Everton 22-23: Yer Blues

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Sunny von Bulow
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Jan 10, 2004
22,197
The 718
Having escaped the drop by the narrowest margins and the most surreal means, Frankie Lampard and the Toffees head into this season with some cause for optimism, but more downside fear tbh.

Richarlison is gone. No Toffee begrudges him. He said he was going to keep us up and he did. Spurs fans will love his work rate, his determination, his giving all for the cause, his snide.

The first signing was James Tarkowski. Solid business. A seasoned PL defender, 30+ games a season for many years (durability being a big concern for our lot), a natural leader. We now have an excess of CB's, but not enough good ones. Yerry Mina is fantastic, our xGA is a full goal lower and our points per game average almost a full point higher when he plays - but he's hurt more than half the time. (Having just seen Everton in person, being maybe 40' from goal, more on which below, I can also confirm that he is a massive human being - it's like plopping a figure from the next-gauge-up into a Lionel train layout). Michael Keane has been very good at times but goes through spells where he is timid and error-prone. Ben Godfrey was a beast two seasons ago but had a bad case of COVID and lost his athleticism last year. Mason Holgate just has not been able to sustain it. One or more of these will be sold. Unless someone decides to bet on Mina staying healthy, either Holgate or Keane will be moved on for whatever we can get.

At the fullbacks, of the two players bought with the Lucas Digne money, LB Vitalii Mynkolenko looks like the real deal. RB Nathan Patterson, Scotland international, was injured and has yet to feature, but looks promising as an eventual successor to, and frequent fill-in for, the increasingly creaky Seamus Coleman. Depth beyond that is a problem. Young Niels Nkonkou was out on loan to Liege last season; he's shown promise as an attacking FB but is a work-in-progress on the defensive end, positional awareness is not very good.

Midfield is the soft white underbelly. No one truly convinces. There is a terrible need at both the 10/creator and the 6/holding mid spots. Dele has had one brilliant half of football in the Palace game that kept us up, but has failed to convince otherwise. Allan is a decent destroyer-type but is on the wrong side of 30 and is badly exposed if left in a midfield two. Doucore has had some success as a box-to-box midfielder and was having a great season before getting hurt (at the time he had covered more ground than any other PL player); he's not been that good since. OCST binky Tom Davies has been cursed by his storybook goal against City as a 17-year-old, I think, and has struggled to find a spot, bouncing between midfield roles and not being that good at any one thing; this is his make or break season. Jean-Pierre Gbamin was brought in from Mainz with great potential as a defensive mid, but suffered an unbelievable run of injuries and has been largely written off by the fanbase. He was loaned to CSKA Moscow last season and did decently well, ie stayed on the pitch without getting hurt. If he can be even remotely useful, it would be huge. He did look decent in the first outing, but I'm not that easily won over.

Andre Gomes is not a viable PL footballer anymore. He is supposedly a creative, ball-playing mid, but since his injury just doesn't have the physicality and mentality to win battles in the middle of the park. Defensively he is an atrocity. He is linked with clubs with Italy and Portugal, where he could be decent, but unfortunately is on big wages so we'd unload at a loss, if at all. His big-money signing exemplifies the worst decision making of the Moshiri/Kenwright era.

View: https://twitter.com/JoelFreemanEFC/status/1547661921309974528?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1547661921309974528%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_c10&ref_url=


Up front, it's grim with Richy gone. OCST family hero and pet lizard namesake Dominic Calvert-Lewin is back in fighting trim, but supposedly wants out. Can't blame him, since he can't thrive without steady supply and anyone who provided same in the recent past is gone. Anthony Gordon was a breakout star. Despite playing mostly wide, in a statement of intent he's taken the 10 shirt. Let's see if he can fill those shoes. Although the pace, industry and football smarts are clear, his end product is still a little rough. Alex Iwobi, long considered Moshiri's worst signing which is saying a lot, massively stepped up last season and may have been our best outfield player over the last two months. No one played with more spirit and drive. He thrived playing centrally but was shifted to right wing back out of necessity toward the end. Demari Gray, before getting hurt, showed flashes of brilliance and poor decision-making, ie what he's always done. Andros Townsend did what he does, which was to provide the occasional golazo, dependable crossing service, veteran leadership, and good two-way play, although a step slower. Unfortunately he did his ACL, cruelly at Palace where he was deservedly warmly received, and his ETA is far off. Salomon Rondon is old. He was brought in by Rafa Benitez, who oversaw his prime years at Newcastle and also his sucky years in China. Due to injuries up front, he was pressed into service while not yet match fit (a nice way to say "blob"), was terrible, and got crucified by Goodison fans. Through it all he kept his head up and toward the end of the season provided decent holdup play; if fit he could be a barely-adequate DCL backup or late sub.

I was at the Everton-Arsenal game on Saturday. Everton were terrible in the first half. Gunners went through our midfield like no one was there. Lampard played three at the back with wingbacks and a midfield two and got slaughtered (he said later it's because he had a surplus of CBs and no holding midfielders, which is true; however he played this formation often and we got killed whenever he did, we always look better with a back four and an extra body in the middle of the park). Second half was much better, as a bunch of kids with tight-end numbers outplayed the senior squad. In particular watch out for midfielder/fullback Stanley Mills and defensive mid Lewis Warrington.

Everton fans came out in force. Supporters clubs from all over the country represented, and fans flew in from England and everywhere - I spoke with a father/son team from Vancouver and Toronto respectively. The Baltimore Toffees sponsored a get together at a bar near the stadium and we marched over with flags, chanting, blue smoke bombs, the whole bit. Baltimore police, understandably a jaded lot, were baffled.

catching 3 - 1.jpegcatching 3 - 1 (4).jpegcatching 3 - 1 (3).jpegcatching 3 - 1 (2).jpeg

Fantastic time.

Hope springs eternal. A couple of smart buys and good health, we could finish 8-10 and have a good foundation for next season. But it's unfortunately quite possible that we could open the new stadium against Rotherham or Stoke.
 

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Sunny von Bulow
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Jan 10, 2004
22,197
The 718
Toffees getting abused by Minnesota United. 3-0 Loons, including Michael Keane's third own-goal of 2022.
 

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Sunny von Bulow
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Jan 10, 2004
22,197
The 718
Everton did have some nice ball movement and chance creation in the first 15 minutes, as tweets from the Everton beat writers show. Doucoure got into open space and slid a perfect pass across the goal mouth, Calvert-Lewin got there just too late for the toe poke, and it went past him and Iwobi just missed it too. Several other nice passing setups, none buried, and even then the Loons were getting behind Everton too easily - it was end-to-end football.

First goal was a handball penalty on Tom Davies. A little harsh because the ball was struck from close, but Davies' arm was away from his body at 90 angle and it gets called every time in PL.

Second was a shambles, back line caught out. Culprit was RB Nathan Patterson, from Rangers, Scotland international, only 20 years old. Was purchased along with LB Mynkolenko in January with the Lucas Digne money when FSW* ran Digne out of town, a week before getting sacked. Was hurt for most of last season. Had some promising forays into the attacking end but was dreadful with his positioning, appeared to have no idea where he was going. Loons #9, forget his name he's a Uruguay international, blew right past him and put a pass across the goal mouth. Keane slid to block it and put it right past Pickford. Tarkowski generally has been our best player so far but in looking at it again he was wandering too far upfield.

Third was pinball in the box.

Scoreline flattered Loons, their xG was probably less than 3 and Toffees should have had at least one, but after the first goal they were aimless. DCL was starved of service. Midfield three of Doucore, Davies, and Iwobi were headless chickens. I had hopes that Lampard, the midfielder whisperer who did so well coaching up the kids at Chelsea, could get Davies going, but on evidence of these two games he's a lost cause.

Second half some of the kids did better but Toffees did not take the game to Minnesota as you would expect a PL side to do.

Then there was this, which you or me or my dog would have scored.

View: https://twitter.com/AIlEverton/status/1549933092344938497?s=20&t=WFmLoMeKYLgZrfKbay5TtA


If you squint you could see that they were trying to implement some attacking tactics that they've been working on and they *almost came off, to be expected in their second preseason game maybe. You also have to take into account that Patterson hasn't kicked a ball in anger in several months, and of necessity the back 4/5 has been mix and match going into last season. And that the MLS side is well-drilled and in midseason form. That turd dont polish that easily though.

Last summer at this time there were three chance-creators that are gone now - Digne, Richarlison, and James who, while a defensive liability and prima donna, could put a ball on the laces of DCL's boot from 30 yards. I just don't see where the attack comes from.

Grim.
 

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Sunny von Bulow
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Jan 10, 2004
22,197
The 718
Yep. First heard 3 months. The one player they can’t afford to lose, with Richarlison gone there’s no strikers unless we go to academy (which I wish we would actually). The old man who used to be Solomon Rondon does try hard but hasn’t much left.
 

Rwillh11

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Apr 23, 2010
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Yep. First heard 3 months. The one player they can’t afford to lose, with Richarlison gone there’s no strikers unless we go to academy (which I wish we would actually). The old man who used to be Solomon Rondon does try hard but hasn’t much left.
Seems like we've loaned everyone out, except for I guess Broadhead. With Rondon suspended I guess Dele starts as a false 9? I can't see them throwing Broadhead in at the start, and they don't really have anyone else who could credibly play as a center forward.
 

OCST

Sunny von Bulow
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Jan 10, 2004
22,197
The 718
Seems like we've loaned everyone out, except for I guess Broadhead. With Rondon suspended I guess Dele starts as a false 9? I can't see them throwing Broadhead in at the start, and they don't really have anyone else who could credibly play as a center forward.
This is spot on. I'd expect

Pickford
Patterson-Godfrey-Mina-Tarkowski-Mykolenko
Allan-Doucoure
Gray/Gordon-Dele-McNeil
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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How tightly is Everton constrained by FPP in this window? Can they spend all the Richarlison money or do they need to earn a profit in the market?

A goal scoring forward who could play CF when DCL is out but also play on the wing or as a second striker when he is fit seems like a massive need at this point.
 

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Sunny von Bulow
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Jan 10, 2004
22,197
The 718
How tightly is Everton constrained by FPP in this window? Can they spend all the Richarlison money or do they need to earn a profit in the market?

A goal scoring forward who could play CF when DCL is out but also play on the wing or as a second striker when he is fit seems like a massive need at this point.
They can spend a little bit. They have some big contracts coming off the books too. It's an indictment of the previous regimes that these contracts are for Cenk Tosun, Fabian Delph, and Gylfi Sigurdsson. But they can't bust the bank for any one guy.

The current DoF has done pretty well so far, I think, on short money. In the door:

-Tarkowski, on a free. I'm very impressed. Burnley had him on a leash. Of course he's great in the air in either box. He's also a very good progressive passer. In a back-3 with wingbacks that's huge, since getting the ball out wide quickly, without getting picked off, is essential. He's done very well with that so far this preseason, and he had a nice assist to DCL in the last game, against Dynamo Kyiv.

-Dwight McNeil. See above re: busting out of Burnley. He looked like a sailor on shore leave when he was brought on in the second half against Kyiv. He scored twice in a few minutes and his energy was off the charts.

-Ruben Vinagre. LB from Sporting. Had an assist against Kyiv. Myko will start but we need the depth and he can cover a couple of other defensive spots.

-Amadou Onana. The return of Idrissa Gana Gueye from PSG has been on the verge of completion for a week, and when I just this second went to see if it was done, I saw reliable sources report that Everton had closed the deal on Amadou Onana, a 20 year old, 6'5" midfield destroyer from Lille, and Belgian international. Lille wanted 30M+ for him, this all happened very quickly, and if so I think it's great work. West Ham were in on him. Huge upside evidently. They are still in on Gueye. If we're playing with back-3 plus wingbacks, there's a lot of pressure on the midfield two. Gueye, Onana, Iwobi (doing pretty well under FL, I have to say), Allan (slowing down but still very good if he doesn't have to run touchline to touchline) - that turns the weakest area of the pitch for us into a strength.

Another striker was needed even before DCL's injury. Rondon is old and had a horrible start at Everton last year. To be fair, Benitez played him long before he was match fit, and he was actually fat, and he endured a lot of abuse from Everton fans, shamefully, because he was slow and poor. He did get gradually more fit and looks not-bad right now, as a third or fourth option off the bench who can come in at the 75-minute mark and bang bodies with worn-out CBs. But that's all. Exciting academy product Ellis Simms was loaned out to Sunderland, should have kept him. Another one, Nathan Broadhead, did well at Sunderland last eason and they want him back, I think we should keep him. That's it. They were in on Maxwel Cornet, but that would have been too much Burnley and it looks like West Ham got him. Also in on Broja and Batsuyahi from Chelsea, evidently, although due to the Lampard connection we seem to be linked to every Chelsea spare part. Personally, if it could be done on a short and sensible contract, I'd go for Cavani, who is unattached at the moment. I confess that of everyone at Utd, I feared him the most whenever he came in. He's got a ruthless streak and he's savvy.

So up to now, well done I think, no glamor signings but those have burned us, we've filled real holes. Fans are furious that there's no striker yet and DCL is down, but they had several feelers out and it's not entirely within the club's control when things close - if we'd done a striker already maybe the CB or winger doesn't get done.
 

Tangled Up In Red

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Nov 8, 2004
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Sadly appears to be a (almost surely) broken leg for Godfrey on a play that should have been whistled out / Pickkford brain fart.
 

67YAZ

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https://www.reddit.com/r/soccer/comments/wiimwc/fabrizio_romano_everton_are_set_to_sign_conor/

Isn’t Coady a Liverpool fan? This could have intriguing derby potential.
He is. Grew up Merseyside, came up all through the Liverpool system.

It would be interesting to see how Frank plays him. Coady was strong as the middle of a back 3 - good covering for others, dominant in the air, even learned to play a nice diagonal to the wings. But he was getting squeezed out by Wolves’ shift to a back 4.
 

OCST

Sunny von Bulow
SoSH Member
Jan 10, 2004
22,197
The 718
Sadly appears to be a (almost surely) broken leg for Godfrey on a play that should have been whistled out / Pickkford brain fart.
Did his fibula. 3 months. Pickford, linesman, and Godfrey whose horrible back pass started the whole mess were all at fault.
 

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Sunny von Bulow
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Jan 10, 2004
22,197
The 718
I like Coady on the blues
Agree. Coady, McNeil, Tark- these are guys easy to root for, along with Myko, Patterson and Iwobi who has gone from most despised to # 1 on the team sheet and with the fans through insane work rate and dedication to the cause.
 

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Sunny von Bulow
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Jan 10, 2004
22,197
The 718
This feels like best case outcome given the scene, how long it took, etc.
There’s a view from fan video on YouTube that shows his foreleg bending at a right angle under the weight of his body, like Seamus Coleman, Theismsnn etc. so I agree.
 

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Sunny von Bulow
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Jan 10, 2004
22,197
The 718
He’s been playing in a double pivot in front of the back 3/5 out of necessity. With Onana in and Gana imminent, he’d be able to move up the pitch a bit which would better suit him. His superpower turns out to be an insane work rate, which Goodison loves - someone track back 50 yards to make a tackle gets a bigger reaction than a pretty goal. So being forward and having freedom to roam would put him to better use than having to maintain positional discipline.

He’s been misused. He is not a gifted technician, his end product is not great. He has disappointed as a wide man because he can’t cross with any accuracy. He doesn’t curl into the top corner. What he does very well is to just get forward. He wins the ball and he’s off like his hair is on fire which Everton desperately need,, without a playmaker to get through the lines with a slide rule pass. Iwobi just runs past people.

First name on the team sheet now.

Im happy for him too. Goodison can be cruel to a struggling player, especially him because he was brought in on a giantfee on the last day of the window by Moshiri, against the wishes of the DOF and manager who had never even targeted him - we had been pushing 70+ for Zaha and I think Moshiri just bought some dude who looked vaguely like him. Bet Moshiri is digging into a tub of ice cream somewhere saying “see, I was right.”