Everton Preview: Coming Unstuck Again or The Pick of the Mix

It’s that time of the year. A time when we remember the abysmal performances of last season, where three points were thrown away as the towel wafted in from the touchline. Our away form this season hints at a repeat of that rather than a bullish ‘sending a message’ to the rest of the top six. I suppose defeat sends a message but not the positive one Arsène wants.

The XI today will be heavily rotated from the one which nicked victory in Belgrade. No Jack Wilshere in the starting line-up, especially with the League Cup tie against Norwich City on Tuesday night. The question that leaves is whether Wenger goes with Iwobi or Özil. The former’s performance at Stamford Bridge gives him the edge in what I expect to be a dour match this afternoon.

Everton’s need for points is probably greater than ours. Or maybe Ronald Koeman’s is. It’s fair to say that he failed to replace Romelu Lukaku in the summer despite heavy investment. Thanks in part to Mrs Giroud for not wanting to leave London.

However, defeat for the Toffees today would almost certainly see the Dutchman out on his Arsenal. Everton’s team will today feature all players carrying a young tot on the shoulders. Koeman hopes it will inspire more fight than his squad has shown so far this season.

Wenger warned the policy of rotation will continue but it’s not guaranteed who will play:

“It is impossible to come from a game of that intensity [in Belgrade] and play. Of course I left 10 or 11 players at home. I decided to rotate at the start of the season and will continue to do so. But the time will come when the rotation can go another way.”

The obvious candidate for that barb is Özil.

I Don’t Believe Illusions

Arsène was quick to assert that the German is “professional” and like every other player, committed to the cause. You want to believe that the players will give their all but there is a doubt there. Not that they don’t start with the best of intentions but how they react to setbacks. A demotivated or unenthused player will most likely lose heart quicker than one enjoying their work.

The German is this generation’s Marinello or Nicholas. Start well but eventually the star burns out and fades without lifting the team to the heights they ought to. He’s the one who will leave on a free next summer unless he goes abroad this January. After yesterday’s performance, I can’t Mourinho taking on Özil this winter; he isn’t what they need at the moment.

Does that affect whether he is in the first team at Arsenal? It ought not to but in a game like today, Arsène has to wonder whether the German is the answer. Does he go with a similar outlook to the one at Chelsea? Happy to steal a win but content with a point and determined not to lose? Or, is today one where he will look to pounce on Everton’s weaknesses with a flowing performance?

While the latter may be the ideal, the former is more likely. Watford saw us at our profligate best – or maybe worst suits better – and that defeat may shape his thinking. The perfomance wasn’t good enough over 90 minutes and reaction to the equaliser was poor.

However, we need to break out of the cycle of no wins away from home in the Premier League. We have to show we can “restart” in the main competition this season, whatever that means. Caution, or the fear of defeat, can’t stifle the squad.

Out to Lunch

Wenger confirmed that Koscielny, Ramsey, and Alexis return to the squad today and maybe the latter pair are the answer more than Özil. Maybe their drive forwards was the absence we missed most at Watford.

While it is easy to say Özil is the better player – and he is – does his gift make him the best fit for today’s team? I think not; Iwobi showed at Stamford Bridge he was prepared to work hard for the team which may give him the nod ahead of the German.

I’d expect today’s line-up to be:

Cech; Holding, Koscielny, Monreal; Bellerin, Ramsey, Xhaka, Kolasinac; Iwobi, Lacazette, Alexis

Three points is once again the rallying cry. The top two are pulling away with Tottenham likely to cling onto their coat-tails. What we can’t afford is another defeat which sets us firmly in the mire of Europa League places and FA Cup wins. Not if we’re serious about getting back in the Champions League, anyway.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.

’til Tomorrow

190 thoughts on “Everton Preview: Coming Unstuck Again or The Pick of the Mix

  1. Sounds like Everton have a nice run of 5 games in the PL which could see them collect points. If they lose today do they stick with Koeman for that run, or give a new manager some fixtures that will allow him to settle in quickly?

  2. He knew he was off as soon as the whistle went. That might save Koeman, but maybe he should have subbed him.

  3. HenryB,

    I do have a live feed, woke up late; lucky for me I started watching the game right as Nacho scored.

    I have checked some live blogs and watched first half highlights and we could most certainly be up 6-1 and yet we aren’t but I also saw Cech and Xhaka(which was a foul on him leading to the goal).

    I also saw Ramsey miss 2 absolute sitters, its frustrating because people love the fact that he gets into those positions but whats the point if your not going to finish and you completely vacate your responsibilities in midfield.

  4. C,

    Hello C there its obvious Sanchez and Lacazette assisted by Ozil have goals in them. It’s more a question of what’s behind them. What are the pairings the pairings that are going to shield the defence , break up play and turn defence into quick attacks ( offence). It’s all very flaky tippy tappy.

    For the sake of turning blue in the face we currently do not possess the right type of players.

    In an ‘ ideal’scenario and he was fit thus being a reliable lynch pin of the team you would have 3 in midfield with JW being in the middle. On either side of him he has players whom do the necessary.A Matic Kanté Wanyama Dembele.

    AW just cobbles together a plan and advocates go play. Such an ethos is dead defunct it’s kick and hope. Guardiola Conte Klopp demonstrate that meticulous application allied to the talents of the players is needed to be a team that wins on a consistent basis..

  5. JonJon,

    How many games have they played together this season? You can’t make a difference if you’re not on the pitch.

    Have you heard the old proverb, “cutting of your nose to spite your face”?

    There it is!!!!!! Lacazette!

  6. Sanchez to Ozil to LAcazette and its about fucking time!!!!!!!!!!

    Ozil MOTM.

    Hey Arsene, you finally unleashed our 3 best attacking players today together and look what happened; our attack has been not short of a joy to watch.

  7. we won about 5 on the bounce without playing them both
    kept 4 clean sheets….
    we were doing perfectly fine without them both…

  8. He is so good at just guiding them in. No need to smash it. Ramsey take note.


    Fans of Ramsey love the fact that he gets into those positions. I think he is more often wasteful than useful. His shooting is poor, his decision making is average and he takes the ball off of better positioned players.

  9. Ras,

    Its been my problem with Arsene for quite some time, he doesn’t play a proper pairing behind the front 3 and doesn’t seem to really care to.

    If he wanted to get the best out of our attacking players he should have signed that type of player but in the current team just play Elneny and one of Jack or Le Coq next to him and then in January buy that player, there are plenty out there.

  10. Wavey,

    Completely agree and the funny thing is those are the same people that crushed Gervinho for being so wasteful. I honestly think he is just an average player who had 1 really good season, 1 good Euro but outside of that is just an average player.

  11. Xhaka has a cannon for a left peg when he hits it and they are generally on target, just wish he would do it more.

  12. JonJon,

    I understand your “they’re dead to me” attitude, but while we have them it must make sense to use them. If we aren’t going to use tgem we should have just sold them. We didn’t, so clearly Wenger intends to play them.

  13. well a lacazette sanchez ozil strikeforce would have been just peachy by me if ozil was still a worldbeater, not just an everton beater, and sanchez had 4 years left…



    Nacho passes it back and it looked a bit short but Cech tried to play that, just smash it up field.

  15. HenryB,

    And he’s scored today. I know he has, but maybe another player getting into thise positions would score more. Players of a similar ilk over the years, such as Tim Cahill, were much more prolific.

  16. That is brilliant!

    So Arsene FINALLY starts Ozil/Lacazette/Sanchez and all 3 score and boss the match, we look the best we have attacking wise all season and we could have and should have scored loads loads more.

  17. Back pass was a bit short, but that goal has to be done to Cech.

    A lovely goal from Alexis.

    Might be good night from Koeman.

  18. Orson Kaert,

    We had won, remember Arsene sold him to Juve because he thought and said that Cech and Ospina were better than him; that’s proven to be terribly wrong!

  19. Cech needs to stop thinking he’s an outfield player and get rid of the ball.

    We made a meal of it but I guess it’s a 3 point in the bag.

    Honestly, this game could have gone to the shitter but we got the points.

  20. orson
    be very careful, this aint a pissing contest,

    gloating over two players who wont be here next year can leave you looking more of a plum that what youre already looking…

    from my point of veiw – i dont care much for players who dont want to be here….its simple…thats not a bad thing – doesnt make me a bad supporter or stupid or a target for blogging sillyness…

  21. Great result and performance today. Wenger must surely continue with that front three now. Ozil deserved MOTM award. He was fantastic today. I also thought Ramsey was excellent.

  22. good game today..
    some good link up play and good finishes..

    a few sloppy moments but when the fantasy football works you can concede 2 silly goals and still win..

    dont see us doing that every game but enjoy it while it lasts..

    nice to see jack get a run – and an assist

  23. C,

    Yes it is exactly that. I would love to see Thiago Motta and A Rabiot in tandem.

    It’s why I refer to AW philosophy as pick n hope or mix n match.

    Nobody shod be carried away by this result. Everton are a bad team and this is what Is’expected’ as it should have been against Watford and Stoke .

    This red zone that players suffer at Arsenal I square the blame at AWs Porte.

    Kos is knackerd and has to be nursed. JW was over played. We know the results. AR has his continued injury problems. The Ox before he jumped ship was forever injured.

    Starting next season we NEED 2 CBs as starters. Kos cannot be relied upon in the long term. Mert retires.

    Le Coq El Nenny Santi ( 32- 33 is he EVER going to get back to a level? Another Diaby – Rosicky).All must be moved on.

  24. Ras,

    Motta I don’t would fit the PL at this stage in his career. I think the biggest miss was not getting Tolisso from Lyon or Seri.

    I agree though, with Lacazette/Ozil/Sanchez we don’t need midfield runners all the time, those three will score goals and create, Ramsey running into their space and leaving midfield won’t continue to work, we have seen it.

    I agree about the CB’s and its why the Gabriel sell was so baffling especially with Holding’s confidence and Chambers niggling injury start to the season.

  25. JonJon,

    I understand the opposition were poor, but we’ve played badly against poor opposition in the past just nicked it. Like I said, I do get the fact that you can’t be bothered with players who are gone in the summer, but they are still two of the best players we have at the club and I would use them while we have them. And I agree that it doesn’t make you a bad supporter. Mildly amusing that you were commenting that they should have been left out today when they then put in one of the best performances they have for some time. A bit of banter rather than anyone having a dig at you JJ.

  26. Its not about getting carried away, its simply enjoying today’s result but I do think that Ozil/Sanchez/Lacazette as a front 3 can be devastating but our problem is midfield and defense.

    If Jack can stay fit, I really want to see Jack in there even if its next to Xhaka(who had a solid game but was left all to himself in midfield far too often for my liking).

    We need to build on this.

    I really hope we get another GK.

  27. I know I am probably in the minority but I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see one of or both Ozil and Sanchez be here next season because Arsenal offer them contracts and their services not being needed. People keep saying Sanchez is off to Bayern or Citeh but neither one of those clubs need him and I can’t see why Pep would want him with Sane fulfilling his vast potential and Jesus and Aguero aren’t going anywhere and Sterling is a massive part of Pep’s plans along with Bernardo Silva. Bayern, they won’t pay his wages and can’t see them going for him when they will want one of the German attackers.

  28. C,

    Those 2 clubs might not need him come the summer, but there are probably a few others who can give him a fair wage if he’s joining on a free transfer. If the wages on offer were the same it would likely be the potential for silverware that would temp him. Arsenal’s hierarchy has shown that winning the Premier League, or the Champions League do not appear very high on their agenda.

  29. Unbelievable that we didn’t have a single shot on target against Liverpool. Their defence is non-existent.

  30. Wavey,

    Yea, I’m watching, they had 2 counters and scored but Salah grabs one back.

    Liverpool are dealing with the Spuds pressure and they can get at the Spuds.

  31. Wavey,

    There are a few that could pay him and it will be interesting to see what happens if Arsenal offer him a similar contract. Again, I think if we have a good run or lift silverware I wouldn’t be surprised if he stays but it will be interesting to watch.

    We have him and Ozil and I think we use them and Lacazette in a front 3 and just let them go and I really hope we bring in a midfielder in January.

  32. Was surprised at Ox lining up on the left, but it seems that he has been working on using his left foot.

    And that’s 3.

  33. Doolally Alli tops a volley and beats the ‘keeper. Good reactions, even though the finish was a bit spawny.

  34. Ozil created the most chances in a game in the PL this season, I know most won’t view that stat but I think it just shows how involved and influential he was. He should have had 2 assists, Ramsey’s goal when he was clear through and then Sanchez not lifting it or putting it around Pickford.

  35. Ozil is much better out on the right wing than as an attacking midfielder. He gets more space but can dip inside to help the midfield or pick a pass (with Bellerin providing the width).

    The red card was rather ironic. Everton players were obviously told to pick on Xhaka in midfield in the hope he would cough up the ball (as he is wont to do). They went too far and a red was produced. But I still think that Xhaka is a big liability in midfield, particularly with three at the back. Good teams will not be so charitable.

  36. Love having two inverted wingers who kept dropping into the midfield to help out. I’d love to see a heat map, but I think Sanchez was almost the AM today. Boy, did he look fit.

  37. Orson

    No one would be questioning Mesut if he played the way he did today on a reasonably consistent basis. Keown would not be questioning his effort and motivation and fans would be begging for Arsene to get him to sign a new contract.

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