Not pretty but the points were paramount

By Lyndon Lloyd 17/08/2019 92comments  |  Jump to last
Everton 1 - 0 Watford

After the disappointment of the opening day, one of those games that you felt Everton need to start winning if they’re to improve on last season, there was a feeling around this first home fixture of the new campaign that a victory, however it was engineered, was paramount.

Seeing Goodison Park in full voice with 38,000 blue-and-white flags waving as the blaring siren gave way to Z-Cars and Everton then taking an early lead, it felt as though a more convincing result was in store than ultimately proved to be the case but a win is a win; three points are three points.

In truth, this was one of those games that could easily have ended in an irritating draw and the Blues have contrived to throw away two points or more on so many occasions in recent years that it would have come as little surprise if they had. Certainly, when at times there didn’t seem to be much of a central midfield, with André Gomes looking like he was playing with the benefit of pain-killing jabs and Jean-Pierre Gbamin fading after an impressive start, or when Watford launched their aerial bombardment in the last quarter of the game, you couldn’t help but sense a dreaded equaliser in the offing.

But this is an Everton team that, stretching back into last season, has now kept 10 sheets in its last 13 Premier League matches and hasn’t conceded a goal at home since the beginning of February. Despite the departure of Kurt Zouma, Michael Keane has simply picked up where he left off last season and Yerry Mina is quickly converting the doubters (guilty, M’Lud!) with two towering displays to start 2019-20. And in Jordan Pickford, Marco Silva has inherited a player capable of preserving winning positions with his bravery, presence of mind and sheer shot-stopping ability… even if that sometimes means keeping the ball out with his face!

If a solid defensive foundation appears to be in place — so long as the two first-choice centre-halves stay fit, that is — the fluidity and potency of the attack looks like it will take more time. Richarlison and Gylfi Sigurdsson, in particular, have yet to pair their industry off the ball with effectiveness on it, while Dominic Calvert-Lewin, full of running and work-rate himself, still doesn’t look like the best fit for Silva’s current system, at least in terms of providing a goal threat. The 22-year-old didn’t have a shot during his 72 minutes on the field whereas his replacement, Moise Kean, quickly demonstrated that he already fits the profile and he could have scored twice which really would have put the seal on the afternoon.

Thankfully, while chances were at a premium and Richarlison spurned two really good ones, Bernard proved to be the difference on the day. The little Brazilian has taken his time to adjust to life in England and exhibited more than a touch of reluctance to shoot last season, preferring instead to lay the ball off. Today, however, in what is hopefully a sign of his growing confidence, he went on his own and was richly rewarded.

The match was 10 minutes old at the time, with Everton having established themselves in the ascendency with a strong start, particularly in the middle of the park and down the right flank. It was the left-sided partnership who combined for the goal, however, when Lucas Digne swept a sublime ball down the left channel, despatched from in front of his own area for Bernard to chase. The No. 20 cut inside showing all the signs of looking to play in a team-mate but and instead fired an early, low shot inside the near post and past Ben Foster before the goalkeeper could react.

So far, so good for Silva’s men who were looking a good deal more inventive than they had been at Selhurst Park last weekend. As the only player among the new singings to be making his home debut, the eye was drawn particularly to Gbamin who was being entrusted with plenty of the ball and he showed in consistent flashes over the first half hour that he can be both a physical but also enterprising presence in the heart of the midfield.

Watford would pose a regular threat from set-pieces, however, and they came close to cancelling out Bernard’s goal midway through the first half. The second of successive corners was floated to the back post where Craig Dawson rose above Dominic Calvert-Lewin but Pickford was relieved to see the defender’s header come back off the post.

Calvert-Lewin had a penalty claim waved away soon afterwards before a lovely Everton ended with Digne unable to properly test Foster with a volleyed effort in the 29th minute but the home side began lose to their way after the passage of the half-hour mark.

Indeed, Everton became really sloppy at times during the final quarter of an hour before the break. José Holebas curled a free kick past the far post after Digne had harshly been adjudged to have fouled Will Hughes and Gerard Deulofeu was denied a penalty of his own even after a VAR check when he went sprawling in the box under Mina’s challenge.

Then, after Bernard had been fouled at one end and Richarlison had planted a free header from Sigurdsson’s free-kick disappointingly into the Park End, Etienne Capoue almost stole in to meet a Watford free-kick from their left flank but the ball bounced wide.

The second period didn’t start in encouraging fashion either. Gomes got caught in possession almost immediately, ended up fouling his man and collected a booking as well and the resulting Watford move ended with three successive corners, all of which were successfully repelled.

Everton remained the more dangerous of the two sides going forward, however, but it wasn’t to be Richarlison’s day in the final third. Sent into space down the right by Pickford’s strong bowl out from the back with 57 minutes on the clock, the Brazilian charged forward but gave the ball straight to Capoue.

The Frenchman surged away on the counter-attack and fed Deulofeu who accelerated between Digne and Richarlison and knocked the ball into the path of Deeney by the penalty spot but Pickford was off his line quickly and took the shot squarely in the face to preserve the clean sheet.

Then, in the 60th minute, when he himself had been dragged back unceremoniously by Holebas, Richarlison was picked out again by Sigurdsson unmarked in the box but he headed over for a second time. It would be the Brazilian’s last significant involvement before Silva made his first substitution but it was Theo Walcott and not Alex Iwobi who was introduced.

Typically robust and tenacious, the visitors refused to lie down but they generally lacked the sophistication and guile to get through Messers Keane and Mina on more than a couple of occasions. A spell of head tennis in the Everton box ended with Roberto Pereyra heading over from close range and Abdoulaye Doucouré mis-controlled a good opening late on after Deeney and substitute Andre Gray had combined but otherwise Pickford was largely untroubled despite the visitors launching a volley of long balls towards his box and Digne having to go off with an injury in the 73rd minute.

Instead, the tide turned back in the hosts’ favour following the highly anticipated introduction of Kean with 18 minutes left. Everton had struggled to play their way through Watford for much of the game but with the Hornets chasing the contest late on, Kean was played into the clear by Bernard. The young Italian blazed a shot high and wide from around the edge of the box but he went much closer in stoppage time.

Bernard was again the provider with determined work outside the opposition box and Kean took one touch to create space off his marker before screwing a shot towards the corner of the goal but the ball skidded an inch the wrong side of the upright.

That would probably have taken the roof off Goodison but there was plenty from the teenager to suggest that he will prove to be a very exciting addition to the team. Deceptively powerful, he demonstrated superb strength against some large defenders but showed he can turn on the jets as well when presented with space in front of him, not to mention an instinctive eye for goal.

In the end, the one goal was enough but Silva was honest in his post-match assessment to say that it wasn’t a great performance. He rightly pointed out, however, that he has no doubts his team will improve and that in the meantime, it’s vital they stay strong at the back and don’t throw away precious leads.

That kind of resilience can only stand them in good stead while the new boys bed in. Four points, two clean sheets and with none of the summer acquisitions yet fully embedded in the team represents a pretty good start to the new season. On to the next test at Villa Park…

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Reader Comments (92)

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Nitesh Kanchan
1 Posted 18/08/2019 at 09:11:22
Good report Lyndon.

I think Kean should start now against Villa and Gylfi and Richy should be able to get their goal scoring mojo back against Villa who are new to the league.Surely one of them, if not both, will score in that game.

Also we need to keep up with the big 6 teams until their european commitments begin, that is when we will start gaining advantage over many of them.

Steve Hogan
2 Posted 18/08/2019 at 09:36:59
Great atmosphere pre-KO at Goodison yesterday (we will miss the place when it goes), but driving along the adjoining East Lancs road on the way to the game, the outside structure of the ground is now looking extremely shabby and faded..

This was a kind of strange game, we started out really brightly with the new midfielder JP Gbamin making some neat interceptions and passes before completely fading out in the second half.

I thought Bernard's early goal might settle things down and give us more confidence, but instead, as we approached half time, we were beginning to look ragged.

Based on Watford's second-half performance, they probably thought they deserved a point, but our 'new look' central pairing, defended stoutly.

A couple of pointers today, Gomes apart, we were poor in midfield today. Take Gylfi's 13 goals away last season, and he looked a distinctly average player, unable to contribute zilch to the game.

I'm really not sure what his 'best' position actually is?

The final third continues to be a problem, DCL just doesn't look like a natural goalscorer, and the introduction of Keane showed us a completely different type of player, with electric pace, strength and not afraid to shoot, I just hope the (sometimes toxic) Goodison crowd are patient with him, because we just might have a player on our hands.

What I know is, that side who opened the season for us, is certainly not Silvas best team available. When all the 'newbies' are properly fit, only then can we determine how much improvement we have made.

Derek Taylor
3 Posted 18/08/2019 at 10:01:56
In spite of the promise showed by new boy Kean, I still believe it was remiss of Brands not to bring in an established striker. Trouble is that there has to be a £20M fee attached before he shows any interest in a player. No chance of him ever plucking a Varney or a Pukki from obscurity with that outlook, is there?
Phil Greenough
4 Posted 18/08/2019 at 10:33:10
Derek, why are you contradicting yourself? Did you want Brands to buy an established striker (please feel free to enlighten me to who was available and wanted to play for Everton)? Or an obscurity like Varney or Pukkii, in the last transfer window?
Joe McMahon
6 Posted 18/08/2019 at 10:53:14
Steve@2 RE Goodison I like many can't wait for the new ground. I wasn't there yesterday as my lad turned 18 so took him to the Emirates. He supports Burnley (sort of). My wife's from there. But the stadium is fantastic and all I could think of is Evertom in their new home can't come soon enough. My observations from online yesterday is what we all know anyway. A win is a win but DCL goal average of 1 in 10 cannot continue for any premier league club.
Derek Taylor
7 Posted 18/08/2019 at 10:56:33
Phil, it's not for me to know all the strikers who were available, it's for them that get paid to do so. Kidding us there has not been a striker worth the name available in the last three windows is just ridiculous.

I still hold that not replacing Lukaku will again see us with the 'also rans'come next May. But glad that you are a happy bunny !

Brian Harrison
8 Posted 18/08/2019 at 11:13:35
The most important thing yesterday was to win, and by a bit of luck at times we managed to do that. Started brightly with Gomes showing his class and then low and behold Bernard scores, hopefully this will be a more regular occurrence than last year. I thought the back 4 played well and another clean sheet which builds confidence, and Pickford did well when called into action.

The second half Watford were much the better team Gbamin struggled to get into a rhythm and at times it felt like there was only Gomes in midfield. But Gbamin will need time to adjust so lets see how he is around December when he will be more aware of the pace of the Premier. He wont be the first player that has taken time to adjust. I thought Sigurdsson was quiet by his standards, and DCL had no effect on the game at all. Yes he works hard but there is no end product to his game and if you are playing up top its the goals that count not your work rate.

I was a little surprised to see Silva bring on Walcott instead of Iwobi, and again he made very little impression on the game. I thought when Kean came on you could see in the short time he was on he looks to have a natural predators instinct. I would imagine he must start against Villa. I thought after Richarlison missed 2 good headed chances from Sigurdssons free kicks his head went down a bit. So probably Silva was right to bring him off. I just feel as we need to carry a lot more threat going forward than we did against Palace or for large parts of the game against Watford. Hopefully with Kean likely to start and possibly Iwobi ready to play some part against Villa with these 2 we may start to ask teams more questions than we are at present.

Phil Greenough
9 Posted 18/08/2019 at 11:14:43
So am I, Derek. 😁 What I ask myself is, how does it benefit Brands and Everton, by kidding us and not buying a top class striker?
Benjamin Dyke
10 Posted 18/08/2019 at 11:37:55
Interesting how people see the Gomes performance yesterday. He got caught in possession 3 times and I thought he was well below his best. Gbamin was the better CM yesterday in my opinion. But we were weak in central mid I thought and need to get a lot better. Watford are strong physically and were very tenacious yesterday and we struggled. And even more so because Richarlison had a poor game offensively and Siggy was pretty anonymous and only showed his brilliance in the last few minutes in holding the ball to count down the clock.
Anyway we'll get better when players come back and get used to each other and start performing like they all can.
But I'm preparing to see us handsomely beaten on a few occasions this season too - ala Spurs at home last season.
Paul Tran
11 Posted 18/08/2019 at 11:59:49
A few things to reflect on from yesterday. Only Silva knows the fitness of the players, but I'm hoping he will soon restrict his conservatism to (rightly) the back four. No doubt many are waiting for Keane/Mina's first big mistake, but the first two games have shown a continuation of the end of last season, where some of us felt the defensive solidity was down to organisation as much as one departed individual.

That back four and Pickford won the game for us yesterday. Clean sheets and the confidence that comes from being hard to break down are invaluable.

Further up the pitch, the conservatism didn't work. All of them worked their socks off, especially the clearly not fit Gomes and the not match fit yet Gbamin.

DCL was isolated and had minimal impact. That 'tried and tested' method wasnt working, so the first replacement was . Walcott? Silva appears to share Allardyce's view that the first option should be the 'reliable PL pro' who immediately proved us cynics right by topping a good run with a cross that I expected to land in my garden. Kean came on and was also isolated, while looking more able to make things happen on his own. He even had two shots! If I was a defender he'd worry me. He must start next game.

The optimist in me is thinking that when Gomes & Gbamin are both fit, we'll press better for most of the game, which will create more space for the industry of Bernard, Siguurdson & Richarlison to be matched by creating chances. Siggy put two on a plate for Richarlison yesterday - I don't think he'll always miss them.

What we missed yesterday was someone running at the centre of their defence. I'd like to see Kean & Iwobi do this. They have to get picked first.

We got away with it yesterday. We won because we were better in both boxes. On other days, we'll need to be even better and Silva needs to ditch his conservatism with our forward players.

Tom Bowers
12 Posted 18/08/2019 at 12:21:36
Fitness of key players is vital and the more strength in depth you have helps when Injuries occur. It looks like Everton now have that depth to rely on given the first two banana-skin type games.

Watford fought back well but Everton stood firm which was good to see. They should be able to build on this during the coming weeks.

Julian Exshaw
13 Posted 18/08/2019 at 12:39:46
The first 20 minutes aside, if I'm being brutally honest I would say Watford deserved a point yesterday. The last 25 minutes of the first half and for most of the second half they were more dangerous and were winning most of the challenges. This was worrying to say the least.

Our back 4 looked pretty good and solid but it was the midfield I was disappointed with. They lost it. I thought Gbamin did well in the first half. Gomes was okay but probably not 100% fit. We badly need Delph in there to toughen it up otherwise better teams will steamroller us. Calvert-Lewin often reminds me of a young Graeme Sharp, neat and tidy but Sharpie got into better positions. Calvert-Lewin has little presence inside the box. Keane is not a Number 9 yet.

Credit to Silva for getting us solid at the back. With more games behind him Mina is improving. Work to be done on the offensive side methinks.

This was a 6/10 performance for me. We won, great but we can, and I believe we will, perform much better.

By the way, is it just me or is the ball out of play at Goodison more than any other ground. Is there some kind of sideways gravity that sucks in footballs?I lost count of the stoppages yesterday for throw-ins.

Raymond Fox
14 Posted 18/08/2019 at 12:40:51
Well we must be doing some things right, nobody's scoring against us, although fortune is favouring us at times. We are not scoring enough goals ourselves which is a problem that needs solving.

I've seen enough of our new signings to think we have bought well. Gbamin is going to be a favourite when he has fully settled in I feel. Kean is going to score goals when he gets his chance, he looks a dangerous runner.

There's plenty to be optimistic about, especially when Iwobi is up to speed and Delph is fit we have a squad to match most. Whether we are good enough to get into the top six I have my doubts, you can only get odds of 3/1 though which looks on the skinny side to me.

Stu Gore
15 Posted 18/08/2019 at 12:55:58
We go top when we win at Villa. For a bit anyway.
Dave Abrahams
16 Posted 18/08/2019 at 13:15:04
Before the game, I told myself that I would be happy to get the three points as the team are only just starting to gel (hopefully) and I was happy, just about, after the game.

I thought a workmanlike and very robust Watford team deserved a draw, but we will improve and provide better performances than yesterday's with the proviso that some of the top teams will make Everton's defence look a lot weaker than it does now, I've got to be honest that centre back pairing doesn't give me a lot of confidence, but let's wait and see.

John Pierce
17 Posted 18/08/2019 at 13:29:02
Paul, I think you got that spot in my estimation. Albeit through my beer glazed eyes, I thought Silva's decision to pick not one, but two, unfit midfielders impacted the game markedly. They offered no control to allow the attacking players to come into the game.

We typically press and look to turnover the ball high up the field, impossible when both are barely fit. However, credit to both Gbamin & Gomes for hanging in there, in particular for Gbamin the minutes will be vital.

We had no platform to build anything off as a result the game was bitty and really quite poor.

Eric Paul
18 Posted 18/08/2019 at 13:41:07
Mina hasn’t conceded a goal in his last 8 games for club and country
Anthony Murphy
19 Posted 18/08/2019 at 13:51:22
Apologies if it’s been mentioned elsewhere on this site, but just wondering if the singing section in the lower gwladys (GT8) actually happened?
Darren Hind
20 Posted 18/08/2019 at 13:54:57
Made heavy weather of that, but we scrambled over the line.

I'm still mystified as to why so many continue to single out Calvert-Lewin for criticism. Once again, he was better than Richarlison and Sigurdsson. These two were absolute passengers again! Yet very little is made of that... but I guess they can't be criticised because they are foreign and we paid £50m+ for them.

As Lyndon points out, so far so good with big Yerry another uncomplicated solid performance. Took ownership when he needed to. Very pleased with his start.

A little worried that we could have lost 3 of the four points we have gained so far had Pickford not won his one-v-one situations again. Got to stop those little lapses of concentration in midfield, giving the ball away in dangerous areas.

Early days. The midfield will sharpen up, Kean looks lively, although as Paul Tran points out, spent most of his time in isolation and Iwobi will be desperate to be involved.

Not having too much trouble containing my excitement, but I won't need to be talked down from the window ledge either.

Darren Hind
21 Posted 18/08/2019 at 14:00:23
BTW. I haven't seen telly coverage yet but the crowd and the players thought we had a strong claim for a penalty in the first half.

Wondered why it didn't go to VAR?

Brian Williams
22 Posted 18/08/2019 at 14:03:16
Darren #21.

Seemingly it did go to VAR, mate, but the ref was informed via his earpiece that it was "no penalty". Reason given for it not coming up on the screen was that play continued.

Seems fucking farcical to me and I fear it'll get a lot worse before it gets better.

Rob Halligan
23 Posted 18/08/2019 at 14:09:30
Darren, I've heard you live in a bungalow, so you won't have very far to fall should you feel the urge to "jump"!!
Jay Wood

24 Posted 18/08/2019 at 14:12:01
I haven't seen anyone - fans, players or manager - sugar-coating our two games to date.

Now if this level of performance is going to be the standard fare for the entire season then we are going to be bored into submission and TW will be a very unhappy place.

But this will NOT be the standard going forward, will it?

Players, the team, the system will get fitter, better, slicker, as they demonstrated in the final third of last season.

As stressed by the players and the manager themselves the TEAM defends well, not just the back four. On the rare occasions our defensive lines are breached the opposition is thwarted time and again by our excellent guardian of the goal.

Silva took a gamble yesterday with our starting midfield, playing the recovering Gomes and still not fully match fit Gbamin.

Personally, I don't think we were overrun in midfield by Watford. They didn't play through us. They played OVER us, hitting high long balls to chase which, in the main, we easily dealt with.

Lyndon's use of the word 'presence' to describe Gbamin echoes my own from the match thread. We have seen enough of the lad I believe to be hopeful that he has serious potential to be a significant presence both physically and technically once fully up to speed.

Gomes I doubt was 100% and possibly the forced change of Holgate on for Digne denied Silva the chance to switch in Davies for Gomes or Gbamin later in the game.

Too many for me continue to denigrate Sigurdsson while waxing lyrical about Gomes when the latter more often fails in his key role of quickly transitioning from defence to attack.

Yesterday was the type of game we might have drawn or lost last season.

That's progress, ugly duckling that it was.

Tony Hill
25 Posted 18/08/2019 at 14:20:20
There was one dodgy moment where Pickford and Mina made a dog's dinner of clearing the lines with weak passing from a goal kick and if Gerry had been more on his toes we could have paid a price. Let's have no more of that, with or without the new rule.
Paul Tran
26 Posted 18/08/2019 at 14:29:15
Darren, it's not a matter of criticising Calvert-Lewin. The system and team selection left him isolated. The difference with Kean was that while he was isolated, he gave me the impression he could make things happen on his own. That's why I'd pick him on Friday.
Dave Abrahams
27 Posted 18/08/2019 at 14:32:46
Darren (20), I agree with your defence of Calvert-Lewin, up on his own for the whole time he was on the pitch. No movement by other players to help him out when he did get and hold onto the ball, typified in the second half when he fought for the ball and won it against three players then looked up to see anyone making some movement, only to see Richarlison standing five yards from him, static, instead of making some forward movement.

“Charlie worked hard” with defensive work but created nothing, wasted two very good chances, created by Sigurdsson, who, apart from that, had another poor outing.

Dermot Byrne
28 Posted 18/08/2019 at 14:50:27
I liked the little ball skills we saw from Kean but mostly I loved his power as the opposition tried to “welcome him.”

I have a sense he may just be a bit tougher that Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison.

But very early days and hard to make an argument either way so early in a season with new players.

Loved all the flags at start in the crowd but again it went very quiet for a bit.

Jack Convery
29 Posted 18/08/2019 at 14:51:27
Can we play better? I believe we can. Can Watford play better? I doubt it. We are not up to were we can be and we won. Sign of a good team? When they don't play well and still win. A lot of Everton players are not fully match-fit and the new boys are also still to settle fully. Signs are good. We will be better at Villa. Keep it going boys and the rewards will continue to come.
Ray Said
30 Posted 18/08/2019 at 14:53:37
In my opinion Calvert-Lewin has been made to change his natural game over the last 18 months and become more of a target man who holds the ball up. He always puts a shift in and is a handful even when marked by two centre-backs.

I give him praise for changing his natural game for the good of the team. I want to see him given much more support from the other forward players and he needs to have someone getting closer to him to benefit from his efforts.

John Keating
31 Posted 18/08/2019 at 15:20:27

I totally agree regarding Calvert-Lewin. I would love to see him play up top with someone right by him and am sure it would suit him and drastically improve his goalscoring.

Tony Hill
32 Posted 18/08/2019 at 15:20:55
It's baffling, Dermot @28. I sit close to the away fans in the Park End and it's infuriating to hear them mocking our silence. I do think it's partly due to the ponderous, spirit-draining football we've played over the last however many years which means that we only get loud when there's something really to shout about.

We do just tail off, though, after the opening noise. My son and I make a pathetic attempt to keep it going, with a few others, but there's only so long you can keep croaking away on your own.

Phillip Warrington
33 Posted 18/08/2019 at 15:30:56
A good solid win and some good intent, but still a little bit shaky on set pieces.

Expecting big things from Bernard in the second half of this year, you can see in the first two games with a solid pre-season he's starting to find his feet in the Premier League and I believe, as the season goes on, he will only get better.

The movement and passing from the team has been a little faster with players willing to chase and find space; so far, all looking good. Let's just hope like hell this season he sends his best possible team out for every cup game, no matter who we play.

Michael Kenrick
34 Posted 18/08/2019 at 17:10:45
Darren (@21),

I think you might be referring to the earlier incident where Calvert-Lewin appeared to be pulled back and went over in the Watford area. Slo-mo showed he just lost his balance and Lee Mason was right not to call it; I guess the VAR team thought nothing of it despite a big shout from the expectant crowd.

This was not the incident that did go to VAR, which was at the other end, and Deulofeu's splendid dive when feeling what he imagined was contact from Mina. It was a strange one in that we've seen so many just like that given as there appeared to be some contact. Perhaps they have to be for Liverpool, Man Utd or their Top 6 pals and not lowly Watford?

The odd thing was that Mason then gave a corner to Watford, even though Mina never touched the ball. If not a penalty, the correct decision could only have been a goal-kick.

"Clear and obvious error"? You bet.

VAR made it right? Err... Nope. No chance.

Jerome Shields
35 Posted 18/08/2019 at 17:21:26
Bernard made a major contribution, taking his chance well and providing two passes to Kean throught the centre. The latter has been missing from Everton's play up to now. Sigurdsson doesn't seem capable of such passes, preferring to shoot or pass down the channels.
Peter Mills
36 Posted 18/08/2019 at 17:30:21
Paul #26, there is a big difference between the situation faced by Calvert-Lewin, up front on his own for 70 minutes, and Kean who had 20 minutes to run around in a lot of space as Watford pushed up for an equaliser.

I may be in a minority of 1, but I wouldn't start Kean at Villa. He looks an exciting talent, but let's not overburden him from the beginning. I would like to see him play alongside Calvert-Lewin, but seeing as it is against the law to play 2 strikers these days, for the immediate future I would start Calvert-Lewin and introduce Kean later in the game.

Jay Wood

37 Posted 18/08/2019 at 17:34:32
Jerome, Bernard had a good game yesterday, but to conclude from that performance as you do that "Sigurdsson doesn't seem capable of such passes" is nonsense.

Check again Siggy's highlights reel of beautifully created chances already shared on TW in recent days.

The Siggy bashing is getting silly now.

David Pearl
38 Posted 18/08/2019 at 17:36:24

I'd like to see us play Richarlison and Kean together... eventually. Or if 3 then add Iwobi. A lot of options but we will have to wait for a couple of months l recon before seeing Silva's hand when everyone is integrated. By then, we will probably be clear at the top.

Paul Tran
39 Posted 18/08/2019 at 17:45:00
Fair comment about the comparative time Calvert-Lewin & Kean were on the pitch, Peter. I'd like to see it the other way round. Start on the front foot with Kean (possibly in a front two with Calvert-Lewin). If he tires palpably, take him off. He's not a young kid out of the academy, he's thrived in a Serie A run-in.

I suspect it'll be the same formation at Villa and Kean might start against Lincoln.

Mike Gaynes
40 Posted 18/08/2019 at 17:56:11
Agreed, PT, I expect Kean to make his first start at Lincoln.
Derek Taylor
41 Posted 18/08/2019 at 18:16:52
Mike, do you see Silva playing his 'standby' players at Lincoln ? I expect the new goalie, Kean and half a dozen fringe players to get a blow out in what should be a doddle. After all he can have the first teamers on the bench just in case !
Mike Gaynes
42 Posted 18/08/2019 at 18:24:27
I think he'll go with a mix, Derek. Starts for Iwobi, Walcott, Davies, Baines. But he does not have a pattern of putting out a second-string 11 for these games -- he takes 'em seriously. For example, I think he'll play Richarlison in hopes he bangs in a couple and gets out of his current funk.
Paul Tran
43 Posted 18/08/2019 at 18:28:12
They've started their season extremely well. I hope he puts out a strong team, makes the game safe, then brings on the fringe players.

While it's a game we should win, it's a potential banana skin, hence it's on Sky.

We can win two trophies, this is one of them.

Joe McMahon
44 Posted 18/08/2019 at 18:28:27
Walcott has played up front for Arsenal on occasions and has scored. I'm not sure why Silva hasn't given him a go. Calvert-Lewin just will not get goals anywhere near regularly at this level. It's not doing him any good (apart from bank balance and model girlfriends) and it's certainly not good for any Premier League team with aspirations.
Danny Broderick
45 Posted 18/08/2019 at 18:44:08
I haven’t heard anyone else mention yet that Watford are not an easy team to play against. They are no mugs. They finished in a similar league position to us least season, and got to a cup final. They are a big, physical team, on the back of a hiding on the opening day.

I’ve not seen our first two games. It doesn’t sound like we are playing brilliantly, but we are looking like a solid side. We are not yet 100% either, none of the new lads have really got going yet.

We seem to have something to build on, and hopefully a win on Friday night at Villa will see us go top. I can’t remember the last time that happened!

Derek Knox
46 Posted 18/08/2019 at 20:18:08
Danny, good point, but there again I don't think there are any mugs in the Premier League, as soon as any Manager (which I'm pretty sure none do) remotely thinks that way, he's inviting trouble.

Okay, some sides are better equipped than others with World Class names, but also not every team even Man City, or dare I say it too Liverpool, are immune from the sucker punch, and it nearly always happens at some point in a season.

A team that hasn't won in ten games, has not been given a 'cat in hell's chance' and suddenly pulls off the most unlikely result!

David Pearl
47 Posted 18/08/2019 at 20:23:55
Well 2 games in with only Wolves and Man Utd to play tomorrow, and we only have 2 teams that have won both.

Chelsea looked poor today, as they did lasy week. l think we are in for a crazy year of football. Given our run of games if we keep improving we can be right up there this season.

Derek Knox
48 Posted 18/08/2019 at 20:54:58
David, I watched the Chelsea game, and they started like a steam train, and like at Man Utd, were unlucky with a few attempts, but after scoring, and then Leicester equalising, it was Leicester who looked like the home side.
Andy Crooks
49 Posted 18/08/2019 at 20:55:02
Pete, 36, you are not in a minority of one. Kean looks special, really special, but who would not given the reception he got. I think he will be a super star, I really do,but..there are risks. He came on to the pitch like James Vaughan. I have to prove myself right fucking now. All bravado. Fortunately, he is so good that he will be given time. He needs to draw back just a bit.
Andy Kay
50 Posted 18/08/2019 at 21:09:45
I'm still convinced with the quality of players we have now, the only way to improve from here is to play 2 strikers. It means dropping a wideman or midfielder but the formation is the elephant in the room for me.

Happy with the results so far and I'm aware it's early days but we are still lacking goals and it's not all down to Calvert-Lewin! Two strong fit young strikers on our books and we only play one?

A Calvert-Lewin - Kean partnership could be the difference between a trophy or same as last season. Don't ask me who I'd drop to accommodate this but I still think we need goals.

Nicholas Ryan
51 Posted 18/08/2019 at 21:40:50
I wonder if we should tell Lincoln, that they don't need to worry, because we'll be playing some of our fringe/standby players, like: Kean, Iwobe, Schneiderlin, Davies, and because of Digne's injury, an unknown youngster called Leighton Baines! Oh, and by the way, a guy who won the World Cup with France, probably won't even make the squad!
David Pearl
52 Posted 18/08/2019 at 21:57:37

Sign of the times that we could make 6 or 7 changes and may not actually be playing a weakened team. I'd rather Silva try a different formation, however. Try his Plan B tactic.

Jerome Shields
53 Posted 18/08/2019 at 23:31:26

Sorry, I should have been clearer in my description. Sigurdsson is playing the tactics that Silva is instructing him to: pass to the wings, gets crosses in, and shooting when in the penalty area. Unfortunately, Richarlison didn't get over the ball to head the ball down, to get on target.

Part of Bernard's role is to thread through passes: in the case of Kean, he tried it through the centre.

In the last two games, only 15 percent of the attacking play was through the centre. In my opinion, this should be higher by moving the ball faster on occasions in midfield and played through the centre to increase this percentage.

I was glad to see Bernard make a shape at it and Kean show ability to get a shot away. Unlike others, I am of the opinion that Silva has a different role for Calvert-Lewin, than Kean's brief.

Football at this level is quite complex and Silva, when he gets it right, can produce a really good team. I am not going to get mega bucks to manage Everton, but as a fan I reserve the right to think I can.

Hope this makes things clearer, Jay.

Jerome Shields
54 Posted 18/08/2019 at 23:44:38
Against Lincoln, Silva won"t be playing a second-string team.

He will be playing Iowbi, Kean, Gbamin, Dephi and Sidibe. He may try Lössl also.

He will be determined to win and won't want a repeat of last time.

Don Alexander
55 Posted 18/08/2019 at 00:12:03
Gents, and ladies and, in these times of present-day inclusiveness, the undecided, the match against Watford seems to have been, from what I read, another bore-fest. I couldn't get to Goodison and didn't watch or listen to the match for once, admittedly.

We won though, and we haven't even fielded several of our summer signings from the kick-off. Hope therefore springs eternal for me, unless I'm still only hoping by the time 2020 arrives. By then I expect, and not hope, to be in the top six and generally playing football of a quality even the MOTD folks deem good enough to avoid the credits coming next.

We'll see.

Andrew Keatley
56 Posted 19/08/2019 at 00:22:46
May well be wrong but I suspect Kean will be on the bench again v Lincoln. Iwobi for Bernard, Davies for Gomes, Delph or Schneiderlin for Gbamin. If Digne and Baines are both out then I’d like Callum Connolly to get a chance at left-back.
Jay Wood

57 Posted 18/08/2019 at 01:18:17
Jerome, neither your original post nor your follow up post is a true description of what you claim about Bernard.

You said he "provided two passes to Kean through the centre. The latter has been missing from Everton's play up to now. Sigurdsson doesn't seem capable of such passes."

Putting aside your erroneous claim that Sigurdsson is incapable of such passes (he most certainly is and does so regularly), the two plays I can only presume you attribute to Bernard playing to Kean through the centre are the following.

Everton clear the penalty area. The ball falls to Bernard 10 yards outside our own penalty area (70 yards from the Watford goal) in plenty of space. He plays a simple ball wide left to Kean who is also in our half.

Kean does the rest, running half the length of the pitch before shooting wide right.

The second, the Watford keeper shanks a clearance that falls to Bernard near the centre circle in Watford's half. He carries the ball forward and attempts a pass to Kean in the 'D'. He fails, passing to a Watford defender instead. There is a little pinball ricochet as Bernard closes down the defender. By chance - NOT Bernard's passing skills - the ball arrives at Kean's feet and he creates the chance to narrowly fire wide.

Neither of those plays can be described in the terms you attributed to them, with or without the (erroneous) gratuitous reference to Sigurdsson.

Steve Brown
58 Posted 19/08/2019 at 01:59:23
Sigurdsson is akin to a special team's No 10. If you could put him on the field to run the play in certain scenarios, it would be ideal. But his ability to play the forwards into channels, link up play facing the opponent's box, enable quick attacking transitions? He works extremely hard also but he will be under more scrutiny if his form continues at the current level.
Tony Abrahams
59 Posted 19/08/2019 at 02:03:27
I’m on holiday a million miles from Goodson, I watched the second half and was glad the sun was shining, but think it would have clouded over if Kean would have scored with that chance because I’m sure the flag would have went up and killed everyone’s joy?

I watched the second half and thought we couldn’t string enough passes together, which made us look both poor, and also helped us constantly play ourselves into trouble.

Got the win in the end though and it can’t for one minute be underestimated how important that is for both the team and the fans?

Reading this thread from afar is refreshing because I have always loved the honesty that most Evertonians possess, but it’s also painful because I think it’s about time we joined the the ones that we can’t Beat!

Let’s get-behind the team, let’s stay-behind the team, let’s stop being so fucking honest, and unless the team really fail us, let’s make them out to be better than they are.

it’s worked for others, so then let’s join them, because nobody deserves success more then Evertonians, and it’s about time we stopped being so honest about it. and started pulling together instead, to help us get what we really want more than anything... or maybe it’s just the tequila I’m drinking in this far-away place?

Derek Knox
60 Posted 19/08/2019 at 03:00:17
Tony, a million miles? Where the fuck are you holidaying, which planet?

Only joking mate, glad you're enjoying your hols, not the greatest game, but as the headline implies a valuable 3 points in the kitty, onwards and upwards.

Hope to see you when you get back, take care and regards to your family.

James Hill
61 Posted 19/08/2019 at 03:26:39
Jay Wood #24,

Best appraisal of the game on here. Well done.

Karl Meighan
62 Posted 19/08/2019 at 08:56:33
3 points gained, and agree last season we might have got nothing. Some bright shoots appearing and we move on to Villa.
Jerome Shields
64 Posted 19/08/2019 at 09:05:32
Jay #57

At least the play is through the centre and, with more playing time, Kean will be on target. It's better than having the centre-forward with no shots at all, never mind off-target shots which the predominately wing play seems to result in.

In the Palace game, the attacking play was 47% left wing, 38% right wing and 15% centre. I don't have stats yet for the Watford game, but it does appear to be similar. Playing through the centre requires quick movement and passing to create the necessary momentum to create the chances.

Bernard provides more of this momentum than Sigurdsoon, because his style of play suits it. Sigurdsson is slower, but also as a midfielder has different instructions.

Attacking through the centre is not a precise art and is dependent on rebounds, lose balls and defenders being pulled out of position or making mistakes. This is generated in the attacking play by momentum. Everton need more of this type of play, to lift the centre attacking percentage higher. It may also improve the shots on target percentage.

Sam Hoare
65 Posted 19/08/2019 at 09:10:26
Jay@37 I don't doubt Sigurdsson's ability but I do worry that he is not getting into games enough. He only attempted 14 passes through 90+ minutes on Saturday. Only one pass every 7 minutes!

That's a crazily small amount for an AMC whose doesn't dribble or make alot of tackles etc, whose main quality is passing. Dani Ceballos by contrast made 78!

I don't know whether this is Sigurdsson's fault or Silva's system but we have to be able to attack down the middle as well or risk becoming a very predictable team. My worry is that Siggi, though extremely talented, is maybe not the best at showing for and asking for the ball. I worry that he is not quite arrogant enough to demand the ball so that he can dictate games creatively. Or maybe its just the system. Either way I think something needs to change or improve as we are not creating enough currently from open play.

Daniel A Johnson
66 Posted 19/08/2019 at 09:23:53
Kudos to Mina for stepping up and for making us not miss Zouma who hasn't been great at Chelsea thus far.

Special mention to Pickford who seems to have calmed down and his concentration and his positioning has been brilliant so far. Looks like the Newcastle match at St James was a turning point for him. He got heavily criticised and rightly so, but since then he's been brilliant. Just needs to cut out his Hollywood kicks into touch though.

Trevor Peers
67 Posted 19/08/2019 at 09:56:09
Sam@ 65 I think we get the fact you don't want Sigurdsson and would prefer your own choices, for someone who is always spouting positivity your pesimism regarding this player is bordering on obsession.

Most supporters I speak to are pleased we have a quality operator like Siggy and realise it would cost a fortune to replace him, something I don't think is on the cards for a few seasons just yet, Silva likes him. So you may as well just accept that and stop bleating on about it.

There are many areas of the team that huge amounts of money could improve, not just the No 10 position.

Sam Hoare
68 Posted 19/08/2019 at 10:02:00
Trevor, have I (or someone else) upset you? Bleating and spouting?

Pretty sure that my post was clear in saying that I do rate Sigurdsson but that currently his role is not working perfectly in this system. I don't call that pessimism but maybe you do.

As for replacements I think we may already have one. I believe Iwobi could be a real force if played centrally (as he has for Nigeria frequently). Also, Silva has not hidden that he is a fan of the 4-3-3. The Doucore bid suggested to me that he sees it as a part of our near future. A change to that formation would either mean Sigurdsson dropping out or, quite possibly, moving his role to somewhere he can influence the game more.

Trevor Peers
69 Posted 19/08/2019 at 10:17:38
Practise what you preach Sam, you have been on about Sigurdsson for 18 months now, give it a rest it's boring.
Ajay Gopal
70 Posted 19/08/2019 at 10:33:03
I have been a fan of Sigurdsson, he works very hard for the team, and it is easy to forget his shot quality, one of the most sublime strikers of the football that we have had in EFC recently. But, yesterday watching the Leicester-Chelsea game, I was struck by how much more creative and penetrative James Madisson is in a similar role. He made a few poor decisions which should have otherwise resulted in a goal for Leicester, but he was a real threat against Chelsea's back line and cause them all kinds of problems. Siggy does not have the same type of impact, I am afraid. Would Bernard/Iwobi fulfil that role? I don't know, but I am sure Silva is thinking about it.
Sam Hoare
71 Posted 19/08/2019 at 10:40:04
"Practice what you preach"? What on earth are you talking about, Trevor?

As for me talking about Sigurdsson. This is an Everton fansite. And a thread that was discussing Sigurdsson. Think I'll carry on. If it bores you, I suggest you head elsewhere.

If you've got any argument to make then go for it. Can't see one so far.

Fran Mitchell
72 Posted 19/08/2019 at 11:23:43
Siggy can be brilliant, he is probably our no1 goal threat from outside the area, he is deadly from dead ball situations which, with Mina and Keane, should result in goals.

He is also a hard worker, tackles tough, presses from the front.

However he is not, as is being mentioned on here, perfect and the way he plays does mean a heightened workload for the other 2 midfielders.

When we had Gueye, I think it worked ok. Gueye essentially does the work of 2 midfielders. But Saturday was clear, especially as Gbamin and Gomes tired, that Watford's midfield began to take control and we needed an extra man in there, and Siggy wasn't.

Similar situation at Arsenal with Ozil (different style, but same position). Ozil is probably the most talented player at Arsenal, one of the most talented in the Premier League. But Arsenal as a team work better without him. Ramsey was Arsenal's best player, playing where Ozil should have been, not because Ramsey was a more talented individual, but because he better suited the system, the team as a whole.

That is why, I think, Silva wanted Doucouré.

Also, there is an interesting article in the Guardian about Liverpool's ever rotating midfield. 8 players for 3 positions. No single player a definite starter.

Klopp highlights that with the amount of running expected from the midfielders, it couldn't be any different. This is something else we need to look at.

The modern pressing game means midfielders have heavier workloads, so we need to be able to rotate without worrying about dropping standards.

Again, Siggy is a top player and his quality does mean it's very difficult to not play him, but I am sure Silva envisages a system with a different style of midfielder (no8 box-to-box) for the system he aims to implement.

Sam Hoare
73 Posted 19/08/2019 at 11:59:36
Fran@72, good post. I agree with all of that. We certainly need to have alternatives and different ways of playing and attacking teams.

I don't see Sigurdsson being dropped permanently anytime soon (nor do I think he should be despite Trevor's strange posts) but we do have more options now and rotation will undoubtedly become a factor as it has to for most high-press teams.

Trevor Peers
74 Posted 19/08/2019 at 12:09:49
Our main priority should be finding goal scorers, not fixing the midfield which, considering our standing in the Premier League, is pretty useful. The focus seems to be in the wrong place, look at our neighbours they have 2 free-scoring wingers, we have zero. Their No 10 position is filled by players who aren't any better than as ours.

This thread isn't exclusively about Sigurdsson as you suggest. I've been watching the blues since 1958 so I'm hardly likely to go elsewhere, I've been to hundreds of games at Goodison, you've been to 1 to my knowledge.

Sam Hoare
75 Posted 19/08/2019 at 12:22:56
Trevor, where to start?

"Not fixing the mid-field which considering our standing in the Premier League is pretty useful." – We are 8th. After two games against average teams. Don't think that means everything is perfect. We are definitely not creating as many chances as we might. Silva himself has not been happy after either performance.

"Look at our neighbours, they have 2 free-scoring wingers, we have zero. Their No 10 position is filled by players who aren't any better than as ours." – Our neighbours don't play a No 10. They play 4-3-3 mostly. Something that I have and others on here have suggested.

"This thread isn't exclusively about Sigurdsson as you suggest." – I never said 'exclusively'. Don't know where you've plucked that from.

"I've been watching the blues since 1958 so I'm hardly likely to go elsewhere, I've been to hundreds of games at Goodison you've been to 1 to my knowledge." – This sounds dangerously close to the sort of 'i'm a better fan than you' bollocks most on here rightly abhor. How about we both keep supporting our team as we see fit and if you find my posts so boring you can just ignore them.

Dave Abrahams
76 Posted 19/08/2019 at 12:33:50
Tony (59), Tequila? for fuck’s sake leave it alone, Dandilion and Burdoch gets you bevvied.
Trevor Peers
77 Posted 19/08/2019 at 12:34:42
Calm down Sam, don't tell me to go elsewhere that was uncalled for.
Steve Ferns
78 Posted 19/08/2019 at 12:36:52
Spot on Fran, that's a very on the nose post.

Trevor, I don't know anyone who comes out of the game (ie the match going fans) who are without criticism of Sigurdsson. Everyone would start him, don't get me wrong. They all understand how important he can be, how he is a match winner, and so how you just cannot drop him. But everyone I speak to all says that he just not do enough, and they'd wonder how the game would have gone had Sigurdsson been on the bench.

I have no doubt that there would be a better flow to the game without Sigurdsson. The turning point in the game for me was after 67 minutes, when Gracia took off Will Hughes (central midfielder) and threw on Danny Welbeck (striker). Before then, Watford had had much more of the ball, but from this point on they really seized control of the midfield with Capoue and Doucouré dominating Gbamin and Gomes. I thought that we needed to sacrifice Sigurdsson and bring on Davies and have a numerical advantage there to seize back control of the midfield. Digne was clearly injured and had to come off. He had been in conversation with the bench for most of the second half and clearly was bothered by what is said to be a hamstring injury. This meant Silva had to make a change for the left back spot. He should have then used the other sub for Davies. However, it seemed like he was hell bent on bringing on Kean, and so he did. Sigurdsson also proved his worth in the last 10 minutes with his experience and ball skills to run down the clock.

There have been a lot of games like this one, where we need to dominate the midfield, but Sigurdsson just seems unable to help there. Could Silva have done more to get Sigurdsson deeper and get stuck in? It just doesn't seem his game and he has never been one to do it.

Gracia made that change to sacrifice a more technical player in Hughes, and bring on a striker. He told his powerful midfield two to get into our midfield two and we were simply outpowered. I have no doubt that Gbamin will adapt. He's only 23, he's trying to find his feet and right now he is vulnerable. Gomes was also fragile, nursing his injury, and even fully fit, he's not a battler in the Capoue or Doucouré mould. So it's no wonder Gracia had the upperhand here, and it should have been obvious to Silva that brute strength was more effective than finesse (in those periods of the game). The Walcott change was bizarre. A wasted sub for me.

3 points is all that matters. We haven't conceded a goal for 6 months, and our only draw in the last 6 home games as the one that cost the RS the title. Lot's to be happy about, so Tony A is right, let's big ourselves up to be better than we are, RS style, and have some belief and maybe, like the RS, we can grow into that.

Finally, Kean gave you all a glimpse of what he can do. Like a young Lukaku with a better touch and technique. Also, capable of playing in the build up. He's the striker you all want. Stop worrying about goals, be patient and enjoy watching a player develop before your very eyes.

Steve Ferns
79 Posted 19/08/2019 at 12:40:35
Trevor, Liverpool do not play with a Number 10. They have 3 deep midfielders to balance having 3 out and out attackers. They play in a way that Silva would like to play, and how we would play if we did not have Sigurdsson. If we lost Sigurdsson then we would not replace him with a like player.

Enjoy having a Number 10 whilst it lasts, as they are dropping out of most formations right now, and true No 10s like Riquelme are very rare. In fact, Lanzini is the only one I can think of, and he doesn't often play that role.

We have a 21-year-old winger who scored 13 last season, and has only been back in training a short while after playing in and scoring in the Copa America Final.

Si Smith
80 Posted 19/08/2019 at 12:44:38
2 games gone men, just 2, 4 points gained (my opinion is would be 6 only for circumstances v palace, Gomes injury an Schneiderlin red card), 180 minutes plus injury time of clean sheets, backing up the 2nd highest total of clean sheets in the league since 2019 begun, no goal conceded at home since February, and still people moan.

Yes were not fully firing yet, yes we need our big 2 players to go up a few notches, but cant we look the positives every now and then instead of the negatives.

Richarlison and Sigurdsson will win matches for us, the will hit double figures, they will get assists, they are our major threats who will be singled out by oppositions manager.

Without them firing though we are seeing other players become big parts of the team.

Coleman has been excellent in both games, hopefully shaking off his injury once and for all.

Mina has had back to back clean sheets, he looks like he can play with Keane and isn't out of place within the prem.

Keane is becoming a leader, marshalling the back-line like a future captain.

Pickford seems to have stepped up his level, especially when it comes to his concentration levels.

Gomes is a leader now already within the team.

There is plenty good going on that we can concentrate on atm, we need to start focusing on all of that instead of all the bad, because at the minute there isn't that much wrong.

Steve Ferns
81 Posted 19/08/2019 at 12:46:53
Si, great post. You could say it's 2 points gained as we drew this game last season and so we are 2 points on the fixtures from last season. 9 more to go to meet my personal target of 65 points, which should get us into 6th. 14 more to go to really shake up the league and get into the Champions League positions with 70 points.
Fran Mitchell
82 Posted 19/08/2019 at 12:47:20
You don't score goals if you don't have the ball. The midfield is very important in making sure we have control of the ball, and thus, the game.

Also, the current set of our midfield means that our 'wingers' are often pushed too far wide, or if they do push inwards can be easily out numbered. This is much to do with the set up of our midfield.

And yes, our strikers need to be more clinical. Richarlison missed 2 good chances, as well one against Palace, that he should well do better with.

But the Siggy debate, more than a debate about individual players, is about how the team set themselves up.

Liverpool probably have one player similar in style to Siggy, Shaqiri, and he gets very little game time.

Their principle midfielders are Milner/ Henderson, Wijnaldum/Keita, and Fabinho/Oxlade-Chamberlin. They then have Lallana and Shaqiri in reserve. Interesting is that the two most similar to a no10 in style are the two reserves, whilst the 6 in rotation are all no8 in style.

This for me is the issue in a pressing style, the midfield 3 all need to attack, and they all need to defend. They all need to press and win possession. That is what makes their attacking 3 work so devastatingly. It isn't a case of just - sign a striker.

Do you think Origi would score in our current system? I don't, all his loans before suggest that DCL is superior, but in this system Origi has started to bang them in. With Mane or without, they are potent up front because of the midfield (and their full backs).

So we want Everton to score more, it is more than just playing Kean or whatever, we have to maximise our midfield and start controlling games.

Steve Ferns
83 Posted 19/08/2019 at 12:50:26
Spot on Fran.

I would expect to see Schneiderlin come back for the Villa game for just that reason. Although Silva looked livid with him when he was sent off, so maybe he would rather keep developing Gbamin, taking a more long term view.

Jay Wood

84 Posted 19/08/2019 at 13:00:31
Jerome, your latest post @ 63 is a poor attempt to continue to justify the false premise and claims you made about Bernard's creativity and passing range when compared to Sigurdsson.

Only one of the two plays YOU claimed as evidence of Bernard's superior ability to see and make a pass to our centre forward in a central position was so. And even that was NOT a clean incisive play.

Bernard had time and space after picking up the keeper's shanked clearance...and he passed it directly to a Watford defender. Yes, Bernard subsequently challenged for the ball which fortuitously - NOT from some wonderous imaginative play by Bernard - ricocheted it's way to Kean who was the creative player to make something of the situation.

The other play was made 70 yards from Warford's goal and NOT played centrally but wide left. Kean again did all the creative work running from our half to the edge of Watford's penalty area before getting a shot off.

The play Bernard made was nothing exceptional. I would expect a moderately capable 14 year old to be able to see and make the same play. I would back myself at 64 to do likewise.

In an attempt to justify your false premise and claim that Sigurdsson is not capable of the incisive and imaginative passing you attribute to Bernard, you do two things:

1) refer to data from one game away to Palace on areas Everton attack from. This is not a profound observation. All sides have similar ratios in which attacks down the flanks typically outweigh those through the centre. Attacking through the centre brings greater rewards. That's why ALL teams set up defensively and work relentlessly to force teams wide.

2) you make one of your 'in the know' claims you're prone to Jerome when you state:

"Sigurdsoon as a midfielder has different instructions. Sigurdsson is playing the tactics that Silva is instructing him to: pass to the wings, gets crosses in, and shooting when in the penalty area."

That is just fanciful supposition on your part Jerome that you cannot know unless you sit in on team talks 'twixt manager and players.

It's also a nonsensical claim. What manager, what player in game, would adhere to such instructions if an opportunity to make a killer pass through the heart of the opposition presented itself?

I suggest you do two things:

1) watch again the videos posted in recent days showing many, MANY sublime plays and chance creation by Sigurdsson in and around the opposition penalty area. You would struggle to find a similar highlights reel of Bernard's 'superior' (in your eyes...) plays.

2) watch and listen to Marco Silva speaking very, VERY explicitly about Sigurdsson just last week and how the manager adapted the player's role to best suit the player and how he wants the team to play.

Sigurdsson is now 30. Eventually he will be replaced, either under this manager or another. A different player will fill his role and the team dynamic will change, as it will this season as we adapt to life without Gana Gueye.

As the squad presently stands, expect Sigurdsson to be a regular and key figure - and creator - in the team.

Sam Hoare
85 Posted 19/08/2019 at 13:01:44
Trevor @77, I'm calm. I suggested you leave because you said posts about Siggy on a thread that was discussing Siggy were boring.

Maybe we disagreed somewhere before that I can't remember but seems like you were trying to pick a fight.

Trevor Peers
87 Posted 19/08/2019 at 13:29:45
Not at all, Sam, I'm too old to fight a youngster like you haha, my take on things is Silva hasn't tried to play 4-3-3 as it's not his preferred system so far anyway.

So until we buy someone or Iwobi can add goals from the wings he will always likely play Sigurdsson. I get all the discussion but it does get tiresome when the manager seems set on playing that way and Sigurdsson who has had success scoring is singled out as the problem, when maybe it's the manager's tactics that are the problem.

We'll see if he changes formations now he has more options.

Sam Hoare
88 Posted 19/08/2019 at 13:39:30
Good stuff Trevor. I do think Sigurdsson is an extremely talented player but, as Fran and Steve have outlined better than me, I'm not sure the current system totally suits him or vice versa.

Will indeed be interesting to see if our formation and approach shifts as the season progresses.

Steve Ferns
89 Posted 19/08/2019 at 14:33:45
Trevor, 4-3-3 is his preferred formation. Silva said so in his first interview before the players reported back from training. He went into detail about how Morgan Schneiderlin would be his no 6, in other words, his sole defensive midfielder. Clearly, Schneiderlin worried Silva and he never played a sole defensive midfielder last season.

I also know it's his preferred formation from his Sporting days. He talks a lot about playing it in Portuguese interviews. He likes the wingers to be slightly further forwards and narrower, which is achieved by removing the number 10 and replacing him with an extra box-to-box midfielder.

Silva has sacrificed his 4-3-3 before, for the good of the team. At Olympiacos, they had a speed demon of a winger called Kostas Fortounis. Silva moved him inside as a number 10, but like Siggy this is not a playmaker 10, but an attacking midfielder in the Cahill mould to get into the box, and to get goals. Kostas had the season of his life and scored 21 goals from midfield.

So history shows that Silva will change his formation to match his players. He is more about the players than formations. His teams can play in a variety of ways to exploit the opposition and bring out the best in themselves. We can expect things to change as new players like Kean and Iwobi come into the side.

Jerome Shields
90 Posted 19/08/2019 at 00:31:04
Jay #84,

Thank for your reply.

I still an of the opinion that Everton need to increase the attacking threat through the centre, simply because 85% of the attacking play is by the wings, opposition can devote most of their defending resources effectively in nullifying such a threat, and limit effective chances more easily. Hence Everton's low return on dominant possession.

Bernard and Sigurdsson are different types of players in different positions with different instructions from the manager, though part of the same overall tactics. Naturally enough, they have different skill strengths and Silva would expect them to use them as best they can.

Sigurdsson is an attacking midfielder, who does distribute the ball to forwards, though predominantly to the wings on Silva's instructions. He shoots effectively on goal when the opportunity presents itself. Bernard is mostly on the left wing, going forward as a striker, but can also appear in the right wing; he has a high tackling rate and achieves turnovers, meaning there are more opportunities to play through the centre. This play is not through balls (telling passes), because there are few anticipated forward runs. Against Palace, Everton played one through ball in the game. I think you will find against Watford it is a similar figure. (Interestingly Man City against West Ham played 10 through balls ).

I agree that in my initial post I wrongly compared Sigurdsson to Bernard, but this was borne out by frustration of a low percentage attack through the centre, and what Kean showed could be done if it was attempted.

Of course, Silva has to consider the offensive nature of his tactics and may feel there are risks in such a strategy. What's more. . . he could be right?

Jerome Shields
91 Posted 20/08/2019 at 01:03:21
Steven #89,

It's interesting that you don't see Sigurdsson as a playmaker, but an attacking midfielder. Who do you think the playmaker is? Or do Everton not have one?

Everton seem to be directly attacking goal as soon as a player moves or receives the ball in the final third. The only deviation from this appears to be a cross either from Digne or Coleman.

Jim Harrison
92 Posted 21/08/2019 at 04:57:10
I have said as much on another thread, Siggy is a very good player, one of our best, but not every match is best suited to his attributes. Until now, and in fact still now until Iwobi is fit, we haven’t had a direct replacement for his position or strong enough players to change formation.

Hopefully now with a better squad, in the sense of quality and versatility, he won’t be the sole option available.

But face it, his overall contribution last season in terms of goals and assists prove what he can bring. Sometimes players don’t get up to speed or have a fallow spell. But he hasn’t been bad, and in two games has played with at least 4 different midfield combinations behind him.

Nicholas Ryan
93 Posted 21/08/2019 at 15:00:31
Lyndon, hate to be picky, but I've seen several references to '38,000 flags' ….. surely it was 76,000 as there was a blue one and a white one for each seat?
T Blanshard
95 Posted 21/08/2019 at 19:37:48
There were flags under my seat which I didn't use but slid on and almost went arse over tit on the top balcony, luckily a fellow blue grabbed my arm. :-)

I had a little bet with the fella sat next to me that Gerard Deulofeu wouldn't get to 90 minutes; he didn't... but, when he was subbed, we gave him a great round of applause. I wasn't happy when we sold him but can't say I'm that bothered anymore... he seems to just wilt between 60-70 mins.

After Bernard had scored, we thought this is easily going to be 3-0 or 4-0 but, by the end of the game, the consensus was we did well not to draw. First game at home, new players, so it was disjointed, scrappy, frustrating at times to watch... but a win is a win.

It was a great day out. COYB

Steve Ferns
96 Posted 21/08/2019 at 23:16:24
Jerome, we had this discussion a few weeks back.

There is the American definition of someone who makes big plays.

But the English definition of a playmaker has always been the midfielder who runs the game. The man who sees most of the ball. The man the others look to pass to when they have it, and the man who demands the ball when he does not.

The only playmaker we have in this side is André Gomes. He is very much the man the others look to, and the one who tries to get the ball the most.

So whilst the Americans would say it is Messi who makes the big plays, it was Xavi who was the playmaker, the one who had his foot on the ball the most.

And this is my problem with Sigurdsson. He does not demand the ball enough, he does not get on the ball enough. He's got all the skills he needs, but he just doesn't impose himself enough. So whilst he might make the big plays, he does not run the game, and he does not dictate the play.

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