Everton 1 – 2 Villa; What brought that on?

Just as I’ve been quiet because I didn’t want to keep saying how poor we are, it’s only fair that I do the opposite after I think we’ve played well.

Which is exactly what we did tonight. Indeed, we were by far the better side and could easily have scored four or five goals.
Before I come on to who I thought wasn’t up to scratch, I should say who I thought played well and it gives me great pleasure to say it was practically the whole side.
I know we showed signs of improvement against the Albion last week, but it wasn’t prolonged enough by a long chalk and I find myself wondering what’s gone on to cause such an improvement in this game.

I’m quite perplexed, having had a good few minutes to think about it, but I can’t get away from asking why it seems the players worked harder than they have done for months?
The improvement in workrate and desire was marked and it was almost as if the lads had been threatened with the sack.

The player that stood out for me was Traore. Where did that effort come from? I’ve often said I rate him, but he’s been so inconsistent and in and out of games that I’d got ho, marked as a waste of money and a squad player at best.
If he can keep that sort of effort up he’s one of the first names on the teamsheet.
I can’t get my head around his performance.

Ross Barkley too, was mostly excellent and I don’t understand how someone who has played so poorly for so long can suddenly work so hard.
McGinn was nowhere near as generous in giving the ball away, Ollie worked even harder than usual and the whole side were just sharper and up for it from the off.

There were some downsides and our defending of set pieces is one of them, in particular.
Barkley was at fault for Everton’s goal, but I think it’s harsh to blame him.
We zone mark and it makes us look daft when it goes wrong, because you get the likes of McGinn marking usually the biggest player on the opposition’s side.
I’ve never understood the reasoning behind it and much prefer man marking, but then I think Mings is a cowardly, poor defender.
Yet our defence is statistically very good. Hence I have to concede that there’s a good chance I don’t know what I’m talking about.

I thought our worst players were Luiz, who hasn’t looked on top of his game for a while and yep Anwar El Ghazi, who had done nothing all game.
Until he proved me wrong too and popped up to strike a cracker to give us the points. Only a couple of minutes after saying I’d have subbed him.
Football has a knack of proving you wrong, but fortunately it was in a good way today.

We’re up to ninth then and leapfrog Leeds and Arsenal.
If we can keep that up, there’s still plenty of points to be played for.
The big question is, can we?


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  1. Bill Pearson..
    Bill Pearson.. May 1, 2021 at 10:34 pm .

    I said it on your last post Badger, something has gone on but we won’t be told it, my thoughts on tonight’s game , Luis was poor, Mcginn I’ve every respect for him , his work rate is needed. He worries players and shields balls well, ok miss passing a few times but so does one or two others, all in all excellent game well worth all the whisky I’ve drunk tonight may I see many more games like that again.

  2. OLL again
    OLL again May 2, 2021 at 7:46 pm .

    The best Jackless performance to date.

    I never rated Pickford over Pope, but I have to admit he stood between his team and a thrashing in this match.

    It helped that Everton have two bad central defenders that their manager still selects so Watkins was able to dominate down both flanks. The ref and commentators overlooked the retaliation on Watkins after he robbed one of them and scored. That elbow was coming for him and landed – it was blatant.

    We were aided also by another infuriating player Richarlison having one of his zero-product days.

    On to our positives, pretty well everybody except Luiz who was at least average, the others were good to excellent.

    101 corner defending. Replay the Westergaard goal for Saints. When the opposition have a clearly outstanding header of the ball he must be man-marked by Mings or Konsa. Ludicrous to zonal mark with that threat.

  3. Big Fat Ron
    Big Fat Ron May 2, 2021 at 7:52 pm .

    A very interesting article on Ivan Toney:

    80 million for him and Tammy and we’re looking at a flirt with the title next season. Go get ’em Mr Purslow! 😉

    Shopping List
    1 x Axel
    1 x Tammy
    1 x Toney
    1 x creative back up for the skipper
    2 full backs, one on each side (unless a youngster can step up)

    1. badger123
      badger123 May 2, 2021 at 9:32 pm .

      So what are you thinking BFR, £30 mill or more for Toney when Abraham is similar money and proven?
      Seems a bit excessive, tbh and who plays up front, given Smith likes one up top?
      I don’t see either coming, tbh, but it would be nice.

      3 mids is way more important to me, to give us options, as the wimgers are way too inconsistent, as is McGinn. Barkley will be gone and Trez is out too.

      I agree with your full backs, but LB is the priority. I’d be ok with Guilbert as back up, but think Smith wants him gone.

      1. Big Fat Ron
        Big Fat Ron May 2, 2021 at 11:34 pm .

        Badger, Toney will cost at least what Ollie cost, so it’s at least £33 million; he’s scored more goals than Ollie in the Championship so you’re looking at 35+. 40 for Tammy so it’s about 75. If Ollie goes left or right, then surely, you need two top class goalscorers for the loan central position. We’ve gone into the last two seasons with one striker, which is madness. If you play one up, then you need minimum two in the squad – I can’t include Wesley or Davies in that, as they simply don’t guarantee goals. This summer has to be about acquiring guaranteed goals. If it’s two up, then you need four; think Yorke, Cole, Soskjaer and Sheringham at United – arguably the best quartet ever assembled – it won them the treble. Strength in depth and goals is what we need. Imagine being able to select a front 3 from Jack, Ollie, Tammy, Toney, Chuky and Bert! Wow. That would scare the shit out of most defences in the league. There are so many permutations there! We’d not only have a plan B, but a C and D!

        My thinking is we play a (proper) front 3, like Liverpool – I hate the notion of a loan striker and that’s why we’ve been struggling; it’s supposed to be a 3, but too often it’s Ollie working his bollocks off by himself, much like Wesley last season. That’s not going to get you success, in my view.

        Beef up the midfield behind them and we’re looking a formidable prospect! I think there will be a lot of movement in and out this summer.

        On a side note, if the season finished today, we finish top 10 and look at the teams above us. There isn’t a single team there that you’d be disappointed to finish behind going into the season, apart from maybe West Ham. In other words, if we finish top 10, we’ve basically won our mini league. Anything above and it’s like being promoted to the mini premier super league. Then it’s a case of recruit in the summer to compete with those big-hitters.

        Exciting times.


  4. Big Fat Ron
    Big Fat Ron May 3, 2021 at 4:51 pm .

    Antonio Conte has just won the league in Italy, again with a 3, 5, 2 system as he did at Chelsea. If it worked in England and Italy to such an extent, maybe it’s worth looking at.

    How about this for a team:
    Konsa Mings Axel
    Bert Luiz Mcginn (one new top class centre mid) Jack
    Tammy Ollie

    1. Bum Bum
      Bum Bum May 4, 2021 at 6:32 am .

      I’d say no to that as we’d lose Cash in that line up. Cash has been awesome this year.

      1. Big Fat Ron
        Big Fat Ron May 4, 2021 at 9:37 am .

        He has been excellent, but he’s dropped at least as many clangers as Mings, yet seems to not be criticised like the big man. Replace Bert with Cash for away games in the lineup. 😉

      2. badger123
        badger123 May 4, 2021 at 4:49 pm .

        And Targett too. He’s been pretty good all season.
        Mind you, the pair of them would be worth a good few quid and would contribute nicely to any incomers.
        As for Cash moving forward to replace Bert, I’ve not seen a single sign that he looks much use as a winger?
        Quite strange seeing as that’s where he played first.

  5. badger123
    badger123 May 3, 2021 at 6:05 pm .

    BFR, I love what you’re proposing and 99% agree with what you’re saying.
    Except we’re talking Smith and I just don’t see him deviating from his one up top.
    He’s intransigent to say the least and he doesn’t seem to do tactics either (although I am willing to cut him some slack here, as I often look at the bench and think “what alternative is there, really?”)

    Given that I think there’s no chance he’ll go with a proper 3 (which I’d love to see, there are plenty of teams in the Prem that can’t withstand a proper onslaught) and will stick with one, maybe he will push Ollie wide left. If so, yep, I could see Tammy coming in as the no 1 striker.
    I think Wesley and Davis are squad at best, so that would leave room for Toney, who might come if we triple his wages.
    I just think that’s a big ask in money spent when we already have back up.

    Whichever way I look at it, the midfield is the weak link and I think that’s where the money will go.
    But you’re right, it’s going to be interesting seeing who comes and goes and with FFP less of a threat I wonder if the owners are really going to push the boat out?
    Exciting indeed.

    You are of course, correct in saying we’ve done very well this season.
    But it gnaws at me that look where we are and we’ve been awful for weeks.
    It could have been so much better and Europe was there for the taking.
    It was our best chance in years and it just feels like we’ve thrown it away.
    I know, we probably wouldn’t have been good enough.
    But it’s the ride in europe that does it for me.
    The exchanging of pennants against Antwerp in 1975 is still very strong in my memory 🙂

    I like your proposed 3-5-2 team too.
    All we need to do is wait for Smith to get the sack, because that’s the only way you’d get to see it, imo.

  6. Big Fat Ron
    Big Fat Ron May 3, 2021 at 10:37 pm .

    El Ghazi on his goal: “I had one one thing on my mind… shoot. I love to shoot and I do this strike quite often in training…”

    That, for me, sums up where we’ve been going wrong lately. Anwar has absolutely nailed it there. If you do do it in training and it works, do it on the pitch! Apparently, his pal Konsa told him to do it as he does it all the time in training. Moreover, the skipper is on record as saying he’s the best finisher at the club.

    We know he’s got a tremendous shot on him. He now has 8 goals this season, despite not being a regular starter, more than De Bruyne. Perhaps, we underestimate Anwar, just a tad?

    Bottom line, if you don’t shoot, you don’t score; this man likes to shoot and is quite good at it! It’s the simple things.

  7. Big Fat Ron
    Big Fat Ron May 3, 2021 at 10:39 pm .

    On a bum note, allegedly, Bayern are in for Chuky and there’s a real danger he’ll be snatched away. That would be a sickening.

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