Different manager, same old humiliation

By Lyndon Lloyd 08/03/2020 111comments  |  Jump to last

As if it wasn’t bad enough that since Roman Abramovich took the helm at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea have been able to bank on significantly superior financial might, it seems as though they’re also in the process of making a stunning success of their youth development programme – something that was, for a brief time, a potential key to Everton finding a route back to competing in the upper echelons of the domestic game in the absence of a billionaire benefactor of their own.

(That has changed, of course, since Farhad Moshiri came along but with Ronald Koeman, Sam Allardyce and Steve Walsh having squandered millions on over-age mediocrity and Financial Fair Play restrictions in place, Everton still don’t have the leeway to spend their way back to the top.)

As much praise as the Blues have received for first having blooded Wayne Rooney, brought through potential stars like Ross Barkley and Tom Davies, and then made some strategic investments in the likes of John Stones, Mason Holgate and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, the Academy programme at Finch Farm appears on the evidence of today to be some way short of the one at Cobham (now that they appear to be moving away from the model of stockpiling foreign players), a fact that was ruthlessly exposed at Stamford Bridge this afternoon.

Afflicted by a number of injuries to first-choice starters, Frank Lampard was forced to hand 18-year-old Billy Gilmour his first Premier League start and, together with 21-year-old Mason Mount and the much-maligned and oft-booed Barkley, the teenager was instrumental in destroying an Everton side that was almost as unforgivably shocking as they were at Anfield against Jürgen Klopp’s kids in the FA Cup in January.

Truth be told, Gilmour looked a little nervy in the early going as Everton pressed feverishly in the opening five minutes before the home side began to take advantage of the extra man in midfield, a decisively costly miscalculation by Carlo Ancelotti. Too often, the teenage Scot, all 5' 6" of him, was that extra man, showing in space, collecting the ball, moving it on, and the contrast with Ancelotti’s comparatively invisible mid-section was stark. He showed up his older, more experienced opposite numbers badly.

Much like Seamus Coleman on his return from a long lay-off following a broken leg in which he returned with a barnstorming, adrenalin-fuelled display that quickly fell away in subsequent appearances as his lack of playing time caught up with him, André Gomes looked lead-footed and unfit. Gylfi Sigurdsson was, as is so often the case, invisible for long periods; a captain in armband only, hiding from the pass at times and gesticulating at team-mates at others in a vain attempt at leadership.

That the Icelander, 30 and with his first-choice prospects hopefully diminishing next season, has become a passenger will be news to no one but when viewed against Gilmour and Mount, it was Tom Davies who paled in the comparisons. He wasn’t helped by being out-numbered in the middle of the park and the traffic cone around which Chelsea played their triangles, particularly for the opening goal, but he looked ponderous and lost, devoid of inspiration or any ability to influence the game.

Whether Everton have failed him by not farming out on loan is a debate for another time but Mount, with the benefit of a season under Lampard at promotion-chasing Derby, has emerged as one of the most exciting prospects for club and country around and it was he who opened the floodgates for Chelsea with a quarter of an hour gone.

He might have got on the scoresheet as early as the seventh minute but he was foiled by a good Jordan Pickford save but he beat the England keeper with a drilled shot inside the near post. Whereas Everton were abysmal in their distribution and pedestrian in their approach play, Chelsea were quick, slick and penetrating and when Davies was caught between Gilmour and Mount causing him to lose track of the latter, the ball was worked to Pedro who found Mount’s run around the edge of the box and he did the rest with a smart finish.

Four minutes later, after Richarlison had reminded Kepa in the home goal that he was there with a strong but ambitious shot from the angle, Everton were opened up by Barkley’s ball down the channel to Willian who out-stripped Holgate for pace and fired across Pickford and the keeper palmed his shot away.

It only delayed the inevitable by a couple of minutes, however. Preferred to Yerry Mina for a second successive game after performing impressively against Manchester United last weekend, Michael Keane, ill-suited to playing a high defensive line, made for an awkward partnership with Holgate on this occasion and when the ball was played in behind him in the 21st minute, Pedro expertly beat the offside trap, racing into a one-on-one situation with Pickford that was only going to end one way. 2-0 Chelsea.

Any hope that Everton might have had in changing the direction of the contest effectively evaporated five minutes after that when Dominic Calvert-Lewin missed as good a chance as he could have hoped for to halve the deficit. Richarlison did well to play him in behind the defence but with just Kepa to beat Calvert-Lewin badly scuffed his attempt to clip it over the keeper and it bobbled disappointingly wide.

It might have provided a catalyst for the Blues but, in all honesty, it’s unlikely. Bereft of any fight, they were that bad.

Bernard, playing in a less familiar role wide on the right looked all at sea and was unable to dictate anything. He picked up a knee injury on the stroke of half-time which might have influenced his manager’s decision to withdraw him at the interval but he was as poor as he was at West Ham when he was hooked after 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, for 75 minutes at least before he improved somewhat in the closing stages, Djibril Sidibé put in one of the most atrocious displays by an Everton player in living memory. Clumsy, wasteful and ineffective, the Frenchman will, if there is any sense in the corridors at Goodison, have written off any hope he had of staying beyond the end of the season.

Still, there were glimmers of a way back into the game for Everton late in the first half but, as is so often the case, they let themselves down with poor decision-making in the final third. Richarlison seized on Kurt Zouma’s sliced clearance but ignored Sigurdsson next to him even though the midfielder had a clear sight of goal and ended up running down a blind alley. Then Chelsea gave the ball away cheaply in their own half but instead of charging for goal, Calvert-Lewin played it backwards and from a promising position, the ball ended up in Everton’s half with Holgate.

If Ancelotti had hoped to have inspired his charges at half-time and given Chelsea more to think about in the second half with the introduction of Theo Walcott for Bernard, he was to be sorely mistaken because the pattern of the first period continued into the second.

This time, it took the hosts less than six minutes to score. Everton stood off as Chelsea worked a patient passing move across the edge of the visitors’ box and with Holgate and Keane drawn to one side leaving Lucas Digne caught in two minds whether to close Willian down or cover the run of Cesar Azpilicueta on the overlap, the Brazilian took advantage of the gap that opened up ahead of him and rifled home from 20 yards.

Then, after Pedro had easily drifted past Sidibé and seen a clipped shot deflect over, Everton failed to close down a short routine from the resulting corner and paid the price. Willian crossed dangerously from the Chelsea left, Holgate lost a physical duel with Olivier Giroud who lunged to meet the ball and steered it home from close range.

It could have been worse than 4-0. Pickford did brilliantly to deny Pedro after Kepa had spilled a Richarlison shot at the other end. Then, after Walcott had wasted a perfect chance to put a goal on a gilded platter for substitute Moise Kean, Gomes lost control of the ball in midfield and was robbed by Gilmour, goal number five only being avoided by Sidibé’s saving challenge.

Azpilicueta would force one last save from Pickford, a one-handed stop to turn the ball behind but Everton were just praying for the final whistle and the chance to get back on the bus to Liverpool where, hopefully, a good deal of soul-searching and introspection will be had before the Merseyside derby in eight days’ time.

Not that it was needed, but this latest embarrassment on the home turf of the so-called “big six”, a psychological millstone that gets heavier with each passing season, was another unforgiving reminder that too many players in this Everton simply aren’t good enough. Not even close.

On those all-too-rare occasions when everything comes together, as they did in the reverse fixture against Chelsea amid the unbridled passion and inherently short-lived inspiration of Duncan Ferguson’s first match in charge, this team can give the illusion that they’re capable of taking Everton where we want to go but it’s days like this that expose the size of the task ahead of Ancelotti and Marcel Brands.

The harsh reality is that while Ancelotti will acknowledge that his faith in the 4-4-2 system that has served him pretty well at Goodison so far was misplaced today, at least half the team that took the field today isn’t good enough. There are key signings that need to be made down the spine of the team and some decisions have to be made about players who come in and out of the line-up without consistently delivering.

The reality check that was delivered today should put paid to any thoughts of Europe for another season. Take stock, blood some of the promising younger players like Kean and Anthony Gordon and continue plotting the summer transfer business that simply must ship out some of the dead wood and bring in the quality required for this club to make the step up within the timescale Ancelotti envisages.

Follow @EFCLyndon

Reader Comments (111)

Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer

Kunal Desai
1 Posted 08/03/2020 at 19:36:17
If there are any positives to take out today, it probably reconfirms for Carlo the enormity of rebuilding this side. A number of players are simply not up to the levels of taking the club forward to the next step.

And it's probably a blessing in disguise we don't qualify for Europe as we'd be further embarrassed with this set of players.

Rob Marsh
2 Posted 08/03/2020 at 19:43:16
I am beginning to have doubts about both Ancelotti and Brands.

Ancelotti got it badly wrong against the darkside in the FA Cup derby game and he got it wrong again today. Is he past it now?

Brands has brought in Gomes, Sidibé and Kean, none of them are floating my boat.

I'm concerned about next season. If Usmanov does not turn up, I'm predicting the same old next season.

Kevin Molloy
3 Posted 08/03/2020 at 20:27:07
Why the hell didn't Ancelotti change it sooner if it was a tactical problem? I think it was because it wasn't. We were utter shite with the ball as well as without it, regardless of the 'extra man' in midfield.

I watched the Brighton away game, when Gomes just did not want to know, and he was much worse here. We lost this game appallingly in the centre of midfield. No heart or fight. You can see why Roy Keane would have scorned them.

Everton are just a mystery, they make no sense. They can look good one week, and then utter fucking shite the next. I just don't understand it.

Dave Abrahams
4 Posted 08/03/2020 at 20:39:11
No good points to take from that game, absolutely none, from the manager and the players.

I didn't think it was possible for any player to perform as badly as Sigurdsson but Gomes equalled his very poor display, along with the rest of the squad. Mind you, Kean at least looked like he was breathing when he came on and looked like he was interested.

When the derby game starts next week, you know already that Liverpool will bully Everton and most of these players will let them.

Definitely another day to remember for all the wrong reasons.

Dave Evans
5 Posted 08/03/2020 at 20:55:28
Players need to dig in and and not be bullied. Only Keane at centre-half looked up for it.

How as a player can you look at yourself in the mirror when you have not won your individual battle?

Today was not about lack of skill, it was about a lack of intensity and fight.

Bill Fairfield
6 Posted 08/03/2020 at 21:07:21
Name any manager you want — this squad have not got the mental strength to compete with the best. Carlo is flogging a dead horse.
George Carroll
7 Posted 08/03/2020 at 21:26:16
Personally, I think Everton need to change Unsworth; the youth system is failing us badly in that we are not getting talent from it capable of making the first eleven.
David Pearl
8 Posted 08/03/2020 at 21:33:31
At first glance, it's hard to look past Ancelotti. I mean, Bernard on the right? And in front of Sidibé... awful. Sigurdsson on the left? Why?

Gomes looked spent; Davies, his headless chicken of a partner, was popping up everywhere... so he could lose the ball in any area of the pitch.

So the shape was wrong, the personnel was wrong. I mean, we have two up top and give nothing to them. Then there's the glaring Calvert-Lewin miss. He should've scored and we could've got some confidence from that. It really was awful.

I remember a poll taken a couple months back on who was the best summer signing. They have all been a pile of shite. And yes you have to look at Brands.

I also don't get the treatment of Kean. He played really well against Newcastle, his best game for us. His reward has been to scrap for minutes since. Iwobi... I mean what a mess, find his position.

There is talent in there, it's up to Ancelotti to start improving this team because, as far as I can see, he has started to be lazy and predictable in his tactics. He has to drop Davies. I know Sigurdsson gets all the stick but he's twice the player Davies is, even if he's not at his best.

If my memory is correct, we were very close to Man Utd a few weeks ago. They get a couple players in and it's changed their season. Why didn't we get a midfielder in? I'd like to know why we didn't go for it.

We have now taken 1 point from the last 9. That fact, along with dropping stupid points against Norwich (etc etc etc) and once again we've missed the boat. This was the year to do it, more or less handed on a plate to Leicester because we stuck with that guy Bronze for too long.

So what now? Ancelloti has the rest of the season to try a few things. For me, that includes bringing in a few kids and giving them a go. They can't be any worse. I'd be starting Kean, Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison and Holgate and build my team around them. Play to their strengths. Throw them a frickin' bone.

Rant over.


Tony Everan
9 Posted 08/03/2020 at 22:17:03
Midfield is just not good enough, far too easy to play against and no fearsome players. It's lightweight and slow with no compensating factor.

I mean, if you played for a half-decent amateur team, would you be shitting yourself playing against our midfield? No. You would think you could out-battle them and out-fight them mentally.

Our midfield always seems like a bunch of diverse characters just thrown in there and hoping for the best. It's never a proper midfield, always a mishmash of wingers and No 10s, with the odd natural midfielder struggling like hell to cope with the dysfunctional situation around him. This perennial situation has to change.

It's about time someone got to grips with it and delivered a proper organised midfield of winners and fighters. All of whom know their roles and responsibilities. Until we get that, the club will tread water.

Ken Jones
10 Posted 08/03/2020 at 22:29:25
Everton were shown for what they are today... Chelsea won't have an easier game this season, just strolled around as they liked without any serious opposition.

Defensively awful... Keane & Sidibé were piss poor & simply not good enough... Ancelotti now knows the task at hand, 3 goals conceded against Arsenal & 4 against Chelsea need no further comment.

Midfield created nothing & Barkley looks a vastly improved player since joining Chelsea...

Unfortunately Roy Keane is right: Everton are a long way from any serious European involvement.

Mike Owen
11 Posted 08/03/2020 at 22:29:43
Okay, let's drop/rest a few players. But who comes in to replace them?

We got players injured, and potentially promising lads out on loan. No first-team signings in the winter window (scratching my head, have I forgotten anyone?).

I am struggling to see where we get a spark. For the derby, we gotta get behind whoever Carlo puts out there. We have to be the spark.

Lee Howard
12 Posted 08/03/2020 at 22:47:30
Sigurdsson... quick question: Do players ever hand in a transfer request when they obviously are struggling?

I'm thinking mainly about Sigurdsson but, after another typical Everton display, pick any of the squad...

Or even managers that can't win matches.

Derek Thomas
13 Posted 08/03/2020 at 22:48:06
David Pearl @ 9: thanks mate, you summed it up and saved me the bother. 10 mins less I would've had to waste on that shower of shite.
John Raftery
14 Posted 08/03/2020 at 22:49:52
This was an alarmingly poor performance. There were no positive aspects whatsoever. The few consistent performers who have carried our team in recent months dropped their standards and were totally outfought and outclassed today. Chelsea looked hungrier, faster, fitter and better organised in all aspects of the game.

The gulf in class was most evident in midfield where incisive passing, impressive speed and high energy left our pedestrian unit in shreds. If Carlo needed evidence to support his recent assertion of the need to add greater energy to our midfield, that evidence was here aplenty.

Only three weeks ago, some of our fans and Carlo himself had hopes of qualifying for European football. That was before this run of fixtures which Carlo had described as pivotal to those hopes. Now he has seen his team is nowhere near good enough to be anywhere near the European competitions.

We have seen some dire performances in recent seasons. This one was right up there.

Rob Marsh
15 Posted 08/03/2020 at 23:07:21
Lee Howard #12,

Do they hand in transfer requests?

Not when they're being paid an absolute fortune by a club that doesn't know what it's doing. Sigurdsson would have to take a significant pay cut to go elsewhere.

Money, money, money!

Mike Price
16 Posted 08/03/2020 at 23:51:02
We should have kept our powder dry and stuck with Duncan Ferguson until the end of the season. Ancelotti is a front-of-house throwback, way too laid back and not what we needed.

Meanwhile, a few weeks of decent performances and we put two average youngsters on superstar contracts, instantly turning them into liabilities that we can't shift for the next 5 years.

Apparently they're on more than Trent Alexander-Arnold across the park. Utter morons running the club.

Lee Howard
17 Posted 09/03/2020 at 00:04:37
@Rob Marsh # 15

I agree, I was just wandering if there ever has been a case of player(s) leaving if a team is about to get relegated or playing really bad all season... Like us?

Paul Traill
18 Posted 09/03/2020 at 05:55:33
The players were awful, but I also can't understand Carlo's team selection or decisions. We knew Giroud is playing so why leave our tallest centre-back on the bench? Yerry would at least have made heading the ball difficult for Giroud. Sidibé should have been hooked at the break or even sooner with Mason moved to right-back and Yerry in the centre.

Bernard shouldn't be starting games like this. He's far too much of a luxury and doesn't protect his full-back. Walcott should have played there instead, he at least works hard and tracks back.

I'm glad we have a big name in as manager in Carlo, but my, some of his decision-making leaves me baffled. As Duncan showed us, this doesn't have to be difficult. Just play to the team's strengths and get into them. Come on lads!

Annika Herbert
19 Posted 09/03/2020 at 06:13:57
David @8, Sigurdsson is twice the player Davies is!!? They were both awful yesterday, the difference is Sigurdsson has been crap the whole season and continues to be selected!

Sigurdsson should never be seen in an Everton shirt again. If we can't sell him, give him away.

Tony Everan
20 Posted 09/03/2020 at 07:14:36
Paul T, it's a fair point about selection and necessary substitutions.

What If Marco Silva had gone with that team selection and left the dire Sidibé and Sigurdsson on the field after half-time? There would be blood on the keyboards, and steam coming out of the hard drives.

With our midfield options, Carlo has got his work seriously cut out. No matter what, he has to try something to create an actual midfield that can function as one.<>Sometimes our 4-4-2 turns into a 4-2-4; it's just the natural positional sense of the players thrown in there. Our central and defensive midfield then are massively exposed, overrun and don't stand a chance.

In our 4-4-2, the right- and left-midfielder needs to be much more of a midfield fighter. Only this will help the middle two. Think of a James Milner type character at right-midfield and similar character on the left.

We are perennially exposed, unbalanced and weak in midfield because of this deficiency. It was as clear as day to see it against Chelsea yesterday.

Until those crucial midfield players can be found, against most clubs away, the 4-4-2 has to be ditched or we'll get many more embarrassing results heaped upon us.

Tony Abrahams
21 Posted 09/03/2020 at 07:20:26
Tony's second and last paragraphs are both things I totally agree with, and I just hope Ancelotti has got a long-term plan with regards to certain players, because he said we lost that game in minute one, but he never tried to alter a formation that was completely exposing us.
Phil Lewis
22 Posted 09/03/2020 at 07:24:40
I missed the first 5 minutes on TV yesterday; in my rush, I didn't have time to even see the team sheet.

In all honesty, the match was almost 30 minutes old before I realised that Sigurdsson was playing. Such was his contribution. I have said all along, the man is an imposter. What anyone has ever seen in him, apart from his occasional ability from dead-ball situations, is totally beyond me.

Think about it: when we signed him from Swansea, his transfer dragged on for many months. We paid a ridiculously inflated price, for a Spurs cast-off. Did any other club chase after his signature? No, just us mugs. Fans have fooled themselves into believing he is something that he is not, never has been, nor ever will be, a footballer. We couldn't give him away, if we tried to offload him now.

I have been banging the drum for Holgate to be employed as a defensive midfielder, ever since big Dunc successfully used him there. Surely Ancelotti must see the need for that change now. Obviously, this would mean a central defensive pairing of Mina and Keane. Coleman, when fit and Baines must be restored as full-backs, at least until the end of the season, to provide some stability.

Gomes looked sadly off the pace yesterday, perhaps games such as this have come too soon, after his awful injury. Although his predicament wasn't helped by Davies, who ran around aimlessly, like a child in the playground, ball watching, with zero positional sense. Chelsea played triangles around him, as if he wasn't there.

We were non-existent down the flanks, our two forward men, starved of any real ammunition. Richarlison did well to put Calvert-Lewin through, when sadly he fluffed a golden opportunity. That aside, I felt sorry for our two frontrunners. They continually had to come deep, or rely on set pieces, for any service.

Kean's late substitution was a desperate measure doomed for failure. People live in hope for the lad; in truth, nothing he has done thus far convinces me that he has any sort of future for us.

I was never a big Barkley fan, but he played well yesterday. He spoke of his affection for us when interviewed after their Liverpool game. Everton fans who booed him yesterday were out of order.

Chelsea were well drilled, passed quickly and accurately with sharp finishing. We, by contrast, were simply abysmal. Back to basics Carlo, the welcoming party is over.

Rick Tarleton
23 Posted 09/03/2020 at 07:38:13
For years, I, like many others, have been banging on about the lack of balance in our midfield. Sigurdsson, a dead ball specialist, Schneiderlin lacking in passing, Gomes, clever but lacks an engine. Davies in the Chelsea midfield would not have looked quite so lost, but he too has lost his way.

As for Bernard, Iwobi, Walcott and Delph, the least said. To be kind, some of them are has-beens, some have moments. The loss of Barkley was emphasised yesterday with his excellent display.

Ancelotti will know this, he'll know what he needs, whether he can sign what he needs is another matter. Everton's financial priority may be the new stadium and top signings may be a hope rather than an expectation. If Ancelotti and his team can provide the current squad with the wherewithal to compete with the better midfields in the Premier League, it will be miraculous.

I am not hopeful, we need a proper holding midfielder, not the ageing Delph or Schneiderlin, a constructive, creative force with legs (I know that's asking a lot) to help Gomes and a wide man who can swop flanks and provide defensive help when necessary. Davies could be assimilated into such a set-up; as it is, he is lost and floundering.

It's a challenge, Carlo.

Jim Bennings
24 Posted 09/03/2020 at 08:08:35
Ancelotti has been making mistakes, yes; it's the fascination with the fading star of Gylfi Sigurdsson and the reluctance to try and balance out a midfield that concerns me.

But, at the end of the day, the man Carlo Ancelotti is just that – a man – and he is only human.

I said even when Silva was here, the manager is the scapegoat for the most stupid bunch of players we have ever harboured.

I say our players are stupid because they never learn; some may be more talented than those teams we had in the '90s, but even those struggling sides back then were savvy and clever with dirty dogs that knew how to grind out a result. The crop we harbour now are just a bit thick really.

Ancelotti has made mistakes – don't get me wrong, notably the selection for the FA Cup derby, the Sigurdsson situation, and the removing of players against Newcastle at 2-0 when we were running the show, thus handing the Geordies the initiative.

But primarily Ancelotti won't be able to do anything different with this crop of players than Marco Silva did last season, for example.

The glass ceiling that was there under Moyes is still there – it's just moved from what was then regular 5th place finishes and no big away wins or Cups to present day about 8th place or lower and no big away wins and Cups.

Unless we can attract players like James Maddison, Riyad Mahrez, Mason Mount, Adama Traore... (just a few examples), then it's hard to see this team finishing any higher than where it has over the last 3 years.

Steve Little
25 Posted 09/03/2020 at 08:33:32
Critics of Schneiderlin and Delph take note. This is what happens when you are forced to play against a top team without a true holding midfielder.

IMHO, Schneidelin in particular has taken far too much criticism on these pages. If he was available, it would have made a big difference.

I was actually surprised by how good Chelsea looked. Pre-match, I thought we might have actually done okay. Maybe Ancelotti underestimated them too. I am sure lessons will be learned. Hopefully in time for next Monday!

Colin Glassar
26 Posted 09/03/2020 at 08:42:10
Well the “Carlo bump” had to end sooner or later. It's back to reality and the reality is, this is basically a poor, mid-table squad with some very good players.

Our goalie is a brilliant shot-stopper but fails at the basics.
Our four starting full-backs are decent going forward but can't defend, eg, stop crosses.
Our three centre-backs are inconsistent, hesitant and lack communication skills.
Our midfield is nonexistent. Lacks energy, pace, leadership, physicality, nouse, passing ability etc – in short, our midfield is shite bar Gomes.
Our two forwards are very good but, without decent service from midfield, they are easily neutralised.

In other words, a major rebuild is in order – and that could take years. All the on-loan players need to be moved on ASAP and if that means cancelling contracts, so be it.

We also need any new signings to have some leadership qualities as well as ability. We haven't had a decent captain since Dave Watson, someone who is not only vocal but leads by example. Oh for a Vieira, Keane, Toure or, dare I say, Henderson.

Lastly, the midfield is the engine of any team and for that you need players with not only skill but mental and physical strength. Apart from Gomes, and possibly Tom Davies, none of our lot have anything to offer in that department. The likes of Iwobi, Walcott, Sigurdsson, Schneiderlin, Bernard etc are all either too slow, weak or both.

Like I said, major surgery is required but it will take time. Carlo already knew, after the humiliation of losing to a bunch of snotty-nosed kids in the FA Cup, what was facing him. We have no alternative but to trust him and be patient.

Christopher Timmins
27 Posted 09/03/2020 at 09:11:13
I have been prepared to let the manager run his eye over the squad since his appointment, with a view to determining who stays, who goes, and what's needed to move things forward. After yesterday's hiding, some contrast with the game at Goodison before Christmas, I can only hope that the following issues at a minimum have been resolved in the manager's mind:

The following to be moved on: Sidibé & Sigurdsson.

What's needed:

Kenny to return
A centre-half with presence
An additional central midfielder to provide help Gomes

I am not sure if yesterday was as big a humiliation as the FA Cup tie in January but it was up there with it. In the short-term, Baines has to come back in as he is our best left-back.

Michael O'Malley
28 Posted 09/03/2020 at 09:12:01
Steve @25.

I totally agree about Schneiderlin, he takes some underserved stick. I think the team looks weaker when he's not in it. One thing's for sure: he wouldn't have let Mount etc waltz through unchallenged, even if he had to take one for the team.

And we looked a bit better when Walcott come on cos at least he can stretch defenders with his pace instead of just playing the ball backwards.

Jim Bennings
29 Posted 09/03/2020 at 09:27:02
If we lose the derby next Monday (or rather, 'when') the time we next play is April 6th, a Monday night against Leicester; we are very likely to be looking nervously over our shoulder at the teams below.

We are on 37 points, not safe, and with the sixth-worst defence in the league and it's hard to see where the next four or five points are coming from.


Our next three games, if we carry on defending like dummies, then the end of April might see more than a few twitchy arses.

Rennie Smith
30 Posted 09/03/2020 at 09:44:32
Reading the comments on this site is like sitting on a massive swing in the park. One week it's brilliant, Holgate, Calvert-Lewin the future... the next week, the whole lot of them are a shower of shite and need replacing.

It was a day to forget, terrible performance, "write it off and start again" stuff. But just because Roy Keane spouts some crap, because that's what he gets paid for, doesn't mean we all have to fall in line and start slating the manager and players.

I can't believe people are digging out Gomes, do you really expect him to be up to speed after such an injury and lay-off?

Carlo's not daft, he knows the score, and he's trying things out to get a better idea for next season.

Franny Porter
31 Posted 09/03/2020 at 09:56:53
Admittedly Carlo dropped a bollock yesterday, Sigurdsson on the left and Bernard on the right, along with Keane anywhere in the squad is a mistake. However, these are the cards he has been dealt.

The majority of these players were shite for Koeman, Allardyce, Silva, and Unsworth. You cant make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

We have finally got a World Class manager but I'm telling you now, not even Alex Ferguson would get a consistent tune out of these frauds.

Nobody can deny we haven't improved under Carlo, so FFS don't start slagging him now until he has been able to put his own stamp on the squad. If nothing else, it's fucking embarrassing.

For what it's worth, the only players I would want to keep from that 11 are Pickford (at a push!), Holgate, Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison.

Brian Harrison
32 Posted 09/03/2020 at 10:02:40
A poor performance from all concerned, and I can understand to some extent why Ancelotti makes so many changes but it hardly breeds consistency. We didn't close down players in possession, we didn't track runners... just basic things that you are taught as a kid.

Ancelotti has had to work with the dross that has been accumulated by Koeman, Allardyce and Silva, so let's see what happens in the summer when hopefully he can bring in some much-needed quality.

Sam Hoare
33 Posted 09/03/2020 at 10:16:40
Not good enough from 1 to 11 yesterday (possible exception for Pickford though he could have done better with the crucial first goal).

The big issue is midfield. Especially central midfield. I've been bashing Gomes for a while and yesterday he showed why. Dribbled past umpteen times and very little positional sense; if he is going to play, then you cannot pair him with Davies who is similarly poor positionally. The amount of times they passed or ran through our middle was startling. I'm not a huge fan of Delph but I actually think he's our best centre-midfielder currently; he makes almost as many tackles per game as Gomes and Davies combined (!) and is sensible if unspectacular with the ball. For me, he has to start the derby with Gomes.

Gomes, Delph, Davies, Schneiderlin. None of these is close to a top 6 midfielder and all are unbelievably slow. When combined with the equally immobile Sigurdsson, it makes for an
incredibly inflexible midfield that is far too easily bypassed and struggles to recover.

We really miss Gbamin!! Central midfield is a massive priority this summer. We might have to buy two.

For rest of the season, I don't think we can play 4-4-2 against decent teams. We really lack the spine.

Kevin Prytherch
34 Posted 09/03/2020 at 10:19:52
Tony 20 - I think you've got it right here with our wide midfield players. The same thing frequently happened with Silva.

I believe that Carlo planned for Chelsea's 3 in midfield and that's why he played Sigurdsson and Bernard, 2 players who should drift inside and help. Instead, both players predominantly stayed out wide. However, they didn't play advanced enough to trouble the full-backs, they didn't play defensive enough to cover for our full-backs and they didn't tuck into the centre to help out. They just stayed in no-man's land.

Sigurdsson especially should not be doing this. He is a natural central player, so should have been tucking into the middle straight away to help Davies and Gomes. This would have meant a 3 vs 3 in the centre of midfield and would have prevented us from being overrun. I believe that Sigurdsson, much like Schneiderlin, just hasn't got the heart for the game. He might run a lot, but doesn't get involved where he should.

I don't think you can blame Gomes and Davies that much, although both were too indecisive. Playing 2 vs 3 was just too much. Barkley constantly drifted beyond the midfield into the gap between midfield and defence; Gomes and Davies couldn't decide whether to pick up Barkley, or pick up the other two. In the end, they did neither. We needed a more compact midfield, or one of the centre-forwards dropping back to help – which would have limited us up-front.

I think that Carlo did plan for this, but it was poorly executed. I also believe that this should be a lesson for the derby as Liverpool will also have 3 more central midfield players so, if we play the same formation, the wide midfielders have to remain compact and help out in central areas. Ferguson did this in his games, he let the opposition have the ball wide; however, made sure that they couldn't work the ball inside through sheer weight of numbers.

We do still have a good team – we just got battered this time. Carlo is proving that we always stand a chance of a win against teams below or around us, even if he is struggling against some of the better teams. Don't be surprised if we win 20 games next season, but none come from games against the big 6.

Geoff Williams
35 Posted 09/03/2020 at 10:39:17
That was a very poor performance and, as poor as the players were, the manager should not escape criticism. He chooses the team and the tactics.

Sigurdsson huffs and puffs but what does he actually do? His contribution to the game yesterday was nil. He doesn't make tackles, win headers, close the opposition down, make telling passes and his deadball delivery is inconsistent. Worst of all, he disappears totally for long periods of the game.

Putting Sigurdsson on the same side of the pitch as Sidibé was a disaster waiting to happen. I cannot think of a full-back as poor as Sidibé, he has no positional sense at all and yesterday his passing was woeful. Digne is only slightly better.

Davies and Gomes have come in for a fair amount of criticism but they were outnumbered in midfield. In their defence, they didn't hide; they continued to ask for the ball. Gomes was totally spent and shouldn't be expected to play the full 90 minutes at the moment following his horrendous injury. Davies has his limitations but he is a decent player and the team should play to his strengths rather than expose his weaknesses.

I feel particularly sorry for Keane and Holgate. They play in-front of a suspect goalkeeper, have two full-backs who lack any defensive nouse either side of them and a midfield trying to cope with superior opposition numbers. Everton do have some very good players but whose own game is suffering as they try to make up for the deficiencies of others.

Derek Taylor
36 Posted 09/03/2020 at 11:19:59
Ancelotti is rapidly shaping up as Silva Mark 2. Unfortunately burdened with at least half a team of 'no marks', his tactical nous is being shown up as very similar to his much younger predecessor. He simply refuses to accept the evidence of his own eyes and seeks to show his 'innocents abroad' paymasters that he can turn all our lame ducks into graceful swans.

I have to confess that I gave up on this outfit in the days of Koeman, so I am merely writing off my lifelong team as going rapidly down the shitter. Aston Villa and Newcastle set the trend. Everton are next.

Rennie Smith
37 Posted 09/03/2020 at 11:32:07
Derek @36 – behave yourself. A manager who's won 20 trophies that has no tactical nous?

Geoff @35 – agree with the Sidibé comments, these days it seems that full-backs are bought for their attacking capabilities first, defending second. As much as Seamus is losing his legs, I'd have him before Sidibé all day long.

Rick Tarleton
38 Posted 09/03/2020 at 11:48:56
If you were starting from scratch, the current Everton squad have few players you'd select as the nucleus of a team. Contributor after contributor says we need x, y and z. Ship out a, b and c, they say. May I ask which teams want Sigurdsson, Sidibé0, Schneiderlin et alia? Especially considering the wages they are on.

We all know the weaknesses, but this is the hand Ancelotti has been dealt. If there is a magic money tree, then we may be able to solve the problems in the summer. But the new stadium must be a focus of our financial resources.

Pochettino at Spurs and Wenger at Arsenal managed to keep their teams in the top four while financing their new grounds. Wenger lost Henry and Van Persie amongst others while doing so. Ancelotti may face a similar scenario over the next few seasons.

Ancelotti knows what he wants and needs; whether he can get them is another matter.

Mark Andrews
39 Posted 09/03/2020 at 11:51:59
After the honeymoon, we return to the chastening reality of years of investment squandered at our club.We are so far short of any sort of a challenge, it's frightening.

Our failure to bring good players through the ranks to be first-team regulars is there for all to see. Please don't tell me there's anyone keeping faith with Tom Davies, a Championship squad player at the very best; the delusional belief in his ability to be a top-level Premier League player is simply based on a misjudged sense of loyalty of him being "one of our own" .

Derek Taylor
40 Posted 09/03/2020 at 11:57:47
Ancelotti is merely an historical figure, Rennie. Rather like Wegner was in his latter days at Arsenal and two or three other legends who have been at Old Trafford since Fergie retired.

Michael Lynch
41 Posted 09/03/2020 at 12:04:03
After reading all the comments, I have two things to say:

1. We won't go down. Not this season anyway.

2. It's not the players who should be putting in transfer requests, it's us fans. I'd like my season ticket transferred to a club where the players put in a shift at a minimum. Sheffield's a bit of a shit hole but at least their supporters are getting value. Ditto Wolverhampton.

Andrew Clare
42 Posted 09/03/2020 at 12:21:03
Most clubs have one or two bad days and yesterday was one of those days for us. Remember we won well against Chelsea at Goodison. Our problem has been the failure to defeat many of the teams below us earlier in the season. If we had won 3 or 4 of those games instead of drawing or losing we would be in a completely different position.
Derek Taylor
43 Posted 09/03/2020 at 12:24:00
Andrew, that's just jibberish! If we had won all our games we would even be above 'that lot'.
Dick Fearon
44 Posted 09/03/2020 at 12:28:14
Who will be the next idiot to say everything in the garden is rosy? It is one thing to buck up the fans but another to treat us like mushrooms.

I suggest you keep your gobs shut until we beat a 'top sixer', perhaps next Sunday would be a good time to start.

[Er... I am only kidding about next Sunday.]

Brent Stephens
45 Posted 09/03/2020 at 12:29:52
Sunday, Dick?
Andrew Clare
47 Posted 09/03/2020 at 13:13:34
Derek, I am just trying to point out that there is a fine line between success and failure. Yes, the result was disappointing but look at last week - we were robbed of a victory against a team that is just as good as Chelsea.

We know that we need 3 midfielders of the highest quality. Our team will be transformed then. Look at Man Utd with the signing of Fernandes. They have been rejuvenated.

Christy Ring
48 Posted 09/03/2020 at 14:03:28
David@ 8, Sigurdsson is twice the player Davies is?? Are you having a laugh, what contribution has Siggy made in any game this season?

I felt sorry for Gomes and Davies yesterday, neither is a defensive midfielder, but they tried, and were overrun by Mount, Barkley and Gilmour, with no help whatsoever from Sigurdsson and Bernard.

I agree with Annika @19; Sigurdsson shouldn't be given an Everton shirt again. We have to give Baningime a game next Monday, he's the only defensive midfielder we have, with Schneiderlin injured.

Holgate would be the obvious choice, but I'd play him at full-back, because Sidibe, whose defensive game is so shockingly bad, with Coleman injured, Mane would have a field day.

Kevin Prytherch
49 Posted 09/03/2020 at 14:05:58
Derek - I believe that comments along the lines of “if we’d have beaten the easy teams” might ring true next season.

Ancelottis record vs big 6
P 5. W 0. D 1. L 4

Ancelottis record vs everyone else
P 7. W 5. D 2. L 0

If he continues this into next season we’ll be right up there challenging for 4th or 5th. Moyes used to get us to 5th by playing well against 13-14 teams in the league - I believe Ancelotti will do the same.

Beat the 13 smaller teams and try to get anything from the big 6 is a good starting point.

Paul Jones
50 Posted 09/03/2020 at 14:13:57
I think Tom Davies is another Jack Rodwell in that he won't live up to the early promise and well-intentioned wishes of the fans. I hope to be proven wrong though.

Pickford needs to really improve otherwise he will lose his spot in the "Deliveroo" adverts to England's keeper from the ladies team.

Since we've had Walsh & Brands, the choice in investments has rivalled that of those who crashed the financial system. I suppose their next career move will be in "flood defences".

I can see Goodison Park being well empty before the final whistle against Liverpool. Who would have thought Moshiri would end up being the next Doug Ellis??

Dave Lynch
51 Posted 09/03/2020 at 14:26:11
I have watched the game twice to try and pick up positives... None could be found.

The one alarming thing was Sigurdsson and Davies. I'm sorry but both are awful players, Sigurdsson is stealing a living; Davies lacks everything a midfielder requires to play in the Premier League.

He is pedestrian, lacks fight and spirit, has no awareness of his surroundings and cannot pass a football when under pressure.

Sigurdsson has some qualities – he can pass a ball and has a decent shot – but, other than that, see above.

Tony Abrahams
52 Posted 09/03/2020 at 14:47:56
Funny that, Dave, watching it again to try and find some positivity, but fair-play to you for having the patience mate.

Don't forget we were also robbed last week, Kevin, against the very in-form Man Utd!

Sigurdsson mustered 4 sprints in 89 minutes, is what I've just read on NewsNow Everton? Even the subs who never got on must have each managed a few more sprints than that.

John Raftery
53 Posted 09/03/2020 at 14:51:02
The vast majority if not all of the present squad will still be with us next season. No other club will buy them. We are very unlikely to add more than two or three players in the summer.

Those players may improve our performances and results but unless they are truly world class we are unlikely to be anywhere near ready to challenge teams in the top six. It will take two or three years of steady recruiting and team building to do so.

Mark Andersson
54 Posted 09/03/2020 at 14:56:48
25 years... umpteen managers. Lost count of how many players have worn and failed the blue shirt. The only real common denominator is the negative fan base of Everton FC...

Why have a world class manager when all the board have to do is read the wisdom of comments on here??? You experts think you have it sussed and write as though it will make a difference.

Let's not kid ourselves, Liverpool will beat us and finally win the Premier League. Oh the irony of it all. We all gloated when Steve G done his famous slip... well now, once again, it's coming back to haunt us...

Let's all be humble and take a bow to Liverpool FC who once again out shine the blue half of the city.

Kenwright out... it's all his fault. Morshi out... he has bad money and zero knowledge of how to run a football club.

Rob Marsh
55 Posted 09/03/2020 at 15:09:33
After the Chelsea surrender and confidence at zero we now have a derby and I hope Carlo Ancelotti is completely switched on for this one, unlike the FA Cup game.

The only way we'll get a draw or keep their score to single digits is if we turn this into to a dog fight some of their Fancy Dans won't feel like taking part in.

If they get knocked out of the Champions League they'll come at us, like Mike Tyson in an ugly mood, if they beat Atletico, they'll be relaxed and stroke the ball around like Brazil at their best.

Either way, before the game, it might worthwhile taking that valium pill you forgot you had or downing a (good) few beers to numb what's unthinkable.

Paul Richards
56 Posted 09/03/2020 at 15:23:14
Dave @51,

How you managed to watch that through twice is astounding to me... but you provide sadly accurate characterizations, unfortunately, although such honest judgements have already been condemned by self-proclaimed wise counsel on here as 'bile'.

Funny how that works. You give your honest assessment of players and, because you dare to critique a protected species, it's therefore classed as 'bile'? Never understood this fear of being honest amongst ourselves about our shortcomings. Surely only by recognizing and accepting such determinations will you have any chance of improving on them?

Brent Stephens
57 Posted 09/03/2020 at 15:57:59
Paul #56 "Dave @51, How you managed to watch that through twice is astounding to me".

Paul, it's easier on the eye when you play it back at double speed or faster. You almost feel that Holgate etc are going to catch Willian.

A lot of praise in the media for young Billy Gilmour. A very tidy player. The vast majority of his play was recycling the ball through easy passes. I think I only saw him make a couple of tackles. But he maintains the speed and rhythm of Chelsea's game, and picked some lovely passes between the lines - only possible if you have other players who quickly give you those options. Gomes looked frustrated for so much of the time, looking for movement of our own players.

How many Chelsea players would you swap for some of ours? Would you prefer Zouma or Keane? Azpilicueta or Sidibe? Willian or Bernard / Walcott? Rudiger or Holgate? Mount or Davies? Barkley or Sigurdsson? etc. We've got a lot of players to shift.

Dave Abrahams
58 Posted 09/03/2020 at 16:03:25
Brent (57),

It's not all bad news, Brent, Sandro scored again in Spain, that's 4 in 21 games, two or three more and I can see Real Madrid and Barcelona casting their nets.

Brent Stephens
59 Posted 09/03/2020 at 16:10:36
Dave, good job he's only out on loan! Wouldn't want to lose him.
Danny O'Neill
60 Posted 09/03/2020 at 16:16:01
Don’t play 4-4-2. It has had it’s day. We got carried away because of the bounce we had post Silva. The long-term reality, as exposed today, is that if you play 4-4–2 in the modern game, it matters not that you have an extra forward. If you get overrun in midfield, you have one extra redundant forward and a glaring gap in the middle of the park.

I’m a traditionalist & purist and like to move with the game. 4-4-2 is not currently a model on which to build success. I appreciate the manager only has the players he has be dealt and that in future, the game could go through another tactical evolution that sees 4-4-2 come back in (like flares & Doctor Martins right?). However, for now it leaves us exposed and puts the defence under pressure. I could go to town on the defence, but will leave it there as they are being put under pressure by us not dominating midfield.

I’ll finish my rant by stating that whatever formation, whatever latest football “fashion”, whatever generation, games have generally always been won or lost in midfield in my opinion. A solid defence & world class keeper will buckle eventually if not protected. You can play 3 forwards, but if not served by the midfield, they won’t score. We were overmatched & overrun in midfield yesterday and that was because they had an extra player. We may have had an extra forward, but it mattered not as they controlled the game where it mattered by outnumbering our predictable 4-4-2.

Brian Williams
61 Posted 09/03/2020 at 16:24:52
So Chelsea had a midfield five?
Andy Crooks
62 Posted 09/03/2020 at 16:34:38
Mark @54, you really don't get the point of fan sites. World class managers sometimes get it wrong. Many people, me included, think his performance on Sunday was poor and have stated why. Are you suggesting he is above criticism?
Tony Abrahams
63 Posted 09/03/2020 at 16:34:54
Not getting into anything Danny, but any system is only outdated if you haven’t got good enough players, to carry out what you want from them.

Ancelotti had Davies over to the side of the pitch, but nothing changed, so hopefully he does change the system next Monday, and we don’t have to face the irony, or take any Valium pill?

The only positive I can take from yesterday’s game, is that the bookies might now push Everton, out a couple of extra points, and if it’s going wrong, from the off again next week, then Carlo Ancelotti might have learned he can actually do something about it.

Danny O'Neill
64 Posted 09/03/2020 at 16:37:13
No, but with Giroud up top then Pedro & Willian behind, they were not set up in a Subbuteo like 4-4-2. It was more fluid and they were much more inclined to drop deeper and pick the ball up alongside the 3 then had deployed as midfielders. Hence our midfield got overrun and we couldn’t control the game; they did.

Look, there were many other things wrong with yesterday. Ability, desire, mentality I’m just saying persisting with a rigid 4-4-2 is not the way forward.

John Pierce
65 Posted 09/03/2020 at 16:40:09
When all is said and done, it's down to effort and commitment which is the hill most Evertonians are prepared to die on.

There was very little criticism on these pages for losing. A lot of valid critique for the way we lost, players who cannot step up and connect with the fanbase will get destroyed. However, unless we, as a collective, are going to have a diocesan conversion for a different style of play, the manager and players need to be consistently reminded that's what we want.

Does it have to be all the time, every minute? No, because frankly we know it's unsustainable. There's no way we could continue the effort we applied under Ferguson without looking like the Black Knight from Monty Python, down to three players and the kit man.

So where's the balance? I'm not sure but I know Sunday is wholly unacceptable at any point, under any regime. Ancelotti may have overworked his tinkering and even his tactical tweaks didn't stem the flow, but the players were a disgrace from 1-11. I could question the effort of every player.

We have one game in three weeks, the strongest team must be picked and maximum effort must be applied. If we lose and lose badly, the fall-out without a game to move on from will make it a very dark time.

Let's hope the message gets through.

Danny O'Neill
66 Posted 09/03/2020 at 16:41:47
Totally agree Tony. Although I do believe that right now, 4-4-2 is not the system to play, I have always agreed you have to play the system best suited to the players at your disposal. If those players are not to the standard then it’s challenging regardless of what system you play.

That is possibly where Carlo’s hands are tied. A worse approach is to make the players fit the system you want to play regardless (which is what happened to our previous recent managers in my opinion).

As I’ve just said, there were many things wrong with yesterday. I’m just picking up on one but there were many.

Danny O'Neill
67 Posted 09/03/2020 at 16:43:15
And I have my vallium ready for next Monday!!!
Colin Glassar
68 Posted 09/03/2020 at 16:50:11
Dave 51, I’ve watched the game thrice (x3) and the more I watch the more I believed we were robbed!!!

The ref, VAR, Frankie Lamps, even the home crowd were all against us. We bossed that game and only due to some poor refereeing and bad weather we lost that one.

Then I woke up screaming and in a cold sweat.

Danny O'Neill
69 Posted 09/03/2020 at 17:01:28
Colin, despite my focus on the formation (I do believe in that though), we were just outplayed. Desire, commitment, passion, energy, mentality & ability; we were exposed in every department. Mentality is a particular concern with this group. They don't just lose, they collapse.

I've been a massive critic of late, but Jordan Pickford is probably one of the few (one) to come out with credit. He saved us from further humiliation.

I can reluctantly accept defeat when I know I've given everything and the other team were simply better. I think over the years, Evertonians have been of that mindset. Yesterday, we were beaten before we walked on the pitch.

The irony is, the league is of such a poor standard (Liverpool & Man City aside) that, with a bit of a clear out & the right signings, we might not be that far off. That sounds ridiculous on the back of yesterday, but hopefully most will know where I'm coming from.

Dave Lynch
70 Posted 09/03/2020 at 17:05:30
I did honestly lads, I watched it real time and then had to watch it again.

I honestly could not believe what I was seeing 2nd time around, it was even more heartbreaking.

Christy Ring
71 Posted 09/03/2020 at 17:05:47
The sad fact, our midfield is one of the poorest in the Premier League.

Gomes is only back, but we have no physical presence beside him. Gbamin is a massive loss, and Schneiderlin and Delph, nowhere near good enough.

Our wide players, Sigurdsson and Bernard, offer absolutely nothing, when we're on the backfoot, as they showed yesterday, and Iwobi and Walcott no better.

Big changes needed in the summer.

Tony Abrahams
72 Posted 09/03/2020 at 17:09:51
Many things wrong Danny, so it's just plain common-sense to start with the most obvious mate!

JP might have a point that it was the work-rate, that needs changing the most, but I said after yesterday's game that I think we will get ruined if we play the same system next week. I even went as far as picking a five-man midfield, with Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison occupying the widest areas of the pitch!

If Ancellotti has got a free-hit until the summer, I don't think it extends to next Monday. We have got to ditch the Valium, and stay off the ale until 10pm, unless it makes you get behind the team even more. I'm hoping to win my holiday money, even if they're closing the airports for a bit!

Jim Bennings
73 Posted 09/03/2020 at 17:15:15
The midfield Christy is pedestrian.

I've said for longer than I care to recall, they have no different dynamic, it's all one-paced.

Gomes is just back but even before his injury he was a very inconsistent player, has been all his career, capable of playing brilliant one week then two or three games pass him by like he's not on the pitch.

Davies, I won't even say he's Championship class because, having watched that league closely, it would do a disservice to some of the very good technically gifted hard working lads in that league.

Bernard has got good feet but he doesn't deliver anything like enough, too much breaks down in the final third and he's another that endlessly relinquishes possession.

Sigurdsson and Walcott are both yesterday's men and have no future going forward at the club.

Iwobi, just read Bernard, supposedly good feet but nothing at the end of it, again relinquishes possession too much, doesn't seem to be trusted by Ancelotti.

Gbamin I'm fearing is another that, when he does play, will just sit deep a bit like Delph and Schneiderlin, from what bits I seen of him in Germany he's not really that energetic dynamic presence we think he is.

Defensively I don't care what people say, we miss Zouma. He was our best defender in the last three months of the season and gelled well with Keane when we were keeping those clean sheetsfrom early Spring onwards, muscular and athletic, the closest thing we've had to Distin.

Holgate might look good on the ball when teams don't press us but you'll never keep many clean sheets with him partnering Keane or Mina for that matter, none of them are what you'd call heart-on-the-sleeve players that love defending.

John Pierce
74 Posted 09/03/2020 at 17:58:18
Danny, I think you might be right, until Ferguson put the system in place 4-4-2 was anathema to me. However we played Chelsea at home, despite the same system and out-worked them.

First to everything, contesting every second ball. That grit was absent Sunday. You might argue they, Chelsea, had a poorer side out than first time around?! They played to their level in both games. Did we?

So why would I stick with 4-4-2? Well despite the clear deficiencies in midfield it gets the best out of arguably our two best players up front. Both are thriving off each other taking defenders away from them and creating space.

I'd say that what we didn't do on Sunday which we have done recently is go long, direct and make it a battle. Is bringing Gomes back slowing the tempo down?

I know that sounds crazy but he hogs the ball and the front two thrive off quick ball. Mix in Sidibé who also needs a quick decisive pass or is caught too high if we attempt to retain the ball in midfield and probe. Our players simply aren't good enough for possession footy. So let's not eh?!

I think of you play that way the system is perhaps redundant? Until we get better players, exploit the strengths you have, the front two.

The temptation is to put Richarlison wide right and pair Kean with Calvert-Lewin. I think that's a risk to break up a pair which has troubled every team we've played.

What other system retains that strength but minimizes the weakness, 3-5-2?

Antony Kelly
75 Posted 09/03/2020 at 18:06:27
Ferguson's 4-4-2 worked against a much stronger Chelsea team.
Paul Birmingham
76 Posted 09/03/2020 at 18:56:04
John @74, Some good points about the dynamic of the team and yesterday's disaster.

Yesterday was the latest meltdown over the last 30 years against the top 5 teams. I question the mentality and professionalism of the Everton first-team squad, and the lack of any natural leader with guts and the verbal nous to command the park. How the hell Sigurdsson is spouting in the Red Echo, is beyond me; how many times has Captain Fantastic preached this the last few years?

Yesterday's Sunday-morning ale-house type performance, sums up the demise of the club, but hopefully was final proof to Farhad, Marcel and Carlo, that it's time to rebuild with only a few, players worth keeping and a few as Squad players.

Surely next week, they'll put in a shift against Liverpool?

Any one know the odds for this game of an Everton win?

Thank you.

David Hallwood
77 Posted 09/03/2020 at 18:58:56
Obviously, everyone is concentrating on our midfield as the hub of our problems, and with good cause, but there's a number of posters that are saying what was lacking was a holding midfielder.

I suppose I blame Makele for this obsession with holders in midfield, but I'd point out that the 3 Chelsea midfielders were all attack-minded, or rather a throwback to the pre-Makele days when centre-mids did a bit of, well midfielding; win the ball, chase and harry the opposition when you haven't got possession, and carry the ball forward when you've got it, and – wait for this one – get into the opposition penalty area occasionally.

For years, I've commented on holding mids, in that they rob us of an outlet in attack, and looking at our goals against, do very little to stop them going in, and I would like to see us sign strong athletic midfielders that can get about the pitch.

As for yesterday, it's yet another chapter in the life of an Evertonian, and our hilarious game show – Which Everton is turning up this week??? Maybe as we're getting a new sponsor, we should look for offers from a schizophrenia charity. But I think some of the comments are a bit over the top.

In an ideal world, Gomes would be on the subs bench having 20 minutes here, 30 minutes there... but, as Lyndon pointed out, in his first games back, he was running on adrenalin and now he looks horribly, but understandably short of match fitness.

And Tom Davies: awful 1st half vs Man Utd; great 2nd half; and just plain awful vs Chelsea. What should happen, pack him off to the Bundesliga or just get shut.

I think major surgery is not possible given FFP and, given the fact that we tried that 2 seasons ago and ended up where we are, not helpful. Let's hope that Carlo Ancelotti is given the time to build a team. Even though Chelsea was a horror, Arsenal and Man Utd less so... in fact, I felt cheated in those games.

Who knows, maybe we'll beat Liverpool (yeah right) who have been struggling of late, and speaking of schizos, everything will be sweetness with us ToffeeWebbers!!

Terry Downes
78 Posted 09/03/2020 at 19:08:30
Anyone seen Sigurdsson's stats for Sunday?

Zero tackles, zero interceptions, and only four sprints... 😱

Fuckin' £90,000 a week for that — he should never play for us again!!

Danny O'Neill
79 Posted 09/03/2020 at 19:08:47

Your last point is interesting. For me, if you have the right players, 3-5-2 is the most potent system. It can also be the one that leaves you most exposed on the flanks if you don’t have the right wing backs or central holding midfielder.

Likewise, the most complete system is 4-2-3-1 as the very successful Germany 2010 - 2014 team demonstrated; you always have 4 attacking players but theoretically 6 defending. Key theme is you have to have the right players regardless of the system.

It comes back to playing to the strengths you have with the players at your disposal and the ability of those players.

I revert back to my previous points; we unfortunately don’t have the ability against the better teams and sadly, 4-4-2 is defunct at present. Whatever way you set up, you cannot allow yourself to get overloaded in midfield. In the modern game, most successful teams don’t play a rigid 4-4-2.

Tony Abrahams
80 Posted 09/03/2020 at 19:23:09
That was what Chelsea were reverting to so easily against us yesterday, Danny, because they constantly were getting three midfielders ahead of us, and we had no answer whatsoever.

It's only my opinion but against Liverpool I would break up that front two, and possibly start them both on either wing, and play Delph, Gomes/Beni/Davies, or even Iwobi, in a three-man central midfield.

Plug the gaps, and put strength and pace out-wide; it is the only system I can see working against the more technical aggressive teams. I hope Carlo Ancelotti and Duncan Ferguson are already working on a system to beat our horrible neighbours this time next week.

Danny O'Neill
81 Posted 09/03/2020 at 19:40:15
I concur, Tony. One thing we do have at our disposal is pace out wide. Play to your strengths.
Jeff Holt
82 Posted 09/03/2020 at 20:05:00
Is there a worse Premier League buy than Sigurdsson? Well maybe Schneiderlin but you know what I mean!
No pace, no threat, not interested. What a waste of money!!
Gordon Adie
83 Posted 09/03/2020 at 20:21:08
An Everton win against Liverpool is no forlorn hope. I think they are on the verge of burnout.
Brian Williams
84 Posted 09/03/2020 at 20:28:44
Nice one, Gordon. 😂😂😂
Stephen Brown
85 Posted 09/03/2020 at 20:33:06
Jeff 82

It was compounded on Sunday watching Barkley look dangerous, energetic, creative and generally a much better player than Sigurdsson! Whilst being 4/5 years younger!!

Martin Mason
86 Posted 09/03/2020 at 20:44:55
To be fair, though, the recent improvement had flattered us and we have thumped back to earth with this hammering on Sunday. Lots of very accurate comments on us being rubbish, our weak points, and what needs to be done, but to be fair everybody knows this and we were just lulled into a warm feeling that a great manger could produce a silk purse from the worst pig's ear in the Premier League.

My question is though, what benefit is there in the suicidal level of negativity? We are what we are and being negative is the least helpful thing that we as fans can do and it is absolutely pointless. We can do nothing as fans and only the club can do the things needed to get us out of this which is ridding the club of its forest of deadwood and to make some buys approaching the quality of Fernandes.

I use the term 'irrational negativity' a lot and the level shown in comments after results like this is as irrational as it can get. Yes, a comment that Everton were crap on Sunday is very valid but it is a waste of the effort used in typing it because it adds no value, anybody who saw it knows that so it's a statement of the bleeding obvious.

Breathe deeply and accept that there may well be other days like this before we get better including next week. The club knows what is needed and they deserve our support and positivity to help them resolve it. Everton should be made a perfect example of managing a football club at its very worse and how poor quality purchases can destroy a club as many have proven. We just did it worse than anybody else, as only Everton can.

Martin Mason
87 Posted 09/03/2020 at 20:54:45
We can beat Liverpool this weekend, they are a very poor side at the moment especially without Henderson, far poorer than the excellent Man Utd and Chelsea sides that we've just played.

And remember that Chelsea beat Liverpool almost as easily as they beat us recently. We're not going to be as bad again, we're at home, and we have a reasonable chance of getting a good result. Positivity please.

Ben Attwood
88 Posted 09/03/2020 at 21:09:50
Yesterday was a head scratcher.

If Carlo admits it was going wrong from the first minute why did he not change the formation early on? Chelsea were on top from the off and nearly scored within the first 5 minutes.

There seemed to be a change to a diamond midfield after we went 2-0 down with Bernard at the tip but then he was subbed at half-time. For the second half it was 4-4-2 again and they scored twice immediately.

4-4-2 can be very potent if you have the players and play to your strengths as we have seen since Silva left. Neither was evident yesterday. So why not change things? Even in games were we have been on top we have reverted to a 4-5-1 late on with Richarlison either subbed or moved out to left – Chelsea home and Palace home for example. Against the better teams we will get destroyed using a 4-4-2.

Roy Keane nailed it yesterday when he said we were a million miles away from European football. Not so long ago, we had a team that some would say lacked skill but what they did not lack was bottle and grit when the going got tough and, as a result, the team was consistently in Europe. Away from home you rarely get the rub of the green but there does not appear to be anyone in this team who will get stuck in which has been the issue for too many years now and shows in our terrible away record.

Carlo needs to start planning for next season and try a few ideas in Premier League match conditions, not against the Blackburns or Tranmeres of this world. At least 5 of the team yesterday are not good enough and never have been.

If you have 5 poor players in your team you are not going to win many matches. Get rid of the dross players that we are can all identify and bring in a few kids and/or try a some different formations. Playing the same underperformers has not worked for multiple managers now.

I am hoping that yesterday was a tactic to lure the Koppites into a false sense of security ahead of next Monday. I stress 'hoping'.

Tony Abrahams
89 Posted 09/03/2020 at 21:16:34
Chelsea beat an under-strength Liverpool, Martin, but it wasn't like Sunday's game, because Chelsea had to work much harder, and couldn't take their foot off the gas for the final 30 minutes like they thankfully did the other day.

I'm still positive though, because I'm not sure Ancelloti has picked our strongest team and formation yet, and other than Chelsea at home, we are yet to have a really good result this season, and we all know Everton can beat any team at Goodison Park, so I'm hoping that the bookies are giving us a decent price, so I can earn some money, because I'm definitely putting a few quid on Everton next Monday night!

Steavey Buckley
90 Posted 09/03/2020 at 21:23:36
Everton lacked pace against Chelsea. The remedy can't be implemented until next season, because players like Sidibe, Keane, Sigurdsson and Schneiderlin who lack the pace are still here.

But I was surprised, Ancelotti is not choosing Delph or Iwobi, because both players have pace 'to burn'.

Mike Connolly
91 Posted 09/03/2020 at 22:02:57
I wonder who's turn it is to be wheeled out and say we will learn from this game and that we are looking forward to the derby? It's the same old routine for years and the same result: we get beat!
Ian Riley
92 Posted 10/03/2020 at 00:20:19
Martin #87,

I can't have that we can beat Liverpool. They would have to have a really bad day to get turned over by us.

Our players don't have the belief or work rate to beat top teams. I'm all for passing it around but it's what you do without the ball that is our problem. Where are the tackles? In their faces? Pressure high up the pitch? None of it!

I'm not having its the players we have. Set the stall out to be hard to beat. Win the battle first. Too many of our players walk off as if they have just kicked off.

Just for a moment, we thought we had a chance of European football. Then we play the top six teams and there you go. This month has told our manager, Welcome to Everton.

Until we become hard to score against, forget success. Top teams make it difficult to score against them. Do this and we can move forward. Don't... then leave your keys at reception.

Gerry Killen
93 Posted 10/03/2020 at 03:40:00
I'm not making excuses for that awfull performance, but has it occurred to anyone how Carlo and his staff are feeling?

Right now there are 60-odd million in lock-down in Italy, among them family members, friends and neighbours living in fear of getting this virus, potentialy killing many people. I think we should look at the bigger picture here and show Carlo and crew a bit of respect and sympathy, after all, surely no-one expected us to get into Europe so soon into his tenure.

Cast your mind back to November – we were facing Championship football for a long time to come. We have to lower our expectations till this time next year and see where we are then. We have to have hope – tempered with a bit of realism. COYB

Martin Mason
94 Posted 10/03/2020 at 08:09:30
Ian @92, I agree, it's unlikely that we'll beat Liverpool but we have a chance. Hope is not lost yet; that'll be about 5 minutes after the start if normal service is resumed.
Tony Abrahams
95 Posted 10/03/2020 at 08:30:33
I thought the saying was Jesus wept... but now I'm not so sure, unless I go back to my early childhood when I used to be mesmerised by Goodison Park, and half-believed the song about Jesus Christ being an Evertonian.

Martin Mason
96 Posted 10/03/2020 at 08:32:35
Is it likely that our weakness in defence is just an inevitable outcome of having a very poor midfield that lacks the skill and intensity to give the necessary cover for the defence?

When I think of Ball, Harvey and Kendall, they must have been a dream to play behind as they were fast tracking back, demon tacklers and fast breaking away from the danger zone.

Our current midfield seem to block the ball being cleared as it forever seems to be coming back after being lost in midfield.

Derek Taylor
97 Posted 10/03/2020 at 10:46:52
I suspect that not too many of us have confidence in Ancelotti picking the ideal team and tactics to give us a chance next Monday. Already he has his favourites, like Gylfi, who just have to be included. That alone guarantees disaster!
Daniel A Johnson
98 Posted 10/03/2020 at 11:47:15
We have a strong front line in Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison.

Our back line is bang average, with question marks over Pickford, Mina, Keane and Digne, plus Coleman and Baines are a bit long in the tooth.

It's our midfield which is diabolically bad. We must easily on current form have one of the worst midfields in the Premier League. Gomes simply isn't fit; as for Sigurdsson??? (There must be something badly wrong there...) His form has fallen off a cliff.

Bernard remains an enigma. Delph represents your typical injury-prone journeyman player. Walcott continues to be in and out and lacking in end product. Then throw Davies into the mix, not a kid anymore at 22 and simply not good enough. Schneiderlin is arguably the only useful midfielder we currently have and he's injured. Iwobi has been in and out and hasn't really looked the part for £40M+.

As others have said, we need a new spine and they don't come cheap. But, despite the obvious crapness of half our team, you have to acknowledge that, on Sunday, Ancelotti's tactics set them up fail, which they happily did. I expect better with a manager with so called obvious know-how, who used to manage Chelsea himself once upon a time.

But, as Man Utd have shown with their recent new signing, Bruno Fernandes, get the recruitment right and you go places. Once upon a time, they were reliant on Jesse Lingard; now they have this guy who is simply a better player. We need to buy and we need to buy well.

Lynn Maher
99 Posted 10/03/2020 at 13:39:19
No need to worry, folks, all is not lost. Just been on the Everton website and watched the clip entitled:


It's about as inspirational as his football!

Tony Marsh
100 Posted 10/03/2020 at 14:12:28
When we lose the derby on Monday night, that will be 1 point from the last 4 games. Ancelloti isn't improving Everton; Carlo has merely picked up the baton dropped by Marco Silva. The same players that forced the sackings of Koeman, Allardyce and Silva are now being selected by Ancelotti and we look totally lost once again.

Pickford, Coleman, Sigurdsson, Schniderlin, Davies, Keane are simply not good enough, were never good enough, yet Carlo Ancelotti cannot see this fact. I see no difference in Ancelotti or Silva. Carlo has a nice CV but that was a few years ago now. Carlo was sacked from his previous 3 Jobs yet we rush out to employ the man?

I was under the impression that Carlo Ancelotti was a legendary football genius? Well, it didn't look like that at Anfield in January's FA Cup tie, did it? Klopp absolutely schooled Ancelotti and, for me, this was when I knew the club had made a huge mistake. Football moves on and managers and players get left behind. We have Carlo Ancelotti 2020 – not the 2010 version.

Like Spurs under Jose Mourinhio, Everton are learning the hard way. Past reputations count for nothing. The likes of Klopp and Espirito Santo are the new breed of manager type that EFC should've been trying to bring in. The Dinosaurs have had thier day.

Derek Taylor
101 Posted 10/03/2020 at 16:15:11
Thanks for posting, Tony Marsh. You saved me the job. Ancelotti is very much a 'Yesterday's Man!'
Patrick McFarlane
102 Posted 10/03/2020 at 16:23:24
If, or when, we lose to Liverpool and Leicester in our next two games – who should replace Ancelotti? - Duncan? Unsworth? Moyes?

Or is there somebody out there who is Godlike and can get this squad to play like Brazil at their best going forward and defend like Italy at their meanest? I can't wait for this new arrival, it's almost worth losing a few games.

[Tongue-in-cheek (obviously)]

Martin Mason
103 Posted 10/03/2020 at 16:33:53
Tony, unlike you, Ancelotti is a football manager and understands football. I think where he's really weak though is not having a magic wand to make such a bunch of misfits play like Brazil.

The saddest thing about Everton having a result like Sunday's is that it gives you a platform to spout your nonsense. Sorry, and nothing personal, but that is what it is. Unlike you, who adds nothing, I believe that the club is trying very hard to unload the deadwood and purchase replacements.

Ancelotti didn't get the club where it is, he inherited the problem and it's a problem that I doubt any manager alive could solve in a time frame less than several years.

Jim Burns
104 Posted 10/03/2020 at 16:57:55
Martin - wise words. I just hope he's given the time and support to do it. A rare combination these days.
Tony Marsh
105 Posted 10/03/2020 at 17:12:03
Martin @109,

I firmly believe Carlo – nice guy that he is – was a bad fit for Everton. Managing Europe's elite clubs that win trophies regardless of which manager is in charge is one thing... building a club from top to bottom is another. Chelsea, Real Madrid, PSG, Juventus etc – a piece of piss compared to this job.

You say I don't understand football but I tell you what I understand: What Klopp did in the FA Cup tie... yet Ancelloti didn't? Carlo got his arse smacked and it was embarrassing. Taken to school and humiliated.

Also, the first thing Carlo should've done is make sure Sigurdsson and Schneiderlin were nowhere near the first team again. But no... we have to suffer these wasters now under 4 different managers. If you are so clever, Martin, please tell me what you think has changed, since the worst of Marco Silva, to Sunday at Chelsea?

Since Duncan Ferguson stepped down, we have been shocking. Got some wins under Carlo but nothing even remotely convincing. In the Watford and Palace games, we were very lucky. Newcastle at home: pathetic. FA Cup at Anfield... embarrassingly woeful; a lucky point at home to Spurs and, as usual, twatted away in all the big games.

So tell me, Martin where is the improvement? Before you say "These are not Ancelloti's players, Lampard hasn't signed anyone yet; and Arteta likewise. Surely a genius like Carlo should get the same, if not more, out of our squad than Big Duncan did? Compare the performances against Chelsea under both men with the same players... you will find an answer in there somewhere, mate.

Nicholas Ryan
106 Posted 10/03/2020 at 18:59:51
'...Pedro expertly beat the offside trap' I'm not so sure that he did. To be any further offside, he'd have had to have been in Birmingham!!
Robert Tressell
107 Posted 10/03/2020 at 22:45:06
A random unrelated comment: Leipzig have just thumped Spurs. This is a team built from nothing by acquisition of potential + excellent scouting + use of a feeder club from a weaker league, which gives very talented youngsters the opportunity to develop and win without a great deal of pressure. Worth us buying Hibs instead of spending £13m on Sidibe?
Jim Bennings
108 Posted 11/03/2020 at 08:37:42

Clearly Leipzig are doing something vastly superior to us from academy level to first team.

It's no coincidence all the players we sign or bring through the ranks run like old men, I'm still having nightmares of Tom Davies at 21 years old being run a merry dance by Chelsea youthful exuberance on Sunday.

We seem to comatose our players not get them fitter.

Rick Tarleton
109 Posted 11/03/2020 at 09:20:56
Not only do I look forward to a Tony Marsh post, usually I agree with what he has to say. However, I wonder who are the players Ancelotti and Co could pick to replace the weaknesses in the present squad? Earlier in this thread, I said, if you were starting from scratch, there are few in this group who you'd pick and a few (the usual suspects) who you'd avoid like a coronavirus. However, they are the 18 or so players we've got to pick from. Signing players is not as straightforward as we perhaps imagine. Do the players see their future with Everton, do they demand higher wages to sign for a less fashionable club, do they want a long or short contract, does Mme. Giroud want to relocate? Then there are the questions about ability and fitting in, questions about personality, temperament and character. Questions about the club's resources and economic situation and goals (new stadium for instance).

I fear Ancelotti may be lumbered with his ageing squad until many of their contracts run out. Who is actually going to take on Sigurdsson, Schneiderlin, Delph or even Coleman, Keane, Mina given their ages, wages etc?

Ancelotti is used to managing clubs where targets are identified and bought, because they are anxious to join the clubs he has managed. This is not true of Everton, who are a club with history, but whose short-term future looks distinctly vague. He may have to prove what a great coach he is by getting this squad to perform on a long-term basis at a much higher level than they have done for a long time and to persuade some of them that the injuries are not always the best way to endear themselves to the club's long-suffering supporters.

It's a long haul, I'm sure Ancelotti knows what he wants, just as ToffeeWeb correspondents know, but getting it or them may prove quite challenging.

Phil Lewis
110 Posted 11/03/2020 at 11:02:28
I fear the restriction to Ancelotti's immediate rebuilding programme to be the huge amount of deadwood still contracted to the club, a legacy from his predecessors. Add that to the dross that we were forced to observe against Chelsea plus the 'duffers' on the bench or injured and the prognosis is exceedingly bleak.

The only good that can come out of Sunday's debacle, is that it might just be the wake-up call to everybody concerned with the club. I can't recall such a pitiful display.

Countless millions of pounds has been lost investing in substandard players. Rash signings on deadline days. Signing cast-offs. Misguided information on potential 'Stars'. (I'm certain some of our foreign imports must have been signed on the strength of their 'YouTube' highlights.) Their agents deserve medals for obtaining such lucrative deals for their talentless clients.

For Ancelotti as far as his entire squad is concerned, it is more a case of who is worth keeping now, if any sort of success is to be achieved. At present, maybe six current players offer that promise. Personally I would start the clear out from goalkeeper, as Pickford will never be the answer. The others can't go soon enough.

Harry Williams
111 Posted 11/03/2020 at 12:10:41
Carlo the Don is going nowhere; we have to all support him and trust that he can take us forward. But the architect Brands – that's a different story... Moise Kean – where is he??!!
Ryan Holroyd
112 Posted 11/03/2020 at 12:45:14
Ancelotti can only pick the players that are available.

Of course he should be selecting Messi, Salah, Allison, Van Dijk, Aguero.

Course Ancelotti knows most of our players are crap, he just can't do anything about it because no one will buy the players we all know aren't good enough.

We will have to sit it out for a couple more years until our worst players are no longer here.

Add Your Comments

In order to post a comment, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.

» Log in now

Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and Talking Points submissions across the site.

About these ads

© ToffeeWeb