Too many squandered chances after brilliant start

By Michael Kenrick 23/02/2020 271comments  |  Jump to last

Theo Walcott does not face his former club after picking up a knee injury he sustained against Crystal Palace
Arsenal 3 - 2 Everton

Carlo Ancelotti had set Everton a very clear target for their late Sunday afternoon visit to The Emirates Stadium. But despite a wonderful start with a goal inside the first minute, naive defending and a slew of poorly executed chances doomed Everton to yet another defeat at the new home of The Gunners.

Lucas Digne played no part due to a muscle strain and Walcott was also out injured. Djibril Sidibe came into the starting line-up, along with Yerry Mina, Leighton Baines, Fabian Delph and Alex Iwobi, but Andre Gomes was only on the bench.

Sigurdsson kicked off proceedings with Everton wearing their black & purple kit, and winning an early free-kick that came off Luiz's shoulder and was stabbed in by Calvert-Lewin with a wonderful acrobatic finish, almost catching David Luiz in the head. Great start!

Everton continued to press the home side, after that early shock, showing determination to make things hard for The Gunners on their own turf and deny them any easy space. But Belerin did finally get sight of goal, lashing ell over

Aubameyang did very well to get behind the Everton line by Sidibe did even better to block his cross behind, Calvert-Lewin heading the corner away powerfully but it came back for another corner, this one taken short. Arsenal pressure mounted until Aubameyang fouled Sidibe.

Everton sprung a fine counter through Richarlison but Iwobi's shot just evaded the far top corner, really a poor miss after creating a fantastic opportunity to really throw the cat among the pigeons. Calvert-Lewin did brilliantly to push off Mustafi and win a corner off a long ball, Baines's corner cleared.

Arsenal got another corner, this off Baines, headed well over by Mustafi. Sidibe left Kolasinac clutching his head after it hit the ground following an aerial challenge with Sidibe, a lengthy stoppage ensuing. Kolasinac could not continue, Saka replacing him.

Everton slowly built a methodical attack until Delph drove it out of play. There followed some scrappy midfield play, Arsenal then taking their time to build but Pickford alert when needed. But a mistake by Holgate allowed Aubameyang to attack, Delph forcing him to fire over.

At the other end, Iwobi saw another opportunity to prove himself to the Gunners, but fired over again, allowing Arsenal to structure their attack, Pepe's shot patted down by Pickford. But then Nketiah fired home very well after a very good cross from Saka to level the score, a goal out of almost nothing that bamboozled the Everton backline completely.

And a lot of Arsenal pressure followed, but Iwobi set Richarlison off, yet Arsenal were back quickly, Belerin preventing any real danger. Schneiderlin was booked for grappling NKetiah... stupid.

Another lovely ball from Luiz timed to slice through the backline with Sidibe turning far too slow and an easy finish for Aubameyang turned the game around with Everton looking far too naive.

Baines swung in a nice free-kick but it was well defended by the home side, although Richarlison won it back and tried but failed to dribble his way goalwards. Baines was periodically feeling his hamstring, a worrying sign as Everton struggled to really worry the Arsenal goal.

Sidibe tackled Nketiah very bravely, getting the ball as the man went down — no penalty. Everton then attacked but Iwobi bizarrely the most advanced and least suited to profit from Sigurdsson's weak cross. Calvert-Lewin was fouled, Baines's decent free-kick headed strongly over by Richarlison as 5 minutes of added time were announced.

A couple of tasty challenges, Richarlison flattened, then jumping up and flying in under a red mist, after Calvert-Lewin had clipped his man, and seeing yellow — very lucky he did not make contact.

In the dying seconds of added time, a corner won by Sidibe was somehow forced over the line by Richarlison after being glanced on at the near post but then cleared out to the 18-yard line. He went in fairly high on Leno after a dreadful mishit into the ground by Schneiderlin(?) was headed on to him by Mina and his determination saw the ball rebound off his outstretched leg and dribble over the line. 2-2!!!

Arsenal scored on their first attack after Baines was beaten for the cross and Sidibe failed to stop a very intelligent downward header by Aubameyang that easily beat Pickford.

Arsenal were now in control, winning a corner and then attacking with pace, Ozil a yard offside, but they kept pushing Everton back. Schneiderlin gave away a free-kick wide left, but Everton broke momentarily until Rich was stopped in his tracks by Ceballos who then similarly took out Calvert-Lewin.

Ancelotti decided on a double change, as Everton attacked briefly, Sidibe's cross easy pickings for Leno. Richarlison did well to overlap Mustafi and slide in a tasty ball for Calvert-Lewin, just too far ahead of his outstretched leg, three bodies left prone as Gomes replaced Schneiderlin and Bernard on for Iwobi.

Bernard got the ball to Calvert-Lewin who jinked inside but fired too close to Leno. Everton were somewhat rejuvenated, though, Richarlison attacking well down the left but his crosses intercepted, and Bernard too easily dispossessed on the 18-yard line.

A sharp Arsenal break saw an attacker stray offside. Calvert-Lewin likewise when Everton broke down the left.

A great cross from Bernard was headed by Richarlison down to Calvert-Lewin catching his thigh and Leno was out quickly to deny him a clean shot at goal from close range.

Arsenal threatened, Ceballos curling one just beyond the angle, and he was then subbed off. Sidibe then did well to get ahead of Aubameyang and deny him. At the other end, Richarlison pounced on a blocked shot but could not force it past Leno. With Everton stretched, they were always vulnerable to counters and had to be very patient as the time ticked away on yet another defeat at The Emirates.

Richarlison did really well to get a fine ball across to Calvert-Lewin who simply did not do enough to glance the ball in beyond Leno, a glorious chance gone begging. Kean replaced Delph in one final desperate bid to turn it around.

Everton shaped another decent attack down the left again but the final ball was just too much for Mise Kean to do anything with it. Sigurdsson then wasted a shot with a horribly overhit crossfield pass.

Pickford and Sig tried to be as stupid as they possibly could, contriving to set up for a curling shot that bounced back off the bar. Kean had the ball easily taken off his toe by Aubameyang. Leno was then out very well to deny Richarlison off a fantastic Gomes? pass that the Brazilian never seemed convinced he could reach.

With 5 minutes of added time, the tempo of the game was still lively, but Everton simply not sharp enough for Arteta's more professionally drilled side who had been unfazed by giving up that early goal.

A corner taken quickly, crossed in by Bernard perfectly for Calvert-Lewin but a poorly directed header went the wrong side of the post. Another really good chance created with a cross to Calvert-Lewin, who got up really high but again totally unable to direct the ball as it bounced off his head. Kean then saw a chance but from too far out, drove it well wide. And that was pretty much it. No win at the Emirates for Everton yet again.

Scorers: Nketiah (27'), Aubameyang (33', 46'); Calvert-Lewin (1'), Richarlison (45+5')

Arsenal (4-3-3): Leno; Bellerin, Mustafi, Luiz, Kolasinac (18' Saka); Xhaka, Ceballos (76' Torreira), Ozil (82' Guendouzi); Pepe, Nketiah, Aubameyang.
Subs not Used: Martinez, Sokratis, Lacazette, Nelson.

Everton (4-4-2): Pickford; Sidibe, Holgate, Mina, Baines; Sigurdsson [Y:73'], Delph (82' Kean), Schneiderlin [Y:31] (59' Gomes [Y:90+4']), Iwobi (60' Bernard); Richarlison [Y:45+2'], Calvert-Lewin.
Subs not Used: Stekelenburg, Keane, Coleman, Davies.

Referee: Stuart Attwell
VAR: Craig Pawson

Attendance: 60,926

Reader Comments (271)

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Jim Bennings
1 Posted 23/02/2020 at 15:49:59
That’s one bloody slow team on initial observation?
Fran Mitchell
2 Posted 23/02/2020 at 16:15:48
Not the most enthralling line-up. And despite our decent form and the improvement of late, it shows just how much work still needs to be done. That midfield? A bonus is that not even the opposition will know how that'll set up.

I'm guessing a 4-5-1 out of possession, turning into a 4-3-3 in possession but Iwobi over Bernard is a puzzling one.

Steve Ferns
3 Posted 23/02/2020 at 16:20:29
They have some pace down their right with Bellerin and Pepe. We need Iwobi to track Bellerin and Baines needs to use his experience on Pepe. Pepe has been looking more like an £80m in recent games. Baines needs to be at his best.
Michael Lynch
4 Posted 23/02/2020 at 16:26:34
Indication of what a second rate squad we have really. Hope that Arsenal are shit, gives us a chance.
Alan J Thompson
5 Posted 23/02/2020 at 16:31:21
It does appear to have a defensive look about it not having much creativity in midfield.
Jim Marray
6 Posted 23/02/2020 at 16:34:13
Good start!
Carl Manning
7 Posted 23/02/2020 at 16:46:13
Can the game be played before we all get negative?
Simon Dalzell
9 Posted 23/02/2020 at 17:03:19
Schneiderslug needs taking off before he gets sent off.
Simon Dalzell
10 Posted 23/02/2020 at 17:15:38
No Carl. Delph, Schneiderlin, Sigurdsson. That is a very poor, slow midfield. We needed to buy a midfielder in January, and we failed again.
Carl Manning
11 Posted 23/02/2020 at 17:26:46
So, before we know the outcome, we're going to pre judge? Sums people up...
Jay Wood

12 Posted 23/02/2020 at 17:28:19
Off to a flier. What great reactions and finish from Dom for his goal.

We were well in control, with an obvious tactic of hitting diagonals to either flank in an attempt to turn a slow Arsenal back line.

The momentum all changed with the injury to Kolasinac and introduction of Saka. Iwobi and Sidibe down our right is a worrying combination defensively and both goals are largely down to them not doing their jobs. Two really poor goals to give away.

Arsenal clearly had ascendency over us until half time, so the scrappy equaliser is a real gift.

Get back to how we started the game and we can win this. Continue defending down our right flank as we did for their two goals and we will lose.


Gerry Ring
13 Posted 23/02/2020 at 17:38:13
Sidibe having a shocker!! He's not a man marker and is a huge liability at full-back. Less risky further away from goal.
Simon Dalzell
14 Posted 23/02/2020 at 18:13:50
Regardless of the outcome, this team is poor. Inevitable that when we played someone half-decent we would struggle. Even a tired Arsenal.

This is the same midfield that Liverpool youth team gave the runaround. Not signing a midfielder was criminal.

As for Iwobi, he could be one of the worst ever. I noticed Sigurdsson walking around, before Neville mentioned it on TV.

Jim Bennings
15 Posted 23/02/2020 at 18:27:30
Same old predictable result, sadly, despite Arsenal playing on Thursday night.

I can't see anything changing with this crop of players now.

They'll win enough games to always stay mid-table but anything else is simply too much for them.

Rob Marsh
16 Posted 23/02/2020 at 18:28:03
What we've seen today is what Dominic Calvert-Lewin is and will give us for the rest of his time with us.

Frustrating – to sum him up with a single word.

The game is what I expected, valiant losers and just coming up that bit short.

Just not good enough.

Tony Hill
17 Posted 23/02/2020 at 18:31:25
I'm afraid I think that was a very poor performance overall. We had chances, of course, but Neville was right in the commentary – we were mentally weak and didn't believe we could win. I wouldn't play Sigurdsson again and I think Sidibe may have signed his own death warrant.

A killing result. When it matters, we don't do it. You can bet on it.

Michael Lynch
18 Posted 23/02/2020 at 18:33:24
I thought we were by far the better team, and with Gomes on the pitch we looked quality. He opened it up for the forward line, and Bernard buzzing around really helped too.

My only criticism – apart from not taking our chances – was keeping Sigurdsson on, he was dreadful.

Sadly, Moise Kean still doesn't look anywhere near ready. And we need a new keeper.

Steve Ferns
19 Posted 23/02/2020 at 18:33:24
We've come along way in 9 games. I'm not too down after that defeat. I thought we could win, we had chances to win, and we were a little short.

There's three more big games after this one. If we have turned the corner, we should win at least one of them.

There was positives to take, not least the return of Gomes who looked decent when he should look rusty. If he can be starting next week, then suddenly our side looks a lot better. Especially if Bernard is back in the starting XI.

Michael Lynch
20 Posted 23/02/2020 at 18:35:12
Also, I've never bought into the Europa League fever – I don't think we can get that this season, but we're not going to get dragged into a relegation battle either, so the rest of the season is about consolidation and working out who gets the boot from the squad.

Jim Bailey
21 Posted 23/02/2020 at 18:37:04
Ah well... Champions League, Europa League, a chance to move up the table, a chance to lay to rest a horrible bogie record snafu... Everton that.

My hope is that Ancelloti would be nowhere near Everton unless there was a master plan in place – of which, none of us long-suffering fans are aware.
Fingers, eyes, toes crossed.

Rob Dolby
22 Posted 23/02/2020 at 18:38:04
I would rather have Bolase back in the team instead of Iwobi. In fact, I would have young Gordon before either. We all know we are carrying players who aren't arsed or out of form.

Arsenal have a striker who bales them out game after game and, although Calvert-Lewin has vastly improved, the quality and cost difference is there for all to see.

Good to see Gomes back, that's about it. 24 years without a victory away to Arsenal. Another opportunity gets squandered. Same old stuff.

Tony Hill
23 Posted 23/02/2020 at 18:38:24
There's always next season. As there has been for the last several decades.
Eric Paul
24 Posted 23/02/2020 at 18:38:35
Calvert-Lewin frustrating? He works his bollocks off, scores, creates chances for others and wins headers when defending corners. It's the defenders and goalkeeper (less Holgate) who should be frustrating you
Eric Paul
25 Posted 23/02/2020 at 18:41:58
Rob at 22,

Iwobi had a decent game, I wouldn't swap a match ball for Bolasie.

Phil Smith
26 Posted 23/02/2020 at 18:42:14
Sigurdsson was truly AWFUL! How he lasted the 90, I don't know. Total liability and offered nothing in attack. Needs shipping out in the summer.
John P McFarlane
27 Posted 23/02/2020 at 18:43:20
Those bemoaning Everton's result at Arsenal today – check the records for how many times Everton have returned from that venue or Highbury with maximum points in the history of the fixture. I was hoping for at least a point but it's rarely been a good hunting ground for the Blues.

Man Utd next Sunday and we hope Everton achieve a better result. Gary Neville is a first-class prat and I don't and won't listen to his jaundiced views on Everton.

Tony Twist
28 Posted 23/02/2020 at 18:44:13
Same old, same old. The Schneiderlin and Sigurdsson combo. Managers come and go but the rank naivety remains.
Michael Lynch
29 Posted 23/02/2020 at 18:44:33
Next Season:

New goalkeeper
New right back
New Attacking midfield
New midfield

Bill Fairfield
30 Posted 23/02/2020 at 18:46:16
Once again taking the positives, we're more of a threat now, heading in the right direction.
Gerry Ring
31 Posted 23/02/2020 at 18:46:37
Michael @ 18. Totally agree regarding Sigurdsson. Another dreadful, uninterested performance. Strolling around doing nothing – same as the Palace game. Surely we have someone better, or at least a player who'll give his all. Couple of players at Sheffield Utd who would fit in well if they could be prised away.
Jay Wood

32 Posted 23/02/2020 at 18:46:48
Curious and frustrating 2nd half.

So dozy right from the restart to gift them what proved to be the winning goal.

Too easy to get the cross in. Sidibe just let Aubameyang run off him for a free header.

We continued to look shaky until Andre came on. What a return! He was the pick of our midfielders in the 30 minutes he had.

I was surprised that Sigurdsson stayed on the park for the full 90 minutes. His degeneration continues apace. Just everything breaks down around him these days. Misplaced passes, whatever the range. Easily caught on the ball. Cheap free kicks conceded when he tries to regain it.

We had so many chances to get an equaliser. Some credit must go to their keeper for keeping them out.

We had such a great head of steam going into the last five minutes, but then between them Holgate, Mina and Pickford brought the pressure back on us by farting around with the ball at the back to almost gift them a fourth.

Pickford actually had very little to do. Both Mina and Holgate were otherwise excellent. For the most part, trying to pass the ball forward rather than sideways or backwards. Not convinced by either full back today. Sidibe does make some great tackles, which is just as well, because in the main they are recovery tackles due to him being out of position.

Delph did okay. Schneiderlin less so. Sigurdsson just looked lost. Iwobi lightweight. Bernard flickered. Gomes outstanding. Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin are increasingly working so well together. Kean still raw in the 10 minutes he had.

We could have got a draw, even a win. But unless and until we break this vodoo away to the top six, we are not going to break into the upper reaches of the Premier League any time soon.

André Gomes is someone I've needed convincing of since he arrived at Everton. But if he can consistently show that composure and incisiveness he displayed in those 30 minutes today, 105 days after his horrofic injury, then Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin and eventually Kean will hugely benefit from that.

In the summer, we need another class midfielder to complement him.

Disappointed, but not entirely despondent.

Andy Crooks
33 Posted 23/02/2020 at 18:47:06
There's not been much joy for me in watching Everton for some time. We don't play particularly good football and always fall short when it looks like we might be going places. From possible Europa League to same old, same old in just 90 minutes.

We are well short of being a good enough team for Europe. The most exercise I get these days is shaking my head in disbelief at our goalkeeper, defence and midfield.

Jay Evans
34 Posted 23/02/2020 at 18:48:08
Iwobi had a good game?

Did someone really just say that?

Jim Bennings
35 Posted 23/02/2020 at 18:51:44
The problem with the current team is the following:

We have a goalkeeper that wishes he was a midfielder, spraying these mental passes out wide all the time.

We have never replaced a defence of Jagielka, Distin & Lescott – old-fashioned no-frills men.

We have the most insipid midfield in the Premier League.

I think today's result was somewhat predictable, I had no real expectations on winning today; that's why I barely posted in the build-up.

Nothing ever seems to change at Everton.

Our only hope of a win from these four matches was always going to be Man Utd but, if we defend like we did today, then we can forget it.

We won't win at Chelsea (another Arsenal-esque bogey ground) and the derby is a waste of all of our time.

Kieran Kinsella
36 Posted 23/02/2020 at 18:52:22
I'm with Michael Lynch and Steve Ferns. Not sure if some even watched the game. Equal possession and 17 shots on goal doesn't reflect Gary Neville's prepared script about mental weakness.

Yes, we could've scored more; yes, some dodgy defending. But the squad is what it is and our weak links are well known.

You can't suddenly turn everyone into world-beaters. What you can do is make the best of what you have and go for it. That's what we did. I'm never happy to lose but I'd sooner take a “if only” defeat then a hopeless one.

Brian Hennessy
37 Posted 23/02/2020 at 18:52:31
I am always gutted when we lose but I can take plenty of positives from that game.

Gomes was outstanding given this was his first game back. Bernard made a big difference when he came on. Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison caused them huge problems all day.

We need a new right-back next season – maybe Jonjoe Kenny will be the answer as Sidibe is just not good enough. Sigurdsson, Schniderlin and Delph also need to be replaced.

I can see us beating Man Utd next week if Gomes and Bernard start.

Derek Taylor
38 Posted 23/02/2020 at 18:53:13
If Ancelloti is ever to qualify for anything again, let alone to win it, it will certainly not be with this bunch of inadequates. They will break his heart for certain.
Barry Rathbone
39 Posted 23/02/2020 at 18:53:20
Even though Arsenal aren't what they were, they're still good enough to expose glaring weaknesses which we have, from keeper to centre-forward.

Huffing and puffing without quality almost always ends up like this but doubtless the mad belief a handful of new players will solve the issue will remain.

It won't.

Michael Lynch
40 Posted 23/02/2020 at 18:54:43
I feel for Iwobi. His head is all wrong – he has too many doubts, thinks too slowly, consistently makes the wrong decision and makes it too late. He just doesn't look cut out to be a top-level professional footballer. He's definitely one of the players I'd be looking to cut, along with Sigurdsson.
John Keating
41 Posted 23/02/2020 at 18:55:13
If anything I think today hopefully convinced Ancalotti that Sig and Schneiderlin are finished.

Delph and Iwobi bit part players at best

Sidibe a waste of 12 million when we have a far better defender who will cost us nothing presently in Germany

Hopefully among the new players we get in during the close season is at least one gobby leader who is quite happy bollocking everyone in sight.

Could have won that one easily hopefully we tighten up a bit for the next few games,

Dave Williams
42 Posted 23/02/2020 at 18:56:49
John P- I. No fan of Neville but thought he was spot on with much of what he said.
This was a poor selection by the manager. Arsenal will always attack the flanks at home and Sid has shown on a number of occasions that he is not good when people run at him- Seamus should have started.
The midfield three are too slow and ponderous to play in the same team and again we have seen that before so why select them? Can we really do no better than three over thirty’s in midfield?
Siggy was shocking,pure and simple and must be dropped now. Gomes looked good with some excellent passing.
Pickford again tried hard to gift the opposition a goal- I thought we were dispensing with messing around at the back?
All told I thought this was a poor performance by all bar Baines,Holgate, Gomes and the front two. Carlo was also poor today and I only hope he has now learned a lesson or two that we have known all season.
Tony Hill
43 Posted 23/02/2020 at 18:57:21
Kieran @35, we are mentally weak. You see it every time we play an important game. We lose momentum at crucial points and phases and we're never clinical enough. Neville isn't my cup of tea either, but he's got our number.
Mark Andersson
44 Posted 23/02/2020 at 19:00:06
Gerry 31...
"Couple of players at Sheffield Utd who would fit in well if they could be prised away."

We need top top players Carlo has a big rebuilding job and as always we need to be patient...

Rob Marsh
45 Posted 23/02/2020 at 19:00:17
Steve Ferns # 19

My bloods up as I sit typing this, but however you're right we are in better position than we were a few months ago.

There was so much up for grabs today, Calvert-Lewin was the difference between them and us, they didn't play that well and neither did we (for large parts of the game), they were there for the taking and so were we.

I don't think I'm being too negative when I say "we are where we are", I'm bothered about our defence, I don't think we have any instinctually good defenders who seem to be in the right place at the right time.

Our defenders always seem to be on the wrong side, asleep or a few yards too far away. These traits you lose as a schoolboy and to be clear, being in the right place is mostly instinctual.

Even with Iwobi, Sigurdsson, Schneiderlin, delph on the pitch, the defense switching off, had Calvert-Lewin had the ability to do the basics we'd have come away with a draw at minimum.

We have to do some serious offloading and buying come the summer.

Dave Williams
46 Posted 23/02/2020 at 19:00:52
ps: Mina was fine too.
Duncan Adams
47 Posted 23/02/2020 at 19:01:11
Disappointing result (obviously). I thought Gomes was brilliant on his return and can clearly slot into 4-4-2. Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison not at their most clinical but scored a goal each and caused the defence real problems. They should only get better.

Midfield is an obvious problem and I assume will be looked at in the summer. Absolutely desperate for a pacy physical presence in the middle of the park. Gbamin – where are you???

Sigurdsson and Iwobi were awful. Schneiderlin poor. Delph the best of them with just a below-average performance. Plenty of work to do, Carlo.

Phillip Warrington
48 Posted 23/02/2020 at 19:02:27
Djibril Sidibe and Iwobi are a joke at marking players and you can contribute the first two goals to their ball watching, then the rest of the defense for the third – maybe they weren't told when the whistle is blown the game starts.

Calvert-Lewin is an honest player but that's it – he misses too many easy chances game after game. Today is a game Everton should have won.

Kean typifies why we don't 3 minutes to go picks the ball up 40 m out, running at the defense, he would make it 4 vs 3, decides to shoot from 25 m out, ball goes harmlessly out, they take their time with the goal kick... game over.

I know people will say but that's only 5 minutes of 90, but you could see the difference when Gomes came on, his decision-making when put under pressure is on a different level.

Mike Allison
49 Posted 23/02/2020 at 19:03:01
Iwobi is young enough and talented enough that he just needs some decent coaching. However, actually coaching first team players to get better doesn’t seem to be something that actually happens all that often. For a start, someone could remind him that he’s allowed to use his left foot as well as his right.

Sigurdsson and Schneiderlin are done, done and done. I’d rather see Davies and/or Baningime for the rest of the season than Schneiderlin. Sigurdsson was even worse but carries a dead ball threat so managers will always want him around.

The rest have promise, today came down to missing chances and not quite having the belief. Also, negative marks on Ancelloti for waiting so long to give Kean a go. You could see the frustration in that shot he took from too far out.

George Cumiskey
50 Posted 23/02/2020 at 19:03:44
Everyone keeps saying Ancelotti must see how poor Siggy is but he keeps getting picked and playing the full game. What is he seeing when he's the worst player on the pitch, week-in and week-out?
Conor McCourt
51 Posted 23/02/2020 at 19:04:13
Don't really know what to make of that. I didn't expect to compete so well in the game as many of our performances until now were of a much lower standard.

In addition our centre forwards made their centre backs and Keeper look like Emery was in charge again they were that rattled. Brilliant from both and at times we looked a good side.

On the other hand that was possibly Arsenals worst game under Arteta from a team who look knackered and vulnerable from the travel and game in Greece.

I've praised some of Carlo's decisions but putting Sidibe against their best player was complete lunacy. I can only think he was worried by Seamus' lack of pace but that right side was what we were afraid of beforehand and Carlo entrusted it to Sidibe and Iwobi.

Sidibe is so good going forward but he is one of the worst 'defenders' I can remember playing right back.

Tony Heron
52 Posted 23/02/2020 at 19:07:53
What a class player is Gomes. 112 days out and he comes on as a sub for 20/25 (?) minutes and he was our best player.

Sidibe is a liability, not going to waste my time commenting on our starting midfield.

Now Pickford, and I'm not meaning to start a "Pickford bashing" session, but does anyone else feel that whenever a ball comes into our box that you're expecting it to finish in the net? He never seems to win a one on one.

For Arsenal's second, he stayed on his 6-yard line, now in my amateur keeper days faced with that situation, I always aimed to get out as quickly as possible to the feet of the attacker to either get a block in or force the player out wide. Not always successfully, but I reckon I won more than I lost.

To all you coaches out there, are the tactics different today?

Gordon Crawford
53 Posted 23/02/2020 at 19:08:07
Five of these starting players aren't good enough or past their best and shouldn't play next season, but sadly some will still be here.

The five:


Only Baines from that list gets pass marks today. We still should have won that game though.

Eric Paul
54 Posted 23/02/2020 at 19:08:34
No, Jay, I said he had a decent game, which he did. Did you actually watch the game?
Rob Marsh
55 Posted 23/02/2020 at 19:09:26
Eric Paul #23,

"Calvert-Lewin frustrating? He works his bollocks off, scores, creates chances for others, and wins headers when defending corners. It's the defenders and goalkeeper (less Holgate) who should be frustrating you."

I'll add this on the end:

"And misses ridiculously easy chances from a few yards."

Have you forgotten last week's miss and big smile on his face as he did today.

Clive Rogers
56 Posted 23/02/2020 at 19:10:22
Very disappointing result in the end. Carlo should now realise that Sidibe is poor defensively, Iwobi lacks pace and can't shoot, while Richarlison loses the ball far too often, although he's always a goal threat. Sigurdsson and Schneiderlin need replacing.
Jim Bennings
57 Posted 23/02/2020 at 19:11:07
Whilst Carlo Ancelotti has the most unbelievable track record we must sometimes be allowed to criticise his tactics for what we see.

We can’t live in a society where people are too scared to voice opinion because it comes across as criticism.

I think Ancelotti got it wrong today, he needs to quickly suss that Sidibe is no defender and having a player in front of him that doesn’t work hard is suicidal.

Coleman should have started with Sidibe right wing and that would have stagnated Arsenal more.

Ancelotti also keeps picking Delph and Schneiderlin, if Silva did this he’d be destroyed, as I say, it’s not a case of coz’ it’s Carlo everything is rosy.

Another pet hate of mine, the stupid passing it out from goalkeeper to defenders, can we fuck that right off please!?

For me Ancelotti is limited with the players he has yes, but I still don’t think he’s really using what we have to the maximum or getting them playing with the same gusto we witnessed in Duncan’s one or two matches.

If Anthony Gordon is so highly rated why is he not playing more?

I love Carlo but he’s not immune to have some questions thrown at him here.

Eric Paul
58 Posted 23/02/2020 at 19:11:48
It was a great save and he didn't play last week – he was in New York.
John Boon
59 Posted 23/02/2020 at 19:13:32
I felt that we put up a decent performance apart from individual mistakes. I still think Ancelotti has done a great job and with some additions we could reach the potential that ALL Evertonians want. I still find far too many posters expect too much in such a short period of time.

I will never personally abuse Everton players on an individual basis. Valid criticism is fine but I just don't think over-the-top slagging does anything more than help soothe tatttered nerves. I would still prefer Seamus at right-back, other than that we definitely need a replacement for Sidibe.

As I said before, I rarely slag Everton players, but Sidibe is not a fully signed Everton player and I hope he never becomes one. Gomes was the best player when he came on. Bernard also did well, along with Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison.

Roger Helm
60 Posted 23/02/2020 at 19:15:48
24 years winless at Arsenal is no coincidence. Something seriously wrong with the mentality at our club.

A big summer rebuilding is needed. It is quicker to say who is good enough to keep. Holgate, Mina, Gomes, Clavert-Lewin, Richarlison... I can't think of any others.

Karl Meighan
61 Posted 23/02/2020 at 19:16:39
Great manager or not – leaving out Bernard for midfielders who he has more skill than in his little finger is baffling.

Concede 3 goals in any game, I've said it many times, you won't win many, if any.

John Keating
62 Posted 23/02/2020 at 19:16:41

I watched the game on telly.

I also thought Iwobi was gash.

Joe McMahon
63 Posted 23/02/2020 at 19:17:24
Conor - not sure if you remember but Arsenal wee even worse in the terrible 0-0 at Goodiosn a few weeks back. That was the worse Arsenal performace I've ever seen and we didn't evn score against them.

Lets be honest there is so much work to do with Evertons awful squad and trying to change Evertons images at the same time is going to take years. Carlo will have gone by then.

Mike Jones
64 Posted 23/02/2020 at 19:19:08
Interesting comments from Ancelotti on the BBC website after the game. Basically that defensively we are crap and Calvert-Lewin has to step it up another level. This guy will get it right.
Nicholas Ryan
65 Posted 23/02/2020 at 19:19:43
Rob [22],

When you begin a sentence with "I'd rather have Bolasie" then, unless the next two words are "than Coronavirus", I think you'll be wrong!

Oliver Molloy
66 Posted 23/02/2020 at 19:21:04
Another chance missed and who knows when this awful record against the likes of Arsenal will end.

We should have won this match today. Once we had that early goal, Arsenal were there for the taking and we let them back into the game when we should have taken full advantage.

I agree with Neville in that we lack the belief in these big games – to go away and win matches against the so-called Big Six, even when we are better than our opponents.

No matter how much I get myself up for these games, really deep down, I never believe we can do it and win, and I'm only a fucking fan. It has to be mental thing.

Too many players in this side who are just good enough.

Derek Taylor
67 Posted 23/02/2020 at 19:21:06
So many of our players have cost so much in fees and wages that they are destined to see their contracts out as no other club will be able to afford them. That factor alone will stifle the manager and see him on his way well before his contract is fulfilled.
Paul Jones
68 Posted 23/02/2020 at 19:22:13
Schneiderlin, Sigurdsson and Delph would not have the pace to get in a Walking Football Team. Holgate could have replaced all three together in midfield, giving better defensive cover and more threat going forward. We previously seemed to have found this to be a solution to the second biggest problem in Silva's team.

Being negative before the game proved to be accurate foresight that you would have hoped our manager would have shared. Seemed more of a Moyes-like type of team selection. Given the run of games we have, hopefully lessons have been learnt and that is the last we see of this line-up.

Eric Paul
69 Posted 23/02/2020 at 19:22:25
You're entitled to your opinion, John, but he wasn't gash – whatever that is.
Clive Rogers
70 Posted 23/02/2020 at 19:25:59
Nicholas, #65, good one.
John Keating
71 Posted 23/02/2020 at 19:26:53
Okay Eric,

It is my opinion, and by the looks of it many more, that Iwobi was very poor today, and not for the first time.

You sarcastically asked Jay if he had actually watched the game and no doubt he did.

Footy is a game of opinions and I suspect more comments than not will lend to the fact that Iwobi was gash today!

David Thomas
72 Posted 23/02/2020 at 19:27:08
Iwobi was crap.
Joe McMahon
73 Posted 23/02/2020 at 19:28:48
Oliver @66, I'm with you all the way there, I never expect to win these games either, as we never do. We have to face the harsh reality, Everton are just a midtable club, and at the moment are below Burnley, and for a while will be below Leicester and Wolves. Leicester are out of reach... (Shit, ain't it?)
Rob Marsh
74 Posted 23/02/2020 at 19:30:12
Roger Helm #60,

I agree for the most part, but Calvert-Lewin can't hit the side of the Goodison Park Main Stand from 5 feet (but can do an overhead kick).

Mina tends to have positional problems, but I'd keep him. Gomes – putting aside the emotion of his return, he hasn't been consistent enough when he has played and too many periods of anonymity.

Holgate is coming on well; if he gets a truly class defender alongside him in the summer, we can expect much from him.

We need a really good positional defender who directs the others, a Gerard Pique type who would steady the ship.

Richarlison was the star of the show... £££££££s, but hope he stays.

Justin Harris
75 Posted 23/02/2020 at 19:31:24
Eric, I've got to agree with John and other's — Iwobi was very poor. He didn't offer anything today and was, for most parts, like the invisible man out there. Admittedly, he wasn't quite as bad as Sigurdsson and Schneiderlin though!!
Phil Malone Jnr
76 Posted 23/02/2020 at 19:33:48
Can I just point out that Eric Paul #25 said Iwobi had a good game...
Eric Paul
77 Posted 23/02/2020 at 19:38:31

I asked if he watched the game as a genuine question as I believe Iwobi made a lot of defensive interceptions and pulled the full-back out of position to create space on a number of occasions. Also, in my opinion, our only crap player was Sidibe.

I'm sorry if my question caused any offence, Jay; that was not my intention.

Brian Williams
78 Posted 23/02/2020 at 19:38:46
More gutted than I thought I'd be at a loss today, due in the main to the fact that Arsenal were there for the taking. You could see their own confidence was fragile and, had we put away just a couple of the numerous chances we had, we'd have walked away with three points instead of none.

It's obvious to all where we're lacking and I hope Ancelotti addresses the problem and brings in three quality signings during the summer.

I made a forecast some weeks ago that we'd finish 10th on 48 points and I'll stick with that, though I hope I'm well wrong (in the right way).

Julian Exshaw
79 Posted 23/02/2020 at 19:40:44
There's an expression in football that 'you can't win anything with kids'. Well, you can't win anything with our starting midfield either.

We all know that Schneiderlin and Sigurdsson together in midfield simply doesn't work. Iwobi puts in a lot of effort – that has to be acknowledged – but nothing seems to come off for him. We haven't seen the best of Delph either.

I am surprised Ancelotti went with this midfield although to be fair, there isn't a whole lot of choice. Gomes coming back was the best news today but we need three more of that ilk before we can finally perform with pace and precision.

Kieran Kinsella
80 Posted 23/02/2020 at 19:41:15
Tony Herron,

I agree, every corner or incoming cross I sssume will be conceded.

Paul Tran
81 Posted 23/02/2020 at 19:41:59
Regarding a keeper, everyone on here knows my views on Pickford. If we want to cash in on him and get a bargain while we reshape the team, it might be worth looking at Fraser Forster, who is only on loan with Celtic, who don't like parting with their cash.
Dave Abrahams
82 Posted 23/02/2020 at 19:42:45
I thought we deserved a draw, but when you start a game with three players who have little energy, movement or desire to play as a team player then we didn't do too badly,

Schneiderlin reverted to the player we have seen for most of the last two seasons, Sigurdsson stayed the way he has been for most of the season, totally inadequate, and Iwobi just bluffs his way through the game kiddin' hardly anyone.

Ancelotti will improve us eventually but, the quicker him and Brands move quite a few of these players on, the faster the improvement will be.

Rob Marsh
83 Posted 23/02/2020 at 19:43:26
If that team we put out showed any measure of consistency today, we'd have won.

However, Calvert-Lewin... WTF????????????? he's testing my patience, remember the one he missed last game also?

Roger Helm
84 Posted 23/02/2020 at 19:46:06
Rob @74,

We have to disagree on Calvert-Lewin. He has always worked hard, been good in the air, and good at link-up play, and now since Carlo Ancelotti arrived, he is starting to score more goals. I think his stats now are as good as any in the league. Let's not forget that even the best strikers miss chances sometimes.

I agree Holgate is developing into a class act. He has an ability to pass out of defence – a bit like John Stones, but better defensively than Stones.

Rob Dolby
85 Posted 23/02/2020 at 19:46:41
Nic @65. Lol very good.

Maybe I am misjudging Iwobi but to me he is no better than the supposed deadwood we are trying to shift.

He is slow, got no physical presence, no positional sense, doesn't score goals and to top it off was having a laugh with Aubameyang after he scored.

I think he could have made a better effort to cut out the cross for their first goal then generally hid for the rest of the game.

He wasn't the only one underperforming. Sigurdsson stunk the house out.

Ancelotti must have seen enough of the current crop to start giving the youngsters a go.

Kieran Kinsella
86 Posted 23/02/2020 at 19:47:00
Ancelotti sounds upset. Refreshing to hear that as opposed to “knife to a gunfight, brave men, so unlucky.” As I say there, were positives but we have to set our standards high and demand better. I do feel good about the Carlo - Dunc team though I'll think we'll get there.
Kieran Kinsella
87 Posted 23/02/2020 at 19:53:20
Dave @82,

I get your point but I'd say we deserved to lose because for all the positives you can't get away with mistakes. Unless there's something out of our control like dodgy VAR then I'm of the belief the result is as deserved.

Roman Sidey
88 Posted 23/02/2020 at 19:53:56
Calvert-Lewin frustrates the life out of me. It's all good and well saying "all strikers miss chances", but his ratio of missing sitters to burying them cannot be good. Two absolute sitters today in a match Everton lose by a goal.

How Sidibe wasn't subbed before or at half-time I'll never know, but at the same time, he was having to be in two places at once because of the midfield not really working off the ball.

Rob Marsh
89 Posted 23/02/2020 at 19:55:34
Roger Helm #84,

No arguments from me about Calvert-Lewin's work rate or willingness to play for his team, but what we seen of him today is what he is!

And what he isn't is a finisher.

Tony Abrahams
90 Posted 23/02/2020 at 19:59:30
Goals change games and also people's opinions, and that was decent up to a point, much better with the ball than I anticipated we could be, but still lacking the quality that I already know we don't possess in certain key areas.

We all know we are weak mentally, but I see a change in some of our younger players, and I can also see a team-spirit being slowly forged, and we also looked the much better team once our three subs had been made.

Maybe Arsenal were tired, but not as tired as I am watching certain players in a blue shirt. But at least I'm starting to see little interchanges, little patterns, but only off a little too few of them.

That was Sigurdsson's best game for ages, which actually shows how much he's struggled this season, but it was honestly the first time I haven't struggled watching us playing away from Goodison for a long time, which is a consolation because I don't expect much of this group, whenever they don't have our home crowd behind them?

Eric Paul
91 Posted 23/02/2020 at 20:00:42
Well, Ancellotti should drop Calvert-Lewin and sell him in the summer at least it would please some in this site. Double figures who needs it, eh?
Don Alexander
92 Posted 23/02/2020 at 20:01:55
Gary Neville saying we're mentally weak is in the same league of insightfulness as saying Stevie Wonder had better not take the wheel.

Between them Carlo Ancelotti and Marcel have a huge task ahead of them to turn it round when it comes to Finch Farm mentality.

As an aside, and on a positive note, we only lost by one goal. Given that no club has conceded more goals to any other club as we have to Arsenal throughout the decades that's maybe progress, Jim, but not as we want it.

Eric Paul
93 Posted 23/02/2020 at 20:02:27

What is a finisher?

David Connor
94 Posted 23/02/2020 at 20:03:18
We need to offload Sigurdsson, Schneiderlin, Delph and Iwobi in the summer. They are absolutely dire footballers. Gomes did more in 30-odd minutes than them 4 useless bastards put together.

I actually thought Ancelotti fucked up by not starting Gomes right from the start of the 2nd half.

Maybe give Iwobi another season and that would be it if he doesn't show any improvement. The others have had more than enough chances and they have failed big time. We need a win on Sunday. Nothing less or we will end up where we are now... No-man's land.

Colin Glassar
95 Posted 23/02/2020 at 20:08:10
A complete lack of urgency in the 2nd half by certain players (Schneiderlin, Iwobi, Delph) and poor finishing killed any hope of at least a point.

Thank Christ we might miss out on Europe as this squad is nowhere near strong enough to compete in Europe.

Rob Marsh
96 Posted 23/02/2020 at 20:09:29
Tony Abrahams #90

"Weak mentally".

That's all you really had to say; it sums up the whole position we're in.

Paul Birmingham
97 Posted 23/02/2020 at 20:09:32
Sadly, the time-honoured and trusted ability for an Everton team to get mugged by themselves happened again.

Good positives, but I feel if the midfield engine room today had that little bit more belief, bite and zip, that was until Gomes, came on, Everton would have won this game at a canter.

Arsenal were mentally fatigued and why Everton weren't shooting at Leno from all angles and distances, is a common trait in all our games. Today was a six-pointer, we still had chances late in the game, to have won it, 4-5, 3-5, but the clinical decisive finishing, taking the vital chances at the vital time, is lacking.

Plenty to aim for now next week, which is must-win.

Who starts, in midfield will be interesting, but I can't see Sigurdsson, Schneiderlin and Delph starting unless we are struggling with injuries.

Sickening but sadly a sense of inevitability that we'd blow it, which we did.

Moise Kean, to me, looks like he needs a loan deal next season. I see a player, but one whose decision-making at this level isn't there yet.

If, how and when, we recruit in the summer, we must address midfield and the goalkeeping position.

Whether Calvert-Lewin can get the Lineker-type tap-ins and toe-pokes that top strikers take remains to be seen. He should have got a hat-trick today...

So now to Man Utd, Goodison will be bouncing and we can beat them.

Rob Marsh
98 Posted 23/02/2020 at 20:11:07
Eric Paul #93,

Is that a serious question?

John McFarlane Snr
99 Posted 23/02/2020 at 20:14:05
Hi John [59],

I didn't watch the game; instead, I listened to it on the radio. I regard that as watching through someone else's eyes. The impression I got was that, despite our 'quickfire start', Arsenal settled the better, and dominated proceedings, and it came as no surprise to me that they not only equalised but went on to score a second goal.

I was obviously lifted by the Richarlison goal, and hoped for a better start to the second half; from the commentary, it seems that Everton produced too little too late.

When it comes to selection, I feel certain that every player selected today will have his detractors, from Pickford in goal to whoever played wide left up front. It may have taken me a long time to come to the realisation that, while I may have some players that I favour more than others, my responsibility is to support whoever the manager puts his faith in. I don't take any pleasure from criticising individuals, but I feel that the squad we have as a whole is at the moment, not good enough.

There is no easy way to take defeat, other than to accept that it's the lot of the Football Fan, and I will be in my seat at the Park End hoping that the Gods look kindly on us.

James Stewart
100 Posted 23/02/2020 at 20:15:48
Starting team was all wrong, not for the first time. C’mon Carlo!

Iwobi was wretched. Strolls aimlessly around out of position and is even more of a liability with it.

Sidibe had a mare, how he wasn’t hooked I’ll never know.

Why drop Bernard? Arsenal are the perfect opposition for him. Weird. More points dropped against one the poorest Arsenal sides I can remember.

Tony Abrahams
101 Posted 23/02/2020 at 20:17:00
No, I didn't, Rob, because it's easy to criticise, and I saw fight and desire off a few of our younger players today.

We created loads of chances and were still going right until the end, so I will give the players praise for that, and so would a lot more people if Calvert-Lewin had scored with his header at the end.

Mike Oates
102 Posted 23/02/2020 at 20:17:17
Not sure why we defended so high up, especially with the pace on their left hand side with Aubmamyang, later joined by Saka. We were totally exposed down our right-hand side with Sidibe and Mina hopelessly caught out, but also bear in mind Iwobi's help was non-existent. Perhaps Ancelotti thought if we defended deep they would pass their way around us.

But we have definitely improved in last 2 months, certainly upfront but I still see too many average players in the team: Sidibe, Mina, Baines, Delph, Schneiderlin, and Sigurdsson.

He needs to build a team utilising Pickford, Holgate, Digne, Gomes, Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin, with Iwobi, Bernard, Kean, Gordon as a back-up. Maybe, hopefully in time, we'll see Gbamin make the grade.

So for me it's becoming clear we need a right-back, another centre-half (maybe Gibson), and a few midfield players who can go straight in and also bring through another couple of our youngsters.

Eric Paul
103 Posted 23/02/2020 at 20:23:28
Yes, Rob, it is a serious question.

Does a finisher miss from 12 yards on a regular basis? Does a finisher put in the hard yards? And does a finisher reach double figures?

Think about the answers to these questions... then think about what we have and what he would cost if we tried to buy him.

John Keating
104 Posted 23/02/2020 at 20:25:09
Paul @81,

Talking of Celtic players, one I hope Brands is looking at is Odsonne Edouard. He scores goals but contributes so much more in general play.

John Reynolds
105 Posted 23/02/2020 at 20:28:36
With all the talk of Man City's ban and the possibility of Champions League, some of us have possibly got a little bit carried away ahead of this game. There's little to be disappointed about today other than the obvious loss of all the points when we were certainly deserving of at least one.

Let's get the negatives out of the way first. Pickford is increasingly a basket case at times. A game doesn't go by without him making at least one terrible misjudgment or having a rush of blood to the head. That unnecessary hospital pass out late on was crazy.

Gylfi is a classy footballer but his form is in a trough and there's no sign of him getting out of it. As for Sidibe, Coleman is twice the defender he is. It's all very well being able to whip in a decent cross but he's constantly out of position and exposed at the back.

On the plus side, we are unrecognisable from Silva's supine side we watched until December. There's fight and belief there and we took it to them right to the death. Wonderful to see André back and already providing a sophistication and vision we haven't had since his injury.

Calvert-Lewin's goal wasn't “Championship Standard” and he is becoming the player some of us always thought he could be. This is a pretty steady upward curve we're on but there will be bumps on the road.

Let's cast our collective minds back 3 months and remember where we were. Then not only look at where we are now, but the possibilities. I'm all for European participation (no Brexiteers in Ireland) but, even if we miss out, Ancellotti and Brands can build this dream together.

Rob Marsh
106 Posted 23/02/2020 at 20:30:14
Eric Paul #103,

Forget about wonder goals, a finisher puts the easy chances away? I can't see how you would have a problem with this?

Tony Abrahams
107 Posted 23/02/2020 at 20:34:21
Don't feel well, going to bed to stretch out my aches and pains, but I'm glad I read that post @105 off JR, because he sums up my feelings perfectly.
Eric Paul
109 Posted 23/02/2020 at 20:39:35
Rob at 106,

That rules Aguero out then.

That's why...

Dave Abrahams
110 Posted 23/02/2020 at 20:51:00
Kieran (#87), I thought we deserved a draw because, despite the mistakes you so rightly draw attention to, we still created enough chances to score a couple more goals ourselves. Arsenal conceded much of the field to us in the last 20 minutes or so and defended their lead which gave us the chances which we failed to take. I think we are both right, we made too many mistakes and failed to take the chances created!!!
Peter Mills
111 Posted 23/02/2020 at 20:54:17
When there were so many flaws in midfield and defence, it seems a little strange to be criticising a striker who scored his eighth goal in 14 games.

I suspect this game will only have served to further demonstrate to Carlo where he needs to improve the team. A guy who has played with, and managed, the best in the world, will have little time for Sidibe, Iwobi, Schneiderlin, Sigurdsson, Delph. Because of contracts he will need to persevere with one or two of them, unfortunately. And our goalie was not exactly without sin today.

It’s never good to lose, but sometimes it’s instructive. The remainder of this season is all about the changes needed for next.

Stephen Meighan
112 Posted 23/02/2020 at 20:55:09
We lost the game because of poor defending and lack of concentration at the start of the second half.

Until we stop giving stupid goals away, ie, today, Newcastle, Watford etc, we will always be a mid-table team. We had chances in the second half but couldn't convert them.

Massive job for Ancelotti in the summer, sorting the defence and midfield. We must have the most pedestrian midfield in the country... it's worrying considering the money we've spent on it.

It'll be a difficult game next week against Man Utd but the home form has been good lately. COYB.

Bill Gienapp
113 Posted 23/02/2020 at 21:05:32
Well, in spite of the tough loss and obvious frustrations, I found that to be quite an entertaining match – a stark contrast to the drab, scoreless draw at Goodison over Christmas.

Of course you aren't going to achieve much when you allow three goals in a match and conceding just seconds into the second half was unconscionable, but we battled to the end, had our chances and Gomes looked great off the bench, which was a victory unto itself.

Anyway, I'm sure people are fixating on the table and our odds of securing European football, but I'm just taking this season match-by-match... trust me, it's a lot better for your mental health.

Tony Hill
114 Posted 23/02/2020 at 21:07:11
What's so annoying is that you can see us losing tempo and giving initiative to the opposition in these games.

We started excellently with the goal but, after the Iwobi effort off that fine counter-attack, we started to back away, to sag somehow. That is where the mental weakness comes in; ditto at the start of the second-half, the very time when we should have been most alert to the likelihood of Arsenal coming after us following our equaliser, and when we should have been going for their throat.

There's no steel in us, no calmness and – very often – no intelligence.

It's not just about improving the squad, it's about getting in hard and winning minds. At the moment, I don't think we have any such players, with the possible exception of Holgate (whose move out of defence today and pass to Richarlison, incidentally, was the sort of thing that reminds me of Bobby Moore).

Mike Powell
115 Posted 23/02/2020 at 21:08:25
Yes, we played well in parts, but still got beat by a poor Arsenal team. The midfield is very poor, we have missed Gomes so much.

Yes, Calvert-Lewin scored a great goal but missed easier chances — that's why he will never be a great striker.

But we are improving slowly, we need to get about five players for next season; this season is over for us.

Jay Wood

116 Posted 23/02/2020 at 21:11:59
Yep! We have been mentally fragile down the years in the face of this class of opposition, particularly on their home patch.

But were we today? I don't think so. Possession was pretty much equal. We clearly bested them in the opening 20 minutes, interrupted by the forced substitution after which they had the best of it with two goals down to our own negligence rather than their brilliance.

Arsenal's defending was as woeful as ours on the goals, but it was a bonus to go in level at halftime.

We gifted them the lead immediately at the restart, but did we wilt or look mentally frail as some allege?

I think not. Our 17 shots to their 9, 5 on target to their 4, supports that view.

We created our own problems in defence. Our offensive play created the problems in their defence. There's a subtle difference.

That doesn't equate to us being 'mentally fragile' as some claim.

Bloody annoyed we lost, but lots to continue to be encouraged by, not least the savvy manager's own honest assessment of events.

Give it time. This manager knows what is required.

Dave Williams
117 Posted 23/02/2020 at 21:12:25
Tony #90,

I usually see the game much as you do but Sigurdsson having his best game in ages?? My god, he must have been even worse than I have thought all season if today was one of his best!!

He runs around enough but his passing was dreadful, his decline this season has been dramatic and I wouldn't have him any near the first team.

Fraser Auld
118 Posted 23/02/2020 at 21:13:48
We could have got something out of that, Arsenal faded badly.

Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin are looking dangerous, both 22, be 23 next season. If we can keep them and with Kean more settled next season, we've got goals.

It's midfield that needs surgery. Too many one-paced strollers in there. If Carlo wants to keep playing 4-4-2 next season, then we really need to invest in a proper right midfielder, not Walcott and definitely not Iwobi.

Man Utd is must-win now if we're to keep the season alive...

Gerry Ring
119 Posted 23/02/2020 at 21:14:49
I really think Calvert-Lewin will continue to improve under Carlo. We need players who will give their all for their club and Calvert-Lewin is one of those.

If you look at Zaha, he plays when he's interested, which brings me to Seamus. He obliterated Zaha in the last game and still gets replaced by Sidibe who hadn't sufficient concentration to put on two socks. Funny one!

Mark Frere
120 Posted 23/02/2020 at 21:17:57
The wrong team selection and tactics were the main contributers to this defeat.

We played with a suicidal high line across the back and were badly exposed by their pace up front by their quick attacking players. Kamikaze stuff!

I thought Arsenal totally dominated the first half and had endless joy down our weak right flank against Iwobi and Sidebe.

It was only in the last half-hour of the game when I saw an improvement, when Arsenal seemed to tire and tried to protect their one goal lead and the introduction of Gomes and Bernard made a huge positive impact.

Ancelotti has improved us and has carried on the good work started by big Dunc in December... but I'm afraid Carlo got things badly wrong in today's game.

John Keating
121 Posted 23/02/2020 at 21:21:25
Of course a high finish in the Premier League and possible European football would be nice but there are a lot of other teams around us who want exactly the same. If we don't get Europe this season, unlike some, I don't think it would be a negative.

I think it is more important for the manager to assess all the players in order to decide who he wants to keep and who to bin. Rebuilding a team that has an identity and commitment to a winning mentality to start next season – to me, that should be the aim for the remainder of the season

Steavey Buckley
122 Posted 23/02/2020 at 21:25:46
Football will always be about scoring more goals than the opposition, Everton had chances in the first and second halves to have won the game, but did not take their chances. Yet, Arsenal will be more disappointed about the goals they gave away, than the goals Everton failed to stop.
Phil Rodgers
123 Posted 23/02/2020 at 21:39:13
Let's be honest, nobody would be sorry to see the back of any of that midfield 4 today.
Ivan Varghese
124 Posted 23/02/2020 at 21:48:30
Seeing signs of a good Everton team. Previous years, they would have capitulated when 2-1 down. This time, they were committed and they have the confidence, now players can shine.

I think its taking shape. We had more chances to score although the Gunners had more possession. That says a lot in the transformation. Once again decision-making on the back 4 let us down.

Sean Callaghan
125 Posted 23/02/2020 at 22:03:41
I'm as pissed off as anyone at that performance but I really despair of some folk on here. I will never get the Calvert-Lewin bashing that some people seem to relish.

Really, what is it that you have against a young lad who gives his all, who cost us next to nothing and is currently the Everton player with the most goals per season than anyone for donkey's years (Lukaku aside, who's treatment on these pages by some I won't go into).

John Reynolds
126 Posted 23/02/2020 at 22:16:49
The other point I should have included in earlier is that Arsenal got very lucky when Kolasinac clattered into Sidibe and had to go off. On such moments, games can change and, after a comfortable opening, the dynamic shifted.

All of Arsenal's threat came down their left hand side once Saka came on. Pace and passing ability caught us out and we couldn't react in time.

Clive Rogers
127 Posted 23/02/2020 at 22:24:46
It is difficult to decide exactly what Iwobi's position is. He is certainly not a winger as he doesn't have the pace. In midfield, it is very rare that he runs with the ball without losing it and can't take a defender on. I feel he will only ever be a squad player.
Jay Harris
128 Posted 23/02/2020 at 22:44:22
Isn't it amazing that, with so many "useless" players, we were at least the equal of Arsenal at their place and had the home supporters baying for the final whistle. We definitely deserved at least a point.

I know it's disappointing when we were looking for the 3 points but that's football. Sometimes you need luck and today it deserted us at certain times.

Phil Lewis
129 Posted 23/02/2020 at 23:21:18
Sidibe was out of position for two of their goals. Iwobi should have closed the cross down for the other. He was also guilty of twice shooting wildly over, seemingly intent on scoring against his old team, with team mates clearly better positioned, waiting for the pass which never came. An industrious performance, but far too often carrying the ball into dead ends.

I realise that the manager wants to assess everyone at his disposal, but why Ancelotti persists with Sigurdsson is beyond me. Surely he must have seen through his charade by now...? Bernard would be a better option in his role every time for me. He is tenacious, can run with the ball, create, pass accurately and score goals. All the qualities that Sigurdsson lacks.

Christy Ring
130 Posted 23/02/2020 at 23:40:51
When you have a midfield of Schneiderlin, Sigurdsson, Delph and Iwobi, what chance have you got of winning? Absolute shite.

I also cannot understand why Ancelotti started Sidibe, who can't defend, ahead of Coleman, who was superb last week, against Zaha.

Baines has been a great servant, but as always, how many times does he sit back, and allow the attacker, to cross the ball? Shocking.

Mike Price
131 Posted 23/02/2020 at 23:41:38
Calvert-Lewin has a self-satisfied attitude. Soon as he scored today, he was pleased with himself and that was his work done. It's not a winner's attitude and it would be great if we sold him for a good fee in the summer.
Kevin Molloy
132 Posted 23/02/2020 at 23:43:53
Carlo is a wonderful manager, but he isn't a magician. I thought before the game I couldn't see a striker as dangerous as Aubameyang not scoring against our defence, and sadly he got two. But all of that pales into insignificance alongside Gomes'ssublime second-half performance. Richarlison also is a world-class player.

It's funny, watching Arsenal today you can see that the student has learnt from the master... cos that was a Moyes performance to a tee. Nervous and hanging on for grim death for the three points with 30 minutes to go on your own pitch.

John Reynolds
133 Posted 24/02/2020 at 00:17:29
Mike #131, Do you really believe that?

This is a young man who has battled hard over several seasons and managers, been played in different positions and systems, and has come through all that at only 22 years old, is on 12 league goals, 9 of which have come since somebody (Dunc) recognised how to get the best out of him.

And now you want to get rid? I'm sure he'll prove you very wrong over the next few years.

Simon Dalzell
134 Posted 24/02/2020 at 00:21:20
Gomes was an absolute breath of fresh air. Is it any surprise we lost with THAT midfield? We have waited on his recovery using the same useless, slow (and in some cases, lazy) midfielders. He put them to shame. Not buying at least one midfielder is inexcusable.
John Voigt
135 Posted 23/02/2020 at 00:30:21
Calvert-Lewin is a quality striker. He's only getting better the more he plays.

I'm hoping he winds up with 20 league goals for the season... It's possible the way he's currently playing.

Paul Jones
136 Posted 24/02/2020 at 00:39:48
Unfortunately, in this game, because we had such a static midfield, for most of the game, Calvert-Lewin was back to playing as a hard-running forward like Dirk Kyut. Hence the finishing was similar.

Forced to compensate for the complete lack of movement and urgency across the whole of our midfield. If you want him to finish more clinically, like Aubameyang, then we do need a clear out of the four who played in midfield today. They give us very little and continue to cost us plenty.

John Raftery
137 Posted 24/02/2020 at 00:40:27
Kevin (#132),

Is it not possible that, in due course, we will find that Arteta also learned something from Guardiola. That is once he has better players available, especially in defence.

Mark Wilson
138 Posted 24/02/2020 at 00:48:39
I really hated watching that nonsense against a poor Arsenal side by their very high standards. But frankly, the moment you saw Iwobi, Delph, Sigurdsson and Schneiderlin starting, you had to be worried.

Like most here, I'm a huge fan but it's stupid that we feel we can't voice a criticism of Carlo. How he sees that four as good enough to start the game together is beyond me. Slow, backward passing was the result. Sigurdsson spent the 2nd half passing to the opposition when just one accurate ball would have produced a great chance on goal. He's having an utter ‘mare of a season.

True it was a cracking finish for the first from Calvert-Lewin but that can't make it okay to miss two sitters in the second?

7th place is very likely to produce a European spot; still possible. Tho unlikely looking at fixtures. Forget all this stuff about the Europa League being too much for us. Before today, there was a real chance of 5th or 6th but all those around us won to move away and it's now a massive hill to climb.

Leadership on the pitch? We just don't have it and it is such a weakness.

I know this is impatient talk but I'm not bothered. Today, we needed to win or certainly not lose and, as ever, we raise hopes high then smash it all to bits.

I look on utterley gobsmacked at those producing long lists of prayer recruitment. Haven't you understood we will have such little scope to spend on the seven or eight needed, thanks to FFP and the Premier League accounting rules.

I love Carlo and his team but they face a truly massive task turning this lot around and a decent start would be to stop playing three or four who are desperately out of form and just not good enough.

Phil Lewis
139 Posted 24/02/2020 at 00:56:01
To all critics of Calvert-Lewin, I predict that, in 2 years from now, both he and Holgate will be hotly pursued by the Spanish giants, Real and Barca. They are completing their respective football apprenticeships and passing with flying colours. Two young men progressing with every game.

With the return of a fully fit Gomes, all that remains now for us to create a solid backbone, is the signing of an accomplished attacking central midfielder and an experienced keeper to give Pickford competition.

Derek Thomas
140 Posted 24/02/2020 at 01:13:18
No Midfield and people wonder why the opposition forwards are running into our box for one on ones, free shots and headers where you don't even have to jump, just nod your head at it.

Its been the same since Koeman and probably before – we haven't got a proper a midfield unit, that performs as one, moves about the field like a murmuration of starlings in the sky; we just have crap individuals who get in each other's way.

What number false dawn are we on now? I've lost count...

I dread Liverpool coming in a few weeks, cue another public humiliation... and if they win or have won the Premier League and we have to do that guard of honour shite, well that's just the icing on the shite season's cake for me.

This rant brought to you by the good people at Bottlers & Shite Ltd.

John Boon
141 Posted 24/02/2020 at 03:20:25
Mike 131... Totally out of line. A scoring record is goals put in the net. Even if he missed some some sitters, remember he was actually in the right place in order to miss them.

Since Ancelotti came, Calvert-Lewin has improved on the art of poaching. I completely agree that he misses good chances but he is no longer considered as the main reason that we are not winning.

I think he has done really well to put up with so much unfair criticism from fans who expect him to never miss a goal chance. Our main problems today were defensive.

Darren Hind
142 Posted 24/02/2020 at 03:42:14
I thought Calvert-Lewin was getting a kicking on this thread, but having looked back most of it is coming from the same poster.

I think most people will have seen where our problems really are. Today's performance was a perfect illustration. We can't keep giving ourselves mountains to climb. We'd have needed to score four to win at The Emirates... How many teams have done that down the years?

Sorry, but if we are to move to the next level, Yerry Mina simply has to go. He doesn't seem to be able to form a partnership with anybody. He was all over the shop again yesterday. Him and Sidibe (another who needs firing out of a cannon) looked like they had never met yesterday. Both of these guys have things in their game which catch the eye, but they are exposed every time the chips are down. Look at the positioning of both men for the goals yesterday. Schoolboy stuff.

I saw both Vardy an Aguero miss very easy chances this week. Neither one of them are in the same kind of form Calvert-Lewin has found since he was given a partner. People are calling his header under heavy challenge a "sitter", but I don't think Mane, Salah, Aguero or Vardy for that matter, would have even won the header.

People say we have never replaced Romelu Lukaku's goals. He averaged 17 Premier League goals per season with us – a figure which is inflated by one incredible season. I wonder how many of Calvert-Lewin's critics would bet against him getting another 5 goals and matching that figure this season?

His contribution and all-round game is already better than Lukaku's; it's only a matter of time before he starts scoring more too.

At 22, Calvert-Lewin is already worth fifty times what we paid for him... and some want to get rid.


Billy Dawber
143 Posted 24/02/2020 at 05:20:44
I can't see this team beating any of the top 6 for the next few years if things don't change. Too many ball losers and again stray passes. Goalie needs a brain transplant... and as for Sigurdsson, Schneiderlin, Iwobi, Delph, and Sidibe, god only knows what the fuck they're playing at.

Nice to see Gomes showing them how to string a few passes together correctly and getting them to the man it was intended for. Our poor manager will need a good clear out to get this squad anywhere near good enough to challenge for trophies.

This season needs to end now. Could get embarrassing in the next few weeks but aye – that's being an Evertonian for you, I guess.

Paul Setter
144 Posted 24/02/2020 at 06:42:54
Good to very good players at the club: Holgate, Digne (not often enough but it's there), Gomes, Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison... and that's it. The rest are absolutely dire or past it.

That midfield yesterday you will struggle to find 4 worse players at any side in the Premier League; add Sidibe and Pickford in the mix and what you have is a very average side.

I was gutted Everton signed Iwobi and my feelings have been proved correct – he is absolutely atrocious and easily Everton's worst player by some distance – and that is going some when you have Schneiderlin and Delph at the club.

Big Carlo has a huge task clearing out the muck from the club and I hope that talentless clown that Everton got their pants pulled down for from Arsenal is the first out the door.

Mike Gaynes
145 Posted 24/02/2020 at 07:09:11
John #141, exactly. The biggest improvement in Calvert-Lewin's game is his ability to anticipate and commit to a run or a movement in the area to reach opportunities that usually slipped past him in the past. And he has the confidence that he can finish those chances.

He's got 14 goals so far this season after 8 all last season, and that combination of anticipation and movement is the primary reason. He's not Aubameyang as a finisher, never will be, but he's getting the job done better than any of the strikers we were rumored to be pursuing last summer. Sometimes the best deal is the one you don't make.

#131 - "Self-satisfied attitude"?? Pure crapola. Nobody in this club works harder. Selling a rapidly improving striker would be idiocy.

Paul Smith
146 Posted 24/02/2020 at 07:19:38
Mike Price, I totally disagree with your post. You saying he doesn't want to score more than one goal or even win?

He was frustrating yesterday but to say he downed tools after getting one goal is too much.

Mike Gaynes
147 Posted 24/02/2020 at 07:26:41
Darren #142: "Sorry, but if we are to move to the next level, Yerry Mina simply has to go."

Sorry, but I'm ringing the BS buzzer. You're the one who's been insisting for more than two frustration-filled years that everybody had to be patient with Calvert-Lewin. You've been shown right, as finally this season he has come good.

After 123 first-team appearances.

Mina has 44 appearances, in a position with a much steeper learning curve. And most of those appearances were under a manager who knew as much about coordinating defenses as I know about coaching opera singers.

Mina is smart, fearless and a relentless worker with a top attitude, all the characteristics you like in Calvert-Lewin, and he finally has a manager who can help him learn the complexities of the position. He's been outstanding at times this season, and today was only his second really poor performance.

Give him the same chance.

Derek Knox
148 Posted 24/02/2020 at 07:32:25
I was convinced we would get something out of this game and, after a great start, I thought that would be the case. It was evident today that we lack a decent midfield, and the defence is not the greatest either.

Still, second half looked promising after Gomes and Bernard were introduced, and later Moise Kean. For all the possession, they couldn't convert at all, they had some good and lucky saves.

I can't make my mind up over Sidibe, he is either good or awful or somewhere in between; maybe we should buy him, then sell on for a profit, and get Jonjoe Kenny back. Mina still guilty of ball-watching for a couple of their goals and Mason was not his usual self today.

We definitely need a class midfielder to complement Gomes. I see, after a couple of decent performances, Schneiderlin reverted to what he does best... we need to get shut in the Summer.

Paul Tran
149 Posted 24/02/2020 at 07:37:09
I've had the pleasure of seeing some proper goalscorers in the flesh: Royle, Latchford, Sharp, Lineker. All had one thing in common: they missed chances.

I could only watch the highlights of yesterday's game. It looked to me like it was the defending that cost us the points, not the striker that's been doing his job.

Paul Tran
150 Posted 24/02/2020 at 07:52:58
I'd persist with Mina, let Sidibe go and bring Kenny back after his good season of games in Germany.

I'm reserving judgement on Gomes, until I've seen him a few times under a decent coach, as I've always thought of him as good in flashes.

Chatting to a Gooner mate last night, we shared the view that it was a good game that either side could have won.

For me, yesterday showed why we're on a good run of form and that we need to up our level to build on it.

Colin Glassar
151 Posted 24/02/2020 at 08:01:33
Until we get rid of waste-of-spacers like Schneiderlin, Iwobi, Walcott et al, we will never win these types of games. It's like playing with 10 men, or less, with these jokers on the pitch.
Derek Knox
152 Posted 24/02/2020 at 08:11:25
Colin @11, yes a valid point but contracts may dictate otherwise. I was shocked when we bought Iwobi at the end of the last window, and even more shocked when I found out what we had paid for him.

He has hardly had a decent game with us when he has been available, so definitely a black mark in Marcel Brands's Transfer Book. He wasn't alone yesterday as you say with Schneiderlin reverting to type after a couple of false dawns.

It's almost unbelievable to think that FFP will prohibit us in the next window when you analyse the mis-matched squad we have. Looking on the brighter side, if we can offload a couple (even at a loss) and get a couple of quality players in, I think we could be part-way to being transformed.

Ray Roche
153 Posted 24/02/2020 at 08:15:07
Mike @131

You should be embarrassed posting rubbish like that. Have you ever been to the match?

Kevin Prytherch
154 Posted 24/02/2020 at 08:31:44
17 players have hit double figures so far this year in the premier league, of those 17...

Man City have 3 of them
Liverpool 2
Man Utd 2
Everton 2

No other team has 2 players in double figures...

Also, the top 5 under-25 Premier League goalscorers since 2018 (excluding penalties) reads in order...
1. Richarlison
2. Rashford
3. Martial
4. Calvert-Lewin
5. Jesus

Maybe it's time we started focussing on other areas of the team as our front two are clearly performing very well.

Les Moorcroft
155 Posted 24/02/2020 at 08:31:56
Iwobi has been telling us all week how much better he has become. At what... chess? Do your talking with your feet, lad. Or do your walking.
Kevin Prytherch
156 Posted 24/02/2020 at 08:35:38
Perhaps more telling...

Our top 3 assist makers are:
Digne 5
Sidibe 4
Holgate 3 (joint with Richarlison).

Considering the amount of money we’ve spent on wingers and midfielders, this makes very poor reading.

Paul Tran
157 Posted 24/02/2020 at 08:40:19
Kevin, that assist stat (and I'm not one for stats) is very, very telling. It also tells us plenty about the dysfunctional team set-up under Silva. This must change under Carlo.
Mike Gwyer
158 Posted 24/02/2020 at 09:06:48

Defensively we are still wayward, Sidibe over Coleman, not sure what formula Carlo uses to pick his right-back but I'm hoping it's not a toss of coin. I thought Coleman did well against Zaha last game. The fucking about with the ball at the back is really quite laughable, we have got to be the worst team in the league for passing the ball. Shockingly bad.

Gomes will replace Sigurdsson, what a difference we were when that boy came on! And as for Sigurdsson, he seems to have found a new level at the bottom of the barrel. We will always score goals – 2 at The Emirates with numerous chances going begging tells you that – but defensively we are still shite.

Mike Benjamin
159 Posted 24/02/2020 at 09:10:32
From the moment Gomes came on the pitch, he dictated the game and was instrumental in pushing us 20 yards further up the field. Consistency for him is going from good to excellent each game. What he has gone through may just be the spark that gets him there.

We missed too many chances yesterday with Iwobi (when it was 1-0) and Calvert-Lewin. Score 2 goals in a game and you don't expect to lose. The big problem yesterday was the defence, we need a right-back who can defend and 2 centre-halves who react better. I hope that can be achieved with the players we already have.

I would like to see us buy a quality centre-half and move Holgate into midfield with Gomes as he is quicker and can at least tackle.

Dave Abrahams
160 Posted 24/02/2020 at 09:25:19
Mike (159),

Gomes was excellent when he came on and certainly improved us, but Arsenal went back on defence and decided to defend their lead rather than add to it and that gave us the chance to move further up the field.

The attack might need a little help with another striker but no coach in the world will improve the midfield and the back four with the present squad. Even the most passionate Evertonian with his best blue-tinted glasses on must realise that six plumbers working 12-hour shifts couldn't repair all the leaks in that defence.

Ancelotti's face, after each goal conceded, showed how much he realised that. He's got the biggest job he has ever faced getting us into a better place and standing in the Premier League.

Jay Evans
161 Posted 23/02/2020 at 09:50:36
Eric, no offence taken mate.
James Newcombe
162 Posted 24/02/2020 at 10:04:46
Wasn't Sigurdsson playing left-midfield? He's barely ever had a good game there (which Koeman figured out after ⅔ of a season!).

Iwobi is too slow to play as a wideman. Maybe he'd work in a 4-3-3 but not as someone who has to bomb up and down the flank all game. Theo is miles ahead of him for me.

For both of these players, unless they become second/supporting strikers, I don't really see how they fit into a 4-4-2 system.

Mike Doyle
163 Posted 24/02/2020 at 10:05:58
Dave [160] I would hope (and expect) Carlo has a very good idea of what is needed. The frustration for us will will be how many transfer windows it takes to get there given the long contracts and big money that those who need to be replaced are on. My guess is that his primary focus in the summer will be on 1-2 midfield players and a centre-back.
Clive Rogers
164 Posted 24/02/2020 at 10:15:19
Iwobi always looks to me like he has put his boots on the wrong feet.
Conor McCourt
165 Posted 24/02/2020 at 10:16:07
Mike @147,

Like you I think Mina has on the whole has been a decent addition given it's his first full season in reality. I believe Darren is sometimes on point and sometimes way over the top in his criticism of Yerry. I would be more on your side, that Mina has a lot of scope to improve, but I also think he needs to.

However, if we are playing BS poker you have not only 'raised' Darren but perhaps went 'all in' when attributing his lack of progress to Silva. Under Marco this term, he was our best player and, considering he had to play with the unsuitable Keane, and that under Silva we pressed higher in midfield, leaving our defence more exposed, his performances were of a very high standard.

Since Carlo has come in, Yerry has in the main been partnered by Holgate on his favoured right side, with Coleman generally on the right in tough games, and a midfield two who are tasked with protecting and don't press high.

Mina's form has suffered under the new management when it really should be improving considering Carlo is giving the team more balance and less vulnerability (with the exception of yesterday when playing a high line).

When I look around at the players, many have improved with the changes in system and method Carlo has introduced. Yerry should be high on that list but he is regressing for whatever reason and has been shaky in many of the recent matches. Yerry must take individual accountability for this as he certainly can't blame Carlo and attributing it to Marco is nonsensical.

Martin Mason
166 Posted 24/02/2020 at 10:30:58
For me it wasn't a bad performance against a good Arsenal side who have some very sharp players, we must acknowledge that their goals were very special too. A case of us looking more dangerous than Arsenal in attack but also more vulnerable than them in defence. Add to this that we're trying to find our best side and I'm sure now that he knows that Sidibe at full-back isn't it.

Should have bought a good midfielder in January? Who would that have been then? Who was available and better than we have. Give the club some credit, they know what we need and what we can afford. Getting it is a very difficult thing to do now, especially given the mess we have made of buying midfielders.

George Cumiskey
167 Posted 24/02/2020 at 10:37:46
For me, Seamus should've come on at half-time in place of Iwobi as all the problems were coming down our right flank.

And how Sigurdsson keeps getting picked and playing the full game is beyond me, he brings absolutely to the cause.

I think Carlo has some big questions to answer.

Martin Mason
168 Posted 24/02/2020 at 10:48:07
Seems a good idea to get Kenny back for next season. He's good defensively. The key thing may be a good right-side midfielder who can cover the right-back better.

George, Sigurdsson is the problem – not the solution; he weakens the team in every way.

Dave Williams
169 Posted 24/02/2020 at 11:01:54

I agree with all you say about Calvert-Lewin but do you not think Mina's problem is having to try to cover for Sidibe who is not a right-back? Yes, he is decent going forward but it seems most teams are singling him out as our main weakness at the back. Seamus should have played yesterday (not being wise after the event as I picked him in my pre-match post).

That midfield four yesterday is not good enough defensively and lacks creativity. Gomes improved it immediately and Delph wasn't too bad but never good enough to start regularly.

I have no problem with the failure to buy in January as we have wasted way too much money on panic buys. I agree that Holgate and Gomes would be worth a try together – Holgate was class again yesterday – and Sigurdsson should be relegated to the bench as he continues to be awful.

Someone has to get a grip of Pickford. He wasn't helped yesterday by the farting around with passes in the 6-yard box but he looks a calamity waiting to happen and I do wonder if he is spreading unease amongst his defence which is not helping their performance?

Carlo must surely have realised now that he cannot base his midfield around Sigurdsson, Schneiderlin and Delph and that until Kenny returns he should play Coleman in the next few games against the “big” teams – Man Utd will rip Sidibe apart if he plays and we all saw what Mane and Robertson did to him! I would not spend any money on Sidibe – we can do better!

Conor McCourt
170 Posted 24/02/2020 at 11:05:13
Great stuff, Kevin (154,156). Just shows you how well our front boys have done in that company. I hope your stats @155 weren't that graphic that they had to be deleted.

Sorry I'll get my coat.

Brent Stephens
171 Posted 24/02/2020 at 11:14:25
Disappointing not to get at least a point, especially after taking the lead so early (too early?!) and after fighting back to level things just before the break. But this is a team, nay club, which is going places, IMO. The atmosphere at away games has changed, even in defeat, since Carlo arrived. I know that for one or two he's not their cup of tea, but the players are developing well under him, some individually, all as a unit.

Without denying any negatives, I always come away with the positives; and again, yesterday, there were those positives of a team that battled to the end, another solid Holgate performance, another encouraging performance upfront from Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin (with a bit of luck we might have converted one or more of those agonizingly-close chances near the end) and an excellent cameo performance from Gomes.

Brian Harrison
172 Posted 24/02/2020 at 11:19:41
I think most posters on here have identified the problems, and where we need strengthening. I am sure Carlo sees the same thing as we are and I am sure, where money allows, he will make the necessary changes in the summer.

We have all said the midfield has been far too weak, irrespective of who is picked to play in these positions. Schneiderlin, Delph, Sigurdsson, Iwobi, Walcott and Bernard are just not good enough. I didn't include Davies as he is still learning but he will have to improve at a quicker rate than he has this season if he is to have any sort of future at Everton.

Obviously Carlo has seen enough of Keane to know he isn't going to be part of the defensive set-up going forward. I like many was disappointed that Carlo picked Sidibie ahead of Coleman, especially considering how well Seamus kept Zaha quiet in our last game. Sidibe just looks to me as if he has a mistake in him in every game.

Also, many on here would like a change of goalkeeper, but I think with there being so many deficiencies in this squad, Carlo might give Pickford the benefit of the doubt to start next season.

So that's all the negatives out the way, but there were also some positives: again Mason Holgate is proving every week he is possibly our most consistent defender. While Mina needs to improve, I can see his partnership with Holgate getting better with time. Let's face it, they haven't played together that often.

Great to see the best midfield player at the club return to action from his injury. Without doubt, maybe if Gomes had been on from the start, then we might have won this game. His range of passing is on a different level to our other midfield players.

Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison are forming a decent partnership up top. Yes, Calvert-Lewin missed a couple of chances yesterday but tell me a striker that doesn't. Carlo has said Calvert-Lewin needs to improve but I think he is pleased with his progress so far, and again Richarlison is a player we need to keep hold of.

Sam Hoare
173 Posted 24/02/2020 at 11:26:31
Great game to attend. Frustrating result.

I think our needs are clear. A mobile centre-midfielder who can cover ground quickly, make tackles and pass progressively. A fast, strong right-back who can defend as well as he can attack (I don't think we should buy Sidibe, he's decent but not good enough defensively for a top 6 team). A right winger who creates and scores goals. And a dominant, quick ball playing centre-back.

Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison as a striking duo is an exciting future. Holgate has talent for sure. Mina can do better I hope. Bernard and Iwobi are both decent creators, I believe. Digne is quality. Gomes is capable of controlling the game. Gbamin I reckon will be good.

There is reason for optimism.

Brent Stephens
174 Posted 24/02/2020 at 11:31:08
Dave #169, I agree about Sidibe. Good going forward but defensively a liability. That space he leaves behind him is being exploited either by the ball over the top (witness the rs successful use of that tactic) and / or the pacey winger going past him with the ball.

I feel for Mina having to look at that wide open space behind Sidibe and wondering whether, and when, to move towards that space. As others have said, Coleman at right-back and Sidibe ahead of him would be a better prospect. And I don't see Iwobi as a wide player.

Laurie Hartley
175 Posted 24/02/2020 at 11:38:56
I have just watched the game after putting it off all day because I was so disappointed with the result.

I like what Carlo Ancellotti is doing with these players but – like Jim Bennings @ 57 – I think he should have started Coleman at right-back with Sidibe, not Iwobi, in front of him.

I would also have kept Schneiderlin on instead of Sigurdsson, who wasn't at the races yet again.

I wouldn't write off Sidibe or Mina because they both have “the will to win” but there was one player on that pitch today who I cannot recall ever having seen go for a genuine 50/50 ball.

On the up-side, my view is the mentality of the team is improving. In the last 3 seasons, they would have folded in the second half but they kept at it right up to the death and deserved a draw.

Dave Abrahams
176 Posted 24/02/2020 at 11:40:30
Mike (163),

Yes, I agree with your post, particularly the part of the frustration getting rid of the poor performers on wages they will never get at any other club. I also think, and hope, you are spot on with who Ancelotti will bring in: one or two midfielders and a centre-back.

Dave Lynch
177 Posted 24/02/2020 at 11:41:37
FFS... Some of the posts on here...

Ancelloti takes us from near relegation to Europa League contenders, we lose a game, and the armchair managers are out in force.

"The line up was wrong"
"The tactics were shite"
"The substitutions were wrong"
It's not as if he knows what he's doing is it, what's he ever won? Who's he ever managed?

Do you not think he knows we are average, with a fair smattering of average players?

Compared to the last 4 useless clowns we had, the man's performing miracles. Thank the Lord we have him and Bill Kenwright didn't get his wish and re-employ the ginger loser.

Wait for the new season; you will see a totally different Everton.

Robert Tressell
178 Posted 24/02/2020 at 11:46:13
Centre-backs will improve with a fit Gbamin ahead of them. Gomes may help to bring Bernard and Iwobi into games – and improve their assist stats (and I am optimistic that Iwobi will come good once he settles in).

I would really like to see someone left-footed on right-wing who operates as a playmaker. Odegaard would be brilliant but is probably out of reach. That's what I think our first 11 (assuming Gbamin and Gomes return) is missing most.

Danny Baily
179 Posted 24/02/2020 at 11:52:54
I enjoyed the match. We created plenty of chances.

For me, it highlighted the difference between the two clubs at present. We have the better manager and they have the better players. Ancelotti would have Arsenal in the top five by now had he been appointed there. Conversely, Arteta would likely have made a stuttering start to life at Everton and we'd still be looking over our shoulders.

The season is over and we should be glad of it. The only thing we've had to play for since October has been avoiding the trap door and we've seemingly done that.

Had we been able to beat Liverpool's kids things might have been different, but we're simply not good enough. Roll on next season.

Daniel A Johnson
180 Posted 24/02/2020 at 12:26:48
Calvert-Lewin is only going to get better and better.

As Gary Neville said yesterday on commentary, he has suffered as he's been asked to play the lone striker role so often, but only a handful of strikers in world football can play that role well. Now he's playing a more orthodox striker's role, look at the goal return.

You only have to compare him to Moise Kean to see they are light-years apart. Sure, Calvert-Lewin will miss a few – he's a rough diamond but, as Darren said, look at the best – they also miss them too.

As Darren also pointed out, he's close to Lukaku's season average already.

The problem is with the casual defending of our defenders, they are slack, lazy and lack determination and focus. Mina has the physical presence to defend like a lion but he just swans around like a big goofball.

Tony Abrahams
181 Posted 24/02/2020 at 12:35:08
Some very good thoughtful posts, and then some ludicrous ones as well imo, which shows that to some people, that football is just all about “the result” and the only thing to judge absolutely everything on. (Maybe it is...)

I would have gone along with Conor, because I also think Mina has regressed since Ancelotti became our manager, but Dave W has given a good reply, and possibly also gave us the reason why Mina hasn't looked as good for a while.

I honestly did think it was Sigurdsson's best game for a long time yesterday, Dave, but that's saying very little, except highlighting how much Sigurdsson has struggled all season.

A fetch-and-carry midfielder would greatly improve our team imo, but I still saw real improvement for the first time in a long time yesterday, especially when Gomes and Bernard both came on, but I don't expect real progress until we get rid of the static players right across the middle of our team.

Roger Helm
182 Posted 24/02/2020 at 12:56:33
BBC Website:

Vardy 17 goals, 129 minutes/goal
Aubameyang 17 " " 130 " "
Aguero 16 " " 84 " "
Ings 15 " " 125 " "
Saleh 14 " " 141 " "
Rashford 14 " " 134 " "
Abraham 13 " " 151 " "
Calvert-Lewin 12 " " 146 " "

So only Aguero scores significantly more frequently than Dominic.

It's not his fault we lost. You can't concede three times anywhere and expect to win.

Robert Tressell
183 Posted 24/02/2020 at 13:00:32
Some timely reminders. We probably are overlooking astonishing progress from Calvert-Lewin since Silva got the boot. 12 goals in 25 games is a very good return so far for the season. I can't be bothered figuring out his stats since Silva but they're obviously very good indeed.

I know he missed chances but he scored – again. He's 8th in the list of U-23 scorers in the big leagues around Europe behind Werner, Sancho, Mbappe, Rashford, Abraham, Osimhen and Dembele. The latter two are only just ahead of him playing for top sides in an inferior league. Everyone misses chances.

Personally I think it's worth persisting with Mina, Iwobi and Pickford (all heavily criticised) because they are talented and have had the misfortune to have been bedded in while we were a shambles. Give them a chance under the new management with a proper pre-season and they might all improve like Calvert-Lewin.

Rob Hooton
184 Posted 24/02/2020 at 13:03:23
I thought we played really well and were very unlucky to lose, the defensive lapses cost us dearly.

At least we look like scoring and creating chances, I think we are on the up.

Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
185 Posted 24/02/2020 at 13:27:11
And given the news from Valladolid, perhaps we have another goal machine for next season.

SANDRO SCORED AGAIN!!! That is two for him this season.

Colin Malone
186 Posted 24/02/2020 at 13:33:53
I’ve been watching a young scouse lad at Wigan. A young midfielder, who can do a lot better than Sigurdsson and Schneiderlin. He's name is Joe Williams.

Yes, the Everton Player of the Season for the Under-23s, who was allowed to leave after coming back from a bad injury. I thought he was on loan at Wigan but we gave him to Big Joe's son for a pittance. Why?

Peter Warren
187 Posted 24/02/2020 at 13:43:25
I just think the mentality of the team is weak and fragile. We conceded what I thought was a very good goal and when Arsenal was building pressure. Thereafter, the mentality of team in my opinion conceded two very sloppy goals and could have been more. I didn't see anybody stand up in that period.

We just don't seem to hate conceding goals and have the will to win.

That's my take on our team.

Mike Benjamin
188 Posted 24/02/2020 at 14:00:18
Dave #160. You are right, Arsenal decided to sit more in the last half hour which only highlights even more how impressive Gomes was with forward balls threaded through a congested midfield and defence. There was one particular pass, the one where the keeper got to the ball just before Richarlison, which was fantastic vision.

With the players we have in forward areas, Gomes could be the one that makes the last few games of the season very interesting.

Andy Crooks
189 Posted 24/02/2020 at 14:02:52
Dave @ 177. If Carlo was infallible, he'd still be manager of Chelsea. You actually think he had the line-up spot on, do you? It was poor stuff by the coach.

He is a great coach and I am glad he is OUR coach but the team selection was, to put it kindly, strange. The way the game unfolded confirmed that.

Paul Hewitt
190 Posted 24/02/2020 at 14:20:53
Andy @189.

Carlo is trying out his squad to see which players he wants for next season. That's why you will see him change his team from time to time. I wouldn't expect many of this squad to be here next season anyway.

David Hallwood
191 Posted 24/02/2020 at 14:34:41
Iwobi's coming in for some stick and, whereas the criticism is fair on yesterday's showing, it must be remembered that he's playing out of position.

As for Sidibe, he's the epitome of a modern full-back, ie, good going forward... doesn't know how to defend. Therefore, to keep him, we would need a quick mobile centre-midfielder to cover him.

All-in-all, positives signs, but sadly I've got to agree with Gary Neville about our attitude when it comes to going to 'big' teams, especially when these days, Arsenal aren't that much bigger.

Si Cooper
192 Posted 24/02/2020 at 14:52:17
Seems that some had unrealistic expectations for yesterday's game. There was no reason for people to think we were nailed on for a win, so why so much negativity? You could definitely make a case that we actually deserved at least a draw.

Some need some footballing education. Sidibe seems to be getting all the blame for two goals, which is ridiculous. For Aubameyang's first, it was the whole defensive line that was at fault; keeping too high a line whilst Luis had far too much time to pick his moment. Sidibe shouldn't be singled out just because he was the player nearest to Aubameyang's run. Aubameyang could have made that run anywhere across the pitch and gotten the same result, so it's a collective failure – not an individual's.

On Aubameyang's second, it is a defensive risk to let an attacker have too much space but it happens all the time because it's actually very hard to not lose contact periodically. Normally, the defender gets away with it as the ball in isn't always in the attacker's favour. Sidibe was at least goal side. The other major factor was allowing the cross to come into the danger area in the first place, so Baines is just as culpable for that one.

So Sidibe just has partial blame for two of the goals and nothing for the first. That's hardly worthy of ignoring the positives he contributed.

Dave Lynch
193 Posted 24/02/2020 at 15:00:01

I don't or very rarely comment on team selection; I do have opinions on players and their performance though from time to time.

The reason is that Ancelloti has far more knowledge about the game of football and the way it should be played than anyone on this website. He's played at the highest level, managed at the highest level and won trophies doing both.

He is not only getting to know his players' limitations but also who is worthy of playing for him next season.

It's damage limitation at present.

Joe McMahon
194 Posted 24/02/2020 at 15:01:14
David @ 191, spot on about Neville, he says it as it is. We lost to Liverpool's U20s and we have taken 1 point this season from the worst Arsenal team I can think of in my lifetime. The record at Anfield alone is an absolute disgrace.

Harsh to admit this but Everton 2020 are a nothing but Burnley with a bigger fanbase. Carlo has a big job to do, Moyes, Walsh and Koeman have done us good 'n proper.

Conor McCourt
195 Posted 24/02/2020 at 15:33:40
Dave @177,

Imagine the audacity of some people going on a fans forum discussing team formations, tactics, subs and why their team lost the game on a matchday thread designed to talk about that 'individual' game...

Some of these people are a disgrace. I'm with you: after Man Utd, we should talk about how wet the grass is or guess how much weight André has lost. Hope it's not just me and you on the thread though.

Si @192,

Perhaps when you are finished educating the majority who've seen the same non-awareness of his man yesterday as against Brighton, Liverpool and numerous other games this season, and why an average Monaco team want rid for the same reason, and why Carlo himself until yesterday preferred Coleman in defensive situations, could you then please educate us as to what the positives were that outweighed his partial blame for two of the defining goals?

Not all criticism is aimed at the player as some believe he wasn't the right man for the task away at Arsenal.

Jay Wood

196 Posted 24/02/2020 at 15:45:14
Personally, I saw no evidence of this 'mentality fragility' some continue to claim that we 'meekly surrendered' the game to Arsenal yesterday.

On the contrary, I saw an excellent reaction to try and win the game, or bare minimum, to tie it.

The goals we coughed up resulted from our own basic defensive errors, NOT because we wilted 'mentally'.

There was no mental fragility in equalising before half-time.

There was no slumping of the shoulders and giving up the ghost on losing the lead again within 30 seconds of the restart.

Our subs put us very much on the front foot and we swamped Arsenal in the closing 20 minutes and only good fortune and Leno's alertness and reflexes prevented us from – at a minimum – drawing the game.

If Gary Neville claimed otherwise, then he is trotting out tripe based on past Everton teams, unrelated to yesterday's performance.

I'm surprised some choose to place much stock in the Manc's words.

Joe McMahon
197 Posted 24/02/2020 at 16:12:06
Jay @ 196:

I'm surprised some choose to place much stock in the Manc's words.

Well, yes, he can be a smart arse, but I value his opinion, as he has at least 7 Premier League winners Medals, 2 Champions League winners medals and several FA Cup and League Cup winners medals. That's certainly more than our playing staff do put together. The only winner we have is our manager (at last), and I'm hoping he sees this also.

John P McFarlane
198 Posted 24/02/2020 at 16:16:59
Jay #196,

I completely agree with you, Everton kept going until the game was over as they did against Watford in their previous away match. At Watford, we got the three points, yesterday we got none, but if they continue to display the same attitude and improve their play we might yet see a good side wearing Everton blue.

As for Neville, he's only interested in Man Utd and his utterances were likely borne out of self-interest, Everton preventing Arsenal getting three points would have been positive for Man Utd in the race for Europe, so from that perspective Everton let him down.

I also believe that the issue Everton FC and its supporters suffer from is playing the 'Club' rather than the team they face out on the park – with the exception of a couple of teams we should be confident of getting results anywhere against any Premier League team, despite our obvious short-comings.

Gary Neville responded to Kevin Ratcliffe's barbed tweet with "I mean you haven't won at Arsenal for 24 years, you are crap in big matches (and I actually don't want you to be), your team shrink in nearly every big game I see and you ask me to talk you up!!"

Let's hope that comment inspires our team and supporters on Sunday – mind you, is a fixture against Man Utd considered a 'big game' these days?

Paul Hewitt
199 Posted 24/02/2020 at 16:17:45
The only reason we lost yesterday, was that Calvert-Lewin can't head or kick a football past a keeper from 6 yards.
Jay Wood

200 Posted 24/02/2020 at 16:21:24
Si @ 192.

I suggest you look a bit more closely at Sidibe's role in the Arsenal goals.

On their equalising goal, no blame for Sidibe. That falls more on Iwobi who is very pedestrian in allowing the dangerous Saka to easily get ahead of him to receive a simple pass from which he delivers a deadly cross that he is capable of without any pressure on the ball.

The second goal, Sidibe's starting position when David Luis plays the through ball is a full metre behind the rest of the defensive line. Aubameyang is very much his man to mark. Now Aubameyang is a clever player and his movement for the goal is excellent, but Sidibe's focus was on Luis, the man on the ball, rather than the player within two metres of him.

The pass and run takes Sidibe completely out of the game when better awareness and positioning would have choked off Aubameyang's run at source.

Also notable in this play was that the 'allegedly' slow Mina who started furtherst forward of Sidibe and Holgate, was the quickest and closest to the goalscorer in trying to get back.

Yes, you can blame the midfield for allowing Luis time to make the pass, but Sidibe's job in that situation was to ensure Arsenal's most dangerous player did not have the free run on goal he did. Our Frenchman failed on all counts in that situation.

As for the winning goal, your exoneration of Sidibe is astonishing.

Yes, Baines needed to do more to stop the cross coming in. But I suggest you watc
h more closely the play before the ball is even played wide to P epe.

Aubameyang is clearly Sidibe's man to mark. He is literally within touching distance when an initial attack is repelled. When the ball is first played to Pepe, Aubameyang gets a run on Sidibe and gets ahead of him. To his credit, Sidibe gets a hurry up and gets back goal side.

You can see Mina take a quick glance over his shoulder to confirm that rea is covered in this build-up, confident he can hold a near-post position as Sidibe seemingly has Aubameyang covered.

However, at the crucial moment Aubameyang effectively stands still on the penalty area. Sidibe actually takes a step backwards away from him and Aubameyang puts even greater distance between them with a couple of steps of his own the other way.

As the ball comes in, Aubameyang is under no pressure whatsoever with Sidibe reacting too slowly to make any sort of challenge.

Both of Aubameyang's goals were primarily due to Sidibe's poor defensive play.

Dan Parker
201 Posted 24/02/2020 at 16:21:34
Goal scoring isn’t our problem. The high line played for the second goal was absurd. The third goal was a lack of concentration which we’ve had problems with for years. Defensive lapses cost us again.
Jay Wood

202 Posted 24/02/2020 at 16:30:22
Joe @ 197.

And not one of his many medals you list has any relevance whatsoever to the false claim he (and you, apparently) made that Everton lost that game due to 'mental fragility' in the face of certain opposition.

You continue believing that was the case if you like, Joe.

I won't.

Russell Smith
203 Posted 24/02/2020 at 16:37:50
Just my view on Calvert-Lewin's improvement or otherwise based across the season so far rather than just yesterday.

He has always been good at getting up high and glancing on headers, but he seldom bullets a header. Nothing has really changed in that respect. The miss towards the end was typical, great leap, a glancing header rather than a bullet and going agonisingly just wide.

He pulls defenders around with his off-the-ball running. Previously this had been into the channels with no end result. Now much improved because Carlo has him staying more central. Still a handful but much more goal threat.

Never made the correct runs across the last defender or pulled off the last defender to make space. Previously absolutely true, now much improved, he made two great moves across the centre-half yesterday to get onto Richarlison crosses only to miss them both whilst running full speed. Nketiha for Arsenal converted a much more difficult chance.

Powder puff shooting. I haven't seen much change in this regard but he is shooting more often.

Sniffer type goals. Previously hardly ever, now much better. He was unlucky that Leno reacted so quickly when the ball landed at his feet, as he had cleared his feet quickly and got his shot away, probably would have scored if he had scuffed it like Richarlison.

All-in-all, he is definitely improving. he needs to convert the chances he makes by his speedy running towards the near post, if he got the right flick on most of those he would have had a hat-trick yesterday. This season he has got into those type on situations on a regular basis but just doesn't seem to get his feet working at the same speed to make a clean contact. Even his goal away at Newcastle was not a clean strike.

But who else is out there that we can afford would score the same number of goals and give the team the all-round application? Not many. Like others, I think he will continue to improve and become a regular 20-goal-a-season striker but he will still miss some.

Brian Murphy
204 Posted 24/02/2020 at 16:45:44
You can really see what Ancelotti is trying to do with this team. For the first time in a number of years, we have a plan. Let's not forget either that, against Palace last time out, Ancelotti started 10 of the players we used in the first game of the season against the same team. He's getting a tune out of the same players.

Also, Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin are scoring goals. That's the hardest thing to do in football, so the need for a striker is not quite as acute as it was a few months back. We also got a glimpse of what Gomes will bring back in the coming weeks but we need to give him time to get back up to match fitness. There is a lot of dross in this league and if we can sign 3-4 good players (Defence & midfield) we could have a go at the top 4-6 next year.

Point being we are not that far off and we (finally) have a Manager who knows what he's doing.

Joe McMahon
205 Posted 24/02/2020 at 16:53:36
Fair do, Jay, yes we didn't shit ourselves yesterday, I agree, but chances were not taken. We now have the worst Man Utd and Chelsea teams in years also coming up, so fingers crossed. 6 points are needed – we cannot finish below Burnley and Sheffield Utd.
Tony Abrahams
206 Posted 24/02/2020 at 17:01:02
Chelsea are still decent, though, Joe. A bit hot and cold, but still a dangerous team when it all clicks.
Mike Gaynes
207 Posted 24/02/2020 at 17:06:00
Conor #165, Dave #169, both good points regarding Mina. Conor, yep, I may have been too harsh on Silva's influence regarding Mina. And Dave, yes, the Sidibe issue is definitely having an impact, although Mina did have some really good performances next to Sidibe late last year. However, Mina did contribute to the first Aubameyang goal yesterday by taking a step the wrong way, towards Ozil.

I would point out something that hasn't been said before about Mina. The teams we're playing now are seeing him for the second time, and they've noted his tendencies. That could be part of the problem he's has slumped a bit in recent weeks – they're taking better advantage of his inexperience. I'm not at all concerned.

As for Sidibe, I've been pointing out his positional problems from his very first appearance, and he doesn't seem to be improving yet. He's unquestionably among our most talented players – one of the best tacklers in the Premier League, our best ballwinner and (unfortunately) our best passer – and given his issues it would seem obvious to move him up to right midfield. But Carlo obviously sees potential in him at RB, and to be fair he has little experience with the demanding Premier League level defense – he wasn't called upon to do much defending at Monaco, which used him primarily as an attacking right-back with three behind him. So he definitely has a lot to learn, but I think letting him go back to Monaco would be absolute insanity given the low price tag for keeping him. We need footballers, and Sidibe is a footballer.

John Pierce
208 Posted 24/02/2020 at 17:13:12
Well. It's taken me some time to watch the game. Down in Carolina for work all weekend and the buzz was all about the emergency goal tender who would play for them vs the Leafs! Some story worth a read, folks.

So another loss, a loss with a difference. I thought we were unlucky; despite the lapses, we should have scored 4, 5 goals. We carried a consistent threat, admittedly against a poor Arsenal side.

The game itself was pretty poor quality. However, in the last 30minutes, Arsenal and the changes Arteta were made to hang on.

I can't and won't berate the selection, the midfield, which is the crux of our issues, is what it is. There isn't a combination which will radically improve our lot.

We are however scoring for fun. I think that's the way forward for the remainder of season. As a unit, we cannot defend; however, we have two strikers in form and that is what we have to exploit to compensate for it.

Re Neville's comments, sadly the reaction to it tells you he's spot on.

Roll on next week, which is definitive, 5 points behind Man Utd, a win and we are right in there.

Alex Parr
210 Posted 24/02/2020 at 18:03:02
24 hours on, here's my thoughts.

Schneiderlin did alright, he was running about and fighting for the ball; I saw him press high quite a few times and at least he showed a bit of fight.

Iwobi and Sigurdsson absolutely stunk the pitch out. Both were utter garbage, and I am a fan of Gylfi. But yesterday, he was appalling. He should've been hooked. Gave the ball away often, jogging about, just seemed way off the pace. As for Iwobi, just as usual: flatters to deceive.

Pickford once again showing his ability to be a liability all too often.

Sidibe was not as bad as some are making out, he had next to no support from Iwobi and showed a lot of attacking intent.

Delph was not great, noticed often in the first half how he was dropping out to left back to allow Baines to get forward, but the majority of his passes seemed to be inside or backwards.

Calvert-Lewin, unlucky; another day, he may have had a hat-trick. At least he is getting into the positions to get the chances. Hopefully that fine line between save and goal with the Leno save, and wide of the post and a goal with the flashed header, will become more favourable with experience.

Mina and Holgate, not shocking but room for improvement.

Richarlison, best player on the pitch for us by far.

Bernard was lively when he came on. Kean looked a little lost.

Some lovely passes by André when he came on, looked like he had not been away. So good to see him back, for the team and for him as a person (who seems such a genuine, nice fella).

Darren Hind
211 Posted 24/02/2020 at 18:37:34

I have never pleaded for more time for Calvert-Lewin. I have simply told his critics they were wrong. This is his first really productive season and I fully accept that, if he turns out to be a one-season wonder, then it will be me who is wrong.

I've supported Calvert-Lewin for the same reason so many others who have supported him. I could see he had qualities. Even when he was played on the left and on the right, he didn't let anybody down.

I don't get to choose whether Mina is given more time and patience; all I can do is give an opinion on his performances. He worries me every time he plays.

I don't mind a defender who makes the occasional mistake when trying to play football, but Mina gives goals away more by what he doesn't do than by making mistakes. His positioning is appalling. He's doesn't see danger anywhere near early enough, and he can't seem to forge a partnership with anybody.

Evertonians were lining up to blame Sidibe for yesterday's second goal, but look at Mina... what on earth is he doing stepping up three yards ahead of his full-back? Sidibe did drift out to wide, but Mina's positioning made the pass easy. He was also ball-watching for the first. It happens every week.

I have nothing against Big Yerry. He's an easy character to like. I've even taken to backing him to score before each match, believing I will come out on top by the end of the season... but, in my opinion, he's not at the level of centre-halves who win stuff.

Martin Mason
212 Posted 24/02/2020 at 18:41:13
Don't underestimate Manchester United, they are quite a formidable team now and we'll do well to get a point there. Chelsea will be a hard game too.
Derek Taylor
213 Posted 24/02/2020 at 19:00:06
Let's face it, Ancelotti is just as capable of making bizarre decisions on team selection and tactics as were any of his predecessors.

When you ask a manager to select and deploy so many iffy players, I guess you can only expect him to use those who have proved to be something resembling reliable rather than those whom he must already have recognised as crap performers - regardless of their fees and wages. But obviously, Our Man knows better!

Much mention is made of the games immediately ahead which many have already discounted in the belief that'we never beat them. But, if our maestro persists with his zany teams, we are indeed likely to go into April still seeking our 40th point. Then he will hear the pips sweak !

Tony Abrahams
214 Posted 24/02/2020 at 19:12:31
Reading your post, Mike G, maybe Sibide might do alright in midfield. Not out wide where he sometimes sits too deep, but right in amongst it, right in the middle of the park?
Jay Harris
215 Posted 24/02/2020 at 19:18:09
My opinion is, if we had Coleman & Sidibe instead of Sidibe & Iwobi we would have conceded 2 of their goals but hindsight is a wonderful thing. Sidibe seems to have lost concentration for the last 2 or 3 games.
Bill Gall
216 Posted 24/02/2020 at 20:22:03
The one thing about Iwobi that showed, is he may have been out of position and gave no support to the full back. The other thing that showed is how much Walcott is underestimated in this position. I watched all of the second half again and we really were unfortunate to not get a point.
Gavin Johnson
217 Posted 24/02/2020 at 20:25:34
Jay #215, did you mean we probably wouldn't have conceded 2 of their goals? If so, I agree. With Walcott missing, Sidibe seemed like the obvious choice given he played further up the field with Coleman playing behind. Iwobi by his own admission isn't a right sided forward. He plays on the left, or as a No 10.

It made no sense playing Sigurdsson, unless it was a 4-3-3 formation. It looked like that's how we were set up like that at times, It wasn't a fixed 4-4-2 cos it was Richarlison, and not Sigurdsson, who was drifting out on the left.

On another subject, I think it's great that Ancelotti is telling Calvert-Lewin he has to get better. It would be all to easy for v to sit on his laurels because he's been great and exceeded our expectations this season. That all said, he should have put away at least another one of those chances yesterday so Ancelotti is right that he needs to keep his focus for the whole 90 mins, and push himself further.

Jay Harris
218 Posted 24/02/2020 at 22:32:26

Well spotted. It was a typo.

Martin Mason
219 Posted 24/02/2020 at 22:37:14
Maybe we have to bite the bullet and accept that Mason is a player best played in midfield and that buying a replacement defender could help solve the midfield problem. He has the talent to be a top class midfielder.
Kim Vivian
220 Posted 25/02/2020 at 07:41:14
Tony - 206.....

That comment could be on a Chelsea forum but insert Everton for Chelsea.

Frank Thomas
221 Posted 25/02/2020 at 16:14:20
Two games, two goals and also two missed effectively open goals to make it 4 in two games. Why does Calvert-Lewin miss open goals after he has scored?

Why does Richarlison never give up and never stops running? Why does Siggy play so badly against tough opposition?

I think it is to do with their personal objectives. Every player in every sport has an objective yes they know the manager wants to win, the fans want to win, the team in general wants to win but what do the individual players primarily want out of the game? I think there are 4 main objectives.

To me Richarlison, Bernard, Gomes and Holgate want to win at all costs they don't mind not scoring but they desperately want to win.

Calvert-Lewin and Walcott have the second objective they want to score or create an assist. For them it has been a successful game individually if they do either and they can then coast a little, enjoy the game more whilst not paying as much attention to the football basics as they started the game with.

The third objective is to not be shown up or made to look like a poor player. This is Sigurdsson and Schneiderlin's objective. They hesitate before timing tackles before asking for the ball and before passing. This group does not mind winning or losing. This group uses team talk, "Well done, lads we won" or 'We were unlucky guys". This group is the easiest players for the fans to spot. They simply disappear in the game. Players with this objective should NEVER be the captain of the team.

The fourth objective is simply to be in the team and playing Premier League football. This group includes Pickford and Iwobi. In the past, this has included Niasse, Bolasie and Tosun. This group does not want to be injured at all. They will back out of 50:50 confrontations and will general be slower to race for the ball. The players with this objective perform better when they have dropped a clanger, then they raise their performance because the next games appearance is at stake.

Finally 20+ years to win away at Anfield or Highbury maybe the entire squad should forfeit their weeks salary to charity. That would create unity, desire to win and help a good cause as well.

Si Cooper
222 Posted 25/02/2020 at 17:38:16
Okay Jay, first thing is I didn't exonerate Sidibé at all. I just think people are overly keen to apportion blame to their less favourite players.

For the second of Aubameyangs goals I said the IDEAL is to stick close to the man but that actually very rarely happens in open play situations for a variety of reasons, the first of which is you are far more likely to get called for a penalty if you are up close and personal than you would from a dead ball situation. Second reason is you don't know where the ball will be delivered so at times you hedge your bets. If Sidibé had been alongside Aubameyang and had been beaten to a ball played in around the 6-yard line you would be pillorying him for that. If you watch any other defender they don't really stay glued to the attackers otherwise a lot less goals would be scored. As I said, at least he was goal side and 9 times out of 10 he hand any other defender would get away with that starting position.

For the first of Aubameyangs goals Sidibé is the only one who, as pointed out by Gary Neville, who was actually trying to do the right thing. You just can't hold a high line when the opposition has so much time to pick their pass. All four should have been dropping back quickly and then Sidibé wouldn't have been exposed like he was. How was he then supposed to deal with Aubameyang? Hack him down and get sent off?

Conor, there's those who watch the game already having decided who they don't fancy and then they just see what they expect to see. Then there are those who watch each game with an open mind.

Jay Wood

223 Posted 25/02/2020 at 18:20:30
Si @ 222.

You start off your latest post claiming you don't exonerate Sidibe for the goals, then almost your entire post does just that, airbrushing away all the basic things he failed to do to help prevent the goals.

You say Gary Neville said Sidibe was the only one of the defence who did the right thing on Aubameyang's. The live commentary I listened to Graham Le Saux, like Neville an international class full-back, said the exact opposite – that Sidibe was primarily to blame for ball watching and not cutting off the lines of the Arsenal man's run.

Opinions, eh?

You are correct in saying many a ToffeeWebber is very quick to apportion blame on a player they don't like. You are incorrect to assume that anyone who critics a player does so because they 'lack a football education' as you stated in your first post, or don't have an 'open mind' as you now state in your second post about how a game unfolds or how a player or the team performs.

I certainly number myself as someone who watches every game without any preconceived notions about individual players, the manager, the tactics or how the team performs. From what I read of Conor, he does likewise.

Maybe you need to educate yourself and have a more open mind about individual ToffeeWebbers before presuming you alone have insight others lack.

Bill Gall
224 Posted 25/02/2020 at 18:42:56
On the case of Arsenals second goal. People who are blaming Sidibe should ask themselves, he is in the back 4 and that meant there was 6 Everton players ahead of him, so why was Luiz allowed to get the ball about 10 yards from his own penalty area and stride forward to practically over the halfway line to make a pass and no-one attempted to challenge him.
Conor McCourt
225 Posted 25/02/2020 at 20:10:51
Si, I think there is a lot of bias in all of us despite our perceived impartiality but that's human nature especially when you've seen that movie before.

My feelings on Sidibe are actually not totally dissimilar to Mike Gaynes and should Carlo wish to make the move permanent I would not be in uproar. I think he can be used wisely in various roles, at home in certain games in a four, in his favoured wing-back role or as a right midfielder.

I have however never seen a defensive player with such poor awareness. I would implore you to watch the second half against Brighton and just watch his head.

There are two things I see continually that he does;
1) Sometimes I think there's a page three girl on the imprint of the ball he is so fixated with it.
2) He goes into a trance-like daze and when he comes around you see his head go in desperation looking for his opponent. He has pace and decent tackling which often saves him.

It is my opinion and that was my position that he will never improve his defending no matter who the coach is as it's not his tackling or even his positional play (though not great) which is the real problem.

You spoke of Gary Neville. For me, talent wise he was a very average player however he is rightly considered one of the best Premier League right-backs primarily due to his defending, his instinct, his blocking off runs and cutting out danger. His success was based on his opponent; when they could be bullied, playing in areas they didn't want to play etc, he studied them.

Sidibe just doesn't have the natural inclination to defend. He's the guy who arrives at the party when they are clearing away the glasses.

Jay Wood

226 Posted 25/02/2020 at 20:15:03
Bill @ 224.

From my post @ 200, I wrote:

"Yes, you can blame the midfield for allowing Luis time to make the pass, but Sidibe's job in that situation was to ensure Arsenal's most dangerous player did not have the free run on goal he did. Our Frenchman failed on all counts in that situation."

Does that cover it?

Graham Hammond
227 Posted 25/02/2020 at 20:43:54
Sidibe coming in for a lot of flak on here but I do think, as is nearly always the case with Everton, that we simply let the opposition play as we do time and time again, we seem incapable of closing opposing players down when without the ball so obviously the stronger teams are going to punish us, they have the quality we currently lack. Sidibe did a lot of good stuff further forward.

For the life of me, I cannot see what Ferguson and Ancelloti see in Sigurdsson, as another poster said earlier, he was blowing through his arse through much of that game, what is going on here? This has been the case pretty much from the start of this season. Silva needs to take much of the blame.

Either Gylfi isn't looking after himself off the field or he needs to be put on a treadmill and made to hit targets day after day, the games are passing him by currently, he functions in a 4-2-3-1 but that is not the formation we now play so why play him? He is not the future. Brands should have got shut in the last window, he failed again, if Ancelloti and Ferguson wanted him kept then I would respectfully disagree with them both.

Tony Abrahams
228 Posted 25/02/2020 at 21:54:23
Watching Napoli, playing Barcelona, and don’t think they look as good as they did earlier in the season when they beat Liverpool, because they don’t seem to be playing with the same tempo.
Si Cooper
229 Posted 26/02/2020 at 01:19:39
Jay, well I've gotta say I think Neville is correct in this instance. What if Sidibé had stayed exactly in line with the rest? You don't think Aubameyang couldn't have just delayed his run a little and still latched onto a Luis pass into what would have been even more space behind the Everton defence. I think you are doing both Aubameyang and Luis a huge disservice.

A high defensive line against a quicker attacker is simply suicidal when the man on the ball has as little pressure on him as Luis did. I think you need to explain exactly how a defender can prevent an attacker making a run in behind the defence in that situation. Are you saying Sidibé should have tried to maintain the offside trap but be positioned facing his own goal so that he can match the attackers run, or that he should have fouled Aubameyang?

Your definition of 'exonerate' is wildly different to mine. I would say it means to absolve of ALL blame, which I've not tried to do at all. I've just tried to apportion a fair share of the blame and in my opinion (and Neville's) in the case of Aubameyangs first goal that is shared equally between the back four.

Conor, I didn't bring up Gary Neville because he was a right-back but simply because of his analysis of Aubameyangs first goal which chimes with my own.

I'm also assuming that Ancelotti agrees with my opinion that Sidibe's overall performance didn't amount to him ‘having a mare' or ‘needing to be hooked' as he didn't see fit to bring Seamus Coleman on which he easily could have done.

Jay Wood

230 Posted 26/02/2020 at 01:54:25

"I didn't bring up Gary Neville because he was a right back but simply because of his analysis of Aubameyang's first goal which chimes with my own."


To repeat...

'Opinions, eh?'

Darren Hind
231 Posted 26/02/2020 at 04:34:48
Gary Neville

A dependable full-back who spent his entire career surrounded by top/world-class goalkeepers, center-halves and midfield players. Often played without pressure because world-class strikers would score enough to ensure he spent most games on easy street. His job was simple; give the ball to people who could play and not fuck-up.

He was of course, ruthlessly exposed whenever he turned out for England. That was mainly because he was surrounded by fellow journeymen.

Conor McCourt
232 Posted 26/02/2020 at 10:01:32
Darren, that is exactly my point. When he played with Utd against Corinthians or against Overmars pace or in top level international matches he was exposed because he wasn't the quickest, average technically and very robotic and looked out of his depth.

In terms of talent he wouldn't even have a patch on Sidibe but he reached that level purely due to the art of defending. If some of the modern full backs had his bravery, nous, reading and smelling danger they would take their game to a different level.

Being Irish Dennis Irwin was one of my heroes growing up yet some in the media would consider Neville as the best Premier League right-back. Dennis was so good he played his weaker position for the majority of his career to accommodate Neville. For me there is no comparison but I'm pointing out why in your words 'a journeyman' is held with such regard and used him because he was in the discussion to illustrate why I worry when I see Sidibe playing away from home in a four or in games where we are likely to need to defend.

Si you are blaming the high line for that goal but then arguing Carlo trusts Djibril to defend. I think previous selections would contradict that and my guess is that the City game of how we couldn't get out of our half and that he perhaps wanted Aubameyang and Saka going the other way was why we played Sidibe and why we intentionally adopted such a high line.

Coleman lacks the pace and athleticism to perform that function and is now more cumbersome on the ball going the other way. For me Carlo may have felt Sidibe was his only choice as he wanted those tactics and I doubt we will see Djibril in a four away to Chelsea unless Ancelotti wants to instil bravery into our mentality in big games.

Tony Abrahams
234 Posted 26/02/2020 at 10:43:14
He was only a sub in that famous “white suits, stupid cunts” final, John G, with Ferguson preferring his younger brother Phillip.

Gary went on to have the much better career, because he showed a lot more heart, desire and fight than his brother, who was probably the more talented footballer.

One thing Neville and his Man Utd teammates possessed under Ferguson was mental-strength; I'm sure Gary knows a thing or two about this, and it was also quite possibly the reason Ferguson allowed his brother to leave for Everton.

Paul Hewitt
235 Posted 26/02/2020 at 10:59:45
They often say the truth hurts. What Neville said was true. Get over it.
John McFarlane Snr
237 Posted 26/02/2020 at 14:14:58
Hi John G [233/236]

I felt that Gary Neville was the best England right-back at the time, and I have just researched his record. It appears that he played 85 times for England and is the most capped right-back for his country. Some record for a 'Journeyman' but I've always maintained that we don't all view the game, or the players in the same way. One man's meat, another man's poison.

Roger Helm
239 Posted 26/02/2020 at 16:53:53
Our defenders are I think on the whole average rather than poor, but they are made to look poor by the lack of protection they get. We really miss Idrissa; with no pressing by our slow and lazy midfielders, opponents have plenty of time to time their runs and passes to perfection. Premier League forwards are the best anywhere, and no defender wants them running at him.
Darren Hind
240 Posted 26/02/2020 at 17:55:34
Maybe I was using the wrong term to describe Neville. 'Untalented water carrier' would have been more accurate.

He won the lottery by getting the gig as a youngster with a group of very good young players all coming through together to enjoy the company of several world-class players.

Sometimes the football goods smile upon certain players. If Neville had been one of Moyes's boys, he'd have won nothing. If Seamus had played with SAF's superstars, he'd have won a load of medals.

I would argue that there has not been a top English right-back since the seventies and Neville only got so many caps (and humiliations) by virtue of the fact that he played for Man Utd.

He was quite simply a water carrier who didn't fuck up. That was all SAF needed.

I personally never heard Neville express his hatred of Kopites. I have on two occasions heard him express his dislike for scousers. The feeling is mutual as far as I'm concerned.

My abiding memory of him was when Moyes sent Arteta over to the left to attack him. The little Spaniard proceeded to put him on a spit and fucking roast him for the rest of the game. "Rat boy", as he is affectionately known throughout this city (can't think why) was having his limitations exposed just as he did every time England played a semi-decent team.

As Johnny Mac says "One man's meat...."

John McFarlane Snr
241 Posted 26/02/2020 at 18:34:26
Hi Darren,

I think that you're being harsh on Gary Neville, and it appears to me that he doesn't make the 'meat' category for you. I will have seen the game you refer to but I can't recall it, in fairness to Neville I'm sure that he would, at one time or another, have faced players more talented than Arteta, and kept them under control.

I also believe that we all have players we can't stand for one reason or another; mine was Nobby Stiles. I thought he was nothing but a spoiler and I could see no good in him, but he was good at his job. He wasn't in my 'meat' category but I understood why he was selected for both club and country.

Bill Gall
245 Posted 26/02/2020 at 19:22:15
Jay, I don't think blaming a player for other people's mistakes cover it. When Luiz started off with the ball, Iwobi was closest to him, protecting a pass to the full-back; he kept backing up and was the same distance from him when Luiz made the pass. Mina moved to put both Arsenal players in an offside position and left a gap between Sidibe and Holgate, where the ball was passed into.

Sidibe was trying to keep the Arsenal player to the outside and the ball was passed into the area that Mina should have been controlling but he had moved from the back 4 line. Aubameyang was too fast for Sidibe as he had to turn were the Arsenal player was running forward, into the space behind.

So there were a number of mistakes from Everton players and I didn't think the last player's alleged mistake should be singled out.

Jay Wood

248 Posted 26/02/2020 at 19:42:57
Bill @ 245.

Look back to your post @ 224 in which you stated 'People who are blaming Sidibe should ask themselves...' etc. about Luis having time to make the pass.

The inference of your words was that posters had not given consideration to that aspect of the goal and were unfairly heaping it all on Sidibe. I simply highlighted that at least one poster – moi – had seen and noted it.

I will also add a personal experience. I had a manager once who ran defensive training drills. Whenever a goal was scored, he blew his whistle which was a signal for everyone to stand stock still.

He would then simply point his finger at the defender closest to the goalscorer and utter two words: 'Your man'.

That's all he had to say. It was understood by all, no matter what else is going on around you, when defending you do everything it takes to impede the man you are marking in getting in on goal.

And if he scored, don't then go pointing the finger at others because he was...'Your man.'

On Sunday, Aubameyang was Sidibe's 'man'. And he lost him. Twice.

Darren Hind
251 Posted 26/02/2020 at 20:40:55
Bill 245,

Totally agree. Mina deserted his post, stepping yards up on Sidibe and Holgate.

It's there for all to see.

Paul Birmingham
252 Posted 26/02/2020 at 21:07:15
Darren, I agree, Rat Boy, was lucky in that his poor ability as a footballer was masked by some very good footballers around him.

The Sky Circus of mainly average and vppoor players, of which Gary Neville was, do make the blood boil, when talking about current players, Neville’s was rank poor, and spouts off, like he was Rudi Karol, Baresi.

He’s an embarrassment to football media.

He has a twisted dislike of EFC, but his and Souness’s, views don’t mean a thing.

It’s a shame that the modern era of sport media, most of the ex players, talk blight, about most teams.

Now to beat United.

Joe McMahon
253 Posted 26/02/2020 at 21:39:19
Paul and Darren, I'm wearing a tin hat, but I actually don't mind Neville as a pundit, and I think he gets frustrated at Everton just because that have been a nearly team for decades. He wasn't the worst right back around, how about Tony Hibbert.

Awful pundits are Carragher, Danny Murphy and the worst of all, corpse face died hair Phil Thompson.

Sam Hoare
255 Posted 26/02/2020 at 21:52:50
For what its worth I think both Sidibe and Mina's positioning was at fault for Aubameyangs first goal.

Mina's positioning was also not great for the first goal, though it was an excellent cross.

I'm a fan of Mina but he has work to do and currently if we were to buy a good left-footed centre-back this summer I think it would be Holgate (whose passing and ball carrying is excellent) pairing with him.

Last month or so we're conceding 2 goals a game. Got to tighten up at the back if we're going to push up the table. A goalkeeper who actually saves shots would be helpful (not that I think he could/should have saved any on Sunday).

Andy Crooks
256 Posted 26/02/2020 at 22:00:00
Darren, I like your post @ 240. Gary Neville is perhaps the luckiest player of the Premier League era. Seamus was vastly superior, in my view, but it is so much to do with chance.

Neville got away with it because he was part of an ensemble that just, somehow, jelled. One of the weaker links of the ratpack. Leaving him out would have weakened the team but in a way that could not have been logically explained.

Sadly, he believes that he was important. He wasn't. I could select half-a-dozen Irish League right-backs who could have scammed his role. Dennis Irwin was twice the player.

Robert Tressell
257 Posted 26/02/2020 at 22:04:09
I like Andy Townsend as a pundit. Very fair, logical and knowledgeable. Mark Lawrenson too.
David Thomas
258 Posted 26/02/2020 at 22:10:06
Everything Gary Neville said was 100% correct. We haven’t won a trophy for a quarter of a century. We bottle it when it comes to the important games. We might not like to hear it but it doesn’t mean it’s not true.
Robert Tressell
259 Posted 26/02/2020 at 22:41:13
Although my earlier post was obviously a wind-up, I really don't get the Neville bashing. As a player he was excellent. Very rarely made defensive mistakes, forged good relationships with different kinds of players on the right flank and a very useful crosser of the ball.

Okay, so he was not a flamboyant Cafu type, but so what? He did a terrific job too for his manager, being a trusted lieutenant. We could do with some of that at Everton. I have hopes that Jonjoe Kenny has a bit of Gary Neville about him.

Carl Manning
260 Posted 26/02/2020 at 23:00:38
Doesn't a journeyman play for more than one team in their career? It is impossible to have a team of 11 outstanding players. You always have the players that bind it all together. Gary Neville was one of those. He was a winner and a leader.

Alex Ferguson has a reputation for selling top players to freshen the team and continually show he was boss, yet Neville was a stalwart for well over a decade. He was even captain many many times.

Some of the things written on here are laughable beyond extreme.

John Pierce
261 Posted 27/02/2020 at 02:30:46
Was Neville an outstanding player? Probably not. Did he get the most out of Kanchelskis & Beckham? Absolutely.

The cadence and understanding of his role was paramount. Balance is the key and only on the other thread we were debating the best midfielder units we've ever had. Interestingly it often takes a very ordinary player to allow others to shine.

Far too harsh to call a lad who had one club and over 80-odd appearances for his national team a 'journeyman'.

Is he a prick...? Well, that's another question entirely.

Darren Hind
262 Posted 27/02/2020 at 04:46:43
David Thomas, that's just nonsense. Gary Neville is not 100% right. He is in fact talking out of his arse. He speaks with the smugness and the arrogance of a man who doesn't have any clue how fortunate he was.

It's easy to have mental strength when you look back and see the Peter Schmeichel (the best goalie of his generation) between the sticks, or people like Jaap Stam, Rio Ferdinand, covering your arse, top class players like Scholes or Kean who will come and take the ball of you. World class strikers with blistering pace to knock it long to. Tireless wingers who protected you all day.

Contrast that with our own Tony Hibbert. When he looked back to his goal, he saw the guy Man Utd deemed not good enough. He didn't have world transfer record centre-halves to cover his arse. Hibbo didn't spend most of his career surrounded by world-class players. He had a very brief period playing in the same side as Wayne Rooney, and even he fucked off to help boost Neville's medal haul.

Only when you have enough talent to go toe to toe with your opposition can you start talking about mental strength. Tony Hibbert didn't get burned in the cup final because he was mentally weak. It was because he was left unprotected against the then fastest and most skillful left-sided pairing in the world. Cahill and Neville (Phil) didn't allow Chelsea's midfield almost total second-half possession, because hey were mentally weak. They were simply outclassed and out-numbered by what many people believed to be three world class players.

The claim that we haven't won a trophy for 25 years because we are mentally weak makes my toes curl. The fact is, we haven't won a trophy for 25 years because we haven't had the required talent

Gary Neville reminds me of the guy driving the 40-ton truck kidding himself that he had a superior mental strength to the guy in the VW Polo who had just given way to him.

We saw this flat-track bully's "mental strength" every time he pulled on the England shirt (at least those who could bear to watch did). We saw his "mental strength" when he sought the refuge of the dressing room by lashing the ball into the crowd after having the living shit scared out of him by a hostile Goodison crowd and an angry Duncan Ferguson.

Mental strength? Rat Boy?... The man's a water-carrying fanny who made a career out of riding on the backs of others and doing exactly what he was told.

David Thomas
263 Posted 27/02/2020 at 07:04:22
No, Darren, he is 100% correct that we have been mentally weak for years. Is that the only reason? No, of course not, but it doesn't mean it's not a factor.

Also, Gary Neville was a far superior player than Tony Hibbert and if you're trying to suggest he wasn't, then I'm afraid you're talking complete and utter nonsense.

Sam Hoare
265 Posted 27/02/2020 at 09:16:26
Darren @262, I would say that mental strength is a part of talent. The ability to stay concentrated and retain composure under pressure.

Yes, we have lacked the requisite talent over the last decade but an evident factor in that (to my eyes) has been players, some more than others, who seem to play their best football when the pressure is off.

Tony Abrahams
266 Posted 27/02/2020 at 09:31:21
Funny argument this, with my own take being that if an average footballer, gets to play and win everything, because he's lucky enough to play with much better players than himself, then he must have been very good mentally, and it's probably why Neville can identify this common flaw, that runs right through our club so easily.

Jay @248, I understand the logic of your coach but I've never once seen a good defensive unit that never played for each other, helped pull each other out the shit etc. It's easy to see that Everton's defensive problems right now are because of a collective problem, imo.

Conor McCourt
267 Posted 27/02/2020 at 09:42:06
Darren 240: "He was quite simply a water carrier who didn't fuck up. That was all SAF needed". And Carlo I would suggest needs some of those in our defence also to stop conceding on average two goals a game over the last month, as Sam points out.

That was my original point: we have Pickford, Mina, Sidibe and Digne back there who are all prone to "fuck ups". You can't see that changing with Mina; I can't see that changing with Sidibe.

Derek Thomas
268 Posted 27/02/2020 at 09:54:05
Jay @ 248; I'll be stealing some form of that for my 8-year-old's team. It will help to teach them the relationship between attacker, defender, ball and a goal.
Tony Abrahams
269 Posted 27/02/2020 at 10:14:33
Just let them enjoy playing, Derek, and try to teach them the value of a simple one-two!
Kev Gibbs
270 Posted 27/02/2020 at 10:15:17
For all those defending Gary Neville. Personally I don't care what he did or didn't do on the pitch. He is an odious fuckwit of the highest order. He – along with that other low life Carragher and Sky in general – clearly have a problem with Everton and Evertonians. Shame on anyone still putting money in their pockets.
Tony Abrahams
271 Posted 27/02/2020 at 10:31:47
Imagine football without Sky? Imagine being able to form our own opinions, Although I’m also aware I’m being selfish, because a great number of our “foreign friends” would be lost without football’s greatest ever invention!

Rob Dolby
272 Posted 27/02/2020 at 10:34:26
"Mentally weak" is an ignorant comment, especially when dealing with a group of athletes.

The focus of a team of footballers is to win a match. When the whistle blows, who knows what mental state people are in?

How would Neville describe his beloved Man Utd before the arrival of Cantona? Mentally weak? Or a squad of quality players who needed the touch of genius to instil belief?

Chris Williams
273 Posted 27/02/2020 at 10:39:44
‘ and United were out played, out fought and outrun by Everton EVERTON!!’

Never forget the contempt in that comment when he single handedly made the argument United being shite and Everton not mattering. That continued to be the Sky message from then on.

Or his comment 30 seconds into the Goodison match against Manchester City, to the effect that most Everton fans want Everton to get beaten today. This was hammered home at regular intervals thereafter.

Another Sky preconceived agenda.

He’s a massive bellend and lowlife of the first water. I don’t give a big rats arse what sort of a player he was, he proves his hypocrisy and willingness to further the Sky big club message every time he opens his foetid hole.


Alan McGuffog
274 Posted 27/02/2020 at 10:45:43
Everton... mentally weak? Well, I would say so but, that is just my opinion. An opinion many will disagree with. Fair enough.

However, I have lost count of the number of times in the last 30 years when we have enjoyed a few decent wins and then, instead of kicking on, we have gone into our shell in the next game. Hey presto, another false dawn.

Si Cooper
275 Posted 27/02/2020 at 13:36:10
Jay (230), it was the opinion of the ‘expert' commentator, ie, the one that is employed to dissect these things so I'm not sure what I did wrong to mention it. I didn't have to go looking for an opinion that matched my own, it was on the commentary of the feed I had for the game.

I'm not sure what weight your former manager's coaching style carries if he was pointing that out after a goal had been scored in your training session and I'm still not sure what you mean by doing everything you can to impede the attacker. Can you give an example of how you dealt with an attacker in the same situation as Sidibé was left in without committing a red card offence?

I note you haven't responded to my opinion on the meaning of 'exonerate'.

Conor (232), no I'm not criticising the general tactic of employing a high press and a high defensive line together, I'm saying that once the high press is a busted flush and a player has ample time and space to advance and play their pass then the defence needs to react to that situation. That means dropping back as a unit to prevent that very simple pass into acres of space which will always favour that quick attacker. If the forwards don't fulfil their role to get sufficient pressure on the ball carrier, then the defenders have to adjust to that.

Jay Wood

276 Posted 27/02/2020 at 15:16:15
Deary me Si.

You seem to be a bit slow on the uptake.

YOU were the one waaay back in this thread that implied your football knowledge was superior to others by stating 'Some need some footballing education' and that you alone viewed games with an open mind whilst others don't.

I'm not denigrating or denying your right to quote Neville. I merely pointed out that, in your own words, you did so because they 'chimed with your own opinion'. It's known as confirmation bias.

I shared with you the words of the 'expert commentator' on MY live feed - Graham Le Saux - who opined the complete opposite of Neville and said the fault on the second goal primarily lad with Sidibe.

Can you (with your presumed 'superior football education') categorically say which of them is correct? Because they can't BOTH be correct.

So it is in the very broad church that is TW. Some 'less educated' TWers side with GLS's reading of the goals conceded. The 'superior' and more attentive TWers (so you would have us believe) side with GN's view.

I have read your opinion. I disagree with your opinion. I gave you very explicit reasons WHY I disagree with your opinion. There is NO player I single out for criticism every week. I watch every game with a clean slate. Post-match I offer up MY opinions on how I viewed the game.

That's it.

What I haven't claimed for myself, as you attempt to do, is to promote the belief that my football knowledge is vastly superior to others, fairer and therefore the only acceptable view.

As for my 'failure' to respond to your definition (not opinion, as you wrote) on the meaning of 'exonerate' which you evidently take umbrage with, I chose not to answer because there was nothing to answer.

These were you words:

'Your definition of 'exonerate' is wildly different to mine. I would say it means to absolve of ALL blame, which I've not tried to do at all.'

Two things:

1) I didn't give MY definition of the word. I just used it. It was YOU who interpreted my use of the word as you did.

2) YOUR definition of the word is wrong. To make your definition correct you would need to add an adverb like 'completely' ahead of the verb, thus 'completely exonerate Sidibe'. I didn't say that.

Read back your own posts, Si. You offered many a (mainly fanciful) justification to exonerate Sidibe from blame on the goals.

Keep hammering away if you like, Si. But you have not made a convincing case to make me change my opinion, or indeed in demonstrating your self-proclaimed superior 'football education' other TWers lack.

Bill Gall
277 Posted 27/02/2020 at 15:34:22
Jay your comment on the coach that stopped the training session after a goal was scored is simply showing an individual his fault in what I was always told, was a team sport, and that is why I don't blame an individual when other members of the team make mistakes that put him in a difficult position.
In the Man City v R.Madrid game 3 city players made a mistake but I suppose K.Walker who was the last to make a mistake was responsible for the goal but really it was the left back who wasn't marking the player who scored. This commenting on Sidibe could go on for weeks as it is simply what I enjoy about ToffeeWeb were supporters can voice their own opinions.
Jay Wood

278 Posted 27/02/2020 at 15:39:38
Tony @ 266 and Derek @ 268, plus Bill @ 277.

The training example I offered was just one drill, designed to make us all aware of our individual responsibility on the pitch. Of course we ran other drills that worked on defending as a unit. Win as a team. Lose as a team.

I see nothing wrong with Derek's intention to introduce something similar to his 8-year-olds either, Tony. You're never too young to learn good habits in any walk of life. A good coach can pitch it right for his age group.

As for Everton, I see plenty of signs of improvement throughout the team. But individual errors continue to hurt us. Nobody deliberately screws up, but quite simply the better players and the better organised teams screw up less than others.

We've got some way to go yet.

Darren Hind
279 Posted 27/02/2020 at 17:53:29
David Thomas

I was reluctant to answer you ill informed Comment that Everton hadnt won anything for 25 years, simply because they were mentally weak because I kinda knew that you do what you always do and throw up another imaginary argument to try to justify it.

It doesnt take much to look back and see that I compared Hibberts situation to Nevilles and at no stage did I compare their respective abilities. . . but then you knew that didnt you ?
True to form you tell me I was talking Nonsense by quoting something I didnt say.

No point in responding to a point which has been so obviously fabricated.

Darren Hind
280 Posted 27/02/2020 at 18:01:15
Derek 268

Dont do it. Your 8 year olds will think they are training with the Brownies

David Thomas
281 Posted 27/02/2020 at 22:43:04
Darren, you accuse me of suggesting you said something you didn't and then do the same thing yourself by saying I said we hadn't won anything simply because we were mentally weak. I never said it was simply because we were mentally weak, but the fact that we are is one of the key reasons.

Carragher and Gerrard have both said similar things to Neville over the years about standing in the tunnel before derbies and sensing Everton players weren't up for it, Michael Ball has questioned our players mental toughness in his echo article numerous times.

Last season was a perfect example when we started to pick up points in big matches at home against Man Utd etc when we were out the cup competitions and out of the reckoning for Europe and the pressure was off.

I believe you are a match-going fan like myself so surely you have seen players heads drop on a regular basis when we concede. Can you imagine this happening if we put a Peter Reid or an Andy Gray character in the mix, ie, a player with a strong positive attitude.

Think of Ross Barkley, a very talented player walking off the pitch at Wembley against Man Utd looking like a little boy.

To be at the top one of the key things you need is a strong mentality and we haven't had many players with this over the last 30 years.

Darren Hind
282 Posted 28/02/2020 at 07:43:39

I realise that you don't have all night to cover all of your thoughts, but you gave mental fragility as the Sole reason we havent won anything in 25 years in your original post. You only offered other reasons after you were challenged
I hate being misrepresented by straw man arguments and if I have done that to you, then I apologise.

Carragher is another fool who doesnt know he is born. I've lost count of the number of times he has proved himself to be a weak arsed fanny. Gobbing all over a little girl would be the first one that comes to mind.

We can say what we want about "The Shite" but they have always been able to find themselves genuine strikers. Fowler, Owen, Torres, Suarez, where all better than any of the strikers we have been able to send into battle.. and much as I dislike Gerrard. He was truly world class on his day. Head and shoulders above anything we have had. These players gave them the edge. They are always favourites when we face them, because they have always had the players to make the difference. Thats why they have always had the psychological edge. If we played 11 "mentally strong" Jamie Carraghers (or Gary Nevilles) we would have fucking murdered them every time.

For me Sam Hoare @ 265 nails this entire debate. Mental strength/ leadership/fortitude IS a talent. Very few players have enough of it to make the difference. if you find one under your nose (Gerrard, John Terry, Tony Adams) you have won the lottery. If you don't, you need to buy them in (Roy Kean, Patrick Vieira). We have not had this type of players since Reidy and Dave Watson hung up their boots.

Of course I have seen a mental fragility within our ranks and it has not always been confined to the pitch. You only need to listen to Ancelotti and compare it to the shite we heard from our previous managers to recognise that.

I've had relentless stick for saying Ancelotti would not win anything with this group of players, but he wont. he cant. That is a "forgone conclusion".

Bringing a winner into the dug out is a huge step in the right direction, But unless we can get the sort of talent Sam Hoare speaks about on the pitch. we are talking about improving by a couple of places rather than winning trophies.

Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher - Lucky, Lucky bastards trying to rewrite history by assuming credit for the deeds (and mental fortitude) of others

Derek Thomas
283 Posted 28/02/2020 at 08:41:22
Tony @26; I've had them since they were 6 and it was like an end credit on the benny hill show. It's amazing to see them grow. This is the last season on the 4 aside no goalie baby pitches... slightly bigger than a basketball court.
We have a cross-section of kids, one you can't teach, one who plays as long as he feels like it, some who are slowly picking it up and, deep joy – one who has a football brain and would be MotM or player of the day as they say here every week. I had to explain to him that we have to share it about – not a problem, he said.
John G Davies
284 Posted 28/02/2020 at 08:42:32
Mental strength is a must if you are looking for winners. You can have all the skill in the world but, without mental strength, it won't make you a winner. Post above this sums it up.

Too many of today's players give it a miss at the first sign of adversity. Weak mentally with a lot of them. Take John Stones as an example. Brought to his knees due to women problems. A grown man we are talking about here. Fannies, as mentioned above, is a good word for a lot of them.

Tony Abrahams
285 Posted 28/02/2020 at 08:53:21
I already like your best player Derek, and well done for giving these kids, loads of enjoyment mate.

It’s easy being talented, but it’s not so easy when you are not so talented, and just because People dislike Neville & Carragher, I’d say that without their willpower, neither of them would have had such fantastic careers.

Si Cooper
288 Posted 29/02/2020 at 06:18:45
Okay Jay, last one from me.

I haven't used the word 'superior' and would say that is something you are inferring – not what I meant to imply, but I did think that some of the extreme comments on Sidibé's performance were not merited and irritated me in their meanness in laying into an individual player in what I felt was a fairly decent (but far from perfect) overall team performance.

I irritably (for which I apologise if anyone has taken great offence) laid out an alternative point of view which I didn't think they were considering. You calling my opinion ‘fanciful' is simply another way of saying you think yours is superior. You are right, we can't both be right and neither can Neville or Le Saux if they have such different opinions on the same thing. I haven't persuaded you and you haven't changed my mind either.

Confirmation bias. I've read extensively on heuristics and so I do try to look at alternatives with an open mind (never said I was the only one). However, I've heard (and been convinced) for many years that a high offside line becomes a major problem if a decent passer of the ball is given too much time and space and the attacker is quicker than the defender. It just seems logical to me and I've never heard anyone actually disagree with it before.

It seemed to me that others maybe hadn't heard what I thought was an accepted defensive principle. That principle means that the whole back four needed to be back-pedalling with Sidibe and if they do then Sidibe doesn't get exposed. That for me is the ultimate root cause so all four have to share responsibility.

You still have not said what Sidibe should actually have done, just that he should somehow have dealt with Aubameyang because he was ‘his responsibility'.

'Exonerate' means 'to acquit', so doesn't need to have a qualifier like ‘completely' as you are acquitted or you are not. I think most people would read it as absolving the player from blame in the context you used it.

I have not at any stage tried to remove all blame from Sidibe, just argue that it should be reduced from the 100 % blame he was getting for two goals from some posters. I think we had some disappointing defensive lapses but think all the defenders need to be working on helping each other out.

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