Everton 2019/20: Guess Who’s Back

OilCanShotTupac

Sunny von Bulow
SoSH Member
Jan 10, 2004
17,806
The 718
The latest SoSH installment of "fan of mid-table team talks to himself."

Interesting times for the Toffees.

We'll start with a recap of last season, which divides into three sections.

Weeks 1-13: Good Day Sunshine

6W 4D 3L. 22/39 pts.
Good results: LEI 1-2 eve; CHE 0-0 eve
Bad results: eve 0-3 WHU; EVE 1-1 hud; EVE 1-1 (3-4) sou (League Cup 3rd round, eliminated)

Buoyed by acquisitions Richarlison and Lucas Digne - who quickly supplanted Everton legend Leighton Baines at left back - the Toffees started strongly. Yerry Mina, the massive CB who had starred for Colombia at the WC (nodding an equalizer past Jordan Pickford late in a quarterfinal) featured only intermittently due to injury,. Chelsea loanee Kurt Zouma stepped in and formed a strong partnership with Michael Keane, who after a terrible first year on Merseyside had rounded into form. Other new boys Bernard and Andre Gomes (loanee from Barcelona) did not feature until October due to match fitness. Once Gomes got into the side, he established himself as a rock in midfield in front of stud defensive mid Idrissa Gana Gueye.

Cenk Tosun gradually lost the strikers' job to Dominic Calvert-Lewin, whose work rate, pressing, and holdup skills were excellent but didn't ripple the net all that much. Still, with Richarlison, Gylfi Sigurdsson, and Theo Walcott contributing, the Toffees scored at a decent clip and played solid defense. Two played-better-but-didn't-win games, at Manu and Arsenal, gave signs of improvement but also reinforced that Everton still were not beating the top teams and had a ways to go yet. Still, after Week 13, the Blues sat at 6th, two points behind Arsenal and just ahead of a floundering Utd.

Week 14: Misery

LIV 1-0 eve
Origi: 90+6'

you all saw this movie. let us not speak of it again.

Weeks 15-27: I'm A Loser

3W 2D 8L. 11/39 pts. 8th in table.
Good results: BUR 1-5 eve
Bad results: EVE 2-6 tot; BHA 1-0 eve; SOU 2-1 eve; EVE 1-3 wol; eve 0-1 WAT; eve 2-3 Millwall (FA Cup 4th round, eliminated)

Awful. Only two sides had worse records over this stretch. While the start was strong enough that relegation never seemed a serious threat, the Toffees dipped as low as 11th and there was no end in sight.

The conventional wisdom is that the Atrocity at Anfield caused a hangover. There's something to that but IMO it was squad depth and fitness (or lack thereof). Once the weather turned the two-a-week matches started in the festive period, the Toffees faltered badly. New boys Gomes, Digne, Bernard, and Mina had not featured in full seasons for their various sides last season, and were unused to the cold, damp English winters. Mina again got hurt. Gomes was ridden into the ground and looked terrible. The lack of depth showed. Seamus Coleman's form regressed and there were whispers that he was too old and would never recover from his horrible leg break. Worst of all, the side just looked lost. No cohesion, no aggression, no fight.

The low point was FA Cup 4th round. With any other positive achievement out of reach, and a field where many heavy-hitters had already been upset, Everton faced a winnable fixture away to Millwall, then in the drop zone of the Championship. But on a miserable January night, with the Millwall crowd howling and a Lear-on-the-heat monsoon lashing the pitch with wind and rain, the Toffees drowned in the muck. Both Everton goals were answered with equalizers within a couple of minutes. Millwall scored the winner late and that was that. All three Millwall goals started with set piece balls - defending set pieces had been a weak spot all season. Lucas Digne, who had established himself as one of the best LBs in the league, fouled needlessly to set up the winner.

After a dismal loss at Watford, whose fans showered Watford exiles Richarlison and Marco Silva with abuse, Everton faced a seventeen-day break. Silva's job was in jeopardy. Fans were screaming for Silva to take the team away to a warm-weather locale for boot-camp drilling. Instead, he gave them five days off, and then walked them through their paces in ordinary training. The next game after the break was away to Cardiff - and the word was that Silva would get sacked if they lost/

Weeks 28-38: It's Getting Better All the Time
6W, 3D, 2L; 21/33 pts
Good results: CAR 0-3 eve; EVE 0-0 liv; EVE 2-0 che; EVE 1-0 ars; EVE 4-0 mun
Bad results: NEW 3-2 eve; FUL 2-0 eve

Everton thumped Cardiff 3-0 and then went on a tear, especially at Goodison - fighting the Reds to a tough draw then reeling off wins over Chelsea, Arsenal, and ManU (a 4-0 drubbing punctuated by the Gwladys end fans chanting at a listless Lukaku "Fatty, what's the score? Fatty, fatty, what's the score?") - outscoring those sides 8-0. The Toffees posted six clean sheets in a row at home to close out the season. The attack solidified in a formation of Calvert-Lewin up front, and Bernard-Gylfi-Richarlison. Calvert-Lewin still did not score much (six PL goals on the season) but excelled in abusing opposing CBs and holding up to enable the wide attack. Digne led the PL in crosses and also buried a couple of screamers. But the defense was the key. Pickford, a Sunderland native, melted down at Newcastle under taunting from the crowd - he got wrapped up in taunting them back, and the Toffees blew a 2-0 halftime lead as the defense fell apart. Otherwise, the back four plus keeper could have walked into any side in the PL save Liverpool over that stretch.

Optimism was high at season's end. On all meaningful measures, Everton improved over 2017/18:

25863

Still, Everton didn't budge in the table, and lost the Everton Cup (aka 7th) to Wolves. This may not be a bad thing, since it seems to be a poisoned chalice, judging by the struggles of the recent winners (Wolves this year, Burnley last, Everton year before that).



Transfer business

In:
Andre Gomes, CM (Barcelona - loan made permanent)
Moise Kean, striker (Juventus)
Jean-Pierre Gbamin, DM (Mainz)
Alex Iwobi, F (Arsenal)
Fabian Delph, CM (Man City)
Jonas Lossl, GK (Huddersfield)
Dgibril Sidibe, RB (Monaco, loan)

Out:

CB Kurt Zouma (loan expired, back to Chelsea)
DM Idrissa Gana Gueye (PSG)
CAM Nikola Vlasic (CSKA Moscow - loan made permanent)
CB Ashley Williams (Bristol City)
CB Phil Jagielka (Sheffield Utd)
LW Amendola Lookman (RB Leipzig)
LB Antonee Robinson (Wigan)
CM James McCarthy (Crystal Palace)
LB Henry Onyekuru (Monaco)
RW Kevin Mirallas (Antwerp)
RB Jonjoe Kenny (Schalke - loan)
F Sandro Ramirez (Real Valladoid - loan)
CAM Kieran Dowell (Derby - loan)
DM Muhammad Besic (Sheffield Utd- loan)
LW Yannick Bolasie (Sporting CP -loan)
CB Matthew Pennington (Hull - loan)

Job 1 for the Toffees is clearing the deadwood from the disastrous Koeman regime. Much progress here, although found-object striker/random-football-movement generator Oumar Niasse could not be moved.

DOF Marcel Brands gets an A- for his incoming business - the only shortcoming being a failure to bring in another CB, where the bench is thin, especially given Mina's injury history. However, Mina and Keane have started strong and seem to be forming a tight CB pairing.

Season so far:

CRY 0-0 eve
EVE 1-0 wat
AVL 2-0 eve
Lincoln City 2-4 EVE (League Cup)
EVE 3-2 wol

7 pts, 7th in table

First two games were strong defensively but only one goal scored. Loss at Villa was terrible - nothing going forward. Sigurdsson and Richarlison were in poor form. Calvert-Lewin offered nothing - blasted a shot from the six-yard box right at the Villa keeper with the whole goal mouth open to him. Only Iwobi and Kean, thrown on as last-minute subs, looked decent. Conceded at 0:22 of the League Cup game away to League One side Lincoln and we all thought, here we go again. But Digne scored a beautiful free-kick, and the Toffees twice fought back after Lincoln took the lead, with Iwobi and Richarlison putting the game out of reach. The Wolves game was hugely entertaining - a Richarlison brace, and a powerful Iwobi header set up by a gorgeous cross from Siggy. So after two ponderous but defensively sound games, the Toffees have shown some vulnerability at the back but have unleashed an uncharateristically robust attack.

Prognosis for the season-

GK - Pickford seems to have gotten over his immaturity and has been solid. Several big saves, no howlers, strong command of the box, good distribution.

Back four - Digne continues to excel in attack, but was abused by the very physical Traore in the Wolves game. Coleman has been solid but unspectacular - loanee Sidibe has been brought in to challenge but has not inspired in limited action. Mina has been a beast. Keane whiffed on one of the Villa goals but has been sound otherwise. This unit will be a strength but lack of depth at CB (the only backup is Mason Holgate - they'd have to dip into the U23s beyond that) is a big issue and not addressing that weakness was the failure of the transfer window (we played footsie with Chelsea over Zouma but they wouldn't sell - maybe not a bad thing since Zouma has been poor).

Midfield - Replacing Gueye at DM was the biggest concern in the offseason. Gbamin looked good to start but went down with a serious quad injury and may miss two months. Morgan Schneiderlin has been poor. Fabian Delph has stepped up big-time. Everton have lacked a leader of his experience, accomplishment, and on-field steel. Even though Richarlison scored a brace against Wolves, Delph was a popular MOTM pick for anchoring the midfield in a chaotic game. Gomes had his worst game as a Toffee in the Villa loss but has been good otherwise. Scouser Tom Davies can't get off the bench, leaving fans to wonder if he's in Silva's doghouse. The outlook here is unsettled - there is quality but depth and consistency are question marks.

Attack - the gradual introduction of Iwobi and Kean has reinvigorated the side. Kean has not yet opened his account. His inexperience shows, but he has hit the post and barely missed another chance, and has shown excellent movement and penetration. Kean has won the starting striker spot, DCL seems to have missed his chance to impress. Richarlison snapped out of his bad start (he contracted a bad case of mumps at the Copa America - I think it wore him out) and ran wild against Lincoln (adjusting for quality of opposition) and Wolves. I was skeptical about Iwobi - please not another Arsenal reject (Theo Walcott is awful now) - but he has been excellent - size, strength, finishing ability, pace, and a mean streak that the Toffees have lacked. He may have supplanted Bernard, which is harsh to the little fella since he was the only decent attacker in the first two games, slotting a nice finish against Watford. Siggy divides fan opinion - he led the team in 18/19 with 13 goals (tied w/Richy), added 6 assists, and was key to Silva's high press, but many got on his case for a tendency to disappear. He started poorly this season, but has looked great over the last two - his problem may have been a lack of quality attackers around him. It's a small sample size but if this unit has really figured it out the Toffees could be formidable.

With Arsenal, United, and Chelsea (and even Spurs) looking vulnerable, if the Toffees are ever going to push higher than best-of-the-rest, this is the time. A few other sides have the same ambition - Leicester, Wolves, and maybe West Ham (I like this Haller guy). I like where we are now. Goodison is once again a fortress - the crowds have been rabid. The side has bounced back from body blows in the Lincoln and Wolves game, addressing a serious weakness in recent seasons where they showed little fight-back. Weaknesses: the best XI hasn't presented itself yet, and the 4-2-3-1 of the past few seasons seems tired and not well-suited to the current personnel mix. Depth is an issue. Kean still looks like a 19 year old in a new country and league - there's a lot of pressure on him and who knows if he'll deliver.

Still, I feel like excitement is justified for the first time in a long time.

This is my only hobby, BTW.

COYB
NSNO
 

kobayashis bail bonds

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Jul 17, 2005
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Maine
Thanks for starting this thread, OCST. There's a lot of good stuff here. I'm more excited about this season than I have been for some time now. Especially now that I've appeared (like many) to underestimate Delph and Iwobi.

The depth in the back four remains concerning (I don't know whether someone may be available in January to shore things up, or what the finances would allow for, even). And I'm curious to see how the midfield shapes up, esp. once Gbamin is a healthy option.

And I'm curious what your take is on Gylfi. You mention the divided opinion, but betray no sympathies toward either side of the divide. (Perhaps intentionally?)

But yes, count me among those who are trying on optimism for the first time in a while, and seeing how it fits.
 

OilCanShotTupac

Sunny von Bulow
SoSH Member
Jan 10, 2004
17,806
The 718
I stan Gylfi. He’s one of few in the side who can change a game with a moment of brilliance out of nowhere. Is one of the best in the PL at scoring from outside of the box. His critics say he has a tendency to disappear, that he doesn’t boss the game like a No.10 should, and there is something to that. I think it’s because for many seasons Everton have primarily attacked up the flanks with Baines and Coleman, both among the best attacking fullbacks of their era (and now Digne). And for the past few seasons the DMs have been Gueye and Schneiderlin, neither of whom are good going forward, so Buildup play hadn’t gone through Gylfi enough IMO and he’s been isolated in the middle. Also he hasn’t always had creative attackers in front of him to create for.

Silva likes to play through the middle, Mina is good on the ball, Delph and Gbamin are good passers, and Kean and Iwobi look like they make good runs- let’s see if Gylfi does more with better players around him.
 
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teddykgb

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Jul 16, 2005
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Chelmsford, MA
The problem with Delph is health. He’s ultra committed and will do a job but he’s gonna get injured playing multiple times a week and you’ll be exposed.

Everton are a fun team to watch right now. Everyone thinks they can take the points against them so they don’t see a ton of bunkered defenses but there’s very little chance of relegation so Everton are always playing to win. Similar situation to West Ham and Leicester who don’t have top 4 expectations causing them to exhibit more caution.

As I said in a match thread, Kean seems to have a lot of ambition but I found his touch really heavy. Maybe it was a bad weekend for him, but he was consistently showing way too much of the ball to defenders. Really interested to see how he adapts, I think so much of Evertons season is reliant upon finding consistent goals from the front
 

OilCanShotTupac

Sunny von Bulow
SoSH Member
Jan 10, 2004
17,806
The 718
The problem with Delph is health. He’s ultra committed and will do a job but he’s gonna get injured playing multiple times a week and you’ll be exposed.

Everton are a fun team to watch right now. Everyone thinks they can take the points against them so they don’t see a ton of bunkered defenses but there’s very little chance of relegation so Everton are always playing to win. Similar situation to West Ham and Leicester who don’t have top 4 expectations causing them to exhibit more caution.

As I said in a match thread, Kean seems to have a lot of ambition but I found his touch really heavy. Maybe it was a bad weekend for him, but he was consistently showing way too much of the ball to defenders. Really interested to see how he adapts, I think so much of Evertons season is reliant upon finding consistent goals from the front
Agree re Kean. I think the speed of the game is faster then in Serie A and the defenders close down more quickly- you don’t get as much time on the ball. He’s hit the post one and fizzed another about 6 inches wide so he seems to have a shooters touch. It is a lot to ask to put the season on this kids shoulders. So far he’s handling it well.
 

Rusty Gate

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Jul 15, 2005
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I am more optimistic for the long term than the short term because the real test will be whether they will be able to keep Kean, Richarlison, Pickford and other young players when the bigger teams think they’re ready for poaching. The new ownership and stadium must create enough enthusiasm (and revenue) so they consider staying. That’s a fragile, several year project, but this seems to be the moment. As OCST said, not qualifying for Europe makes this a year where a trophy and/or a top 4 challenge is a real possibility as the first step towards a new and better era.
 

OilCanShotTupac

Sunny von Bulow
SoSH Member
Jan 10, 2004
17,806
The 718
Also re Delph- he is fragile. Everton is not *yet* able to attract truly top shelf talent in their prime- those guys want guaranteed CL.
With the new stadium, which really does look incredible, and a top 4 finish (or FA Cup maybe) that might change.

Edit: what Rusty said re: the stadium. Also, FWIW, Silva seems to have a Moneyball advantage connecting with Brazilian/Portuguese players. Richarlison looks at him like a father. The team genuinely seem to like each other. Silva has a reputation as a job hopper so he’s said that he needs to stick around for awhile. And Brands has done very well in his transfer windows, has a track record of finding and developing young talent, as one must do at a Dutch club, and he has a seat on the board at Everton so he’s likely not going anywhere. To push on, the club most needs a bit of nastiness, especially away from home- too often they would go down a goal, and roll over to have their belly tickled. Looks like that may be changing.
 
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OilCanShotTupac

Sunny von Bulow
SoSH Member
Jan 10, 2004
17,806
The 718
A greatest hits album of Everton failures today: poor form away; more possession and more chances but not clinical; failure to defend set pieces; lackluster for long stretches; poor choices for the XI and the bench.

I would like Morgan Schneiderlin to be shot into the sun.

No one is clear from blame. Poor top to bottom.
 

OilCanShotTupac

Sunny von Bulow
SoSH Member
Jan 10, 2004
17,806
The 718
Losing 2-0 at home to a promoted side is not pushing-for-top-six material, obviously.

Again, the Toffees had most of the ball against an opponent who were happy to sit back (and who did it very well- Sheffield Utd were compact and disciplined). Again, they did nothing with it. Again, they played only down the flanks and whipped futile crosses into the box with no one to get on the end of them. Again, no buildup through the middle at all. Again, they made two big mistakes and both were punished - since the first Blades goal was an OG off the head of Yerry Mina, they scored two goals while recording only one shot on goal). Again, terrible team selection, with two DMs at home against a side that was never going to attack, and one of those being Schneiderlin, whose timidity is crippling. Again, no Plan B when the first plan doesn't work - Silva threw on three attacking players when chasing the game, with no clear shape or plan, and they bumbled around aimlessly. Again, a listless, uninspired, and demoralized team.

League Cup game away to Sheffield Wednesday this week. If they lose Silva's job is in jeopardy. I've never been in favor of sacking him, since he has produced extended spells of excellent play - and more importantly the job becomes less attractive as they cycle through managers. But this is fucking dire, man.
 

Stanley Steamer

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Jan 11, 2012
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Brutal. Awful. Same terrible team selection, tactics, execution, subs. Same apathy. Toothless.

Silva out.
I know, really. 18th place, after all the optimism of the transfer market this summer, and last, to be fair. What will it take to get these guys up to speed? The league is open this year. It is a lost opportunity.
 

OilCanShotTupac

Sunny von Bulow
SoSH Member
Jan 10, 2004
17,806
The 718
So, after the international break and much talk about West Ham being a must-win game for Silva to save his job, Silva overhauled the lineup and the Toffees cruised to a 2-0 victory, in complete control the whole time. They should have scored 4 or 5. It was maybe the best performance of Silva's tenure, even including the 4-0 over ManU and 5-1 at Burnley which were his previous best.

From:

--------------Pickford----------------
Coleman-Keane-Mina-Digne
-------Delph-Schneiderlin------
Iwobi-Sigurdsson-Richarlison
----------Calvert-Lewin--------------

To:
-------------Pickford------------
Sidibe-Keane-Mina-Digne
---------Davies-Gomes-------
--Walcott-Iwobi-Bernard--
----------Richarlison------------

Night-and-day difference. Hard to believe that you were watching the same team. Everyone played well.

Coleman had to sit because of a red card (he also got sent off for Ireland over the break). A blessing in disguise because he hasn't been playing well. Sidibe was energetic and slippery on attack - whereas Coleman has been whipping useless crosses into the box, Sidibe snuck inside and fed a beautiful little pass to Iwobi in the six-yard box, who should have scored but he toe-poked it right at the Hammers keeper.

Gomes and Davies were tremendous. Schneiderlin has been awful, especially in having no endeavor going forward. Davies has been buried on the bench, but has been successful as a deep-lying midfielder for England's U21. He was fantastic in tandem with Gomes, who seems to love the physical scrap in the middle of the park. West Ham got nothing through them, but they were pushing forward and threading good passes all afternoon. Davies also missed a sitter, unfortunately.

The front four was fluid and dangerous. Overlapping runs and great ball movement. Bernard started on the left wing but scored from the right edge of the box, sneaking the ball behind the keeper and in front of the near post at an impossible angle. Iwobi, notwithstanding his miss, bossed it as a No. 10, connecting the midfield and attack much better than Siggy had been doing. Walcott - I cannot believe what I'm about to type - was exceptional, definitely his best game in Toffees shirt. He unleashed a screamer from 30 yards that hit the bottom of the crossbar and I think the frame is still shaking - I don't know how it didn't go in. He had several other attempts and kept the WH defenders pinned back all day. Richy also was great - hit the post and was a nuisance all day.

Despite dominating, it was only 1-0, and when the Hammers got a corner in the last few minutes, there was a feeling of oh-no-not-again in Goodison. Sure enough, the marking on the corner was poor, and Pickford had to save point-blank - but it was the only time he touched the ball all day. Then, in stoppage time, Siggy came on and scored a golazo from distance - literally faking poor Jack Wilshere to the ground, very calmly, and then curling into the upper 90.

Which perfectly encapsulates the Gylfi Sigurdsson experience. He had 13 goals last year - putting him tied for 10th in the PL. It's hard to sit a guy with that many goals. He's scored the most goals from outside the box than any active PL player (he and Eriksen regularly trade this lead). But his passing is predictable, his assists have dried up, he slows up the velocity of ball movement, and despite a non-stop motor he's just not that pacy anymore - his best days are not in front of him, he's peaked. He's been so bad in linking the midfield and attack that he just had to sit. Still, that's an expensive, skilled, and high-profile player to leave on the bench. Maybe a deeper-lying position would be better.

I didn't like Richy as a striker last year, he didn't seem up to the battles with CMs. On Saturday he just ran past them. Unlike Everton's very good spell last year, with Calvert-Lewin as striker, the Toffee's weren't even looking to lump crosses in to win headers or have the striker play hold-up with his back to goal. You could have moved around the front four into almost any combination and it would have worked.

The fan chatter is that Silva is insane if he doesn't start the same lineup next week at Brighton. This is the kind of game where Everton have struggled though. West Ham tried to play with Everton but they got shredded, especially in midfield. Teams that stay in a low block have frustrated the Toffees for a couple of years now. Brighton under Potter are a little more expansive, especially at home, but you still expect them to sit deep and to be tough to unlock.

Silva seems to have saved his job. The players are clearly in his corner, he has not lost them. The fans (like me) were furious for not making obvious changes. Well, he made them and they looked fantastic.

Let's see.
 

OilCanShotTupac

Sunny von Bulow
SoSH Member
Jan 10, 2004
17,806
The 718
Everton that.

If the ship not be sinking, it's listing dangerously. A terrible run of VAR decisions and injuries have contributed to the Toffees' poor form, which they've been able to maintain without such 'help' to this point.

Spirits were high for the visit to Brighton. Everton started poorly, with a stupid foul just outside the box and a poor Pickford effort on a free kick leading to a 1-0 Seagulls lead early. But the Toffees equalized right away with a Richarlison header (scored as an OG after glancing off a defender). At 75' Calvert-Lewin scored his fifth in all comps, with a cool and composed finish from a perfectly weighted through-ball by Mason Holgate - who has played himself into the XI. Everton appeared to have overcome two persistent weaknesses - poor form away from home, and inability to come back.

Disaster struck then, with VAR giving a terribly weak penalty against Michael Keane, who stepped a little on the Brighton guy's foot while both were going up for a header in the box, eyes on the ball. None of the Brighton fans, players, or manager were howling for a penalty, and it wasn't called on the pitch, but VAR stopped the game and after 13 replays (!!!) gave the penalty. So much for "clear and obvious error." Everton had been bossing the game throughout the second half, but after Brighton's equalizer the stadium came alive. The Toffees could have parked the bus and settled for the away point, but they threw bodies forward to go for the win, and in cruel, cruel fashion left themselves exposed for a stoppage-time goal (even more cruelly, an OG by Digne) to drop all three points.

The fandom was suicidal at this. The PL's admission yesterday that the penalty should not have been given- you don't know whether to laugh or cry, right?

A win in over Watford in the Carabao Cup, although dull and desultory, put the Toffees through to the quarters of that tourney for the first time in forever. For a fan base starved for silverware, this was good. (Draw is Leicester at home).

Then of course Spurs. The first half was plodding, ponderous, unadventurous from both sides. In the second half Iwobi, who has been pretty good, made a dreadful error with a weak back pass that was immediately picked off by Son and buried by Alli.

You know what happened then with Son and Gomes.

I'll pick up my conversation with Tangled Up in Red.

I said:

Did Son intend to snap Gomes' leg in half? No. Did he mean to hurt Gomes? Probably. Was it rank and cynical shithousery with reckless disregard for Gomes' safety? Yes.
He said:

Those last two statements are pretty inflammatory and outrageous. It was a cynical tackle that happens a handful of times in every match. Clipped his heel out of frustration (he'd been elbowed in the face by Gomes moments earlier) and to break up play. To suggest any malice or disregard is gravely unfair to Son.
And no disrespect, Tangled, but I think you proved my point. Gomes had just elbowed Son in the face. They were shoulder to shoulder, going the same direction, competing for the ball, with Gomes slightly ahead so that he put his arm back against Son's body for leverage and carried his elbow up into Son's face. Should have been a foul. But they were both going after the ball. OTOH, Son was retaliating. It wasn't even a tackle, it was from behind and there was no way to get the ball and no attempt to get it. As you admit, it was retaliatory and it was cynical. It was 100% reckless, in the sense of "conscious disregard" of the possible consequences. That it happens (I wouldn't say that it happens every game), that Son didn't mean to break Gomes' leg, that it was a freak injury, and that he was distraught afterwards in no way absolves Son from guilt in setting the whole thing in motion.

The red was rescinded. It should not have been. Here is what the FA website says about "serious foul play" as a ground for a straight red:

SERIOUS FOUL PLAY

A tackle or challenge that endangers the safety of an opponent or uses excessive force or brutality must be sanctioned as serious foul play.

Any player who lunges at an opponent in challenging for the ball from the front, from the side or from behind using one or both legs, with excessive force or endangers the safety of an opponent is guilty of serious foul play.
Yup.

I feel like Ferris Bueller's god-damned sister in watching Son's show of contrition and the world fawning over it. That Spurs had him lead the team out of the tunnel in their next match, that he made a show of not celebrating his goals but bowing respectfully for the cameras, that there have been comments re: Son also being a victim is just rank bullshit. Again, I accept that he feels bad and that he didn't intend this consequence, but let's not build him a parade float here.

Everton did show fight-back in a stoppage time equalizer by Cenk Tosun, who keeps screwing up his consignment to the end of the bench by chipping in with a goal or assist every time he's subbed in for a few minutes. But again, VAR screwed the Toffees. Mina and Alli went up to contest a ball in the Spurs box, and the ball struck Alli's raised arm. No penalty was given and VAR did not intercede. The statement after: "The VAR considered that both Alli and Mina were challenging for the ball in the air and Alli was under pressure from the attacker as the ball struck his hand." As opposed to all those other handball situations where the defender is not under pressure from an attacker, I suppose? I guess the takeaway is to always go up for a header with your arms over your head. So a good argument that VAR cost Everton 5 points in the last 2 games.

The Everton boards are not a fun place right now.

Especially with the injuries. The midfield especially is threadbare. Jean-Pierre Gbamin, obtained from Mainz to "replace" Idrissa Gana Gueye as the DM, has missed almost the whole season with a quad tear and won't be back until January. Gomes, incredibly, may make it back by the spring, but is obviously out until then. Fabian Delph has been nursing on-and-off muscle injuries. The silver lining is that Tom Davies, on a milk carton for the past six months, has been outstanding when pressed into service and, like his contemporary Holgate, has played his way into the XI injuries notwithstanding. Still, with only an ineffective Sigurdsson, the horrible Schneiderlin, and possibly some U23s available, the midfield is very weak.

The fanbase is against Silva but will sacking him help and who do you replace him with? Next two games are away to Southampton and home to Norwich. The fixtures take a brutal turn after that (lei liv CHE mun ARS) so anything less than 6/6 in those two games might leave management with no choice but to turf him out. The players are still clearly playing hard for him, and he has turned around a run of poor form before. We'll see.
 

OilCanShotTupac

Sunny von Bulow
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Big Dunc Ferguson, he of the eleven seasons as an Everton star and a 3-month prison sentence for assaulting another player on the pitch during a game, is interim.

As of their disembowelment in the derby last night, Everton sit 18th, ie in the relegation zone.

I'll write my Silva eulogy tonight.
 

OilCanShotTupac

Sunny von Bulow
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After beating Southampton 2-1, as one does, the Toffees bottomed out.

The OCST family had planned to make its first trip to Goodison for the 11/23 Norwich fixture. It's a good thing we didn't. That was the worst I've seen Everton play at home and the most poisonous Goodison atmosphere I've ever seen. Eurton offered nothing going forward against the dead-last Canaries. The team-sheet selection was awful, the tactics dire, the inspiration totally lacking. Silva stood on the touchline expressionless. It was awful. Many fans left early and the ones who were still there booed the team off the pitch. Video circulated of fans yelling at the board in their box, "HE'S GOT TO GO."

Silva switched to five-at-the-back away to Leicester. Vardy was starved of service, and Everton were industrious in attack. Richarlison scored at 23' and for an hour, Everton looked like the better side. But Leicester adjusted, putting Inheacho up top with Vardy. They layed off each other brilliantly and started the assault, the undermanned Everton midfield wilted under the pressure of Maddison & co., and it was only a matter of time. Vardy at 68', and in another nut-punch, Inheacho at 90'+4'. Getting the away point at the in-form team in the league would have been a great result, but naively Everton were stretched out and halfheartedly bidding for the winner in stoppage time when they should have bunkered. Davies coughed up the ball in the Leicester half and ten seconds later Pickford was picking the ball out of the net.

As has too often been the case over the past few years, the board seemed riven over the club's direction, with old-guard dinosaur Bill Kenwright advocating for David Moyes, a backward step, and DOF Marcel Brands evidently holding out to let Silva finish the year, less out of esteem for Silva (who Brands did not bring in) than from the sense that there has been too much turnover and the job was turning into a poisoned chalice. Owner Farhad Moshiri seems well-intentioned but clueless, willing to throw money at problems but without much strategic sense. No word was forthcoming from the board. The paralysis left Silva twisting in the wind. Unfair to Silva, who above all is a decent guy who cared about the club but had run out of ideas to stop the slide and looked utterly lost.

The 5-2 slaughter at Anfield put Silva out of his misery. You're familiar with that. Silva stuck with the five-at-the-back. The Liverpool attack went through it like a seam ripper. In grim symmetry, a 5-2 loss to Arsenal with a five-at-the-back had been the last straw for Koeman.

So: Big Dunc as the caretaker.

I have to tell you that yesterday was exhilarating. Goodison was completely bonkers. Yes, it was pedestrian and tactically naive 4-4-2. Yes, Pickford did not once try playing out of the back, every single attack started with a punt and a fight over the second ball. Yes, Chelsea squandered opportunities. No, I don't think it's sustainable.

Who gives a fuck.

I have never seen such a passionate, committed, and intense performance, by Everton or by any other team I've ever followed, ever.

Look at this:

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_j-xdMnfJs


The coaching search continues, with sundry Germans, South Americans, and Portuguese being floated, and Eddie Howe. I'm sure one of them will be selected.

But this:

Just give him the job, Farhad.

Duncan Ferguson promised blood and thunder at Goodison Park and his side delivered on the most captivating, emotional afternoon in this stadium for years.

At times it was gloriously unsophisticated, yet the contrast between Chelsea’s ineffective idealism and Everton’s well-rewarded work ethic – unrecognisable to the past few months – was utterly compelling.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored twice, Richarlison sprinkled the magic dust in the first half. Although Chelsea were a constant threat and struck through Mateo Kovacic, they gave an error-ridden display – especially defensively. The claustrophobic nature of the atmosphere, perfectly choreographed by the caretaker manager, seemed to get to them.

They will need to improve to protect top-four status, although they may curse the fixture list bringing them to Merseyside this weekend. They were ambushed by Goodison romanticism.

So much has been said and written about Everton’s identity over the past few weeks, “What is it?” the persistent question.

Here is your answer: Ferguson football, the embodiment of everything an Evertonian wants. Football at its earthiest; impassioned, aggressive, in your face like a Joshua or Ruiz hook, visitors to this grand old stadium nursing bruises and wondering what hit them. “Bleeding for the club,” as Ferguson said before and after the game.

Cynics can dismiss such passion as playing to the gallery if they wish. Anyone here knows it was not just talk.

The most famous fixture in Goodison history was in 1985, when a silky Bayern Munich were battered into submission. “Mr Kendall, this is not football,” the Germans complained. Suffice to say, they were met with expletives.

Ferguson was never part of those glories. Nevertheless, he sits comfortably alongside those legends for what he represented – pure brute force at his core allied to his ability to outplay as much as bully.

He had 24 hours to inject the same attitude into players who looked submissive a few days ago. It is a tribute to his man-management that he succeeded, Everton’s 37 tackles the most they have made in a game this decade.

Everton’s last game ended in quizzical looks as to how long before the manager, Marco Silva, was sacked. The way they played here, the Gwladys Street might have wanted Ferguson given the permanent job by Farhad Moshiri by half-time, even if the presence of former Bayern coach Niko Kovac in the directors’ box raised eyebrows.

Ferguson said he was realistic about his prospects of the full-time position, but the fact he ditched the training kit for a suit suggested by looking the part on the touchline, he can change perceptions.
https://twitter.com/btsportfootball/status/1203317145603649538

There were minimal personnel changes. The stylistic shift was obvious. This was 4-4-2 doggedness, Morgan Schneiderlin cast as Joe Parkinson, Gylfi Sigurdsson channelling his inner Barry Horne, Calvert-Lewin – bereft of goals and confidence for so long before Saturday – fitting the No 9 shirt like Ferguson at his peak. Such was the throwback, you hoped those watching on TV could hear the voice of Brian Moore in the commentary box.

Every free-kick was directed to the Chelsea penalty area – even those in Everton’s half. Jordan Pickford used his considerable goal-kicking skills more in the first 30 minutes than the entirety of his Goodison career.

Any tackle unworthy of the description “crunching” was not tolerated, the crowd rising to every interception. Chelsea tried to impose their passing game, but Pickford had more protection than usual. He did not need to make a save in the first half.

“They were direct and we had to deal with that. We didn’t,” said Chelsea manager Frank Lampard.

When Richarlison headed Djibril Sidibe’s perfect cross past Kepa Arrizabalaga after four minutes, Ferguson sprinted down the touchline before demanding more from the crowd.

When Calvert-Lewin added the second at the start of the second half, capitalising on Kurt Zouma’s error, he hugged the nearest ballboy.

Kovacic’s instant response meant it was all about guts for the last half-hour, the sight of Everton players falling to the turf summing up their exertions. But there were more hugs for ballboys when Calvert-Lewin punished further Chelsea carelessness to secure the second win in 12 games.

“I would have hugged the linesman, too,” said Ferguson. “It was very emotional. Exciting, nervous. I could not have dreamt it any better. I have scored goals and played in cup finals, but that was unbelievable. It is one game and no one can ever take it away from me.”

Lampard generously offered a congratulatory hand seconds before the final whistle. “You can see he felt it passionately,” he said.

Goodison loved it as Everton lifted themselves out of the bottom three and the caretaker showed his appreciation to every corner of the stadium. “I don’t know if I could go through it again,” he said.

Do not believe that. Maybe, just maybe, Everton’s perfect fit is staring right at them.
The woman I just spent the night with may not be marriage material, but goddamn, I'll never forget that night.

Let's see.
 

OilCanShotTupac

Sunny von Bulow
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The quote piece is from the Telegraph, btw. It's the only one seriously calling for Dunc to be named permanently.

If the Toffees can look good at Old Trafford on Sunday, there might be others.

He's been working quietly as an assistant at Everton for a few years. Before that, he got his coaching badges working far away from the spotlight. He has self-effacingly said that he's only the caretaker and he understands that they're going to bring in a big-name manager, but of course that humility only makes him more attractive to some.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin, a favorite whipping boy of fans who consider him an underachiever, bagged his first PL brace. Not much finesse but physically dominant and tireless. Calvert-Lewin had this to say afterward:

Everton match-winner Dominic Calvert-Lewin dedicated his two goals in a 3-1 win against Chelsea to interim boss Duncan Ferguson.

Richarlison put the Toffees ahead early as Goodison Park displayed fresh signs of life under a new era.

Calvert-Lewin then struck twice after the break, his goals sandwiching a lone Mateo Kovacic volley, as Everton bounced back from a miserable week.

And the England Under-21 forward said his goals were a way of repaying Ferguson’s faith in him.

Calvert-Lewin told BT Sport: “I’m over the moon with my first two goals in a game. It was a massive game for us and for Dunc, he loves the club.

“I’ve got a very close relationship with him, so I’m happy to score those goals on this big occasion.

He’s stuck by me, I’ve known him for three years now, and that was my way of trying to repay him.

“The most important thing was that we came here and gave 100 per cent and tried to get back to what we do best.”

A manager that can inspire - has already inspired - that kind of loyalty and performance... maybe his candidacy shouldn't be dismissed out of hand.
 

OilCanShotTupac

Sunny von Bulow
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The ownership group is talking about David Moyes. Please someone tell me why this isn't as bad as I think it is. It fills me with despair.
 

Dernells Casket n Flagon

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Would you prefer him or Emery?
Was just coming in here to say that I saw Emery is linked with Everton. That seems like a disaster given his performance with Arsenal. Rightly or wrongly he received a lot of criticism for his limited English. Additionally a club like Everton is going to have to focus a lot more on development than the big 6, and outside of Guendouzzi, I don't think there was a single player that improved during Emery's tenure. Aubamayeng may be the only other player that didn't actually regress.

I take that back, Leno probably improved because he started seeing 10 mostly undefended shots per game.
 

OilCanShotTupac

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Neither.

It's a conundrum. Everton is not a good job right now. They've cycled through so many managers that any decent candidate would be leery. They can't be said to have a coherent philosphy, they've jerked from style to style and it's left them with pieces that don't fit togehter (and burned lots of cash in the process) They have very good (not great) core of young and in-their-prime talent, so there's a lot to work with, but they are also stuck with a lot of deadwood. Sigurdsson, around whom the team was supposedly to be built, has fallen off a cliff and is an expensive liability.

It's evident that the boardroom is a mess, with purported DOF Brands, old-boy remnant Bill Kenwright, and money-man Moshiri all pulling in different directions. Moshiri will spend, but loves shiny objects and pet projects. He was fixated with Silva. Silva wasn't necessarily a bad choice, but Moshiri was infatuated out of proportion to his record and potential, to the point of incurring discipline for tampering with Silva's Watford contract, and of crowding out other candidates.

So the problem as I see it is that the team is betwixt and between identities. The demand following Moyes, and especially following Fat Sam, has been to play exciting, free-flowing football, playing out from the back, etc. Toffees have had some success at this, notably in the last third of last season when they kept a fistful of clean sheets, took 10/12 from Big Six sides, and were fourth in the league (?) over that stretch. But for the most part it hasn't worked. You need expensive continental and South American players for that. Everton has landed enough of those to be somewhat competitive (Richy, Digne, Gomes, Mina), but for the most part those players can go to bigger clubs. Toffees have stuffed the gaps with retreads from Big Six sides, guys who are a little too old, too young, too inconsistent, too injury prone, etc. That's a recipe for perennial competition for the Everton Trophy.

The club's DNA is the Dogs of War, blood-and-thunder, Goodison as a bear pit, etc. Moyes fixated on that to the point of becoming a dinosaur, prompting the Martinez hire, and the desire to change style with the times, which was successful for a while. But there is a schism. Sometimes the board and fanbase want a team of hard-men playing bruising football. Sometimes they want free-flowing modern football. Seems like everyone wants a team that's both Millwall and Barca at the same time. Ain't happening.

Duncan's Chelsea win is interesting. The old-style, 4-4-2, blood-and-thunder approach was a fantastic success. It was borne out of necessity, with little time to prepare, but it fit the manager and the occasion. With confidence in the club at a low ebb and the fan base in poisionous mood, getting the crowd riled up with some Big Dunc crunching-tackle football porn was astute psychologically. It also had the benefit of providing clarity to the players. Pundits criticized the players for not playing that hard for Silva, and I think the answer to that is he never asked them to. I don't think they really understood what they were to do, and to the extent they did, he made goofy lineup choices. This was simple to execute.

More interestingly, that style has been out of vogue for so long that it's circled around again to being an effective counter-tactic, I think. Lampard admitted afterwards that his young squad didn't know how to handle the directness and physicality and wilted under the pressure. They haven't seen much of it. It hasn't been common in the PL for some time. Think also of Sheffield United, who have done very well with a squad of almost all British and Irish players who have grown up playing non-league football on crappy pitches and giving and getting beatings.

An equivalent might be if an NFL team, seeing that defenses nowadays play lots of nickel and dime packages and employ smaller, quicker linemen with good pass-rushing skills to defend against the fast passing game, decided to get monster linemen, halfbacks and fullbacks and just pound it between the tackles every run, here-it-is-stop-it-if-you-can. I think after the third quarter of trying to bring down a Payton or Earl Campbell on every run, you'd see the DLs and LB's wilt. That's kind of what happened. Everton's third goal, where Kepa half-assed a pass, Walcott pounced on it, and Davies and DCL essentially bulldozed through the defense, was due to this.

So there could be something to this as a direction for the club for this year. It would take advantage of their best assets - their brand, Goodison, etc. It is good tactical counter-programming. It has the virtue of simplicity. It's better than what they've been doing, which is a crap 4-2-3-1 without any healthy DMs and a crap #10. And, if executed properly, it would get Everton at least to mid-table, within a sniff of the Europa spots. Most importantly would make the job more attractive to an incoming manager. It became a better job overnight with that Chelsea win.

I wouldn't want to fall into the Ole trap and give it to the club legend after a run of a few good matches. But I think giving Dunc the reins for the next few weeks, and maybe til season's end (he says he doesn't want the job permanently) would give the board time to sort itself and get a good pick. Personally I'd like to wait until the offseason so that the pool of available managers is bigger. Moyes' style might be all right, but he left the club on very bad terms, he alienated the fans, and he's bombed everywhere else he's been (Sunderland still haven't recovered) so that would be a step backwards. Emery has a better resume than Silva, but his shortcomings are very much the same, it would be Silva redux IMO.

Old Trafford on Sunday. A result would add momentum to the Dunc train. We'll see.
 

OilCanShotTupac

Sunny von Bulow
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Bad news ahead of Sunday: Schneiderlin and Walcott are out with calf strains.

Guess that's what happens when you ask thirty-somethings to run and tackle like maniacs for 90 minutes.

Toffees are already banged-up, especially in midfield, they may have to reach into the U23s for depth. Not good for repeating the same game plan.

I hate Schneiderlin, he's been lazy and cynical in his time at Everton, but he put in his best performance as a Toffee IMO last week. Walcott can't finish and his best days are behind him, but he's been good at running at defenses to stretch them this season. He caused a lot of problems for Chelsea. His interception of a Kepa pass led directly to Everton's third goal.
 

veritas

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It's a conundrum. Everton is not a good job right now. They've cycled through so many managers that any decent candidate would be leery. They can't be said to have a coherent philosphy, they've jerked from style to style and it's left them with pieces that don't fit togehter (and burned lots of cash in the process) They have very good (not great) core of young and in-their-prime talent, so there's a lot to work with, but they are also stuck with a lot of deadwood. Sigurdsson, around whom the team was supposedly to be built, has fallen off a cliff and is an expensive liability.
I'm not too sure about that, speaking as a completely neutral observer. The Double Pivot podcast argued they're in a great position to hire a young, up and coming manager like Mikel Arteta, or someone similar, for the following reasons:
1) They've played much better than their record this season, a manager can come in and just not screw things up and they'll very likely start moving up the table. That's very appealing.
2) They're a big but not too big team. Not Arsenal with huge expectations, or a team like Bournemouth with no reasonable path to playing in Europe every year. Long term, being a consistent top 8 team isn't unreasonable for Everton. They've been leapfrogged by a couple teams, and a couple of their historical peers have fallen off, but ~8 every year is reasonable given their financial standing.
3) They're willing to spend. Probably top 10-15 in the world as far as what they'll pay their manager. Most upper-mid table teams in the big 4 leagues can't compete with them.

And I agree with all of that. Sure, big name managers like Pochettino aren't realistic, but there's the next tier of managers, especially those without a ton of experience who aren't ready for a huge job that would be perfect for Everton. It's what they did with Silva and it didn't work out. The worst thing they can do is probably let Ferguson keep managing, I don't see a lot of upside there
 

OilCanShotTupac

Sunny von Bulow
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I'm not too sure about that, speaking as a completely neutral observer. The Double Pivot podcast argued they're in a great position to hire a young, up and coming manager like Mikel Arteta, or someone similar, for the following reasons:
1) They've played much better than their record this season, a manager can come in and just not screw things up and they'll very likely start moving up the table. That's very appealing.
2) They're a big but not too big team. Not Arsenal with huge expectations, or a team like Bournemouth with no reasonable path to playing in Europe every year. Long term, being a consistent top 8 team isn't unreasonable for Everton. They've been leapfrogged by a couple teams, and a couple of their historical peers have fallen off, but ~8 every year is reasonable given their financial standing.
3) They're willing to spend. Probably top 10-15 in the world as far as what they'll pay their manager. Most upper-mid table teams in the big 4 leagues can't compete with them.

And I agree with all of that. Sure, big name managers like Pochettino aren't realistic, but there's the next tier of managers, especially those without a ton of experience who aren't ready for a huge job that would be perfect for Everton. It's what they did with Silva and it didn't work out. The worst thing they can do is probably let Ferguson keep managing, I don't see a lot of upside there
The first bolded: This is true, to be fair. They have been snakebitten. Underperforming their stats, terrible VAR decisions, etc. The fans' debate has been whether the underperformance is down to bad luck or lack of (guts, balls, effort, pride, etc). Silva didn't help himself with bad lineup choices and substitutions in that regard, and his Droopy Dog demeanor. They've also had lots of injuries, especially in midfield.

So there could be something to it.

the second bolded: guess you haven't spent much time with Toffees fans...
 

OilCanShotTupac

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Heh. Having a little fun.

More later on Toffees' 1-1 draw with ManU.

Dunc will be in charge for the QF Carabao Cup game at Goodison against Leicester on Wednesday night.
 

OilCanShotTupac

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With Carlo supposedly being wrapped up, rumors now abound that he will bring ZLATAN!!! to the Toffees.

Mrs O has caught the Everton bug from me (one of many harms I have done her). How doI begin to explain the phenomenon that is ZLATAN!!!, if it comes to that?
 

candylandriots

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With Carlo supposedly being wrapped up, rumors now abound that he will bring ZLATAN!!! to the Toffees.

Mrs O has caught the Everton bug from me (one of many harms I have done her). How doI begin to explain the phenomenon that is ZLATAN!!!, if it comes to that?
Maybe this is common knowledge, but I was talking with a Swedish friend the other night and, as the conversation inevitably does, it came to ZLATAN!!! He informed me of this development, which I had not heard about and this seems like a good time to share (even though it is not a normal ZLATANIC story)

Zlatan Ibrahimovic statue ste alight and vandalized by angry Malmö fans

But I would love to see Zlatan in Everton (but even better in South London :) )
 

InstaFace

MDLzera
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yeah I'd just have Mrs. O look over a list of best-of-Zlatan quotes, and best-of-Zlatan highlights, and maybe not in that order. You can add that it's not clear - still - exactly to what extent he's in on his own joke.
 
Last edited:

DLew On Roids

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I want more ¡ZLATAN! in my life, but I’m not sure about Everton as a destination. He seems mostly interested in trophies and trolling now. I could see him going to Spurs and demanding he only plays in cups and against City just so he can stick it to Pep.
 

OilCanShotTupac

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I don't know if ZLATAN! is the best fit from a footballing perspective either, but if a ZLATAN! presents itself, I'm not sure if it can be resisted. Aren't we all here to do the bidding of ZLATAN!
 

67YAZ

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With Carlo supposedly being wrapped up, rumors now abound that he will bring ZLATAN!!! to the Toffees.

Mrs O has caught the Everton bug from me (one of many harms I have done her). How doI begin to explain the phenomenon that is ZLATAN!!!, if it comes to that?
I love this Zlatan story.
 

Dummy Hoy

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I thought we were over the whole "ZLATAN" thing. Maybe it's just me. (that's a nice read posted by @67YAZ though)

Regardless, do we think he could still perform at a top flight level? He was good in MLS, but so were a lot of people that can't play in the premiership.
 

67YAZ

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As a late-game attacking sub or as a single high striker when you wants to defend with 10...I think he still has the skills and strength to play these kinds of roles.

The bigger question is if Zlatan! will be happy in a limited role. He’s a BIG personality and for younger players, something of a living legend. He could be a really positive influence, but I wouldn’t want to manage an unhappy Zlatan!

At this point, I think Brands is doing his good friend Raiola a favor with these rumors - it’s ginning up a market for Zlatan! If Zlatan! does end up at Goodison, I’d expect there will be a side deal that sees another Raiola client move to Everton over the summer.
 

OilCanShotTupac

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As a late-game attacking sub or as a single high striker when you wants to defend with 10...I think he still has the skills and strength to play these kinds of roles.

The bigger question is if Zlatan! will be happy in a limited role. He’s a BIG personality and for younger players, something of a living legend. He could be a really positive influence, but I wouldn’t want to manage an unhappy Zlatan!

At this point, I think Brands is doing his good friend Raiola a favor with these rumors - it’s ginning up a market for Zlatan! If Zlatan! does end up at Goodison, I’d expect there will be a side deal that sees another Raiola client move to Everton over the summer.
Maybe Carlo is the attraction and he's willing to get the band back together; they were together at PSG.
 

InstaFace

MDLzera
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I thought we were over the whole "ZLATAN" thing. Maybe it's just me. (that's a nice read posted by @67YAZ though)

Regardless, do we think he could still perform at a top flight level? He was good in MLS, but so were a lot of people that can't play in the premiership.
I ain't over it. I don't generally like sports divas, but he's my favorite diva ever, unless you count Pedro (which I don't, that narrative was a CHB creation).

He wasn't just "good in MLS", he was too good for MLS. He turned his team into a title contender and enormous fan draw. The handful of players with that same description are generally <23 and have generally gotten bought by Big 5 Leagues teams, so there's not a ton of precedent for someone his age going back up a level. But precedents don't really apply to him or other players at his level.

I think returning to Mourinho or actual world-class teams is probably farther than I'd state it, but there's a half-dozen striker-starved EPL teams in the bottom half who might decide that he'd give them a better shot to avoid relegation, and even if not he would also draw fans like crazy, and either way he's worth it. And if not the EPL, then maybe Serie A.
 

Seven Costanza

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David Beckham going to Milan & PSG and Wayne Rooney going to Derby both immediately spring to mind.
 

Dummy Hoy

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And we haven’t seen how Wayne does at Derby, which isn’t even a top flight team.

I’m not as impressed with Zlatan beating up MLS as others, but I have a low opinion of the League. I mean, Zlatan is no Bradley Wright-Phillips or Chris Wondolowski, so we’ll see. He did better in MLS than I thought he would, so I don’t mind admitting to being wrong, but I don’t see him being a real impact player in the Preimership at this point. And a club like Everton has big problems if they’re signing guys just to “draw fans like crazy.”
 

InstaFace

MDLzera
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Everton yes, but somewhere like Southampton I could see. OTOH Everton could more easily afford the wage demands.
 

OilCanShotTupac

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The Everton boards are treating ZLATAN!!! half-seriously. I did not hear his name come up at all before Ancelotti. Only when there were some rumors that the two of them wanted to get the band back together.
 

DLew On Roids

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The one thing ¡ZLATAN! had clearly lost while he was playing in MLS was pace. Unless it’s for a paycheck, England isn’t a great fit for him at this stage. On pure footballing terms, the destination that makes the most sense to me right now is Milan. Italy will emphasize what he can still do at a high level. Plus, Milan needs goals, he can be their savior in getting into Europe, and they have a manageable route to the Coppa semifinals.