Everton have just enough to get Ancelotti off to a flyer

By Lyndon Lloyd 27/12/2019 100comments  |  Jump to last

If Marco Silva was reclining somewhere watching this game with his slippers on he might have been nodding ruefully in the second half as Everton struggled to break down a Burnley side who had brought their most defensive of game plans to Goodison Park for Carlo Ancelotti’s first game in charge.

As the contest ticked towards the 80-minute mark, the visitors had failed to register a shot on target but the hosts, who would enjoy almost 70% of the possession overall, had still failed to break the deadlock. As was the case for so much of the Portuguese’s tenure, Everton were dominating the ball but struggling to find the inspiration and penetration in the final third and at times it was all very reminiscent of the previous regime.

There, was however, a fluidity to the Blues’ system today, one which alternated at times between 3-4-3 with Djibril Sidibe in a more advanced right-midfield role and Seamus Coleman tucking into the backline and a more conventional 4-4-2. In addition to an assurance about their possession of the ball overall, there was also greater positional dynamism in Everton’s midfield which allowed Bernard, in particular, to drift into the middle and Richarlison to drop back into the hole creating the space and opportunities for the Blues to quickly break Burnley’s lines in quick transition in a manner that wasn't always the case under Silva.

With a bit more decisiveness and composure in advanced areas, it might have yielded an earlier goal but there were embryonic signs of the flexibility and ideas that Ancelotti can bring to this team. As it was, just when it looked as though the Italian was realising first-hand the shortcomings of the side he has inherited, everything came together with 10 minutes to go for two players who have been shining lights for the Toffees in an otherwise disappointing season.

Sidibé was played in down the right flank and the Frenchman delivered another of his telling crosses that Dominic Calvert-Lewin met with a gloriously old-school diving header that bounced in off the far post to hand Ancelotti his first three points as the Toffees’ boss.

It was nothing more than Everton deserved and had it not been for Nick Pope in the Burnley goal and some tame finishing with headers from the likes of Calvert-Lewin and Yerry Mina, it might have been a more commanding margin of victory. As it was, Ancelotti’s men only needed to produce one moment of their superior quality and the 22-year-old striker supplied it.

Right from kick-off, it was clear that the direct, no-nonsense Everton that had stunned Chelsea so effectively three weeks ago had been replaced by one instructed to retain the ball and play out from the back once more. It made for a few uneasy moments in the early going, with Mason Holgate and Sigurdsson misplacing forward passes and it wasn’t until the fifth minute that the Blues made it out of their own half for any length of time.

They could have been a head shortly afterwards, though, when Yerry Mina won his header at a set-piece, the ball dropped invitingly to Holgate in front of goal but his instinctive prod goalwards was saved impressively from point-blank range by Pope.

With 20 minutes gone, the best interchange of the game thus far saw Richarlison slip Coleman through the defence but he eschewed the opportunity to shoot and the chance went begging before Calvert-Lewin headed another free-kick wide.

Burnley’s disciplined low block was proving an effective bulwark against Everton’s increasing attacking adventure but they were almost carved open by an excellent pass into space for the lively Bernard in a central position and Sidibé was the recipient of the Brazilian’s final pass but he was denied by the keeper who saved his shot with an out-stretched leg.

Chris Wood headed a rare chance for the visitors over at one end while Calvert-Lewin was similarly off target at the other as the first half came to a conclusion.

The second saw the same pattern continue, with Everton enjoying the lion’s share of possession but finding their path to goal blocked by a succession of Claret obstacles. Bernard’s turn and shot was deflected wide, the rampaging Sidibé almost bundled the ball home and Calvert-Lewin planted a header off Fabian Delph’s cross into Pope’s arms.

That was followed by a Coleman shot that sailed narrowly over the bar from distance and a Mina header that was also guided straight at the keeper before Ancelotti finally made his first change, replacing Bernard with Moise Kean with 13 minutes left.

The Italian wasn’t involved in the goal three minutes later but he joined Calvert-Lewin in the celebratory dance, a sign perhaps that he is feeling a little more at home with a countryman in the dugout.

Though the lead was a narrow one, Everton never really looked to be in any danger of giving up the points in the closing stages and they comfortably held out for the win that lifts them into 13th place and within three points of Saturday’s opponents Newcastle in 10th place.

Ancelotti described it as the perfect first game and while it was short on genuine thrills and entertainment, few Blues would argue given the wider context of the season and the key absentees in the squad, particularly in midfield.

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Reader Comments (100)

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Jim Harrison
1 Posted 27/12/2019 at 07:47:42
I doubt very much that he was surprised by the scale of what needs to be done. A few hours in front of a tv watching re runs of matches would show all you need to know!

Game won. Clean sheet. Let’s hope we can get a result against Newcastle

Keith Harrison
2 Posted 27/12/2019 at 08:31:21
Anyone else feel like I do that I'd swop Pickford for Pope in a heartbeat?
The guy totally commands his area and instills confidence in his defenders. Unlike the vampire Pickford who seems terrified by crosses and remains rooted to his line. If Pope had beenmour goalie this season I bet at least 40% of the goals we have conceded would never have happened.
We did well eventually to overcome Dyche's anti - football yesterday, they were wasting time from minute 1. I'm surprised they didn't take 30 minutes for half-time.
A more open game against the Skunks on Saturday may suit us more.
Tony Hill
3 Posted 27/12/2019 at 08:39:29
I agree, Keith, that Pickford is weak on corners and crosses and I also think he can create anxiety in our defence.

That said, he is an excellent one-on-one goalkeeper, a generally good shot-stopper and he has the capacity to distribute very effectively, though he’s been comparatively poor at that this season.

I don’t know enough about Pope to make a judgment.

It will be a test for Pickford tomorrow after his meltdown at Newcastle in the last game there.

Ray Robinson
4 Posted 27/12/2019 at 08:55:45
I disagree Keith. Pope is very weak at cross shots near to or across his body. He's too big to get down quickly - the same weakness that eventually relegated Fraser Forster to second team football and now the Scottish prem. I agree that Pickford is weak on crosses but in Pope you'd only be exchanging one flaw for another.
Bill Fairfield
5 Posted 27/12/2019 at 08:59:52
Liking the shape of the team now,hopefully the players confidence grows in the coming weeks
Denis Richardson
6 Posted 27/12/2019 at 09:14:05
Couldn’t see the game unfortunately but that result is exactly what was needed. A scrappy win with a clean sheet that keeps us moving up the table but keeps peoples feet on the ground. A lot of work to do with the squad but it’s so important to keep getting points on the board.

4 league games unbeaten now and confidence on the up. Fingers crossed we can get a result against the bar codes tomorrow. What a change in the last couple of weeks since that twat Silva was finally shown the door. Luckily for us Napoli sacked Ancelloti soon after otherwise who knows who we’d have gotten.

3 away points tomorrow would end a great Xmas period. Then hopefully sign a couple of decent players in Jan.

Just one away win so far this season - hopefully two tomorrow.

Darrel Pugh
7 Posted 27/12/2019 at 09:36:56
We desperately needed to be harder to beat and to stop opponents casually strolling through our defence.

There is a defiance about the club again that was sorely missing, this is a pivotal moment in our history given the investment, the status of the manager, the new stadium and looking across the park at the level that lot have achieved. I hope the next 4 and a half years are about rising to all the challenges in front of us. We led the formation of this Premier League and its about time we showed why.

Steve Little
8 Posted 27/12/2019 at 10:04:36
Although I can understand why one might compare the general performance with something from Marco Silva's reign, for me there were several more positive aspects.

We seemed more solid defensively, less inclined to give the ball away generally and with improved midfield interplay. This with just a couple of days influence on the training ground.

Perhaps the most pleasing sign of what Carlo can offer is that with 13 minutes remaining and the match goalless he made an attacking substitution to try and press home the possessional advantage. We scored within 3 minutes! He then reverted to the original 442 to see out the game.

These subtle tweakings will have been missed by many but the ability to change games in this sort of way is what makes world class managers stand out from the crowd.

Neil Cremin
9 Posted 27/12/2019 at 10:19:30
I don't know enough about Pope but did comment during the match that he commanded the 6 yard box allowing both centre halfs to do their jobs. This is something Pickford never does all he does is create confusion and anxiety in defence with his histrionics when their is a shot on goal. I also agree with Keith in that Pickford is erratic and headless. His only quality is he is a good one on one shot stopper but is also a showboater. I have had doubts about Pickford ever since he clattered into Williams and that was two seasons ago. Finally his kicking is not getting any better where he kicked the ball either out of play or so close to the touch line that our players almost injured themselves trying to keep in in play at least 3-4 times yesterday. Pickford kicking is more suitably to a Rugby Union game.
I do see Ancellotti recognising this and this will be the first bombshell he will drop. Watch this space.
Mike Connolly
10 Posted 27/12/2019 at 10:48:44
I thought Pope had a good game and looked the no1 England keeper. he caught crosses and was fast off his line. May be a little unfair to Pickford, because Pope had a lot more work to do than him. However, three points another clean sheet what is there to moan about.
Tony Everan
11 Posted 27/12/2019 at 10:51:07
I enjoyed the game, I thought we passed it better and moved better.

Some of Ancelotti's calm assurance has rubbed off on the players. The seemed a bit more confident on the ball, controlling it better. I particularly enjoyed the fact that some passes were threaded through the middle of the park to an advanced center mid position, good passes more than once. It created a bit of space the for the wide attacking distribution.

I thought it was a 2 or 3 nil performance but one nil will do fine. I we buid on that we have a great chance of another 3 points on Saturday against the barcodes,who look defensively vulnerable.

Nicholas Ryan
12 Posted 27/12/2019 at 10:54:19
All this talk of goalkeepers, made me ask whether there are any Italian goalies for Carlo to poach. Luigi Donarumma anyone? Incredibly, he's still only 20. 'He wouldn't come' ; we all shout …. but that's what we said about Ancelotti, 3 weeks ago!!
Brian Harrison
13 Posted 27/12/2019 at 11:02:08
The 3 points was most important yesterday, as the league shows if Duncan hadnt got a tune out of this squad Ancelotti,s first game might have started in the bottom 3. I think this partnership between Duncan and Carlo will flourish, we have a first class motivator and a world class manager, a perfect partnership.

Nice to see the progress that Mason Holgate and DCL are making, definitely 2 players who will be in Amcelotti,s long term plans. I think Mason and Yerry are starting to get used to playing with each other and look a solid pairing. There is still a lot wrong with this squad, but it will take Ancelotti time to work his magic.One of the problems is there arent enough goals in this squad, and our wide players goal records are very poor, whether it be Walcott, Iwobi or Bernard only Richarlison of our wide players score enough goals. Again in midfield the lack of goals really hurts this team and in Gomes, Delph, Schneiderlin, Davies and this season Sigurdsson as well. You need a far better return than we are currently getting from these players.

So I think this season is about getting into the top half and for Carlo to asses his squad and identify which areas need strengthening. I have ultimate faith in him to bring in the right sort of players to move this club forward. We now have 3 away games and I always think managers learn more from away games about players. We play the 2 best teams and a game against Newcastle in between, so I am sure after these games Carlo will know a lot more about this squad.

Jim Harrison
14 Posted 27/12/2019 at 11:14:35
Christ. Pope is now the England #1 because he made some decent saves in one match. Its not to say he couldnt be, but I am wondering how many have watched him beyond this game?

Pickford is not a tall keeper. He will never be the type to dominate at corners. His distribution is nowhere near as bad as being made out. It is widely recognised as one of his strengths, coupled with his overall ability with his feet

He is one of the assets currently in the team. He makes mistakes, so did Southall, just in case you didnt notice. He is erratic at times. So were schmeichel Snr and grobbelaar, and Allison has his moments currently.
Running out of the box with the ball? Southall was sent off twice in one season for handling the ball outside of the area

Again, just to highlight, the team has had an up turn in fortunes. In the past 4 PL games they have only conceded twice whilst accruing 8 points. These are not figures to be dropping a keeper on.

Jimmy Hogan
15 Posted 27/12/2019 at 11:21:36
Definitely an improvement. We are still not moving the ball forward as quickly as I would like (and I don't mean Pickford lumping it). However, all that is important over the next 10 games is winning enough of them to climb the table to a more comfortable position.
Derek Knox
16 Posted 27/12/2019 at 11:36:00
On the subject of Goalkeepers, we have Stekelenburg (who I thought was moving on) we also signed Jonas Lossl on a free in the Summer, from relegated Huddersfield.

Recent benches have seen Stek as back-up, where is Lossl? I do not have not a lot of faith in Stek to be honest, ands feel he is more a bench warmer than a viable alternative should Picks form drop.

Thought Lossl was okay from what I have seen of him!

Rob Halligan
17 Posted 27/12/2019 at 11:57:03
One or two people saying Pope commanded his six yard box, which you would expect every goalkeeper to do. However we did make things a bit easier for him, with in-swinging corners or free kicks which were far too close to him. Even at amateur level, we were always told to keep the ball away from the keeper from corners and free kicks, so I don't understand why professional players feel the need to put crosses down a keepers throat?

Another thing about Pope is I don't think his distribution is the best. Even at goal kicks he was slipping over.

Mike Gaynes
18 Posted 27/12/2019 at 12:11:22
Keith #2, off one game, mate? You kidding?

If Pope is that much better than Pickford, why do they have virtually identical stats for the season -- goals given up, save percentage etc.? Why has he only started one game for England? And why, at age 27, isn't he at a bigger club? The guy knocked around the lower leagues for a long, long time.

Yes, he made two brilliant saves, but those are just the kind of saves Picks makes regularly. Yes, Pope's way better on crosses, but he's taller and a different kind of keeper.

And are you seriously saying that 40% of the goals we've given up this season are Picks' fault? Because he didn't come off his line properly? 40%??? Really? I think that's a vast exaggeration.

Nah, on balance I think there's not much between 'em.

And of course I'd take Rob Halligan over either one!

Dave Abrahams
19 Posted 27/12/2019 at 12:13:18
Rob (17), yes agreebwith that Rob, in fact a few of the corners taken by Sigurdsson were not only too close to the ‘keeper they were also floated in, instead of being hit with plenty of pace, I think Pope yawned twice before catching them!!
Jay Wood

20 Posted 27/12/2019 at 12:15:50
Rob @ 17.

Good points about how we made Pope look good yesterday and how he shanked a couple of dead ball kicks yesterday, much worse than anything Pickford did in the game.

I don't think my memory is playing tricks in saying haven't you shared with us on TW Rob that keeper was your position, so you are more likely to pick up on these things.

I also contested on the match day thread yesterday with those claiming Siggy's dead ball delivery was poor.

No it wasn't! His free kicks from deep were right on the money. So were some of his corners. We again made it easy for Pope to claim some of them by not putting a man in front of him to block him off from charging off his line to claim them.

Bernard did it once, but not very effectively.

Pickford is a damn fine goalkeeper with room to improve. There is plenty more in front of him on the Carlo Ancelotti 'to do' list first.

Keith Harrison
21 Posted 27/12/2019 at 12:24:12
Uncle Jim (kidding), Pickford is a headless chicken, exemplified by his single-handedly losing us the game from 2 nil up at Newcastle last year.
Lets see how he copes with all the Toon nutters tomorrow!
He is a good keeper, but I feel we should be looking at a great keeper now.
Rob Halligan
22 Posted 27/12/2019 at 12:26:40
Jay, I did play in goal at amateur level, and loved every minute of it. It's something I do at the match nowadays, study the goalkeeper of both teams. I don't think people who have never played in goal, realise how difficult it really can be. You can be out of the game for what seems hours yet you need full concentration at all times. You cannot let opposing players get to you, or in Pickfords case, as it will be tomorrow at Newcastle, the crowd. Pickford definitely let the crowd get to him last season but he just needs to totally blank the crowd out of his mind.
Keith Harrison
23 Posted 27/12/2019 at 12:28:44
Mike, Rob H was struggling to hold his 12th pint yesterday. His hands are too shaky too distribute properly now.

Happy Honiker? by the way pal, and hopefully you'll be back over soon.

Keith Harrison
24 Posted 27/12/2019 at 12:35:09
Yep, around 40% Mike. That's why, in your parlance, I'm a bean-counter.

A goalie who commanded his area - and had the confidence of our defence - would have not conceded nearly as many as we have.

Is everyone else entirely happy with Jordy, or think we should be looking for far better?

I think Mr Ancelotti may just pick up either 1 or 2 stellar signings each window, and build a team (unfortunately as that shower of proverbial across the road learnt before us!).

Jay Wood

25 Posted 27/12/2019 at 12:38:49
Yes Rob. Pickford was too much 'Jack the Lad' at Newcastle last season, but it is way over the top to claim he single-handedly gave the game away to them after leading 2-0 at half-time as Keith Harrison states.

Yes, he gave up a soft penalty in the first half...which he then duly saved!

That loss was more down to Silva's poor subs and failure to respond to Rafa's tactical changes, plus poor officiating that allowed a goal to stand which should have been ruled out for offside and interference with play.

I often think people see Pickford's gurning as evidence of lack of maturity, low intelligence, deflection of blame, poor concentration and whatever else you can hang on him.

I see it as part of his personality. A character tic. He'll know within himself when he stuffs something up. I'm sure it gets addressed post-game at Finch Farm.

Pickford is not a high priority issue that needs addressing as some are positing as far as I'm concerned.

Rob Halligan
26 Posted 27/12/2019 at 12:43:56
Jay, it's quite simple rea!ly. If Pope, Heaton, or any other English goalkeeper was better than Pickford, then Gareth Southgate would be playing them. The fact that Southgate sees Pickford as his number one goalie must mean he's the best around. That's the way I see it anyway.
Keith Harrison
27 Posted 27/12/2019 at 12:45:44
Disagree Jay. It was down to him in my book, clowning around and playing up to the crowd like a pantomime villain that put the jitters through the team. He should have probably been sent off for the unnecessary rugby tackle he did to concede the penalty in the first place!

I also know the people at Carlisle thought he was a bit of a plank when he was on loan there, although to be fair, he was only about 18/19.

I've already said above he's a good keeper, I just think we need better to take us up a gear.

Keith Harrison
28 Posted 27/12/2019 at 12:55:41
Don't forget your fake invalidity card to get you into the lifts at Newcastle tomorrow Rob, I won't be there to pretend to be your carer this year!!
Rob Halligan
29 Posted 27/12/2019 at 12:58:05
Not looking forward to those steps, Keith. I've seen people being sick climbing those stairs.
Keith Harrison
30 Posted 27/12/2019 at 13:06:10
Yeah, Dave and Steve were sick the year I was your carer (Cleverley's winner)! Still laugh about that!
Paul Hewitt
31 Posted 27/12/2019 at 14:15:22
Playing in goal is easy. You only have to stand there.
Mark Burton
32 Posted 27/12/2019 at 14:50:19
When the camera scanned across the crowd and stopped for a moment on Carlo before the goal, the look on his face was one of "what have I done, what have I let myself in to." After the goal it was a different story.
Onwards and upwards
Neil Cremin
33 Posted 27/12/2019 at 15:57:00
On Pickford.
I think it will be very interesting to see what an experienced football manager like Ancellotti will think of his contribution to the team.
I certainly don't believe that he will be first on the team sheet as he has been over the past three years.
Also on the comparison with Pope and what clubs he has played for. Pickford. as stated above, on loan to Carlisle, Sunderland (who were relegated while he was there) and Everton who have been in trouble since he arrived. Enough said.
Again I await
Franny Porter
34 Posted 27/12/2019 at 16:12:53
I also thought Pope looked really good, to me, a much safer bet than Pickford who could’ve been sent off when he came running out of the area like a dickhead.

There’s too much erratic bollocks from him for my liking and I’m not looking forward to seeing him at NUFC tomorrow.

Someone earlier down the thread compared him to Southall, fucking sacrilege. You could count Nev’s mistakes on one hand until the twilight of his career, you need a fucking abacus to count Pickfords.

Martin Berry
35 Posted 27/12/2019 at 16:15:01
Tactical nous that perhaps Silva did not possess, although a few reporters mentioned that the players did not understand what Silva wanted I don't think there will be any problems with Carlo as he speaks good English.
As for Pope, yes a good keeper but better than Pickford ? even with God on his side he is not quite there yet folks
Mike Gaynes
36 Posted 27/12/2019 at 16:16:24
Rob and Keith, you guys are my idols, you know that, right?

Keith, I'll bet Rob still has a good quick dive in him, if he sees one of those pints about to topple off the table!

Still planning to head back over for a game this spring, soon as my Achilles heals up well enough to walk around town with you guys.

Brent Stephens
37 Posted 27/12/2019 at 16:21:22
Keith, Rob, as your ascend further, the more bodies there are strewn on the stairs, oxygen being administered, ambos at the ready. North face of the Eiger is easier.
Rob Halligan
38 Posted 27/12/2019 at 16:28:27
Brent, this time of the year is definitely not the right time to play Newcastle away!!
Paul Tran
39 Posted 27/12/2019 at 16:39:16
Pickford is an excellent instinctive shot-stopper, but when he has to think, he's unreliable. I don't think he commands his area or inspires confidence. And I think his 'confidence' has the appearance of a jittery, nervous young man telling everyone how confident he is and showing us something different.

I hope he matures quickly under Ancelotti. Good keepers are reliable with calm authority. That's not Pickford right now.

Andy Crooks
40 Posted 27/12/2019 at 16:49:20
I really don't know how it will go for Jordan against Newcastle. What I am certain of is, that he will not be intimidated. Should he ignore the supporters or wind them up?
Jimmy Hogan
41 Posted 27/12/2019 at 17:01:48
Pope made two howlers yesterday, both of them kicked clearances that might easily have resulted in clear opportunities for us. I'll stick with Pickford thanks.
Mike Gaynes
42 Posted 27/12/2019 at 17:03:02
PT #39, you bring up a good comparison.

You know who Picks reminds me of? Schmeichel at the same age, right after he got to Leicester. Same size, same fiery brashness, same tendency to lose focus.

Schmeichel matured under another Italian grandfather, Ranieri. I'm confident Picks will do the same under Carlo.

I would stick with him.

Dave Evans
43 Posted 27/12/2019 at 17:10:33
I too saw the green shoots of some better midfield interplay.
We have been lacking in this area in recent years. It is the main reason we have looked so fragile and have failed to create chances when the opposition susses us and stops the play of our wing pairings.
With Gbamin and Gomes injured Ancelotti will probably not wait until the summer to strengthen midfield.
Derek Taylor
44 Posted 27/12/2019 at 17:13:55
These columns always have a man we love to hate. Previously it was Howard and before him Osman and Hibbo. Pickford usually escapes criticism if Sneids is playing and the manager is enjoying a honeymoon period !
Paul Tran
45 Posted 27/12/2019 at 17:14:49
I hope you're right, Mike. Watching that recent penalty shoot-out, it was Schmeichel that had more authority and presence.
Colin Metcalfe
46 Posted 27/12/2019 at 17:15:06
I think one thing we can all agree on is Pickford is not a top 6 keeper and if we want to seriously challenge the top teams we need a better keeper imo.
I remember someone posting on this site sometime ago “Pickford strikes me as very nervous young man trying to be confident “ which is very accurate, his rather jittery persona doesn’t instill confidence.
Both Klopp and Pep quickly realized that Hart and Mignolet were not top keepers and were either dropped or moved on and both invested heavily for that position, I think Pickford’s time at Everton maybe coming to a close come the summer as Ancelotti will surely see it’s a position that needs to be strengthened.
Brian Williams
47 Posted 27/12/2019 at 17:19:49
Wouldn't speak for all of us Colin, thanks.
David Pearl
48 Posted 27/12/2019 at 17:33:05
Colin, we shall see. I think Pickford is unfortunately one of a few that will look better with better players around them. As opposed to being the leaders we hope they’d be.

Early days on Pickford though with a long career ahead of him. I thought Pope looked the better keeper but long term Pickford needs more time, l think he will grow into the role soon enough.

One player that worries me more is Keane. I think he’s stopped progressing... by the looks of it. Holgate is impressing. In the current formation though all eyes on Mina.

Peter Neilson
49 Posted 27/12/2019 at 17:48:32
Andy (40) I hope Pickford ignores them. Last season it was the crowd that wound him up.
Tom Bowers
50 Posted 27/12/2019 at 17:54:20
Pickford is a top keeper but has his moments of anxiety, just look at De Geia recently.
They are human like all the other players but when they make a mistake it's likely to result in a goal.

Easy to blame the keeper when things are not going well !

Mike Gaynes
51 Posted 27/12/2019 at 17:55:07
Colin #46, no, you don't speak for me either.

Of the traditional top 6, I'd take Pickford over Leno at Arsenal and both Lloris and Gazzaniga at Spurs. And of the current top 6, I'd take Picks in a heartbeat over Henderson at Blades, and I think once he matures he'll be every bit the keeper that Schmeichel is for Leicester. And he won the league.

Picks might not ever be one of the top keepers in the world, hoisting the Champions League trophy in front of the photographers, but IMO he's more than good enough to get us into the top 6... IF the team around him is good enough.

And I'd say there are plenty of positions we need to improve before even glancing at the goalkeeper position.

Stan Schofield
52 Posted 27/12/2019 at 18:06:06
Colin@46: No, we don't all agree. Pickford is a top keeper, and like all players has fluctuations in form, those fluctuations often being in strong correlation with the overall performance of the team. As soon as a player hits questionable spells of form, some people seem to want them replacing. Let's see what Ancelotti does, rather than assuming what will happen.

Regarding Keane, he was very good last season (got his England place back) with Zouma next to him. He's been under par this season, but let's just see how he goes with the way Ancelotti sets the team up.

David Greenwood
53 Posted 27/12/2019 at 18:10:38
Got to agree with Paul Hewitt @31.
Mike Gaynes
54 Posted 27/12/2019 at 18:11:31
Paul #45, yep, that "presence" is the difference between being 33 with 350 appearances (and a league title) for your club, and being 25 with 90 appearances and never a glimpse of silverware.

But people forget that Schmeichel has the same kind of twitchy personality as Picks (he's still mouthing off strange shit in the press) and it's just time, experience and success that brought him the confidence. But both the talent level and the goalkeeping style are the same -- both are quick-reflex shot-stoppers who don't try to command high balls in their area. I think Picks will turn out as good or better.

Tony Hill
55 Posted 27/12/2019 at 18:14:16
My worry with Pickford, while acknowledging his significant strengths, is that if you have a keeper who is nervous on crosses/corners then you instantly diminish a significant part of your defence and you sow concern among your defenders who become jittery themselves. Actually, our man has shown a few faint signs in recent games of improving his handling.

There are quite a few highly regarded and excellent keepers who were not particularly strong in their catching. Shilton was one of them and, whisper it, so was Nev - especially after his injury against ROI.

Pickford needs to calm down and focus himself and to improve his game where he is weak. I believe he will and he'll be another to benefit from someone as experienced as Ancelotti.

Paul Tran
56 Posted 27/12/2019 at 18:21:33
All true, Mike and we all know that keepers tend to get better and more mature with age. I hope this applies to Pickford, as we have to be careful with our spending due to FFP rules.
Mike Corcoran
57 Posted 27/12/2019 at 18:23:24
All goalies are fecking wierd, Jordan is high on the spectrum
Stan Schofield
58 Posted 27/12/2019 at 18:30:50
Regarding Pickford's relative weakness on crosses, one of our greatest keepers, Gordon West, was similar, and he was referred to as Dracula because of it. But he was nevertheless a great keeper, England's No. 1 ahead of Banks when we won the title in 1970.

All keepers have weak and strong points, and Pickford is no exception.

Mike Gaynes
59 Posted 27/12/2019 at 18:31:02
Tony #55, I would just point out that keepers have different styles, and some of most successful keepers in the world tend not to come out strong for corners -- Oblak, Navas, the aforementioned Schmeichel all like to stay on their line and make you beat them, and even the active sweeper-keepers like Ter Stegen and Ederson don't go crashing through people to pull down the high balls.

And I don't think having a stay-on-the-line keeper makes defenses jittery if they know and are familiar with the keeper's responsibilities and theirs. Can't say I've seen Evans looking nervous -- or Maguire and Huth before him -- just because Schmeichel doesn't come out for corners.

Andy Crooks
60 Posted 27/12/2019 at 18:34:36
You are right, Mike. Which of these are not weird?
Sprake the worst goalkeeper ever to play for a great team.
Felix, the worst goalkeeper.
Jim Montgomery
The mad scorpion guy.
Elisha Scott
Name one not weird?

Tony Hill
61 Posted 27/12/2019 at 18:37:51
But if you have a keeper who does come out effectively, Mike, then you have an extra and powerful limb to your defence. I agree, though, that to have a perfect goalkeeping package is almost impossible.

Ray Clemence of the RS, though capable of gaffes, was the closest I have seen over a long career.

Andy Crooks
62 Posted 27/12/2019 at 18:40:10
The four best goalkeepers I have ever seen are:
All unflappable, calm and cool. They did not need to apportion blame. It was just never their fault.
Paul Tran
63 Posted 27/12/2019 at 18:44:07
Andy, I'll add Sepp Maier to one list and I'll throw (or drop!) Jan Jongbloed into the other.
Barry Rathbone
64 Posted 27/12/2019 at 18:49:38
Problem with Pickford is he's massively erratic capable of sublime saves alongside mad cap judgement and monumental errors. He's Grobbelaar the clown reincarnated without a top team to protect him.

Plenty of more stable commanding keepers around as mentioned, too much of a loose canon for my liking

Ray Robinson
65 Posted 27/12/2019 at 18:54:29
Stan #58, I know you have an excellent memory but I don't recall Gordon West, who indeed was as mad as a hatter, ever being England's No 1. He would have gone to Mexico in 1970 and would have deputised for Banks in that fateful game against West Germany instead of Bonetti, but I don't remember him being the first choice for England. How many caps did he earn by the way?
Ray Robinson
66 Posted 27/12/2019 at 18:59:22
Add Jens Lehmann to that list of mad keepers.
Stan Schofield
67 Posted 27/12/2019 at 19:23:26
Ray@65: My recollection is that following our 68-69 season, when we played very well and finished just below Leeds who won the title, Westy had had a great season and was in England's warm-up trip to Mexico the following summer, as their No. 1 keeper. Banks was No. 2. After that trip, Westy told Ramsey he did not want to go to Mexico 1970 for personal reasons, and so Banks became the No. 1. (This decision by Westy was analogous to the decision by Labone in 66, not to be included in the England squad for personal reasons).

Lev Vellene
68 Posted 27/12/2019 at 19:32:40
I like Pickford for his quick reactions, so I'm happy for him to stay!

He's still young, but the one thing I want for him to learn is to stay inside his own mental bubble! He must totally stop reacting to the opposition's fans, just shrug them off by being well up beyond their level! Smug and told-you-so is for after the game ends!

Brent Stephens
69 Posted 27/12/2019 at 19:34:41
Mike #57 "All goalies are fecking wierd, Jordan is high on the spectrum".

Steady, Mr Gaynes, one of our own, is a goalie. OK, a bit weird but fecking weird.

Colin Metcalfe
70 Posted 27/12/2019 at 19:40:15
Sorry guys didn’t mean to tread on any toes although I am genuinely surprised that some of you think Pickford would be a first choice keeper for any top six team.
Lev Vellene
71 Posted 27/12/2019 at 19:40:36
Brent, that was not Mike Gaynes. But still, Mike Corcoran is still right, anyone volunteering for a goal-keeper's working day has to be not-normal, I'd say! :P
Brent Stephens
72 Posted 27/12/2019 at 19:45:15
Lev, I thought our Mike Gaynes is / was a goalie?
Rob Halligan
73 Posted 27/12/2019 at 19:48:08
Dave # 53. I always thought you talked sense, until I read that post!
Lev Vellene
74 Posted 27/12/2019 at 19:48:12
And yet, CA had one defensive formation, and another attacking formation? And those same Everton players could deal with that idea even after the Dunc adrenaline-kick/fear leveled off???

I feel this could actually go the right way! Scary! :)

Robert Tressell
75 Posted 27/12/2019 at 19:49:45
Obvious replacement for pickford is mignolet.
Lev Vellene
76 Posted 27/12/2019 at 19:55:32
Brent, unless there have been edits, the #57 was Mike Corcoran, not Mike Gaynes #59. That's what the confusion was about. :)
Dave Abrahams
77 Posted 27/12/2019 at 20:03:03
Stan (67), are you sure your memory is not playing tricks with you regarding Gordon West, Westie was a very good goalkeeper, in my opinion, but he only won three England caps in his career, so to say he was rated ahead of Banks in 1970 seems strange to me, although you are correct he did tell Alf Ramsey he preferred not to go to Mexico that year, same as Brian Labone in 1966, whose reason was, I think, he had arranged to be married that summer, Westie’s problem, I believe, was he was having problems with his marriage, unfortunately the marriage eventually broke up.

Colin Metcalf, I would agree with you, I don’t think Pickford is a top class ‘keeper for various reasons, number one being he is absolutely glued to his goal line, the fact that Southgate picks him for England is matched by Michael Keane winning ten caps, all under Southgates watch, if Carlo Ancoletti can improve both of these two players we’ve got a miracle worker for a manager.

John Pierce
78 Posted 27/12/2019 at 20:19:34
Dysaev was an unbelievable keeper, beaten by van Basten in the 1988 euro final. A string of keepers of the eighties who were of such a high quality.

Pru’ domme
Van Breukelen... to name a few.

Southall was I reckon from 1987-1990 probably the best in the world without the recognition due to Hysel and being Welsh failed to expose him to the world.

Pickford, has some way to get anywhere close. He has technical aspects to address, especially on direct free kicks, he needs much better advice on when and where to kick.

Big test for him tomorrow, can he keep his shit together?!

Albert Perkins
79 Posted 27/12/2019 at 20:33:31
What I remember about West was that we would be playing great upfield and scoring 2 to 3 goals and winning games, but at least as many breakaways were saved by him. West, like many keepers, had his demons and it is hard to be the very, very last line of defense.
Stan Schofield
80 Posted 27/12/2019 at 21:03:38
Dave@77: Yes, I think that overall Banks was No. 1, but that at the end of the 60s when we were one of the top teams and Westie was playing great, on form he became No. 1 ahead of Banks. Westie went to the summer 69 pre-world cup tour of Mexico as No. 1, but as I say withdrew from the actual summer 70 world cup tour, with Banks then becoming No. 1.
Don Alexander
81 Posted 27/12/2019 at 21:20:42
I recall Westy going on the '69 trip as first choice and justifying it out there by playing twice, with Banksy on the bench (in effect). Who knows what might've been had he not chosen to cry off in 1970?

Factor in too that when he was signed up by Blackpool he'd hardly ever played as 'keeper and yet he soon ousted England regular Tony Waiters from the Tangerines first team!

Brent Stephens
82 Posted 27/12/2019 at 21:20:50
Lev, our own Mike Gaynes was or is a goalie. So my ref to Mike Corcoran’s post was to say our Mr Gaynes isn’t totally weird. I think I’ve even confused myself there, Lev!!
Stan Schofield
83 Posted 27/12/2019 at 21:25:08
Don@81: When you come to think of it, that entire Everton team of 69-70 could have been the main England team in Mexico, that's if the England selectors had been more sensible and not picked the likes of Mullery over Kendall, etc.
Keith Harrison
84 Posted 27/12/2019 at 21:36:15
Brent 57, Mike Gaynes a keeper?? never. In the US they used to wheel him on to take penalties, for which I believe he holds some sort of record for consecutive goals.

He has actually scored one from the penalty spot against me in goal in the Park End, after the 4-2 game against Leicester 2 years ago. (Check the archives on here for the article). I did let it in deliberately so that a) I didn't break his heart, b) I did not get my brand new jeans shit up, and c) it was the same corner his hero, Kev Sheedy put the re-taken free kick which started Mikes love affair with Everton. Immediately after this, the hulking ape still in charge of security unceremoniously threw us off the pitch.

Looks like I opened a can of worms with my post re Jordan. Lets hope the lad proves me wrong, starting in the bear pit of Newcastle for a still young Mackem. Maybe this should be ToffeeWebs latest Poll, should Carlo play Jordan, or look for a world class keeper. (Please bear in mind Rob Halligan is nearly 80 now, and well past it!)

Dave Abrahams
85 Posted 27/12/2019 at 21:37:37
Don (81), Don, Westy played once v Mexico, Banks played twice v Ureguay and Brazil on that 1969 tour.
Dave Abrahams
86 Posted 27/12/2019 at 21:41:53
Don (81), Don, Westy played once v Mexico, Banks played twice v Ureguay and Brazil on that 1969 tour.

Tony Waiters played five times for England because he was used byAlf Ramsey who was looking for an understudy for Gordon Banks, he never passed the test.

Lev Vellene
87 Posted 27/12/2019 at 21:44:45
I know nothing! I come from Barcelona! :D

So, what about the next game?

Keith Harrison
88 Posted 27/12/2019 at 21:45:22
Dave 85 + 6. The guy who got us on the pitch was your mate Kev Johnson. He was shabbily eventually removed from his volunteer job at Goodison after getting us on the pitch.

Don Alexander
89 Posted 27/12/2019 at 21:49:44
My memory faded Dave, thanks. Still had him as Ramsey's intended no.1 before he cried off though, which would've meant either Banks or Westy took the gloves against West Germany, with Bonetti nowhere to be seen. Sigh!

And Stan (#83), quite so. Just how Kendall never got a cap, and Harvey a mere one was even then a puzzle to most fans, and not just ours. And Astle over Royle, in 1970? As if!

Dave Abrahams
90 Posted 27/12/2019 at 21:58:42
Keith (88), yes heard the story, getting removed for doing a good favour, he went to school with my son Tony, I think they were in the same class.
Rob Halligan
91 Posted 27/12/2019 at 22:00:36
Game, set and match as far as this season's premier league goes, I'm afraid! Wolves beating city 3-2 opens up a massive gap for the RS, who also have a game in hand. 😞😞
Ron Marr
92 Posted 27/12/2019 at 22:05:14
Gordon West came home after starting the Mexico game. He had a chest injury and told Ramsay he didn’t want to play for England any more.
Mike Gaynes
93 Posted 27/12/2019 at 22:32:59
Brent, no, I'm no goalkeeper. I am (or was) a field player with enough experience in the goal box to be the emergency/backup keeper for all the teams I have played with, but I generally suck. Rob Halligan is TW's true keeper.

I have, however, benefitted from a two-week goalkeeping tutorial I received from a long-ago teammate, Jim Standen, who had played some 200 games for West Ham in the 60's. Jim strained his back playing for our semipro team in California and I was pulled off my wing to "replace" him while he healed. He taught me what I needed to get by and we won both games. Then I was released.

Keith #88, I still feel bad about that. Kev denied that our adventure at the Park End that day was what got him sacked by the club, but he may have said that to keep me from feeling guilty. High price to pay for giving me the memory of a lifetime. What a fine gent he is, and it's my one regret about that incredible trip.

Well, that and stealing Christine's silverware. Never thought you guys would miss it.

Mike Gaynes
94 Posted 27/12/2019 at 22:42:39
Dave #90, I had forgotten that Tony and Kev were schoolmates. Lot of class in that class.
Kevin Latham
95 Posted 27/12/2019 at 23:48:49
Mike (93) your mention of Jim Standen brought back memories of a home game in, I think 1964, when my dear old dad took me in the ground for the first time; we usually went in the stands.

I think Derek Temple scored first then went off injured, but then Alex Young (who else?) sublimely chipped Standen to score a goal I've never forgotten!

I also recall that Standen looked at Alex and smiled because he knew he'd never reach the ball. Different times then, eh?

I think I'm right in saying that Jim Standen played first class cricket in the summer for Essex too. Funny how I can remember things 50 odd years ago but the present Mrs Latham wonders why I can't remember to take the clothes out of the tumble drier.

Jerome Shields
96 Posted 27/12/2019 at 00:02:00
I’m hopeful Pickford will mature. Pope is good, but Sigurdsson’s crosses where terribly easy for a goalkeeper to catch. The two goals where well saved, but Everton’s finishing is not the best, often shots are within goalkeeping range.

I do think Ancelotti will be on Pickford’s case, he can look a bit mad at times.

Andy #23

l agree with your best goalkeeping list.

I once saw Jennings save a Daglish shot, that seem to come from nowhere heading into the top corner of the goal. Jennings just stretched out and got it tipped over with the finger tips of his huge left hand.

You would have thought Jennings had scored, such was the fans’ reaction.

Neil Cremin
97 Posted 28/12/2019 at 06:25:40
On goalkeepers I believe David Seaman (Ronaldinho goal aside) was one of the best. Cool. calm. never spectacular. because he has a great sense of position.
Chris Davies
98 Posted 28/12/2019 at 11:50:00
Pickford's step to the right as the ball's flying towards his top left corner bugs me. I used to do that at school to make every save, “full stretch”.

If he stepped in the right direction, he'd be behind most things.

Jay Wood

99 Posted 28/12/2019 at 11:59:22
"David Seaman (Ronaldinho goal aside) was one of the best."

Reminds me of the gag that quickly did the rounds in the wake of that one.

Why are Brazilians such great lovers?

Because they can lob semen from 40 yards.

I know. It's a groaner. But it still makes me giggle.

Dave Abrahams
100 Posted 28/12/2019 at 12:12:50
Mike (93), not to ease any guilt you may feel, but I’m almost sure Kev is back working for Everton, maybe someone else could verify this.

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