugar challenged his club's sanctions in court. The fine was later increased to £1.5 million, but the points deduction and FA Cup ban were eventually revoked.

(Swindon Town, who had won promotion under Ardiles to the top flight in the 1990 play-offs, were initially relegated to the Third Division for illegal payments to players, before being allowed to stay in the Second Division.)

Craig Harrison
204 Posted 29/12/2023 at 18:41:25
Here's an idea. During the World Cup, Fifa introduced semi-autonomous offsides. During the review process, they used animated players.

Take this a step forward and use animated players for all off-side and penalty decisions with all players being blue or red. Lock the VARs in a room and don't let them know what game they are reviewing. If they think ref has made an error, refer to pitch-side monitor.

Dave Abrahams
205 Posted 29/12/2023 at 18:47:33
Barry (202),

With regards to your last paragraph: “The game might be more attractive to younger people with technology in full view.”

Well, it might be in full view, but I think if the referees on the field and in the studio explained their decisions to the fans watching at the game or on TV, it would be more attractive to young and old alike. I doubt if younger supporters of football think the VAR should stay as it is now.

Tony Abrahams
206 Posted 29/12/2023 at 18:57:56
I'm thinking about it more through the mind of a match-going spectator, Barry, because everything you say about the younger generation is probably 100% correct, mate.

Will they get on planes, trains, and automobiles to attend in the future, or will they just rely on television, which is why I said the TV companies might believe they will be able to lose some air.

Everything kills itself itself in the end, and it's usually the greed of the beast, which kills off most things a lot quicker. We will see.

Mark Murphy
207 Posted 29/12/2023 at 19:09:51
The VAR was supposed to prevent biased decisions and enable a level playing field. It's done the opposite and provided a tool for favouritism. It's shite!
Barry Williams
208 Posted 29/12/2023 at 20:39:20
Besides the 10-point deduction this season – guess who is the only team not to get a penalty awarded to them this season in the Premier League, and who is joint top of penalties conceded with 5?

Let that sink in.

Christine Foster
209 Posted 29/12/2023 at 21:08:31
Rob @192,

I should have clarified, my apologies. I meant indirect free kicks for obstruction which has been recorded to "impeding the progress".

Problem is it's virtually never given in the box... actually there was a good article on the same in the Irish Examiner some years ago with their perspective:

Whatever happened to indirect free-kicks in the box for obstruction?

Brendan McLaughlin
210 Posted 29/12/2023 at 21:20:05
Barry #208,

Not saying I'm correct but if a team mostly concedes possession... the other teams are more likely to be in your penalty area and more likely to win penalties.

If you mostly concede possession... you're less likely to be in the opposition box and less likely to win penalties.

Rob Hooton
211 Posted 29/12/2023 at 21:29:28
Brendan, inversely, I think we've generally had more shots and touches in our opponents' box in most games, despite lower possession?

Our opponents tend to have most of the ball in their own third, fannying around at the back. Possession stats only tell a small part of the story.

Brendan McLaughlin
212 Posted 29/12/2023 at 21:42:17
Perhaps, Rob #211…

Although it never seems like that when I watch Everton... maybe I'm not objective enough.

Rob Hooton
213 Posted 29/12/2023 at 21:46:06
I'm only guessing, Brendan, my friend, I have no idea what the actual stats are!

There's a jolly good chance that you're right and I'm writing shite, hoping one of our resident statto's can verify.

Brendan McLaughlin
214 Posted 29/12/2023 at 22:05:34
Ha ha, Rob #213!

I honestly thought you were the fecking statto!

Mike Price
215 Posted 29/12/2023 at 22:30:37
It's clear that if someone were to go back on every goal that's been scored from open play in the entire season, that if you keep going back you could find a foul, contact, shirt grabbing, a push, a trip, anything!

You could have 20 absolutely clean league goals the entire season. That's what makes the whole system open to subjectivity, abuse or unconscious bias at best.

It's a broken model.

Barry Williams
216 Posted 29/12/2023 at 22:33:18
Brendan McLaughlin @210,

I am not a stato, just did a quick internet search to see if my suspicions were justified from what I have actually witnessed – and they were: 5 to 0 penalties!!????

Add that to a myriad other things… well, some of us start thinking that not all might be what it should with those in charge – rightly, or wrongly!

Oh, and the unprecedented points deduction. I could wax lyrical about a number of other things, but I am sure they have been covered already!

Brendan McLaughlin
217 Posted 29/12/2023 at 22:45:36
Barry #216,

Could not agree more... you're no statto!

No shame in that.

Brendan McLaughlin
218 Posted 29/12/2023 at 23:04:36
I disagree, Mike #215.

The game is broken down into "phases" and a phase begins or ends with a throw-in, goal kick, corner etc.

So there's a limit as to how far back you can go.

Mike Price
219 Posted 29/12/2023 at 23:43:37
Brendan #218,

Phases are subjective though… 🤷‍♂️

Brendan McLaughlin
220 Posted 29/12/2023 at 23:52:15
Mike #219

Subjective...throw in's, corners, goal and free kicks etc.

I can see an annoyingly objective pattern

Brian Wilkinson
221 Posted 29/12/2023 at 23:54:01
Barry, a few more stats: last season, we were only awarded 3 penalties, the season 2019-20, we got 1 penalty all season.

I can only recall us getting a penalty against the Sly 6 once over the past 5 or 6 seasons, and that was over the park, when it was almost an empty stadium, due to covid restrictions.

I think the closest we came to one was v Spurs a few years back, when Richarlison rounded the goalie, but the ref blew for a penalty before Richarlison could get his shot off, then it got overturned and Spurs got a dropped ball awarded.

I might have missed out one but I cannot recall us getting one v the Sly 6 over the last few seasons.

Brendan McLaughlin
222 Posted 30/12/2023 at 00:08:26
Exactly, Brian #221,

That would chime with the points I was making @210.

Brian Wilkinson
223 Posted 30/12/2023 at 00:27:29
We even got a goal chalked off – I think it was the Fulham game – when their goalie tried to piggyback our player, dropped the ball, Keane scored and it got disallowed.

Jesus, we've had some stinking decisions go against us this season.

Jamie Crowley
224 Posted 30/12/2023 at 04:40:25
Eric ,way back at 155,

I hope you see this as I want to say thank you for that link.

I about fell out of my chair when it showed Liverpool as the most aggrieved by the VAR's calls in the Premier League!


Barry Williams
225 Posted 30/12/2023 at 08:20:36
Brian Wilkinson @221.

Yes, it does make for suspicious reading doesn't it.

Brendan McLaughlin @217.

Thanks for your helpful observation!!!

Brendan McLaughlin
226 Posted 30/12/2023 at 08:32:10
Barry #225,

No worries.

If only everyone on ToffeeWeb was as receptive as you!

Eric Myles
227 Posted 01/01/2024 at 09:12:47
Jamie, the weekly review here


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