Everton hang on as they almost let Fulham back in

Michael Kenrick 22/11/2020 436comments  |  Jump to last

Richarlison is back after missing three games through suspension

Everton stormed into an early lead to get their Premier League campaign back on the rails following three straight defeats that wrecked their 100% start to the season. But they so nearly gave it away with a very poor second half when Fulham missed a crucial penalty.

Iwobi starts along with Richarlison, Godfrey returning to reprise his role at right-back instead of Kenny, who is not even in the squad. Holgate and Gomes on the bench along with Sigurdsson and Bernard, none of whom have performed to anything like the required level in recent games.

For the hosts, both former Blues, Antonee Robinson and Ademola Lookman are in the starting line-up at Craven Cottage.

Fulham kicked off with the yellow winter ball, Everton playing in their second strip of yellow and dark blue and Richarlison's first contribution was massively impressive, dancing through and crossing neatly for Calvert-Lewin to nudge it in after a very fortuitous deflection.

A great start for Everton but Fulham were distraught and started pressing determinedly, including some unwelcome attention for Richarlison from.... Pickford's up-and-under clearance came down on Keane's arm and Fulham won a dangerous free-kick that Richarlison headed behind for a corner that came to nothing.

And Calvert-Lewin looked like he could have got closer to a good ball in from Iwobi but seemed to take his eye off the ball at the critical moment. At the other end, Lookman crossed in well, and Reid screwed his shot wide the goal gaping.

Everton should have had a second when Robinson gifted the ball to Richarlison but he was immediately closed down, with neither Calvert-Lewin nor Doucouré able to take advantage.

Meanwhile, Everton's defence were looking decidedly soft and Reid got past Mina very easily and beat Pickford very easily for the equalizer.

Calvert-Lewin did get the ball in the net at the other end off a great ball in from Iwobi but he had strayed a foot or two offside and the goal was ruled out. Ricarlison then drove forward, a nice one-two followed by a weak shot when he should have blasted it into the roof of the net, and it was an easy save for Areola.

Everton attacked again, thanks to a fine crossfield ball from James but could not create a real chance. It was a very lively game, with Fulham taking a couple of potshots that flew over or wide.

But Everton then put together a fantastic piece of movement, starting with a brilliant run from Iwobi, Rodriguez masterfully out to Digne who crossed back in perfectly for Calvert-Lewin to tap home with a very measured strike. VAR looked at it and Calvert-Lewin's hand was offside... but they allowed it to stand — as it deserved to from the perspective of sheer quality.

Some really fine passing all over the field ended in another great build-up, Rodriguez again out to Digne who crossed right on to Doucouré's noggin and he could not miss. Everton looking very impressive now.

Fulham were trying everything they could to get close but, when it broke down, Everton were countering at pace. Richarlison wafted at and completely missed another lovely cross from Digne that was perfectly placed for him to hammer home.

Iwobi crossed too close to Areola when a more measured delivery could have seen another chance created. But the game really was lively, the play going from end to end with good pace and lively passing until Everton played keep-ball for the last 2 minutes until Rodriguez produced a great strike that Areola saved very well. The end to a great half of entertaining football.

The game restarted with the same level of enterprise from both sides, Richarlison getting in a good shot on a free-kick cross from Digne — he should have put a lot more on his shot rather than trying to glance it past Aerola — then Lookman advancing well and crossing right through the Everton defence.

Calvert-Lewin did well to win an early ball in midfield ut tried to beat Areola form 40 yards out on the follow-through and did not really get hold of it properly. If anything, though, Everton were playing more conservatively, not looking to take too many risks as Scott Parker made a couple of changes for the home side before the hour mark.

Fulham continued to play some determined and lively stuff, Caveleiro getting a sight on goal but Pickford able to save. Robinson was then allowed to run through the channel as Everton absorbed a lot of pressure but only advanced slowly and gave the ball up too easily when the did gain possession.

But the one-way traffic finally paid off for Fulham after a poor James giveaway, Godfrey giving away a penalty that Cavelerio slips on his standing foot and launches high over the bar for a brilliant 3 points!!!

But Fulham, undeterred advanced again with some drive through Lookman who beat Digne all and down and cut the ball back to Loftus-Cheek whose shot spun off Mina and over Pickford into the net! What a crazy game, the Blues on the edge of playing a terrible price for not maintaining the pressure and the pace of a game that should have been well and truly put to bed.

Rodriguez had faded and Davies came on in his place with 17 mins left. But was that enough to explain how Everton were on the verge of throwing away two and possibly three hard-earned points? Richarlison reluctantly made way for Sigurdsson, with Ancelotti determined to hold on at all costs.

From a tremendous position of impressive dominance, Everton had totally squandered the initiative and were now inviting the home side to do their worst. It was simply horrible to watch how utterly incompetent the Everton players looked at times, giving the ball away on the rare occasion they were able to interrupt the lively Fulham play. Was there no-one on the Everton team who could take some degree of control into the last 10 minutes?

Digne, who had been crossing at will, found his attempts blocked, winning a corner that Sigurdsson finally delivered straight into the welcoming arms of Areola, and Fulham immediately on the attack again.

Everton finally got some meaningful possession in the Fulham half but resolutely refused to do anything by way of meaningful attack, just burning up the minutes in the hope of denying Fulham the possession they needed to score the equalizer, as the game entered 5 added minutes.

It will go down with some as "good game management" but the second half really was a disgraceful change in tactics from Everton who should have been rampant in driving home their advantage, rather than being reduced to living on the edge of giving up an equalizer.

Scorers: De Cordova-Reid (15'), Loftus-Cheek (70'); Calvert-Lewin (1', 29'), Doucouré (35')

Fulham (4-2-3-1): Areola; Aina, Adarabioyo, Andersen, Robinson [Y:56'], Reed, Lemina (69' Anguissa); Lookman, Cairney (58' Mitrovic), Cavaleiro; Reid [Y:] (58' Loftus-Cheek).
Subs not Used: Rodak, Odoi, Ream, Bryan.

Everton (4-4-2): Pickford; Godfrey, Keane, Mina, Digne; Iwobi, Doucouré, Allan, James (74' Davies); Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison (76' Sigurdsson).
Subs not Used: Olsen, Holgate, Gomes, Bernard, Tosun.

Referee: Andy Madley
VAR: Lee Mason

Reader Comments (436)

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Neil Lawson
1 Posted 22/11/2020 at 11:10:35
Everyone will be scratching their heads saying "what " "why" "where's the logic in that ". Utterly baffled. Gordon and Kenny don't even make the bench. Settle down for a worrying couple of hours.
Neil Lawson
3 Posted 22/11/2020 at 11:12:31
And if it goes wrong there will only be one man to blame. and it wont be Pickford !!
Jim Bennings
4 Posted 22/11/2020 at 11:17:18
Obviously theres more to the Gordon thing than first meets the eye, he's clearly not doing enough on the training ground or he's got an attitude that the manager doesn't like.

The exclusion of Kenny and the manager favouring a centre half at right back tells you that at almost 24 years of age Jonjoe Kenny's Everton career will end either in January or next summer.

I feel Bernard has been hard done by though after his promising spells against United, again it's clear that under Carlo Ancelotti his Everton career will soon come to an end.

Conor McCourt
5 Posted 22/11/2020 at 11:18:06
Don't get your logic Neil. Looks a good team on paper and no Gordon shouldn't really surprise anyone at this stage. Interested to see James in his best position.
Neil Lawson
6 Posted 22/11/2020 at 11:25:09
Sorry Conor, not to me, nor, I suspect, to countless others. Let's see. I am very much hoping that I will be proved to be wrong.
Dave Abrahams
7 Posted 22/11/2020 at 11:26:06
The team is still short in the middle of the park, no confidence in Iwobi helping the full back, worse if James plays on the wing.

The bench is even more worrying with Holgate, Bernard and possibly Tom Davies to come on and improve matters, not having a go at Olsen.

Brian Harrison
8 Posted 22/11/2020 at 11:28:03
Well there are certainly options as how we will set up with this side. Maybe Rodriguez will play in a more central role so as we will have more cover if Iwobi plays wide. We could also start with a back 3 with this team, I think it certainly will be interesting to see how we set up.
Conor McCourt
9 Posted 22/11/2020 at 11:33:21
Neil I agree Gordon should be ahead of Iwobi, indeed I would have preferred had we not bought him and kept Lookman.
We needed Gordon more when Richarlison and Iwobi weren't in the team as we had no pace. But this manager will always favour experience.

As for Kenny he's just simply not good enough.

Steve Shave
10 Posted 22/11/2020 at 11:46:05
Hmmmm, is it possible Iwobi is playing wing back and we have 3 at the back? Or is that a completely nuts hypothesis?
Alan J Thompson
11 Posted 22/11/2020 at 11:46:27
I think I may have preferred Davies at right back after Godfrey's last effort but Kenny hasn't even made the bench, still injured?
Gary Willock
12 Posted 22/11/2020 at 11:48:27
Neither Gordon nor Kenny have yet done ANYTHING AT ALL to prove they warrant being automatic starters. To listen to some on here, you'd think they were Ballon d'Or contenders. They are local kids with good promise, and whilst everyone wants them to do well, I think Carlo's picking the best he's got from who we have available.

Squad is still lacking a first choice right back (in the Digne mold), and someone like Richie who can sit in front of them and graft like he does. Until we get that (2-3 Windows) remember that Carlo inherited plenty of shite, and so far has had one spending window to sort it.

Calls for him to go are just daft.


Tony Everan
13 Posted 22/11/2020 at 11:49:54
Dave 7, I am thinking the same, midfield is a bit light on the combative front using Iwobi as well as Rodriguez. They will relentlessly target our right side, but this is Fulham we are talking about. We should be able to contain them. The team he has picked is going all out for the win, “ if you score two we'll score three” tactics. Should be fun!

One thing we should celebrate is that he hasn't tried to shoehorn Siggurdson into the team . It makes me a bit more confident.

Reuvy Havin
14 Posted 22/11/2020 at 11:51:04
It's sad but Richarlison being in the team is the single biggest variable in the lineup. Thank G-d Sigurdsson isn't playing, because it's a 4-4-2 - which means Ancelotti isn't shoehorning him in a formation where there is no place for a no.10. Gives me (tempered) confidence that there is a more lucid tactical plan.
Ernie Baywood
15 Posted 22/11/2020 at 11:51:17
Well I'm baffled. Good noises coming from Kenny this week... and suddenly seems his Everton career is done.

On the face of things it's Godfrey at right back, James as a number 10 (or at least advanced midfielder) and Iwobi/Richarlison on the wings.

I suppose it could also be 4-4-2 with Richarlison up front?

Or back three with Digne/Iwobi as wing backs?

I'm not sure if it's a good sign or not that it could be lots of different formations.

Andy Walker
16 Posted 22/11/2020 at 11:52:20
Godfrey against Lookman. Not so sure about that one Carlo. Likewise Iwobi on the left?
Steve Brown
17 Posted 22/11/2020 at 11:53:23
To think, we sold Lookman and then spent £50 million replacing him with Walcott and Iwobi.
Phil Wood
18 Posted 22/11/2020 at 11:55:02
Gary 12

Gordon has shown more than most when he has played this season. What is the problem.
We deserve an explanation if we fall flat again today.

Alan J Thompson
19 Posted 22/11/2020 at 11:56:20
Gary(#12); And how do you see them fulfilling that promise?
This won't be the first of recent Managers who have little faith in our juniors, Gibson out on loan, Branthwaite injured so spend another 30M on another central defender and play him right back regardless.
Kevin Prytherch
20 Posted 22/11/2020 at 12:00:20
Similarly baffled by the team selection.

Hope I'm proved wrong but...

Holgate will be our best centre back again - he was always going to be a bit rusty on his first game back.

Why play a converted centre back at right back when we have a right back?

We look light in midfield, Allan and Doucoure could be overrun unless Richarlison works his socks off to get back and help.

Rodriguez and Iwobi in the same team - 2 passengers defensively. Not sure where Iwobi fits in here.

Why deviate now from a set up that worked so well in our first 8 games? We have the same players available again (Bar Coleman - but could easily play Kenny), why not go back to the same setup now that Richarlison is back?

Steve Shave
21 Posted 22/11/2020 at 12:12:26
One thing is for sure, Kenny has no future with us.
Ernie Baywood
22 Posted 22/11/2020 at 12:15:29
So it is wing backs. Iwobi looking like an asset going forward and a liability going backwards. Keane really uncomfortable on his left side so far.
Ernie Baywood
23 Posted 22/11/2020 at 12:29:35
Iwobi... Wow!
Alan J Thompson
24 Posted 22/11/2020 at 12:39:16
Dust bin defending at both ends.
David Nicholls
25 Posted 22/11/2020 at 12:50:03
That was fun to watch! Iwobi impressive at RWB. What a difference Richarlison makes
Ernie Baywood
26 Posted 22/11/2020 at 12:51:10
Yes Alan. The difference being Fulham's defence is worse (it might be as bad as I've seen at this level) and our attack is better.

If we come out of this with fewer than 5 goals it's because we've gone easy on them or lost our way. It already looks like everyone in the team fancies a goal today.

Jim Bennings
27 Posted 22/11/2020 at 12:51:52
We have used the ball brilliantly here it's like watching Brazil versus Derby County.

But this is Everton, we have seen us toss away games we have dominated before so let's wait and see what the second half brings.

Dean Cooper
28 Posted 22/11/2020 at 12:52:06
A good game to watch for the neutral, but heart in mouth for both sets of supports. Fulham don't play a bad game, they just don't have the caliber of player to play the way they do.

3 at the back is never the way forward for us. All three don't look comfortable defensively, and going forward Keane on his left looks just as uncomfortable. With the channels beside each centre half, any other team would've exploited them half a dozen times.

We definitely aren't missing Lookman nor Robinson.

No doubt that DCL and James will get all the plaudits, but Lucas Digne for me is absolute class. Bainesy was a favourite of mine, but even in his prime he wouldn't get the nod ahead of Digne for me. You take him out of this team and you can see why the goals dry up. He is always an option for James and his delivery is second to none. It must be a joy for DCL to play at the moment.

Kevin Prytherch
29 Posted 22/11/2020 at 12:53:44
1st 20 minutes I was very worried. Allan and Doucoure were overrun every time they attacked, Iwobi looked lost, Godfrey was getting doubled up on and we couldn't get Rodriguez on the ball.

We look great attacking and Iwobi has been excellent going forward. A fit Rodriguez, Digne and Richarlison are a must for the rest of the year.

I do think this formation is made for Holgate in the middle, he's the most confident to step out with the ball and reads the game better than Mina.

Gary Willock
30 Posted 22/11/2020 at 13:00:59
Phil@18 - I agree he's done well in the games he's had, but he still hasn't shown he's ready to be a first choice ahead of Bernard, Iwobi or Richie. Perhaps on the bench instead of Siggy would be a good shout.

Alan@19 - Bizarre that you think loaning young players out is somehow a bad thing, because that's exactly how they will start to fulfil the promise (or show they never actually had it really). Godfrey wasn't bought because Branthwaite got injured, we'd been linked to left sided centre backs all summer. Not sure playing him right back was part of the plan, but with Seamus out and Kenny in and out too, I'm glad we've got a lad who's versatile. Give him a season or two and most think he'll be a shoo-in for 1st choice LCB.

Ernie Baywood
31 Posted 22/11/2020 at 13:01:16
Digne and Richarlison the chief tormentors and James won't have had an easier game - though they gave him little space in the first 10-15 minutes. DCL can score as many as he wants with the kind of service he'll get.

Our better players here look like they can do whatever they want. I wouldn't bet anything on Fulham staying up... they're so far off the level needed.

Steve Brown
32 Posted 22/11/2020 at 13:02:38
Happy to eat my hat for my comment @ 17 on Iwobi. Fantastic first half performance!
Ernie Baywood
33 Posted 22/11/2020 at 13:21:47
We've stopped playing. One goal and this starts to feel like a very different game.
Tommy Carter
34 Posted 22/11/2020 at 13:24:19
I remember being ridiculed by quite a few on here for suggesting a conversion of Iwobi into an attacking full back. Jay Wood I think was particularly critical of my thinking around this.

And, whilst one swallow does not make a summer, this is easily the best performance I've seen from him in an Everton jersey.

Alan J Thompson
35 Posted 22/11/2020 at 13:28:20
Everton getting lazy and think it's in the bag.

Gary(#30); Where did I say that about loans?

Ernie Baywood
36 Posted 22/11/2020 at 13:28:58
We haven't defended or attacked in the last 25 minutes. We're lucky to be in this game.
Pete Hughes
37 Posted 22/11/2020 at 13:32:02
Don't be surprised if we are hanging on for a point soon?!
Christy Ring
38 Posted 22/11/2020 at 13:37:39
Bringing on Sigurdsson for Richarlison and we're trying to defend a lead doesn't make sense. He should have put Holgate into midfield.
Ciarán McGlone
39 Posted 22/11/2020 at 13:41:53
A second half display of some of the most cowardly awful football I have ever had the misfortune to be subjected to.

Christy Ring
40 Posted 22/11/2020 at 13:45:37
How poor is Sigurdsson for giving the ball away, absolutely shocking.
Lester Yip
41 Posted 22/11/2020 at 13:50:30
Time after time, we defended deep, won the ball, and passed it straight back to the opponent. Really have to work hard on the transition play. And the players look tired.

Iwobi looked good today. Coleman's forward runs were missed.

Ernie Baywood
42 Posted 22/11/2020 at 13:57:05
There you go, Christy. Pretty predictable.

You've just seen a team stop playing against the worst side in the league. And you somehow find a way to blame the substitute.

Embarrassingly dreadful right through the team. I'll cut Calvert-Lewin some slack. He did play 90 minutes.

Jim Bennings
43 Posted 22/11/2020 at 13:57:52
We've dodged a bullet there despite dominating that first half.

Massively worrying why season after season we always look like the most knackered of teams in the league, we don't seem capable of playing 90 minutes.

Anyway it's a win, three away wins, I'd have taken that before kickoff but still clearly big improvements needed in the physical fitness side of things.

Patrick McFarlane
44 Posted 22/11/2020 at 13:57:52
I know that Calvert-Lewin scored the two goals but, for me, Iwobi had his best game in an Everton shirt.

That second-half was woeful, against better opposition, we'd have been beaten or at the very most drawn the game.

The whole game summed up what we all know: there is some great stuff and some really poor stuff in this team. Mina is an enigma: he looks good at times but mostly looks suspect in our area.

Three welcome points and it does stop the rot, but there is much to do for Carlo.

Brian Dermody
45 Posted 22/11/2020 at 14:00:15
Match report:

First half: good. Second half: shite to pure shite.

Tony Twist
46 Posted 22/11/2020 at 14:00:49
Millions upon millions spent and nothing changes. Mindless substitutions, James had to come off, Richarlison probably knackered but Davies and my god... Sigurdsson.

Penalty miss saved us. Shambles second half. Thank the lord for a win, well done, Calvert-Lewin.

George Cumiskey
47 Posted 22/11/2020 at 14:01:33
A complete second half collapse Carlo gave up as an attacking force with his subs, Siggy an absolute disgrace
Gerry Ring
48 Posted 22/11/2020 at 14:02:07
I'd really question the manager's decision-making today. We were being completely overrun in midfield in the 2nd half & the manager looked on for 20 minutes completely ignoring the situation.

When he eventually makes the change, Sigurdsson is one of the substitutes. He's the last man you'd want on the field when you need some grafting & physicality. At one point, he actually turned his back on a challenge.

It's three points but, against better opposition, things may have been different. I thought Iwobi played really well. Is Gordon injured???

Jim Bennings
49 Posted 22/11/2020 at 14:02:44
Nobody does the sublime to ridiculous quite like Everton.

We need to desperately stop conceding at least two goals every single game, it's eventually going to send the team down the league.

Rumour has it Carlo is looking at signing a launderette for some clean sheets.

Gary Willock
50 Posted 22/11/2020 at 14:03:06
Really worrying how we are making other teams look like Barca and that second half was just awful.

It's got to be issues with fitness. Don't think the internationals are helping, but all teams have to cope with that.

Just can't keep allowing teams to come onto us. :(

Simon Dalzell
51 Posted 22/11/2020 at 14:05:37
Much needed 3 points.

Very worrying 2nd half, team and manager seemingly trapped in the headlights, against a very poor team. Sigurdsson for Richarlison absolutely perplexing. Mr Ancelotti hasn't impressed me at all yet...

Derek Knox
52 Posted 22/11/2020 at 14:06:12
The question I have asked for weeks, or rather an observation, why do we give the opposition, regardless of who they are, so much space?

It is inviting trouble in my opinion, you are effectively allowing the opponents possession and a chance to dictate the game. Better finishing from Fulham today, could have produced a different outcome.

Thanks God, today we got away with it!

Tommy Carter
53 Posted 22/11/2020 at 14:08:39
Cahill spot on in his analysis. Runners from midfield causing us all kinds of problems. The handover from defensive Midfield to defence is non existent. Repeatedly. Can easily be put right.

However. The performances of Yerry Mina are of extreme concern.

John Hall
54 Posted 22/11/2020 at 14:09:58
Jim @27 you called that right mate. Squeaky bum time all second half. This is Everton you were on the money there.
Alan J Thompson
55 Posted 22/11/2020 at 14:10:09
I thought Davies brought a lot more effort when it was most needed and had a really good game in the time he was on covering a lot of the pitch.

Still a lot of work to be done with this side.

Anthony Jones
56 Posted 22/11/2020 at 14:12:29
Antonee Robinson had the freedom of the park second half.

Why didn't we adapt? Man mark him and he won't be as effective. I am sick of hearing about how these managers are tactical geniuses. My old amateur team would have at least tried to man mark him.

Moreover, he looked a player. So Brands sold him for a negligible fee? Not getting that one at all.

Anguissa was a beast in the middle. What I had hoped we were getting in Doucoure...

Ernie Baywood
57 Posted 22/11/2020 at 14:12:41
So many things to improve on. I doubt we'll have a more embarrassingly bad away win in the capital.

One thing I can't quite fathom is Mina's heading. When the ball is dropping in the area, you arch your back and head the thing out wide... not jump unchallenged and let the ball hit your head on the way down, so the ball drops on the edge of the box.

He's about 6'5". Someone somewhere must have taught him how to head a ball?

Frank Sheppard
58 Posted 22/11/2020 at 14:13:12
A baffling lack of confidence in the second half
Joe McMahon
59 Posted 22/11/2020 at 14:13:44
I think again 2 games in South America for our better players is taking it's toll. The bench is shambolic in quealityt, the 45 million paid fo Sigurdsson was always a discrace. Tom Davis is a trier but needs to run with the ball ideally forward, and any team with Pickford in goal will not acheive anything.
Neil Lawson
60 Posted 22/11/2020 at 14:15:29
3 points, so delighted and relieved. However the disgraceful second half performance highlights so many issues. Fulham are a poor side. They should have been put to bed with ease. Many puzzling decisions for me. Credit to Iwobi, and credit to the overall fight and commitment but we were bang average/awful in the second half, and to be clinging on as we were is simply unacceptable. How many more points required to be clear of relegation ? Sigurdsson for Richarlison could have been the final straw. He was up for it, constantly a threat with the prospect of a 4th goal. After he departed only DCL ever crossed the half way line. I should be very happy at a win rather than despairing at the nature of the second half debacle and what that may say about the rest of the season.
Jason Wilkinson
61 Posted 22/11/2020 at 14:17:38
I was very pleased to see 3 at the back. I thought we should have tried it weeks ago. However. Our midfield was completely overrun 2nd half. We have the playing staff. We have the manager. We don't seem to have a leader on the pitch.
Pickford; could have come for the equaliser.
Mina; static and looked uncomfortable.
Keane; did ok.
Godfrey; looked a bit shaky but needs time.
Iwobi; brilliant going forward. Maybe he can get better at defending.
Digne; more of the same please.
Allen; did his job. Ball watching for Fulham 2nd.
Doucoure; not really the box to box we need but got his goal.
James; glimpses of his genius but cant be carried.
Richy; good effort and unlucky not to be in the goals.
DCL; exactly what we've wanted.
Siggy; oh my lord!
Davies; worked hard when he came on.
Ancelotti; 3/10 we could see they had switched it up. Why cant you?
Christy Ring
62 Posted 22/11/2020 at 14:17:47
Ernie#42 Davies got stuck in when he came on, and put in a good shift. Can you tell me what Sigurdsson contributed? He lost the ball, strolling around, doing absolutely nothing.
Alan J Thompson
63 Posted 22/11/2020 at 14:18:19
Ernie(#57); Could be the problem, too much heading practice. Did you notice which end he ran to when they came out for the 2nd half?
Bill Gienapp
64 Posted 22/11/2020 at 14:21:11
Ahoy gents. Been AWOL the past couple weeks because I've been fixated on the election here in the States (emphatically anti-Trump, if you couldn't tell).

Anyway, I'd say that was one-quarter of a sublime performance and three-quarters of a very poor one. In spite of the quick-fire goal, thought we were pretty shaky out of the gate... but eventually we settled down and played some superb stuff, looking like we'd score four or five easy.

And then... we completely shut off in the second half. And you knew exactly what was going to happen. Fulham eventually pegged one back, making it an incredibly nervy last 20 minutes. I don't need this kind of stress at 5:30 in the morning.

Godfrey seemed an odd choice, given that Holgate is by far the most comfortable in a back-three, and can actually play on the right. On the other hand, thought that was easily one of Iwobi's best performances for us.

For those keeping score at home, that's now six straight matches we've conceded at least two goals, and seven out of nine for the season. Not good enough. We were lucky we were playing one of the worst teams in the league.

But I'll take the three points and hey - three away wins in London already. Now I'm off to bed.

Alex Gray
65 Posted 22/11/2020 at 14:22:49
The second Sigurdsson came on for Richy we lost our best player and went down to ten men. He offers Literally nothing. His corner sums him up. Set piece specialist that cant take set pieces.

Iwobi had his best game for us and Dcl and digne were excellent.

Mina was poor and I'm getting worried that teams have found James out a bit.

We don't tend to buy in January and I'm not sure if we need to sell first but we still need a few players!

Steve Brown
66 Posted 22/11/2020 at 14:26:29
It was a surprise to see us lose our composure in the second half when they began to commit more runners into the box. The introduction of Davies helped us a lot, but I was amazed at the number of aimless clearances from defence.

Our physical conditioning also needs to be worked on as we cannot match the intensity of other teams. Surely, that should be a given but it has been a feature of every Everton side under recent managers.

Think the reason why posters are specifically singling out Sigurdsson's contribution as a substitute was because he was absolutely terrible. Might as well have brought on a hologram of him.

Jason Wilkinson
67 Posted 22/11/2020 at 14:29:50
If we keep 3 at the back. Who should play in the 3? In midfield? Should James play or come off the bench?
Mike Gaynes
68 Posted 22/11/2020 at 14:30:11
Amen, Bill #64. Even earlier here. I clicked into the Forum but it was already a whine festival and I just wasn't interested in all that "___ is shite" bitching at 4am. Somebody even described it as a "hollow" victory.

Sorry, there is no such thing. A win is a win is a win. So like you I'll take the three points and go back to bed. ZZZZZ.

Brian Harrison
69 Posted 22/11/2020 at 14:32:18
Argh !!!!!! This team is trying to kill us all with heart attacks. Apart from 1 lapse absolutely dominated the first half and could have had a couple more with better finishing. Second half sat 5 yards deeper allowed Fulham space to attack us, now whether that was Ancelottis instructions or players decision it didnt make any sense. The best I have seen Iwobi, James brilliant when on the ball but you cant have a player who just strolls around when he hasnt got the ball, we in effect become a 10 man team when he plays and we havent got the ball. So it will be difficult to see how best to use him.

I thought Allan was our best player, I know BBC gave it to DCL who scored 2 and also played great, and Richarlison showed how important he is to this team until subbed.

Phil Wood
70 Posted 22/11/2020 at 14:32:27
Just got back out from behind the sofa.
First half fine but second a shocker.
Don't understand what the Manager is trying to achieve by inviting teams onto us after taking a lead. Great in Italy with Italian defences but we are not at that level.
We know we can be dangerous going forward but we are glass at the back.
Gylfi on when under siege is crazy.
Lucky in the end.
And like a repeat recording I will ask again "what has Anthony Gordon got to do to get a look in"?
Looks like he will be offloaded by Carlo because if he is not thought enough of to be in this squad then his clock is ticking. A disgrace if that is the answer.
Jamie Crowley
71 Posted 22/11/2020 at 14:32:52
Bill G -

Ahoy gents. Been AWOL the past couple weeks because I've been fixated on the election here in the States (emphatically anti-Trump, if you couldn't tell).

Me, too! Except I was emphatically anti-Biden! Let's now pray for Joe's good health because that nutter is second in line!

Election totally took my attention away from TW. Nice to return to all things Everton.

Ugly second half, three points, moving along. Hopefully TW mirrors the election result and we can see a return to civility and friendliness in the future. Even though I'm not a big Biden fan, he'll hopefully destroy the vitriol and shit-pot-stirring from the Orange one.

Cheers. So nice to return to TW and all things Blue. UTFB. Three points.

Jim Harrison
72 Posted 22/11/2020 at 14:33:53
Some moves it that first half were beautiful

Iwobi finally had a good game

Allan looked good, even if he did give the ball away a fair bit

Second half well, what to say? The downside of having a squad full of international players is that they all go away and come back tired? Richalison and James both looked shattered

John Keating
73 Posted 22/11/2020 at 14:34:43
Can't believe we allowed that game to be so close.
I think Ancelotti needs to tell the lot of them to go home and go to bed until Wednesday then get them all in for a bollocking.
Godfrey may well become a full back but right now he's a liability
Mina just wasn't with us today
Richie was knackered and needs a good kip
James not only needs a good kip but needs a good fitness regime
Sigi is finished unfortunately
Plus points
We won
DCL continues his fantastic form
Iwobi was a revelation especially in the first half
Ernie Baywood
74 Posted 22/11/2020 at 14:35:55
Christy #62 - We had abandoned midfield over 30 minutes before Sigurdsson arrived on the pitch.

You constantly say how poor he is.

Yet you're disappointed that he can't single handedly turn around a woeful team performance in the space of 15 minutes.

He did nothing in the 15 minutes he played of that second half. Which makes him less culpable than those who played more and achieved the same.

Robert Williams
75 Posted 22/11/2020 at 14:40:28
Well I guess Iwobi proved a lot of people wrong today, I thought he was excellent. The elephant in the room is still Mina and the sooner we find someone better and sell him the better.
Terry Farrell
76 Posted 22/11/2020 at 14:41:49
charlie and james had to come off as both of them were knackered and Allan blowing for tugs. not sure about him yet does ok but very one paced. digne dcl doucoure iwobi all played well and tom when he came on. siggi jeez had a mare. leeds match will show where we really are!!! got to find room for holgate in this team.
Paul Tran
77 Posted 22/11/2020 at 14:43:20
Important thing was that we won. That is a good thing, except on ToffeeWeb.

We looked very good first half; good press and wing backs pushing them back. Iwobi was particularly good. Should have gone in more than 3-1 up.

Second half showed us plenty. Fine margins and all that. The press disappeared, Loftus-Cheek came on and made a big difference. We didn't get a foothold in the game. The moment our standard dropped, we suddenly looked like an average and purposeless side. DCL was immense second half.

James was anonymous. Richarlison started to tire and we were outnumbered in midfield. So the relatively percentage players, Davies & Siguurdsson, were the right substitutes in my view.

Too many people get obsessed with formations. When we press well, we create space for our attacking players. When the press drops, we turn into a muddled mess. Carlo's job is to get the team playing like it did in the first half more often.

Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
78 Posted 22/11/2020 at 14:45:20
The biggest concern is simply that over the last 38 fixtures - we have conceded 67 goals.


The last time we had that level of defensive ineptitude, the sacked the manager and appointed Joe Royle.

The difference is we are scoring more - but how many of use started watching the second half and said - I am sure they will score and then I am not sure we will be able to hang on. Someone posted about Eddie Jones' England against Ireland that they are great at defending. You didn't think Ireland would ever score. Looking at us - you really can't see the next clean sheet.

6 in 29 games. I love the excitement of our going forward - but I hate the stress on the heart of wondering if we are going to win. He needs to find a replacement for Gana to lock up the middle and get Holgate back. Even Marco Silva has 11 clean sheets in his last 29 games.

Darren Hind
79 Posted 22/11/2020 at 14:47:41
What happened ? I thought we finished the first half and started the second in cruise control.

We were passing well, showing nice composure and with Iwobi (made up for him) and Digne getting down the flanks with purpose. it looked like it was going to be Calvert-Lewin's birthday...But as so often happens, somebody flicked the self belief switch. We suddenly stopped doing all the things which had gotten us into the comfort zone.

I cant blame their second goal or the substitutions, because we had already started to unravel. I'm fucked if I know why that happens so often. I swear I would pay good money to the fella who can give me a logical explanation

Lets take the win and the three points and welcome them, but I'm going to have to watch it again to see if I can spot the moment when we went from being assured and confident to being a panic stricken team riddled with self doubt

Jay Wood

80 Posted 22/11/2020 at 14:54:53
A very bipolar performance.

As was proved in the 7-game winning run, when we're good we're very good with a potent goal threat.

And as was proved in the 3-game losing run, when we're bad, we're very bad.

Richy scores in the 1st minute of the 2nd half and we're cruising at 4-1. He didn't and we then allowed Fulham to play the entire 2nd half in our half.

Why? Over-confidence with the ease and comfort we took a 3-1 half-time lead? Or a lack of confidence to continue doing the same?

Off to a flyer with an early goal to which we could have added before coughing up a soft equaliser - their goalscorer running off Doucoure and beyond a switched-off Mina too easily.

Thankfully, we got a grip again with Digne and Iwobi excellent and pivotal in our play and goals.

But the 2nd half was just perverse, inviting Fulham onto us rather than keeping them at arm's length and turning them back towards their own goal as we had done so well in the opening half.

Whilst the back 3 allowed a base for Digne and Iwobi to get forward in the 1st half, it inhibited us and stuck our feet in clay in the 2nd half.

Keane was the pick of our centre backs. Mina continues to cause concern. Godfrey yet to impress me as others are claiming. The only reason Holgate didn't fill one of those 3 slots today is because he must still be short of full fitness, as showed v United last time out.

I can see the value of playing a back 3 in certain games, but personally I'd be surprised if it becomes 'a feature'.

Praise to Scott Parker for introducing Loftus-Cheek. Until he was introduced on the hour, Fulham had not really encroached our penalty after the interval. He changed all that, winning the missed penalty and scoring the 2nd.

Lookman had also been kept quiet, but his one quality burst created their second goal.

There were some good performances by individuals today. The collective at times played some easy-on-the-eye football. But we need to stitch together more of the good stuff over two halves of a game, be calmer and clearer with better game management during the inevitable sticky moments that occurs in games.

George Cumiskey
81 Posted 22/11/2020 at 14:55:14
Paul Tran Siggy was the right substitute ? Unbelievable
Kevin Dyer
82 Posted 22/11/2020 at 14:57:34
Surprised by our formation. A back 3 only works if you are progressive with the wingbacks, which we were first half. If not, as happened in the second it becomes a back 5 with no out-ball. We should have switched to a back 4 after 55-60 minutes when it became apparent that James and Richarlison were tiring and Fulham were dominating possession and pushing us back on the wings.

It's a worry how we are leaking goals and how many we're needing to score to get over the line. But for a blown pen this is likely a draw, which given how poor Fulham are, is baffling. We have enough centre-halves and midfielders now, it's up to Ancelotti to find a system and personnel to keep us solid without affecting the attacking play.

The international break continued to have a negative effect on our south-American contingent. James looked sluggish, but for a couple of moments of involvement for 2 of our goals. Richy was a threat and added much-needed dynamism, but faded early in the second. Allan, who missed the second Brazil match lasted the pace far better. Thought Davies played well off the bench and should have been introduced 10-15m earlier. Sigurdsson, not sure why he came on, completely bypassed; Bernard would have been a better option, considering he offered more against United than Gylfi has all year.

So, dodged a bullet there and lots more work to do as we've earned 3 points without actually playing well.

Will Mabon
83 Posted 22/11/2020 at 14:59:23
Alex @ 65;

Don't know how many noticed - the 20 seconds of commentary around that late Sigurdsson corner from the left was total satire... with an inevitable ending. Hope it's on the highlights later.

Mike Gaynes
84 Posted 22/11/2020 at 15:01:08
So George, who would you have subbed on instead?
Brian Wilkinson
85 Posted 22/11/2020 at 15:02:37
Think a few have nailed it on the head,great first half, then after International games you get Richarlison and James not as fluent in the second half and our options are to drop 10 yards back, allowing them back into the game.

We need to get Holgate back as centre back and drop Mina, Holgates pace will hopefully allow Daucoure to push a bit further up, supporting the midfield.

Our weakness is at right back, Iwobi was top drawer today but Godfrey is what Martina was at left back, a player playing out of position.

Sort the right back out in January, Mina and Siggy should be nowhere near that squad.

When you are on the backfoot you need to bring either Bernard or Gordon on, two players who can at least turn the opposing defence round.

We were brilliant first half, second half more quality teams will pick us off with that style we served up, inviting teams to attack us.

Paul Tran
86 Posted 22/11/2020 at 15:02:58
Darren #79, that moment was when the second half kicked off. Fine margins will make a huge difference this season. When we press well, we look good. When it drops, we make anyone look good. Then it's about hanging on.

George #81, I'd rather not see Siggy in a blue shirt again. I couldn't think of a better midfield option on that bench, which tells us plenty about our strength in depth.

Brian Wilkinson
87 Posted 22/11/2020 at 15:05:04
Mike@ 84, I would have brought speedo Mick on before Siggy.
Derek Thomas
88 Posted 22/11/2020 at 15:06:17
The problem is not the 1st. 11, its the 2nd. 11 (not to mention these shite international breaks) until that's sorted and some of the present 1st 11 are in the 2nd 11, then were going to get games like this.

3 windows / 15months, then start whinging / worrying

Just as other circumstances, but mainly the abolition of the maximum wage (aka Money) did for decent teams like Burnley, Preston etc...sky money and the CL is tilting the playing field...Nobody said it would be either easy or instant.

3Pts gained; bring on the next game please.

Barry Rathbone
89 Posted 22/11/2020 at 15:08:00
Think we've seen enough now to gauge the coming season.

Reasonable enough against a half asleep opposition then monumentally flaky when they rouse.

The usual cowardly collapses against anyone driving at us will continue and we will praise the lord for the likes of Fulham etc buffering us from relegation scraps.

Our vice-like grip on mid-table obscurity is assured, I can hardly contain the excitement

Tony Abrahams
90 Posted 22/11/2020 at 15:08:18
I was cursing your mate Ancelloti, Darren, because we had dropped off and probably because of a combination of it being to easy, and the South American contingent, were also rapidly tiring.

I was thinking during the first half that Fulham, are actually okay on the ball, but then Everton stepped it up and blew them away.

Same thing happened in the second half, because we stopped working and I couldn't believe it took our manager that long to make the changes?

Davies, done okay, Sigurdsson offered about as much energy as a tired Rodriguez, but we dug in, and thankfully held out for the vital three points in the end.

We all see a different game, Iwobi, was good, Lewin was a real handful, Digne was outstanding in the first half, but for me I thought Doucoure was our best player overall, although I sometimes wish he'd drive forward a bit more with the ball.

John Pierce
91 Posted 22/11/2020 at 15:08:39
That was at times exhilarating as it was woeful. Roller coaster!
A very attacking line up, we pressed high and that brought us chances, it got the best from Allan and Doucoure whose goal was the textbook picture of why we bought him.
We played a great high line and never looked in danger.
What happened in the second half, our most important players tired after a long trip to South America. James and both Brazilians just ran out of juice. We dropped deeper, that nullified the midfield, it neutered Digne & Iwobi and we sat right on the back three. We became passive and reactive.
The substitutions were correct to take the tired players off but the tactics and players replacing them were crazy. We had no counter attack threat and just asked Fulham on to us. Allan gave everything and was destroyed at the end.

This team is set up to attack and we can't defend with 8 guys on the 18yard line, it's madness. Until we can buy the players to handle that kind of tactics we have stay on the front foot.

Should be the Alamo v Leeds next week!

Gary Willock
92 Posted 22/11/2020 at 15:09:07
Pickford (6) - did nothing wrong for a change.
Digne (7) - what a player.
Keane (6) - tried hard, not a ball player.
Mina (4) - was glad to see him back in, I was wrong. Could have been down to 10 after their first.
Godfrey (6) - looking forward to seeing him in a 2 next to Keane or Holgate.
Iwobi (8) - proving to be mr versatile.
Allan (6) - the bull dog tired.
Doucoure (6) - too retrained #FreeDoucoure
Richie (7) - no coincidence we won on his return.
James (6) - some sublime passes, lazy twat at times.
DCL (9) - thank feck we have him

Carlo (3) - the wingbacks worked well, causing chaos in first half. Took way too long to change one way traffic starting to wonder if he's the cause of it with ‘sit back and break' instructions.

Overall we are desperately short on the right hand side. When we over compensate, teams switch and hit the left. Unfit and unbalanced, without at least 1-2 in January we aren't going to make top 6.

Jason Li
93 Posted 22/11/2020 at 15:09:15
OK, I'll offer some balance bit as we've won and feel in a somewhat dark place.

Yes, 2nd half the team looked shattered, and then Richarlison went off and the drop off is huge, plus no fit Coleman equals a weird right side for 90 minutes.

However, we're 6th with a lot of players the manager has inherited in the squad still. Allan has definitely addressed our soft centre, and Doucoure likes a battle too and can hang in there when it gets scrappy.

One reason why I think there's no Gordon on the bench is that the U23's plays him against teams fielding 17, 18, 19 year olds, unfortunately. Every one of those players who played today would look world beaters against another U23's team, or should do anyway. Gordon still needs time to develop and fill out. As an example, look how often Richie has his shirt tugged, other lads jump on his ankles, and how much of a scrap he can handle when there's a 50/50. When Gordon is very good at handling this and not just running with the ball against teenagers, he'll be flying as his talent is the best in our academy for ages from the clips we've seen. In a nutshell, the Premier League is an unforgiving physical place and just the final bit Gordon needs to handle. Another example, Lookman looked decent quite a few times, someone we've all had a little shout for. Defensively, I don't see it in Lookman. Iwobi was tugged and pulled and bumped into all over the place on the ball... and I reckon Iwobi will overall be a better player when we look back over the years to come.

Siggy come on, yeah, we've all have known for ages his legs have gone. But what can a manager do, buy players with his own money after loads of players already came in, in the transfer window just gone. Carlo knows I'm sure Siggy is done as a Prem player physically.

Like anyone would if you were hypothetically on Monday announced as the Everton manager, you'll find the board says you'll have to wait for the transfer window to ship players out and find world class who want to come. Until that happens, you're in the same place as Carlo. You look around and see a lot of old academy players like Broadhead and Pennington, and Siggy type players to put in the game to ensure Richie is safe for the next game. That's the transition we're in.

With this in mind, 3 wins in London and 6th place with a 1/4 of the season gone. UTFT!

Will Mabon
94 Posted 22/11/2020 at 15:11:33
Darren - same old thing, the mystery missing ingredient, along with noticeable low fitness/endurance. It often gets called negative to say it when we win but it's almost ever-present in most games we play, and has been for a long time.
John Pierce
95 Posted 22/11/2020 at 15:12:37
PT, Alex & Tony. You deffo watched the same game I watched. ☺️
Christy Ring
96 Posted 22/11/2020 at 15:14:45
Would Bernard not have been a better option than Sigurdsson, he has pace, which Siggy definitely hasn't. I thought Davies played well.
Tom Bowers
97 Posted 22/11/2020 at 15:15:51
Oddly enough Everton have won three times in London already this season and one was a game against Spurs who are now top.

Whilst there may be an excuse or two about the performance today I would like to think things will improve as long as there are no silly suspension or injuries. Whilst Godfrey is young and helps with aerial balls I would like to see Seamus back or at least another quality right back.

Ajay Gopal
98 Posted 22/11/2020 at 15:17:30
From the sublime to ridiculous - only Everton! Things changed dramatically with their substitutions. Loftus Cheek and Mitrovic caused all sorts of problems - and Carlo was too slow to react. We could see their goal coming 10 mins before their penalty. James was tiring, he should have come off before they scored. But credit to Davies and Siggy, they did their job - Everton did not concede after they came on. The defence needs to be sorted out. 3 at the back will take time to get used to, but with the right players, it will work. Mina does not cut it for me - every time he has the ball, my heart is in my mouth. A back 3 of Holgate (right), Keane (centre) and Godfrey (left) could work well. Keane's lack of pace, but better reading of the game to compliment the athletic young guns - Holgate and Godfrey. Iwobi was excellent in the 1st half - fair play, I have never wanted him to play for Everton ever again, but that performance was nice, but he won't find such an easy defence to play against again. Doucoure, Digne, Allan, DCL did all the things that you would want them to. Am I the only one starting to get a bit nervous about Richarlison's goal drought? A top player like him should put away the chances that he had today. Finally Fulham - if they can sort out their defence and their penalty taking, they have some very decent players who can trouble any side in the Premier League. I was quite impressed by some of their play in the second half. 3 points not to be sniffed at - keeps us in the mix with the tight pack at the top half of the league.
Frank Crewe
99 Posted 22/11/2020 at 15:17:47
If we had took our chances in the first half it would have been 5 or 6-1 at half time and the game would have been over. As it was we went into cruise mode in the 2nd half and ceased to attack with the same intensity. Then they threw on some good subs and made a game of it.
But it was our first game after the break. Some of our more travelled players started to tire in the final 30 mins. But we held out stopped the rot and won. Hopefully our players will be better rested for the Leeds game and we can keep up our intensity through the entire game.
John Pierce
100 Posted 22/11/2020 at 15:20:51
With the original tactics destroying Fulham, keeping the same seemed logical. Subs wise

Davies for Allan, Bernard for James and Gordon should have been in squad for Richarlison.

Press high, feed wingbacks left Calvert-Lewin tap ‘em in.

As this side evolves, Sigurdsson and Gomes will be phased out quickly.

Jay Wood

101 Posted 22/11/2020 at 15:22:41
Oh! And Tommy Carter @ 34. This...

'I remember being ridiculed by quite a few on here for suggesting a conversion of Iwobi into an attacking full back. Jay Wood I think was particularly critical of my thinking around this.'

You are given to self-aggrandizing, aren't you Tommy? And poor recall.

You did no such thing, Tommy. You did not qualify your suggestion by saying 'attacking' full-back. Just converting him to a full-back, full-stop.

Your response to the many detailed replies you got as to why your idea wasn't perhaps the brightest was to list players from as far back as the 70s and 80s who had successfully converted to different positions (not strictly full-back), believing you had made a knockdown argument to counters.

Iwobi was excellent today...going forward. Bursting from midfield. Nice give and goes. Great feet to dance past people around their penalty area. Excellent delivery - high balls and crisper, accurate flat balls.

Defensively, he was part of the 2nd half problem. And no, I am not singling him out for special blame. He is a wasted asset defending deep as he and Digne were both forced to do in the 2nd half.

His better work is clearly in the opponent's half and around their penalty area. Everton's puzzling withdrawal to our own half after the interval neutered him and denied us an out ball, to both his and the team's detriment.

Brian Williams
102 Posted 22/11/2020 at 15:25:28
I cant blame their second goal or the substitutions, because we had already started to unravel. I'm fucked if I know why that happens so often. I swear I would pay good money to the fella who can give me a logical explanation

Amen to that! Tearing my hair out trying so hard to understand what happens! It just doesn't make sense!

Paul Tran
103 Posted 22/11/2020 at 15:26:19
Christy #96, I'd say Bernard is the player to bring on when we're 2 or 3 up and controlling the game. Not when we're being over-run in midfield.
Colin Glassar
104 Posted 22/11/2020 at 15:26:34
Really worrying 2nd half. The players looked confused, lethargic and frightened. Against a better team we would've been battered.
Steve Brown
105 Posted 22/11/2020 at 15:26:50
Ajay @ 98, Sigurddson did his usual 'job' - no forward passing, no tackling, poor press, not creating space to receive a pass, not tracking runners, no linking up with DCL and terrible corner-taking.

Bernard was one of our better players in the last game and scored a goal. Ancelotti is losing credibility by persisting with him as far as I am concerned.

Robert Tressell
106 Posted 22/11/2020 at 15:28:18
Fulham got a lot of impetus when Loftus Cheek and Anguissa came on - and we sat back. Was impressed with Loftus Cheek. He'd be good for us
Allan Board
107 Posted 22/11/2020 at 15:29:23
Good player's give you consistency of performance folks! And we only have 4 maybe 5 of those. Some others are still learning, but worth sticking with, some are finished at the elite level of this league, and some are only here for the dough.
The man has had ONE TRANSFER WINDOW. 9 games in and in the top 6.
All teams are up and down this season for some strange reason, expect spurs to falter next.
I will reserve judgement and any criticism of coaches until this time next year.
The league will be won with a record low points total this season.
And their 2nd goal was Digne fault because he went too tight on Lookman. Stand the kid up and he's rubbish. Great business shipping him out for that money.
A team in full transition Everton.
Kunal Desai
108 Posted 22/11/2020 at 15:29:50
3 points just over the line, but i'd be concerned going forward. There seems to be no remedial course of action by addressing the nunber of goals were are conceding at an alarming rate.

We'll get destroyed in the up and coming fixtures in December if this is not worked on. January can't come soon enough. Need to bring in a couple more I feel.

Derek Knox
109 Posted 22/11/2020 at 15:30:41
Colin Glassar, has always rooted for Iwobi, (only joking Colin) but today he was like a different player altogether, that was in the first half mostly.

Very few chances to do anything in the second half, not his fault at all on that, but as many have already said it's 3 points, when all said and done. Don't think too many will be rushing to buy the DVD of this match.

John Raftery
110 Posted 22/11/2020 at 15:32:46
The win was vital. To describe it as a mixed performance from our team would understate the nervousness apparent in the final half hour. Conceding at least two goals per game does not augur well for a sustained assault on the top positions or indeed silverware. At least our players were able to tighten up in the final ten minutes but Carlo, like many of his predecessors, will have been left pondering how to strike an optimal balance between defence and attack.

The positive aspects all stemmed from the attacking play. DCL was man of the match not only for his two goals but also his hold-up play and running. A mention should be made also for the contributions from Richarlison, Digne, Allan and Iwobi. The last named has been the subject of considerable criticism but the player has enough attributes to be an effective performer at this level. Today operating from a deeper position he offered pace, skill and attacking quality in the way Conte used Victor Moses at Chelsea in 2016/17.

The change of position for Iwobi required James to spend more time in the middle of the field. Although he played a part in two of our goals, the Columbian playmaker rarely looked comfortable and was plainly struggling to cope with the work rate required in that position. As others have suggested his substitution should have been made well before the seventy fourth minute. At his most effective James is a key player but how best to use him in a team formation which brings the best out of all the talents available is something which will no doubt exercise the manager in the coming days.

Remarkably this season we enjoy a 100% record in London, a city where our victories have been in short supply for several decades.

Rob Dolby
111 Posted 22/11/2020 at 15:33:55
That must have been a good game for the neutral.

End to end first half, loads of chances. 2nd half was as I expected, sit deep, lack possession and hope that the 2 goal cushion is enough.

We are mentally weak when we take the lead. I don't know if it's coached into the players to sit deep and try to counter but it's frustrating as hell, with a bit more self belief we could have put a few more past them. I can't see us winning a game by 4 or 5 we always do just enough and against better opposition that mentality will cost us.

We are shipping far too many goals. In midfield we need more legs and desire alongside Allen and Dacoure whilst at the back one of either Branthwait, Holdgate or Godfrey need to step up to replace Mina.

Ian Riley
112 Posted 22/11/2020 at 15:34:54
Let's be honest. Better quality opposition would have equalised or beat us today. That second half was as poor as it gets.

Our defence is not tight enough. We play two defensive midfielders and still look so open at times. If kean is going to be our captain for years to come he must be more vocal. Start shouting at players to get tighter and do their jobs.

James was carried and surely Carlo saw that before 60 minutes?? Mina is to inconsistent and reactions are slow. Davies played well. His decision making let's him down at times. We need pace from the bench when under so much pressure.

We must remember Carlo can see what we lack. Going to take a few more transfer windows to get the squad capable of competing for top 4.

Pleased to get back to winning ways.

Paul Tran
113 Posted 22/11/2020 at 15:35:42
John #100, some good points there. Gordon should always be on the bench for his pace. Must be something going on for his exclusion. Agree with you on Gomes & Siggy and I'd put Bernard in the same bracket.

That second half was more a lack of purpose than fitness. Its a mental thing. The best teams acquire it over time. It's Carlo's biggest job.

John Pierce
114 Posted 22/11/2020 at 15:44:25
A cheeky 2-0 win for a Wolves over Southampton and we move up to fifth!!!
Tony Hill
115 Posted 22/11/2020 at 15:48:34
I thought Iwobi did well defensively as well as his excellent attacking play.

Calvert-Lewin will be the subject of huge bids in the summer. His all-round game and his touch are fabulous. I also thought Allan and Doucoure were much improved. Digne's assists record continues to climb.

Our fitness is a big worry. There are always phases in games when we lose the pace and the plot and we did that for most of the second half, not helped by our tactical retreat. But some of our play in the first half, admittedly against a woeful defence, was the way Everton teams should always look to be: swaggering, imaginative and beautiful.

it was imperative for us to win that game.

Christy Ring
116 Posted 22/11/2020 at 15:49:05
Paul#103 'Bernard is not the player to bring on, when you're overrun in midfield. Fair point, but Sigurdsson is definitely not the player you bring on for the same reason.
Ajay " Credit to Davies and Siggy, they did their job'? I'd credit Davies who did a job, but Siggy yet again, contributed absolutely nothing.
Tony Abrahams
117 Posted 22/11/2020 at 15:50:45
So true that last paragraph Paul T, because once you take your foot off the pedal, it's not always easy picking up the pace again, especially against limited but very willing opponents, which is how I'd describe Fulham right now.
Barry Williams
118 Posted 22/11/2020 at 15:54:38
First half we looked like the 94 Brazil team

Second half, we looked like a team of 94 year old Brazilians!

At least we know that the system isn't entirely blame for the leaking of goals now, and that Iwobi can make an excellent wing-back.

Let's see how we fair without any internationals, and that will give us further insight into the rest of the season.

6th - I would have taken that at this stage!

Kevin Dyer
119 Posted 22/11/2020 at 15:58:31
My thoughts on the individual players:

Pickford no major involvement, could have maybe closed down for their 1st, decent finish but he got nowhere near it. Unlucky deflection off Mina for the second which I think he'd have stopped. One error away from being benched, for me.

Godfrey was OK, obviously an error for the pen, so dodged a bullet.

Mina and Keane, can defend high balls and when facing play, but struggle on the turn and dealing with low crosses.

Iwobi played great going forward, but don't think wing-back is his position, or ours tbh. Everything he did today he could do as a right-midfielder or winger.

Digne, class as usual, beaten by Lookman for pace for goal #2.

Dacoure, best game for us imo. Good to see him get in the box for the goal, harried the opposition and carried the ball well.

Allan is just one of those 7/10 players, very consistent and composed under pressure. Battled well to stop us collapsing 2nd half.

James needs a rest. Thankfully no more international jaunts for a while. Still think he'd not 100%. Bypassed for 20m before getting into the game. Looked tired and off-the-pace in the 2nd, should have come off at least 10m earlier.

Richy took about 30 seconds to show how vital he is. Could have scored 2 and should have scored 1. Tired after about 55m.

DCL lethal and ran a lonely furrow gamely 2nd half.

Davies showed why he should be involved, energy and attitude from the off. Won a couple of fouls, very important the way we were hanging in.

Sigurdsson is sadly finished. Did nothing wrong after coming on, but barely noticed him. Doesn't get on the ball and can't get close enough to pressure opponents. Looks lost in midfield. Surely needs to be actively moved out.

Paul Tran
120 Posted 22/11/2020 at 16:08:12
Nothing to do with fitness, Tony. It's why the champions are the champions, whether it's City or them. Its like a groove - once you're in it, it's great, once you're out of it, it's hard to get back. Look at City now. Are they less fit? Joe Royle's team had it for 18 months. Kendall's team had it for three years, then it disappeared with him.

The league table tells you we have more of it now than under Koeman & Silva. But we need more of it, more often. My suspicion is that it needs to be imported. In the meantime, we'll be a mixed bag of inconsistency, with a puncher's chance in the cups.

Will Mabon
121 Posted 22/11/2020 at 16:10:39
Kevin, I'd agree with most of that - I still think Doucouré's best game was against Spurs but yes, he scored today. Also thought Allan was very good, committed despite looking a little fatigued. We'll have to see if and how Iwobi develops. He looks more like some of what I saw in his time at Arsenal, albeit they sold him.
Tom Bowers
122 Posted 22/11/2020 at 16:11:08
Everton played some good stuff and could have had it way out of reach for Fulham by half time but didn't.

You just knew Fulham would fight to the end as they had nothing to lose.
Had they scored the penalty it may have gone pear shaped but we got lucky in the end.

The midfield area still lacks a Peter Reid type general both mentally and physically to keep driving players on.

Will Mabon
123 Posted 22/11/2020 at 16:14:50
Paul it is a groove, a spirit, a belief - but you can't apply it without the fitness. We looked goosed for much of the second half and it makes a massive difference. It's all needed!
Paul Tran
124 Posted 22/11/2020 at 16:19:02
Christy #116. Your's is a fair point, too. My hunch is that Carlo sees Siggy as the physically larger player than Bernard and that why he's ahead of him.

My bigger hunch is that he'd love to get shot of both their wage packets for more effective reinforcements.

Colin Glassar
125 Posted 22/11/2020 at 16:19:48
Mina‘s bizarre idea of defending plus the lack of mobility from Sigurdsson and Gomes Leads me to believe none of them will still be with us next season
Paul Birmingham
126 Posted 22/11/2020 at 16:22:57
Happy to get an away win, but if this is the ways it's going to be this season, then we'll be middle table.

I don't understand the Jekyll & Hyde syndrome, came back to haunt 5his team.

We were so lucky to ge5 the result, but we invited trouble, and any decent side would have put us to the sword early doors in the second half.

Bielsa will be fancying his chances. I hope today that perhaps the international games and het lad kicked in, but that's no excuse for not pressing up the park.

It could have been that Creek, we know so well today, but shipping goals at this rate, we'll be very lucky to stay mid table as W3 are inviting trouble, every game.

Pleased that Richarlison is back, and in my view his selfless running and defending makes him our key player.

At least we won, but we were lucky. Let's hope that the concentration levels are back for Leeds.

John Raftery
127 Posted 22/11/2020 at 16:28:08
I don't think the players are lacking fitness, any more than the rest of the Premier League at present. I think the problem is the team is not compact. Players in midfield simply run out of energy trying to cover too much ground.

Owing perhaps to a lack of pace at the back our defenders sit quite deep. When we lose possession the likes of Allan and Doucouré plus whoever is playing in the wide positions are required to chase back to the eighteen yard line. Having to do that repeatedly over the course of a game leaves players knackered and more hesitant to move up to support the front men when possession is regained.

I am sure the Manager sees this as much as we do. Finding the players to fit into a more compact system will resolve the fitness issues.

Kevin Prytherch
128 Posted 22/11/2020 at 16:28:37
Regarding the subs today...

Davies was the right move. We were effectively playing a 5-2-3, Allan and Doucoure had no chance. When Davies came in, that extra body made all the difference.

As for Sigurdsson, 3-2 up is an excellent time to bring Sigurdsson on. He thrives off space and, when a team is chasing an equaliser, there is space. Unfortunately, he replaced his main outlet in Richarlison, so that made the substitution pointless.

Overall, delighted with the win, hopefully it will be the confidence boost we need, but baffled by some of Carlos decisions.

Tommy Carter
130 Posted 22/11/2020 at 16:29:52
Jay Wood

You've had your eye wiped I'm afraid. At least try and be magnanimous about it

Tony Everan
131 Posted 22/11/2020 at 16:42:23
Back @ post 13, When I saw the line up I said it says

“ you may score two but we will score three”.

Carlo went for the win and decided to let Fulham worry about us rather than vice versa.

We played some scintillating stuff for 45 mins, 3 goals didn't do us justice. Richie's directness makes a big difference. Also Iwobi was on fire in the first half, some good play and excellent crosses causing all sorts of problems. Alex has to do the consistently, it's in his locker he needs to bring it to the table every week. He was unplayable at times in that half.

I too thought James Rodriguez should have been subbed earlier. He was struggling for fitness or his balls are still not swinging right. With him fading, we lost control of the midfield in the second half. It's a warning to Carlo, better teams will make us suffer.

All in all though a good win away from home (does that make a difference anymore?). And more importantly, I will be happy for a few days.

Mark Taylor
132 Posted 22/11/2020 at 16:42:56
Carlo appears to have found the on switch. Problem is, someone threw the switch at half time and the lights went out. Maybe we can say we are going up in the world if we claim our players tired given so many were away on international duty?

The 3 standout performances came from DCL, Digne (apart from being skinned for their second) and Iwobi who played easily his best game in a blue- or slightly blue- shirt. Granted that is not a high bar but even so, he looked a £28m player rather than a £2.8m player. Like others, I am not remotely convinced by Mina. I had also hoped for more from Doucoure. He's been OK, and he bagged his first goal well, but I can't help feeling he can give us much more.

We clearly still have a hole to fill at RB, it seems likely that as he ages, Seamus will be out with injuries more. I'm not convinced we have yet found the best way to use James. The back 5 was clearly an attempt to accommodate him but it literally only half worked. I've begun to feel sorry for Siggy, so obviously out of his depth. That first goal against Split was clearly the high point, it has been downhill from there and we have now reached the lower point of the valley.

Dave Abrahams
133 Posted 22/11/2020 at 16:44:44
I watched Carlo scratching his eyebrow when Fulham scored their second goal, and I thought “ yes mate we're all scratching our eyebrows, what are you going to do about it” Not very much was the answer, he looked perplexed, as though like us, he couldn't believe how we were throwing the game away. How could we stop attacking Fulham as we had done in the first half when showed how poor they were defensively, even worse than us in that department, Iwobi, let me say, if he played like that every week with that attitude, going forward, you wouldn't hear me whisper one word of criticism, today he wanted the ball, playing well and looking confident, then we,Ancelotti ?, decided to hold on to our lead, big mistake Carlo, we are not bad at all going forward, next to useless defending, the quicker Holgate and Godfrey are the centre back pairing the happier I'll be.

We got the three points but will not meet poorer teams than Fulham very often, by the way they looked fitter than us and overall passed the ball better too, not good for your ticker watching the Blues.

Tommy Carter
134 Posted 22/11/2020 at 16:44:46
Jay. You weren't the only one.

Andy Crooks also ridiculed it as well as Colin Glassar, Steve Ferns, Drew O'Neall. Pretty much everyone.

I justified my thoughts at the time. I said this:

“Attributes I think would serve him well are his ability to carry the ball forward. Seamus was excellent at this also. He's got good stamina and sufficient pace to be able to cover a lot of ground on the flank. Physically I think he has enough strength to cope with the role. I disagree about your earlier comments about his work rate, he covers a lot of ground in a game. He could be more intelligent and decisive in his closing down but my own assessment would be that he has been trained to press space around players rather than win the ball.“

I actually thought he was ok today defensively. Lookman had more joy against Digne

Paul Tran
135 Posted 22/11/2020 at 16:44:49
You could be right, Will. Maybe James, Allan & Richarlison were knackered after this weeks travels? I'd love to know more facts, but I find it hard to believe our players are generally less fit.

When we lose our sense of purpose, we sit deeper, bearing in mind we're already deep enough because of our slow centre defence. We become reactive, and anyone who's played at any level knows when a team is passive and reactive, its a lot more tiring.

Geoff Williams
136 Posted 22/11/2020 at 16:49:15
When in Germany the senior players were dissatisfied with the lack of intensity in Ancellotti's training sessions and organised their own sessions so it comes as no surprise to see Everton players flagging after 75 minutes. I suppose on a positive note he doesn't take the players for a booze up and a curry as Kendall used to do.
Tony Hill
137 Posted 22/11/2020 at 16:50:24
I thought we looked shattered after about 60 minutes, Paul @120. What is mysterious is that we can't maintain tempo - a point which may indeed be different from fitness. It is something which has troubled us for a while now. Is it confidence? You may well be right.

In any event, we need a commander, as many of us have suggested on here, someone who keeps and dictates our rhythm. Allan does that to some extent but he's not quite the sort we need. Having criticised him and Doucoure, though, it was great to see them both getting back some form today. A fit, confident Gomes might have done it.

It'll certainly be a test against Leeds who are one of the fittest teams in the league.

Jason Wilkinson
138 Posted 22/11/2020 at 16:54:47
Maybe Carlo should get them out for a curry. If we got half the team spirit Howard got out of his group.
Kieran Kinsella
139 Posted 22/11/2020 at 16:57:36
This is probably the most rational, fair minded, post match thread I've ever read on ToffeeWeb. So just for old times sake allow me to restore normal service: we are going to win the league, Carlo Out
Martin Berry
140 Posted 22/11/2020 at 16:58:44
We just got away with it today, maybe it did not help having a few tired legs of players jetting in from thousands of miles away and after playing a lot of footbal.
Thought DCL was excellent and Iwobi was good too, maybe Carlo has unlocked the key.
Jay Harris
141 Posted 22/11/2020 at 17:00:12
The travel argument may have some legs but Iwobi had to travel back from Africa and there was nothing wrong with his legs.

IMO James, Richy and Allan are all carrying knocks. Mina is just Mina. His awareness under pressure is poor and he runs like he is carrying a bag of cement.

The logical replacement for Richy or James was Gordon. Dont know what he has done to upset Carlo but the lad needs a chance to show what he can do. Would certainly be no worse than Siggy.

JJK is certainly a better RB than Godfrey.

Jay Harris
142 Posted 22/11/2020 at 17:00:12
The travel argument may have some legs but Iwobi had to travel back from Africa and there was nothing wrong with his legs.

IMO James, Richy and Allan are all carrying knocks. Mina is just Mina. His awareness under pressure is poor and he runs like he is carrying a bag of cement.

The logical replacement for Richy or James was Gordon. Dont know what he has done to upset Carlo but the lad needs a chance to show what he can do. Would certainly be no worse than Siggy.

JJK is certainly a better RB than Godfrey.

Paul Tran
143 Posted 22/11/2020 at 17:02:03
Tony, when we signed Allan, Carlo said he was a player who leads by example, not a shouter. I'd say you're right, a real leader on the pitch would help.

The bulk of this squad has played under a succession of managers that produced dull, purposeless football. Does habit drag them back into this state the moment they're put under pressure?

There are too many in this squad that lack the real desire to be better. Too many who aren't desperate enough to really succeed. This squad might win a cup, which may prove the catalyst, but I think that mentality will need to be brought in.

Jay Wood

144 Posted 22/11/2020 at 17:04:59
Tommy, you continue to display your vanity.

That your first thought to post on Everton's first win in 5 games is to recall how you were - legitimately - challenged on a whimsical idea to play Iwobi at full-back. Not wing-back as he played today. Not wide defensive midfielder. But an out-and-out full-back.

What did you yourself write in that post?

'And, whilst one swallow does not make a summer, this is easily the best performance I've seen from him in an Everton jersey.'

You might like to edit that to 'his best 45 minutes for Everton.'

If you cannot discern the difference between the role and remit of a wing-back as the attacking midfielder Iwobi played today within a 3 centre back system, as opposed to playing an out-and-out defensive full-back in a flat back four, then perhaps you're not as tactically astute as you keep broadcasting that you are.

Tony Twist
145 Posted 22/11/2020 at 17:06:53
Great result and if the match had finished at half time then we all would be crowing. Fitness, I think, plays a part and with a lack of fitness comes tiredness and I think tiredness was the major reason for the Second half performance when levels just fell off the cliff. Sigursson shouldn't be playing in this team, looking on the YouTube's of Everton training, he looks ok but I'm sorry but passing it around in a circle or taking pot shots at the reserve goal keeper doesn't justify your place in the side. Time and time again he has been rubbish and it is bemusing that Ancelotti can't see the impact on the team. Old age does effect your eyesight I suppose! He does have all that experience from the past but it is firmly in the past and he should be judged on what he does now. If Sigursson does have something in his contract that if fit he should play then put him on with a minute to go, a minute of injury time that is. Well done blues for the three points.
George Cumiskey
146 Posted 22/11/2020 at 17:07:48
Paul Tran and Mike Gaynes, I would of brought anyone on instead of Siggy including the kit man, because when he comes on it's like going down to ten men. Brings absolutely nothing to the team except maybe making us slower than we were.
Paul Tran
147 Posted 22/11/2020 at 17:09:25
Who would you have brought off the bench, George?
Danny Broderick
148 Posted 22/11/2020 at 17:14:56
I was pleased with Iwobi and Davies today. There's a place in the team up for grabs- the one Sigi and Gomes have failed to secure in midfield. Iwobi has shown that he is fighting for his place and he has probably secured that spot for the next game with that performance.

Davies also did a good solid job when he came on. He got some tackles in and helped us keep possession.

We were poor second half once Richarlison and Rodriguez tired - we ended the game with pretty much last season's team. We saw the game out well though at 3–2. We would have drawn this game in previous years. Hopefully we can build on this much needed 3 points.

Jack Convery
149 Posted 22/11/2020 at 17:16:47
My view was we hammered them first half and as soon as James's legs went, so did we. Richarlson was not that far behind James in reaching his limit. So that was it going forward. The same thing happened to both of them v the RS and that followed a trip to South America too. I think their subs played very well and a second goal was coming - we could all see that. Loftus Cheek and Lookman started running the game. Once they got that second goal putting Davies in that area were Lookman and Loftus Cheek were dominating - ie in front of Digne and Keane. Davies stopped them so much Digne was able to get forward again. When Lookman moved to their left, Davies moved across to sit in front of Iwobl and Godfrey and Lookman was seen again until he crossed the ball out of play in the 95th minute.

When James and Richarlson are at it so are EFC. When they are not its backs to the wall. DCL is real class at present and deserved his MOTM award. Pickford looked solid and Iwobi had his best game since he signed.

If we don't get that defence shored up Leeds will score 3 or 4 given how many of their midfielders get beyond the forwards, as Fernandez did for MU.

Chris Leyland
150 Posted 22/11/2020 at 17:17:45
Whilst we were poor second half, how many actual chances did Fulham have beside their goal? Pickford didn't actually have to make a save 2nd half did he? We ceded far too much of the ball to them and kept giving it straight back to them but they did fuck all with it.
Tommy Carter
151 Posted 22/11/2020 at 17:18:41
@144 Jay. Call it what you want Jay. Had Coleman been fit today he'd have started in the position that Iwobi did. My original post was to say that any width to be offered in an Ancelotti system would likely come from the full backs. And to try Iwobi there as no other position was working for him.

A few on here knocking Rodriguez and his lack of work ethic. Why not concentrate on what he can do rather than what he cannot.

He's in the team because he can do things that very few players can. The kind of quality and creativity he offers is simply unavailable to most teams. Most teams rely on pace, power and quick interchange of passes.

James can creat and see angles that destroy entire defences time and time again.

In supporting an extremely hard working duo in DCL and Richarlison then it is ridiculous to question if there is a place for him in this team.

However, we need Allan and the other sitting player to offer as much endeavour as the Brazilian. When Gomes and Sigurdsson play we then carry the burden of James' lack of physicality with that of Siggy or Gomes too. And that will leave us exposed. And has already

John Pickles
152 Posted 22/11/2020 at 17:27:49
Disappointed for Mina not being credited for their second goal, he deserved it, he was their best player.
Danny Broderick
153 Posted 22/11/2020 at 17:41:18
Tommy (151),

Coleman would have started ahead of Godfrey, not Iwobi. Iwobi was playing instead of Sigurdsson.

Michael Lynch
154 Posted 22/11/2020 at 17:42:45
I can see why Carlo would set up as three at the back with wing backs either side in the absence of Coleman and Kenny, but wouldn't the obvious pick on the right side of the three have been Holgate? Much more experienced in both positions (central defence and right back) than Godfrey
Nicholas Ryan
155 Posted 22/11/2020 at 17:46:28
Who was that powerful, attacking, versatile, tricky right-winger we had, impersonating Alex Iwobi? Whoever he was, sign him up, now!
Mark Murphy
156 Posted 22/11/2020 at 17:50:42
Great first half when as an attacking force we were irresistible. Their goal was a mix or Doucoure not tracking his man and Mina not being sharp to the danger.
2nd half was a shocker but with all our main guns tiring we did well to hang on for the win. James was F@cked, Allan tired visibly, and once Richy went off Fulham were able to push on.
I personally wouldn't have taken Richy off - but if I had I'd replace him with Gordon, not Siggy. I trust Carlo but his persistence with Siggy worries me.
A right back and cover/help for DCL the priorities in January. We have a squad, but not a strong one.
Still, I'm very happy with the win - we did the important stuff when we were fit and hung on when we tired. UTFT.
Steavey Buckley
157 Posted 22/11/2020 at 17:52:51
Everton should give credit where it is due, Fulham played very well in the second half, passing the ball around also very well, with Antonee Robinson showing Everton fans, that he is a premier league player after all, after spending time at lower divisions.

Also, Iwobi has finally emerged the player Marco Silva thought he signed from Arsenal. But I do believe he would be better in midfield where his attacking instincts can link up with Richarlison. Because turning defending into quick immediate attacks provides more chances and more goals, but it should not be left to Richie.

As for Everton defending, 3 at the back does not really work for Everton because Everton naturally play 4 at the back. Holgate needs to get his fitness and form back asap because Mina is having difficulties defending at time when he is being 'turned around' by quicker players.

Jay Wood

158 Posted 22/11/2020 at 18:08:00
Tommy, this:

'Had Coleman been fit today he'd have started in the position that Iwobi did.'

Sure about that? If you did but notice there was a major tactical switch from a flat back four to 3 centre backs supported by two wing-backs.

This effectively meant (ignoring the switch in of Mina for Holgate) that Godfrey came in for Coleman (NOT as a right back, but as a 3rd centre back) with Iwobi coming back half a notch as a wing back from his usual further forward and wide position. Iwobi actually replaced Siggy in the starting line up from the last match.

My reading of this is the following:

* Possibly Carlo anticipated his 3 centre backs would have to deal with the physical and aerial threat of Mitrovic, who of course didn't start.
* Carlo is aware of what James gives us going forward and whilst the Colombian is game in tracking back at times, it is not always effective and it does and has exposed us. The Italian's solution today was playing Iwobi in the role he filled (very well), freeing up James who played much more centrally rather than nominally wide right today than perhaps any game in an Everton shirt to date. Ergo, James filled more the Siggy-Gomes role and whilst subdued, he was still instrumental in some very fine attacks, including the lead up to Doucoure's goal.
* In the 1st half when Iwobi was at his most influential (deep in Fulham territory) he ventured forward safe in the knowledge Godfrey had his back defensively behind him. It was similar for Digne with Keane behind him.
* That winning strategy was neutered by Everton's submissive surrender of territory to Fulham which saw us under siege for almost the entire 2nd half.

Now if Coleman had been fit to play and selected, that might well have seen a retention of the flat back four and an entirely different strategy by Carlo and a different role for both Iwobi and James as described above.

Unlike some, I do not have a 'down' on Iwobi. He is technically very good. He showed that in buckets today. There were a couple of interchanges with James which showed, for me, that they were on a heightened level of football which was encouraging.

Carlo clearly likes Iwobi as he keeps finding ways to play him. That said, he does let himself down too frequently, getting a starting berth, but performing so badly he is replaced at half-time.

I will continue to disagree with you that Iwobi can play as an out-and-out full-back as you stated in an historical post from months ago that you (nobody else) chose to recall as your 1st post-match utterance following Everton's 1st win in 5 games.

George Cumiskey
159 Posted 22/11/2020 at 18:18:21
Paul Tran Gomes, Bernard the reserve goalie anyone !
Kieran Kinsella
160 Posted 22/11/2020 at 18:25:13
Michael Lynch

I think the problem with Holgate was that in his first game back he had a real stinker. Over the last few months Carlo has had more time to work with th others so Holgate having failed to hit the ground running is having to prove himself again

Peter Mills
161 Posted 22/11/2020 at 18:32:18
This was an important win, easing the pressure on the players and manager.

Some on here have eloquently stated their dissatisfaction with the appointment of Carlo Ancelotti. I respect their opinions but I don't agree with them, believing the club desperately needs someone of his vast experience and knowledge at the helm at this critical in our history.

James Head
162 Posted 22/11/2020 at 18:43:18
The second half shit-show wasn't so much down to jet lag and tired legs as it was a more conservative approach after the break, I've got no doubt Ancelotti told Iwobi, who was having his best game by the way and Digne to not push on as much leading to less width and support for Richarlison and DCL. Saying that up till Fulham got the pen myself and my son and his mate were saying James looks shot here WTF is Ancelotti waiting for we're getting over-ran, it reminded me of dithering Dave days when he'd wait for the wheels to come off before making the changes we needed.
It was great to see us play with width and commitment going forward in the first half and I can only see that getting better when Seamus returns, if Ancelotti can just sort the central defence out I might be able to stop chewing my nails, Mina needs a one-way ticket back to Barcelona as he's a total liability and Sigurdsson should stick to stacking shelves in Iceland.
Andy Crooks
163 Posted 22/11/2020 at 18:44:07
Tommy, I like your stuff, honestly, I do. But.. I watched the match, had a good natter with my mate, Derek Knox. Got a cup of tea and a fig roll and settled down to read the post mortem on here, then see my name in a thread I haven't been on. What???
Ian Edwards
164 Posted 22/11/2020 at 18:45:44
Ian @112.

We can also see what Carlo lacks. He tried to sit on a 3-1 lead and we almost got punished. He did it against Newcastle and we threw away two points. He also did it in a Champions League Final in Istanbul and got punished. More attack-minded managers at 3-1 would have gone on and won by 4 or 5. Defending leads is Andelotti's mentality. This will happen again and again. Sometimes like today he'll get away with it. Sometimes he won't.

I always thought Moyes was ultra negative/defensive. Last minute today, with West Ham winning away, his holding midfielder Rice was attacking by the corner flag. Compare that with Ancelotti.. last twenty minutes Calvert-Lewinwas playing on the edge of our own penalty area.

Most Everton fans think Ancelotti is a God because of his name and what he has won. Brian Clough had a big name and won trophies. He took Forest down. I'm not saying we will go down... I just think Ancelotti's star has faded and he's no better than our previous Managers. The only difference is his name has brought some better players.

How long can he survive on his name???

Derek Knox
165 Posted 22/11/2020 at 18:49:38
Kieran @ 160, got to agree there, regarding Holgate, who in my extremely humble opinion was rushed back into action prematurely. Okay he didn't play like we have been accustomed to seeing him, most probably due to the reason already stated.

Having said that, I think in an ideal situation, would be that every player should know that having a 'stinker' on the pitch should result, if availability permits, that he is replaced or demoted to the bench.

This would keep them more focused and none of the hitherto feeling of " I will get picked next week, barring a disaster attitude ". They are getting paid enough to be professional, and there is also an element of providing entertainment thrown in.

Robert Tressell
166 Posted 22/11/2020 at 19:09:55
I don't think we saw the limitations of the manager today – I think we just witnessed (again) that we're very average when Richarlison and Rodriguez run out of steam.

As it happens I thought 5-3-2 worked pretty well (except Rodriguez') limited mobility left us outnumbered in the centre of the park. Iwobi shone. He was really good. Godfrey was good too.

That's Ancelloti making a difference, figuring out how to sort out the flanks without Coleman. It worked well. We played excellent football, could have scored 6 etc.

But yet again, it falls apart without Rodriguez and Richarlison. Not Ancelotti's fault

David Hayes
167 Posted 22/11/2020 at 19:26:21
The usual armchair managers, spewing the usual, "he's shite and it's all poor" etc.

The first half was sublime football, the result fortunate based on the second half only.

Fortune is not the devil but a large part of the game. How many countless times have we seen it go against us? Celebrate the highlights and accept the need for improvement without fixating on personal entrenched dislike of certain players to the extent of blotting out all else the team has in periods displayed.

Christy and George Cumisky, has Sigurdsson been to your houses and left a floater or maybe wiped his bits on your curtains on his way out? Yes, he is spent as a player – a shadow of his former self... but come on, change the record. It's not all his fault or intention when the standard drops.

COYB – we won and will get stronger.

Tommy Carter
169 Posted 22/11/2020 at 19:29:09
Andy. Apologies. You did comment on a previous thread at the idea I floated of an Iwobi conversion to full back.

You said :

“Tommy, you are usually pretty astute but I genuinely believe that if I lost a bit of weight, well, okay, quite a bit of weight, I could do a better job at right-back than Iwobi.

Having said that, I think he is a decent player in his right position but is a confidence player. In a good side he will excel.”

Just citing an example of someone who disagreed with me. That's all

We're all entitled to an opinion. I just felt that of all options available, a try of Iwobi at Full Back wouldn't be a bad idea. I gave my reasons why. The idea was ridiculed by most.

I just felt today was good evidence of what I was thinking.

I'm not saying he's going to be a brilliant full-back. But he just has never performed for us in any position. Before giving up on him or watching him toil every chance before being hooked, I felt he could be worth an investment of a re-position down our right-hand side.

That's all.

George Cumiskey
170 Posted 22/11/2020 at 19:35:03
David Hayes – change the record?

For the record, can you tell me why he keeps getting selected when he brings nothing to the team?

For the record, he hasn't been to my house but, if you can give me a valid reason why he's even on the bench, I'll hold my hand up and apologize.

Tony Abrahams
171 Posted 22/11/2020 at 19:36:40
Some of the diversity in what people see is incredible, but hopefully it won't be long before we can start entering stadiums again, and breathing in the cold fresh air.

Everton won so I'm happy, but I'm happy because we played some very good football in that first half, and I'm happy because I thought we were going to throw it away, and we never.

It didn't stop me screaming at Ancelotti on the telly, who I thought should have reacted both quicker and better at trying to defend our lead!

Jeff Armstrong
172 Posted 22/11/2020 at 19:53:09
Ian Edwards, agree with your assertion about Carlo being conservative and trying to defend leads, that Newcastle game you mentioned was a disgraceful show of shutting up shop at 2-0 with about 35 minutes left when we had them on the ropes and should have gone for more.

I don't like using the RS as an example but they would have won that game and today's game by 3 or 4 goals. I cannot stand this "keep what we have" attitude for the sake of free-flowing football like we produced first half.

It is the same attitude from him that sees Sigurdsson, Mina etc being in and out the team when they are continually shite while younger hungrier youngsters like Gordon are being ignored. Carlo doesn't like inexperienced youngsters.

Sam Hoare
173 Posted 22/11/2020 at 20:00:16
We were very poor in the second half but the only way we were lucky I'd say is that we were playing Fulham, who are no great shakes. They actually created very little and Pickford had no real saves of note to make. Apart from the goal of course!

First half was great and shows what we can do when we are pressing high up and balls are going to feet. Though even then we were a liability in defense at times. I was excited when we signed Mina and have been an advocate of him at times but I think he needs dropping; he just seems like an accident waiting to happen and never reads the game that well in my opinion.

Three points away from home in this league is always a great result in my book and I'm hopeful that this team can kick on now the schedule is a little lighter.

Thought Iwobi was great today. Another player that I've been an advocate for. He's not deserved my backing often this season but we saw what he's capable of today; quick feet, good vision, very tidy with the ball and solid athleticism. Still not sure that he's suited to play out wide but he definitely has attributes; doesn't deserve quite as much stick as he gets on here.

Ian Riley
174 Posted 22/11/2020 at 20:05:03
Ian #164,

After half time, I just didn't see what the plan was? A 3-1 lead – you either go ultra-defensive or go to increase the lead. We did neither.

Yes, we are a squad that a two-goal lead at half-time is rare but training for those leads is crucial with a plan to implement. Jose was king at defending a two-goal lead in his Chelsea days and still is.

Perhaps the leading players were just knackered from the international break? A plan was said but just not implemented by the players? Who knows?

Those questioning Carlo at Everton. Give me a break. Some of our football first half today and early on in the season was the best for years. Carlo has brought quality to the squad. Not Everton or salaries but him. A Champions League winner and many League Championships.

He has the respect of quality players. Our attacking play is a delight at times but yes defensively needs working on. It's early days of the season and, with no international break till next year, Carlo has more time to work with the players.

Today was about 3 points and getting that winning feeling back. Remember, it's Work in Progress.

Joe McMahon
175 Posted 22/11/2020 at 20:06:20
Ian Edwards, agree that Carlo is conservative and Istanbul was a disgrace. However, the Newcastle match, wasn't it still 2- 0 on 90 mins? All I can remember is Pickford standing behind his goalline when it became 2-2. Carlo has been a success due to having the worlds best players on so many occasions.

I cannot see Everton taking over any of the top 4, we have improved already, but there will be no Champions League football next season and Richarlison will be off.

The rot started well over 20 years ago though, Carlo cannot be blamed for that. As we know, last progression: Park End 94, FA Cup 95.

Dave Williams
176 Posted 22/11/2020 at 20:14:49
We had the game won at half-time and defended well enough in numbers to see it out.

Tired players is one thing but James (and Gomes for that matter) could do with a training camp to bring them up to speed. I really hope James is not so up himself that he doesn't feel the need to train hard.

I remember getting the Victor comic as a kid and there was a story about a player called George who was a Lord and a great goalscorer who refused to move to receive a pass. Any pass which was straight to his feet was despatched into the net. James reminds me of him: ball to his feet and watch out... otherwise, don't expect much!

I thought Iwobi was excellent, even in defending. Allan and Calvert-Lewin were superb, as was Digne, and Tom made us more solid. Mina should be knocking attackers around and making life unpleasant for them but he never quite does.

Three valuable points and some great football yet dodgy defending. We move on!

Dave Abrahams
177 Posted 22/11/2020 at 20:20:15
Sam (173), Iwobi is getting plenty of praise for today's performance because he deserves it, same as the criticism he has deserved in the past for some woeful, really woeful performances.

All he has to do is show the attitude he played with today, looked like he wanted the ball and when he got it he used it well. It's up to him, keep it up and that will shut us up, me anyway.

Fran Mitchell
178 Posted 22/11/2020 at 20:26:17
Considering most on here pre-match seemed to predict a Fulham win, you'd think those people would be happy with a win? Anyhow.

Game of 2 halves, pretty much sums us up. It was clear that James and Richarlison were knackered and we then became unable to stretch them. James's passing went awry, Richarlison's running less impactful.

They brought on fresh legs and our midfield struggled. Davies should have come on earlier, and Sigurdsson shouldn't play again as, once again, he offered nothing. Gordon should be Richarlison's back up, and it's frustrating that he is continuously ignored.

Mina also looked leggy, and I'm not convinced from what I've seen of Godfrey, but too early to judge.

3-4-3 can work with this team. It gets the most of James. But as soon as James is out, it should revert to 4-5-1/4-4-2.

So positives to take, but much to work on still.

We need another midfielder, Davies did well when he came on. Iwobi looked great as wing-back. Hopefully with rest and training, we'll take Leeds apart.

Brian Wilkinson
179 Posted 22/11/2020 at 20:29:52
Think both are being hard on a Carlo in the Instanbul final, they battered Liverpool in that final, they had a 15 min purple patch, and everything they tried came off to pull three goals back.

On that basis, Mike Walker was a genius giving Wimbledon a 2-goal lead and coming back to win 3-2, and save us from relegation. We got lucky that game, just like our neighbours got lucky that evening.

What you are missing is that, wherever Carlo has gone, he has managed to bring players in and sell players as well.

What he has here is a lot of players on high wages, who he cannot even give away, no one else wants them, or are willing to match wages we pay.

It will take a good two years to offload all, some may leave this Summer, and that is the job Carlo has at the moment.

When fully fit we have as good a starting 11 as any, the backup is where we are struggling, so until we can get these off the books and bring in quality backup, it will be a case of patience.

Only wish I knew what Sigurdsson has on Carlo though, unless he is trying to get him in the shop window, if that is the case, I would leave him on the bench.

Dave Lynch
180 Posted 22/11/2020 at 20:33:26
I hate making comparisons with that lot across the park but... the ferocity and tempo in which they play is superb. They have an injury-ravaged squad but they still turn in performances that stifle and grind teams down. Leicester are no mugs but, in that first half, they never got a look in.

We need that type of passion in our team, I honestly think we have better ball players in our team but they are lacking in desire and a will to punish teams to the maximum.

The Carlo knockers are the same ones lauding him a month or 2 ago, it took Klopp 4 years to build that team so give him time.

Don't forget that the Kopites where questioning his credentials and ability 18 months into his tenure. It's a process that cannot be rushed.

Michael Stevenson
181 Posted 22/11/2020 at 20:34:15
I've never felt so angry and frustrated after a 3-2 away win. Bizarre.

However, after calming down a bit (that second half cost me what's left of my fingernails) I feel a bit more positive.

Digne was magnificent - first half especially. Richarlison showed why we've missed him so much the last month. Highlight for me though was Alex Iwobi. I can't claim to have seen him in every game he's played but surely that was his best performance in an Everton shirt?

I've supported Everton for too long to count my chickens, but, if Carlo's figured out how to make a decent player out him then that would be awesome. We would have lost without his efforts today. He broke up attack after attack and was a massive threat going forward too.

As I say, not counting any chickens, but credit where it's due. He put in a shift today.

Peter Dodds
182 Posted 22/11/2020 at 20:39:21
As Nicholas Ryan @155 says: who was that guy playing on the right wing and what has he done with Iwobi? He had an excellent game today. I thought the 3-at-the back formation not only allowed Iwobi to thrive with slightly fewer defensive duties but so too Doucoure, who we saw doing more of the box-to-box runs we expected when he was signed, and which of course led to his excellent goal. At the end of the first half I honestly thought Carlo's found a set-up that really works and will lead to us winning this game 5- or 6-1. How wrong I was.

Carlo himself attributed the second half to tiredness, not a deliberate strategy to sit back and soak up pressure. Like others here, I'm very concerned about fitness levels, even accounting for the international break. I've just watched Leeds v Arsenal, and they must feed the Leeds squad raw meat because they were up and down non-stop - not just one but the whole team in unison. If we play against them like we did in the second half we'll be slaughtered.

And finally Rodriguez - he looked like a pub team player today, shirt out, loping round the pitch. Granted he played a couple of influential passes for the 2nd and 3rd goals but honestly, we'd have been better off leaving him out today.

Dave Abrahams
183 Posted 22/11/2020 at 20:41:42
Dave (176), I think your last paragraph applies to Keane as well, he has a very passive nature, that's okay off the pitch, not much use on it.
Fran Mitchell
185 Posted 22/11/2020 at 20:46:55
Peter "Granted he played a couple of influential passes for the 2nd and 3rd goals but honestly, we'd have been better off leaving him out today."

James won us that game. It's his passing that time and again puts Richarlison and Digne into positions to score and create goals.

But in the second half he was a spent force. He played 2 x 90 minutes in the previous 5 days and got back from a long-haul flight on Friday.

The problem we had was, when he tired, no-one else was able to pass in the way he does, and we were thus woeful.

But leave him at home? And play whom? Sigurdsson????

Ernie Baywood
186 Posted 22/11/2020 at 20:52:17
Again, so many of you can't understand why Carlo persists with Gylfi...

He was on the bench. For 76 minutes. So, no, Carlo isn't persisting with him.

He came on because, as a team, we'd been utter crap for 30 minutes.

He didn't change the game, but is that what you really expected of him? If so, why are you so surprised that Carlo ‘persists' with him?

Just a nonsense witch hunt. Squad depth is a big problem for us, but our second half against Fulham wasn't down to Gylfi Sigurdsson.

Peter Dodds
187 Posted 22/11/2020 at 20:54:37
Fran, "James won us that game"?!

Hardly. Richie, Digne, Iwobi, Calvert-Lewin – any number of players had a more influential game. Any good professional could have played the passes he did for the goals.

The rest of the time today he mostly loped around and wasn't involved anything like his usual self, and that includes the first half. Of course he was tired, but we're not going to get the best out of him by running him ragged.

Most weeks, of course he's the first name on the team-sheet. Today though, I'd have left him on the bench and brought him on later.

Fran Mitchell
188 Posted 22/11/2020 at 20:58:41
"Any good professional could have played the passes he did for the goals."

That's just not true though is it? Especially that pass for the 3rd goal not a single other player in our squad would have done that.

James's passes are always with intent, always targeted towards that area of the pitch for both Richarlison and Digne to run on to. And no-one else can do it like he does with such consistency.

Even when he's at 50%, he creates these goals and that's why he plays. That's the difference between special and just plain good.

If James wasn't playing in the first half, it would have been 1-1.

Guy Rogers
189 Posted 22/11/2020 at 21:03:30
Give it a rest, Jay, it's boring...

Clearly Tommy meant attacking full-back or wingback, whether it's a 3-5-2 or 4-4-2 – who cares?

It would be great if we can get a player out of that 㿈.5M investment...

Tommy Carter
190 Posted 22/11/2020 at 21:04:58
Fran. I'm with you 100%

Evertonians who don't realise how good a player like Rodriguez is just don't understand football.

James is a match winner.

Most teams are capable of fielding 11 players who probably won't lose you the game.

However not many teams on the planet at the highest level have that one player who can win you a game. We do.

Stephen Vincent
191 Posted 22/11/2020 at 21:13:00
With Peter on this, James gave us very little today. Lost the ball a lot, more than a few misplaced passes, no tracking back, no tackles and no shots on target, should have been hooked earlier.

I love seeing him in an Everton shirt but he is in danger of becoming a luxury item.

Hopefully with no international breaks now until next March we can get him fit and keep him fit because, when he is on it, we look 4 or 5 places higher.

No coincidence that Richarlison faded badly, as did Allan, who was superb for an hour. I thought Tom did really well when he came on.

Bobby Mallon
192 Posted 22/11/2020 at 21:16:49
Dave Lynch, well said. I totally agree with everything you said.
Tony Abrahams
193 Posted 22/11/2020 at 21:17:22
Surely if Ancellotti, was only interested in protecting the two-goal lead today, he would have taken off both Rodriguez and Richarlison before Fulham got themselves their penalty kick?

But listening to him after the game, he said we lose quality when the two South American's are not on the pitch, so he kept two very tired players on, because he's a conservative manager?

Ian Bennett
194 Posted 22/11/2020 at 21:36:25
3 points granted, but that was a poor performance against terrible opponents.

Leeds will be a real test; if we carry on with terrible passing and woeful marking, we will be humbled big-style.

Got away with it today, but it underlines why we won't challenge this season.

Paul Tran
195 Posted 22/11/2020 at 21:39:12
Where's the evidence that Carlo told the players to be more conservative in the second half? The bulk of this squad have repeatedly shown they need little encouragement on that score.
Bill Gienapp
196 Posted 22/11/2020 at 21:39:58
Jamie (71) - Indeed. We may not always see eye-to-eye politically, but we're definitely united here in our love of Everton (and the ways in which they make us pull our collective hair out).
Danny O’Neill
197 Posted 22/11/2020 at 21:44:31
But crucial pass to set up Digne to deliver the assist for the crucial (game winning) 3rd goal Stephen.

I'm never the best observing Everton as I get too emotionally involved. However, as I saw it, we tired and that was a poor second half but this time last season we lose, let alone get a point, from a match like this. That in itself shows there is more resilience and a better mentality about the team.

I want us to win pretty, but I'll take winning ugly. Good teams can do both. Where we are now, go out and score; play to our attacking strengths. We are not great defensively, so expect to concede, just go and score. Work in progress, team in transition, call it what you want, but that's where we are.

I wonder if Gbamin will make a difference if we get him fit. Today, Fulham seemed to find pockets of space between our back 4 and the midfield 2 of Allan & Doucouré. Both of them are more inclined to press, which will leave space that can expose the central defenders. With a genuine holding midfielder plugging that hole, we might look more solid and provide the protection this rather ropey back line needs right now – we can fix that later.

Bobby Mallon
198 Posted 22/11/2020 at 21:45:56
Ian Edwards,

Hear this loud and clear: Ancelotti is the best thing this club has done since Joe Royle. We have had too many mediocre managers who have bought shite... absolute shite.

In one transfer window, he has changed our team dynamics and got Calvert-Lewin scoring goals.

And yes, his name has brought players here that we would never have gotten. Those players have taken us to 7th in the Premier League.

I'm sick of hearing he needs to go, for fuck's sake, we are in the position as a club because of past bad recruitment in managers and players and now we have a good one who's attracting top players some on here want him gone. I'm at a loss, I really am... I just don't get what people want from our club.

Steve Guy
199 Posted 22/11/2020 at 22:07:12
Totally right Bobby. He's not even had a full season in charge yet and is having to deal with the dross accumulated by his predecessors. Comparisons to that lot across the Park are irrelevant. we are where we are and my money is on Carlo everyday of the week to get us competing at the top end of the League within the next two transfer windows.
Bobby Mallon
200 Posted 22/11/2020 at 22:11:27
I would love a clean sheet though 👍
Danny O’Neill
201 Posted 22/11/2020 at 22:16:29
One thing Carlo has done is change the mentality and that was the main thing that was wrong.

The other thing is what is alluded to above; bring in players we simply would not have attracted otherwise.

Is he the golden ticket? Probably not. Is he past his best? Arguably but then so is Mourinho. Does he raise our game and profile in the interim and have the potential to put us in a better place? Absolutely.

Even if he is a gradual stepping stone to greatness (think how City done it before they got Pep), then he's going to get us to a better place and attract better successors in 2 - 3 years time than the bizarre appointment of chancers we've made in recent years.

Ian Edwards
202 Posted 22/11/2020 at 22:17:27
Joe 175. We threw away the two-goal lead against Newcastle because Ancelotti took off our offensive players so Newcastle piled forward as their Defenders had no-one to mark. Yes, Pickford was at fault but we were under pressure due to poor tactics.

Look at the derby post lockdown. Liverpool had Milner at left-back and we parked the bus. We defended so deep we were virtually in the Car Park. Ancelotti needs to grow a pair.

I'm not saying Ancelotti should be sacked.. I'm simply saying he's not the saviour our fans think he is. He won't lead us to glory.

Danny O’Neill
203 Posted 22/11/2020 at 22:19:15
Not going to happen too often in the short term Bobby. We just have to adopt the Kevin Keegan school of thought process and worry about scoring more because we know we will concede!! Like that Newcastle team, at least we can hope to be entertained more frequently versus some of the consistent dross we have been recently subject to.
Hugh Jenkins
204 Posted 22/11/2020 at 22:36:55
Reality Check - with 9 games gone, we are effectively a quarter of the way through the EPL season. We started well, then hit a bad patch, then had the International break and are now getting back on an even keel.

We are currently sixth and four points off the top of the table, this evening. None of the teams yet to play this week can get closer than 4 points off the top of the table.

We made three signings in the summer that greatly improved our team and we have the January window coming up in 5 weeks.

Our striker, who many on this forum dismissed as not good enough over the past couple of seasons, currently is the leading scorer in the division and, barring injury and allowing for a good service into him, certainly looks good enough to remain top scorer throughout the season.

We have suffered false dawns many times since the mid 1980s, but I do honestly believe that if we give Carlo, a bit of time, a bit of money and a bit of support, the signs are all there, even now, that he can, and will, deliver for us.

Let's hope that against Leeds the team we had at the start of the season turns up and continues to turn up from here on in.

Danny O’Neill
205 Posted 22/11/2020 at 22:48:39
Good perspective Hugh.

Not to mention that regardless of Everton players and managers, we had a typically Everton October!!

We could have Pep and Klopp as Manager / Assistant and a combination of their current players but we would still have an Everton October.

Sukhdev Sohal
206 Posted 22/11/2020 at 22:51:11
Only Leeds, West Brom and Fulham have conceeded more goals than us. Over the years this has been our strong point, and we will never get top 6 if we continue to concede this many goals. A clean sheet against Leeds next game is a way to start.
Sam Hoare
207 Posted 22/11/2020 at 22:51:50
Dave A@177, yes, he's been absolutely dire at times. But I still feel there have been worse culprits who've received less criticism.

He's a frustrating player and he'll probably be useless next week! But he is capable and I hope he gets a run and puts in a few more games like that as he's very much a confidence player. As much as I often defend him I don't know whether he's got that consistency in him.

Paul Birmingham
208 Posted 22/11/2020 at 22:53:06
Just been watching one of my stand games from better days and almost the 43rd anniversary of the 6-0, demolition of Coventry.

Goodison was better than most pitches at that time but I recall the pitch heating system and the laying of the sand and turf didn't get done right.

But pitches aside, the the teams in them days, had to give a lot more than you get now from the average player due to the low tide state of the pitches.

Still there's hope on the horizon and this is a work in progress and, whilst a quarter of the season gone, all considered Everton, are in a decent place.

I respect every ones view as is right, but the next month represents a good chance to build on today's win, and to get to a semi, but only any progress can be achieved by working hard and staying together as a unit,

Stay solid, stand and stick it out. It ain't perfect but there's a good chance of making progress this season, small steps in the right direction.

Danny O’Neill
209 Posted 22/11/2020 at 22:55:23
Our strong point in achieving nothing? As a former central defender I totally appreciate the importance of defending. But good teams, successful teams worry about scoring goals. Goals win games.
John Boon
210 Posted 22/11/2020 at 22:57:13
You have to be daft in the head to support Everton as long as I have. However, I would be lost without them. They could aptly be described as "Team Schizophrenia". Chaos and disorder interspersed with episodes of brilliance.

This is evident in almost every game we have seen over many seasons to the point that it might be incurable. Many managers and medics have tried their hand at appropriate treatment without significant success. In fact, they have come from all over the world, being paid vast sums of money. Dr Carlo is the latest to come up with a diagnosis. He must be given time, although we have been saying that for the last 25 years.

From reading the posts from true Evertonians, it seems obvious that the psychological problems of the team can be passed down to supporters. The results are extreme anxiety, an inability to concentrate, and angry flareups and irrational behaviour. Throwing objects at the TV and screaming obscenities at those who don't agree with your astute observations is a common reaction.

One final major observation is the inability to maintain any semblance of sanity when the Blue patient sees anything red. Even worse when eleven arseholes dressed in red win a game against any team in the league. Of all symptoms, this is by far the most stressful. It can result in extremely violent and irrational behaviour. Unfortunately, it can be a concern for your loved ones.

In my particular case, my loved one was quietly reading a book "How to Relax when Living with a Lunatic". She was in another room and I was with my two sons, both afflicted with the same "Blue" mania.

Before she fainted, she had heard demonic ranting from the room where the television was. I dabbed her head with cold water. Surely she would understand when I told her that Fulham had just equalised due to fucking Mina. She was drinking a large gin and tonic after the 90 minutes. We "Three Blues" were so happy. We had beaten mighty Fulham 3-2.

My loved one needs to be more patient and understanding. She should never have thrown that book at me. It really hurt my head and my feelings.

Danny O’Neill
213 Posted 22/11/2020 at 23:01:12
My long-suffering wife isn't a blue but can sympathise with your loved one John.

6th and 4 points of top spot blues. Be positive!!

Danny O’Neill
214 Posted 22/11/2020 at 23:07:27
Watching back MotD2, for the James detractors, he also got the assist to the assist for the 2nd. So instrumental for 2 of the goals today.
Tom Bowers
215 Posted 22/11/2020 at 23:08:40
I don't really care how many goals we concede as long as we win the games.

RS concede 7 against an average Villa team but nobody was writing them off.

Sometimes it can work against you getting an early goal and being so much the better team early on. An air of complacency can creep in thinking the game is already won. This is where a good coach and a strong captain can come in.

At the moment Carlo doesn't really speak good English and may have a problem getting his points across during the game and I know that Everton are lacking great leadership in the midfield also.

The building of the squad and the mindsets is still a work in progress so let's see what the new year brings before we start getting too upset.

Danny O’Neill
216 Posted 22/11/2020 at 23:17:15
I think we still have a scarred Moyes generation who focus too much on not conceding rather than scoring. Note I say "too much". That is not to say I don't want or promote good defending.

We didn't play great (particularly 2nd half) but took 3 points today. That is what winners do.

Plucky heroes do their best but lose.

Paul Birmingham
217 Posted 22/11/2020 at 23:40:22
Spot on, John@ 210. As I and many have said, it's the hope that kills you, with all matters EFC.

But it's part of life and a very important part of life.

What gets to me, is that the clocks been running, a long, long time. To get some consistency, predictability and playing good football, would be bliss.

I hope v Leeds, next week, and Everton, won, and kick on, and it will be a big test.

Roger Helm
218 Posted 22/11/2020 at 23:43:05
We are conceding nearly two goals a game which, over the season, won't get us near the top of the table. As the saying goes, attacks win matches but defences win tournaments.
Phil Lewis
219 Posted 22/11/2020 at 23:52:58
I think the most encouraging aspect of today's match was Iwobi's improved performance. Far too often we've seen him running into dead ends and losing possession, but today, particularly in the first half, he looked a different player, ghosting past defenders and making intelligent deliveries.

There were many positives to take from the first half. An excellent display from Digne, Calvert-Lewin in top striker form and fast effective movement all round. Where did it go wrong in the second half?

In actual fact, signs of defensive panic were already evident before the dramatic deterioration after the break.

I don't know what to make of Mina. Some games he has looked a solid defender, who provides us with a set-piece goal threat, but others, as was the case today, he looks a liability who lacks pace. It's unfair to judge Godfrey at full-back, as clearly he isn't one.

An argument for the players back from International duty could be made that they simply ran out of steam. Rodriguez is a world-class luxury who we will only see the best of when the rest of the team are performing as a well-drilled unit.

So, for me, the real culprit of our second half decline was Ancelotti. He was far too slow in making changes, indicating a hesitancy and uncertainty in crucial decision-making. It could easily have cost us the game; we were fortunate towards the end that it didn't.

When we were 3-1 up, if he decided he wanted to kill the game, along with Davies, who incidentally played well, he had options of bringing on Gomes or Holgate to stifle their midfield threat. Yet he stubbornly persists with Sigurdsson, who has neither the bite nor the precision to calm such situations.

Yes, we won and the 3 points are the main thing, but there are still some question-marks over the new signings. We already know all about the deficiencies of the rest of the squad. Carlo, nobody should be above the axe.

Danny O’Neill
220 Posted 22/11/2020 at 23:53:00
Points win titles.
Jay Wood

221 Posted 22/11/2020 at 23:54:55
Ian Edwards @ 202.

'We threw away the two-goal lead against Newcastle because Ancelotti took off our offensive players so Newcastle piled forward as their defenders had no-one to mark.'

Simply. Not. True.

Get your facts right.

David Hallwood
222 Posted 22/11/2020 at 23:59:38
When we signed James, he hadn't been playing regular football and I think his first games he was running on pure adrenaline.

I think it will take him a good few months to get used to the pace of English football. Okay, today he wasn't as eye-catching as he was at the start of the season, but he had an assist in 2 goals.

Quick point on Davies; I thought he settled the midfield down, won the ball and used it well, what more do people want.

Jay Harris
223 Posted 23/11/2020 at 00:28:19
We sit joint 5th with 100% win record in the Capital and still some are calling for Carlo's head.

Yes, I criticize his team selection and tactics at times, particularly the omission of Gordon, but would I swap him for any other manager? Hell, No!

He has class, breeding and has played the game and managed at the highest level. We are still in Phase One of rebuilding the squad and he has had less than a year in the job. Patience and support is needed, not impatience and negativity.

Terry Nolan
224 Posted 23/11/2020 at 00:44:15
Well, that certainly was a game of 2 halves.

1st showed how Everton could play; 2nd showed how Everton actually play – no consistency at all which is a worrying sign. If we play against Leeds next week like the 2nd half, we shall get hammered that is for sure.

Geez Gomes must be training really badly if he cannot get game ahead of Davies & Sigurdsson (who brings nothing to team at all) his confidence would be at a low point and we all know he does not play well if no confidence will Everton look at offloading him in January???

Lester Yip
225 Posted 23/11/2020 at 00:59:26
As someone pointed out above, switching Bernard in would be a better move than Sigurdsson. At least he is a threat with the ball. Can carry it, can dribble and more energy.

With the team's energy level, it would be a suicide to play an open game against Leeds. We would be definitely outrun. I wouldn't be surprised if Carlo park the bus and wait for set-pieces opportunities.

I know Fraser is not someone we want. But we need another player like him who is quick, can play direct and cause trouble.

Stephen Vincent
226 Posted 23/11/2020 at 03:24:10
Roger #218, It will if we score 3!
Annika Herbert
227 Posted 23/11/2020 at 04:20:23
Ernie @186, so many persist in criticising Sigurdsson because he is persistently poor and has been for months.

No he wasn't to blame for the poor 2nd half showing, but neither did he improve matters in any way, shape, or form.

Ernie Baywood
228 Posted 23/11/2020 at 05:57:02
Annika, he played 15 minutes. Yet he's apparently the problem.

People on here talk about how crap he is (constantly, which is strange considering how little he plays) yet he's criticised again for not coming on and improving the team when they're struggling.

It's a nonsense.

It's about as plausible as the guy on this thread who somehow found Pickford to blame for the second goal.

I'm just surprised no-one has blamed Barkley, Kenwright or Moyes yet.

Alan J Thompson
229 Posted 23/11/2020 at 06:54:12
At times, I do wonder...

All James did was to play two or three passes that led to a couple of goals and Mr Ancelotti only has that remarkable record because he has always inherited teams of talented players?

You know, I'd almost settle for a manager who at least was that lucky rather than some of those we've had recently or indeed the blokes he has replaced who put those squads together. And, a player who can only play a major part in a couple of goals? Sounds good enough for me, especially, if that manager can luckily get something more from him.

Strive for, and insist on, excellence by all means but don't play down or overlook the talent and ability which we have.

Jack Convery
230 Posted 23/11/2020 at 07:36:44
How come Firmino can play 90+ minutes and look like a worldbeater having done the same trip as Mina, James and Richy. Whilst our South Americans play either crappily ie Mina or run out of legs just after the hour mark. Interesting ? Discuss.
Tony Heron
231 Posted 23/11/2020 at 07:57:32
David @222. At last some sensible comments.
Jon Wit
232 Posted 23/11/2020 at 08:05:38
I suppose part of the manager's job is to take the burden of criticism and Ancelotti isn't perfect or he'd still be at Chelsea. But he's a massive step above our previous three and we should be looking to improve the team around him.

Regarding Klopp's teams, they seem to focus on fitness and stamina. You have to wonder what else they put in their Weetabix though...

Tony Abrahams
233 Posted 23/11/2020 at 08:11:20
I'd say because the Liverpool players will be more conditioned to playing Saturday then midweek, and he also had a bit more rest, and an extra night sleeping in his own bed, Jack?
Andrew Ellams
234 Posted 23/11/2020 at 08:28:02
I guess we saw the good, the bad and the ugly yesterday.

Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin are the future of the football club, whilst bringing in first team ready replacements at right back and centre half must be a bigger priority than somebody like Isco.

Paul Tran
235 Posted 23/11/2020 at 08:34:16
Jack #230, it's because Firmino plays for a manager who insists that the team plays with purpose for 90 mins. And if you slack, you're out. Look at the difference with us when Richardson plays, then imagine 10 outfield players like that.

Timely reminder that Firmino's manager has been there five years and for his first 18 months, was repeatedly questioned by many of his 'knowledgeable' fans

Danny O’Neill
236 Posted 23/11/2020 at 08:39:43
And didn't win a trophy until his 3rd season I believe Paul?

Not sure about the Chelsea comment John. Unless of course PSG, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich are considered a step down from Chelsea?

Neil Cremin
237 Posted 23/11/2020 at 08:44:29
Just coming in on thread.

A win is a win but we are going nowhere until we stop conceding goals. With almost 2 goals per game, we will lose more than we win so this problem needs to be addressed urgently.

Unusually, I do not have an opinion except to say that we certainly seemed to concede ground possession to Fulham in the second half.

Trevor Peers
238 Posted 23/11/2020 at 08:59:54
Everton played like two different teams yesterday. We want the team that hit that sweet purple patch for about 30 minutes in the first half when we looked irresistible and destroyed Fulham. The second half we ran out of gas, ideas and couldn't even pass the ball to each other at one stage. It was a strange transformation.

Quite how Carlo achieves that first half brilliance consistently is the dilemma that he faces, it must give him nightmares because we have produced that brilliant form earlier in the season.

Working out our best back-four formation could be the key but the squad we have is not strong enough overall, the players coming off the bench are not good enough to sustain us over 90 minutes. Carlo will no doubt strengthen the team during the next transfer windows. Those decisions and additions to the squad will be crucial to our success or failure.

Steve Brown
239 Posted 23/11/2020 at 09:00:47
Ernie @ 228. Like many of us, Annika has judged Sigurdsson on the 109 games that he has played for Everton. His 15 minutes on the pitch were a perfect microcosm of why he should not feature in the first team again. Zero quality or contribution to either defence or attack.

Tom Davies came on at the same time and stabilised the team. His contribution was in stark contrast to Sigurdsson's.

Dave Abrahams
240 Posted 23/11/2020 at 09:14:34
James was good in spells and poor in other spells but overall had a poor game. He had a hand in two of the goals, lost the ball far too easily that led to the penalty. Good or poor, he is a luxury player; can we afford one of those with this squad?

Some fans are having a go at Godfrey; they might reflect that Lookman got nothing out of him and had to switch wings before he created anything. Ben is going to be a goodun'.

Patrick McFarlane
242 Posted 23/11/2020 at 09:33:41
Last week it was Richarlison that was getting a bit of grief because some thought his importance to the team was overblown. This week, it's James Rodriquez being singled out for a little bit of stick, because he is a 'luxury' player.

If both these lads wore red, we'd be seething because we only had Beattie and Johnson would-bes in our team. I'd rather watch a 'lazy' James than a donkey who runs around a lot but contributes little going forward. And Richarlison is the dynamo that makes this team tick – did anyone notice his absolute frustration when Everton conceded the equaliser?

A good side is a blend of hard-workers and mercurial players; Everton aren't there yet and it will take time, but give me that 30-minute purple patch every week over the tired 'keep it tight and nick one' mentality that has beset the club for decades.

The defence is fixable and it will be fixed, eventually, but probably when it is, knowing our luck we'll stop scoring – that's what Everton do.

Trevor Peers
243 Posted 23/11/2020 at 09:40:17
Hopefully Carlo will continue using Iwobi as fullback or wingback, that's the best I've seen him play for Everton or Arsenal – the worry being it was just a flash in the pan, time will tell.

Yesterday, he looked composed on the ball, won out with his tackles on the winger, and was a revelation going forward with pace and purpose.

Dave Williams
244 Posted 23/11/2020 at 09:50:47
Dave #240 well said re Ben. Posters have been having a right go at him for a couple of iffy games out of position. I thought he played well, as you say Lookman got nothing from him, and he will be a regular very soon.

When will folk learn to give young players and new players a chance to settle in? Just as well there's no crowd at the moment!

Bobby Mallon
245 Posted 23/11/2020 at 09:58:27
A couple of Milner type players in defence and midfield and I'll be happy.
Derek Thomas
246 Posted 23/11/2020 at 10:02:22
In the first half, we scored 3 goals without looking really good. After 5 or 10 mins in the 2nd half were the three South Americans seemed to tire... Mina was pretty average and you couldn't tell if he was tired or just poor.

Take the 3 points, take Calvert-Lewin still having his mojo, take Iwobi looking like a new signing, curse the International Breaks... and move on.

Play poorly, get 3 points... repeat for the next 20 or so games... what's not to like?? Well plenty, the goals against for one.

3 points – take them, worry about Leeds on Friday.

Craig Walker
247 Posted 23/11/2020 at 10:04:14
Positives: 3 points at a ground which is traditionally not a good one for us. Iwobi had arguably his best game for us. Richarlison was back. Calvert-Lewin continued his fine goal-scoring form. James was involved more creatively. For a 20-minute period, we looked back to the standards we saw earlier in the season. Tom Davies did well when he came on.

Negatives: Another poor second-half performance. Mina is a liability. We look so shaky at the back. We're shattered after an hour. Sigurdsson gave one of the worst performances from a substitute that I've seen.

Dan Nulty
248 Posted 23/11/2020 at 10:07:37
Not sure what game some people were watching. Godfrey played very well yesterday. Mina on the other hand is just awful.

James cut a frustrated figure the whole of the second half. First half without him we don't score 2 goals. I put his second half display down to fatigue with the international break and Columbia's performances. Must have taken their toll on him emotionally.

I don't recall anyone questioning Richarlison's value to the team while he was missing. It was clear how much we missed him and how important he was to our attacking threat. Yesterday showed that and again, whilst I didn't want him taken off I presume he was tired after the travel and games in Brazil.

Whilst we may not agree with substitutions (I certainly didn't with Richarlison yesterday), we have to remember that these players run around with data sensors and coaches on the bench have access to real-time info. In a 10-minute period, if a player work rate and speed drops, then clearly they are tired and need replacing. I'm not a fan of Davies at all but his work rate yesterday helped us close the game out.

I'm not sure why we have to dissect everything and look for ways to criticise. We needed that win and we got it. I don't care how. I do sometimes wonder what ToffeeWeb would have been like in the '80s.

I wonder how many would have been calling for Howard's resignation before our success or criticising Sheedy and Sharpe for no end-product. I imagine some would also have criticised Lineker for not adding anything to the team other than goals.

Dave Abrahams
249 Posted 23/11/2020 at 10:08:09
Patrick (242), you're a sensible fan and you know the game. I see the value of James and Richarlison and appreciate their good points; I also recognise their poor side as well. Yesterday, we all saw both sides of them.

l've said my piece about James in a previous post. Yesterday Richarlison could have scored a hat-trick, he missed those chances. One was brilliantly made by himself in the first half but, after weaving his way through three players, he had the whole goal to aim at, instead he telegraphed to the ‘keeper where he was going to put it. He miskicked completely for another, and passed tamely to the goalie for the only shot we had in the second half.

He's better in the team very obviously and we are better but he's not the world class player many fans think he is.

Andrew Ellams
250 Posted 23/11/2020 at 10:21:10
Patrick @242, the key difference between James and Richarlison is when things aren't going well and a bit of graft is needed.

Richarlison will retrieve the ball form the edge of his own box if he needs to, James goes AWOL when the hardwork is required. Nobody will support Richarlison's red card tackle in the derby but it came out of a desire to get the ball and get it forwards and not out of any sort of malice. I don't see that from James and I don't know why because he's clearly not soft.

Sam Hoare
251 Posted 23/11/2020 at 10:25:44
If anything concerns me, it's the defense. Mina especially. For the first Fulham goal, there are five Everton players on the edge of our box with only two Fulham players. And yet Mina has allowed a large gap to open up between him and Keane that Decordoba happily runs into. Even then, Mina is slow to react to this run and is nowhere near him when he gets his shot off. Also, Pickford hesitates and takes a step back where he should have moved forwards and closed down the angle; I've no idea why.

For their second goal, when Lookman bursts past Digne, we have five Everton players in the box marking three Fulham players. We have extra men and yet somehow no-one is anywhere near Loftus-Cheek. Mina again is not doing much here and ends up simply deflecting the ball past Pickford.

To my eyes, there's too much ball-watching. Mina especially is a defender who seems to take a position that he thinks is right without actually having awareness of where the opposition players are. He often seems to be close to goal, allowing too much space for any cutbacks.

Maybe the defenders have been told to play zonally but too often it seems there are large gaps with attackers left free. People aren't taking responsibility and it is showing in the scoreline.

We've conceded 2 or more goals for 6 matches in a row now. Ancelotti needs to fix this as we can't keep relying on scoring 3 goals or more per match. Great that we are scoring goals and are entertaining watch but most good teams are built on more solid foundations.

Mark Taylor
252 Posted 23/11/2020 at 10:28:54
On the Iwobi at right-back debate which enlivened the first part of this thread, while I'm not sure whether he is capable of transitioning to that role – and I'm not convinced anyone can be, either way – it is not unusual. Jesus Navas is currently doing a decent job at Sevilla. He converted very late in life.

Then you have Valencia and Young at Man Utd, Moses at Chelsea, although he was more wing-back as Iwobi was on Sunday. Then you have Bellerin, Alba and Alaba. Before them, Dani Alves was a winger and further back you have Zambrotta. I'm sure that's the tip of the iceberg – it's a well-trodden path.

I also think full backs nowadays also have to have different skillsets to before, even when playing in a back 4. People like Alexander-Arnold could arguably play right-midfield or right-wing and often does in formation terms. Someone like Gary Neville might struggle to get a game nowadays.

Brian Harrison
253 Posted 23/11/2020 at 10:32:21
Dave @249,

You are right that Richarlison could have had a hat-trick yesterday but, for me, he is our only world class player. I am sure that if we don't make a European place this season, his mate Neymar will be telling Leonardo to sign him for PSG, and I don't think they would be the only club after him.

The difference he brings to this team is there for all to see: he gives us so much going forward, can beat a man, has pace, and is a good header of the ball. Then on top of all that, he does as much chasing back as you could wish for.

You mentioned the chance when he weaved past three players before the keeper saved his effort; he actually started that by chasing back and winning the ball in midfield first – we don't have anyone at this club who could do that.

Also, Digne makes more overlaps when Richarlison is there and Calvert-Lewin certainly benefits from having him in the side.

Dave Abrahams
254 Posted 23/11/2020 at 10:55:26
Brian (253),

Yes I agree with quite a lot of your post, except that, yes, he has pace but not great pace and I don't think he is world class but we are better when he plays for us – I don't think any fan would deny that.

When is he going to score a league goal from open play this season!!! Thank God for Dominic!!!

John Kavanagh
255 Posted 23/11/2020 at 10:56:31
Having witnessed yet another 'contribution' from Sigurdsson yesterday, I am left wondering how awful Gordon must be not to even earn a place on the bench? I'd even have Schneiderlin back ahead of Sigurdsson, which is saying something.

Mina needs shipping out in January – now there is a Championship player if ever there was one. Branthwaite, Godfrey and Holgate are (or will very soon be) better players.

Davies did a sound job yesterday and those who write him off as yet another Championship player should show more patience. Our youngsters are only given a precious few minutes to prove themselves, which invariably heaps even more pressure on them, whilst 𧴜k-a-week big-name signings can stroll around match after match contributing nothing.

Sigurdsson can't even point straight and needs some special coaching from Phil Neville to show how it's done.

Bobby Mallon
256 Posted 23/11/2020 at 11:01:25
Sam Hoare @252,

I agree with you about the defence. To aspire to be a top 4 team, you need a good defence and Mina for me just does not cut it. I think yesterday Ancelotti thought Mitrovic would start and played him for his aerial prowess but it didn't happen.

I also think our main priority in January is to buy another defensive midfielder. Playing with 2 defensive midfielders will shore up that leaking defence, leaving Doucouré to get forward more.

In the meantime, I would definitely train this week with Holgate, Godfrey and Keane as we will need pace all over the pitch to cope with Leeds's fast pressing game. Mina just won't cut it.

I would play Pickford, Godfrey, Keane, Holgate, Iwobi, Allan, Doucouré, Digne, Rodriguez, Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison. In my formation, I would play Rodriguez central of the 3 forwards, using Calvert-Lewin to help out Iwobi. Just for this game.

Dave Abrahams
257 Posted 23/11/2020 at 11:10:25
John (210), thanks for a lovely funny post, your wife is a saint, my wife makes it worse for me “ What's your problem, it's only a game, nothing to get serious about” “ Oh for for fucks sake, leave me alone” I think, before going back to look at more misery watching them. Still as you say, John, where would we be without them.
Ian Edwards
258 Posted 23/11/2020 at 11:12:20
Jay Wood 221. He took off Walcott and Bernard.

He brought on Davies and Coleman.

Tony Abrahams
259 Posted 23/11/2020 at 11:14:57
Good post that Sam H, I couldn't understand why Pickford hesitated and went back, because it done the opposite of narrowing the angle, but other than this, I think our goalkeeper has started to look a lot calmer, possibly because Southgate has kept him as his Number 1?

The other point is also very good, because Mina and Keane are both very heavy on their feet, and rarely anticipate the pull-backed cross along the floor, but this could also possibly be because of a lack of communication?

It's rare to see the one in front, on his toes, staying free, positioned to stop the cross or waiting for the cutback. Maybe it's because we do defend zonally, although this is highly unlikely unless it's a set-piece, and I'd say more to do with a general lack of real anticipation.

Eddie Dunn
260 Posted 23/11/2020 at 11:39:58
Ernie, spot-on, mate. It's as clear as day that the squad simply lack depth. The replacements are not great; if we had bought the likes of Josh King in the summer, then perhaps we could have kept the attacking verve.

Sigurdsson is on the wane and the system doesn't suit him. It is our defensive frailty that is letting teams get the better of us and Carlo has said that he has had little time on the training ground to iron out problems.

This week, he will have some time; with a vibrant Leeds next, we will need energy and organisation.

Mark Taylor
261 Posted 23/11/2020 at 11:45:56
Bobby 256 I imagine the hope is that Gbamin will finally be in a position to assume that role, but personally I have my doubts, so awful have been his injuries.

Unless we seriously believe Iwobi has a future at right-back, our most urgent need is there, given that it seems Kenny has been deemed to be not good enough and Seamus seems to be getting more injury-prone as he gets older.

John Pickles
262 Posted 23/11/2020 at 12:17:54
Here you go, Dan #248:

They will never compete for anything, this lot:

Southall, not a team player.
Stevens, gets forward a lot, but at the expense of defending.
van den Hauwe, can't cross.
Ratcliffe, poor in the air.
Mountfield, can't read the game.
Reid, yard dog that can't pass.
Bracewell, jack of all trades, master of none.
Steven, no end product.
Sheedy, luxury player that the team has to carry.
Sharp, not a natural goalscorer.
Gray, injury-prone and only good in the air.

Tom Bowers
263 Posted 23/11/2020 at 12:22:23
We were spoiled with the speed of Seamus going forward at his best but his age seems to be catching him up. Kenny will never be Seamus but is quick although he is not favored by Carlo.

Carlo is building his team although it remains strange that some players are still in the squad. Maybe the new year will answer a few questions in that regard.

Many teams are playing with three ''centre backs'' these days but the two wing backs need to be very effective in helping out especially as Everton have a couple of the slower centre backs in the league.

Not surprisingly I have been impressed by Lampty of Brighton and I am sure he will be snapped up by a bigger club in the New Year.

Fran Mitchell
264 Posted 23/11/2020 at 12:30:50
Lamptey looks impressive, however I'd still say there is much fine tuning needed in his game. At Brighton, what he does well gets highlighted and his mistakes are kind of ignored.

I've seen a fair few stray passes, clumsy tackles and his enthusiasm to go forward occasionally puts him at left wing when he should be at right back. Such 'freedom' wouldn't be accepted elsewhere - if he does.move to a big team, I expect it to be similar to when Johnson went to Chelsea.

I still think central midfield is where we most need someone...but we must shift Gomes, Delph and Sigurdsson.

Davies did well yesterday and should be used more often.

A central midfielder with discipline and a decent passing range is needed - Rice at West Ham would be a good option.

Bobby Mallon
265 Posted 23/11/2020 at 12:52:40
What about Mario Gotze
Brian Harrison
266 Posted 23/11/2020 at 12:54:51
I am sure that Ancelotti is well aware of the frailties within this squad, but finances and FFP will only allow him to rectify these problems over a period of time. I am sure if he had a wish list it would probably be 1 centre back and a right back as when Seamus is out we have nobody good enough in that role. I also think he would like another centre midfield as if Allan gets injured we have nobody who can fill his role, I am still not convinced about Doucoure defensively. Yes his strength is getting forward but defensively he lets to many people run off him. I also think Ancelotti needs more firepower up front because if Richarlison or DCL get injured we don't have any serious alternatives.

So I am sure he will be hoping that certain players will be looking to move on in January, which would release funds to bring in new acquisitions. But as we have seen in the last window the likes of Besic and Bolasie are quite happy to stay here and collect their money even though they will get no game time. So unfortunately we will have even bigger problems moving on the other deadwood as no other club would be stupid enough to pay them the money we do. So unless we massively reduce any transfer fee I can see us having the same problem as we have had trying to off load Besic and Bolasie.

Jay Wood

267 Posted 23/11/2020 at 13:11:19
Ian Edwards @ various.

Why you've raised a game from 11 months ago, the 2-2 draw v Newcastle, is known only to yourself. Gratuitous Carlo bashing, I presume.

You continue to misrepresent actual events of that game.

We did not 'throw away the two-goal lead against Newcastle because Ancelotti took off our offensive players so Newcastle piled forward as their Defender had no-one to mark.'

We twatted them. All game. Even after the goosed Moise Kean was withdrawn on 71 minutes for Coleman (you can't even get the sequence of subs right), our attacking intent remained fierce.

In the next 10 minutes only by good goalkeeping, good fortune and poor misses did Newcastle stay in the game with glorious chances hitting the woodwork (Bernard), being saved (DCL and Walcott) or being badly missed (Mina) with a free header.

Indeed, Steve Bruce got so desperate that on 78 minutes he withdrew his only striker Joelinton for a central defender Schar in an attempt to stop the Everton tsunami flooding his defence.

Davies came on for the flagging Bernard on 83 minutes. Niasse for Walcott on 88 minutes.

Newcastle 'piled forward'???!!! Utter bollocks. Their goals came at 90 + 4 minutes and 90 + 5 minutes and were only two of 3 shots they had on target all night.

And they came courtesy of Everton errors and poor in-game management by the players on the pitch. Absolutely nowt to do with the falsely alleged conservative, negative mindset of Ancelotti as you claim.

Dan Nulty
268 Posted 23/11/2020 at 13:13:42
I've seen it all now. Someone suggesting we move our leading goalscorer, who has scored all of his goals centrally and from at most about 8 yards out, out to the right hand side.

The whole point of having 3 at the back and Iwobi at RWB is to allow for James lack of work rate so we can get him on the ball and do damage at the other end. He was involved in 2 goals yesterday making passes any of our other midfielders would not have seen let alone been able to play.

I think I'll stop reading the comments, if we can't trust that someone of Carlo's experience, repeated success as a player and as a manager then perhaps some of us should be getting our uefa B licence and become coaches and managers. We've had the best start to the Premier league in years and only been defeated when Richarlison wasn't playing. If that doesn't tell you how important he is or how class he is then nothing will.

Brian Wilkinson
269 Posted 23/11/2020 at 13:38:21
If we keep on insisting on playing Mina as centre half, and Godfrey as a right back, then why not at least try and switch,try Godfrey in his preferred centre half spot and see how Mina does out on the right, might not work out for Mina, but at least we will have a bit more pace in the centre of defence,and a centre half who can cope with crosses coming in, and a centre half who can keep up to speed and attack the ball.

At the moment, Mina at centre half, and Godfrey at right back is just not working.

Robert Tressell
270 Posted 23/11/2020 at 13:49:52
I find some of the comments bizarre. We played brilliantly well as 532 until Richarlison and James tired. We were then very ropey.

That's because we pose no real threat without those two players so the opposition can flood forward. This is why / how we lost the last few games.

The only problems really throughout were Mina is not very agile and neither Mina nor Keane has a left foot.

There's only so much Ancelotti can do until he gets players back fit and some quality reinforcements.

Until then, we will see that our first pick first 11 is very good - but remove a couple of key players and it's very ordinary. The results will follow suit.

This is why we will probably finish between 6th and 9th. It all comes down to the extent we have our few really good players on the pitch. Those players are Holgate, Coleman, Digne, Allan, Rodriguez, Richarlison and DCL.

David Cooper
271 Posted 23/11/2020 at 14:18:40
With the game kicking off at 7:00 am Canadian time, I had enough time to watch twice before my second cup of coffee! What else can you do at 9:00 am on a Sunday!

I then had time to read the comments to the match reports on ToffeeWeb and it made me think how differently we see things in a game and what might be the reason why some players under-perform or just plain run out of steam at the 60-minute mark.

In fact, we never got going in the second half until Tom Davies and Gylfi Sigurdsson were subbed on for Richarlison and James Rodgriguez, who had recently got back from South America. Despite what you might think of Mina's and Allan's performances (they both lasted the full game), all four of them were 4,000 miles away on Tuesday evening.

If you or I fly from the north of South America, it would take us the best part of 24 hours including 3 stopovers. Maybe they came back by charter so eliminating a few hours. But I doubt if they got into Finch Farm much before Thursday afternoon with a 12 noon kick-off on Sunday. Whenever I fly east to the UK, I am usually jet-lagged for a couple of days and would not feel like playing footy!

We were good in 1st half when Richarlison and James were at their best, especially Richarlison! We are going to have to accept that, when James plays, he is not going to do any defensive duties. Possibly this is why he has not played much in the last few years, playing for managers who don't want to carry him just for his attacking quality as Carlo does.

We were awful for the first 30 minutes of the 2nd half and didn't seem to be able to get hold of the ball or even string two passes together. With the players we have, we are always going to struggle against teams (not necessarily better teams) who move the ball quickly and have a midfield and attack of fast-moving young, athletic players, such as Fulham did today.

Once Davies and Sigurdsson were brought on for the last 20 minutes, we took back control of the game and Fulham did not trouble Pickford once before the full-time whistle blew.

Now Davies and Sigurdsson get a lot of stick on here but not today. Tom Davies covered back, tackled well, and got up and down the pitch, certainly stopping Fulham keeping the ascendancy. I watched closely what Sigurdsson did as well. Basically, he chased, harried and tackled the Fulham players as they crossed the half-way line and forced them to go sideways or back.

He also was the only link going forward – not that he did much of that as he was brought on to shut things up. Why Sigurdsson and not anyone else? Because, when we are winning and closing up shop, he does this very well. He has the experience to know how to slow down the other side. He is most definitely no longer the player he was and should never start but today he and Tom were instrumental in managing the last 20 minutes and getting us over the line.

I disagree with Lyndon who said we were hanging on. I thought we were in control and, unlike many previous times when faced with playing out the clock, we were very effective.

The other person who gets some criticism on here is Iwobi. He had to get back from Africa and I thought I heard that he had a difficult layover. Plus Africa is mostly in the same time zone as the UK. Carlo would not have had much time working with him and Godfrey to play down the right side. Except for the opening few minutes when they struggled, they worked out what they were expected to do, they both performed creditably. Going forward, is this going to be Iwobi's new position?

So, putting this all into perspective, I thought we did well to come away with 3 points against a team who will spend most of this season around the relegation zone. I hear people say "Well, a better team than Fulham would have torn us to bits today".
Maybe Carlo will have a different plan against "better teams"?

What I have noticed is that, when we are given time on the ball, we are very dangerous and look likely to score whenever we get into the penalty area. In Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin, we have two players who can match any attacking pair in the Premier League and will always score goals – even against so-called better teams!

Dan Nulty
272 Posted 23/11/2020 at 14:43:26
Godfrey did not play right back, he was at the right hand side of a back 3.

Some of you comment with such conviction and yet you don't even know what formation we were playing.

Bobby Mallon
273 Posted 23/11/2020 at 14:45:18
Oi Dan 268. What has moving DCL got to do with him scoring goals, he can still score goals by getting in the box just as Richarlson does. Yes if I had the chance to pick the team that is where I would play him, but I won't get the chance and watch Friday from the 70th minute when Rodriguez dies on his feet and Iwobi starts getting over ran down our right. Then Sigi comes on and Iwobi still gets overwhelmed because sigi Can't do that job.
Simon Dalzell
274 Posted 23/11/2020 at 14:50:56
The manager just didn't react to what was was happening in the second half. We have more options off the bench than for many years, and it we were fortunate to get the win in the end. It was crying out for changes, be it subs, a change of formation, or both. The substitution eventually made was hard to understand. Mr. Ancelottis team selections and game management seem on a par with his useless predecessors. I'm judging him on what I've seen at Everton not on guiding VERY expensive teams to titles.
Rennie Smith
275 Posted 23/11/2020 at 14:54:15
The usual mixture of level comments verses off the bloody wall (although very disappointed Blue Bill hasn't been blamed for something yet, give it time).

It was a win, not the cleanest but who cares. I also disagree with the "hanging on" assessment, we dropped off in terms of energy and shape but outside of the pen and their, deflected, goal I don't think Pickford had a save to make did he? If you have seen any of Fulham's previous games, they've had plenty of the ball in each and have some good players going forward, they're just not finding the net and are far too open at the back. So it wasn't a surprise performance.

I've been critical of Iwobi but fair-dos to the lad, he put it in yesterday. He's obviously got the talent, it's the consistency we're looking for. I thought Allan had a great game and as for James, I thought he seemed to work harder yesterday, I'm sure I even saw him make a few tackles and blocks!

C',mon the moaners, crack a smile every now and then.

Rennie Smith
276 Posted 23/11/2020 at 14:59:46
Bobby, just read back your comment about DCL playing on the right. Is that a wind-up or do you really believe that?
Brian Harrison
277 Posted 23/11/2020 at 15:11:52
Is it me or is anybody else frustrated over live TV games being more interested in showing managers faces or someone sitting in the stands while the game is going on. Then they want to show a chance being missed again and again while the game is going on, I wouldn't mind but they have got 15 minutes to show anything of interest in the half time break. I remember a few years back and it was a derby game and Sky covered the game, anyway Everton scored and they showed the goal 3 or 4 times only then to return to the game were the commentator shouts goal!!. I thought it was a re run of our goal oh no it was Rush scoring for them, saw no build up just Rush running away and being mobbed by the rest of his team. Seems they never learn, as Clough used to say it only takes a second to score a goal.
Annika Herbert
278 Posted 23/11/2020 at 15:19:03
David @ 271, the only comment I agree with you on regarding Sigurdsson is the slow one! Other than that because, even only on for a few minutes, he was hopeless
Jeff Armstrong
279 Posted 23/11/2020 at 15:27:10
Your right Brian I commented on the live thread about the camera work, lingering shots of Carlo, Parker,the subs,DCL, the bloody new stand from a blimp in the sky, missed about 20 minutes of action!
Mike Gaynes
280 Posted 23/11/2020 at 15:31:16
Robert #270 and David #271, quality posts. I agree with both of you.
Ajay Gopal
281 Posted 23/11/2020 at 16:07:14
Sam (251), good points about the defence - unless we sort it out, we will be not win many matches. I did a quick look at Chelsea's record this season - the Guardian Football Podcast was scornful of Frank Lampard and the consensus was that he would be booted out before long. They conceded 9 goals in their first 5 games, then they have conceded 1 goal in their next 4 PL fixtures. The difference - of course, Mendy coming in for Kepa, Chilwell getting fit and Thiago Silva, who many dismissed because of his howler that resulted in a goal in his 1st game in the PL, getting used to the PL. They now have a well settled Back 4 of Reece James, Thiago Silva, Zouma and Chilwell. I am hopeful that Carlo will similarly find his ideal Back 5, but Pickford and Mina are, IMO, the weak links.

Bobby (256), that is exactly the team I would like Carlo to play against Leeds. Previously, I was in favour of Davies playing at right wing-back/midfield, but based on his showing yesterday, Iwobi should be given opportunities to consolidate his position there. Godfrey at LCB and Holgate at RCB as part of a back 3 would provide pace and athleticism to counter Leeds and Keane at the centre would hopefully marshall the young guns. However, I don't agree that DCL should be switched out wide, he is scoring goals for fun up front, let Leeds worry about him. I think given time, that team could settle down to be an exciting combination of defensive solidity and free-flowing attacking football.

David Cooper (271) - I vote your post as being the most sensible on this thread, and you are therefore banned from posting on TW ever again :-)

Brent Stephens
282 Posted 23/11/2020 at 16:12:43
Robert #270, David #271, yes the substitutions clearly showed how much those substituted had tired. Not surprising given international duties. The long flight back can be tiring, regardless of cabin class, especially west to east for some reason.

The great start to the season is a double-edged sword. It gave us - well, a great start, but fans' expectations might have been set unrealistically high, exaggerating disappointment at results / performance in the last few games. We need some more very decent signings in the next window. Up to Brands to hatch a few deals.

Eddie Dunn
283 Posted 23/11/2020 at 16:18:46
David Cooper- I agree with you too.
Good post.
I know players don't fly economy, but I would be fast asleep if I had schlepped that far 'round the world.
Andrew Keatley
284 Posted 23/11/2020 at 17:28:58
Sam (251) - I think Mina is very weak for the second Fulham goal. As Ola Aina breaks down the Fulham right Mina is with Mitrovic, but passes him on to Godfrey. Keane is closest to Loftus-Cheek, and could stay with him, but instead moves towards the near post once the ball reaches Lookman and one touch takes him past Digne. So we have Keane at the near post closing down Lookman, Godfrey at the far post marking Mitrovic, and Mina in a sort of no-man's land where he is effectively doubling up on Keane as the defender at the near post. Loftus-Cheek finds himself between Mina and the slow-to-cover Doucoure (as well as the back-rushing Allan), and is able to shoot unchallenged. Mina is not able to assess the picture as it develops, and just relies on heading back into the six-yard box when the only real threat is the unmarked Loftus-Cheek.

Some defenders will happily take the easy option and mark space, and unfortunately when it's three centre-halves playing against a team that are not really playing with any out-and-out centre-forwards then there are many times when at least two of the three centre-halves are marking space. The midfield will always struggle to press successfully in such an instance as they are numerically disadvantaged, and it can lead to that lethargic shuffling from side to side as our midfield do not really ever aggressively try to win the ball back, and Fulham are able to move the ball quite freely up to our penalty area. Mitrovic not starting was obviously a surprise, and perhaps it threw the system a bit, but I really think Holgate must come back in as soon as his fitness allows.

Jerome Shields
285 Posted 23/11/2020 at 17:39:15
Looked at the game a few times. Mina when transferred into Everton, had one weakness, a tendency to be prone to lapses in concentration. In my opinion he still has that problem. These lapses of concentration mean he is a yard short defending on the turn and also they also contribute to a lack of awareness resulting in poor positional play.

Iowbi was better before he found himself less on the back foot, with the stands behind his back. This is the poor position that he find himself in , particularly when Soggy plays. What Ancelotti did was to have him receive the ball on the front foot which made all the difference.

Ancelotti tried to set up shop in the second half playing Richarlusion and Iowbi deeper against a poor Fulham defence, allowing Fulham the space to push into midfield. Everton a poor when compacted like this with pointless tackles and passing, adding to the pressure they are under , depending on the high bal! to the isolated Calvert Lewin.

At least Davies looked positive and involved, whilst Soggy was over whelmed or under whelmed as per usual. Which ever you like.

Christy Ring
286 Posted 23/11/2020 at 17:56:42
David#271 Praising Sigurdsson, just like Ernie, just checked the stats from Siggy's performance yesterday, touched the ball 14 times in 14 minutes, and gave the ball away "7 times". Enough said.
Annika Herbert
287 Posted 23/11/2020 at 18:00:28
I agree with that comment Christy, well said!
Mike Gaynes
288 Posted 23/11/2020 at 18:04:42
By the way, did anybody notice we have TWO league leaders? DCL, obviously, with the 10 goals... but also Allan, who leads the Prem in tackles with 35.

Christy #287, bit deceptive there, 6 of those 7 were clearances out of defense, which is what he was brought on to help with.

Another interesting stat: the much-derided Iwobi completed five dribbles yesterday, most by any Everton player in one game this season.

Dan Nulty
289 Posted 23/11/2020 at 18:08:04
Bobby, Calvert Lewin would not score anywhere near as many goals if he was played on the right. The reason he has so many goals is because of where he is playing and how he is being asked to play. Would you rather he went back to running channels and working harder but scoring less? He scores less we win less games?

How many interviews do you need to see from DCL and Carlo to understand that? He is a completely different player to Richarlison so trying to compare them like for like is beyond my comprehension. Ask DCL to play like that and he doesn't score anywhere near as many.

The other reason he does so well down the middle is because Richarlison occupies both the right back and the right sided centre back who has to cover across for when he steps inside. It often leaves DCL one on one in the box against the CB or the space between the CB and LB.

James is a luxury player and the reason we signed both Allan and Doucoure was to do the running for him so he could drift into the space between midfield and defence and release Richarlison, DCL, Digne and Coleman with balls that no one else in our squad has the ability to play. He makes the LB and CB make a decision about whether to follow him or not and disrupt their defensive shape, again creating space for DCL.

I think this midfield and front 3 is the best I have seen at Everton for a long time. It is only going to get better if we can keep everyone fit and get fortunate with suspensions.

Dan Nulty
290 Posted 23/11/2020 at 18:13:24
Agree with Andrew re Mina. Completely at fault for the first goal too.

Brilliant body position to watch how it was unfolding and check what was happening behind him. Then, didn't react when Keane had to go and close down the space and just watched the Fulham player run into the space vacated by Keane and by the time he reacted the guy was 2 yards ahead of him.

He is totally reactionary and doesn't appear to be able to read the game or what is happening in front of him.

I actually like him but he doesn't have what it takes for top level football in my view. Shame we can't bring him on as a special team for corners, both attacking and defending.

Patrick McFarlane
291 Posted 23/11/2020 at 18:16:06
Dominic Calvert-Lewin has scored more Premier League goals this season than Arsenal (9) and is equal with Manchester City (10).

I think tackling in this Everton side is woeful. Allan and Doucoure do win the ball regularly and Richarlison also wins a few, but the rest usually fail miserably, which obviously puts the team under added pressure.

Sukhdev Sohal
292 Posted 23/11/2020 at 18:18:29
Yerry Mina has cost us 6 league goals already. Both against WBA, 2nd against Liverpool, both yesterday, 2nd against Newcastle. I actually rate him but I think Ancelotti needs to do what Koeman did with Jags in 2016-17 and that is take him out for a month or two and properly train him.

Holgate at left centre-back and Olsen in for the Leeds game please. Keane goes to the centre.

Well done to Tom Davies too; when he isn't careless with the ball, he is useful.

George Cumiskey
293 Posted 23/11/2020 at 18:19:04
How anyone who actually watched the game can say Sigurdsson did okay is mind-boggling. Slow... can't tackle, kept giving the ball away, no assists... and hopeless free-kicks.
Sukhdev Sohal
294 Posted 23/11/2020 at 18:19:44
Should we play 3-5-2 or 4-3-3 against Leeds? If Coleman is fit, we could play 4-3-3, but who will play as the left central midfielder? Gomes, Sigurdsson or Davies? Of these, two are in atrocious form and the other did pretty well yesterday.
Jerome Shields
295 Posted 23/11/2020 at 18:26:33
Dom, keep watching the Filippo Inzaghi videos and encourage more than Digne to watch them with you. It will be beneficial to your goal tally.

Mike #289,

Sigurdsson's resulting pass competition rate I bet you wasn't good. . . I still think Christy is right.

Mike Gaynes
296 Posted 23/11/2020 at 18:28:40
Patrick #292, Woeful? Actually Everton is 5th in the league in tackles. Allan is the league leader, Duke is in the top 10 (also top 10 in fouls), and I believe Richarlison was also top 10 before his suspension.

So that's one thing we're not too bad at!

Darren Hind
297 Posted 23/11/2020 at 19:00:05
You would think we were the only team who have players going out on international duty. We always seem to want to portray ourselves as hard done-by.

If a player is signed by a top Premier League club, the chances are, he will represent his country and could be called upon every time there is an international tournament. When you sign the best South American and African players, you already know this. It's the trade-off. You cannot complain when your club has to fulfill its part of the deal.

We have a real problem at this club and we won't solve it by making lame-arsed excuses about our players getting tired after international duty. For years, we have been unable to play two decent halves of football in the same game. Any good second-half performance will invariably follow a ropey first half... and if we do blast out of the traps and play well in the first half, a poor second half will follow as surely as night follows day. It's been going on for fucking years (international breaks or not) and it drives me mad.

I definitely subscribe to the school of thought which would question our mental strength as opposed to physical tiredness. Every one of the top group of teams play more games than us. They must be tired too... but, while their players traditionally dig in even harder, our players just fold.

It's important to remember that we did actually win this game and we are allowed to enjoy it. But make no mistake: we were most definitely hanging on in a game we should have won at a canter. Watching our defenders adopting an anywhere-will-do attitude when clearing their lines was a little embarrassing.

Something had better change.

Mal van Schaick
298 Posted 23/11/2020 at 19:02:03
The amount of possession given away in the second half was worrying, especially on the edge of the penalty area. We were our own worst enemy.

Aside from that, the first-half performance was good and I expected us to press on and score more. We got out of jail in the end. A win is a win.

Eddie Dunn
299 Posted 23/11/2020 at 19:04:23
On the subject of Mina, I think poor Pickford must be banging his Mackem head against his Bang & Olufsen Beovision 4-103 TV. As an old git that got into keeping in my late forties, I can sympathise with Jordan as the massive limbed beanpole zonally marks and unerringly gets in line with his keeper's vision of the shooter.

The deflections leave the goalie stranded and often unsighted... a keeper's nightmare.

Now I'm not writing off the gigantic Colombian because he has many qualities, but he has been making some dumb mistakes of late.

Travelling halfway across the world doesn't help anyone but the man needs to sharpen-up or else lose his place to one of the youngsters.

Also, he was supposed to be this amazing threat at set-pieces but I can only recall one goal from them so far.

Sean O´Hanlon
300 Posted 23/11/2020 at 19:07:15
Darren, #298.

Totally agree with everything you say. No mental toughness. The nearest they got to it was when Big Dunc took charge for a while.

In my opinion, Dunc for our next manager – if the board don't dick around and get another foreign flop.

Dave Lynch
301 Posted 23/11/2020 at 19:17:00
It's about time clubs took a stand against the FA and FIFA against these meaningless friendlies.

What other sport in a pandemic organises games with nothing on them and flies players all over the world, putting themselves and their team players at risk when they return?

Sam Hoare
302 Posted 23/11/2020 at 19:20:37
Ajay@282, yes I tend to agree, a settled defense would help but I feel Pickford and Mina are just not quite sharp enough currently.

Andrew@285, yes exactly. Mina especially is a culprit for marking space rather than men. I hoped his positioning would improve over two or so seasons in the PL but it's not really happened.

I think a back three of Holgate, Keane and Godfrey is quite exciting potentially and should suit us perfectly as Holgate and Godfrey are both quick and pretty decent on the ball and Keane is one of the best in the league in the air. Digne is obviously a perfect wing back. The RWB is an issue probably and I don't know if Iwobi can keep up his level yesterday, I suspect against better teams he may be found out defensively.

Holgate Keane Godfrey
Iwobi (WB) Allan Doucore Digne (WB)
Rodriguez Calvert-Lewin Richarlison

With Coleman and maybe Gbamin coming in if you need to be more solid then that is a very decent starting XI when fit.

Amazing how many average central midfielders being paid 䀋k+ we have. I'd happily keep Davies and find new homes for Gomes, Siggurdsson and Delph. Maybe bring in another central midfielder who can carry the ball whilst covering the pitch and putting in some tackles too.

Joe McMahon
303 Posted 23/11/2020 at 19:22:53
Darren H @298, I agree with every word., and you are correct our players have no European fixtures. I look at the amount of games Wolves had last season and our players are tired.

Everon FC has to overcome the mental barriers that have plagued the outlook for years, we need a winning mentality and belief, and quick as too many of us are sick of it.

Bobby Mallon
304 Posted 23/11/2020 at 19:28:23
Dan Nulty, I'm not advocating he plays there from now on, just this game against Leeds as I believe Rodriguez won't give Iwobi the cover he needs but Dom would.

For this game. I also believe Calvert-Lewin is so fit and energetic that he will still be able to get in the box for goals – just my opinion.

Brian Harrison
305 Posted 23/11/2020 at 19:32:03
Darren @298,

I totally agree about our players lacking mental toughness more than being physically weak. I think one of the biggest jobs Ancelotti has is to breed into some players that mental toughness. As you say, we have seen over the years we have not been able to string 2 good halves together.

When I say 'mental toughness', maybe a lack of belief is more appropriate. The top sides have belief in abundance, and it comes from winning on a regular basis. The self-belief follows but, when you constantly fall short in important games, that sucks the belief out of teams. And gets in their heads so, the next time things start to go wrong, all those negative thoughts come flooding back,

Many of this squad have been involved in games where they are winning and are clearly the better side, as they were on Sunday; yet, as soon as Fulham scored, you could see the belief drain away from some players who have become used to seeing leads slip away, or even turn promising positions into losing ones.

I know in many sports they bring in psychologists to help players, even probably the greatest snooker player ever Ronnie O'Sullivan has Dr Peters as his psychologist. Now you would think the last player who need one was O'Sullivan but, if he needs one, then I could think we have many players who would benefit from something similar.

Dave Lynch
306 Posted 23/11/2020 at 19:33:06

A winning mentality cannot be instilled in players who don't give a fuck. Sigurdsson, Tosun and the like know they have no future at the club.

If I was a manager, I would say to them in no uncertain terms to get your agent to find you another club because you will not play another game for Everton.

If they had any pride and actually wanted to play football, they would engineer a move for themselves.

John Pierce
307 Posted 23/11/2020 at 19:33:54
Hanging on? Fulham had the ball and did nothing with it for the last 20. Did Pickford have to make a save or claim a cross? Did our central defenders make a goal-saving block? The pudding has been well over-egged.

Whilst the Jekyll & Hyde performance had us asking as many questions as answers, I do really wonder if the halves had been transposed would there be such a miserable tenor to posts following an away win with some excellent togger for the goals?

Danny O’Neill
308 Posted 23/11/2020 at 19:35:58
As a former defender, I'm going to defend the indefensible; the defence!! I did yesterday and probably have done earlier on here. With caveats, as like many on here, I agree we need better quality at the back, it just wasn't a priority for us last window.

I get it, our defence isn't great, centre backs in particular, but it isn't helped by the midfield still not protecting them adequately, despite much-improved recruitment. That's what went wrong yesterday, we were not protecting the back four. No excuses, and an area we still need to improve without doubt, but there's still something not right in front of them on a consistent basis throughout the 90 minutes.

My gut tells me we need Gbamin (or a player like he was brought into be) sat in front of them as a true protector / holding midfielder.

Doucouré and Allan can then do what they instinctively do; go and press higher. At the moment, they're trying to do that and by doing so leave the pockets of space in behind between them and the back 4 that we saw get exploited yesterday.

I think that gives the midfield more balance and the defence more protection. Yes, the defence should defend better, but when you allow shots to be lined up and rely on your defence and keeper alone, you will inevitably concede (law of averages).

Also, we then don't need to worry too much about the front 3 of James, Richarlison and Calvert-Lewintracking back. Attack is the best form of defence, depending on your footballing philosophy obviously.

Danny O’Neill
309 Posted 23/11/2020 at 19:39:52
And Darren is right. We cannot blame international duty for tiredness / lack of fitness. Just about every Premier League club has players away on international duty and if we want to compete, those are the types of players we will be signing who will also then need to cope with European football.

Maybe right now it just exposes the lack of depth in the squad. Once we use up the first 11, we start encroaching on last season's underperforming players and the collective fragile mentality they bring to the pitch.

Patrick McFarlane
310 Posted 23/11/2020 at 20:05:21
Mike #

If we are putting so many tackles in, as your figures indicate, how come what I see is the opponents coming away with the ball so often?

I can see both sides of this: the team tackles often, but does it win possession? If it has to tackle as much as you say, then the opposition is seeing far too much of the ball?

Perhaps I need to visit Specsavers sooner than I thought.

Dave Abrahams
311 Posted 23/11/2020 at 20:05:32
Sam (303),

With the utmost respect, and I truly mean that, but a back three of Godfrey, Keane and Holgate could never, ever be “potentially exciting” with Keane in it. Just my opinion, but Keane will never be more than an average centre-back.

Danny O’Neill
312 Posted 23/11/2020 at 20:10:32
I do like the look of Godfrey and can't wait to see him in his natural position.

I agree on Keane; never convinced and for those who criticise Mina, Keane is for different reasons equally a liability. He is okay and, going back to my earlier point, good enough for now given defence wasn't a priority last window. But if we are serious, we don't have a central defence with Michael Keane in it next season or beyond.

And to be fair, sometimes as a defender, you are alive and mark space. Space is what teams exploit. Good teams find space. Good defenders mark and cover it. Hence the concept of the sweeper.

Robert Tressell
313 Posted 23/11/2020 at 20:12:37
Sam @ 303, that's a really excellent balanced first 11. We shouldn't worry too much about Iwobi in my view. That's because he gives Leeds something to worry about. Whoever is on the left flank for Leeds will have to contain him.

I also like the fact that Holgate can step forward and be the defensive screen and suddenly we're 433. We can switch in game depending on circumstances.

But yes we need to shift Gomes, Delph and Sigurdsson really because all are generally very ineffective.

Joe McMahon
314 Posted 23/11/2020 at 20:24:12
I'm not a Moyes fan, but what a bit of great business it was getting Sylvain Distin and Nigel Martyn. Those 2 would solve some problems we currently have.
Mike Gaynes
315 Posted 23/11/2020 at 20:45:11
Patrick #311, beats me, but I have been very impressed with the individual defensive work of both Allan and Duke despite the general lack of defensive cohesion in midfield. Maybe the 3-at-the-back Carlo deployed yesterday was an attempt to address that. I do see us winning the ball but often losing the midfield in general.

Danny O', all good posts. Agree with you and Dave on Keane -- much as I admire him and salute his improvement, he's not ultimately a top 6 CB and will need replacing at some point, although it's not a priority now. Once we have a Digne-quality right back, that's time enough to address CB.

Joe #315, they're both out of contract and available!

Fran Mitchell
316 Posted 23/11/2020 at 20:59:50
If we focus on the first 45 minutes, there is much to take from yesterday's match.

3-4-3/3-4-1-2 has potential. In Holgate we have a talented ball playing defender, and I'd assume Keane and Godfrey will be the long term partners (with Branthwaite in development).

Iwobi and Digne on the flanks, and the 2 midfielders covering a lot of ground. This gives James the freedom where his quick passing will create chance after chance, with the James - Digne - Richarlison axis being our No 1 threat.

It won't work in every game, but it's something new and different which can work. It gives another option.

We still need a 3rd midfielder and a right-back so we can still utilise 4-3-3, and back up forward is also necessary because of we swap Calvert-Lewin for Tosun, we're screwed.

It was refreshing to see a new system tried and work – even if it was only for 45 minutes.

Green shoots and all that...

Michael Kenrick
317 Posted 23/11/2020 at 21:06:08
Joe @ 315,

"Those 2 would solve some problems we currently have."

No, they wouldn't. Give yer 'ed a wobble, lad. They are gone. Have been for years. And they are not coming back.

Conor McCourt
318 Posted 23/11/2020 at 21:15:44
Yes let's now try and devise a system to not talk about the elephant in the room.

We conceded a lot because of Pickford, then it was Mina, next up Gomes too slow, Siggy yep it's his fault, Delph hasn't fucking helped, nope it's Godfrey, no it's Rodriguez the lazy fucker, no it's Seamus now, nope it's Keane. Holgate back so problem solved nope he's useless too.

Shit problem still not solved. It's the system obviously 433 or the 451 versus Newcastle? This 532 will work, nope still can't put my finger on it. Systems, players, what going on?

2 constants in the team as our defence is continually breached.

Note in the Spurs game Gomes releases Doucoure and covers Allan brilliantly- no goals.

Brighton game- another solid defensive display with Gomes dovetailing Doucoure. Allan out- one goal conceded.

Fulham game a shambles again- Davies comes on and the game changes. No goals conceded.

Lessons; when Doucoure sits we are in trouble especially if partnered by the equally defensively lamentable Allan. Neither reads the game, tracks runners, has defensive instincts or concentration levels better than a frog.

Gomes is our most intelligent defensively even if his body lets him down. Davies although not the best defensive brain has the legs and desire.

Solution; one of these must play to get Doucoure up the park and help protect Allan until Gbamin is back and then he only should sit.

Every game the opponent who destroys us attacks the same area; Diangana, Ward Prowse, Fernandez, Loftus Cheek.

Carlo told us he bought 2 defensive midfielders, unfortunately he only stockpiled two more midfielders.

Laurie Hartley
319 Posted 23/11/2020 at 21:25:53
John Pierce # 308 - that is the way I saw it also.
I can take a number of positives from this game:

The football in the first half was fantastic. Much to my surprise DCL is developing into a terrific centre forward.
Allan and Doucoure fought for everything when Fulham got the upper hand in the second half. Something we have lacked for years. I really enjoyed that.
Ancelloti appears to have solved two problems by moving Rodrigues inside and playing Iwobi on the right.
I would never have picked Iwobi again after his previous performances but again - much to my surprise - he had a terrific game and looked like a 35m footballer.
Lastly Rodrigues maybe unfit, tired, or just plain lazy but that lad brings a smile to my face when he gets the ball at his feet.

Joe McMahon
320 Posted 23/11/2020 at 21:27:13
Michael K, I do realise that, C'mon I'm im not that daft. I just meant 2 quality players apparently past their best who who were both awesome for us.

As you know I rarely go back to historical Everton players, it was just so Everton the final stages of the game yesterday.

Danny O’Neill
321 Posted 23/11/2020 at 21:38:44
My youngest brother was a massive Moyes fan having grown up in that era and we often have healthy discussion on that era given me being an 80s teenager.

One thing we agree to disagree on is Distin. I thought he was good enough for us given where we were at the time. He couldn't stand him. Then again he thought Jagielka was the best thing since sliced bread, whereas I thought he epitomised acceptance of mediocre mentality that we are still trying to rid ourselves of. There are parallels there. For too long, we've had players who were good enough to keep us just above average, which was considered success to an entire generation. I think we are starting to change the tide but some parts of the team still contain above average, but not great players. And the main culprit is our defence.

Danny O’Neill
322 Posted 23/11/2020 at 21:44:17
I think players can just look different in different teams Christy. Possibly enjoying being big fish in small pond? Look at Sigurdsson. Thrives for Iceland and likewise for Swansea. Disappointing at Tottenham and Everton.
Christy Ring
323 Posted 23/11/2020 at 22:15:43
Danny#324, Agree, hopefully WBA will sign Sigurdsson in January, and he'll be a revelation!
Sam Hoare
324 Posted 23/11/2020 at 22:17:15
Dave A@311, I didn't mean 'exciting' as in "We're gonna win everything" exciting; I meant 'exciting' more as in "We might actually play a system to suit our players"!

I've slagged Keane off a great deal in the past but I think he seems to have worked extremely hard on upping his game since the restart. I agree he's unlikely to ever be top class but he's a very good stopper currently and, in the middle of a back three, his mobility (or lack of) would be less of an issue.

John Pierce
325 Posted 23/11/2020 at 22:28:52
I do love the detractors of Sunday's game are often those who gush about the championship side of ‘85 who ‘loved to dog games out' and ‘could mix it when then needed to'. I paraphrase, but you get the gist.

We lost that game under a myriad of managers in the past. the tactics were unmistakably defensive, not the first time away from home under Ancelotti when we have a lead. I wasn't impressed but we didn't lose and frankly Fulham got nowhere near an equalizer. Carlo can feel vindicated.

The rub for me is Ancelotti accumulates points which allows him time to evolve the team. Previous managers would probably lose that game, and spiral into a poor poor run to the point we're we lose faith completely. It then becomes a matter of marking time until we sack them.

He's on the right track for sure.

Sam Hoare
326 Posted 23/11/2020 at 22:30:53
Conor @318, I'm surprised to hear you suggest that Gomes is the missing link defensively!

Considering he seldom makes a tackle and his attempts to do so usually result in fouls. His lack of pace also makes us very vulnerable to any counters. Not sure we'd have seen him make that goal-saving challenge against Lucas Moura that Doucouré made in the Spurs game.

He wasn't playing in the Brighton game but he was when we shipped two goals to each of West Brom, Newcastle and Liverpool. So his presence isn't quite as therapeutic defensively as you intimate.

I agree that the midfield balance is still not quite right; Doucouré is not great positioning defensively I don't think and Allan is not ideal for the sitting midfielder. But I think Davies would be a better option than Gomes if we are talking about defensive solidity.

It will be interesting when Carlo brings Gomes back into the team and how he does; when on his game, he is probably our best midfielder at retaining the ball under pressure, which can be vital against good pressing teams.

Michael Kenrick
327 Posted 23/11/2020 at 22:33:25
John @ 327,

"Fulham got nowhere near an equalizer."

They spunked a penalty. Certainly gave me the distinct impression that they got very very close to getting that equalizer.

Rob Halligan
328 Posted 23/11/2020 at 22:37:17
Michael, if Fulham had scored that penalty, they wouldn't have got the goal they scored, as the whole pattern of play changes. They might well have created another chance somewhere later in the half, but they never, so as John says, Fulham came nowhere near an equaliser.
Alex Gray
329 Posted 23/11/2020 at 22:38:49
I don't particularly agree with the Gomes comment, Connor, he really can't tackle for his life. However, spot on about Doucouré. He's far more effective when pushed further forward and box-to-box. Whenever he's covering the right-back, we're massively exposed in midfield.

We're still missing a few players to make a functional system for me. It's much more balanced than last season, but not there yet.

Danny O’Neill
330 Posted 23/11/2020 at 22:39:01
I don't detract, I just think we are work in progress.

I like what Ancelotti has done so far. The key being "so far"... He is not even 12 months in and we've had Covid. Yes, so has everyone else, I get that, but it's an inevitable inhibitor to probable plans.

We are far from a finished article, but we are much improved and picking up points from scenarios that in recent seasons we simply don't. Come January, we may even look a better prospect after another transfer window. There were those who suggested we would not be capable of adding in the summer; we did. Stepping stones, people.

Don Alexander
331 Posted 23/11/2020 at 22:39:29
I'm now 65 and when I was 15 I met a former Norwich City goalie (name escapes me). He was playing goalie in an amateur match I watched, no fans present apart from me. I asked him why he'd given up at Norwich. He told me he hated professional football!

An ex-colleague at work had, as a youth, played for England schoolboys several times, including at Wembley. He too told me he hated football, but regularly played rugby and cricket at a low level.

David Batty, the Leeds yard-dog we could badly do with right now, played for England but even at the time made no secret of the fact he hated playing football.

So, talented footballers who hate the game have always been around. In the old days they gave up and did summat useful but for the past 25 years minimum such leeches have latched onto the money, with no wish to play or put themselves about, certain that by doing so they'll become multi-millionaires minimum, and all the healthier in body if they avoid playing and anything potentially painful.

Just why so many of these types have been attracted to or developed at Finch Farm in the past quarter century might cause some fans to question who's been at the top of our club throughout that period

...... if they're interested in an answer like.

Patrick McFarlane
332 Posted 23/11/2020 at 22:41:30
John #327,

Of course, that wonderful team of circa 85 didn't play well every time they took to the pitch, however, apart from the away leg of the Semi-Final against Bayern, I can't recall that team being on the back foot for long periods during games.

Spurs at White Hart Lane may have seemed that way in the last 20 minutes or so but that was because we had a lead to protect and Spurs were a very decent team at the time, plus the victory almost cemented the title for the club.

There's nothing wrong with battling for the points, but there is something wrong when we allow inferior teams to take the initiative, and at the same time resort to hoofball. Whether it's a physical or a psychological problem, It's one that Carlo has to solve if we are to stay around the top six this season.

I also think that Carlo will at least recognise the issues, whether he's able to solve them, we'll have to wait and see.

Michael Kenrick
333 Posted 23/11/2020 at 22:42:53
In the second half, Fulham got a penalty and they scored a goal. If the penalty had flown in under the bar, then the goal they scored would have been the equalizer.

Sorry, Rob, but that means they came very very close to the equalizer that would have denied us 2 points. Moot because they missed the penalty. Whether that changes the game or not is also moot. No-one can ever know.

But to pretend that they did not come anywhere near an equalizer is plain wrong.

John Pierce
334 Posted 23/11/2020 at 23:00:38
Michael. The pen was at 3-1. It's still in orbit my man! They reduced the deficit to 2-3 and then got nowhere near our goal.

How many times have we seen an Everton side have loads of pretty possession in front of an opposition and not lay a glove on them?

Come on, give me the shots they had on target, the saves Pickford made, the amount of times the woodwork was left rattled, the last-ditch tackles we had put in? It may have felt like they would equalize, but that's the collective PTSD we have of watching Everton! In actuality we didn't play well in that 2nd half but did dog it out, surely that deserves some recognition?

Rob Halligan
335 Posted 23/11/2020 at 23:03:43
Michael, if they score the penalty, then the chance for the second goal simply does not materialise. Instead of us taking a goal kick, we kick off fifty yards further up the pitch, the whole pattern of play is different. There's no way that exact same pattern of play in the lead up to their second goal can happen, so I think you're wrong, the second goal they scored wouldn't have been the equaliser, because the chance wouldn't have been there. As you say though, there is absolutely no way of knowing.
Sean O´Hanlon
336 Posted 23/11/2020 at 23:10:22
Conceded 16 goals. Only 3 other teams have conceded more. Well done Jordan!
Danny O’Neill
337 Posted 23/11/2020 at 23:15:24
The difference with the 80s team was the mentality. We may not have always played well but you felt confident we would win or get points (cliche: good teams grind out results even when they don't play well).

We showed glimpses of good play in the first half and faded in the second. Last season and seasons previous, we capitulate or collapse and come away with no points – let alone 1 or 3.

Perfect... and what we expect? No. But are we improving and on an upward projection? I would say yes. Finished article? No. But the current manager has had one transfer window that was genuinely his and has prioritised accordingly, which has had an impact.

Andrew Keatley
338 Posted 23/11/2020 at 23:16:05
Michael (333) - From the moment the score was 2-3 until the end of the game Fulham did not really create a clear-cut chance with which to equalise, so I'd say your logic is a bit twisted - but nowhere near as twisted as Conor at 318. Gomes “our most intelligent defensively”?!? I'm just agog.

John Pierce
339 Posted 23/11/2020 at 23:30:26
Patrick, you make an interesting point. Is it a question of style or just the result? Maybe to be facetious, l'd ask are you willing to lose but with style? 😜

I'd argue on Sunday it was about the result. We'd lost three on the bounce: it was important to stop the rot. They are games we've comfortably found ways to lose in the recent past, so it has to be an incremental improvement? So I'd take a win at all costs!

That lot won the title last season playing a pale imitation of the heavy metal stuff they played a year or so ago. They won plenty of games by one goal, I think maybe a dozen or so. They are Champions and care not a jot who they beat, even if it was a relegation candidate.

I alluded to it: if a manager accumulates points without the death spirals we are used to, he earns time to improve the team.

Patrick McFarlane
340 Posted 23/11/2020 at 23:52:54
John #339,

I'd always take the points or progress in the cup by whichever way is necessary – losing any match is bad but losing when playing well is worse.

The caveat being that good teams don't play badly very often. They might not be up to scratch in some matches and may drop points here and there, but the better sides stick to their game-plan most of the time, and if they perform to that level often enough, they'll win more often than not.

Obviously confidence is the key element and it is so hard to instill in teams, especially those that like us that have suffered set-backs when least expected. I agree that the result yesterday was more important than the performance and I think that was in the players' minds too.

Whilst they didn't drop any points, they didn't ease the pressure by creating anything worthwhile after about 10 minutes of the second-half.

The players and Carlo may have felt more comfortable than we did, but I would just like to enjoy one Everton victory whereby we aren't worrying about conceding the next goal.

Onwards and upwards, hopefully!

Jerome Shields
341 Posted 23/11/2020 at 00:05:53
Conno r#318,

A guy with your knowledge saying Everton missed Gomes defensively, must be a wind-up surely?

Also, Fulham deserved a draw on their second-half performance, but luckily they did not get one.

Conor McCourt
342 Posted 23/11/2020 at 00:13:37
"I'm surprised to hear you say that Gomes was the missing link defensively, Conor."

Me too, Sam, because I didn't say that. What I did suggest was that, when he has played midfield, we have been a lot better than without – which I know kills you to hear since you attribute most of our ills to him and your prophecies that we would excel without him have been exposed fully, as were your summer description of Allan being a world-class defensive player, which you quickly and intelligently abandoned.

I think you can see I meant the Palace game as opposed to the Brighton one by the goal tally and your inclusion of the Newcastle game is undoubtedly a little naughty since I'm sure you are well aware he played in a left-wing role.

As for your criticisms of Gomes defensively, I fully concur with almost all of them. In the four games where Gomes played in the midfield role I spoke about (Spurs, West Brom, Palace and Liverpool) we conceded only 1.25 goals a game. In the five games where he didn't, this was a massive 2.2 goals a game.

My point was merely this: since Gomes was made the midfield scapegoat, we have deteriorated. Partly because Sigurdsson is as bad as the others; partly because Doucouré gets released but also because of Gomes game intelligence in reading the danger even if he's often too slow to make a difference.

My solution was Gbamin in the original post but suggesting Gomes or Davies as a must until then. Hopefully when Gbamin returns, we will have the choice of a three with both summer acquisitions playing either side in a tough away match where we can trust our front three to win the game with that protection behind them.

It will then give a choice of one of Doucouré or Allan with one of Gomes, Bernard or James against a team we need to break down. Or even just two of the latter in front of Gbamin.

Conor McCourt
343 Posted 24/11/2020 at 01:54:36
Essentially my point was twofold: The failed experiment of playing Doucouré and Allan as two sitters won't work regardless of the system.

Sigurdsson must not ever play in midfield again. If he must be brought on for any reason, it should be only as a Number 10.

Darren Hind
344 Posted 24/11/2020 at 05:33:40
"Fulham did not create a chance?" What???

It would take less than half-an-hour to watch the period from when they pulled a goal back to the final whistle. Anybody who cares enough to watch again, will see a panic-stricken Everton team hacking the ball down the park.

Some of these clearances were "Get after that" balls aimed in the general direction of Calvert-Lewin; some were good old-fashioned hacks – the most telling hallmark of a team in panic.

Fulham were not able to capitalize, but that was due to their deficiencies rather than us remaining solid. Time and time... and time again, they were getting into good positions but could not find the final ball. The headless Robinson was imposing his will and forcing Iwobi to stay home and Godfrey to come across.

Thankfully, as always, he kept running down blind alleys. The clueless Lookman did what he does, danced past players only to fluff his lines after creating the space; Loftus-Cheek was running through our midfield. Even the carthorse was leading us a merry dance. Cavaliero twice went for Hollywood.

This game had some enjoyable moments in the first half. We played some good stuff, but that last quarter was like watching two pub teams slug it out on Sunday Morning – one panicking at the sight of the opposition goal, the other panicking when the ball came anywhere near theirs.

I suspect we were seeing a snapshot of the season for both of these teams. We went from being composed to complacent and, as always when tested, our confidence was shown to be surface-deep, while Fulham's inability to find composure around the opposition area, would have had the neutrals up and down the country marking them down as relegation certainties.

Dan Nulty
345 Posted 24/11/2020 at 06:37:56
Defensively lamentable Allan? The same Allan who is leading the stats defensively in the Premier League? He breaks up play so well, I don't understand that comment at all.

I do agree with you, however, that Gomes sits far better than Doucouré in the midfield 3, we just played a different system on Sunday with only 2 central midfielders.

As for the people saying we weren't hanging on, last ditch blocks by Davies, banging balls anywhere down field, giving the ball away in our own half. I was sweating profusely and it was only the last 5 minutes where we managed to hold onto it a bit better and gain some territory.

Danny Broderick
346 Posted 24/11/2020 at 06:38:37
The pleasing thing for me on Sunday was that, after a terrible second half and letting them back into it at 3-2, we saw the game out. We defended well in the last 10-15 minutes, Tom Davies did particularly well for us in that period.

It seems strange that he didn't figure in the previous 4 games when Sigurdsson was stinking the house out. Did he have a knock? We'll never know. He made a good impression anyway, along with Iwobi. It's good to see players really giving it everything when they get a chance.

We would have thrown that game away under Silva, make no mistake. The biggest problem for me wasn't the way we defended second half on Sunday – it was ball retention. The amount of times we won the ball back, only to give it away cheaply, was criminal.

We are still a work in progress in terms of our mentality and certainly our passing. The second half without Rodriguez and Richarlison was pretty much last season's team, with Sigurdsson a passenger and no outballs.

We've shown we can score goals this season when we have our full complement of players available. We need the balance in midfield to be right to make us more solid. Allan and Doucouré have both impressed me. We just need to knit the team around them.

David Hayes
347 Posted 24/11/2020 at 07:00:40
How anyone who watched the game, can only comment negatively on what one 15-minute sub (Sigurdsson) did and not see any other aspect of the team performance, ie, Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison, Digne, Iwobi etc, also the many ebbs and flows contained in that game, is confusing.

Hang on... I just remembered George and Christy – that's all you ever post, every game, no matter what the outcome or actual events may be. I don't understand why you watch the games at all if that's only what you see.

Sam Hoare
348 Posted 24/11/2020 at 07:29:54
Conor @342, I did actually edit my post to 'suggest' rather than say as you can see.

I've also never prophesised that we would excel without Gomes or that Allan is "world class defensive player". Feel free to look for such prophesies, you won't find them.

What I did say was that Gomes has not offered enough consistently, which I stand by, and it seems that Carlo may agree. And I also said that Allan is a very good tackler/presser, similar to Gueye, which I especially stand by as he is currently leading the league with an impressive 4.4 tackles per game. He's capable of playing the sitting role but like Gueye is likely to roam and press, which may not be ideal.

I agree Sigurdsson is just as bad if not worse than Gomes and I'm curious to see what difference Gbamin could make. Or even Davies if given more minutes.

Paul Tran
349 Posted 24/11/2020 at 07:29:56
Sunday showed that, like most teams in this league, when we're good we're very good; when we let things slip, we look average. Won 5, drawn 1, lost 3 tells you that.

The difference is that, in certain areas, we have more quality in certain areas of the team. Quality that will see us through most games, as it did on Sunday. Whilst working yesterday, several people around the UK told me how good we were in that first half, so there's definitely something there.

If we're going to improve, we're going to have to get stronger mentally. If I think back to the 80s, I think it just emerged and the team seemed to really believe in itself.

That's Carlo's biggest job. It'll define his time here.

Rob Halligan
350 Posted 24/11/2020 at 08:07:11
Darren, what some are saying is, me included, is that Fulham didn't have many direct efforts on goal after their second goal. There was one I think, the player who missed the pen, who had a tame effort from about 20 yards out, which trickled into Pickford's arms.

We never saw shots fizzing past the post or over the bar, or even Pickford diving here, there and everywhere keeping shots out. They may have had a lot of possession on the edge of, or around our area, but did absolutely naff all with it.

I agree the defending was of blind panic, but the ball was only coming back as far as the edge of our penalty area before being given the wellie up the field again. A bit of composure wouldn't have gone amiss in the last 20 minutes or so.

Eddie Dunn
351 Posted 24/11/2020 at 08:41:01
I read this morning that Walcott (who scored again) commented on how fit he felt. This suggests he feels fitter now than at EFC. Now it could be that he is getting more game time and playing more centrally or it could also be that Southampton are fitter than us. It certainly looked that way when we played them.
John Boswell
352 Posted 24/11/2020 at 09:33:56
Good morning, all. I sense a good deal of frustration among the foregoing comments and at times I feel that too. I followed the 1969-70 team and know the feeling that a wonderful team can give a fan.

We have enjoyed more success since then but none for too long. It will return but building a great side does require a little time. Carlo has made a significant start this summer. We are not making a cup of instant coffee, if only it was that easy.

Stay safe everyone and dream of getting back into Goodison soon, COYB.

Derek Thomas
354 Posted 24/11/2020 at 09:46:50
Eddie @ 351; Carlo isn't noted as a hard taskmaster with training...I think he sees sandhills as somewhere to walk the dog. At Bayern there was a tale that Robben and some others organised extra training amongst themselves because they thought they needed more conditioning.

I maybe old fashioned in this, but I see a really hard pre-season as money in the bank, skill is a finite god given thing, fitness is more of a movable feast and can be improved upon.
Its no good having all the skill, if, when you need to use it, you're bent over, elbows on knees, blowing for tugs.
A tired body leads to a tired mind and poor execution.

The old thing of the 6Ps...prior preparation, prevents piss poor performance.

Eddie Dunn
356 Posted 24/11/2020 at 10:29:30

It is true that if you're knackered it doesn't matter if you have Messi's tricks if you can't run.

When I was in my early 20s, I did martial arts, played footy twice a week plus 5-a-side (two hours on a Sunday) thought I was fit.

One Saturday, the Tae-Kwon-Do club had a boxing training day. I was taking on an experienced boxer, a Sergeant in the Paras. He was taking it easy on me (no mouth guards, or head guards back then!) After two rounds, I was blowing for tugs and in the third he said "Drop your guard and I'll make you see stars". Suffice to say, I kept that guard up but it was the longest couple of minutes.

I wasn't as fit as I'd thought. There are definitely different levels of fitness and in the Premier League, teams like Leeds look much fitter than most of our team. I fear we will struggle after halfway when we play them next weekend.

Dave Abrahams
358 Posted 24/11/2020 at 10:50:20
Sam (324),

Yes, I understand your meaning of how they would line up and the two younger players watching the pace of the game and covering up on both sides of Michael Keane. At the moment, it's worth a try.

Something needs doing about the way we are defending – so badly – at the moment. Thanks for your reply.

Dave Abrahams
359 Posted 24/11/2020 at 11:04:27
Danny (346),

Your third paragraph down: “ball retention, the amount of times we won the ball and gave it away so cheaply, was criminal”.

Exactly, Danny, it grieved me to watch. Not one player had the nouse, or calmness, to put his foot on the ball and find one of his teammates. It happens every game under manager after manager. It beggars belief how this is allowed to happen. What exactly do they do at Finch Farm? So easy to do but no-one does it at Everton.

Christy Ring
361 Posted 24/11/2020 at 11:29:46
David #347,

I backed Calvert-Lewin from the very start and was thrilled to see him make the next step. For me, Richarlison is world class, and he was a massive loss when he missed the 3 previous games.

But it sticks in my gut, when you look at the lack of effort, as on Saturday and the previous games from Sigurdsson, when we needed 100% commitment.

Some comments here that Fulham didn't put us under any pressure at 2-3... Well I remember one last-ditch tackle by Davies on the edge of the box that looked very threatening. Tom put in a huge effort when he came on, not standing with his hands on his hips, giving the ball away.

Tony Everan
362 Posted 24/11/2020 at 12:23:24
Eddie 356

Fitness is an issue for us, I think some of our lads look after themselves better than others. It creates a mismatch in the team when some players clearly don't train hard enough or look after themselves in their private life as they should.

I am not saying they are not super fit, but I am talking relative to the standard now being seen by more and more teams in the Premier League.

Possibly some players are harder to train than others but this needs addressing. To me Gomes is a prime example, he has all the talent he needs but he just needs to be 20% fitter.

The game has changed, it has become faster and more dependent upon mobility, fast passing and aggressive closing down. Players like Gomes, Sigurdsson, Delph have been left behind, the game's moved on. Have they got the will power in the cosseted autumn of their careers to change with it?? Doesn't look like it.

Questions need to asked and we need answers to help us improve this fitness discrepancy with a lot of our direct competitors. We need to poach ideas from the likes of Bielsa, Klopp, Hassenhutl, and Mourinho etc and hire the best we can (A director of Player Fitness?) to implement and improve upon the best training regimes out there.

Doing so I think would move us up a level as there is only so far you can go with players who are outdone for fitness by the likes of Southampton or Wolverhampton, however talented the players on our books may be.

Steve Brown
363 Posted 24/11/2020 at 12:35:18
A lot of hopes being placed on Gbamin.

The injuries he suffered mean he might return as the player we signed – or not.

We need to sign a defensive midfielder as cover for Allan and a striker. If Conor's judgement is correct on Allan as a defensive midfielder (I don't wholly agree), then cover for that position is the priority.

Dan Nulty
364 Posted 24/11/2020 at 12:55:44
Yes, seems a lot of hope is resting on Gbamin when the reality is we don't know much about him at all. He might be useless for all we know. We don't have a good record at signing decent midfielders for more than ٠M.
Ricky Oak
365 Posted 24/11/2020 at 13:18:52
I agree 100%, @362.

The next investment could be a fitness science stamina guru – we seem miles behind every other team in this regard. Surely even if it cost 㾶M or so, it would be a massive improvement just to be able to stay in the fight for 90-plus minutes.

Like attacking being the best form of defence... I wouldn't be surprised if this is going on already though, to be fair. Surely the heads running our club can see what us mere mortals can??

Christy Ring
366 Posted 24/11/2020 at 13:51:46
Carlo is probably old school regarding training, but hasn't he got Francesco Mauri, head of physical conditioning, and Manuel Morabito fitness coach, who monitor and assess each player individually, who should ensure all are in top physical shape?
Jerome Shields
368 Posted 24/11/2020 at 14:06:48
Christy #366,

That's right, but the old regime still exists with Mauri (physical conditioning) and Mirabito (recovery) attached at different levels within the structure. Physiotherapy is under the old regime control.

In my opinion, in the past, the old physiotherapy structure was taken advantage off, being soft recovery based, by some players, as is the case in most clubs. I also think that Everton have improved in this area since Ancelotti's changes with a harder recovery regime. A combination of injuries, rehabilitation and having to use below-par players, who slow the game down, has given the impression of an unfit side.

I would say that the squad is a lot fitter than prior to Ancelotti and problems are more technical and poor coaching uptake based.

Andrew Keatley
369 Posted 24/11/2020 at 16:45:17
Darren (344) - Who are you quoting there?

Rob (350) - Couldn't agree more.

Jason Li
370 Posted 24/11/2020 at 16:54:21
Less than a year for Ancelotti's coaching.

Totally changed Dom into a brilliant striker, Iwobe a growingly consistent and reliable player – hopefully no more hooks at half-tim. Keane, even Richarlison looks like he's running with purpose and into threatening areas immediately.

The next magic trick... Davies is the new Allan – he was very smart against Fulham in everything when he came on, and at such a young age he is getting better still. Written off too many times, but bounces back with good performances a few times this season.

I'm really looking forward to what Professor Carlo's coaching does for Gordon, Godfrey, Branthwaite and Simms in the next year, especially with cup games coming in a few weeks time.

Eddie Dunn
371 Posted 24/11/2020 at 16:56:55

Calvert-Lewin for sure, but Iwobi! He's had one decent game! Steady-on, I hope you're right but one swallow doesn't make a summer.

David Cooper
372 Posted 24/11/2020 at 17:33:44
In post 271, I suggested that Sigurdsson contributed positively to Everton's win when he came on in the 75th minute for Richarlison. Several posts clearly did not agree with my comments which is their prerogative. So I went back and watched the final 20 minutes focussing solely on what Sigurdsson did. So here we go:

75' – comes on as sub for Richrlison and takes up position behind Calvert-Lewin. Immediately he combines with Iwobi to force Fulham to lose the ball deep on the left side of the Everton defence.
76' – runs and challenges side to side just inside Everton half.
77' – left side outside penalty area wins a defensive header. Chases side to side slowing down Fulham going forward.
78' – same chasing side to side, delaying Fulham progress.
79' – Again side to side wins tackle on edge of Everton's penalty area.
80' – loses challenge edge of EFC penalty area.
81' – Everton go to a back 4 with Sigurdsson now on left side.
82' – Everton move upfield and win a corner. Sigurdsson takes and hits it into the hands of the keeper.
83' – always on the move, challenging and slowing Fulham as they press forward.
84' – wins the ball, then loses it in Fulham half. Clearly keeping his position in midfield 4. When Everton go to 4 in midfield, they are much more comfortable and effective at dealing with Fulham possession.
85' – challenges and loses ball in Fulham half.
86' – challenges for the ball and loses it. Retains possession and plays ball to Tom Davies as Everton keep possession and move into Fulham half.
87' – ball on Everton right side; Sigurdsson holds position in middle.
88' – moves out wide left. Everton keep the ball and move downfield.
89' – gets the ball, keeps possession, loses ball in Fulham half
90' – picks up ball wide left and passes to Calvert-Lewin who runs down the wing eventually winning a foul.
91' – challenges and harries Fulham progress in midfield.
92' – wins ball outside Everton penalty area; out pass to Calvert-Lewin on half-way line
93' – Everton keep their defensive shape, keeping Fulham out of the penalty area and in front of them.
94' – picks up ball in Fulham half. Chases back, picking up Loftus-Cheek. In the last 20 minutes, Loftus-Cheek's influence on the game is severely restricted.
95' – whistle blows. Job done. Good game management.

Now, if you read all of that, it was pretty basic, mundane, defensive play which Sigurdsson had clearly been brought on to do. This he did very effectively. In this instance, coming on as a sub for the last 20 minutes was not earth-shattering but evidence of good defensive professional work. As such, Sigurdsson should be congratulated along with Tom Davies as they were influential in keeping Everton in front and winning the game.

This in no way excuses Sigurdsson's terrible performance in recent weeks when asked to do more. But, on this showing, he and Davies did what they were asked to do – and did it very well.

I really don't see how Sigurdsson can be criticized for what he did in this game.

Sukhdev Sohal
373 Posted 24/11/2020 at 17:50:26
David, I agree with you. Ideally, Gordon would've been perfect for us to bring on to carry the ball up the pitch, but he wasn't on the bench. Sigurdsson did alright and it's just the majority if our fans who have an agenda against him.
Annika Herbert
374 Posted 24/11/2020 at 18:12:45
Sukhdev @373, it's not that fans have an agenda against Sigurdsson, it's because he was awful. Just as he has been for many months now.
He creates nothing, he isn't scoring, he makes no tackles and he doesn't track back. If that is okay in your book, then you set the bar a lot lower than me!
Jay Wood

375 Posted 24/11/2020 at 18:14:03
Dan Nulty
376 Posted 24/11/2020 at 18:28:58
I'm not one to slate Sigurdsson, but giving the ball away as many times you suggest, David, when under pressure is not the sign of someone helping the team.
Derek Taylor
377 Posted 24/11/2020 at 18:54:57
We must accept that Carlo has, for years, gained success with clubs who signed only 'marquee' players. He has little time for promising youngsters nor patience to give them time to mature. That is not an opinion but a hard fact so unless our' owner' keeps his wallet wide open there will be little joy coming to Goodison.

The appointment of Ancelotti was not as much to bring honours to our club but more a guarantee of remaining in the Premier League as the Bramley-Moore Dock project comes into view. Accept that fact and regular ninth will seem like success!

Tony Abrahams
378 Posted 24/11/2020 at 19:07:42
Sigurdson lost a lot of tackles by the sounds of it, and he also looks a yard too slow whenever he plays these days, imo, David.

I thought Ancelotti gave us just as many problems as Fulham did by not freshening us up a bit earlier. Although I understood what he was saying about how much quality we lose without the two South Americans, they were both shattered and should have definitely been replaced earlier.

Allan was also shattered, and he also lost a few 50-50s near the end because of this (he usually tackles his weight, but his legs had very little left). This is the main reason I'm looking forward to watching us play Leeds, because it's definitely a game in which we will be able to gauge our fitness, especially with everyone being at Finch Farm all week.

Christy Ring
379 Posted 24/11/2020 at 19:10:56
David #372,

I checked Sigurdsson's stats yesterday: played 14 mins, 14 touches, gave away possession 7 times.

I was afraid to check his stats from previous games.

Jason Li
380 Posted 24/11/2020 at 19:11:32
Eddie @ 371

I can fully understand why you say this, as Iwobi has had his fair share of "no-shows" since he's signed with us.

I know it's fast to judge, and I think against Fulham he confirmed he has everything in the locker we need in our league. He showed more than Zaha against us - which is a good comparison due to that transfer period when we went for Iwobi.

Against a few teams he's looked very good this year, and did a nice technical trick against Liverpool in the corner giving Robertson the chase.

I'm sure Carlo will adjust to get the best out of Iwobi more, because Richarlison and James can do it anywhere in the opponents half, and three is always better than two to feed Calvert-Lewin.

David Cooper
381 Posted 24/11/2020 at 19:40:19
Dan, maybe I should qualify giving the ball away when under pressure to losing the ball when under pressure! Big difference!
Andrew Keatley
382 Posted 24/11/2020 at 20:01:39
Annika (374) - I've come to the conclusion that your support of Everton has now been overcome by your lack of support for Gylfi Sigurdsson. Seriously, are you able to post about anything else on here?

I think you even waited until Sigurdsson was about to join the action against Fulham to make your first contribution to the live forum, and every post was about Sigurdsson.

I'm all for criticising underperforming players, and Sigurdsson definitely qualifies, but you are allowed to deviate onto other subjects – and your unwillingness to do that is becoming alarming.

Brian Murray
383 Posted 24/11/2020 at 20:37:57
Derek Taylor,

The lure of playing for Carlo has been a big bonus for us, and continue to be. It's the in-game management and timing of subs and basic team selection that has shown he is only human and not the next messiah.

In that respect, he's no different from the recent managers we have had but I'm still glad to have him as long as he starts to get brave with the untested kids. Could save us millions and they can't do any worse.

Christy Ring
384 Posted 24/11/2020 at 21:02:41
Holgate has to come into the reckoning this weekend, especially as he's had 3 weeks extra training since his last game. We need pace at the back against Leeds, and Mina struggled at Brighton.
Dale Self
385 Posted 24/11/2020 at 21:32:41
Nice move, John (352), I'll be looking more often for your contributions.
Danny O’Neill
386 Posted 24/11/2020 at 21:35:38
It depends, Christy.

I'm no Leeds expert, but isn't their main striker a box player who scores a few with his head? If so, and excuse my ill-informed ignorance, then maybe a Mina - Keane partnership counters that. And Mina brings with him an attacking threat from set-pieces against a team that concedes a lot.

Going to be another rollercoaster. Two teams that can score but concede. As I've said many times on here and this season, right now, in these matches, just focus on attack. If we try to defend with this defence (whoever it comprises), we concede and lose.

Christy Ring
387 Posted 24/11/2020 at 22:20:09
Danny #386,

Bamford is their main striker, he's 6ft, and Rodrigo about the same height; that's not saying they're not good in the air.

Danny O’Neill
388 Posted 24/11/2020 at 22:30:43
6 foot is a decent height on a football pitch in my experience, Christy. In fact, that's probably above average??
Christy Ring
389 Posted 24/11/2020 at 22:46:19
Danny, agree... but Bamford's main threat is his skill with his left foot.
John Boon
390 Posted 24/11/2020 at 22:56:30
Eddie Dunn (351).

Regarding fitness I think you are exactly right. We can talk about team formations and which players should or should not be playing. We can talk about who we should sign and why they would make us a better team. Rarely do posters mention fitness.

From my observations, what we often perceive as a lack of effort is really a lack of fitness. I just don't think that Everton are as fit as most of the teams we play. We do have lots of skillful players but if they are not fit they are obviously not giving their best.

I would like to see more players chasing down opponents and closing in on defenders trying to bring the ball out of defence. We need to make the opposition feel uncomfortable.

Darren Hind
391 Posted 25/11/2020 at 00:24:45
I worry that so many think Iwobi is is now a player. He isn't.

I was delighted for him this weekend because it must have been torture for him since he got here, but he didn't suddenly become a wing-back.

You have to get on the Yellow Brick Road to find a heart. The wizard lives in Oz – not down by the river in posh West London.

Bob Parrington
392 Posted 25/11/2020 at 01:45:42
Darren, Good to see so many on here, including you, show recognition at the best performance we've seen from Iwobi in an Everton shirt. It would be a bonus if we could see this consistently.

Much of the 2nd half performance of the team was clearly down to players running out of energy, which is exacerbated by long flights to and from South America in particular. However, although looking somewhat weary at times, Allan's tenacity and inner strength showed up well.

I do wonder why Gordon isn't being used!?

Steve Brown
393 Posted 25/11/2020 at 03:04:44
The mental fragility that Darren raises about the team and the club was no better demonstrated than after the derby.

The red media propaganda machine cranked into action - Klopp and his squad, ex-Red commentators and pundits and that whole generation of 'plastic reds' in the media who adopted the red shite when they were dominant in the seventies and eighties and have now reached positions of seniority.

The result? We wilted under the scrutiny and lost the next 3 games. If the club had a winning mentality, the players and management would have walked off that pitch with a calm smile of satisfaction and pushed back hard at the coverage.

Paul Ward
394 Posted 25/11/2020 at 05:15:20
Annika Herbert #374, "It's not that fans have an agenda against Sigurdsson" – maybe not, but you have.

In the last 2 seasons, almost every one of your posts are anti-Sigurdsson. I don't recall you ever giving him credit any time he has played well – even though they are rare occasions.

Annika Herbert
395 Posted 25/11/2020 at 06:38:00
Paul Ward @ 394, then you obviously haven't seen all the posts on the live thread. Maybe you should check your facts before making any comments?

But he has played well so rarely any comments giving credit are few and far between.

But maybe you are happy to give credit to players performing abysmally? I am not.

Annika Herbert
396 Posted 25/11/2020 at 06:44:13
Andrew @ 382, as I mentioned to you once before and I repeat now, feel free to ignore my posts, or just scroll straight past them.

I will post what I want, when I want, within TW guidelines of course.

Unless of course you have now become a moderator and can delete, or block posts? I generally scroll right past your posts; maybe it's time you adopted the same principle with mine?

Annika Herbert
397 Posted 25/11/2020 at 06:55:59
I should of course add, the only time I have praised Sigurdsson on the live thread was during our unbeaten start to the season and not during the last one.

Just to let the Sigurdsson apologists know I wasn't referring to the last live thread.

David Hayes
398 Posted 25/11/2020 at 07:34:09
Christy, your non-Sigurdssson-related posts are good reading and informative and that's not me being patronising and telling you and some others what to post.

We can all see Sigurdsson's a spent force and is no longer the player he was; time has caught up with him. I am sure quite soon he will be replaced by a younger, fitter version. I just don't think full-on chasing around, tackling has ever been his game or strength; he was a playmaker and delivery, dead ball quality player, now sadly fading.

Lack of fight and effort was never his style but now he just can't go full tilt anymore. That's my honest assessment and the exact same applies to Gomes, sadly, who has slid (thanks to injuries) even further into decline.

Mike Gaynes
399 Posted 25/11/2020 at 07:42:55
Annika, so anybody who doesn't agree with you is an "apologist"???

That's an insulting and unnecessary cheap shot. Of course, that's just my opinion and you can "feel free to ignore" my post.

I read yours because on the off-chance you ever do post an opinion on a subject other than Sigurdsson, I don't want to miss the historic occasion. We might even hold a brief ceremony to honor the moment.

Hasn't happened yet, but hope springs eternal.

Dan Nulty
400 Posted 25/11/2020 at 08:09:12
Jay, that was an interesting read. I'm not sure about the quality of that piece though given they reckon Maric and Fred deserve to be in the top 25 defensive midfielders.

I'm genuinely shocked that I've seen someone call Allan 'lamentable'. The lad has 35 successful tackles this season so far. More than anyone else. To put that in some form of perspective, Kalvin Phillips, who seems to be flavour of the month as a defensive midfielder, has 18 tackles; Fabinho 17.

It is amazing how differently people see the same game. I don't feel I have any bias towards players or against. I'll praise someone who I think deserves it and call out poor performances where I think they are under par. The only one I've repeatedly criticised is Davies who I thought was deserving of real praise on Sunday and helped get the 3 points over the line.

Allan lamentable and Calvert-Lewin to be played on the right against Leeds are 2 of the most unbelievable things I think I've ever read on here.

Mark Murphy
401 Posted 25/11/2020 at 08:12:48
All players have a shelf life, no matter how good they were.

Sigurdsson is past his best. Not his fault – he's not a cunt taking the mick, he's just not as good as he was. The top sides would replace him with better and move him on. We aren't yet in a position to do so and until we do he, Gomes, Tosun etc will do the job they are asked of by Carlo until his squad is assembled.

Sadly I remember Joe Royle, Howard Kendall and Peter Reid being given dogs abuse for being past it – and they would've died for this club. I'm not a fan of Sigurdsson but I'm not angry that he's not in his prime.

Conor McCourt
402 Posted 25/11/2020 at 08:14:54
Sam if you go back to the summer threads on Allan, you will see how you described him. I agree that Gomes himself can have no complaints individually about being dropped but I feel the same could be said about all our midfielders and his omission has been to the detriment of the team.

This argument that Allan has impressive stats with regards to tackling and pressing are similar to the ones that argued Sidibé was an excellent defender. I'm not implying there is anything wrong with the guys character, courage, will or strength in the tackle – all highly commendable – as is his distribution which has pleasantly surprised me just how good he is technically. The issue with Allan is that he always wants to engage and seems in an almost chronic schizophrenic state of 'should I stay or should I go' so your assertion that he is "capable of sitting" is one in direct contrast to all the mounting evidence.

Gueye is a lot speedier than Allan, didn't often get played around and his fundamental asset was the athleticism to recover when he made poor judgements or was found wanting tactically. Allan unfortunately doesn't have this luxury and, as a consequence, when he goes hunting and comes away empty-handed, the team is often severely punished.

The Brazilian is like a bad episode of the Tasmanian Devil cartoon in which he constantly goes out chasing only to come back into view when his opponent is about to put the ball in the net. That's why for now I would prefer to see Gomes play, as he is aware of where he needs to be for the good of the team, even if his body isn't necessarily on the same wavelength.

If the Premier League had stats on 'percentage of fried brain', I think both Allan and Doucouré would also be among the highest in the league. Of course I'm only joking but the serious point is that concentration levels, awareness, smelling and acting upon danger and discipline are imo more important than tackling, pressure, competitiveness and aggression for someone tasked with a defensive midfield role.

Tony Abrahams
403 Posted 25/11/2020 at 08:28:27
I don't see that with Allan, Conor, but a top player usually knows what to do unless something is wrong, and maybe this has been part of the problem?

No pace at the back means our defence sits deep, Doucouré covering for Rodriguez. This also definitely leaves us short in the middle of the park. Until these two issues are sorted out properly, the area of the pitch that Allan has to patrol is just too big, imo, mate.

Jerome Shields
405 Posted 25/11/2020 at 08:40:11
Both Iowbi and Richarlison played deeper in the second half as part of Ancelotti's tactics to close down the game. They were not puffed.

There seems to be a misapprehension that the second half performance was a fitness issue. The problem was that some players were below par technically and tactically: misplaced passes, opting for long ball clearances to an isolated Calvert-Lewin, poor positional play, poor tactically covering, and not getting in front of their marker.

A poorer quality, as Ancelotti would call it.

Tony Abrahams
406 Posted 25/11/2020 at 09:20:43
You do usually go below par on technical and tactical issues when the mind or the body becomes fatigued, though, Jerome.

I always describe football and form as not being like a tap. (Only the greats can turn it on when they please.) Once your standards drop, it's sometimes very hard to pick them back up again, especially once your opponents have got a bit of wind in their sails, which is what I thought happened on Sunday.

Bobby Mallon
407 Posted 25/11/2020 at 09:31:12
Dan Nulty, get a grip – there have been hundreds of post worse than me saying play Calvert-Lewin right of the 3 against Leeds, ffs.
Bobby Mallon
408 Posted 25/11/2020 at 09:44:30
Okay, lads, what about signing Goetz in January? He's a free transfer...

Or put a sneaky bid in for Ozil on a pay-as-you-play basis. Ozil is a good player.

Dan Nulty
409 Posted 25/11/2020 at 10:06:58
Apologies, Bobby, anyone suggesting that their striker, leading goal scorer in the Premier League, who has scored all their goals centrally, should be moved out of position to the right-hand side in order to provide extra cover for the right-back/right-wingback is the one that needs to get a grip. I guess we will have to agree to disagree but the notion seems absolutely bonkers to me.

I agree with Conor that stats don't tell the full picture. I also agree that Gueye was slightly more athletic than Allan. I also agree that Gomes dropping in to the left side of Allan in the opening fixtures provided good balance to the midfield.

I just have to completely disagree with your view on Allan as a midfielder. Without him, we would not have as many points as we do currently. For him to be so far ahead in tackles of more fancied defensive midfielders says a lot in my view and confirms to me my impression of his merits. I'm not convinced Doucouré is the best partner for him as a 2. Be interesting to see how that develops.

Anyway, time to stop disagreeing and back to job hunting. Have a good day, everyone, fingers crossed for a much more complete performance this week.

Bobby Mallon
410 Posted 25/11/2020 at 10:07:22
Do any of you think as I do, that Digne should have tripped Lookman and given a free-kick away?
Brian Harrison
411 Posted 25/11/2020 at 10:13:54
Tony @403,

I agree with what you say about Allan, that he is expected to cover far too big an area, and the reason for this, in my opinion, is Doucouré is poor defensively and just doesn't do enough defensively to help Allan.

Also because both Mina and Keane have no pace and are slow to turn, so their default position is always to drop off instead of closing down, so the gap between Allan and our centre-backs is far too big. Added to the fact that James, although very talented, doesn't track back, so again leaves our midfield light defensively. I think that's why Ancelotti went 3 at the back against Fulham with Iwobi playing wingback to help cover the area where James doesn't cover.

The problem with this system is the back 3 can sometimes become a back 5 with no out-ball, as we found that's what happened against Fulham. Fulham quite rightly decided at 1-3 they may as well throw more men forward which meant for large parts of the second half we had a back 5.

I am sure Ancelotti will be working this week on how best to make sure the 3 at the back doesn't become a 5 at the back, except only when necessary. I am sure come the January window, someone to sit alongside Allan and another striker will be his priority and maybe a centre-back as I am not convinced about Mina or Keane, but we can't put Godfrey and Holgate together as although both have pace, I think a lack of height would hurt us, plus I think Godfrey will need more time to be first-choice centre-back.

Sam Hoare
412 Posted 25/11/2020 at 10:22:10
Conor @402,

I'm not sure why the onus is on me to trawl through past pages in relation to something you claim I said but I have done netherless. What I said (and stand by) is

"2 years ago Allan was one of the best box-to-box midfielders in Italy. Maybe Europe. And he had been for a few years.

His form suffered when he didn't get his desired move to PSG (bought Gueye instead) and with the arrival of Gatusso. But if he can regain the form of a year or so ago then he'll be a serious asset."

And consequently when Steve F claimed he was not a ball winner I said "Allan is a ball winner in a similar mold to Gueye. He may not want to sit and screen but he will step in and win you the ball. He makes a lot of tackles (not as many as Gueye who was monstrous) but he'll win us the ball back considerably more than the likes of Davies, Sigurdson and Gomes."

At no point did I say he was a world class defensive midfielder as you claimed.

Allan is similar to Gueye as I said. He prefers to roam than just sit and like Gueye his pressing sometimes leaves holes. I agree that Gueye was a touch quicker and probably better able to cover but both are still very high level ball winners.

Doucouré is much less of a defensive midfielder than Allan so having them both is problematic potentially, but I certainly don't see Gomes as being the answer. Last season he was dribbled past more than anyone in our team and if you think Allan is slow then Gomes if positively glacial. Perhaps Gomes offers a good balance in terms of being able to retain the ball under pressure and distribute to the wings but his defensive contribution is minimal.

Ineterstingly in the thread on Allan this summer you claimed he was no better than anyone we already have. Would you still stand by that?

Jerome Shields
413 Posted 25/11/2020 at 10:36:01
Tony #406,

It could be that Ancelotti anticipated what you say and adjusted tactics. But the players were not up to it for the reasons you give, resulting in technical and tactical difficulties. Sigurdsson cleared and tackled the ball at least 7 times in the second half, but mostly to opposition plays. He was a sub.

It did occur to me on reading posts that wondered why Everton did not continue as in the first half, that teams only dominate parts of games, for the reasons you say.

Robert Tressell
414 Posted 25/11/2020 at 10:53:29
There are lots of different types of defensive midfielder.

Allan can sit but is more of a presser (like Gueye, as you say, Sam). This player needs to be athletic and relentless and win tackles.

Then you have those like Fernandinho at Man City and Busquets at Barcelona who sit and hold a position in front the back 4. This player needs to be intelligent and disciplined and good on the ball.

Both defensive, but very different styles.

Conor McCourt
415 Posted 25/11/2020 at 11:14:02
Sam, you said he was world class as I have the coffee stains on my floor to prove it – as I was so shocked to hear that that from you. I know you watch a lot of football and, while I don't often agree with your judgement on a player, I do find you very accurate on the general strengths and weaknesses of them or at least what my perception of that is. His form was poor long before Gattuso arrived last season, incidentally.

Yes, Sam, both the new players have improved mentality, competitiveness etc, as you would expect from new signings. Personally, I hated Schneiderlin and thought way less of him than Allan when he arrived but felt he had a greater initial impact than Allan has made.

I, like yourself, wish to see him in the role against Newcastle where he played some lovely little through balls. He is a little warrior and I love his desire but I just wonder if he has the energy and dynamism to play that role; to me, he looks like a player on the decline. I would guess that others on this thread will be referring to him as 'deadwood' and 'positionless' by this time next year.

Conor McCourt
416 Posted 25/11/2020 at 11:15:47
No worries, Dan, you don't agree!!

But to be so shocked about my opinion when I have presented my argument to back up my thoughts where you have only offered a stat which can actually be a negative rather than a positive and nothing else constructive, unlike Tony, who has offered his analysis of why I may be misguided.

If Allan is so good defensively...

1) Why are we conceding more than when we had the worst midfield in a decade and virtually the same players and manager from January?

2) Why is Allan's direct opponent causing us all sorts of problems game after game?

3) Why has only Carlo Ancelotti been convinced by him in that role? Sarri preferred him further forward while Gattuso preferred him further away. Indeed, he produced his best form in front of Jorginho.

4) Carlo himself told us that we would improve the defensive side this season, which was one of the worst we had, primarily due to losing Gueye. Carlo has replaced Gueye and Schneiderlin with Allan and Doucouré and we are conceding double the rate of the previous season and we have so far played most of the worst teams in the Premier League.

Ancelotti argued we had excellent midfielders technically but defensively needed addressing and Allan arrived to the fanfare of a "world class defensive midfielder". So even the manager who brought him here is telling you he is failing because he is not protecting the defence and he has not fulfilled the primary objective laid out by the manager as to why he was brought to the club.

Robert Tressell
417 Posted 25/11/2020 at 11:25:16
Conor, I'll pick up points 1 and 2. The answer is structural rather than individual. Allan is our "sitter" even though he's a better presser. As a sitter in a 4-4-2, he's exposed by Doucouré having to support the right-back because Rodriguez doesn't track back. He's also exposed by the ineffective third midfielder, especially Gomes or Sigurdsson.

In a 5-3-2, he's exposed because oppositions tend to have 3 in midfield these days. Rodriguez doesn't count. So we're outnumbered.

So Allan is subject to overloads in his area, whatever we do.

That said, he as an individual is generally playing very well.

Tony Abrahams
418 Posted 25/11/2020 at 11:28:45
Everton have now got some very good midfield players, imo, so it's now up to Ancelotti to sort out the conundrum.

He obviously wants and needs the flair of James Rodriguez, but he also needs to find a system that suits everyone, and all for the good of “our team”.

Graham Lloyd
419 Posted 25/11/2020 at 11:41:18
Look, it wasn't a great second half but, after watching it again, I don't think we were lucky to get away with 3 points. Jordan Pickford had very little to do.

What was obvious in the second half was that, in my opinion, we are a bit one-dimensional, which makes sense given our current strengths. Our front three can and will create and score goals when given the ball quickly. They won't when we have a ponderous slow build-up.

We aim to get the ball wide and cross it in as often as possible as we have a real threat between the posts with Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison (plus more from set-pieces). Once teams have worked this out, we struggle and need a Plan B and C when this happens.

From my (albeit poor) memory, it is rare that we pass the ball around the edge of the opposition box and dink a pass in around the centre-back to score these days to set up a goal.

I've said this on previous posts but, if we are expecting Sigurdsson to track back, we have lost our minds. It would be like asking Allan to play in James's role! Sigurdsson is an (aging) No 10 with great technique. He is (rightly, imo) now a squad player and I can't see him leaving before his contract ends so impact sub is what I hope for. Just don't ask him to defend as he has never been a defender or a defensive midfielder.

Tony Everan
420 Posted 25/11/2020 at 11:51:41
A lot of this instability in our midfield function is stemming from us not having a top-quality right-back. Ancelotti doesn't trust Kenny, so he is exploring alternatives, like the 3-5-2. He feels that system plays to our ‘current' strengths, and a player of Rodriguez's world class quality, rightly, just has to be utilised. It's a "We will score three, can you?" set-up.

Against lesser teams, it will have some success but better teams will be a different proposition. Especially if the second half lethargy takes hold.

I wouldn't be surprised if the first business we do in January is get a right-back in on loan as Seamus will be in and out with increasing regularity.

I think it will strengthen and balance the team and give us more options. Sam, Robert, any decent ones on the market for a 6-month loan or loan with an option to buy?

Christy Ring
421 Posted 25/11/2020 at 12:03:35
David #398,

I appreciate your comments, and agree about Sigurdsson, bit I'm still hoping that Gomes can still do a job for us in midfield. I still think he's not back to 100% after his horrific injury.

Christy Ring
422 Posted 25/11/2020 at 12:06:21
Regarding the Allan comments, Carlo himself said, Allan is a world class defensive midfielder.
Sam Hoare
423 Posted 25/11/2020 at 12:16:30
Conor @415, I spent (wasted!) 35 minutes of my time this morning going through all the old Allan threads and found, I promise, no claim by me that Allan was a world class defensive midfielder. I'm sorry to hear about your floor but, unless you can find evidence to the contrary, I'd ask you to admit you may have mis-remembered. I may have suggested that he was (or used to be) close to being a world class box-to-box player but even that is debatable.

Broadly speaking, we are in some agreement. There is clearly something not quite right about the midfield set up at the moment and that does relate to the fact that Allan prefers to press, and that Doucouré is even less of a defensive midfielder than Allan. But I think the centre-backs also have a lot to answer for in terms of our defensive frailty.

Gbamin (or maybe Davies?) coming back in could help the situation but a lot of our issues in the run of 3 losses seemed to come down our right flank rather than the centre. Perhaps this new system with wingbacks might help that as it means the lack of defensive contribution from Rodriguez is better masked. A solid right-wingback or even right-back may help as Coleman is struggling with injury and Iwobi can probably not be relied upon against better teams.

Incidentally, Allan would not have been my first choice either. I prefer players with more room to grow. His success here will depend a great deal upon his desire and professionalism, as you imply.

Stephen Brown
424 Posted 25/11/2020 at 12:18:36
I think Sigurdsson is a bit of a victim of his ridiculous fee! Which he didn't decide, by the way! If he were a 㾻M signing, I doubt we'd be noticing so much!

He's done many positive things in an Everton shirt but, sadly for him, he is past his best, playing in a system that doesn't suit his skill set!

For what it's worth, I'm sure he really tries, wants to do well, and cares... but I just think time has passed him by for where we want to go!

I think played in his best position he could probably do well in a team that was lower down the table, with legs around him and a big target man striker to hit from dead balls

However, if I was him, I'd try my luck in MLS?!

Dan Nulty
425 Posted 25/11/2020 at 12:23:03
Cheers, Conor, I think you have to compare stats to check how useful they are. Take our midfield last season to compare how much stronger defensively Allan makes us. Tackles won in the whole of 19-20:

Sigurdsson 50
Davies 38
Bernard 32

Allan has 33 already.

I'd argue that we have conceded far more largely due to the poor form of Yerry Mina who, for me, has been largely to blame, Saturday being prime example for both their goals. His poor reading of the game and reaction time causes lots of issues. Performance of Godfrey on Saturday for me leads me to hope we will soon see him and Holgate in central defense.

Yes, we have conceded 3 more goals this season than at this point last season. We've scored 11 more though and my opinion is that this is partly due to the work Allan does that frees up the likes of Richarlison to not have to track back quite as much as previous season. Richarlison was our leading tackler last season who wasn't a defender, with 70.

With him able to concentrate further up the pitch I think it is a reason we are scoring more, if we had him for those 3 games I do not think we'd have lost all 3. He has that much of a difference to the way teams have to defend.

I don't think Doucouré works in a 2; Coleman missing makes a huge difference to how we have to set up also.

Every former professional you hear seems to be praising Allan. I think there has to be some merit in that.

If I look at our managers over the last 30 years, I trusted Moyes to not get us relegated and keep us safely in midtable. I was excited by Martinez but couldn't trust him not to take us down either. If I look at everyone else, I wouldn't put any of them ahead of Carlo and I trust him. No manager will get every decision or every substitution right; they won't get every game right. I trust him to do far better with this squad than anyone we've had managing in the last 30 years would have done.

All this is just my opinion and interpretation of the stats. They are open to interpretation after all.

Andrew Keatley
426 Posted 25/11/2020 at 12:27:35
Decent answers from Robert (417).

There is also the fact that this season has seen an increase in the average total goals per game – something that has been partially attributed to the lack of crowds and the density of the domestic, European and International fixture list.

I believe the average goals per game is currently just above 3, which makes this season's game average almost half a goal more than the all-time Premier League average.

Jim Jennings
427 Posted 25/11/2020 at 12:40:55
Bobby #408,

Do you mean Mario Götze? He signed a 2-year deal with PSV Eindhoven and there's a reason no bigger club touched him. He's finished.

Robert Tressell
428 Posted 25/11/2020 at 12:50:49
Tony@ 120. Right-back to loan in January?

I'd be very surprised if we did this. But someone like Odriozola at Real (if fit) or even Sidibé again.

Much more likely to buy in Summer 2021. There are lots of options, fortunately – many of whom we were linked with a bit this Summer. Aarons, Dagba, Emerson, Dalot, Celik etc – with Lamptey also now looking excellent. That will help. But we also need a high-energy player to replace Gomes in the central 3 to prevent overloads – with some goals in him. That's a much harder player to find.

Bob Parrington
429 Posted 25/11/2020 at 13:09:07
Robert @417 and Tony E @420, I kind of agree with a mix of your thoughts.

With Seamus being out, substantial pressure is being put on the midfield combo and particularly Allan, who is a great addition to the team. Guts, character, skill and the rest.

Do we want James or do we not want James in the side? Well, if anybody says "No" to this, they need to go back to the school of 'Think Big'. He is a class act and every team needs this kind of game-changer, which he clearly is. And this goes beyond any single game!

So, the Coaching decision has to be "How do we accommodate his pluses and his minuses?" That is, it is no good having his pluses if we can't use them to create goals. Yes or No, anybody? And it is no good having no cover for his minuses that lead to chances for the opposition to score.

So, give him the "wandering" role at which he is so good and ensure there is positional aptitude within the rest of the team to create cover, whilst providing for taking advantage of the positives. It's not that difficult providing we can teach the other players this and their role(s), or manage to buy a suitable additional player to fill the required gap.

First signing in January has to be at right-back as Kenny isn't the answer in the current Premier League.

Andrew Ellams
430 Posted 25/11/2020 at 13:09:41
If Gbamin can come back and be the player we hoped he would be last season, it will be a huge plus for Allan and Doucouré.

He can do the job of shielding the defence and allow the other two to press and chase the ball higher up the field, which also means Richarlison won't need to come so deep to get the ball.

If Gbamin doesn't reach that level, Carlo and Marcel will need to think long and hard about bringing in somebody who does.

Sam Hoare
431 Posted 25/11/2020 at 13:10:08
Tony @420, yes I agree: a top-notch right-back would really help. Though even Cafu himself would struggle to cope with the lack of cover from Rodriguez in the 4-3-3 at times.

Max Aarons remains an option though not my pick. I like Emerson at Betis (on loan from Barcelona); Montiel at River Plate could be good value; Atal is a great attacking full-back; Dodo at Shakthar looks an interesting prospect; Celik at Lille looks good; and I like Simakan at Strasbourg though he may be more of a centre-back (like Holgate). I was quite keen on loaning Dalot. I'd probably take Maitland-Niles from Arsenal were he not likely to be overpriced.

In the Championship, Callum Brittain (Barnsley) and Jeremy Ngakia (Watford) appear to have started the season well.

Not many stand-out options. And it depends if we want someone to play right-back or right-wingback. Do you favour attacking potential or defensive solidity? How I wish we'd bought Ricard Pereira when we could have for 㿀M a few years back.

Emerson from Betis might be my top pick... but again, he'd probably be overpriced.

Rennie Smith
432 Posted 25/11/2020 at 13:17:57
Some sensible and balanced comments, there's hope for this site yet!

But it really surprises me that Allan gets criticised by some. One thing some seem to forget is that Allan has only played 8 Premier League games, we all know it's very different from the other European leagues. There used to be a bedding-in time but, sadly in these days of instant opinion, patience is in short supply for some.

I think he has the energy and the awareness; he's good technically on the ball and of course, loves making tackles and winning the ball. Can't see much wrong with that?

Jay Wood

433 Posted 25/11/2020 at 14:18:06
I think as this thread shows – as do all post-match threads – that you can predict with near 100% accuracy which posters will contrive some way to criticize a particular player, no matter how they have played.

Jordan Pickford. Michael Keane. Yerry Mina. Allan. Gomes. Sigurdsson. Davies. Even Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin.

No matter how well they might play, their perennial detractors will contrive some way to criticize them, often resorting to pure hyperbole and ignoring both actual performance and data which challenges their assessment.

Allan, for example, leading the Premier League's tackling stats, is described as a 'lamentable defensive midfielder', 'a headless chicken', 'a bad episode of the Tasmanian Devil'. Indeed, on another recent thread, you have the warped opinion that his tackling stats are evidence and proof positive of him failing in his role!!

Andre Gomes is offered as our most 'intelligent defensively midfield'.


Conor's attempts to make Allan the root cause of all our defensive failings this season reminds me of another poster in this thread – Tommy Carter – who once went to great lengths to 'expose' the shortcomings of Jonjoe Kenny by 'proving' the full-back was responsible for virtually every goal we conceded when he was on the pitch.

The only thing Tommy demonstrated in his hatchet job on Kenny was his own predisposed prejudice against the young full-back because he inflated his part in many goals when the blame could clearly be placed elsewhere.

Conor is now doing the same towards Allan.

Like many I'm sure, I have studied the goals we are conceding. Now last season, when we were going for nearly 3 goals a game under Silva, you could identify systemic failings as to why that was happening. The opposition happily invited us on to them, won the ball, quickly bypassed a non-existent midfield, overrunning a seriously exposed back line as our full-backs were also caught out of position. Zonal marking from dead-ball situations into our penalty area further compounded our defensive woes.

I've looked for repeated patterns of a systemic failing this season and there isn't one – or several – systemic failings you can identify, as was the case in Silva's final few months last year.

There are one or two patterns in one-off failings from some of our goals conceded. Coleman too easily skinned by Robertson vs Liverpool. Not closing down either Shaw or Fernandes quick enough from a similar position for Man Utd's two 1st-half goals against us. On the same two goals in the United game, the space and distance between the two centre-backs, possibly due to the returning Holgate not being up to speed after a long lay off. The too-frequent failings of Mina in a number of goals.

One thing I personally resent about the rumblings that emerged when we lost 3 straight was how a small handful on ToffeeWeb tried to denigrate and completely revise the performances in our stupendous start to the season. That the performances were nothing special. That we got lucky. That there was nothing to get excited about.

Bollox. Everybody (well... most) was loving it. The mood was extremely buoyant. Many noted and commented – including Lyndon in a commentary piece – that the improved performances of the new first XI was also lifting the levels of those they had displaced, knowing they had to perform well when given the chance to regain their places.

A mixture of suspensions, injuries and poor selection and tactics by the manager in the 3-game losing streak stalled the early-season momentum. Sunday's bipolar performance of the best and worst of Everton in each half reminded us again we cannot yet fully trust this Everton team.

Some fine tuning is necessary. Individual mistakes are seeing us concede too many goals.

But, for me, overall, there remains a great deal more to enjoy and anticipate each game as opposed to the nervous trepidation before each game in Silva's final months.

Brian Harrison
434 Posted 25/11/2020 at 14:34:33
Jay @433,

I often wonder if some posters just want some sort of notoriety, so they post the complete opposite as to what the majority on T/W feel about certain players or indeed the manager.

Look, this team needs work on it, there is no question about that, but you can see certain aspects of our game improving especially since the signings in the summer.

As you say, last season, opposition midfields had an easy day playing us usually allowed to walk through our midfield unchallenged a lot of the time. Although Keane has improved as has Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison under Ancelotti and this is not me assuming this, this is the players themselves saying how much Ancelotti has improved them. I still dont think he and Mina together are the answer to a good centre-back pairing.

I think if you had said to most blues would you accept being in the top 6 after 9 games most would have bitten your hand off. We will have to sign better players to stay in the top 6 undoubtedly, but in his first window Ancelotti has made a good start. But it takes time to build a good side that can compete for honours and no we are not there yet. But I believe Ancelotti will get us there.

Jim Harrison
435 Posted 25/11/2020 at 14:38:12
Jay 433

Have you ever considered cannabis?

Stephen Brown
436 Posted 25/11/2020 at 14:38:42
Well said Jay!

A lot of good points made there!! I'm going to remain optimistic!!

Dave Abrahams
437 Posted 25/11/2020 at 14:52:04
Stephen (436), while agreeing with almost all of Jay's post (433), you can still be optimistic and also see the flaws in Everton's performances. Every team has them and most of us realise that. Carlo is in the first phase of building a squad ready to win silverware.
Rennie Smith
438 Posted 25/11/2020 at 15:00:38
Brian@434, it's the Twitter/Trump, post-truth age I'm afraid. That's not a political statement, it's a generational statement.

In the old days, if you wanted to start a footy argument, there were only 2 ways of doing that: in the boozer after the match with your mates or you had to write a letter (remember them kids?) to a fanzine and maybe, weeks later, it would get published. These days, you only have to hit Tweet or Submit, so it's far too easy to be outrageous or controversial.

You talk a lot of sense, this is not an overnight revolution, it's a gradual evolution. Unfortunately, some people don't know who Darwin is on this site.

Annika Herbert
439 Posted 25/11/2020 at 15:11:43
Mike @ 399, I was wondering when you would be posting your thoughts containing the usual droll sarcasm.

Maybe if you had read every single post on every single thread you would be able to prepare your ceremony already? Obviously though, you haven't.

As I said previously, the easiest thing to do is simply scroll straight past my posts. That way you no longer have to wait in hope for anything.

Bobby Mallon
440 Posted 25/11/2020 at 16:26:13
Connor 415 define world class please.
Bobby Mallon
441 Posted 25/11/2020 at 16:36:35
Okay, so no-one likes the Calvert-Lewin idea... then Iwobi needs to be played always on the right of a midfield 3 and must be drilled in getting back and helping Godfrey.
Conor McCourt
442 Posted 25/11/2020 at 17:11:08
Dan I feel you are totally missing the point. Last season we had ZERO defensive midfielders at the club. The midfield was a complete unbalanced mess which both managers struggled with. It's not a template.

Silva was without Gomes. This is why I only spoke about Ancelotti's time for a comparative tool because Mina was shit then too, Holgate largely absent and our midfield was a complete shambles. We used Siggy,Post injury Gomes, Keane,Mina, Pickford, Davies, Schneiderlin, Delph and despite that being disastrous we are worse now defensively than even with those players. We had balance, structure problems then also. ToffeeWeb murdered them every week. Everything was like for like apart from the signings.

You can put at least 6 goals extra to Rodriguez (3 goals and 3 assists),possibly many more. Some wanted the manager sacked and gave up. I have never seen us have a front three like this one so it's difficult to quantify their input there if any to our greater attacking threat but even so you are comparing it with the worst midfield in a decade and the defenders were poor then also.

As for your stats the best midfield performance I saw live by a country mile was Keane in Amsterdam against a great Holland side. He never put a tackle in all night, it was like watching a pinball machine as he read everything. In the reverse fixture he put Overmars in the stand to set the tone for the evening, that was a tackle with merit. He knew when to tackle i.e. against Viera and when to control. A high tackle rate doesn't impress me as Sidibe was similar.

For those like Tony and Robert who are talking about structure. Look at Fulhams first goal. No one out of position, no one stretched. Our two midfielders body shape is all wrong, no looking over their shoulder to see Caballiero running into the hole. A quick give and go and they are standing like statues. Mina of course was also woeful. Same for the penalty.

The second you can argue was structural because Allan decided to go out and cover. However as much as we hated Schneiderlin that goal would not have happened as his cowardice meant he would have retreated to the edge of the box and allowed Doucoure to get back forcing the opposition to break us down which at 3-1 wouldn't have been a bad thing.

I actually disagree with both Sam and Dan who believe Doucoure is worse defensively as although none are proactive in sensing danger Doucoure does at least react, all be it too late,as we see for the second Fulham goal.

In our game with the neighbours when Robertson gets the ball there is only one danger. Doucoure again asleep as he lets Mane run off him. Allan can see the whole play develop in front of him but is focussed solely on the ball. Not only is he not proactive in sensing the only danger, he never once knows we are in trouble until it leaves Mane's foot. The problem is not that he doesn't prevent the goal as he may have been too late like Doucoure but he just doesn't see it.

He can see the whole play develop, he never deviates his run to show that he has seen Mane and jogs back like he is a centre forward going through the motions defending.

Brian- I don't seek notoriety though you are correct I only tend to comment on things which haven't been covered or discussed or blame in my opinion is wrongly attributed. Example; If Gomes is woeful in a left wing role I am more likely to blame the manager than the player. When there are 200 posts calling Gomes useless I don't need to make it 201 as I don't think he's our next Richarlison.

Let's see where we are half way through the season before we give out accolades. You have given players who you feel have improved but there are those that have regressed. We have six of last seasons top eight to play in a tough December and January.

If we are top six this season don't worry I will be the first and most vocal in labelling myself a clown for doubting the Italian Maestro and I will be more happy and proud to do so than those who would take great pleasure in sniping. I didn't realise that this was a communist site that we must all think the same Brian.

Darren Hind
443 Posted 25/11/2020 at 19:06:22
Stop it Conor.

By pointing to the fact that we are conceding at a much more alarming rate than we where before Carlo stated he would improve the defensive side of our midfield, you are not (as logic would suggest) pointing to the huge gaping holes in the argument that we are much better in that department.

Who care's about facts ?..Have you not seen Allan`s tacking stats?

It's clearly not enough for you that Carlo used his amazing pulling power to bring in world class to play in our midfield. I get the distinct impression you are just not going to be happy until we are actually improving on the record of what many believe to be the worst midfield in our history.

Paul Tran
444 Posted 25/11/2020 at 19:13:35
Darren, GT is running 1.50 Newbury on Friday. Three runner race, up against a Tizard horse who was excellent over hurdles and Henderson horse who is also good.

Our lad will probably be outsider of three, but he's come out if the race well, goes well at Newbury and has more chasing experience.

Let's hope he makes it count in a much better race!

Darren Hind
445 Posted 25/11/2020 at 19:17:26
Noted Paul.

Good luck

Dan Nulty
446 Posted 25/11/2020 at 20:52:50
Conor, I give up mate, you are watching a different game from the rest of us.
David Hayes
447 Posted 25/11/2020 at 21:51:59
Mike and Annika, play nice, We are all on the same side aren't we? Or are we? COYB. There is always differences in opinion but we all want class, quality and pride in our team.
Annika Herbert
448 Posted 26/11/2020 at 12:33:42
David @ 447, agreed, we all are on the same side. At least I would like to think so!
Darren Hind
449 Posted 26/11/2020 at 19:00:28
Brian Harrison,

You do make me laugh.

So the people who see through your blind support which you so often mistake for positivity are not only in the minority but, if they disagree with you, they are seeking notoriety...

It makes me laugh that you of all people should attack posters who criticise players when you have repeatedly apologised for this manager by claiming they are not good enough.

You then attempt to give "Carlo Fantastico" credit for the development of the two forwards who were rapidly improving before he even got here.

Not only did Carlo fail to even try to replace Richarlison when he was suspended, he badly let down Calvert-Lewin in the process...


I`m sure you will see right through these foolish attempts to paint you as a minority of one.

As you pointed out in a recent post, the crushing negativity reigned upon those criticising this manager is a clear attempt to shout down alternative views.

Heaven save us from this relentless positivity.

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