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Steve Ferns
1 Posted 21/07/2020 at 02:50:28
That's the level we need every week. If we can maintain that level and bring in a few quality players, then there is hope for this squad.

We must retain Richarlison and we must allow André Gomes to get forwards.

Bob Parrington
2 Posted 21/07/2020 at 04:41:27
Good performance all round. Gomes played a pearler! He even looked faster and sharper than I can remember.

Great Richarlison headed goal from a superb Sigurdsson free-kick. Branthwaite came good after several passes straight to the opposition while under no pressure.

Why can't the team do this consistently? To remain in 11th place, we now have to beat Bournemouth by the same number of goals or more than Southampton beat Sheffield Utd or lose by less than one more if Southampton loses.

Should make for a couple of interesting games. I hope our team actually does turn up for the game again so that we finish the season on a positive note.

Mal van Schaick
3 Posted 21/07/2020 at 07:09:39
The real Everton turned up. Credit to the players and the manager after a couple of tired-looking performances.

Gomes linked play up well and although it looked scrappy from both teams at times, for me we shaded it by creating more chances. As usual, Pickford went from sublime to ridiculous with another adrenalin overdose. Keane was solid again at the back, and Branthwaite handled himself well. Great header from Richarlison.

Ancelotti must be as confused as the rest of us with in-and-out performances but, if we at least finish off with a resounding win on Sunday, he'll have an opportunity to decide who stays and who goes to build for next season's European charge.

Steve Cotton
4 Posted 21/07/2020 at 07:35:52
Couple of points: I thought George Baldock was lucky not to be sent off for a high tackle on Digne followed by standing on Digne's leg, wasn't even mentioned by the panel.

Also, Digne needs to stop giving away free-kicks in really dangerous positions. He has done that a few times this season and it gives the opposition a chance to hurt us.

I felt Gomes and Keane were exceptional and Davies never stopped trying to break up their attacks. I just wish he wouldn't give the ball away 30 yards from our goal about 5 times a game.

Finally, the playing out from the back is pitiful to watch; we often had throw-ins or possession in line with their penalty area but still contrived to get the ball back to Pickford... it may keep possession but won't create an opportunity.

Barry Rathbone
5 Posted 21/07/2020 at 08:32:26
If we ever put 3 or 4 wins in a row with "effort" involved, I might get excited... but occasional results amidst dismal draws and defeats is just mid-table fayre, imo.
Christopher Timmins
6 Posted 21/07/2020 at 08:43:46
Let's finish with a win on Sunday and a good transfer window in August – thereby giving us some sense of hope for 20-21.

Rennie Smith
7 Posted 21/07/2020 at 09:16:38
It is weird and frustrating how they can swing from bloody awful to half-decent (it's a half, let's not get carried away). Maybe it's just players playing their preferred position/style, but you can't sulk if you're not. Great header and delivery for the goal; let's hope no-one comes in for Richarlison.

Davies will probably get plenty of stick for giving the ball away in our own half, but credit him for having a bit of youthful endeavour and not just playing the easy sideways pass.

Defence looks very solid, particularly Keane who deserves a lot of credit for recovering from some sticky periods over the last few years when a lot of people would have binned him off.

Walcott still infuriates me (sorry, there's got to be one), plays a peach of a cross to the back stick for Calvert-Lewin but follows that with 3 or 4 nothing crosses/passes when in similarly promising positions. I really want him to succeed because he's clearly got the ability, but something upstairs just switches off most of the time.

Dave Williams
8 Posted 21/07/2020 at 09:44:57

I thought that too about Gomes. He looked very fit and sharp and his demeanour looked very much more switched on. He is a confidence player and maybe his last period against Villa has given him a lift and he is starting to believe in himself again. I think he is a super player when on song and for me he was the difference yesterday as he gave us control in the middle.

I have been very critical of Sigurdsson and, in fairness, he was way better than usual whilst Tom had a decent game too.

Very much better.

Bob Parrington
9 Posted 21/07/2020 at 09:48:03
Steve Cotton @4,

I agree with you ref Baldock. Amazing how some referees miss this kind of thing. Frankly, I thought the ref on this occasion was absolute crap. So damn inconsistent and whistle happy.

Ajay Gopal
10 Posted 21/07/2020 at 10:36:45
"Delightful football from Everton" - I never thought I would ever hear those words on TV this season, but they did, yesterday.

What Everton are lacking is 'Composure' in the final third. I am a big fan of Calvert-Lewin but right now his anticipation seems to be shot to pieces – either he is 1-2 yards slower or 1-2 yards further ahead.

The good thing is that he is getting himself into excellent positions... but, after the Premier League restarted, I have counted 8-10 guilt-edged opportunities that he has squandered. A top Premier League striker would have put away at least 50% of those chances.

Hopefully, he can quickly pull himself out of the rut he finds himself in. He needs a goal desperately – if he gets that in the final game of the season, that will be a huge relief for him, and help bring back some self-confidence.

The next season is looming and will be upon the players and the fans very soon, so they need to exit this season on a high.

Martin Reppion
11 Posted 21/07/2020 at 10:51:31
I commented elsewhere that the usual suspects, who have been getting a lot of stick, all played well last night. It was a relief to see the lads get stuck into the task... but it shouldn't be a relief to hold out Sheffield United, ffs!

That's our issue at the moment. Recent results have left us as fans so short of anything to believe in that this was like winning the FA Cup.

If it proves to be the springboard we need, then I am even happier. There were a lot of plusses. COYB — don't let us down on Sunday.

Laurie Hartley
12 Posted 21/07/2020 at 11:23:32
I thought Gomes was terrific - the range and quality of his passing is top shelf. I think Walcott can benefit greatly from this and this in turn will help Calvert-Lewin back on the score sheet. Walcott has put some terrific crosses into the danger area in the last couple of games. Calvert-Lewin has to expect this and make his runs a little bit sooner to get on the end of them.

I watched Ancelotti's post match presser after the game. He had trouble containing his enthusiasm about young Branthwaite. Also, he had some interesting things to say about Sigurdsson, Richarlison, & Calvert-Lewin.

For my part, I had given up completely on Sigurddson but he put in a good shift. I wouldn't be surprised to see him back amongst the goals against Bournemouth.

Len Hawkins
13 Posted 21/07/2020 at 12:16:26
Something tells me Branthwaite may be getting another contract soon with a few more well deserved 0's on the number of £'s.
Rennie Smith
14 Posted 21/07/2020 at 14:11:01
Laurie, Walcott does put some good crosses in, but most of the time he puts some awful crosses in that come to nothing. Seriously frustrating for the forwards and midfielders running into the box. Case in point last night in the 2nd half when he skins the defender, has plenty of time and decides to roll it back behind everyone into an empty space. He's got bags of ability but the decision making is poor.
Kieran Kinsella
15 Posted 21/07/2020 at 14:17:51

I think he didn't look and hit it where he expected Calvert-Lewin to be but, having started the move out of position on the right, Calvert-Lewin was miles back.

I think that's part of our issue, Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin go wandering out of frustration, seeking the ball, so when we do cross, no-one is there. Cottee or Lineker would lap that up but then they wouldn't have done a Calvert-Lewin and started the whole move.

Rennie Smith
16 Posted 21/07/2020 at 14:30:12
You're right, Kieran, even though Calvert-Lewin is playing higher up the pitch these days, he still puts in a lot more work chasing and searching for the ball than Cottee or Lineker ever did. It's the modern game. pr>Saying that, it's telling that you say "he didn't look" and therein lies part of his problem.
Francis van Lierop
17 Posted 21/07/2020 at 16:33:30
Very pleasing second half, and result! Though the Blades may have been running on empties.

More pleasing was the display by our young Jarrad Branthwaite. Added to Anthony Gordon, it's great to ease young players into the first team, from the academy.

One or two players every year would be a great return, and should be something we should aspire to. Luckily we have a safe pair of hands in Carlo.

Mike Benjamin
18 Posted 21/07/2020 at 18:33:38
The system change of putting the extra man in midfield was the key to the victory. No longer out-numbered in centre-midfield, able to double up on opponents to nullify not being able to win battles when one on one.
Alan Rooney
19 Posted 21/07/2020 at 19:26:06
Pleased to see Davies up his game last night. I thought he was tenacious and disrupted their (limited) creativity very well. Still made some silly errors, but I hope he can continue to improve.
Mike Oates
20 Posted 21/07/2020 at 20:17:43
At last, Ancelotti realised that we cant play 4-4-2, we just haven't at the moment got the centre midfield to play it. Davies and Gomes cannot play the defensive roles and also join in and support the attacks. Both haven't got the pace, and Davies is just a poor poor passer.

Last night a 4-2-3-1 gave particularly Gomes the shape he needs to play effectively. Sigurdsson played between the lines, allowing quick transitional play through the lines and Gomes had time and space to spray the ball around and even had a shot, must be his first since his goal vs Wolves last season.

I'm just surprised Ancelotti hadn't realised this weeks ago !

John Raftery
21 Posted 21/07/2020 at 20:45:52
Playing poorly one week, playing relatively well the next is what mid-table teams do. That's what we do and that's where we are at present.

Last night's performance reminded me of some of the games in the final weeks of last season when Silva found a system which suited the players at his disposal. The home wins against Chelsea, Manchester Utd and Arsenal plus the away win at West Ham Utd saw the players believing in themselves and a collective team effort masking the deficiencies of individuals. But the same period also saw us lose badly at Fulham, a team heading for relegation.

It is interesting to note the six players at the front of last night's starting eleven were all regulars last season. I guess most if not all of them will be there two months from now, augmented hopefully by a Gana Gueye type of player to strengthen midfield. Such a player will help improve our consistency and move us into the top half of the table.

Tony Everan
22 Posted 21/07/2020 at 22:21:14
I enjoyed watching us play for the first time in ages. We seemed to have a sense of purpose again as a team. I would say that we played without fear for the first time in a while and that is what has stayed with me after this game. It was refreshing to see.

The win was down to hard graft and attacking Sheffield Utd and bending their rigid shape out of its comfort zone. Taking a few risks for a change and having the zest and energy to win the ball back with rapidity.

Wasn't it good to see Sigurdsson puffing like a turbulent Icelandic volcano when he came off. When he works that hard, things happen for him. The assist for Richarlison's goal was a great set-piece cross in.

The formation change and the work rate allowed Gomes to shine. He is a Rolls-Royce player when the midfield are winning battles, that performance promises a lot more to come from him next season. Especially with one or two quality midfield additions.

Richiarlison is a match-winning player, indispensable for us.

Branthwaite is 18 just. How can a centre-back be that good at 18? Someone said Rio Ferdinand was, so there you go. Also, I hope he doesn't get slagged off when the inevitable odd mistake comes along. He's one to encourage and support.

Laurie Hartley
23 Posted 21/07/2020 at 00:29:30
Rennie #14 – perhaps my enthusiasm comes from seeing the ball go into the box more often rather than back to the full-back.

When Albrighton of Leicester gets the ball in the attacking third all their players know what is going to happen next – it's going in the box and they react accordingly.

I would just like to see it more often because, if he can put say 8 crosses in during a game, a 25% strike rate gets us two goals.

Martin Mason
24 Posted 22/07/2020 at 08:01:18
There were plenty of positives to take from that result.
Jerome Shields
25 Posted 23/07/2020 at 04:11:26

I agree. Ancelotti is a shrewd Manager who can change the formations of his team from match to match and even throughout a game. He is able to coach players individually to adapt to these formations and improve in their performance in the position allocated.

Of course some of the players are not tactically aware and technically able throughout a game, but they are all heading in the right direction. There have been setbacks, such as in the of Bernard, who prior to the break was one of the most improved players and really benefited from Ancelottis coaching, but now seems to have personal issues. Calvert Lewin has also gone back a bit, the break and a long season seem to have taken there toll in him. Overall in my opinion they all will feel they have benefited from Ancelotti tenure so far in their knowledge and individual performance objectives.

During the Summer I expect Ancelotti to do more work and pre-season to have a different purpose about it. Players will continue to improve and there will be additions to the squad in terms of fine tuning the team to make it more resilient and more adaptable. In my opinion existing players will still have a role to play and there will be a lot more rotation in the playing team according to the opposition. There will be more of a blend in youth and aged players.

Everton will become less predictable, more adaptable and more motivated/challenging. Each players will have a good understanding of the objectives of the team and what their role in obtaining those objectives. Everton will also be a overall fitter team.

This is the first season Ancelotti has finished outside the top six of any League he has Managed in. Everton have never consistently beaten teams in the lower half of the Premier League for twenty years, They have always lost some games to lower half oppositions and been inconsistent in performances against top half teams. I expect the mid table pattern of two results and a loss , a glass ceiling at Everton for over twenty years, to be shattered last.

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