Everton thoughts

The ledger now reads P17 W4 D1 L12, with a goal difference that tells us that this represents our futility so far.

The signs of improvement are everywhere and while other teams seem well able to beat big teams once in a while, the cut-throat Manchester City squad was never going to be one that this Fulham team could see off.

Or maybe they could. For long periods in the game Fulham more than held their own. Everyone was on their game and Dejagah and Riether in particular were dominating their side of the pitch. The real revelation, however, was Adel Taraabt, employed as a lone striker and given instructions to try to make something happen if he could. He’s well suited to this, those basketball one-on-one skills are almost unmatched in the top division and with precious little support his decision making wasn’t really an issue. He simply got it and had a go. Occasionally he might have taken a different approach or executed the one he did take differently, but it seems churlish to complain when 90% of what he did do was first rate. It’s another example of a player being given a role and a situation that works for him. Well done him, well done the coaching staff. Whether it’s the way to go against other teams remains to be seen but he’s earned more opportunities for sure.

Otherwise it was what it was. City brought on Jesus Navas, who’s like lightning, and that felt critical. Our team is now hard working but there’s no-one there who can run and the back four, Riise’s department in particular, seemed likely to be troubled sooner rather than later. So it proved: Amorebieta let a ball bounce, then one thing led to another and Navas went from being half-troublesome to clean through, and he scored.

Lots of positives though. One thing we’ve often asked for from this team is a bit of tempo and they showed a lot of that in attack yesterday. A similar performance against lesser teams ought to be good enough for a decentish haul of points, although such is the hole that’s been dug that even this may not be sufficient. Time will tell.

9 thoughts on “Everton thoughts

  1. With the Dempsey loan deal all but officially done, I can see us picking up quite a few points in January and February with the current squad plus his added firepower. Is it terrible to have hope?

    1. I share the optimism. The schedule is quite favourable too, with only away to Arsenal and Man Utd looking like the only games where it would be silly to hope for a point.

      1. Perhaps, but he was still showing great form for the US National Team. As long as he didn’t forget to pack his goal scoring boots, he’ll do just fine. I’m super excited to see him play on the same pitch as Berba. Woof!

      2. I watch a lot of Sounders games, and that team had such poor cohesion this season (especially after his arrival) that I think it’s hard to separate his performance from the team’s, at least subjectively. (The stats may tell a different story; I haven’t checked.) They had enough talent on that squad to steamroll most of MLS, but they never played well together.
        So I’m hopeful, but you never know.

  2. Surely the problem is time, the problem time being eighty minutes. During the Sancez reign the pundits kept on about Fulham being a top team if the final whistle went on 80 minutes. Its the same during this campaign. How many times have we leaked a goal in the final ten to fifteen minutes.
    I’d suggest this is to do with age and therefore fitness of our squad.
    Your thoughts?

  3. Thanks Rich. A few thoughts.

    Taarabt’s got to be a striker. He can run at players, has got a good shot and never passes. Where else could you play him. More relavantly, I think he was better than Berbatov was in the last 3 games. I am not saying he should be picked over Berba but I think its worth mentioning that he played better than the player who the press fully credit when anything positive is produced by our team.

    Far more relevantly, Rene has made yet another bold selection in picking Taarabt over Bent that has come off completely.

    Another bold move: No one was happy with our left back options under Jol; most probably preferred Richardson over Riise. Since Rene’s arrival Riise has played some of his best football (3 shots on goal vs Villa), and Richardson who has consequently been dropped since, came in as a winger/forward ahead of Kaca (who has been very good recently) and Ruiz and had a great game and scored!

    I have seen enough from Rene to be convinced we have a really top draw manager in him.

    The issue of the teams fitness level is mentioned above. I think more specifically our achilles heal is that Karagoinis’ legs go after 65 min and Parker stamina does not compensate. We are left with the choice of either changing the formation in which Kara has been so key in last few games or running out of steam. I am surprised that Boateng hasn’t been used yet on 70 min. I think a younger CM midfielder has got to be our main transfer target in Jan.

    One last thing: Isn’t a interesting that we were a pretty good match for Man City for 70 min without Berba, Bent or Ruiz on the pitch.

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