Everton Preview: Scrap For Third Is On

Those worrying about the trip to Wolves following the midweek games get some respite from those concerns. This afternoon we travel to Everton to put our two wins in nine away Premier League games up against their two home wins in the last nine Premier League games.

It’s got draw written all over it. And that will be enough to send us back to third on goals scored. However, will it be enough in the context of the run-in? I don’t think so.

The team news for the match isn’t bursting with sunshine in that sense. Koscielny and Xhaka are both “being assessed” but unlike Ramsey, they didn’t take part in the latest training session. Or maybe they did and the photographers complied with the request not to take snaps of them. Subtefuge and all that…

It’s unlikely given Unai told the press they were working with the physios.

Just as with Wolves, there is a danger in building the opposition up too much in your own minds. Everton, don’t get me wrong, have some good results under their belts in the three or four games but not all of them are impressive. Beating Chelsea and drawing the Merseyside derby, however, point to a team which can raise its game for the big occasion and that, I suspect, is the Everton we must overcome.

Just to point out, we’ve only lost one of the last five at Goodison Park. That’s the Arsenal Everton must overcome: bogey team.

You can read too much into the past, however. How far do you go back before bogey becomes favoured, etc? This season is the only measure which really matters and we’ve been pitiful on our travels since the draw at Old Trafford.

That was a costly night in more ways than one.

Talk the Talk, Now Walk the Walk

That Unai Emery felt the away warranted comment is telling:

We are thinking game by game and we know we have five of seven matches away. For us it’s a big challenge, away [from home] we want to achieve the same good performances as when we play at Emirates Stadium. 

Unai tells it like it is

The reality is confidence is hard to come by away from but scraping the win in Huddersfield proved enough of a boost for us to go to Wembley and snatch a point from the jaws of victory.

Mesut Ozil is a running theme at present. Emery pointed out that he is no different from any member of the squad:

He’s working very well, playing very well, he’s helping us. I’m very happy with him. I think the team has a good atmosphere, good spirit with each player helping us with their qualities and good behaviour. That’s the spirit I want, they are doing that, and Mesut is like the others [in that regard].

We’ve got Ozil…

Murmurings of Emery ‘ruining’ the player continue on social media but at present, his performances are better than they were. I still think he can deliver more and having re-watched Monday night’s game, am still baffled over how he got Man of the Match. Hopefully, his performance this afternoon will make the decision much more clear cut.

The line-up I think Emery will go with ought to make that possible:

Leno; Mustafi, Sokratis, Monreal; Maitland-Niles, Ramsey, Guendouzi, Kolasinac; Ozil, Iwobi; Lacazette

Choosing his strikers is maybe the toughest call. I know we’d like to see PEA and Lacazette start but frankly, it leaves us too open, especially with Koscielny, Xhaka and Torreira absent. I can’t see the pair playing and while PEA is the main goalscorer, Lacazette is more the team man.

And finally…

The last word, however, goes to Emery. He openly talks about third, claiming the immediacy is more important than the long-term today.

If we win, we are third. If we don’t win, we can’t hold this position. But football is each moment to enjoy, to prepare, to work, to play. It depends if we are efficient on the pitch. If we are – for 90 minutes – competitive, then I think we can achieve these three points.

Carpe diem.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.

’til Tomorrow.

78 thoughts on “Everton Preview: Scrap For Third Is On

  1. Jonnygunner says:

    C’mon today boys ⚽️⚽️⚽️

  2. Jonnygunner says:

    Nice write up YW
    Thank you once more 👏🏻

  3. Noon Gunner says:

    Thanks, YW. I always feel match ready after I’ve read your preview. Doesn’t necessarily vaporise the nerves, but that would be asking too much.

  4. andy1886 says:

    Emery doing a good job (be careful what you wish for eh?). Handicapped in more ways than one by the old regime the fact that we’ve a wage bill £100m a year higher than Sp*rs will probably mean no major signings in the summer without letting one or two of the big earners go. Even then I’d expect more up and coming players on modest wages than established stars. But as long as we look to address any problem areas (defence, a winger?), then I’d be happy with that.

    As for Everton today any win will be a good result. A bit hit and miss these are two teams who could deliver almost any result today but the fact that there is more riding on it for us might give us an edge. Come on you Gunners!

  5. C says:

    Team news is in:

    Leno
    Mustafi—–Sokaritis—-Nacho
    Maitland-Niles—–Elneny—–Guendouzi—–Sead
    Mhkitaryan—-Lacazette—-Ozil

    Subs: Cech, lichtsteiner, Jenks, Ramsey, Iwobi, Suarez, Aubameyang

  6. andy1886 says:

    Bit concerned about that midfield duo, Mhiki and Ozil are going to have to be on their game to support them.

  7. SV says:

    We’ll get a red, a few yellows, an injury and we’ll lose. Today is the day.

  8. SV says:

    What happened with Toreira? Not even on the bench.

  9. NW9 gooner says:

    Agree with Andy- Ozil and Mikki have to support the midfield to ensure speedy transition and we are not overrun there

  10. NW9 gooner says:

    SV Torreira is serving his suspension – his last match out

  11. SV says:

    Looks like Toteira is still suspended.

    The bench has enough attacking options. The challenge is to keep it tight at the back.

  12. ferkov says:

    SV,

    Frankly , your negativity doesn’t deserve nformation. He’s banned!
    At least he won’t get injured
    COYG

  13. Colts says:

    Cheers YW,

    If emery feels he can beat everton with El nino, then I’ll assume he thinks distance covered will give us an advantage.

  14. consolsbob says:

    Thus line up alarms me a little.

    A mixture of the suspect, young and just lightweight.

  15. andy1886 says:

    Typical, Jagielka , a last minute replacement, puts Everton ahead.

  16. YW says:

    This has been a bit shit, to be honest.

    Slow, ponderous build-up play with poor support for the player on the ball when we’re in possession.

  17. Dukey says:

    It’s that horrible line up again. I was hoping I’d never see it again.

  18. consolsbob says:

    I don’t see where the spark is going to come from.

    Too inexperienced or too lightweight in midfield.

  19. consolsbob says:

    Inexperience caused that booking.

    From a goal scoring chance to a potential break away goal.

  20. Colts says:

    Ozil in space on the right and we try to thread the needle.

  21. C says:

    We lack movement and Mhkitaryan has offered so little. Ozil dropping deeper to pick up the ball but nobody to pass to cause everybody is standing still.

  22. YW says:

    I’d say this is arguably one of our worst performances this season.

  23. Colts says:

    Getting a bit embarrassing tbf, shame…

  24. andy1886 says:

    Really struggling in the middle of the park, Ozil and Mikki adding very little either. One nil down at HT wouldn’t be a bad result given the way the game has gone.

  25. Colts says:

    Strength in depth. If we had the type of players that could step in and hustle on the road I’d be a lot happier.

  26. SV says:

    Do thex all have an eye on Napoli?

    Urgent changes needed. Ramsey on.

  27. Ras says:

    Salut been a while. Family and work all consuming. Excecellent post YW. Never expect less.

    The trio of Ozil, Miki and El Neny is a no no. A flat first half performance , a lack of conviction. Simply been out hustled.

    Emery yo change it half time.

    E

  28. C says:

    Elneny and Guendouzi struggling in midfield together and our wingbacks aren’t offering anything so Everton can just focus on closing down Ozil.

    Ramsey and Aubameyang on, Sead and Elneny off.

  29. C says:

    Back 4

    Maitland-Niles—-Mustafi—Sokaritis—Nacho
    Guendouzi—–Ramsey
    Mhkitaryan—-Ozil—-Aubameyang
    Lacazette

  30. consolsbob says:

    We have run out of players. Perhaps we should have got someone on loan when we had the chance…..

  31. C says:

    O Ramsey, with your quality that should have been in the back of net!!!!!

    We already look much more better attacking wise. Ozil a bit more space and runners all around him.

  32. C says:

    WTF was Maitland-Niles doing there?!?!??! Leno just saved his ass

  33. consolsbob says:

    He has not been very good all season, C.

  34. C says:

    consolsbob,

    True, he has shown glimpses but his passing has broken down 3 or 4 moves that looked so very promising today.

  35. C says:

    consolsbob,

    I would bring on Iwobi, at least he will run at pace and open up more space centrally for Ramsey and Ozil to operate

  36. consolsbob says:

    C,

    He just looks so half heared all of the time. I never thought he would score with that effort.

  37. consolsbob says:

    Not getting any better.

    They just seem to lack belief.

  38. C says:

    consolsbob,

    I’m in full agreement. I was one of the few who thought Mhkitaryan would shake out of it and he just hasn’t.

  39. C says:

    I feel like if we can get one, Everton are there to be had to get a 2nd. But there seems to be a genuine lack of belief to get the 1st.

  40. Ras says:

    Not enough influence by Ozil on the game. Mkhiki has been ineffectual also.

    From the wings it’s been pretty sterile today. The pace of Richarlison has given Nacho a huge problem today. We have to look at new options for next seasons. We need a wide player also.

    I think that the suspension of Torreira has been a factor today especially in the first half. The midfield just did not compete in the first half.

  41. andy1886 says:

    Poor all round, some big names not earning their corn today. I’m afraid that Mikki has been so average we would have almost been better off letting Sanchez go for free and not wasting £200k a week on that swap deal.

  42. consolsbob says:

    Well, to be honest, we haven’t really had a kick this match.

  43. Andy says:

    Could have another 90 minutes and I don’t reckon we’d score. Been awful today.

  44. C says:

    andy1886,

    At this point, I would have preferred Emery to start Suarez over Mhkitaryan

  45. C says:

    Ramsey stops playing at the top of our box looking at the ref as Everton attacks pretty much sums up the whole match: we haven’t been at it and Everton have.

  46. SV says:

    Weaker, slower, less motivated.

    Oezil absent in an away game. Not surprising.

    Emery not getting right the lineup and the spirit. Surprising.

    A big setback.

  47. Colts says:

    No ones surprised, we are where we belong.

  48. Alex says:

    SV:
    Weaker, slower, less motivated.

    Oezil absent in an away game. Not surprising.

    Emery not getting right the lineup and the spirit. Surprising.

    A big setback.

    If only it would have been only Özil… ah, well, this Özil, always good to have him on the pitch when we lose. Mki was a shame but no, it was Özil.

  49. Aaron says:

    The Arsenal, based on the performance today, deserve nothing less than 7th place!

  50. consolsbob says:

    Some of this stuff is a little ott.

    We were poor today but we are playing for third place. Hardly a reason to give up on the team.

  51. SV says:

    Alex,

    Iwobi should have started instead of Oezil. It was so obvious even before the game. And Emery knows it. So why? Prioritizing Europe over the league? He’ll get neither as a result.

  52. andy1886 says:

    Oh well, moving on to Wolves v Watford I’d like to see Wolves get to the final (their turn after we beat them in semis in ’79 and again in ’98) but really wouldn’t begrudge either their day in the sun.

  53. Dukey says:

    The game was lost as soon as he made the team selection. It set the tone for the game and we were never able to get into our stride.

  54. Paulie Walnuts says:

    We may be red hot at home but we’re bang average away.

    The selection was flawed as IMO you can’t play both Ozil & Mikhitarian in the same side away from home. Neither looked likely to provide anything of note today & the balance of the side was always wrong.

    Everton were OK but nothing more. It seems likely that these lightweight efforts are going to cost us top four. Can anyone honestly say they believe we’ll win at least three of our last 4 away matches ?

  55. Jonnygunner says:

    Paulie Walnuts,

    Nope-not at all.
    And if they turn out that shit show again I think there’ll be some P45’s in abundance at the close of the season.
    We were woeful

  56. consolsbob says:

    There should be a clearout at the end of the season.

    No doubt there will be. We did run out of effective and reliable players.

    We could make a list of those along with the ones who will be leaving. My guess is that we would be mostly correct. Nothing new in that, it’s been known all season that we are in transition. I don’t know if Emery could have risked Ramsey from the start but otherwise, who else did we have?

  57. C says:

    SV,

    Iwobi or Suarez should have started in place of Mhkitaryan.

  58. consolsbob says:

    Fair point, C.

    Saurez? We don’t know.

  59. SV says:

    So, Watford are in the FA Cup final, and we are playing them away from home next Monday. Goodby top four.

    After that, we get smashed at Napoli. Goodby Europa League.

    Hello frustrating summer.

  60. SV says:

    C,

    Oezil should not start an away game. In fact, Oezil should not be an Arsenal player. We are not a retirement club. We are playing in a tough physical league, where one trick ponnies are quickly found out .

    Not saying that Mchirarian was any better btw. But Oezil was our captain.

    Emery is not ruthless enough. He’ll regret it.

  61. Bill says:

    Thanks for the preview yogi. I have to agree with the other comments that emery’s team selection was a big mistake. Not nearly enough firepower. Lacazette is a good player but not a prolific scorer and none of our midfielders were the type who can make something good happen In the attacking 1/3. None of are much of a threat to score a goal or create an assist. There is a role for ball possessions players like ozil Elneny, Mkhitaryan and Guendouzi but starting all 4 together was clearly a recipe for the type of game we saw today

  62. Bill says:

    I know we discuss this topic a lot and I understand that stats don’t always tell the whole story. However, game management, technical skill and ball possession are not enough to get consistent results by themselves. Like it or not you need to have a critical mass of players who are productive and are a threat to score a goal and/or create an assist. The problem is players who can give you production are the least common type of player and you can’t build your own and they are rarely available without spending huge amounts on transfer fees

  63. Bill says:

    I can’t imagine that we will see Suarez other then in a mop up role at this point in the season. All the evidence we have argued that he was heavily over rated. It looks like he is going to end up with fewer minutes then Kim Kallstrom or Park Chu-young. Thankfully we avoided the must buy option. I suspect taking him on loan was a matter of our front office wanting to be able to say they did something.

  64. nicky says:

    We are now fourth, with still a chance of third place in the EPL and we soldier on in the Europa.
    Whatever transpires in either competition, we should surely remember the limited target all the experts forecast in Unai Emery’s maiden season in charge.
    In my view this has been virtually achieved. 😉

  65. B says:

    Our attack was poor today. All over the pitch we were never in the game.
    I am certainly not normally a xhaka fan but feel we missed his vocal presence in midfield today.
    Everton snapped (fouled) and hurried us throughout, not allowing us to play our normal game. This will be a recurring theme away from home unless we up our intensity and speed.
    On a plus note, Leno was superb.

  66. Adebanjo says:

    Bill,

    Lacazette is a top goal scorer but was ineffective today as a result of our general team play. Our number 9 spent so much time in our half and around the midfield you would wonder what’s going on. Overall a very bad team display.

  67. Bill says:

    Adebanjo:
    Bill,

    Lacazette is a top goal scorer but was ineffective today as a result of our general team play.Our number 9 spent so much time in our half and around the midfield you would wonder what’s going on. Overall a very bad team display.

    Lacazette is a good all around CF but he has certainly not been a prolific goal scorer for us. The numbers don’t lie.

  68. HenryNorrisDialSquare says:

    Would agree with most of what’s already been said. Team selection, game management, intensity on the road. I’ve been saying our run in isn’t a forgone conclusion that we’re in the top four. We’ve got Watford, Wolves and Leicester all more than capable of taking points from us. Coupled with the fact that Chelsea, Utd and Tottenham won’t lose as many as 2 of their remaining fixtures, leaves us outside of the top 4 unless we go on a run. Given our form away from home, I seriously doubt that’s possible with this bunch of player’s. That said I won’t knock the progress we’ve made under Emery in his maiden season. Hopefully he would have learnt a lot about the league, his team and back room staff. We’re heading towards the silly season and wondering who we will procure to improve this squad. I’ve suggested some centre halves, which I think is vital given the state of the defence. Full backs would be good if they are an upgrade on our current full backs. Winger’s would be nice, but do we really have the budget for that large an overhaul!?

  69. C says:

    SV,

    I keep hearing that Ozil should never start an away match but last I checked, we have been absolute shit away from home and Ozil has barely even featured let alone started one. Was he and the team not up for it, absolutely but Mhkitaryan was absolute rubbish to the point that the commentators couldn’t workout how a PL futboler struggle so bad to make a 5 yard pass multiple times.

    Sure he was Captain and he shoulf have played better but our struggles yesterday lay at our inability to get the ball from our defenders to our attackers, our wingbacks struggling to provide width so Everton could just clog the midfield. I mean how many touches did Lacazette and Ozil have in our own half?

    When the subs were made at half-time, there was more width and it worked because now when Ozil drops deeper, Ramsey makes the run ahead which means Everton’s midfield has to react.

  70. Bill says:

    C

    For the last several years you have been complaining that Ramsey hurts the team when he plays with Ozil because his forward runs force Ozil to drop deeper and it limits mesut’s effectiveness. You have often suggested that Ramsey’s influence is one of the reasons Ozil has often struggled and his assist total has dropped so dramatically in the last 3 years. Now suddenly those same forward runs by Ramsey are a good thing and Ozil cant be effective without them? I have to admit I am confused.

  71. HenryNorrisDialSquare says:

    Let’s not start the Bill and C show over Ozil’s performance and the Ramsey factor! At the end of the day collectively as a unit (this includes the manager) we weren’t at our best. We’ve not been good away from home most of the season. Failing to keep a clean sheet away from home all season! Why doesn’t he play more defensively away from home if he knows this is an issue!? A point would leave us with a little bit of wiggle room. But that defeat means we can’t afford many more slip ups! Don’t think we’ll do it myself personally. You’re all welcome to disagree with me, but I really hope I’m not in the “I told you so” bracket at the end of the season.

    However C, Bill does have a point! ;-p

    Guess we won’t missing Rambo, eh C!?

  72. C says:

    Bill,

    Your confused because you always miss or ignore certain aspects. In this case with the Ozil and Ramsey situation, I have always stated that in a midfied 3 they don’t work because our 3rd midfielder wasn’t defensive and Ramsey wouldn’t consistently be the box-to-box midfielder but instead would abandon his role. Ramsey’s best season coicided with Ozil coming and allowing Ramsey to do less on the ball making him more effective because Ozil can get him the ball after he makes his trademark late runs.

    Ramsey has found form and is doing both sides BUT also the width that was provided in the 2nd half allowed for Ramsey and Ozil to have more space centrally.

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