Familiar story for rusty Everton against stubborn Palace

By Lyndon Lloyd 10/08/2019 47comments  |  Jump to last

Plus ça change…”, "deja vu”… pick your French cliché. Everton began a new season with yet another draw — their seventh in the last eight seasons — in a game that was eerily similar to the one between these two teams in late April. The script didn’t end up being written for Wilfried Zaha (or Moise Kean for that matter) and the two sides had to be content with a point apiece, one that damages neither but arguably aggrieves the Toffees more.

After the disappointments of transfer deadline day where Everton’s failure to replace one of their best performers from last season in Kurt Zouma, the optimism surrounding the build-up to this season-opener had been tempered by worries over Marco Silva’s defence.

By the final whistle, with Michael Keane and Yerry Mina having done everything that was asked of them by an admittedly blunt Crystal Palace attack and Jordan Pickford coming to the rescue when the hosts did breach the back line, the anxiety had reverted back to more familiar concerns over a lack of creativity and penetration at the other end.

An injury to André Gomes, one that visibly altered the pattern of the game after half-time, combined with an upcoming suspension for Morgan Schneiderlin following his second off for two “bookable” offences merely added to the sense of frustration at what can only be regarded as two points dropped against very limited opposition.

Palace compensated for their short-comings with a physical, uncompromising approach and spoiler tactics designed to throw Everton off their rhythm and in more than just that respect, this felt like a continuation of the 0-0 draw here earlier this year. The Toffees dominated the ball, ended the game having had 65% of the possession despite playing the last quarter of an hour with 10 men, and will feel as though they should have won, particularly on the basis of the first half.

They were let down, however, by poor finishing from Gylfi Sigurdsson early on and a general and familiar lack of inspiration going forward throughout, with the Icelander and Richarlison largely below par on the day and Bernard still betraying a lack of the kind of self-confidence that would allow him to drive at goal and shoot himself once in a while rather than over-engineering situations or trying to play a team-mate in with a difficult reverse pass.

It’s hard not to keep coming back to Sigurdsson, though, given his pedigree, ability to change games that he has repeatedly demonstrated in his time at Everton, and the enormous importance of the role he occupies. Put bluntly, he was anonymous for long stretches of a match he should have been bossing from start to finish and he needs to be better — much better — and produce on a weekly basis, otherwise our prospects of kicking on and improving on last season’s eighth-place finish are likely to be undermined.

Of course, the moves made in the transfer market this summer may eventually result in a different system and greater fluidity in attack that will provide Sigurdsson with more space in which to work. There was a sameness to the side in the first half from last season that will slowly change once Alex Iwobi is introduced to provide more attacking options and both Jean-Pierre Gbamin and Kean get up to speed. And yet you were left with the feeling that had Gomes remained on the field and Kean not had to feed on scraps as a result of the team having to play the last quarter of an hour a man short, Everton might have sneaked the win.

Those are the margins sometimes in the Premier League, particularly at places like Selhurst Park. Everton got off to a strong start this afternoon and when Lucas Digne’s cross rolled to Sigurdsson in a central position in front of goal with just two minutes gone, it looked as though Silva’s men would get off to a dream start. The No.10 not only failed to hit the target but he mis-hit his effort wide.

Still, Everton remained on front foot and after a nice “training ground” corner routine saw Digne slide the ball to Richarlison, Christian Benteke did well to charge down the Brazilian’s shot before it could trouble Vicente Guaita in the Palace goal.

Seamus Coleman was getting plenty of joy down the right as Patrick van Aanholt seemed content to give him yards of space in which work but Palace successfully repelled his deliveries from the flank until he almost popped up with a goal with half an hour gone. Digne’s shot deflected into the Irishman’s path but Guaita made an excellent, reflex save and though Bernard jinked his way into space to clip the loose ball back into the six-yard box, Dominic Calvert-Lewin could only head narrowly wide.

Palace, who, just like three months ago, were content to play like the away side and cede the possession to Everton, suddenly exhibited some attacking intent as the match moved into the last five minutes before the interval and Max Meyer almost profited. The Blues’ defence went to sleep as the German was played into space on the left side of the box but Coleman’s recovering block diverted his shot over the bar.

A turning point had come shortly beforehand, however, when Gomes came out limping from a heavy challenge and proved unable to carry on, eventually hobbling off on the stroke of half-time to be replaced by Gbamin.

Initially, the loss of the Portuguese didn’t seem to phase the visitors and they came very close to breaking the deadlock seven minutes after the restart. Digne was again the provider with a cushioned, volleyed pass into the middle which Sigurdsson flicked goal-wards past the keeper but Van Aanholt had scrambled back and cleared it off the line.

Schneiderlin was booked by referee Jon Moss a couple of minutes later, seemingly more for his frustrated reaction to the decision than for the fairly innocuous foul on Jordan Ayew that preceded it and Everton began to unravel a bit as the hosts took control in midfield.

Gbamin was caught in possession in midfield and Benteke quickly released Ayew behind the defence where Pickford came up big to parry away the Ghanaian’s shot.

A minute later, Townsend played Meyer in but Pickford was there again, standing tall and blocking the effort to keep the score at 0-0.

Back at the other end, Sigurdsson tried his luck with a low drive that Guaita got down to save before Richarlison ended a patient, probing Everton move by sweeping a shot a couple of feet the wrong side of the post from 20-yards out.

Kean’s introduction for Calvert-Lewin with 20 minutes to go was the injection up front that the travelling Blues had been hoping for but the platform from which Everton were no doubt hoping to use to go on and win the game late on was altered by a second yellow for Schneiderlin just six minutes later.

The Frenchman’s late challenge on Luka Milivojevic was ill-advised at best and, given that he was already on a yellow, stupid at worst and though there wasn’t a bad challenge, the Palace midfielder’s reaction did enough to sell Moss on handing out another booking. Silva responded by withdrawing Sigurdsson in favour of Tom Davies to shore up midfield.

Despite the introduction of Zaha, the player Silva had tried hard to sign before Thursday’s transfer deadline, Everton were able to keep Palace at bay in the closing stages and, thanks to their solid back line, never really looked in danger of conceding what would have been a painful late goal. A point, while hardly ideal, was probably satisfactory all things considered.

The gnawing irritation from this game comes, however, from just how much it echoed those missed opportunities last season where Everton dropped points against the kind of opposition they really should be beating, particularly given how much they controlled the game at times.

There were, of course, mitigating circumstances — the loss of Gomes was keenly felt, there was an element of rustiness that is to be expected at the start of a new campaign and the new signings will take time to bed in. Gbamin, in particular, was given a very quick lesson in just how little time you get on the ball in the Premier League. Clearly not match fit, the Ivorian had to be thrown in before he was ready but he will be happy to have got some early minutes under his belt and to not have been punished for a couple of untidy moments where he gave the ball away in vulnerable areas.

Again, the important thing was that Everton didn’t lose the game and the Keane-Mina axis showed every sign that it could be a very solid partnership this season if they can both stay fit. A home fixture against a Watford side wounded by a 3-0 defeat to Brighton this afternoon with a further week for Silva and his side to fine-tune the squad will hopefully provide a better indication of what is in store this season.

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Reader Comments (47)

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Anthony Newell
2 Posted 10/08/2019 at 22:16:34
I remain optimistic.

Richarlison, Kean and Iwobi to open their accounts next game.

Derek Knox
3 Posted 10/08/2019 at 22:19:25
Good report, Lyndon, the least said about Schneiderlin the better. I did fear though at one point, and it has happened in the past, we enjoyed the lion's share of possession, and either a freak wind or deflection would result in a loss, especially when down to 10 men.

What was worrying though that, despite the possession, there was very little created in the way of goal-scoring chances, and the ones that were were fluffed by Sigurdsson and Calvert-Lewin.

Everyone (fanwise) was geed up for this match, after a mediocre pre-season, but a fair Transfer Window; it's a pity the players didn't share in that enthusiasm.

I hope next week produces an antidote!

Dick Fearon
4 Posted 10/08/2019 at 00:13:56
Lyndon, I will match your Déjà Vu with Groundhog Day. That was my overall impression of what was most definitely the worst game of the three I watched.

Coleman and Digne made good wide runs but, in true Hibbo fashion, they failed to deliver a decent cross.

Sigurdsson disappeared entirely as the game wore on.

Bernard showed lots of good ball control that went nowhere.

Richarlson was a hard-working unimaginative trier yet probably our best forward.

It is like taking candy off a baby for opponents marking Calvert-Lewin.

Until his brain snap, Sshneiderlin was okay as was Gomes. Our best by a long chalk were Keane, Mina and Pickford.

Si Smith
5 Posted 11/08/2019 at 00:32:48
Worrying that we still had to play Schneiderlin 12 months after Silva realised he wasn't his first choice, what it shows is were still a work in progress, we still have players to move out, and some of them players are still going to spend all this season in and around our first team.

We have got rid of 27 players, 11 on loan but 16 sold or released, yet we still need to allow Silva 3 more windows to get the squad he wants.

Over the course of the season we will have Delph, Sigurdsson, Gomes and Gbamin all fit, Kean will get up to pace and Iwobi will be in the starting 11, then and only then will we see the real Marco Silva side for this season. For now, we are without Delph, Iwobi, now Gomes (who's withdrawal made us lose our foothold in the game), plus Gbamin and Kean haven't had a full pre-season so aren't where they would like to be.

All-in-all, a clean sheet is good news, especially for Mina, an away point isn't the worst start to a season, and if we can help some of the new lads, along with Richarlison and Sigurdsson (who didn't look there sharpest) get up to speed quickly, we should improve going forward.

First game of last season was a draw in which we ended with 10 men (v Wolves), same for this season's curtain raiser, let's hope we step up the next few games as there are plenty of winnable games coming up.

Let's take 3 points next Saturday and go from there.

Phil Lewis
6 Posted 11/08/2019 at 03:01:04
A very impressive display from Mina, the brightest aspect of a game which after a lively start, we did well to hang onto for a point. Pickford made some crucial saves, but once again showed hesitancy with crosses, while Sigurdsson was poor throughout. I've felt for some time he should not be an automatic choice. Perhaps the time has come to try Bernard as a 10, given our new wing options.

The Gomes injury upset our rhythm. Gbamin was way off the pace and looked clearly not ready yet. It was foolish of Silva to include him. Davies would have been a better introduction at that earlier stage of the game.

What possessed Schneiderlin to repeatedly thump the floor like a petulant child for his first yellow? He gave the Ref no option then but to produce red for his subsequent silly trip. It spoilt a reasonable display from him I thought, up until then. Given the competition to stake a claim for a shirt, he did himself nor his team mates any favours.

We must get tighter. We must take our chances and be more clinical in our finishing. There is simply no room for error at the highest level. Had we capitalised on first-half opportunities, victory could have been sealed, well before circumstances allowed Palace back into the game.

Jim Harrison
7 Posted 11/08/2019 at 08:02:41
Sorry, Phil, the ref did have a choice: he could have already sent off the Palace player he fouled for multiple offences and there would have never been a foul!!

Rick Tarleton
8 Posted 11/08/2019 at 08:09:53
For various reasons, none of our new players started this opening game. I just hope we've bought one or two players who are better than the ones we already have and not just more of the same. I'm unconvinced about Iwobi who is the one player I know something about.

Mina played well and so did Keane. Schneiderlin was, as ever, an accident waiting to happen: both yellow cards were marginal. Fouls? Yes; cards? Maybe...

Jay Woods
9 Posted 11/08/2019 at 08:18:23
Why bother having the lion's share of possession if you have Calvert-Lewin as your cutting edge up front for most of that time? When will Silva see what everyone else can see, viz, that Calvert-Lewin is not a top-level striker?

I'm still gutted we didn't get the marquee signing, the "statement of intent" player Moshiri supposedly wanted. And don't say a teenage striker from Italy is it, good though he seems to be.

Mark Burton
10 Posted 11/08/2019 at 08:24:12
Good report. My whole feeling when I saw the team was that it was exactly last season happening again. The players don't seem to want to wear the badge on their sleeve anymore. Paid for loss, draw or win — who cares? I can't wait to see the new boys inject a little respect and make last season's team play for their places.
Rob Dolby
11 Posted 11/08/2019 at 08:45:15
We had enough chances to win the game. I reckon we had 4 chances that, if they fell to Harry Kane, would have been goals.

The positives are we still controlled the game as best as we could with 10 men and we created chances.

I thought the ref was harsh on Schneiderlin and lenient on their skipper.

On yesterday's brief performance from Gbamin, I now understand why we bid for Doucouré.

Calvert-Lewin shouldn't have been brought off, his hold-up play was good yesterday. Sigurdsson stunk the house out and should have been subbed for Kean.

Playing 2 up top for 20 mins would be an act of intent; obviously, the sending off changed that.

Tony Everan
12 Posted 11/08/2019 at 09:11:35
French cliche? 0-0 la la.

I thought we were solid at the back Mina and Keane did well; creativity from midfield was stifled once Gomes went off. Maybe Tom Davies should have been brought on at that point instead of Gbamin. Tom looked sharper.

I thought Richarlison was great in his defensive duties. Bernard was okay and Calvert-Lewin his usual workhorse efforts.

Trouble is, there was no exceptional offensive play from any of our forwards, and Sigurdsson was off the pace yesterday.

I was watching Man City and what struck me is the timing of their forwards' runs from deep, sprinting towards the opponent's box, and breaking the defensive line.

Their goals/assists nearly all come from these runs, and the ability of the man in midfield possession to clip the perfect ball in, beating the offside.

We need to study Pep's offensive strategy — we need more of it.

John Keating
13 Posted 11/08/2019 at 09:22:34
Is it not possible to change teams, tactics and formations to suit the opposition we are playing? There was no difference against Palace yesterday than what we had last game against them.

I have no doubt we will see the same against every team we play home and away this season. Slight change in personnel but same formation and tactics.

Is 4-4-2 not allowed any more? Is it against the laws of the game? Could we not try it against certain opposition at certain times? We could draw Stevenage in the League Cup at home and Silva wouldn't change anything.

Teams have sussed us out and we haven't got a clue how to break them down, either personnel-wise or tactically. Until we shake things up nothing will change league position-wise.

Martin Mason
14 Posted 11/08/2019 at 09:42:41
To be fair, it was actually a good open game that we were completely dominating until losing the excellent Gomes and the ineffective disgrace that is Schneiderlin.

The disappointment for me was not the game itself but that we don't seem to have improved at all. It's early yet and our new players need to blend in.

Difficult to judge the new players in any favourable light but I can judge Silva in his defence of Schneiderlin. Tom Davies showed that he deserves to be picked.

Paul Birmingham
15 Posted 11/08/2019 at 09:45:01
Sadly, the same old, same old... La Vie — C'est La Vie... It's become predictable, not just this game but for many seasons now, that we lack the vision to get shots off on goal.

Still I hope next week, the injuries are healed and we start with Moise Kean upfront.

I see a lack of self-belief now in Calvert-Lewin, and his confidence is eroding every match. But we must get some pace and movement in attack, as we are too pedestrian.

Watford will no doubt be up for it next week. It's a must-win game.

Joe McMahon
16 Posted 11/08/2019 at 09:57:17
John @13, sadly it's been the situation for years. Moyes gave us one up front for 11 years, I can still see Andy Johnson running to the corner flag for the ball.
Danny Baily
17 Posted 11/08/2019 at 10:05:46
Tony 12, I agree.

Positioning and movement off the ball from the forwards is key. Calvert-Lewin isn't up to it, hopefully Kean is.

Benjamin Dyke
18 Posted 11/08/2019 at 10:05:50
I hope we see a team that can beat the Big 6 during the season but it's painful to watch Liverpool and Man City play like they're from a different planet. Normal service resumed after 1 round of fixtures.

Let's hope we start to see a better Everton emerge next week. Positives in the defence but, if Keane or Mina get injured...

Trevor Peers
19 Posted 11/08/2019 at 10:16:28
Martin @14,

You're living in an alternative universe if you think Davies is the answer to our creativity problems in midfield.

David Pearl
20 Posted 11/08/2019 at 10:21:09
It has nothing to do with Schneiderlin that we didn't win the game. More to do with the fact we don't seem to have addressed what we needed in the transfer window: GOALS!!!

The writing was on the wall. Who would like Costa now? Yes, first game of the season but the best teams in the league are those that can score goals. We don't.

Richarlison is wasted out on the right-hand side in this system. Let's hope we find our shooting boots at home.

Paul A Smith
21 Posted 11/08/2019 at 10:23:00
Poor up front, slow in midfield, lack of creativity and possible injuries and suspensions affecting us already.

Brands fans turning on Everton fans before a ball is kicked because they are concerned about the squad.

The season has started in true Everton fashion and, because of all the hints Silva gave in his pre-match press conference (the ones everyone ignored), the season will continue to be a tough rebuilding job.

If Silva finished 8th with this squad, he has done a great job.

Grant Rorrison
22 Posted 11/08/2019 at 10:29:06
Paul 21. 8th behind who??

A Leicester team that lost their best defender in the summer? A Wolves side that were in the Championship until May 2018 but somehow have a better squad than us, even though we've had a billionaire owner backing us since 2016? A West Ham or Watford team that got destroyed yesterday?

Paul A Smith
23 Posted 11/08/2019 at 10:36:47
Yes, Grant, one of them sides. Leicester's attack and midfield is very dangerous and we always struggle to deal with them. Wolves, glad you mentioned them. They have great ambition and look into what their owners are doing – they are not messing about.

Ours have come in and rebuilt from day one. Sold anyone that was Champions League potential and gave all the managers less quality to play with.

I know that all sounds totally hurtful and there's always an excuse but tell me where the manager has more quality than he had before? Where he can definitely push the side to go and win at Arsenal? Or even have them ready for Palace?

Nobody can say a 19-year-old Kean is better than Calvert-Lewin right now (I hope he is and have nothing but respect for the lad) or Iwobi is better than Bernard?

And somehow people are expecting this squad to leap over Arsenal and Man Utd?

Again, a manager has been left to start the season with an unprepared 11 and he told everyone in his press conference that it's a tough job again.

Martin Mason
24 Posted 11/08/2019 at 10:54:15
Trevor @19, I didn't say he was the answer to our "creativity" problem (he isn't and doesn't need to be) – only that he is the best option for his position. The 4-3-3 system that Silva wants to play needs a box-to-box midfielder with the ability to drive out of defence with the ball at his feet. From what I see, Davies is the only player we have who can actually do that and he did quite well yesterday when he came on.
Trevor Peers
25 Posted 11/08/2019 at 11:28:38
Martin @24, nothing against Davies, but he is a useful squad player, no more than that. If we had signed Doucouré from Watford or had Delph been fit, he wouldn't've figured in the game at all.
His best option would've been a loan to a Championship club, to give him the experience he needs to progress in his career, because he'll never get enough game time at Everton I'm afraid.
Michael Lynch
26 Posted 11/08/2019 at 11:34:02
A major error by Silva cost us yesterday. It was obvious within minutes that Gbamin wasn't ready to play, and Davies would have been the correct sub for Gomes. Now we, as fans, would only have been aware of that mistake once Gbamin was on the pitch, but shouldn't Silva have known from what he'd seen in the few days since Gbamin arrived?

Other than that, I thought we looked solid enough, and should really have had the game won in the first half. Iwobi and Kean should make a difference once they settle into the side because we're desperately short on players who can make the telling pass and the telling run to get us goals.

Mark Dunford
27 Posted 11/08/2019 at 11:37:57
Harsh to pass a judgement on a debutant yesterday; Gbamin can't have expected to come on so early yet there is no doubt that the game turned when Gomes went off. Everything went backwards at that point. Schneiderlin suddenly looked like a player who was about to get sent off and Gbamin dwelt on the ball and lost possession two or three times, thereby pushing us on the defensive.

A point at Palace isn't too bad in the grander scheme but the lack of menace up front remains a real worry. Calvert-Lewin holds the ball up well and brings colleagues into play, yet I wonder if he'd be more effective with a partner. We don't really play that way. Impossible to judge Kean on such a cameo. Bernard is still reluctant to shoot.

On a positive note, defence looked solid and Mina got stronger as the game went on.

Tom Bowers
28 Posted 11/08/2019 at 11:58:18
Silva is no Guardiola, granted, but he is still learning and, for a long while, Everton were a class above Palace. Everton could've been out of sight before the Gomes injury and Sneiderlin's dismissal but the finishing was poor.

However, I am sure the new boys, when settled in, will improve this side immeasurably. I was very pleased with the defence today.

Ajay Gopal
29 Posted 11/08/2019 at 12:23:07
Everton started off with pretty much the same XI as last season, except for Zouma and Gueye being absent.

Jon Moss was very poor, he kept allowing the sly Milivejovic with 5-6 fouls which were worthy of yellow cards. Gomes's injury changed the match, I agree Silva erred in bringing on Gbamin so early. Davies was clearly the better choice. But, I thought that Gbamin quickly adapted as the match wore on and he actually started upping his sharpness.

Sigurdsson was poor, Calvert-Lewin is a good player to have in the squad, but he is not the main striker yet. Hopefully, Kean or Iwobi can grab that spot. A midfield of Delph, Gomes or Sigurdsson, and Gbamin or Davies, with a front 3 of Richarlison, Iwobi or Bernard, and Kean or Calvert-Lewin might be the solution.

Digne looked a bit rusty. Keane was the better of the 2 centre-backs, I thought, Mina was always looking for the safe option of passing back to Pickford, which is fine for now knowing that it is the 1st match of the season, and you don't want to do anything silly.

Silva has his work cut out: he needs to work with a plan with the resources that he has.

Michael Lynch
30 Posted 11/08/2019 at 12:43:55
I also thought Keane was the pick of the centre-backs rather than Mina. Mina was good, but he looks a little slow over the first couple of yards. Also, he plays on the left of the partnership but often seemed to be turning to put the ball onto his right foot, which looked a bit awkward to me. If I was the opposition manager, I'd be targetting that.
John Ellison
31 Posted 11/08/2019 at 13:20:33
If Jon Moss lumbered out onto the pitch for a Sunday League game, both teams would fall about laughing!

When you consider the costs incurred by fans, including being herded like cattle on and off transport and in and out of grounds, then at least we should have athletic officials. I've had enough of fat old men panting after sauntering more than 10 yards!

The clubs should force the FA to sort it out. There is so much money in the game now that at least we should expect competent, athletic officials and fair decisions. Benny Hill would be an improvement on at least 4 of the present crop of so-called referees!

Mick Conalty
32 Posted 11/08/2019 at 16:03:42
Our lack of CB's is crazy. A few years back I watched Harry McGuire playing for Sheff Untd, he was outstanding in the game. If any of EFC's scouting staff had any nous he would be on our books now.

Martin Mason
33 Posted 11/08/2019 at 17:08:09
Wow!, Zouma having a bit of a nightmare against United.
Martin Mason
34 Posted 11/08/2019 at 17:55:45
If I had to give my opinion of how the team project is going after one full season, three transfer windows, the pre-season, one game of the new season and having seen the Top 6 play on TV, I'd say the following:

Only my opinion and early days yet but this is if I had to give a summary and prediction based on the Everton I know of the last few decades.

Silva isn't the coach we needed; he has serious problems trying to force players who aren't suitable, into his system and not being able to change his system to suit the players we have (ref Sigurdsson). His support for Schneiderlin with respect to his ability and attitude just doesn't sit with him having judgement.

We are way, way below the level of the Top 6 and if anything we have slipped relatively since last season. Many teams below us seem to have improved.

I believe that this season there will be tears and we will have yet another new manager. I hope for the best for us but somehow fear the worst.

Jerome Shields
35 Posted 11/08/2019 at 17:58:51
Lyndon, it was a similar story for the same fixture last season. Everton dominating and unable to score. Palace laying in wait to strike when an opportunity came their way in the second half. Our defence played well and, when they did not, Pickford came to the rescue. In the second half, Palace got the same opening on the right flank as they did last time.

Schneiderlin tried to fill the gaps left by the Gueye transfer but was not fit enough.

Gordon White
36 Posted 11/08/2019 at 19:31:30
I would agree that our biggest problem, at the moment, is scoring. Demonstrably.

But I think when our new players have bedded in, this will become less of a problem. I am more concerned about our lack of cover for the centre-backs. If Sigurdsson had scored and we'd won 1-0, there would be less emphasis on his overall performance, and Schneiderlin's sending off. As if these alone were the cause of our overall performance. People need to find scapegoats.

I would agree with others that have looked to Schneiderlin's circumstances in the game. The first yellow was unfortunate, but he was all pumped up for it. Most of you would be the first to moan if he wasn't "up for it" and giving 100%.

Also, if the outcome of our season is dependent on Sigurdsson playing every game well, I'm afraid you're going to be disappointed. He's like every other player. And it was our first game. I think he's a cracking player, but we're all human, regardless of what we cost and expectations.

I took positives from this game, which could have been a banana skin. We blooded two new players, lost Gomes and spent a significant part of the game with 10 men. But apart from 3 occasions when Pickford and/or Coleman had to intervene, I never felt like we were in danger of conceding. I thought we bossed it overall, and our weakness was not converting chances. So much to be positive about.

I'm hoping we can break into the Top 6, so of course I'm disappointed. But I'm pragmatic too.

Dick Fearon
37 Posted 11/08/2019 at 22:26:04
Silva clings to the idea that penetrating retreating defences is best done by concentrating our attacks down the wings.

Digne, Bernard, Coleman and Richarlison are successful with that part of the plan. Where it fails is our lack of a good central striker who can get on the end of crosses supplied by said four. Until we find such a striker, Silva must come up with an alternative plan.

Fran Mitchell
38 Posted 11/08/2019 at 22:36:41
Therein lies the problem, Dick: "Where it fails is our lack of a good central striker who can get on the end of crosses supplied by said four."

We have 4 players consistently on the wings, and one in the middle easily crowded out. We could have Ronaldo in the No 9 position and he'd fail to score in those conditions.

Bob Parrington
39 Posted 12/08/2019 at 01:51:23
Jon Moss - First yellow a fair cop for stupidity by Schneiderlin but the second yellow uncalled for! What is it with the refs wanting to red card an Everton player in the first game of the season?

The 2nd half showed up that we don't have a real and effective "team" strategy IMO.

Kristian Boyce
40 Posted 12/08/2019 at 03:09:11
Our formation is all wrong for Calvert-Lewin. If we played with 2 up top, he would be outstanding. He's a throwback to a big man-little man combo that was the hallmark of English football for generations. Unfortunately, that style hasn't been successful in the top league for 10 odd years and I can't see it back in fashion for a while.

He came from Sheff Utd and was probably brought up on that style while they languished in the lower leagues. I wouldn't be surprised if he goes at the end of the season to a team that plays a 4-4-2 because I don't see him adjusting to what is needed in Silva's formation.

Albert Perkins
41 Posted 12/08/2019 at 04:46:13
Back two central good yesterday and Zouma had a sad day at United. Gave away a pen and gave Martial a sitter that he missed, let's the cross go over for the second goal. Chelsea could struggle this season and give us a chance.
Les Green
42 Posted 12/08/2019 at 08:20:00
I think Zouma is trying to bring his price down.
Christopher Timmins
43 Posted 12/08/2019 at 08:23:44
Given the number of players who were acquired late in the transfer window, it will be mid to late September before we have a settled side and way of playing.

Let's not throw all the toys out of the pram at the end of match day one!

Harry Hockley
44 Posted 12/08/2019 at 10:13:59
Tony Everan, be more like City? Problem solved, lol. We haven't got any players of City's ability, so that's unlucky.
Sam Bull
45 Posted 12/08/2019 at 12:12:46
Time and time again, it's mentioned that we need a decent striker, but no striker, no matter who it is, would score for us.

Our crossing is so poor from both sides, unless lucas crosses, and by that point, we have waited for 30sec to a minute before hes is able to, allowing the defence to reorganize, and our striker to of made 4 runs without being found... we are so slow in attack and in finding our striker, we had a couple of decent crosses from Coleman yesterday tbf, and 1 early cross from Richarlison late on for Kean.

Silva wants a left footer on the right and right footer on the left, so automatically creating poor crossing or delayed crossing..

Both Mina and Keane looked good yesterday, but not exactly "up against it" they will mop up most things in the air, but the thought of Mane, Salah, Rashford, etc, quick players put the fear of god in me.

Paul A Smith
46 Posted 13/08/2019 at 09:29:34
Christopher @43. That is the problem. It was last season, it will take time this season... and next season will be the same.

I would love to see if Liverpool signed all the players we signed, the Echo would call it a great window.

And by the looks of it, Silva wanted Zaha, Zouma, and Doucouré. Instead, he gets a babysitting job.

Franny Porter
47 Posted 13/08/2019 at 13:51:13
I think (hope) that the introduction of Iwobi and Kean will change the dynamic of the team. My guess is at the expense of Bernard and DCL.

However, I would like to see us playing with two up top. This would be great not only for DCL but also for Kean, both young and relatively inexperienced being asked to ply a lone furrow in the EPL is a big ask.

Barry Jones
48 Posted 14/08/2019 at 02:42:41
I am not convinced that either Silva or Brands know how to spend the club's money. This is problematic. I am also unconvinced that Silva has any sort of tactical plan.

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