26/12/2023 106comments  |  Jump to last

Idrissa Gueye will under a late fitness test but André Gomes will be ready to step into the starting XI after his excellent contribution off the bench last Saturday

Everton's penultimate fixture of 2023 is at Goodison Park against Manchester City as Sean Dyche's side look to put the disappointment of the defeat at Tottenham behind them by springing a surprise against the Champions.

The Blues were hugely unfortunate to come away from North London empty-handed last Saturday after coming so close to erasing a 2-0 half-time deficit but Dyche admitted that it was perhaps the performance he was most proud of so far this season.

The 2-1 defeat ended a four-match winning streak and also saw Idrissa Gueye added to the list of injuries affecting the Everton squad over the Festive season. The Senegalese was forced off in the first half against Spurs and will undergo a late fitness test to see if he can be part of the squad to face City.

Abdoulaye Doucouré misses out again, though, and neither Seamus Coleman nor Ashley Young are expected to be passed fit either. That again limits Dyche's options in midfield where Amadou Onana, James Garner and Andre Gomes are the only remaining fit central midfielders but he has almost all of his first choice XI available.

Article continues below video content

The Portuguese was a revelation last weekend and, if he can replicate that performance, will make him a seamless option to start his first game for Everton since May 2022.

The manager will have been encouraged by Arnaut Danjuma's contributions off the bench last weekend but may still err on the side of Jack Harrison's industry on the wings, for the first hour or so at least, for what promises to be a difficult assignment against a team Everton haven't beaten since that famous 4-0 triumph under Ronald Koeman almost seven years ago.

City come into the game sitting in an unsually low 5th place in the table having won just one of their last six Premier League games, that a 2-1 win at lowly but improving Luton Town earlier this month.

They have just returned from a resounding 4-0 Club World Cup win over Fluminese and, no doubt, with plenty of pressure from Pep Guardiola to turn their domestic form around. 

Kevin de Bruyne, a regular tormentor of the Toffees, is closing in on his return from a long injury lay-off and could feature. He will undergo a late assessment along with winger Jeremy Doku and striker Erling Haaland before Guardiola names his squad.

With City being in iffy form of late and Everton buoyed by their positive results and performances since the home defeat by Manchester United, this shouldn't be the forgone conclusion it usually is. The Toffees have lost each of their last seven meetings with the blue side of Manchester in all competitions since January 2017 and that is a record Dyche will be itching to change.

James Garner summed up the mood after the Spurs defeat where he said: "We're very disappointed that we didn't come away with anything because I think we deserved to.

"We're not afraid of anyone at the moment. We see ourselves beating pretty much anyone we play. Our style of play is very unique and different to, I'd say, anyone in the league. Teams we're facing this year are finding it tough to play against us."

Kick-off: 8:15 pm, Wednesday 27 December 2023
Referee: John Brooks
VAR: David Coote
Last Time: Everton 0 - 3 Manchester City

Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Patterson, Tarkowski, Branthwaite, Mykolenko, Onana, Gomes, Harrison, McNeil, Garner, Calvert-Lewin


Reader Comments (106)

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John Keating
1 Posted 26/12/2023 at 18:20:43
No matter what team is named after today’s results 3 points is a must

Teams below are slowly bringing us back in to it

Last 2 games haven’t been good for us results wise and we can’t afford to slip in to a bad sequence

Next 2 games 6 points

Jerome Shields
2 Posted 26/12/2023 at 18:24:29
Good Luck, Everton. We need a performance. l agree with John.
Simon Harrison
3 Posted 26/12/2023 at 18:40:49
I've just been looking around to see if Gana may be fit (despite my previous record on players' fitness and availability). Unfortunately, it looks like Gana won't be fit for the Man City game.

To be honest, would it be a bust if he is still injured for the start of Afcon, or not fit enough to take part at least, which would mean that he would be available for us.

As Dyche himself has said on many an occasion, good performances are nice, but it is a results business... I'd take 4 points from the next 6 (Obviously 6 from 6 would be great!)

Like John said, and Jerome echoed, never mind a performance, I just think we need the win, else nerves might creep in if we keep dropping points while the teams around us keep picking up points.

Lastly, I've got to say I hope the players have managed to get some R&R as some of our regulars looked shot after the 60-70 minute mark again.

The bonuses were Danjuma's performance (let's hope if called up he can convert a chance or look up on occasion), Gomes played very well (let's hope that is his new norm, and he doesn't revert to type), Onana has his game face on and gets involved more, and that Patterson can raise his game against Man City as I think he'll be targeted by Pep.

Good luck Everton indeed, despite City's dip in form, I think we'll need a little luck; and indeed, for City's poor form to continue...


Peter Mills
4 Posted 26/12/2023 at 18:43:51
3 points out of 6 would represent a decent return from our next 2 games.
Barry Hesketh
5 Posted 26/12/2023 at 18:47:50
We've got tomorrow's match and Saturday's game at Wolves, then we have only two league fixtures in the whole of January, Aston Villa at Goodison and Fulham away at the end of the month.

Obviously we have the Palace cup-tie and another possible cup-tie to play if we get through that. Given that situation, we need to pick up a win from the remaining 2023 fixtures.

There's no reason for the players not to continue to have a good go tomorrow and on Saturday, as they'll have plenty of time to recuperate in January, especially without any two-legged semi-finals to play.

Danny O’Neill
6 Posted 26/12/2023 at 18:48:02
I'll go for 4 Peter. I don't care which way around them end up!
Dave Williams
7 Posted 26/12/2023 at 18:58:00
Whilst I appreciate the sentiments expressed above, we are hardly being reeled in having won 4 of our last 5 games.

We are unlikely to get a point tomorrow but three v Wolves is a realistic target. After that, we have a lighter workload for January and have to hope we don't get forced into selling players to raise cash.

We have shown we are good enough to pull clear and need to continue in that vein.

Barry Hesketh
8 Posted 26/12/2023 at 19:07:50
Just had a look at the Premier League schedule for January, and noticed that the weekend we play Villa 13 January, only 4 other matches are taking place, with the remaining five fixtures being played the weekend following, ie, 20 January.

A sort of unofficial 'winter break'?

Rob Halligan
9 Posted 26/12/2023 at 19:09:49
Barry, that’s exactly what it is. A so called winter break.
Barry Hesketh
10 Posted 26/12/2023 at 19:13:01
Rob @9,

Thanks, I hadn't realised before I looked at the fixtures, but why not have all the teams resting on the same weekend and the ten fixtures played on the other weekend?

Probably telly wanting to continue their coverage uninterrupted.

Peter Mills
11 Posted 26/12/2023 at 19:15:08
Danny #6,

I would be delighted. But if you offered me 1.5 points per game for the remainder of our League season, I would bite your hand off.

Just home from a tough 1-1 draw for Marine against Warrington Rylands. I said at half-time I would settle for 1-1, the Mariners could have won it at the last, but sometimes it's just best to take your point and move on.

All the best, Danny.

Ian Riley
12 Posted 26/12/2023 at 19:18:40
Chances will be very limited so taking them is a must. City must win to keep in the title race. Interesting game.

Safe journey all.

Mark Ryan
13 Posted 26/12/2023 at 19:52:04
I can only see an Everton win. I sense a another decent, grafting performance.

They won't enjoy playing us at this time. UTT's

Michael Bennet
14 Posted 26/12/2023 at 20:49:50
I think we get bugger all at villa there ripping the script up this season
Derek Knox
15 Posted 26/12/2023 at 21:23:15
Michael, agree mate working as an effective unit, and getting the results. Makes a pleasant change for a team outside the media darlings to do well. Still can't fathom how United beat us at Goodison Park, mind you that wonder goal by Garnacho helped.

I think we can get something tomorrow if we continue to play like we have been doing, but must make the most of any chances we get.

COYB 💙💙👍

Michael Bennet
16 Posted 26/12/2023 at 22:13:13
Derek, I've put the curse on Villa... They got beat! 😊
Brian Wilkinson
17 Posted 26/12/2023 at 22:48:45
Everton will beat Villa in January. They play a very dangerous high-line offside trap; if we replicate our performance like Brighton away last season, we will get plenty of chances on the counter-attack. All about putting them one one-on-one chances away and timing our runs. Villa will get found out if they keep playing that high up the pitch.

With no Haaland and De Bruyne, we have got to fancy our chances of getting something against Man City. Beating City alone is hard enough but when you have bad officials and VAR, we have to hope we catch a break for once and we get a fair crack of officiating.

Derek Knox
18 Posted 26/12/2023 at 23:29:56
Michael @ 16, can you do the same with Manchester City? :-)
Jonathan Oppenheimer
19 Posted 27/12/2023 at 02:13:59
Small but not insignificant correction to the article: we haven't lost the past 7 meetings because we drew at this time last year after the Demarai Gray stunner.

I note that just because getting a point then was quite shocking and I would think in some small psychological way, it helps that we've played them well on a couple occasions in recent years, including the match we should've had a penalty on the handball — was it Rodri? — they found a way not to give us.

All of which is to say I feel good about our chances under the lights at Goodison. We can't afford to switch off at all, like against Spurs, but if we stay compact and hit them on the counter, we can do this.

Danny O’Neill
20 Posted 27/12/2023 at 06:38:26
Like any game of football, there is absolutely no reason we can not get something tonight.

No knives, no gunfights.

Young exciting wide players. Dominic and Beto the beast in the armoury to bully their defenders.

Be brave and bold Everton. Play with belief and confidence. Fear no-one.

Derek Knox
21 Posted 27/12/2023 at 07:01:08

"Be brave and bold Everton. Play with belief and confidence. Fear no-one."

What about the Ref and the VAR? They're the ones that usually upset the apple cart!

Bent Bastards that they are.

Peter Moore
22 Posted 27/12/2023 at 07:43:40
If the statistical imbalances move towards balancing, we could win by a cricket score tonight. Our manager's record Vs City, I was reading on BBC, is 1 goal for Dyche managed teams vs 29 goals for Man City! COYB, UTFT!
Matt Traynor
23 Posted 27/12/2023 at 07:49:32
Now now Derek, the referees are not bent bastards - they just seem to have a nightmare whenever they referee us - and we never get an apology from PGMOL.

It's been that way for decades - going back to Clive "The Book" Thomas. And he complains that all Everton fans ever say to him is about the disallowed Brian Hamilton goal in the cup against that lot. And he still maintains he got that decision right.

At least Clattenburg admitted to me that he had a nightmare in that game in October 2011. Again, versus that lot!

Jerome Shields
24 Posted 27/12/2023 at 07:57:56
Against Spurs Everton did play well, but they gave away two goals that were poorly defended and finishing was poor also.If you are going to get results in the Premier League both these have to be improved on.

It is the inconsistency of certain players that is costing Everton and it is the same culprits all the time. Such is the lot of a team that has to make do and mend.Everton will survive in the Premier League, but that is all that they can do at the moment.It is hoped that they can beat Man City, which they can do if the play goes for these certain players, but there is the lurking feeling that certain games will be lost.

I think that Dyche threw the kitchen sink at the Caraobo Cup, when he would have been better to concentrate on his Premiership plan and rested some of the players with that in mind.Ironically he might have done better in the Cup had he do that and got a result at Spurs

Jack Convery
25 Posted 27/12/2023 at 08:08:26
Ref watch. John Brook. 11 Prem games this season. 51 yellows and 4 Reds. He's reffed us once, issuing 3 yellows to our boys in Blue. He was the ref when Manure beat us 3 nil in November and gave Martial a penalty after VAR intervened.
Paul Birmingham
26 Posted 27/12/2023 at 08:27:45
Tonight if every player in the squad gives their best, Everton can get a victory.

Take their chances and hopefully, don't get done, by soft penalties and free kicks to City.

Every player in the squad must do their best, as it will be very difficult

if any player is being carried, I will be very difficult and almost mpossible if x2 or more players are being carried.

Hopefully Everton shoot on site and can dtart taking the chances their hard work deserved v Spurs.


John Hall
27 Posted 27/12/2023 at 08:52:48
We must score first! There's no 2 ways about it if we are going to win. However, resting on our laurels is also a problem of ours (or was that pre-Dyche?) So, scoring in the 89th minute it is then! :) UTFT!!
Christopher Timmins
28 Posted 27/12/2023 at 09:04:39
Play without fear and with intent and energy and we can get a positive result from tonight's game.

Dave Cashen
29 Posted 27/12/2023 at 09:13:49
I fancy us tonight. I don't care which 11 get the nod. The crowd will be full of Christmas spirit, we are playing well and they will have a couple of key players missing.

We must remember though that we are playing the best club team in the world. For that reason I cant go along with the idea that this is a must win - Undue pressure.
I like Peter Mills's thinking. He's done the maths.

A win would be fantastic and like I say. I think we cant get it. Cant wait.


Jimmy Carr
30 Posted 27/12/2023 at 09:40:53
Tough one this, I don't care what anyone says, I'm still worried about relegation. We need more points.

One of my best mates supports City, but he also has a very large soft spot for Everton, mainly because we're not Liverpool. He never knows what to do with himself when we play this fixture but I'll get a good natured text from him after the game whatever happens.

I'd gladly take a flukey 1-0 win all day - a late goal off Beto's knee after being battered for 85 minutes. In fact I'd be happy with a point. But what I'd really love is a raucous 3-1 win, Gomes bossing the midfield, Dom heading the opener then O'Neill smacking one of his raspers in to finish them off in the second half.


Tony Everan
31 Posted 27/12/2023 at 09:59:29
Seamus and Young may be available so that gives us more strength in depth. So for me it’s the team that finished up at Spurs, maybe with Seamus in for Patterson is he’s 100%, but Patterson did well enough to keep his place so not convinced it necessary to change him. 451 again

Patterson Tarkowski Branthwaite Myko
Harrison Garner Gomes(advanced) Onana McNeil

Gomes was impressive in the advanced role, but will get less time on the ball today, Man City will press hard. The game could well be won or lost on us passing well and not spilling the ball cheaply in midfield. The Spurs performance replicated would see us very competitive today, as long as we are more ruthless taking the inevitable chances.


Frank Sheppard
32 Posted 27/12/2023 at 10:05:00
The way we played against Spurs, gives me more optimism than previously about games like this.
Rob Hooton
33 Posted 27/12/2023 at 10:06:43
I count this as a free hit and not a must win; City are back from their jollies and will be well rested after playing a couple of training matches to be ‘world champions’.

Hope Gomes has a good game again, he’s a player who can pass well and find time on the ball (when in form) which is often lacking. We will need some respite from relentless defending.

Looking forward to seeing how we perform, City have been shown to be vulnerable of late. If Haaland and De Bruyne are both missing then that will be a bonus, but they still have 20-odd World Class players to choose from.

Would like Goodison to be intimidating and raucous, COYB!!

Brian Harrison
34 Posted 27/12/2023 at 10:10:10
City aren't the same side when Rodri isn't playing, so I think we will get something from tonight's game. I would just ask Sean Dyche not to have Branthwaite standing on their goalkeeper from corners, he is the tallest player we have and for me he could be better used running on to the ball rather than be used as a blocker on the keepers movement.

I wonder if we start with Gomes and Danjuma who both made big impacts when they came on against Spurs. Play with same high press as we did against Spurs, rather than sitting back and letting City dictate play. Yes they will have the ball a lot more than us but keep our shape when defending, but when is possession don't give the ball away, and I think we get something from tonight provided VAR doesn't referee the game.

Mark Taylor
35 Posted 27/12/2023 at 10:34:17
I love the optimism on here but I can't share it. The bookies have us at 5-1 to win and that looks about right. A draw would be excellent. This is the last game we should be positioning as a 'make or break'. If we play like we did v Spurs, we will be more than fine over the season, but I wish the others around us would stop winning, especially Luton...
Jerome Shields
36 Posted 27/12/2023 at 10:41:01
Spurs were on prepared for Gomes.For him to start would be a mistake, because when he is targeted he is easily marked out of a game. He needs to be a sub, when the opposition are not tactically set up, or can be set up, to play against him.
James Marshall
37 Posted 27/12/2023 at 10:49:46
I disagree, and think Gomes is more suited to playing a team like City. We can't just have ball winners like Gana and Onana in there - we need some craft as well.

We'll do OK tonight because we play better against sides who have more of the ball than us. A win would obviously be amazing but a point would be great too.

Jim Bennings
38 Posted 27/12/2023 at 10:54:45
We can beat City tonight or take at least a point (anyone remember the last point we took off these at Goodison?).

I'd give Gomes the start and see what he can do.

We need some kind of creativity and out of all the midfielders him and Garner are the two that can use the football.

If Dyche can get Gomes back to the player he could have been but only on a far more consistent basis then that would be some serious bonus.

Barry Hesketh
39 Posted 27/12/2023 at 11:12:02
Jim @38
Nearly seven long years ago, when Everton won 4-0, when Lookman, Davies, Mirralas and Lukaku were on the scoresheet, many of us, wrongly, believed that it signalled the beginning of a new era of success. The last draw between the sides at Goodison was under Martinez in 2015, when Naismith equalised shortly following City taking the lead.
Brian Williams
40 Posted 27/12/2023 at 11:13:39
Just read Thelwell's message on the OP. How refreshing to be told the truth in a straight forward no bullshit manner. 👍💙
Michael Bennet
41 Posted 27/12/2023 at 11:37:49
OK lads what I gathered from you're posts is we have to keep the ball like real Madrid...defend like 90s millan team and score last minute jammy winner's like the red shite. what were those odds again 🤔
Peter Quinn
42 Posted 27/12/2023 at 12:01:25
I agree Brian this is an excellent piece of communication to the fans. It is a long time since the Club was so honest and open with us. Mr Thelwell is to be applauded. He and Sean Dyche are a great team.
Jon Harding
43 Posted 27/12/2023 at 12:04:03
10 of the starting 11 to play the world champions seem to pick themselves. It's just a case of who replaces Doucoure. Gomes and Danjuma seem the obvious candidates but I'd like to see Beto in there in a good old 4-4-2 to give John Stones the sort of evening he'll have nightmares about for the rest of his days. UTFT
Barry Hesketh
44 Posted 27/12/2023 at 12:07:25
Perhaps in light of Mr Thelwell's statement, ToffeeWeb should resist the temptation to give any space to the usual transfer rumours that abound during January - but I'm sure that many of us will continue to comment on those rumours regardless of the validity of the 'stories'. The only transfer we actually need is from the Premier League's appeal commission, i.e. move those docked points back into our points gained column.
James Hughes
45 Posted 27/12/2023 at 12:07:57
Not saying anything as I don't want to jinx us. BUT they did have a long haul flight three days ago and are missing the cog that is Rodri.

We are playing half decent so I will only cross the fingers on one hand for tonight


Terry Farrell
46 Posted 27/12/2023 at 12:12:31
James Garner and Onana behind Gomes in the centre of midfield. Lets play to his strengths. Dogging and pressing on the edge of our box is not his game and where he gives away dangerous free kicks.
Rob Halligan
47 Posted 27/12/2023 at 12:17:55
Barry # 44……….im already preparing myself for some blowing a gasket, when we’re linked with this player, that player or some other player. Thelwell has said…………….

“But please, don’t be drawn in by the inevitable daily churn of social media rumour and conjecture - as enticing as I know such chat can be. This is likely to be a low-key transfer window for Everton”.

It’s unbelievable how many are taken in by transfer rumours, and go ape shit over it. I’m not expecting any incomings next month, and although the squad may be stretched with one or two more injuries, plus any going to the AFCON, I’m convinced we have a good enough squad to steer clear of the relegation zone.

Rob Hooton
48 Posted 27/12/2023 at 12:25:03
Thanks for pointing Kevin’s message out Brian, refreshingly honest and managing expectations well. I’ll ignore any transfer rumours and just hope we don’t sell any of our key players in the window - we have a great, tight-knit squad (albeit small) and it would be a shame to undo any of the hard work and achievements thus far.
Phil Sammon
49 Posted 27/12/2023 at 12:28:47
A refreshingly frank statement to the fans from Thelwell. A million miles from BK and his ‘Watch this space’ bullshit.
Derek Knox
50 Posted 27/12/2023 at 12:44:04
Rob H @ 47, January windows are rarely a flurry of activity. Even if we did have funds available, which reading between the lines, appears to be the opposite, plus we still don't know the outcome of the appeal, and if any more can be levelled against us !

Having said that if Burnley get relegated we could do a lot worse than try and get Odobert from them. He has impressed me each time I have seen him play, and is a right sided player. I was made up when we got Harrison from Leeds but although he has done okay-ish, I feel he has been a bit underwhelming overall.

Tom Bowers
51 Posted 27/12/2023 at 12:47:40
We have a an absolutely awful record against City over the last 20 games or so with only one win.
Hardly surprising considering all the money invested in City and Everton scraping the barrel moneywise.

However on any given day one team can get the rub of the green and win against the odds.

Every game is difficult for this Everton squad whether it be City or Luton however we are playing a little better but if it is enough we will have to wait and see.

Mistakes at the back have tarnished December so far and the finishing hasn't done much to help.

City have been in a mini slump themselves and we hope that continues.

Dave Abrahams
52 Posted 27/12/2023 at 12:59:38
Yes it’s nice to hear a bit of honesty and be treated like we should be instead of the way we were just tolerated for far too long.

I hope though that Thelwell is still looking to do one or two deals like exchanges and loan deals, the squad is far too small and injuries and suspensions can undo a lot of the excellent work done by Sean Dyche and Thelwell.

Jerome Shields
53 Posted 27/12/2023 at 13:02:29
Gomes had a similar performance against Brentford last Feb.They were caught out the same as Spurs.Lampard started him the next game against Newcastle.He lost possession 12 times and did not carry the ball beyond 5 feet in the game before he was subbed, as his play was in danger of resulting in a red card, after a stupid yellow.He was simply marked and couldn't take it.

Definitely a no no against Man City.

John Hall
54 Posted 27/12/2023 at 13:03:17
Does anyone actually think in all honesty we have a chance tonight? I'm struggling between being overly optimistic and being realistic. Us losing can only be classed as realistic tonight, not pessimistic at all. However, there is always space for hope and a slither of optimism, it's still 11v11, right? (not counting 4 on field refs and 2 VAR refs against us :))
John Hall
55 Posted 27/12/2023 at 13:07:09
A draw will feel like a win tonight! COYB!!!
Danny O’Neill
56 Posted 27/12/2023 at 13:24:35
No. A draw be an okay result but only a win will feel like a win.

I'm not making a 500 mile round trip and getting home at god knows what time in the early hours tomorrow morning hoping for a draw.

Just like many others putting the miles in whether they are local, travelling like me and those tuning in at ridiculous hours around the globe.

Rob Halligan
57 Posted 27/12/2023 at 13:50:25
Totally agree Danny. I too am not going tonight just to make the numbers up. Did Crystal Palace go to the Etihad the other week just to make the numbers up, and being 2-0 down with fifteen minutes left, pulled off a dramatic draw. Did Wolves fans go to Molyneux a few weeks ago just to make the numbers up? I’m fully expecting a win, a draw will be a disappointment, seeing as Man City are having a bit of a blip recently, have just endured a long flight back from Saudi Arabia, albeit I doubt they were stuck in economy class for a few hours, and most importantly of all, they are probably missing three of their most influential players. Our record over the last six games is well better than theirs, so why should anyone think we have no chance against them? I bet Man City fans would take a draw right now!
Martin Krogh
58 Posted 27/12/2023 at 13:51:31
Can’t believe people reckon a win is more probable than a loss. One good run, and we’re a top 6-outfit? Haha… The gold fish minds of Evertonians…
Tony Abrahams
59 Posted 27/12/2023 at 13:51:55
Incredible support that Danny. I’ve just been informed by my brother that he’s not going tonight because he’s going for a drink, and he said that there’s at least another half a dozen season ticket holders in his local, doing the same thing tonight. He said the main reason these people are not going is because of the kick-off time, so supporters like yourself definitely deserve massive credit Danny.

The game would have meant a lot more to me if we were still in the carabao cup, but I suppose if I was given a choice, I would much sooner win the FA Cup, and this has got me thinking about going to London, for another ridiculous kick off time, next Thursday night.

Kim Vivian
60 Posted 27/12/2023 at 13:58:45
I think Luton's chances against Chelsea on Saturday are somewhat better than our chances today and Wolves will not be a walk in the park at the weekend. Whilst I think we have caught City at a good moment - sans De Bruyne, Haaland, Rodri, and our half decent form - I am somewhat fearful that we might find ourselves sitting in the drop zone on New Years day.

Hoping, however, that the stars might start to align for us over the next few days and we could be suffering vertigo up around 13th at the end of the weekend.

A point (or 3) today and somewhere in between would be a fair compromise. This was always going to be a tricky month.

Matt Traynor
61 Posted 27/12/2023 at 14:02:45
Dave #52, I'm not sure there's scope for more loan deals, as we have Harrison and Danjuma on loan. Others will know whether we have options to buy - I think Harrison does have that option, but from the games I've seen so far, I'm not sure it'd be a good move.

My big worry would be the rumours around Branthwaite.

Jonathan Tasker
62 Posted 27/12/2023 at 14:04:17
With the points’ deduction I can see us being hauled back into the relegation scrap. I think Burnley are doomed but Chris Wilder may be able to revitalise Sheffield United. Rob Edwards is a fantastic manager and could still save Luton.
I think a single point from tonight and wolves is the most we could achieve with our very limited midfield and forward options.
Danny O’Neill
63 Posted 27/12/2023 at 14:15:25
Be posiitive blues.

No better than any other Evertonian Tony. My nephew has just said the same about not going because of the kick off time. He only lives 7 miles from Goodison. I wish he'd have told me as he has a now unused season ticket!! I'm sorted though.

No consideration for supporters, especially at this time of year. Night matches are special,, bit it seems to ne getting ridiculous

FA Cup it is and your trip to London.

Last time I looked, 20 games to go including tonight. That's 60 points to play for notwithstanding the appeal.

Rob Halligan
64 Posted 27/12/2023 at 14:21:00
My god, and some fans are criticised for being positive!! I do sincerely apologise for having the audacity to believe we can win tonight.
Jerome Shields
65 Posted 27/12/2023 at 14:27:33
I do think we stand a chance, but Dyche has to get the selection right.Need to keep a effective high press going, take chances, a effective midfield and no errors in defence.
Bill Griffiths
66 Posted 27/12/2023 at 14:34:14
Chaotic train service(especially Merseyrail) doesn't help. Just been in contact with Brian Wilkinson who isn't going tonight due to late ko and possibly train cancellations.
I've had problems getting home after the last couple of games due to Mersey rail cancelling services.
Danny O’Neill
67 Posted 27/12/2023 at 14:40:46
Martin @58, I wasn't going to respond to that, but as I am about to cross the Mersey and enter the homeland, don't be derogatory to fellow blues.

I don't know if you meant that tone. But it didn't come across well. As my mother used to say, think before you speak.

I hope you are at the match tonight or watching from somewhere, cheering the Blues on just like we all will be.

Kevin Edward
68 Posted 27/12/2023 at 14:48:38
Yes we can win this one, a draw would also be useful to get back on track.
Looking at the weather outside hopefully some of their players won’t fancy it for 90 mins.
So if Dyche is smart he’ll keep us working hard for 98 mins.
Not sure about Gomes tonight, to be honest I wrote him off ages ago, just too frustrating.
We’ll have to play well to match them, even relying on them to be a bit off.
But we have been playing well and if Goodison rocks then we have to believe.
Dave Abrahams
69 Posted 27/12/2023 at 14:50:40
Matt (61), you might be right about loan deals not being viable, but there could be scope for an exchange deal at least, one decent new player could make a huge difference to our fight against relegation.
Derek Knox
70 Posted 27/12/2023 at 14:53:16
John H @ 55, how are you mate ? " A draw will feel like a win tonight! COYB!!! "

What we want is a win feeling like a draw ! :-)

Dale Self
71 Posted 27/12/2023 at 15:16:43
Fantastic signalling fom Thelwell. If we do a big deal it will be on very favorable terms. I imagine he has a couple of low cost prospects that will get us across the line and perhaps develop.

If we can get it together off the pitch while getting it done on the the pitch, we have a decent future ahead. UTFT!

Mike Gaynes
72 Posted 27/12/2023 at 15:19:25
DK, how ya doin'???

Rob #57, I would take a draw and not be disappointed. City are still City. I have no doubt we will play with full bravery and commitment, no sitting back. But the last-pass and finishing incompetence we showed against Fulham and Spurs concerns me. Most of our recent goals have come from great individual efforts off opposing turnovers, and I don't see City making those mistakes. 1-1 for me.

Mike Gaynes
73 Posted 27/12/2023 at 15:24:31
Thelwell's key message:

January is unlikely to be a busy month here. But hard work is ongoing to ensure a squad that has performed consistently well this season can continue to evolve and develop this season, in the summer and beyond.

Of course, if we feel an opportunity arises in this window for a player we have earmarked and we believe that moving now would deliver an immediate boost to the squad in the short-term, we will explore such an opportunity. But please, don’t be drawn in by the inevitable daily churn of social media rumour and conjecture - as enticing as I know such chat can be. This is likely to be a low-key transfer window for Everton.

I know that message may not be the most exciting festive update. But it is important that I be completely honest and transparent.

We have a great group of players, working consistently hard for a manager who has navigated the most challenging of periods expertly.

Ray Roche
74 Posted 27/12/2023 at 15:28:00
According to City websites and Sky Sports Rodri was rested as a precautionary measure and is fit to play tonight.
James Hughes
75 Posted 27/12/2023 at 15:39:30
Martin Krogh, are you a troll mate ? Just askin' as I never believe we are just making up the numbers.

kind regards from a Feckin Bluenose Goldfish and a happy new year, as well

Danny O’Neill
76 Posted 27/12/2023 at 15:48:30
I've landed at Lime Street. Surrounded by citizens of Manchester.

I'm listening and they think it's a done deal.

I don't.

Eric Haworth
77 Posted 27/12/2023 at 15:54:45
Let’s park the negativity & remember boys e.g. Kim #69 & Jonathan #62, that without the corrupt EPL “putting-the-boot-in” we’d currently be sitting in 10th on 26pts measured solely on our performances & even with their intervention we’re still not in bottom 3.
Whilst the rest of those in the relegation battle, are were they are, based purely on their best efforts, which have been lacking & at least 3 wins & a draw inferior to us.
So with another half a season to go, let’s be a bit more positive & looking upwards & as for “talking up” likes of Luton & their manager, I watched their game against Sheffield United & without underestimating either, it was a game of 2 very poor sides & without the good fortune of the 1st goal squirming through the keepers legs & the other 2 being deflected own goals, Luton would’ve suffered their customary defeat.
So to return to my opening gambit, let’s park the negativity & get behind a side that’s started to demonstrate something that’s been in short supply for some time & that’s pride, so as fans let’s join them💙
Mike Corcoran
78 Posted 27/12/2023 at 15:57:41
Might we change it up with Beto in for DcL and maybe Danjuma coming left with Harrison / McNeil in the 10? Can’t see Gomes getting a start so soon after so little game time. Would like to think Dyche is going to spring some surprising plan on City.
Rob Halligan
79 Posted 27/12/2023 at 15:59:41
Mike, maybe I was being a bit overly optimistic by saying I would be disappointed with a draw. Of course I would take a draw right now, but I still firmly believe we can win tonight. It does seem however though, that you are not allowed to be optimistic on this site.
Mike Corcoran
80 Posted 27/12/2023 at 16:04:41
I think we can win Rob, depends who’s been caning the mince pies and Sherry usually
Derek Knox
81 Posted 27/12/2023 at 16:12:05
James H @ 75, funny regarding MK, my Bell Endometer went into alarm mode too ! :-)
Mike Gaynes
82 Posted 27/12/2023 at 16:23:17
Of course you are, Rob. I just figured you were still on a buzz from all those planter's punches and rum Daiquiris under the Caribbean sun.
Brian Williams
83 Posted 27/12/2023 at 16:28:17
Tonight Danny will be in the Street End, Rob in the Park End.

Martin Krogh, Bell End.

(Danny, tell yer mum I did).

Billy Shears
84 Posted 27/12/2023 at 16:33:23
A comfy 0-2 win for Citeh,am sorry to say with a tricky tie to come at Wolves and with teams around us in the League picking up points,we are starting to lose momentum!
John Hall
85 Posted 27/12/2023 at 16:33:37
I want us to win, of course I do, but what I don't want us to do is to show them too much respect and go into our shells like we used to. An early goal and our new mentality will certainly help, but if they score early please don't give up blues and especially us the supporters!
Brian Williams
86 Posted 27/12/2023 at 16:41:40
Billy, I'm off to Clatterbridge next week.

Any chance of a pep talk before I go?

John Raftery
87 Posted 27/12/2023 at 16:53:32
Whatever happens tonight I will be surprised if City have a comfy win.
Mike Corcoran
88 Posted 27/12/2023 at 17:01:59
I’d like to introduce to you the pessimistic Billy Shears….🎵🎶
Andy Crooks
89 Posted 27/12/2023 at 17:05:21
Billy Shears, if you 're sorry to say it, why are you saying it? Hoping to say "I told you so", I reckon. Can't think of anything else you get from it.
John Hall
90 Posted 27/12/2023 at 17:05:44
Interesting. ToffeeWeb used to be one long pity party and negative comments were de rigueur, now ordinary twebbers are being outed as negative-thinking scoundrels, how times have changed! Is this the Dyche effect?
James Hughes
91 Posted 27/12/2023 at 17:08:36
DK, we have another one with BIlly AKA bellend mk2

Billy Shears, Happy new year to you and now get back under your bridge. Unless you are Billy Goat Gruff

Brian Williams
92 Posted 27/12/2023 at 17:09:44
Negative thinking scoundrels were never, and aren't ever, ordinary ToffeeWebbers they're just negative thinking scoundrels.

Personally I have nothing whatsoever against negative thinking scoundrels if their negativity remains in their thoughts.

It's only when those thoughts are aired or posted do I find them to be simply miserable, defeatist fuckers who's only goal is to make others miserable too.

Who, in their right mind (remember that bit) makes the effort to post on their own fansite that they believe we're going to be beaten easily. That's not being realistic it's going out of your way to be fucking miserable and negative, IMHO.

Tony Abrahams
93 Posted 27/12/2023 at 17:27:03
I love a pessimistic match day thread because I believe it yields better results than a positive one, so I’m obviously going for Everton, to get completely overrun tonight! I won’t be telling anyone my real feelings though because I wouldn’t want to be degraded for having positive thoughts.

It’s cold, it’s wet and it’s very windy, so try and make it scrappy and make sure we contest every single second ball, and then let the crowd help us to do the rest.

Keeping it simple, that would be my team talk tonight!

Dave Abrahams
94 Posted 27/12/2023 at 17:28:31
Brian (86), Not sure about a pep talk mate, but very best wishes for your future and I’ll be nagging
Jesus’s mother with prayers, see you soon Brian.
Dave Abrahams
95 Posted 27/12/2023 at 17:37:07
Tony (93), That’s the spirit Tony, reminded me of Dixie Dean before the 1966 FA cup final, Dixie said he was putting his money on Sheffield Wed. winning that final because he had never won a bet in his life.

While Danny Blanchflower, Spurs captain said “ Everton for the cup and Wednesday for the middle of the week!

Can’t be there tonight but I’ll be watching from my armchair, kicking, heading and tackling every ball as we let City know they are in for a very hard night, win lose or draw, COYBB’S !

Paul Ferry
96 Posted 27/12/2023 at 17:37:46
All the best for next week Brian (Williams), Everton strong.
Simon Harrison
97 Posted 27/12/2023 at 17:42:32
Jerome [24] Firstly, Merry Christmas mon ami 🙂

Genuinely, I'm interested in who you think are the regular inconsistent performers. I'm not picking a fight here, I'm really curious as to who you think have up and down games?

I know that there is a general consensus that Onana blows hot and cold (Tho, he is only a 22yo International), and that Patterson can perform from the sublime to the desperate (in the same game usually). NB I still think both are heading in the right direction development wise.

Oh, and maybe some criticism (fair or otherwise) can be levelled at DCL. Though, this is more complex (subjective) as it usually depends on the tactics selected, and how much service/support Dom gets as to how effective he is.

Note the disallowed goal vs Spurs, he ran the channel heading near post (for the Yanks on here, and 'out-to-in' route), received a very well weighted pass (from Gomes) and slotted it home nicely. That is what he is good at, but he doesn't always get that service.

I'm looking forward to being able to watch the match on the TV today, rather than the laptop.

2-1 to the Royal Blues for me... Hopefully, the crowd will gee them up and City will be tired.


Bill Gall
98 Posted 27/12/2023 at 17:42:51
there are no certainties in sports,that is why betting companies make their monies. There are favorites but sometimes they don't always win. And that is why the Premier is not always predictable. As an Everton supporter all though City are the favorites I still expect an Everton win with a draw except able.There has been quite a number of favorites not winning lately, and I believe that this Everton squad has more backbone and cohesion in it than previous seasons.
A win may get the backstabbers to realize that Everton as a club are improving from the previous ownership and may start writing compliments instead of rumors and guesswork
With personnel reasons I am not having a good Christmas time, Everton still brighten it up ( even though they lost ) by their determined attitude not to except defeat, and it has been a long time coming.
Christine Foster
99 Posted 27/12/2023 at 17:46:41
I think the blueprint has been drawn up (at last) for playing the more skilful sides. Earlier on this season we would get 11 players behind the ball and try to stop the inevitable goal through sheer blooded mindlessness and stalwart defending, but we were always one mistake or bad refereeing decision away from failure. It was obvious to me that the only way to beat these teams was to be in their face, hassling, pushing, forcing, because as Corporal Jones would say, "they don't like it up em Mr Mannering"
It was playing with attitude, forcing the play, or as I called it, "front foot football"
We simply cannot give sides the time and space because we cannot depend on every refereeing decision or worst still that inate bias of VAR towards some teams (like at Spurs last week) that destroys the 90 mins of hard work.
Defending starts with chasing down the oppositions defence, make it harder for any build up to hurt you, defend from the front.
It's the type of football we are good at and can and does work every week throughout the game.
So city are without their talisman but they have skill and class in abundance, whilst we may not have the same skills we should remember, skill is useless if you haven't got the ball.
Take it to them blues because we know it works and understand that workrate is only part of the solution, but without it you don't have a solution at all. Get into them Blues.. don't give them time or space to hurt you, we can do this..
Christine Foster
100 Posted 27/12/2023 at 17:46:41
I think the blueprint has been drawn up (at last) for playing the more skilful sides. Earlier on this season we would get 11 players behind the ball and try to stop the inevitable goal through sheer blooded mindlessness and stalwart defending, but we were always one mistake or bad refereeing decision away from failure. It was obvious to me that the only way to beat these teams was to be in their face, hassling, pushing, forcing, because as Corporal Jones would say, "they don't like it up em Mr Mannering"
It was playing with attitude, forcing the play, or as I called it, "front foot football"
We simply cannot give sides the time and space because we cannot depend on every refereeing decision or worst still that inate bias of VAR towards some teams (like at Spurs last week) that destroys the 90 mins of hard work.
Defending starts with chasing down the oppositions defence, make it harder for any build up to hurt you, defend from the front.
It's the type of football we are good at and can and does work every week throughout the game.
So city are without their talisman but they have skill and class in abundance, whilst we may not have the same skills we should remember, skill is useless if you haven't got the ball.
Take it to them blues because we know it works and understand that workrate is only part of the solution, but without it you don't have a solution at all. Get into them Blues.. don't give them time or space to hurt you, we can do this..
Simon Harrison
101 Posted 27/12/2023 at 17:53:37
Rob [47] Merry Christmas mon ami,

Re the Jan TW, I'm unfortunately expecting one outgoing of our first team. Maybe, some news about Dele's contract situation (as I think he will want it clarifying before the window closes)

Will Holgate come back? I personally don't think so. as isn't 70% of his wages being paid by Soton; and we're not really interested in his development (i.e. playing time)

I do however think that we may try for one or two more loans (if we shift some wage burden) and maybe a quick snipe for a player on a deferred buy-now-pay-later contract.

However, all that is dependant on the takeover. IF 777 do get the green light in the window, I'd definitely expect two, maybe more loans to come in.

Simon Harrison
102 Posted 27/12/2023 at 18:10:46
Bill Gall, for whatever reason your Christmas is not going well for you, I hope that Everton puts a smile on your face, and not just for a good performance, but for putting more points on the board.

Also, that those personal reasons improve, so that Life itself gets much better for you and yours.

Seasonal good wishes Bill and all the very best mon ami. 🙂👍


Stephen Meighan
103 Posted 27/12/2023 at 18:23:01
Even the RS will be wanting us to win tonight.

Still gonna be a difficult game regardless of City poor form and recent travel excursions. COYB..

Dave Cashen
104 Posted 27/12/2023 at 18:27:04
Martin 58

You worry too much.

Brian Williams.

Good luck mate.

Jonathan Tugwood
105 Posted 27/12/2023 at 18:39:54
I’ve got £50 on the Toffees finishing above City this season - based on their getting the 1,150 points deduction which is obviously coming their way after what the PL did to us 🤪
Dave Abrahams
106 Posted 27/12/2023 at 18:46:32
I wouldn’t be surprised if Seamus Coleman is on the bench at least.

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