02/04/2024 48comments  |  Jump to last
Newcastle 1 - 1 Everton

Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored his first goal since October to cancel out Alexander Isak’s opener as Everton wrestled a point from Newcastle in a tough contest at St James’s Park.

The Toffees’ striker took responsibility for an 88th-minute penalty and hauled his side back to parity after Jordan Pickford had kept them in the game, the Magpies had a goal chalked off for offside and James Garner struck the woodwork.

As expected, Sean Dyche set an unwanted Premier League record for matches without a victory at 13, equalling the longest post-War sequence the Club has gone without winning a league game set in 1957, but he will feel somewhat vindicated by a triple change after an hour and the fight his charges showed in the game.

Even if it didn’t always translate into clear goalscoring opportunities, Everton at least displayed an attacking intent that was wholly and unforgivably absent at Vitality Stadium last Saturday when they lost to Bournemouth – something to take into this weekend's huge home game against Burnley.

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Yet they might well have drawn first blood this evening after Pickford had made his first telling contribution with a terrific stop at close range to foil Harvey Barnes, first when Dwight McNeil laid the ball off for Abdoulaye Doucouré but the Frenchman blazed over and then when Beto was clipped and James Tarkowski cleared the bar with a gilt-edged chance from the resulting free-kick.

Having wasted that chance, it was Tarkowski’s awful positioning that directly led to the Magpies’ goal. Sitting too deep, he was left in no-man’s land when Barnes lofted a ball over his head to Isak and the Swede deftly turned Jarrad Branthwaite, drew a premature lunge from the young defender and calmly slotted it into the far corner.

Jacob Murphy ballooned an effort well off target after 28 minutes while Beto, starting in Calvert-Lewin’s stead, lashed a terrible shot of his own well wide before both sides went close just before the break.

Arguably Everton’s best move of the first period saw Amadou Onana thread a pass to Doucouré in the box but his attempted curler searching out the top corner was placed too close to Martin Dubravka who comfortably plucked it out the air.

Back at the other end, Pickford made another superb save, this time with his leg to keep Murphy’s far-post volley out before Isak’s shot took a slight deflection and flashed inches over the bar.

Tarkowski, something of a liability for much of the contest, almost prodded into his own net four minutes after the restart but was relieved to see the ball bounce off the outside of the post.

Nine minutes later, Newcastle thought they had doubled their lead. Everton’s defence appeared to go to sleep while organising an uncomfortably high line, Isak collected the pass and centred for Dan Burn to convert in front of goal but the striker was found by VAR Michael Salisbury to have been fractionally offside as he peeled off his man.

As the game passed the 60-minute mark, Dyche withdrew Onana, Beto and Doucouré, throwing on Garner, Calvert-Lewin and André Gomes and the former Manchester United midfielder came within an inch or two of making an almost instant impact.

Vitalii Mykolenko, back in the side having recovered from the flu as one of four changes to the team that has lost at Bournemouth, found Garner in the box and he feinted back on to his right foot and struck a low, side-foot shot that, agonisingly, came back off the inside of the post rather than bouncing in.

Mykolenko then from provider to saviour a few minutes later when Barnes teed Isak up for what looked to be a certain goal with a cut-back from the byline but the Ukrainian was perfectly placed to block the shot on the line and it was hacked to safety.

The hosts kept the ball alive and Barnes narrowly missed the far post with a shot from the angle as the game really started to come to life.

Dubravka parried from Ashley Young, in from the start in place of Jack Harrison, at one end and Pickford pushed away a drive from Bruno Guimaraes at the other but when Young was dragged down by the neck by Barcodes substitute Paul Dummett, referee Tony Harrington was eventually prompted by the VAR to review the incident on the pitch-side monitor.

The officials came to the sensible decision that Everton should be awarded only their second spot-kick of the season, one which Calvert-Lewin duly converted with enough power that the keeper couldn’t keep it out despite guessing the right way.

Nine minutes went up on the Fourth Official’s board and though the tiring McNeil had a decent look from the edge of the box, he smashed it into the stand behind the goal, the only real chance either side had to win it in the time added on.

Dyche’s ignominious place in Everton’s modern history is now assured, surpassing an ugly record that became synonymous with Mike Walker’s failed tenure as the Blues’ boss, but there was enough on show in this game to suggest that he might be able to keep the club in the top flight this season, assuming the verdict from the second independent commission into breaches of the League’s Profitability and Sustainability Rules isn’t another hefty points deduction.

Where his side have looked toothless, aimless and devoid of spirit on many occasions in recent weeks, there was at least some fight about them this evening and enough attacking intensity to instill hope that they can get a much-needed win over the Clarets at Goodison Park this weekend.

 

Reader Comments (48)

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Colin Glassar
1 Posted 02/04/2024 at 22:14:00
If we play like we did, after the three positive subs, then we might escape again this season
Jamie Crowley
2 Posted 02/04/2024 at 22:18:55
Where his side have looked toothless, aimless and devoid of spirit on many occasions in recent weeks, there was at least some fight about them this evening and enough attacking intensity to instill hope that they can get a much-needed win over the Clarets at Goodison Park this weekend.

The only thing, Lyndon, is that fight didn't show up until the hat trick substitutes in the second half. We were absolutely awful before that.

But! Hope springs eternal and after those subs we looked much, much better. More of that and we'll be fine.


Jay Evans
3 Posted 02/04/2024 at 22:19:38
Who would have thought it … you put some actual footballers on the pitch (Gomes and Garner) and we see some actual football played.

The cynic in me thinks the only reason he brought 3 subs on at the same time was because he thought Dan Burn’s goal was going to stand.

Well done Dominic for taking responsibility.

Kahunas. 💪🏼

Neil Lawson
4 Posted 02/04/2024 at 22:38:22
Jamie 2. I agree. The first half performance was abysmal. Men against toddlers. That was the team Dyche chose and instructed how to play. There should have been significant changes at half time to bring on the players that have some semblance of skill and craft and who could make a difference. There weren't. Only when his hand was being forced. From that moment we at least had something about us. So why not from the start?

I will argue with anyone who says Dyche deserves credit for the changes. He doesnt. He deserves criticism for his intransigence and tactics. Towards the end we were actually beginning to look the team more likely. Do that from the kick off and go out to try and win games, not to not lose them and give us something to really get behind.

Paul Kossoff
5 Posted 02/04/2024 at 23:00:32
We deserved that, second half display warranted a point. DLC's confidence is shot but hopefully the goal gets it back for him. Beto is just not good enough I'm afraid, £25 million is way too much for a 25 yr old who won't get any better skills wise. Please God we get three points Saturdays game against Burnley and the C P L go easy.

Maybe the dark days are going and MSP end up being the new owners, here's hoping. Coyb.

Andy Crooks
6 Posted 02/04/2024 at 23:15:12
Good stuff, Paul. Beto tries..and that's it. A confident DCL is what we need. What a difference if Gomes had a modicum of pace, or could tackle, even run. Even one of those added to his passing ability would do for now.
We are so bereft of quality that tortuous, fortuitous, industrious point grabbing is our only road to survival.
Jerome Shields
7 Posted 02/04/2024 at 23:56:33
Newcastle were not prepared for Gomes and gave him space to play.That will not happen the need match.He has to be used as a strategic sub.Dyche needs to mix things up more. His very predictable formation is too easily prepared for and players are at a loss how to play in it in such circumstances. Hope getting a goal will help Calvert Lewin.I thought Beto played well, though the forward play needs a more play making midfield.

I think that Dyche playing a advanced midfielder as part of the attack has run it's course.McNeill did play better,.Onana suffered from targeted attention.There was a improvement in play from the first game after the break, but the defence can caught out and untracked runners from midfield are still a problem . Fortunately Pickford was more on his game.Everton have to beat Burnley

Paul Kossoff
8 Posted 02/04/2024 at 00:05:15
Andy we have to believe in an enormous, fabulous, famous, Joyous end of season run seeing us safe and where we belong, in the premier League.👮👮👮
Ernie Baywood
10 Posted 03/04/2024 at 05:09:50
I actually enjoyed watching us play from 60 minutes on. Credit to Stage for finally making some worthwhile subs, but that can't hide the fact that the way we played in that last 30-40 minutes is the opposite of his coaching 'philosophy'. We haven't seen Everton try to play like that in a long time

If anything, the players just showed that they actually can be trusted to produce when they're allowed to.

Hopefully it's a lesson for Dyche. A turning point. But if I know this guy, then I suspect it's not

Frank Sheppard
11 Posted 03/04/2024 at 07:16:14
First good news on the pitch in 2024. A most unexpected and welcome point.
John Wignall
12 Posted 03/04/2024 at 07:22:53
Well done to dyche for changing the system 2nd half but they were so poor in the first in the next few games he got to be more positive don't think so sets them up not to lose just go for it nothing to lose otherwise we're down up the blues well done to all the wonderful supporters last night without you were nothing the only good thing coming out of the club at the moment
Jerome Shields
13 Posted 03/04/2024 at 07:44:20
What happened in the second half was a forced change in Everton play, that, Newcastle were not prepared for.Prior to that and continuing with Dycheball they would have been preparing all week for.In Premier League formation and tactics have to be varied and full squad utilisation is very necessary
Michael Lynch
14 Posted 03/04/2024 at 08:26:00
On the one hand, the subs changed the game. But on the other hand, Garner should have be the first name on the team sheet every game.

VAR was certainly our friend last night. I'm still not in favour of it, but without it we would have lost 2-0.

Kevin Turner
15 Posted 03/04/2024 at 08:34:34
Obvsously glad to get a point when frankly we looked down and out.

Dyche needs to sort out the right-back position asap. Godfrey looks like a fish out of water. Onana looked totally fed up coming off. Is he reading the rumours and wants away?

I can't understand why Garner is on the bench. Mykolenko looked every inch someone dragged from a sickbed.

Anyone know when the decision on a second points deduction is due. The media are talking like it's imminent.

Tony Abrahams
16 Posted 03/04/2024 at 08:49:29
It’s definitely a squad game now and I think you only have to watch a few games of football at this level to realize this.

I was sitting there full of pain and shame if I’m being honest, and the only thought in my head, was he has got to change it. Make three changes I thought, and the camera suddenly went to the side of the pitch, and I saw three players stripped and ready to come on.

I didn’t expect them to make the impact they did, simply because they were coming into a team that was performing at a confidence shot, very low level, but making subs around the hour mark is so important nowadays, imo, because the pace of the game is frightening.

Iain Crawford
17 Posted 03/04/2024 at 08:52:07
Andre Gomes has his faults but he can control and use a football, it’s a useful attribute in that advanced midfield position. Him and James Garner changed the game when they game on, the latter unlucky not to score.

Because we have to take the game to Burnley, Gomes should start in that no10 role, especially as Doucs seems all at sea at the moment. Him and McNeil are capable of much better form, and boy do we need them to find it.

Calvert- Lewin will be feeling better about himself so he should be given the nod to try and build some momentum with another goal on Saturday. We should take advantage of his confidence boost.

Then we get to the right wing/ right midfield. Ashley Young played better in the second half, but I’m not convinced he’s the answer when needing a positive attacking performance against Burnley. Hopefully Danjuma can come in, or a miracle and Harrison is revitalised.

Patterson would also be an option playing ahead of Seamus and encouraged to run, attack and cross. Successive managers do not trust him though. I’m starting to wonder if there is a payment clause due we don’t want to pay. Or is it just simply that they don’t think he’s good enough?

With another point deduction looking likely, Saturday’s game is a massive opportunity and a must win. Dyche can’t use his 13 match, Mike Walker surpassing, failed defensive system for this one.

Charles Ward
18 Posted 03/04/2024 at 09:02:20
There is no reason why Dyche can’t go for the more attacking Everton we saw in the last half hour last night against a Burnley pretty much consigned to relegation.

Is there?

The contrast between the first 60 minutes and the last 30 minutes was stark. Almost like watching a proper football team.

Get enough points to stay up, get decent ownership and a young ambitions coach to improve this squad.

Nirvana.

Kevin Edward
19 Posted 03/04/2024 at 09:04:48
Huge credit to the players for grinding out this result.
Absolutely agree that Young takes the accolades for screaming at the ref for the penalty award, perhaps if DCL had done that at Bournemouth…..
On to Goodison, it won’t be pretty, but 3 points is crucial and rolling off some positives from last night will help.
A massive boost for DCL, yes we expect him to slot a penalty kick, but what a weight off his shoulders that must have been.
Dyche was saved by the players last night, he has a chance on Saturday to get it right for once.

Kevin Turner
20 Posted 03/04/2024 at 09:11:23
Obviously glad to get a point when frankly we looked down and out. Dyche needs to sort out the right back position asap. Godfrey looks like a fish out of water.

Onana looked totally fed up coming off. Is he reading the rumours and wants away.
Can't understand why Garner is on the bench.

Myko looked every inch someone dragged from a sickbed.


Anyone know when the decision on a second points deduction is due? The media are talking like it's imminent.

Rob Dolby
21 Posted 03/04/2024 at 09:16:25
The game did change after their goal was disallowed.

Our subs especially Garner made a difference, I like Gomes on the ball but off the ball he is a liability hence the massive hole in the midfield when Gana went off. Fortunately for us Bruno had a very quiet game in part to Onanas and Gana's defensive work in the first half.

People probably won't agree with this but Branthwaite showed his lack of maturity at this level with their goal. He should be forcing Isaac onto his left foot but made it easy for the striker to cut in and score, not to dissimilar chance to DCL in the 2nd half and the defender did well pushing Dom onto his left.

A battling point and much better 2nd half performance.

The games remaining against the teams around us are going to be battles from start to finish, we need the players to be on the front foot for 90 mins not just the last 30.

Roll on Saturday.

Chris Leyland
22 Posted 03/04/2024 at 09:32:16
Rob Dolby - agree entirely re: Branthwaite and the goal. I was screaming at the telly for him to show him outside but he let him come inside and then the effort at a tackle was laughable.

For me, the midfield against Burnley should be Gana, Gomes and Garner with Onana and Doucoure. It would enable us to get control of the game and to pass to team mates.

Eddie Dunn
23 Posted 03/04/2024 at 09:53:23
Doucoure is a shadow of the bustling energetic player before he was injured.
i wonder if he is playing with a niggling problem that prevents him from contributing at full throttle.
Whatever the answer, he is currently not worth his place. He lacks basic skills at times and last night joined Onana in a competition to play the most short, useless passes.
Onana looks nice in possession but needs willing runners and options to pass to. Last night he played the easy option too often and his languid style left us lacking any urgency.
Gomes and Garner played nice crisp passes and injected the tempo with much needed energy.
Young had a solid game, got the pen through getting in the box regularly and insisting that the ref had the offence checked.
We need more of his attitude rubbing off on the others. He has been a winner and too many of our lot are meek and mild.
Beto put in a shift and I like his directness. Shame he went to ground twice when in good positions. Someone needs to tell him that this is not Portugal.
Rob Dolby
24 Posted 03/04/2024 at 09:56:27
Doucoure has looked terrible since his comeback the fella runs around a lot but hasn't any real quality and makes terrible decisions.

Gomes looks so cultured on the ball but off the ball is terrible.

If both of these players are in our academy at 20 years of age they would be rejected for the very reasons above, instead we have paid out 60m for 2 players that I am sure we could have produced in the academy. Dowell or Gomes, Connelly or Doucoure.

Brian Harrison
25 Posted 03/04/2024 at 10:13:52
For 60 minutes we looked shapeless, and showed little ambition to get forward. Beto is a limited footballer but what cant be faulted is his constant chasing and harrying, but when no Everton player is within 15 to 20 yards of him its difficult to see what he can possibly do with so little support. For the first time this season Jarrad Branthwaite made a mistake, going to ground in tthe box instead of staying on his feet, but Isak is a skilled operator. Isak had a chance in the 2nd half to put the game to bed but Mykolenko got back on the line to stop that happening. We are a team fighting against relegation playing a much depleted Newcastle who apart from Isak carried very litle threat

But the shape of the game changed on the hour mark, while the ref and VAR were discussing another possible goal for Newcastle, Dyche decided he had to make changes and brought on Garner, Gomes and DCL. The changes saw a marked improvement in our attacking intent, we started asking questions of Newcastle defenders that we hadnt previously. You could tell after about 10 minutes of the changes being made the atmosphere in the ground suddenly changed, Newcastle fans realized this was no longer a walk in the park and Everton at long last had decided to be a lot more attack minded. The brilliant Everton fans were in full voice and the only noise you could hear came from our fans, all of a sudden there was a spring in the step of our players. Garner made a nice turn and shot that hit the post all of a sudden Newcastle looked jittery and slow.
But despite the attacking intent and Garners effort hitting the post it looked like to little to late, until stupidly Dummett pulls down Young in the box. Youngs appeal made the ref consult VAR who unbelievably sent the ref to the monitor, I don't know who was on VAR but to have to ask the ref to look at a stonewall penalty decision just highlights the poor standard of refs we have in this country.
While I was delighted with the draw and pleased with the attacking options we brought on, we should remember if Dummet had done his job properly we would have come home with no points.
Will Dyche adopt the same attacking intent against Burnley I doubt it, he will start with Onana and a lone striker. We owe Doucoure for saving our skin last season and the goals he has scored so far this season, but his impact in recent games has been far less effective. Just got to hope the commission don't give us more points deductions to send us into the bottom 3 so late in the season.

Raymond Fox
26 Posted 03/04/2024 at 10:55:46
Calvert -Lewin deserves a lot of credit for taking that penalty, the pressure was on big time. In fact all the players must feel the pressure they are under, it cant be great playing for us under the current circumstances.

Reading through the thread I'm struck by the criticism in almost all the posts. This was a good result against the odds.

Our fixtures to come are largely good with 2 or 3 exceptions, we should be good enough to stay up with those games to come.

Neil Lawson
27 Posted 03/04/2024 at 11:38:16
Raymond. Yes, it was a good result against the odds, but at 60 mins we should have been dead and buried and were awful. Everyone of us could see that. A tiny margin and it was 2-0. The changes did make all the difference and it should point to the way forward. However, why did our manager choose and set up a team, determine tactics, but let it continue far too long when it was dreadful ? Saturday will tell us a lot. If he reverts to type we really are in real threat of relegation whatever the points deduction is or isn't. If he reads TW and takes our advice ( tee hee) we have a real chance to get clear even with a few more points deducted.
Ray Jacques
28 Posted 03/04/2024 at 13:23:28
We need to start fast and tear into Burnley on Saturday, let them worry about us.

I bet we don't however and they will sneak a goal to go 1 nil up and the whole atmosphere will change to desperation and worry.

Just have a go at them from the off, for fuck's sake. They aren't a top side so stamp your authority on them!!

Tony Abrahams
29 Posted 03/04/2024 at 13:36:10
Agree with that assessment of Branthwaite, Rob @21.

But he was still the player who impressed me the most because he was brave enough to keep playing, and keep trying to do the right things, even though he started the game off the pace.

That's a great gift to have considering he is the youngest player in our team, and he deserves a lot respect for the way he dug in last night.

Jerome Shields
31 Posted 03/04/2024 at 14:45:06
Burnley will set shop. Dyche knows that. It will be interesting to see what he does about it.

Gomes starting a game after putting on a bit of a show will be a damp squid and a liability.

Si Cooper
32 Posted 03/04/2024 at 19:41:28
So many of our players are deficient in some important attribute; it seems we cannot field any team that lurches from steady but uninspired to threatening but vulnerable to the counter.

Enough went our way that we got a point we barely deserved but the scales seem forever fixed in the middle with our performances virtually impossible to predict.

I don't know whether he is carrying an injury but Tarkowski seems to have lost a foot from his vertical leap which has potentially cost us at both ends of the pitch in the last two games.

I guess the club must be a pretty miserable place this season with too much affecting the future still up in the air but hopefully all the players can keep focussed on the job that they are very well paid to do.

Christine Foster
33 Posted 04/04/2024 at 05:36:45
I was happy to get a point at Newcastle, but my utter frustration with our situation stems from the total lack of threat and a game plan other than a free-kick or corner.

So, having done my bit for the day, I turned on Toffeetv.com on YouTube and listened into the discussion, The Final Word, on the Newcastle game. And there it was, the penny dropped with me... my frustration with Dyche explained and the reason why we are playing the way we are.

In a nutshell, the conversation hinged on the way the team was set up, the role each player had, the fear and the total lack of threat as a game plan. We are set up not to lose – not to win.

Other teams you see their plan, you see where and how they will try to score: wingers, overlapping fullbacks, even hoofball by ensuring if Calvert-Lewin or Beto win the header, there are one or two to play it off to. The constant crab football because no one wants to be the one who loses the ball, no one wants to play football.

We have two wingers who have no pace to go past a man, a 38-year-old you expect to get up and down a line to cover the full-back and attack. We have sold or got rid of Gray, Townsend, Gordon, Simms, obviously apart from Gordon, because they don't fit with the style of the manager, the way he wants to play.

The players aren't great, we know that, but you see them on the training videos hammering balls into the net… hard to do when you don't get over the half-way line.

They want to win, but they are told to play a certain way. Don't take chances, get behind the ball, do not cross the half-way line. Then we expect a striker, any striker, to win a ball on the half-way line, run on past three defenders, and knock the ball in from 25 yards… or beat a couple of players by the corner flag with no one near him, waiting for your full-back for support.

No style of play, no set plan – get the ball wide, support the striker, win the second ball, overlapping fullbacks, getting crosses in early… You get the drift.

This is the world of Sean Dyche. Yes, we have had a mixed bag of players, but the only game plan the manager has appears to be "Get behind the ball, don't lose it, and try to score from a corner or free kick".

Sean Dyche's coaching manual must have unopened chapters of attacking strategy. We know this team can play better, we have seen them; they cannot be happy playing this way… no threat, play not to lose, and snatch one from a set play.

When a club changes manager, you often see players or the team playing without the shackles hammering into them, they enjoy the game more. It's where a new-manager bounce often comes from, I suspect.

Yes, I applauded (and still do) Dyche's organisational skills but I condemn his utter lack of any attacking strategy. It's about workrate, closing down, minimise risk. Then look no further than centre of midfield.

Gomes a few seasons ago was regularly hammered on TW as finished; now, to many, including myself, he is the only person with any creativity to split defences. Yet, once again, from everyman and his dog, we hear that he doesn't work hard enough.

It doesn't matter how good you are if you cannot run back, tackle like a full-back, and finish like a top striker. It's a team game of different skills; you compensate for creativity with workrate – it's a balance. God help us if we get a transfer ban.

I watched Luton against Arsenal this morning; good players Arsenal, but you could also see even Luton had a game plan: get the crosses in, attack down the wings. Watching it, I missed Townsend for Christ's sake! And with Arsenal, it was all about the short stuff, moving off players, one-twos.

It's why we look so bad, because we have no plan, no threat. I feel sorry for Calvert-Lewin, Beto, Maupay, Simms – in fact, any striker – because where is the support, where is the plan? The players are focused to play safe.

A comment was made on Toffee Tv that Burnley won't come to Everton and concentrate on getting 10 men behind the ball… they will set up to win. So should we.

Laurie Hartley
34 Posted 04/04/2024 at 07:10:49
First things first - I have eaten my humble pie having dropped Pickford from my pre match thread starting eleven.

Secondly, I asked after the Bournemouth game “where has Everton gone?” Well even including the first half, I was pleased with the effort I saw in that game.

Gordon getting criticism for his part in this game baffles me. I thought he played well. I think Dyche has decided he is a full back and is going to persist with him. Barnes ran riot against West Ham - I thought he was very quiet in this game.

Mykolenko - dragged off his sick bed Kevin? I thought he had a good game and stopped a certain goal by getting back on to the goal line to prevent Isak scoring his second.

Doucoure isn’t at his best at the moment. It is Ramadan and Doucoure is a Muslim and fasting between dawn and dusk. Hence the special break in the first half.

I am pleased for Calvert Lewin scoring a goal but I am of the opinion that Beto is better at finding space. I would like to see how he fairs with Gomes in our midfield. By the way I would love to see him playing against Van Dyke. I bet you Burn and Cher were glad to see him subbed.

I’ll even give Dyche a shout out for the subs he made. I suppose he didn’t have much choice other than to go for it.

Finally, the away support. You could hear them driving the team on all game but especially in the second half. I am proud of them.

If we keep playing like that we will be OK points deduction or not.

Up the Blues.

Mark Murphy
35 Posted 04/04/2024 at 08:38:39
I thought Gordon was shite to the point of invisible!
Godfrey played well tho…
Rob Dolby
36 Posted 04/04/2024 at 09:49:30
Christine,

Dyche does have a game plan and, for most of the season, we have created chances but not taken them.

Key to his tactics are a fit and flying Doucoure who can cover centre-mid and support the striker, something he hasn't done properly since his injury.

He isn't going to employ wingbacks when we don't have any, we aren't going to play like Man City as we don't have the players, we also don't have a cutting edge up top, what style does that suit? Back to basics, hard running and closing down spaces?

Nobody has been sold due to the style of play, players have been sold out of necessity. Dyche has said as much himself. He didn't want Iwobi to leave. Gordon and Gray wanted out, we needed the money for home grown Simms and Cannon to appease the league which has obviously backfired.

Given our last 2 seasons performances, coupled with fire sales, points deduction and the limbo of ownership I think Dyche is doing better than expected.

I posted after Bournemouth that we need a new manager bounce as it was the first time all season that the players didn't try and I still want that. I don't have a clue who would take the job.

I have never known another Everton manager perform under the restrictions as what Dyche is doing now. The man deserves credit for being professional in all of this. He is the face of the club until new owners get appointed.

He is a dead man walking, new owners will replace him straight away. Then we can start the merry-go-round again.

Andrew Clare
37 Posted 04/04/2024 at 09:51:23
Christine #33,

I agree with you totally. I believe that our players are far better than they are allowed to be under the system Dyche is using. The teams around us despite their position in the table go out to win.

Burnley will not be an easy game, they have been playing well of late and shouldn't be underestimated.

Laurie Hartley
38 Posted 04/04/2024 at 10:20:33
Mark # 35 - Got me 😂
James Marshall
39 Posted 04/04/2024 at 10:31:28
The Dychian way is very simple - don't let them shoot too often, and don't lose too often.

These 2 things we do pretty well, but it's dull as shit to watch. That said, Luton are getting a lot of plaudits for 'having a go' and being good to watch, but they ship goals and will probably get relegated.

So, which do you prefer? Look good, ship goals and go down? Or play dull as dishwater football, safety first, don't concede too many and stay up?

Remember, we're technically on 32 points to Luton's 22. Points deductions not withstanding, I'd suggest we're only one win from safety.

Sean Dyche was employed to keep us in the league, not to win it. You pays yer money, you takes yer choice.

Rob Dolby
40 Posted 04/04/2024 at 11:19:55
Andrew 37,

What formation and tactics would you use to make us better and win more games?

Maybe I am just resigned to the fact we have sold our best players year on year and quality is low.

Mark Murphy
41 Posted 04/04/2024 at 11:21:36
Sorry, Laurie – couldn't resist! I'm sharing your humble pie btw.

How could we have doubted England's #1?

Barry Rathbone
42 Posted 04/04/2024 at 11:29:45
James @39,

I think that's a great summary.

The only mystery is why people reckon we should go on the front foot after acknowledging we don't have the requisite players. It's like advocating suicide.

Rob Jones
43 Posted 04/04/2024 at 11:41:42
Barry, I'm deeply ambivalent on it. The football is atrocious. It really is. But we're three (maybe four) home wins from safety. Safety keeps the club going.

But we have been in a death spiral. The football being shit is acceptable if we get results. We haven't had results for months. So you can understand people's frustration.

Me, I've backed him (mostly) – I wanted him hired, and have backed him. Lately, though, my backing is based on "we can't afford to fire him, so keep going". Very much a "what other option is there?"

Christine Foster
44 Posted 04/04/2024 at 13:42:24
In case anyone forgot, the game is not about losing, it's about winning. Scoring goals. As I said, organizationally we are set up to not lose. That's our focus, drilled into the players. But you also need a strategy to win. Even with the players you have.

If you play hoofball all night, it's a strategy that might work if you have players running off Calvert-Lewin. If you want Calvert-Lewin to score, play to his strengths, early balls into the 6-yard box. Patterson, Mylolenko and Coleman can do it, Godfrey, Garner Young and Harrison don't.

Hit and hope doesn't win games, and we need to win games.
When people talk of a team's identity, it's how they set up, how they play.

Our game plan is random, you see other teams tactically target players or pressure certain areas. That's what I mean by an attacking strategy. I don't buy it that the players we have can't play attacking football (not front foot, but tactics!) We are not succeeding with what we are doing.

Some one said draws are not enough and we need to set up to win against those teams we can, and nullify those who are better.

Barry Rathbone
45 Posted 04/04/2024 at 14:41:51
Rob @43,

I agree entirely — moreover, how many relegation-threatened clubs play great football?

Nobody loves skill more than me but it's the one thing you can't coach into players. As you say, it's crap to watch but it's about survival and I don't see any realistic alternatives.

James Marshall
46 Posted 04/04/2024 at 15:05:40
Christine @44,

In simple terms, yes, football is about winning – so is all sport. However, the Premier League is now set up in such a way that, for many clubs (including Everton), not losing is really what matters more – especially since you get 1 point for a draw.

There are only 3 teams who can realistically win the league, then you have a group who want European football, then you have the mid-table scrappers, and finally those who exist only to attempt to stay in the top flight.

The Premier League has made itself the promised land, the cash cow and green green grass that everyone wants a piece of purely to make money. 17 out of 20 teams are really only there to prop up the top 3, or 14 to prop up the top 6 if you prefer.

The old days of going all out to win the league are the stuff of fantasy nowadays, and Everton are very much a bottom-of-the-table outfit in every sense – both on and off the field.

We've been set up since Moyes left purely to exist in the top flight and nothing else. Half our fanbase even harp on about being in the top flight the longest as though it's some badge of honour that means something – it doesn't mean anything. Nobody cares about history other than fans of clubs themselves; everyone else just shrugs their shoulders. History does nothing for the future.

I'm obviously not party to management meetings at Everton, but I'll lay money that every manager under Moshiri has had the same remit – keep us in the top flight. Hell, most of them even get a bonus for this very feat!

If you think Premier League football is about winning games, it isn't. It's about not losing enough to avoid going down, and that's now become more important than winning. It's the very reason managers like Dyche and Allardyce exist on highly paid contracts.

Dale Self
47 Posted 04/04/2024 at 15:12:27
I thought the two combinations played well together. Onana and Gana were solid and Garner with Gomes were good forward in the late game space. Calvert-Lewin also seemed to benefit from Beto's early work.

We need to get Onana clear in the pivot, he plays a good ball in and doesn't waste time doing it. Young can't beat the defender to the by line but he doesn't run away from support. That is what held possession, waiting for support and finding the pass to recycle. Harrison gets isolated and runs too much for the RB to settle.

I think Dyche's one day comment referred to limited time for a certain combination of players. We don't have like-for-like depth in the squad, everything is cobbled together. Some of the work against Newcastle looked positive to me but then I would say that wouldn't I?

Dale Rose
48 Posted 04/04/2024 at 15:55:49
First half was poor, second half big improvement. I'm glad DCL got on the sheet, hopefully give him some confidence.
Michael Kenrick
49 Posted 04/04/2024 at 17:23:00
You know, James @46, I think you've crystalized in there, more than anything I've read through this tumultuous torment, what is our ultimate reality in this here Premier League.

I so desperately wanted to believe what Christine was saying @44 but it's classic old-school bollocks in this day and age, harking back to some long-gone ethos that we were still not very good at, thanks to the People's Hero, David Moyes, who schooled us in how to do KITANO.

What would he project onto us every season? Oh yeah… "Get to 40 points, and then we'll see what more we can do."

"Nobody cares about history other than fans of clubs themselves; everyone else just shrugs their shoulders. History does nothing for the future." — Just don't be telling that to the Everton Heritage Society and the custodians of the Everton Collection!

Christine Foster
50 Posted 04/04/2024 at 21:10:20
So, existing in a corrupt league is paramount, winning for 14 clubs is old school bollocks, history means nothing? What a load of bollocks. Talk about cynicism, reality then?

Of course it's about survival, of course it's business, of course we don't matter...
Christ, I have said pretty much the same thing on these pages for years; it's called being pragmatic. But that doesn't mean we have to play crap football. That doesn't forgive how we survive, that only survival matters.

If football is purely a business, then we deserve to be bankrupt. We must still be using typewriters and think that AI is a main road north.

How we do things in life matters. Winning sometimes is about nothing more than surviving, Aspiration is dead for 14 clubs?

That the promised land of the Premier League is the new measure of attainment?
That we should be thankful to play in it against those mighty sides?
That we and the other 14 clubs are nothing more than fodder?
That we should be thankful?

The fans, the players, all aspire, they believe that they are better than just a balance sheet. It's entertainment.

Entertainment is not just the entitlement of the Top Six. And Michael, you're right about KITANO, dreadful football at times from a dour manager, but it was still light years better than Dyche or the way he sets his team up.

We are where we are. Moshiri and Kenwright, ably assisted by Barrett-Baxendale, have truly fucked this club. It may take years to recover but we will.

The Premier League is the new winning to some. A league of also-rans, totally forgettable teams, managers, experiences. That's why this league cannot and should not survive in its current form. It's the unforgivable reality.


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