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Are we really that good?

I don’t know if this opinion piece is a rant, an epiphany or both but before I start, I don’t want the title misleading people. So, pitchforks down lads, I’m not suggesting we deserve to be in the bottom three because we certainly don’t. However, the point I am trying to make is… are we really as good as some Blues make out?

Cast your mind back to early August, the week before we played Palace, for talks sake, and most Blues on Twitter or on the Grand Old Team forum were talking excitedly about how United, Chelsea and Arsenal were all there for the taking. The talk was that we could get top 6 this season with some even mentioning top 4. I’ll admit, even I got excited and yes, the opportunity is of course there, as Leicester are currently proving. However, those confident predictions and that expectancy come with the presumption that we’re the best team outside the so called “Big Six.”

Are we?

That line of thought is completely ignoring many other clubs, for example;

  • Leicester – invested in their squad further, have an experienced manager who has won major trophies and who has got them playing well
  • Wolves – currently struggling due to the Europa League but will bounce back and hit form (see their last result)
  • West Ham – invested in the squad further and have an experienced manager who has won major trophies also

The mention of West Ham will probably have a few Blues rolling their eyes but really, I think as it stands West Ham have a better crack at the top 7 spots than we do. Going into our next fixture are we really that much better? Would you rather Pellegrini or Silva? Haller or DCL? 8th or 18th?

Currently, I know what I’d rather have…

Another thing that has been overlooked by many is our recruitment issues. Marcel Brands has done well in getting the likes of Moise Kean, Andre Gomes and Alex Iwobi through the door and we love him for that but he has failed to address the lack of quality depth in our backline which leaves us one injury away from disaster. He also failed to address our threat in front of goal and it’s shocking to me that Moise Kean was brought in and expected to lead the line for a team with top 6 aspirations considering he had zero Premier League experience and is aged just 19. (However, in the right system I believe he could do a job to keep us firmly 7th, but not top 6, yet). This has left us weak. Weaker than last season? I don’t know but we’re certainly nowhere near a top 6 side in my opinion.

I can’t mention recruitment without mentioning the other half of the problem which falls squarely on Marco Silva’s shoulders. Through his tactical rigidity Silva refuses to use players like Cenk Tosun. I know, I know, but for his finishing and experience alone Cenk offers what Calvert-Lewin, who lacks in both those areas, doesn’t. Although you can argue DCL does suit Silva’s system, for the high press and work rate he offers, he just isn’t creative, clinical or experienced enough to lead the line for a team with top 6 aspirations. Taking Cenk Tosun out of the equation, for talks sake, Marco could change the system to better suit Moise Kean. Change to a 433, drop Sigurdsson, create without crossing so much, put Kean up top and play the ball to his feet. Or if he must persist with the current system then at least try Iwobi through the middle and put Bernard back on the wing! Also, what’s happening with our Tom Davies?!

The point I am trying to make is that most of us can see something inherently wrong with the mix of Silva’s tactical system and the players he chooses to fit it. Therefore, it seems only logical to try something different because as it stands Silva’s system isn’t working. Despite us literally being in the relegation zone Silva refuses to change the formation and tactical setup, week in week out, ergo he is part of the problem. I’m sure well all be keeping a keen eye on Everton’s twitter for the team news announcement when we play the Hammers!

(Side note; For what it’s worth I am not saying Tosun is the answer to our problems. He’s just one example out of the options currently available, especially if Kean needs more time to adapt).

So, back to the original question. Are we really that good? In my opinion as it stands, no, we aren’t. We haven’t won a pot in nearly 25 years; we haven’t been stable or guaranteed a top 7 finish since Moyes left almost 6 years ago (close to a decade) and we massively overrate our squad ignoring the facts and glaring weaknesses.

All that said, for the vast amounts of money that we have spent, crap or not, we shouldn’t be anywhere near the relegation zone and provided all players stay fit I do still think we’ll finish 7th or 8th. Perhaps once Silva is replaced with a more competent manager. Safe to say 7th or 8th certainly isn’t the finish some Blues were expecting going into this season and my question to them is why? Our squad is not a top 6 squad yet and hasn’t been since the 2013/14 season. We are lacking players in key areas and overall for the past 5 seasons, and counting, we have been a mid-table club fighting it out for 7th spot with teams like Leicester et al. So, where does the expectation come from that we should be there firmly mixing it with the top 6? Most the players who played for us last time we finished in the top 6 are gone now. I mean we all want to be there but what is the idea that we deserve to be there based on?

Doom and gloom aside I must admit that I do feel the club is trying to move in the right direction and we will eventually improve for the better. Which is part of the reason I am writing this opinion piece, to try to highlight to other Blues that, yes, we need to demand success but we also need to be honest about where we are currently at as a football club.

Until we improve, we are going to have frequent days when we don’t get the “expected win” over the teams “worse than us” but toxic atmospheres, booing players and the Park End giving our young players a tough time won’t suddenly change where we are at as a club. It’s counterproductive and while I understand the frustrations, as I too suffer through them, surely getting behind the team and the club as a whole would be more beneficial?

Results aside I think a big part of the problem that is contributing to the overall mood is that expectations were too high when Moshiri first came in, which has left a lot of Blues feeling let down. What I mean by that is that many expected unrealistic things to happen simply because we got a new rich owner.

Results were expected instantly in the shape of big signings and investment, much like Man City’s take over. However, that line of thought completely ignored current financial restrictions now in place that Man City didn’t have to worry about. I also feel that, in all the excitement, it was completely overlooked that even with City’s huge investment it still took them 3 or 4 seasons to win anything. How long will it take us with less investment? Especially when you consider that for years, we were bereft financially, ran like a lower to mid-table club and settled for mediocrity to the point where it’s now been ingrained in the club.

Let’s face it, how the club operated previously isn’t what kept us in the Premier League and mid table, luck and David Moyes did that. It’s not like Moshiri has come along and ruined our glory days. However, I will concede that we are facing some serious teething problems that are concerning. I do believe however these issues can be expected when trying to overhaul a club that has consistently used mediocrity as a bandage for a festering wound.

I do feel that something will click into place soon and the bumpy ride that we are currently on as a club will smooth out. As hard as it is, I believe that requires patience from us as supporters and the reason I believe this is because now the club is financially stable with funds available and we are getting rid of and signing the right players bit by bit. Commercially we are improving also, a new stadium is on the horizon and on top of all that this season can still be turned around and taken advantage of but as we all know too well…

It’s the hope that kills you!

Felt like Davek for a moment there…. Up the soul crushing bitter Blues!

  1. Mid table team no better than West Ham, Wolves, Leicester.

    Have you seen the team West ham can put out… Its wayyyyyy better than ours to a man..

    Wolves no so much, but have a better cohesion and are organised well

    Leicester team will challenge for top 4, no doubt about it. Galaxies away from our first 11

  2. do we not play through the middle because the players are no good or are the centre players being marginalised because we just hoof it diagonally

    everyone talks about going through the middle (I do too btw), but quite frankly, Iwobi is the first decent signing we’ve made that can actually execute on this strategy

  3. Let’s be honest we’ve assembled a complete mish mash of half decent players..

    Whoever thought this lot would work and challenge at the top is miss informed.

    That’s not to say a decent coach couldn’t get us to about 12th though.

    It’s going to be a horrible season this

    mish-mash, perfect. I’ve been using the phrase "island of misfit toys." they can all be quality players but if they don’t suit the preferred style (or vice versa), then you get what we have: a squad that is far better than the sum of their parts

  4. Fully agree, even when the top 6 have poor seasons we are miles off.
    There are so many blue tinted specs out there, people seem to think we have a great team, there are better players at some of the lesser teams that we ridicule just because they aren’t at Everton.
    Our CB, midfield and CF are average.
    If you looked honestly, You could probably pick one player at every club in the league that would make our starting line up yet people seem to think we have the 7th best squad in the league.
    Digne is the only player that could possibly get near a top 6 team. I couldn’t honestly name another.

    remember when they used to pick the best 11 out of us and the ones across the park and a lot would put 5 or 6 blues in it, I bet after Burnley some of our fans would still do it

  5. Let’s be honest we’ve assembled a complete mish mash of half decent players..

    Whoever thought this lot would work and challenge at the top is miss informed.

    That’s not to say a decent coach couldn’t get us to about 12th though.

    It’s going to be a horrible season this

  6. We seem to have a fair few wide options and nothing much in the middle. I think we are lacking right the way through the spine of the team. We lack players who can offer us something different.

    do we not play through the middle because the players are no good or are the centre players being marginalised because we just hoof it diagonally

  7. Dont see this sqaud as top 6 even with a manager that’s getting the best out of them.
    Anywere between 8-12th is par for this set of players.
  8. Not for me. Which of our squad would walk into the RS/Spurs/City/Chelsea first team? Barely anyone. Richarlison and Digne might make the bench. To quote ‘Arry Redknapp……….we’re bang average, with a bang average manager.

    We’re actually have an above average squad, with a below average manager. If we appointed a good manager, we’d be in a much better position!

  9. I’ve said it before, Silva is using this squad so bad and in the wrong way that he’s convinced people we haven’t got a good team. We have a squad that COULD achieve top 6 especially this season with the way it’s shaping out for Arsenal/Spurs/United we have a very good chance if we didn’t fluff such an easy start.
    This is the most talented Everton team that I’ve witnessed since the Smith tenure.

    Not for me. Which of our squad would walk into the RS/Spurs/City/Chelsea first team? Barely anyone. Richarlison and Digne might make the bench. To quote ‘Arry Redknapp……….we’re bang average, with a bang average manager.

  10. The table doesn’t lie.. Even with a better manager this squad is a shambles. No leaders or winners..

    Fully agree, even when the top 6 have poor seasons we are miles off.
    There are so many blue tinted specs out there, people seem to think we have a great team, there are better players at some of the lesser teams that we ridicule just because they aren’t at Everton.
    Our CB, midfield and CF are average.
    If you looked honestly, You could probably pick one player at every club in the league that would make our starting line up yet people seem to think we have the 7th best squad in the league.
    Digne is the only player that could possibly get near a top 6 team. I couldn’t honestly name another.

  11. As I keep saying, we had 5 players Brands brought in on the bench last game.

    Yet people have spent the last week calling Brands all sorts for leaving Silva short.

    We will see how good or bad this squad is when we get a manager that uses it, instead of 1 that plays the same failing players every week.

    Why are the brands players on the bench?

  12. Yeah can’t put ALL the blame on silva but he’s responsible for quite alot at present. Ah its cool mate, I knew for every few that agree with it I knew I’d get flack from others! As long as it sparks debate

    I can’t help it with some of the WUMS around. GOT is turning into a dark place when delinquents like that veneral disease are allowed to stick around. Keep up the good work mate

  13. Yeah but you keep saying it as if it’s proof that he didn’t leave him short when it really suggests the exact opposite; that Silva’s asked for better players and he’s been given 5 lads who he doesn’t think are as good as what he already had. I’m not saying he’s right, I have no idea how good some of them are because I’ve not seen enough of them, but it’s perfectly possible that Kean really isn’t ready to lead the line on his own in the PL yet and Sidibe is no better than Coleman surely?

    I’ve said since the summer, I don’t think the squad is that great. It definitely shouldn’t be 18th, but I agree with the OP’s points that some people have a wildly inflated view of where we are at the moment, and it’s not clear why. I keep seeing people in player threads saying ‘Keane’s dreadful, Coleman’s past it, Schneiderlin’s an absolute disgrace and should never be allowed into Finch Farm again, Sigurdsson’s the biggest waste of money in PL history and DCL’s a League One striker’ and then going into the manager thread and saying ‘pure disgrace that we’re not in the top 4 after these fixtures lad’. It makes no sense.

    Silva’s management has been awful this season in my opinion. I make no excuses for him at all because I’m sick of seeing the same thing week in week out, but by the same token, I would say 8th would be a perfectly acceptable return for a manager with these players. They’re just not that good.

    And I agree.

    I dont think its good enough for top 6, ive never demanded top 6 with this set of players.

    I did think that maybe we could compete, like we did last season with beating some of the better sides, but I never thought we could crack the top 6.

    But 1 thing we all agree on is that its defo not a bottom 3 squad.

  14. The only team performing worse to use relative to resources is Man Utd, who are truly dreadful and should finish below us
  15. We are a 10-6 team, so we are obviously underperforming. Whether sacking the manager is the answer is another question. His track record was never worthy of the job, but we were daft enough to relentlessly pursue him.
  16. As I keep saying, we had 5 players Brands brought in on the bench last game.

    Yet people have spent the last week calling Brands all sorts for leaving Silva short.

    We will see how good or bad this squad is when we get a manager that uses it, instead of 1 that plays the same failing players every week.

    Yeah but you keep saying it as if it’s proof that he didn’t leave him short when it really suggests the exact opposite; that Silva’s asked for better players and he’s been given 5 lads who he doesn’t think are as good as what he already had. I’m not saying he’s right, I have no idea how good some of them are because I’ve not seen enough of them, but it’s perfectly possible that Kean really isn’t ready to lead the line on his own in the PL yet and Sidibe is no better than Coleman surely?

    I’ve said since the summer, I don’t think the squad is that great. It definitely shouldn’t be 18th, but I agree with the OP’s points that some people have a wildly inflated view of where we are at the moment, and it’s not clear why. I keep seeing people in player threads saying ‘Keane’s dreadful, Coleman’s past it, Schneiderlin’s an absolute disgrace and should never be allowed into Finch Farm again, Sigurdsson’s the biggest waste of money in PL history and DCL’s a League One striker’ and then going into the manager thread and saying ‘pure disgrace that we’re not in the top 4 after these fixtures lad’. It makes no sense.

    Silva’s management has been awful this season in my opinion. I make no excuses for him at all because I’m sick of seeing the same thing week in week out, but by the same token, I would say 8th would be a perfectly acceptable return for a manager with these players. They’re just not that good.

  17. Anything even remotely negative….. clearly a RS WUM. lol

    Yeah can’t put ALL the blame on silva but he’s responsible for quite alot at present. Ah its cool mate, I knew for every few that agree with it I knew I’d get flack from others! As long as it sparks debate

  18. A defeat and we’ll question everything from the players, the manager, the board and even turn on each other as fans. As above, if it’s a succession of defeats or a defeat against a team we perceive as “beneath us” (which is essentially any non top-six team), those opinions become more ingrained, more widespread and more militant.

    oh god this is so bang on.

  19. As I keep saying, we had 5 players Brands brought in on the bench last game.

    Yet people have spent the last week calling Brands all sorts for leaving Silva short.

    We will see how good or bad this squad is when we get a manager that uses it, instead of 1 that plays the same failing players every week.

    I called out both in the article for different reasons, do think Brands left us short in areas but ultimately where we are in the league falls mainly on Silvas shoulders due to his stubbornness and persistence with tactics that don’t work for us

  20. Great summary mate, kind of what I was trying to get at in an objective manner. I love the club but we’ve been stagnating for a long time and a few seasons with a rich owner isn’t going to change that, but time will but we need to start with better coaching staff and improve the recruitment further.

    That’s the plan mate, we’ve just veered off course the last couple of seasons for a combination of reasons. It’s too simplistic (although tempting) to park all of blame at Silva’s door.

    lol I wrote it mate not a kopite

    Anything even remotely negative….. clearly a RS WUM. lol

  21. We’re not this bad. No. Silva should be doing better. But the reality is we’re not all that good either. We lie somewhere in between.

    As a fanbase we are extremely bipolar and have zero balance to our opinions. A win against any team and we’re telling everyone that will listen that all is well and we’re knocking on the door of the top four. If it’s a succession of wins or a win against an established top six team, that opinion becomes more ingrained in our fanbase, more widespread and more militant.

    A defeat and we’ll question everything from the players, the manager, the board and even turn on each other as fans. As above, if it’s a succession of defeats or a defeat against a team we perceive as “beneath us” (which is essentially any non top-six team), those opinions become more ingrained, more widespread and more militant.

    In both circumstances, you’ll have the contrarians who will insist on broadcasting the minority opinion, irrespective of whether they truly believe it or not. Which is why we have those ardently defending Silva and Brands now. And when things were great toward the end of last season, you had those who were scathing in their criticism of both.

    It’s a wonderful place.

    Great summary mate, kind of what I was trying to get at in an objective manner. I love the club but we’ve been stagnating for a long time and a few seasons with a rich owner isn’t going to change that, but time will but we need to start with better coaching staff and improve the recruitment further.

  22. The players are worse than people think but they’re not bottom three standard. If the top 6 were as strong as usual the fans couldn’t complain if we were 8th. The fact that the second place team is only just posting 2 points per game though and we’re in the bottom 3 is a disgrace.
  23. regardless if it’s good enough for the top 6/7 ( I personally think it is ) its 100% too good to be in the bottom 3 with the fixtures played, ultimately that is down to silva
  24. Not great not woeful , I don’t see many of our players getting in the current better sides competing for silverware. Certainly better than 17th I’ll say that much.
  25. I’m sensing a trend here. Bunch of “free transfers” making threads. Hmmm, I wonder who they could be?
  26. We’re not this bad. No. Silva should be doing better. But the reality is we’re not all that good either. We lie somewhere in between.

    As a fanbase we are extremely bipolar and have zero balance to our opinions. A win against any team and we’re telling everyone that will listen that all is well and we’re knocking on the door of the top four. If it’s a succession of wins or a win against an established top six team, that opinion becomes more ingrained in our fanbase, more widespread and more militant.

    A defeat and we’ll question everything from the players, the manager, the board and even turn on each other as fans. As above, if it’s a succession of defeats or a defeat against a team we perceive as “beneath us” (which is essentially any non top-six team), those opinions become more ingrained, more widespread and more militant.

    In both circumstances, you’ll have the contrarians who will insist on broadcasting the minority opinion, irrespective of whether they truly believe it or not. Which is why we have those ardently defending Silva and Brands now. And when things were great toward the end of last season, you had those who were scathing in their criticism of both.

    It’s a wonderful place.

  27. I’ve said it before, Silva is using this squad so bad and in the wrong way that he’s convinced people we haven’t got a good team. We have a squad that COULD achieve top 6 especially this season with the way it’s shaping out for Arsenal/Spurs/United we have a very good chance if we didn’t fluff such an easy start.
    This is the most talented Everton team that I’ve witnessed since the Smith tenure.

    As I keep saying, we had 5 players Brands brought in on the bench last game.

    Yet people have spent the last week calling Brands all sorts for leaving Silva short.

    We will see how good or bad this squad is when we get a manager that uses it, instead of 1 that plays the same failing players every week.

  28. The table doesn’t lie.. Even with a better manager this squad is a shambles. No leaders or winners..

    The one leader we do have isn’t performing on the pitch at all .
    We don’t have a bottom three squad but we certainly don’t have a top 8 .

  29. The table doesn’t lie.. Even with a better manager this squad is a shambles. No leaders or winners..
  30. I’ve said it before, Silva is using this squad so bad and in the wrong way that he’s convinced people we haven’t got a good team. We have a squad that COULD achieve top 6 especially this season with the way it’s shaping out for Arsenal/Spurs/United we have a very good chance if we didn’t fluff such an easy start.
    This is the most talented Everton team that I’ve witnessed since the Smith tenure.

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