Ancelotti blames defensive lapses for defeat to Arsenal

Sunday, 23 February, 2020 97comments  |  Jump to last

Carlo Ancelotti expressed his dismay at how Everton's defending prevented them from getting something out of today's entertaining but ultimately painful game at The Emirates Stadium.

The Blues leapt into a first-minute lead when Dominic Calvert-Lewin acrobatically put them ahead following a free-kick but porousness at the back allowed Arsenal to turn the game on its head with goals from Eddie Nketiah and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Richarlison prodded home an equaliser in first-half stoppage time but a goal for the hosts within 60 seconds of the start of the second half eventually proved enough.

With his most forthright assessment of his charges so far, the manager described his side's defending as "terrible" at times and complained that "at half-time, we focused on the defensive and then after one minute the players did not listen to me.

“Offensively [the performance] was really good,” Ancelotti continued afterwards. “We had a lot of opportunities but defensively it was really poor because it's not acceptable to concede three goals. If you concede three goals like this, normally you will lose the game.

“The key point was [that first minute after half-time] because we had been able to equalise at the end of the first half.

“We knew that because they played Thursday they could lose a little bit of energy towards the end. They lost their energy but we were 3-2 down.

“We had opportunities to score but the key point was that we conceded three goals too easily — that is the reason.

“Going forward, we played really well. We had two fantastic strikers and the fullbacks pushed [on] in the second half. There was more space and when André came on, we improved a lot but, again, offensively we were good; defensively, no.

“We are going in the right direction. These are the mistakes you have to learn because even though we had a good performance, the fact that we were not so good defensively means we go home without points.”


Reader Comments (97)

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Jim Bennings
1 Posted 23/02/2020 at 19:28:37
If you score two goals at Arsenal you expect to come away with at least a point.

The fact is we concede far too many sloppy goals and we never seem to learn.

We blew the Newcastle game with two mental goals in the last 40 seconds, we were 2-0 down to Watford and then against Palace we nearly let our heads fall off after they equalised at 1-1.

My biggest concern is that we never have to be under any real pressure to concede goals.

At no stage did Arsenal ever really pin us back and pepper our goal yet we concede three schoolboy goals, it's happening far far too often with this team and sooner or later the manager needs to look at the personnel that he's selecting and decide if they are really good enough to move this club forward.

I'd just love to see us pinch a goal away from home and defend like our lives depended on it, throwing bodies in the way and closing down every blade of grass.

I don't feel we work hard enough to keep teams out, we have too many players who shrug their shoulders (Pickford one of the biggest perpetrators of that).

Even when we got it back to 2-2 you looked at our players and thought: “Do they really believe they can go on and win this match?”

I just didn't see that belief, they are still so mentally flakey.

It's really hard to see much different from the next three games while we continue to hand so many goals away on a plate to our opponents.

Colin O'Keeffe
3 Posted 23/02/2020 at 19:58:10
Totally agree with analyses, some good moments going forward but incredibly slack defensively. It seems to be, away from home, we are so easy to score against.

My overall perception is that we are too slow in moving about the pitch, far too passive out of possession and just too damn easy to play through. We desperately need more youth and bite at the back, particularly right-back, right-mid and centre-mid.

I hope we target young, hungry and aggressive players because we need some feckin attitude injected into that side ASAP to replace the deadwood. I can only pray that at least 2 of Sigurdsson, Sidibé and Schneiderlin are gone next season cos they are seriously holding this team back.

Jim Bennings
4 Posted 23/02/2020 at 20:05:17
Need players with the same burning will to defend as the likes of Chiellini at Juventus, high fives with Buffon when they make a last ditch block tackle or brave header.

We don't possess that, we have players who think they are good at defending but the stats show a different story.

Some of us are saying the likes of Holgate and Mina had good games but can you imagine Liverpool fans conceding three and then applauding one of their defenders?

It's time we raised the bar here at this club not just settle for the mediocrity we are constantly served up.

For me if you concede three goals then all of the defenders are at fault and they are not doing their job.

Sidibe was rank bad yes but there were other defenders plus two defensive midfielders that offer no real cover or leadership.

There is a hell of a lot of work to do at this club.

Tony Abrahams
5 Posted 23/02/2020 at 20:12:59
Very good analysis imo, and if I've ever only had one complaint about Baines throughout his Everton career, it has been his inability to go and stop the cross.

I'm usually frustrated watching Everton play away from home because of our inability to keep and pass the football, but we did a lot better with the ball today, created loads of chances, but how wasteful is our most expensive player in good possession?

Ian Riley
6 Posted 23/02/2020 at 20:18:51
Jim, you are spot on. To add to your thoughts. Sadly who is leading this team on the pitch? Teams don't have to work hard to score against us. Every time the opposition attacks, I feel the chest tightening with the lack of faith in both the midfield and defence.

These are the games that will tell Carlo where we are and what is needed? A manager needs to trust his players. How many of our players does he trust?

Players that see potential danger and act we seriously lack. The line-up today lacked pace and energy. Hopefully, the more the manager sees this, more likely to get rid in the summer. Problem is results will suffer.

The summer needs to bring new and out with the old.

Colin Glassar
7 Posted 23/02/2020 at 20:19:47
Tony, I can't recall Bainsey ever stopping (well almost) a cross. He always keeps his distance and just sticks out a leg in the hope of diverting the ball. It's very frustrating to watch as he's such a great player.
Paul Birmingham
8 Posted 23/02/2020 at 20:21:41
Jim @4, I agree, you've said it all. Every game we give the opponents lucky dips, and it's become the norm.

Hopefully through the anguish of this defeat, the manager and coaching staff will see the mental brittleness and poor decision-making of the midfield starting line-up.

I don't expect them that started today in midfield to be in contention next week – all shirking their cover duties at various times, and exposing our flanks, which basically gave Arsenal their chances.

Hopefully, the lessons will start to be learnt, but no more soft goals like today. And let's beat Man Utd. They are beatable at Goodison.

Tony Abrahams
9 Posted 23/02/2020 at 20:30:15
Exactly, Colin, that little bit of devil has stopped Baines being one of the best fullbacks of his generation, imo. But my biggest surprise is the disappointment that people have got after watching today's game.

I understand people being upset that we lost, but I can't understand people expecting much more out of this team until we have rid ourselves of certain players. That's why I'd sooner take the positive out of today's game, which was that we were much better with the football today, even if I'm aware that we still lost.

Darren Murphy
10 Posted 23/02/2020 at 20:33:40
Agree with most to be fair, I like Bainsey and so does every other Everton fan but 99.9% of his passes were backwards and no voice as a captain.

Not his fault we lost to our bogey team, obviously, but man, Carlo Ancelotti has got lots to shift on and definitely needs quality to come in in the summer.

On to the Mancs we go...

John Keating
11 Posted 23/02/2020 at 20:34:35
Colin @3,

We already have a young hungry committed right-back. Problem is he is presently in Germany on loan. He will save us wasting 㾸 million on Sidibe, who is no defender, or money on AN Other.

Pat Kelly
12 Posted 23/02/2020 at 20:41:21
Get used to it, Carlo. Until you can buy about six decent players, nothing can change.
Robert Tressell
13 Posted 23/02/2020 at 20:47:08
The scoreline is a kick in the nuts, the manner of defeat is a kick in the nuts – frustrating also that we can't squeeze a bit more from this group. However, I sense progress even in defeat. We are going to win away at one of the bogey grounds sooner rather than later now.

As the earlier comments said, we were not really under the kosh holding on. We were in the game and had good opportunities. The Buffon and Chiellini comments on point also. We just lack a couple of born winners / leaders. The returning Kenny may offer a bit of that (notwithstanding "he's Championship at best", yawn) and it turns games like this into wins.

John Boon
14 Posted 23/02/2020 at 21:19:31
Ancelotti saw the game exactly as I hoped he would. He makes astute observations and obviously is learning what makes Evertonians frustrated.

He needs to be given time. We always seem nervous when the opposition are on the attack. We seem to lack the calmness needed at a Premier League level although the two central defenders did well.

We were so weak on the right side of the field and I would MUCH prefer Coleman to Sidibe. I would like to see Holgate once more at right-back. He would be missed in the middle but we do have Michael Keane.

Personally I don't really care about getting into Europe, other than the fact that it is the only way to be able to sign top players and we still need some of them. I just hope that Ancelotti has better judgement on new signings than the three Amigos who preceded him.

Steavey Buckley
15 Posted 23/02/2020 at 21:38:51
Ancelotti will have to make Everton mean defensively like the teams in Italy he knows about. Because Everton are going nowhere when they are conceding 3 goals a game.
Mike Price
16 Posted 23/02/2020 at 21:39:04
I've thought we should sell Baines for years. We know he's a nice guy... so what! He's quiet and offers no bite as a leader, he's slow and can't stop crosses and he has absolutely no aggression or fight.

He gets bullied on crosses to the back post and teams regularly target him because he's small and can't jump. The Baines ‘love in' sums up our acceptance of mediocrity.

Andrew Ellams
17 Posted 23/02/2020 at 21:47:17
That defence needs sorting out ASAP. We are going into March in the bottom half with a nightmare run of fixtures ahead. If we repeat today's show in the next few games, we will be looking at 13th/14th place by the time the last few fixtures come around.
Jonathan Tasker
18 Posted 23/02/2020 at 22:05:40
We have paid a fortune for a manager who will get us from 8th to 7th...

Big deal!

Steve Guy
19 Posted 23/02/2020 at 22:06:20
Lay off with the negativity over Baines. Loyal, hardworking, killer crosses, killer free kicks, fantastic record from penalties. He may be silent but he's also deadly. I'd take one Baines over a hundred Sigurdssons or Schneiderlins.
Max Murphy
20 Posted 23/02/2020 at 22:13:59
Is the honeymoon period over for Ancelotti? Was there one? Who have we beaten under him? At leat Big Dunc beat Chelsea.

I've said it before, measure the manager on the teams we beat. Crystal Palace, Watford...? Come on... Nothing has changed – we're crap and Ancelotti isn't going to change anything.

Why is Sidibe allowed to call himself a footballer? And get rid of that coward Pickford, Dreadful.

Normal service resumed.

Drew O'Neall
21 Posted 23/02/2020 at 22:16:11
I won't bother naming names but our defensive line is about as straight as a dog's hind leg.

If you want to play a high line, like we did today (against Aubameyang for god's sake!) you need expert defenders.

I blame the immobile midfield for the need to push so high but really it wasn't the way to set up away to Arsenal.

We should have been deep and counter attacking down the right in the space Saka (a fine prospect) vacates habitually.

Joe McMahon
22 Posted 23/02/2020 at 22:16:59
I'm somewhere I'm the middle of Mike and Steve on Baines. He was (IMO) the best left-back in the Premier League for a few seasons, maybe until 2014. His downside has always been he was never a leader and this "he's one of us" shite has been over the top Kenwright gush. Yes, he's a great but sentimentality has to end. He's not our grandma.

We didn't lose because of Leighton today, but one sad thing: even at his prime, he never won one medal.

Christine Foster
23 Posted 23/02/2020 at 22:18:35
Boy you lot are hard to please... after watching us be humiliated so many times at Arsenal, I thought we were by far the better team today. That's not to say we were good, in patches perhaps but poor in others, but by no means second-best.

I watched the game in the Ship Inn at New Brighton – great little pub with fabulous screens – and I thought like many that we were caught too often with Sidibe not behind his man. With no midfielder in front of him or tracking back, he was caught in no-man's land time and time again. I think it was 46% of all Arsenal's attacks came from that side, way too easy... but it was a combination of no midfield cover and poor full-back play that accounted for the first two goals.

Overall, we deserved at least a point, but the midfield was the killer, no-one following up on chances that went begging for a tap in, no bursting runs from midfield or creative ideas until Gomes and Bernard came on (and made all the difference).

With what Carlo has on offer, I think there will be a few changes before the end of the season. I think he already knows that he has some good, some bad, and some just awful... I think his list is already made but, in all honesty, we are a much better side for his arrival.

John Raftery
24 Posted 23/02/2020 at 22:22:33
The last half-hour was encouraging from our point of view, albeit against an Arsenal team which looked short of energy the longer the game went on. Gomes looked slimmer and fitter than he did before his injury. We created several half-chances which, on another day, might have yielded goals.

The main disappointment concerned the midfield in the first hour. As someone has commented on the main match report thread, the trio of Schneiderlin, Delph and Sigurdsson would not make it into a Walking Football team. The return of the new streamlined version of Gomes will probably improve matters but will not solve all the issues.

We badly lack a player like Gana Gueye, a midfield ferret who can run fast, tackle, intercept, disrupt and is alert to danger. Until we find such a player, we will fail to maintain control of midfield, without which a 4-4-2 formation will always leave us looking vulnerable.

After Saka came on, Arsenal switched the focus of their attacks to their left flank. We were slow to respond, failing to tighten up on our right flank. Iwobi dropped deeper but that allowed acres of space for the opposition to pick a pass, including the one from Luiz for the second goal. Defending effectively is not only about the back four doing their jobs. It is also about the midfield and front players doing their jobs when they are not in possession.

Bernard has arguably been our best player in recent games at Goodison but consistently poor away from home. That was why he started on the bench today.

Colin Glassar
25 Posted 23/02/2020 at 22:22:33
Steve, no one's being negative about Baines but his biggest weakness has always been his weakness stopping crosses. Like you say, fantastic going forward (Bainaar), great crosser of the ball, superb dead-ball technique etc... Never a great leader or captain but a fantastic servant to the club.
Rob Dolby
26 Posted 23/02/2020 at 22:25:36
#19, I agree totally. Baines has been fantastic for us. People have short memories. I don't recall too many better left-backs in the 40 years that I have been watching the Blues.
Kieran Kinsella
27 Posted 23/02/2020 at 22:49:06
Baines is a back-up now and, relatively speaking, a very good one – so he's the least of our problems.
Soren Moyer
28 Posted 23/02/2020 at 22:59:40
An aging midfield consisting of Delph, Schneiderlin and Sigurdsson! Slow and ponderous. No wonder our defense collapsed.
John P McFarlane
29 Posted 23/02/2020 at 23:12:54
Jonathan #18,

The man (Silva) he replaced was on target to get us 18th or 19th, so Ancelotti's arrival is indeed a big deal.

We all want European football at Goodison ASAP but, given our start to the season and the frailties we have within the squad, 7th or 8th will be acceptable to many. We still have 33 points to play for and, for the moment, we can still qualify for Europe; today's result was a setback but not a killer blow to our chances.

Obviously we hope that Ancelotti addresses the defence now and in the summer, and that we start next season properly prepared, and therefore make a sustained challenge at the right end of the table.

Steve Shave
30 Posted 23/02/2020 at 23:40:12
People having a pop at Baines need to have a fucking word with themselves. A great pro, has been a top left-back and did nothing wrong or lamentable today, he is able left-back cover this season.
Mike Price
31 Posted 23/02/2020 at 23:52:33
The love-in for Baines is symptomatic of this club, he wouldn't get a game for Liverpool's U18s but we're paying him 㿲k a week. When was the last time he changed a game with his dead balls and crosses?

He was a decent servant in the distant past, end of. Never in a million years would he play for an elite winning team; he was never fast enough, not aggressive enough, just a journeyman pro and all-round nice guy.

Jerome Shields
32 Posted 23/02/2020 at 23:59:07
Finally got myself to post after a very disappointing result.

Everton got caught twice in the overlap on the right wing as Arsenal concentrated 43% of their attacking p!ay on that wing in the first half, probably following a pre-plan. Sidibe got caught flat-footed and didn't track the runner. Mina was caught again defending on the turn, not challenging by getting in front of the attacking p!ayer at the near post.

The second goal was an untracked run as well. Delph in the first half was a yard away from the play. There was little link play between the midfield trio of Schneiderlin, Iowbi and Delph. Sigurdsson did put in a shift in the first half, but there was little quality ball in the final third. Iowbi looked pretty headless. Set-pieces and quality ball kept Everton in the game.

Baines is perennially weak cutting out crosses and a cross caught Sidebe, Mina and Pickford out with poor concentration. I thought that Mina should have positioned to get in front of the attacking player to cut out the cross. The Everton players dealt with through balls better on the right wing in the second half.

Gomes and Bernard were much better in the second half and Delph improved with them on the pitch. Everton pressing in the second half was better, but Sigurdsson, our most expensive player, caused momentum to be lost twice at important stages in the second half, something that is not good enough in the Premier League for a Number 10. He also looked knackered, blowing like a goldfish.

Everton had enough chances to draw and win the game but, though final-third play was good, finishing was not clinical enough, as usual. Moise Kean looked too much like Iowbi for my liking. Pickford had his customary headless chicken period, but lucky wasn't exposed with a score, which would have really pissed us all off even more.

Everton are not quite there yet and have failed at a crucial game that would have been essential for them to progress up the table once again, as they have done for years.

A better performance, but it is obvious some players more than others are not up to the necessary level – and may never be – to progress Everton in the Premier League.

I'm still pretty pissed off.

Chris Hockenhull
33 Posted 24/02/2020 at 01:11:24
I don't give a toss what people say about Gary Neville... he knows what's what and he's a winner but he made some very astute comments about Everton's mentality throughout the game which were spot on a la reactions, leadership, belief and so on, which are plain to see.

Carlo has to during this half of the season restore belief and actually keep the ship afloat and achieve some progress. But he is assessing who is who what is what etc and who's up for it and who isn't. The interesting wind of change is happening; let's not be fooled.

Yes... we shit ourselves big time today and showed what's good and what's totally rank in one game. I'm disappointed, of course, but we took that game to them... should have got something but imagine today with Moyes, Allardyce or Silva. Yes... probably defeat but Carlo's lot has a bloody good go.

It's Not There Yet But We're Getting There...

Alan J Thompson
34 Posted 24/02/2020 at 06:43:01
I don't have a problem with opinions criticizing players performance in the day's match but I do wonder about some of it.

Baines, cash limitations to one side, is probably in his last season which has been as second-choice left-back and, if there is a problem, it is that a promising young left-back was let go for a pittance.

Others have panned Pickford and, while some of it is justified, I can't believe those who say he doesn't make enough one-on-one saves. Of course, we'd all like him to save them all but if he manages one in six he's done excellently and one in ten is also good.

The problem though isn't with a keeper not making enough one-on-one saves; it's with a defence that puts him in that position. Then there's those questioning why he passes it out to defenders. I suppose they'd be happier if he just wellied it in the general direction of somebody at the other end of the pitch.

And lastly, with Pickford it is felt that every cross or corner is going to lead to a goal. Why do you think teams cross it into the penalty area, just to see how poor the zonal-marking, hopeless-at-heading, centre-half is?

Criticize by all means but let's be a bit sensible and give it a bit more thought first.

Charles McCann
35 Posted 24/02/2020 at 07:00:53
Sidibe, Schneiderlin and Sigurdsson have been consistently useless this season. I really hope that's the end of them playing for the first team.

Coleman is a much better player than Sidibe and I'd rather have had Kenny there as back-up. Apart from a couple of decent crosses earlier in the season, Sidibe offers very little and I hope we don't sign him permanently.

I've said this earlier in the season and still believe we need to introduce the likes of Adeniran and Baningime into the first-+team squad to support the midfielders of Gomes, Delph and Davies. Enough is enough. Time for Ancelotti to get ruthless.

Jim Harrison
36 Posted 24/02/2020 at 07:03:03
So, what have we learned?

Need a centre back (did at start of season)

Need a defensive midfielder who actually covers the back line (did at start of season. Signed one, been injured ever since)

Need a right sided player (as identified by both Carlo and Brands in January)

We have needed a strong centre mid for seasons and look better with Gomes in the team

Silva ultimately paid because he couldn't make a decent fist of the situation and get enough points to buy himself another crack at the market to fill the obvious gaps.

Carlo has got results from a group of players who were underperforming. But even he can't patch over the obvious deficiencies of in the squad. But at least he got the team competitive.

Who knows if Gbamin will ever actually play for us, but getting that role filled is of the highest priority. Keane and Zouma looked great at the end of last season, playing behind Gueye on top of his game. Schniederlin just doesn't offer the energy in that position. Delph may improve alongside Gomes

As for Baines? Not just a great servant but has been a great player. Can still avail himself well enough but it's time we moved on.

Ajay Gopal
37 Posted 24/02/2020 at 08:38:36
I disagree with Carlo's comments – the reason we lost the match is due to the poor conversion of the chances that we had. Arsenal had 4 clear cut chances that I can remember – the 3 goals, plus the Pickford bloomer which Nketiah luckily found only the crossbar. We had 8 clear chances of which we converted only 2. Calvert-Lewin should have converted at least 2 of the 3 that he had. Their MotM was their goal-keeper.

Gomes and Bernard changed the entire dynamic of Everton's game. I was amazed at how good Gomes turned out to be. Iwobi and Kean are quite useless, which is so, so disappointing. Everton have paid big bucks for these 2, but I don't think they will ever make it in the Premier League.

We should cut our losses and get rid. As others have mentioned, I would rather see Carlo give opportunities to Simms, Baningime, Gordon, Adeniran than some of these useless donkeys.

Martin Berry
38 Posted 24/02/2020 at 08:49:43
We are heading in the right direction, as we are creating many chances and Carlo admits to our defensive frailty.

Given a proper transfer window and with progress, we are going to be challenging strongly for a European place, albeit probably next year.

Jim Harrison
39 Posted 24/02/2020 at 09:08:20
Ajay #37,

I think he also noted that, but more on point is that he recognised that conceding cheaply just after the break, having got back to equal terms after throwing the advantage away, was most damaging, as he rightly saw they would tire. That was naive play from our lot and meant that, rather than bring fresh legs on at equal terms, our subs came on chasing the game.

It's all conjecture, but how would they have stood up to 45 mins of pressure? Home team, expected to win by their fans. We have seen how fragile these players have been.

Regarding them taking chances, if we had Aubameyang, we would have won the game. Calvert-Lewin is making great strides, but he isn't at the top level yet, unsurprisingly given his age. He is the reason Arsenal are not way down the table, and that's the real difference between us and the “top 6”.

Robert Tressell
40 Posted 24/02/2020 at 09:17:01
As Bruno Fernandes showed yesterday, you don't need lots of new players to improve a team. Just one quality signing can make a big difference. Especially if that coincides with the return (fingers crossed) of a fit Gomes and Gbamin - and (hopefully) emergence of Kean and Gordon as genuine first 11 quality.

We can argue where quality is needed most: goalkeeper, left centre-back, midfield or right-wing. We should be in the mix for top 6 at least if all that comes together next season.

Bobby Mallon
41 Posted 24/02/2020 at 09:22:26
Alan J Thompson, at what point is it okay to pass the ball 5 yards to a player in your own box when an opponent is only 5 yards away, instantly putting your defenders in trouble because they are not bloody good enough on the ball to do that???

I would definitely rather Pickford wellied it forward 'cause, if it's won back by the opposition, at least it's away from the goal.

Jonathan Tasker
42 Posted 24/02/2020 at 09:49:17

We return to our normal place. Cannon fodder for the Big Sky Six. And that won't change anytime soon.

Nicholas Ryan
43 Posted 24/02/2020 at 10:03:09
Can't comment on the defending ... there wasn't any.
David Midgley
44 Posted 24/02/2020 at 10:37:13
Watched the game on TV. I honestly didn't know that Sigurdsson was on the pitch until half-time. I think that he and Morgan were under a cloak of darkness. Sidibe, Delph, Iwobi. I must be missing something.

Everton players still not closing down. Still not showing for the ball. Even when we were chasing the game still passing back to our keeper instead of trying to pressurise their keeper I would have thought that by now Carlo would have stopped that.

The subs started to change the game. Moise must have more game time; otherwise, he'll never get up to speed and gell with the others.

We appear to have talented younger players but you'll never find out until you throw them into the 6-foot end.

Conor McCourt
46 Posted 24/02/2020 at 11:54:12
Jim Harrison @36, excellent common-sense post. At. least we can be confident that Carlo will have the authority to get the players he wants – unlike last summer.
Tony Abrahams
47 Posted 24/02/2020 at 12:06:04
I thought Johnathon's was better @42, Conor. Enlightening as usual, if a tad frustrating!
Jerome Shields
48 Posted 24/02/2020 at 12:13:03
In the case of Schneiderlin, the one thing that I did notice was his tendency to shepherd Arsenal attacking midfielders to play to the wings. It was noticeable that when they passed to the wings that he had the look of someone that passed on responsibility to someone else and knew it.

The fact that he was not challenging Arsenal meant they were able to play at will in the final third, picking their passes to timed runs. Not once in the game did Arsenal lose possession in this pre-attacking area, because they were never challenged.

This has to be addressed in the subsequent games, or else Everton will be punished by other teams, especially Man Utd and Chelsea, as they were by Arsenal, who will thrive on having unchallenged possession in those areas.

The through-balls passed by Sidebe where unchallenged through passes, which suited Arsenal.

Christopher Timmins
49 Posted 24/02/2020 at 12:24:06
Carlo appears to be prioritizing the need to assess his squad. He is making numerous changes from game to game and trying out players in different situations.

For most of the away games, Seamus started and Sidibe was either on the bench or played in front of him. It was obvious that Arsenal pinpointed Sidibe as a weakness yesterday.

We played with some fluency when Gomes came on in the second half and we are getting better.

Colin Glassar
50 Posted 24/02/2020 at 12:37:19
Defensive lapses + missed chances = losing games. It ain't rocket science.
Tony J Williams
51 Posted 24/02/2020 at 13:46:08
Iwobi - Fucking useless
Delph - Fucking useless

The End.

John Boon
52 Posted 24/02/2020 at 14:13:47
Tony (51). Just what we need, constructive honest criticism???

You should share your mind-stretching, enlightening, positive thoughts far more often – or even write a book.

Brent Stephens
53 Posted 24/02/2020 at 14:18:03
Tony #51, you don't suffer from writer's block, do you!
Christy Ring
54 Posted 24/02/2020 at 14:32:47
I cannot understand why Carlo played Sidibe, who can't defend, ahead of Coleman, who had Zaha in his pocket last week. Baines has been a great servant but always had a problem of giving too much room too the attacker, and not closing down crosses. This cost us again yesterday.

Delighted to see Gomes return, but in midfield, when we're under pressure, Iwobi and Sigurdsson are totally toothless, and Delph and Schneiderlin are slow and pedestrian, and our full-backs can't defend.

Jamie Crowley
55 Posted 24/02/2020 at 14:35:01
Carlo nailed it, for me.

I said multiple times on the Live Forum yesterday – we were not bad at all. In fact, the performance was very good. I can't remember a game in the last 3 years we had so many goalscoring opportunities.

The issue is individual mistakes at the defensive end. My hope is simple, and two-pronged.

Firstly, Mina is still relatively young. He looks like Bambi on ice-skates at times, but I do think he's an excellent footballer and one we simply must be patient with. As Carlo said, we have to learn from these mistakes. I genuinely believe Mina will.

Secondly, Sidibe will not be signed over the summer. He's got one hell of a cross on him but, as so many have said this weekend on various posts, he can not defend. Americanism: He gets roasted two to three times a game. Kenny will be back after what seems to be a very productive loan spell for him, and he'll be our right back under Carlo moving into the future.

We're not miles off. Sort out some defensive issues, we're creating the chances offensively, our future is still very, very bright.

I'm bullish on Everton presently. The result yesterday won't change that. Carlo's got the right of it, he can see the issues, he will address them, we will improve, it will take some time.

Roll on, Man Utd and look for a strong response to this loss.

Jamie Crowley
56 Posted 24/02/2020 at 14:41:28
Jim @ 36 -

If it were me, and it is not quite obviously, two things would change our fortunes just a bit to possibly garner 3 to 6 points more over half a season or so.

Seamus Coleman at right-back.
Mason Holgate at central defensive midfield
Michael Keane at centre-back

Now there's a lot of Keane bashers. I don't mind Keane, but I understand the criticism. The reason I'd lobby for his inclusion is to make space for Mason at central defensive midfield.

With Keane in the lineup along with Coleman, you're effectively benching Sidibe and Schneiderlin. We're a better team under that scenario, even if you'd see mistakes from Keane, we'd be a stronger side in my opinion with a back 3 triangle of Mina, Keane and Holgate and Coleman replacing Sidibe.

Brian Harrison
57 Posted 24/02/2020 at 14:50:32

Sorry, I can't go along with your theory, so you suggest moving our best centre-back into midfield, and bringing in Keane who is by far the worst of our centre-backs.

Plus, if you move Mason into midfield, he then can't become part of your back 3 although your back 3 is made up of 4 players: Mina, Keane, Holgate & Coleman... now I am really confused.

Christy Ring
58 Posted 24/02/2020 at 15:33:35
Jamie @56,

I completely agree with your assessment: we're totally lacking a physical defensive midfielder.

Against Watford, Carlo pushed Holgate into midfield, when Delph was red-carded, and he made a massive difference. Holgate is our best centre-back, but Keane played well against Palace, and because we're so lacking in midfield, it's the best option.

As for Coleman, it's more important to have a full-back who can defend; Sidibe certainly can't.

Jamie Crowley
59 Posted 24/02/2020 at 15:33:46

When I say 'back 3', I don't mean a flat line, I mean (triangularity including the back line and the CDM):


So the line-up:
Coleman Mina Keane Digne
Iwobe/Wlacott Gomes Holgate Bernard
Calvert-Lewin Richarlison

Holgate plays deep in front of Mina and Keane, Gomes the play maker pushing further forward.

We are much better with the above than we are with this:

Sidibe Mina Holgate Digne
Iwobe/Walcott Gomes Schneiderlin Bernard
Calvert-Lewin Richarlison

Take Schneiderlin and Sidibe out. Push Holgate to midfield in a defending role in front of the two centre-backs, pair Keane with Mina.

Hope that clears it up!

Alan J Thompson
60 Posted 24/02/2020 at 15:51:48
Bobby Mallon (#41);

If the player 5 yards from the keeper is facing the right way, then he can welly it to the far end; if he is facing the keeper, then he shouldn't be there and it wouldn't happen... but you just keep blaming Pickford.

Mal van Schaick
61 Posted 24/02/2020 at 16:12:13
Agree with Soren #28. The midfield is a problem for me; it needs rebuilding.

I enjoyed the game aside from the result but the result is history now.

Let's get the best league position possible this season and let's see what the summer brings from Ancellotti and Brands. Ancellotti is assessing players in all games and he will know who stays, who goes, and who he wants to bring in.

David Cooper
62 Posted 24/02/2020 at 16:18:50
Despite losing again to the Gooners, there were definitely signs of Carlo's tactical understanding which he was getting through to the players.

It involved using Delph as an outlet on the left side of defence. I had not seen him do this before but it was what Delph did at Man City when he had to play left-back. Rather than Baines getting the ball in the defensive third of the pitch, he pushed up wide to the half-way line and Delph dropped into the left-back position. Not sure if this was because it was Baines and not Digne. Nothing much came of it offensively. Neither did Delph help Baines defensively.

It will be interesting to see if this was a one-off or it happens next week against Man Utd.

Jim Harrison
63 Posted 24/02/2020 at 16:54:15
Jamie #56,

I think you may be right with right-back. I suspect Sibide was selected with an eye more on pegging their left side back than on his defensive side. But, without a Gana type mopping up to allow him to get forward, he is too easily caught forwards.

Not keen on having all 3 centre-backs on the pitch at once. I would hope that, with Gomes back, we are in better shape in central midfield.

Colin Glassar
64 Posted 24/02/2020 at 17:09:01
Jamie 59, really, Iwobi/Walcott? Surely a recipe for further disaster. Brainless speed merchants both of them.
Kenny Smith
65 Posted 24/02/2020 at 17:13:11
Lots of positives from that game but I'd've preferred 3 points. Defensively we're weak as piss. Arsenal weren't good enough to get out of first gear yet still scored 3.

It's been a while since our teams looked better than them on paper and on the pitch but to concede 3 is unforgivable. They were there for the taking.

Jim Harrison
66 Posted 24/02/2020 at 17:24:53
I think Iwobi is getting an unfair panning. He has had a tough season for sure, but has the right attitude and needs game time to see if he is up to it.
Jamie Crowley
67 Posted 24/02/2020 at 17:24:57
Colin @ 64,

I'm no fan of Theo. I don't mind Iwobi as much as you and a lot of others.

For right midfield, I'm more than open to suggestions! I didn't see any alternatives, other than:

Coleman Mina Keane Digne
Richarlison Gomes Holgate Bernard
Calvert-Lewin Kean

And whereas I really like that line-up, I just don't see it happening. Not yet at any rate.

All this lineup talk is simply conversation. The bottom line for me is we played a good game. We had individual errors in the back that cost us dearly. We're improving. I'm not going to get too worked up about any of this.


Richard Mason
68 Posted 24/02/2020 at 17:26:28
I agree with Christy, Coleman should have started yesterday, he would have man-marked Aubameyang.

I also would have had Richarlison in front of him for his work rate, and would have put Kean up top.

Iwobi is a really disappointing player: no work rate and has struggled in every game he has played for us.

Jamie Crowley
69 Posted 24/02/2020 at 17:27:15
Jim @ 66,

I couldn't agree more. Iwobi isn't half as bad as many make him out to be, in my opinion.

A lot of people bring up Big Dunc's success while he took over. I distinctly remember Dunc in a post-game interview saying how much he liked Iwobi. Dunc's opinion of the player will do for me.

He's young, too. We have a really young team. Shit will start to gel over time, probably the next two seasons.

Rudi Coote
70 Posted 24/02/2020 at 17:38:30
We were unlucky to lose this game. Although, if Jamie Crowley had been the manager, we surely would have won. But he isn't. And we lost.
John Boon
71 Posted 24/02/2020 at 17:59:02
I could be accused of having blurred eyesight or no comprehension of what a good player is but I also see some good in both Walcott and Iwobi, even if it is speed, which we really need. They are both inconsistent, which is always a problem, but perhaps Ancelotti can get something more out of both of them.

I certainly have far more belief now that we have a manager who recognizes strengths and weakenesses, AND does seem to act on his observations.

Steve Ferns
72 Posted 24/02/2020 at 18:58:10
Tifo's Everton tactical analysis posted pre Arsenal:


I think they highlighted the flaws well and indeed this was exactly how Arsenal defeated us.

I disagree with how they set us up in attack as I think the wide midfielders tuck in a lot more. I don't think we quite have two midfielders holding hands like in their diagram.

Still It's an excellent analysis and worth a watch.

Jim Harrison
73 Posted 24/02/2020 at 19:03:54
John 71

Walcott's career stats and the fact that he has been regularly picked by every manager he has played for is probably an indication that he is nowhere near as bad as made out.

He is certainly getting towards the end, and hasn't lit up Goodison, but he must offer something. Carlo is no mug. He may not have an array of options but he certainly has a few. He picks him more than not.

Had he been fit perhaps our right would have been stronger defensively? We need someone to pan, he is the leading candidate at present.

Brian Wilkinson
74 Posted 24/02/2020 at 20:33:45
It is all well blaming our defence but, for me, the midfield of Schneiderlin, Sigurdsson and Delph are leaving far too much space behind them.

We need to get a bit closer and stop opposing teams getting the space between our midfield and back four.

That is my view on it anyway.

Jerome Shields
75 Posted 24/02/2020 at 23:02:01
Brian #74,

The defending wasn't great, but Arsenal had too much space and were not challenged enough in the space you mention. It was noticable in the first half that Delph was going too deep in his defending, inviting the attacking player into the space and even allowing unchallenged shots.

Schniederlin was content to allow the attacker to play in front of him unchallenged. Iowbi had little rhyme or reason to his play. Sigurdsson contributed little to the high press and completely wrecked Everton's momentum on two crucial occasions in the second half.

The big weakness was allowing Arsenal to play their own game in the space you mention.

Kenn Crawford
76 Posted 24/02/2020 at 00:06:43
Watched the game and, as soon as I saw the midfield, I shuddered. Schneiderlin and Delph should be nowhere near the team sheet: too slow, do not tackle, and play way to deep, which leaves Sigurdsson too much space to cover. He is supposed to be our playmaker.

The midfield improved with the introduction of Gomes and Bernard. Just my opinion.

Kevin Molloy
77 Posted 24/02/2020 at 00:25:24
One characteristic of all three goals against was there was no proper pressure on the assister. That comes down to work rate, which is a bit naughty really when you think Arsenal played three games in a week and we had two weeks off.
John Boon
78 Posted 25/02/2020 at 04:40:34
Kevin (77).

Exactly right. In fact, it is usually the main reason why we give up goals so easily. Anyone who has ever played the game at any level should know that a forward who is given too much space often runs riot and is given an easy game. There is nothing worse than a defender who closes in and constantly nags the forward, but particularly so for wingmen.

We MUST get close and prevent crosses. Sidibe in particular gives forwards far too much space which is why I much prefer Seamus until we get another right-back. For obvious reasons, it is easier to find a right-back than a lefty. I feel that most of the right-backs in the Premier League are FAR better than what we have now. Seamus has been a great Evertonian but he is on the back end of his career.

Ajay Gopal
79 Posted 25/02/2020 at 04:57:46
I would be happy if Carlo were to give more opportunities to our young midfielders – Davies, Baningime, Gordon and Adeniran – even if it means missing out on Europe. He can then prepare for a proper summer of transfer ins/outs and get ready for next season.

I think everyone is agreed that our midfield was poor plus Sidibe. I have a starting midfield 4 of: Walcott, Gomes, Davies, Bernard. Bring on Baningime and Gordon towards the end.

Jim Harrison
80 Posted 25/02/2020 at 06:16:50
Ajay 79,

Isn't Beni Baningime still injured?

As for the rest, they can get game time when they are good enough.

Davies looks decent in patches but has a habit of taking a touch too many and running into trouble in dangerous areas. Doesn't seem to learn from it.

I am all for bringing the youth through, but this season is far from over and the best players should be on the pitch.

Ajay Gopal
81 Posted 25/02/2020 at 06:50:03
Jim, Beni Baningime has played the last few U-23 games, and from the reports from some fellow TWers who attend or follow those games, he has been very good. Now, he may not be at the top level that Carlo demands, but surely he must be capable of putting decent cameo performances in which are better than what we have seen from some of the senior pros in midfield? It then may maybe gives him the confidence he needs to become a better player, and maybe save us a huge amount of money in the transfer market. Similarly, I have been beating the Ellis Simms drum – surely, he can do better than Kean (who I so desperately want to succeed, but sadly, I think we bought a dud).

Yes, Davies is frustrating sometimes, but is he any worse than Siggy/Iwobi at the moment? I don't think so - in fact, he is very good at closing down spaces, and trying to move the ball forward.

Next week, when we are leading 2-0 against Man Utd, I would like to see this XI closing out the game:

Coleman Mina Holgate Digne
Walcott Baningime Gomes Davies
Richarlison Simms

Simms, Davies, Baningime coming on for Calvert-Lewin, Bernard and Delph respectively.

Steve Shave
82 Posted 25/02/2020 at 07:15:22
Bring back Jonjoe Kenny, sign Buendia, Allan and a covering centre-back prospect... problems solved, Champions League beckons.

I thank you.

Steve Shave
83 Posted 25/02/2020 at 07:16:33
I think our defensive problems are actually midfield problems.
Franny Porter
84 Posted 25/02/2020 at 09:52:55
We definitely need a commanding authoritative centre half. I think also Sidibe is not worth the alleged 㾸 million, unless he's prepared to be a sub.

Another big one for me though is Pickford, we seem to be conceding every shot we have at us lately.

Bill Fairfield
85 Posted 25/02/2020 at 10:55:25
Good to see Gomes back, he will make a big improvement to us. Hopefully Sigurdsson can find some form; he's been a passenger for too long now. Defensively, we have to improve what we've got, but new signings looking obvious in the summer.
Jim Wilson
86 Posted 25/02/2020 at 14:25:13
It beggars belief that a guy with Ancelotti's experience keeps changing the defence around. Digne was injured but he made two other unforced changes.

Changing the defence each game results in bad understanding between the defenders which leads to mistakes. Elementary, Ancelotti!

Keep doing this right up to the derby and we will pay a high price!

Allan Board
87 Posted 25/02/2020 at 16:53:03
Ancelotti is putting out different teams to see what he really has at his disposal. He sees it warts and all in a proper game, something that can't be replicated in training. Yes, defensively it is garbage, no leaders, no talkers, no bollockers. But we aren't going down, obviously not good enough to play in Europe yet, he will know that, but he isn't likely to tell all and sundry that is he?

This squad in general is poor and needs 5 or 6 proper player's in it, with several dumped, which I am confident will happen in the summer. The season was destroyed by Xmas, it is better, some of the forward play is lovely to watch but the rest is under consideration.

Wait till Xmas this year before making judgements, he's good, but a miracle worker he is not. Hate to say it, but Rome wasn't built in a day!!

Brent Stephens
88 Posted 25/02/2020 at 17:13:40
Maybe my imagination but I thought Pickford was kicking those long balls out on a much flatter trajectory. A bit of coaching been going on?
Jim Harrison
89 Posted 25/02/2020 at 17:23:42
Ajay 81,

Short answer regarding Davies? Yes. He is worse. I am not trying to bash him. He is a young player with talent. Sigurdsson is doing a decent job out of position, and hopefully with Gomes back in we will see him play where he is strongest

A few games for the Under-23s. Sorry, doesn't cut it for me.

Kenny Smith
90 Posted 25/02/2020 at 17:47:34
There's no doubt we need a centre half and there's a few options available but I'm not sure who out there would put an end to the sloppy goals we concede. For me, central midfield is the main issue. We've missed Gana massively this season. Calvin Phillips is the only player I'd be looking at to fill that slot.

The red echo are saying Werner could go for €30. We've got to be in for him surely. We can't standby and let the shite snap him up.

Darren Hind
91 Posted 25/02/2020 at 17:55:41
My take on this is that Ancelotti has realised very quickly that he has inherited much of a muchness.

We all argue about selections, but at the end of the day we simply don't have 11 consistent players. we don't have 11 winners. We don't have 11 players forcing him to pick them every week.

He's has and will continue to give them all a shot – although I wish he would sit Pickford down for a few games. That may focus his mind.

Paul Tran
92 Posted 25/02/2020 at 18:53:01
Darren, you're right. I mentioned on another thread that this squad is a set of jigsaw pieces that don't match. His better management and coaching is bringing better results, but I get the impression that, like his predecessors, he's chopping and changing to find combinations that work.

When players are as inconsistent as ours, it's harder to gauge how good they could be.

Brian Harrison
93 Posted 25/02/2020 at 19:52:33
Well, I am sure Ancelotti has seen enough of this squad to realize that this squad needs major surgery and not just a cosmetic job. He has 2 decent strikers in Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin, he has 1 decent midfield player in Gomes, and a young centre-half in Holgate who looks like the real deal. I am sure he still has questions over Mina and looks like he has already made his mind up over Keane. It will be interesting to see if they sign Sidibie as it looks a straight choice between him and Coleman, and obviously Kenny will come back to challenge for that spot. Digne is okay but not as impressive this year as he was last season.

Then that just leaves the keeper, and I think Ancelotti will definitely start with him next season, but I am sure he will be looking for an improvement from him next season. The problem is our high wage earners are either on loan like Sandro and Bolasie because they are not good enough for the team, and our other high earners are not performing anywhere near the levels we need ie Sigurdsson, Delph and Schneiderlin. That leaves Davies and Keane two young players who would have hoped to have had more starts but their performances so far have left a lot to be desired, but lets not forget they are still young and hopefully improving.

The big question is what sort of kitty will Ancelotti get in the summer, and how many of the high earners will Brands be able to get off the books. There is also the constraints of FFP rules to consider.

Kevin Prytherch
94 Posted 25/02/2020 at 22:01:11
Jim 89 – what is Sigurdsson's best position?

He's been anonymous in the fabled Number 10 role. He's average in midfield, he can't play out wide. The only time he's looked good is in Silvas formation against the better teams – which Ancelotti is unlikely to employ.

I'd say at the moment Schneiderlin and Sigurdsson play with a little more discipline that Davies, which is why they probably get the nod. However, Davies pushes us forward more, shows for the ball more and tries to recycle possession forwards more than either of them two do. I think both Schneiderlin and Sigurdsson are living off their price tags and, if they had of come through the ranks like Davies has, would never get a game without it.

What did Allardyce say? Why would I play Lookman when Bolasie cost 㿈 million?

Why play Davies and Baningime when Schneiderlin and Sigurdsson cost 㿵 million?

George Cumiskey
95 Posted 26/02/2020 at 07:26:27
"Sigurdsson is doing a decent job."

OMG – I'm lost for words.

Jim Harrison
96 Posted 26/02/2020 at 10:39:47
Kevin @94,

I don't see it as based on cost, but on a career record established over multiple seasons.

So yes, number 10, or at least as a more advanced centre mid. Gomes tends to play deeper, and an pick a decent forward pass. Sigurdsson is still pretty much the only player we have who scores from distance and, whether he has shown it so far this season, is technically a very good player.

Schneiderlin is also playing fairly well at present. I know he isn't rated on here, and I hope that we are able to move him on in the summer.

I think Davies doesn't get in the team, just as he hasn't under multiple managers, because he just isn't reliable enough.

Interesting to note, George @95, that whilst you consider his performance to be sub-standard, he has been a regular starter in an in form team. He has played a role in than form. He will never be a quality centre-mid. But he wasn't signed to be. He is there because we are short on players.

John Cook
97 Posted 26/02/2020 at 12:02:00
I believe the defencivee lapses are because the back 4 and midfield changes so much from game to game, whether through injuries or the fact that Carlo is giving everyone a chance, it's effecting results. I would like for the rest of the season a more settled team.

I would bring Keane and Coleman back in and therefore a back 4 of Digne, Keane, Mina and Coleman with the explicit instructions to man-mark, win the first ball, get shut etc., In other words, the basics.

In midfield, we need ball winners and passers; for this reason, I would play Holgate, Bernard, Gomes and Davies again for the rest of the games with Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison up front. The rest would be on the bench for me, no more pissing about. I believe, with what we have available, that is our strongest team.

Jamie Crowley
98 Posted 27/02/2020 at 14:08:08
Ride @ 70 -

Just saw your comment. Yes, we were unlucky.

My take on players and positions is strictly for conversation. FFS if I were manager we'd get relegated.

Jim Wilson
99 Posted 27/02/2020 at 16:15:39
John Cook - spot on mate. We need a settled team to get the best out of the players. The constant changes to the team helps no one.
I want the manager to get everything right for the Derby.

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