Obstructed View – Reflections on the Brighton (A) Game

Oh dear.

I could vent my spleen more fully and forcefully, but I’d be a bit late to that particular party, and you’ve probably all said it far more eloquently than I could. Well, when I say “eloquent”…..

RK Angst

Let’s dwell, albeit briefly, on what could be considered positives from a trip to the South Coast. Vlasic played well, although looks like he could do with some boots with longer studs, likewise Calvert-Lewin (on the slipping front, less so the performance, though he tried hard); Holgate looked better than Martina, and made a Coleman-esque run and shot that might have yielded more; Pickford was sound but un-tested but for a few strong shots; Keane made some decent blocks; and still a long way off his best, but Sigurdsson played his best game for us, but that’s like being the nicest shaped poo.

Probably the better point from Sunday was that a system was picked that actually looked like it could actually be right. Ok, no width as we know, and I’m still mystified why Lookman can’t even get a sub’s appearance, and Mirallas came on too late for me, but the system felt right. Don’t go changing it Ron, keep it the same, and let’s start getting used to it. Maybe the personnel could change, and I’d sooner have Davies alongside Gueye, DCL up top and Rooney out wide, but at least let’s keep to that system on Thursday, and perhaps be more in the mood for it on Sunday when the Gunners come to L4.

But I’m straw-clutching here. To play as we did for 80 of the 90 against a very poor side in Brighton, who are certainties to go down in my book, is inexcusable, and frankly inexplicable. As I said in a tweet last night, I’ve lost my patience in Koeman, and he’s extinguished my ‘hope’, and no one has the right to extinguish an Evertonian’s hope. Take that away, and we might as well all support our local non-league side where expectations are set according to your means and the harsh reality of life is unavoidable. Football life anyway.

There is quite clearly something wrong at Everton FC. I’m not going to blame our Angel Investor, whose clumsy choice of words occasionally will continue to mystify and aggravate the fan base. I just wish he’d revert to being the strong-silent-type-behind-the-scenes and not court publicity with his occasional ‘press release’ to Jim White. But I am going to have to finally admit that Koeman looks in bad shape, and his words and demeanour rather than injecting determination in to his charges, seem only to create division not harmony. The rumour that “Ross will sign if Koeman leaves” nonsense, Barkley now elevated alongside Funes Mori, Coleman and Bolasie as the Four Coming Messiahs, rather than the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse which roles they fulfilled for some fans (not me ‘guv) before possible career limiting injuries took them out of the mix. Because that’s when you need Ross, a lad who thrives on confidence, returns to a side brimming with precisely none. He may offer something different, driving forward from deep, but unless he delivers a telling pass, we know where that gets us. Better than this, but not a whole lot.

I wrote after Burnley that Koeman needs to settle on a system, and the best XI to fit that system, words echoed by Danny Mills no less yesterday, so that’s nice that he actually reads this drivel (as do you if you’ve got this far). We want a striker, but we haven’t got one, we want more pace, but we haven’t got that either unless he’s prepared to pick Mirallas or Lookman, who make up for a lack of raw speed with an ability to beat defenders with trickery and open up defences. We want a settled back four, and that may have just arrived, despite the clamour for Kenny who must be resigned to being back up to the mighty Cuco whose back up to a CB playing at RB in Mason Holgate. And I could go on. We’ve got more of some players (No.10s) than we need, and not enough of those that we need, or none at all in fact. So we need to make the best of what we’ve got rather than wasting time wishing for something we simply can’t have, and frankly may not ever get – which top class striker would join us in this slump? Make do and mend. Teams like Brighton and Burnley have achieved something we haven’t and taken points, not just from us, but also from so-called bigger teams. We may be a Bigger Club (debate will rage on that one), but right now we’re not a bigger team. We have individuals of immense class and ability, but certainly not a ‘team’, and even if they are, not a team playing anywhere near their potential. And Koeman has to take responsibility for that, and my guess is that he does. Trouble is, does he know how to solve it?

Only time will tell. The only debate, is how much time has he got?

Ross Crombie


One thought on “Obstructed View – Reflections on the Brighton (A) Game

  1. Excellent assessment Ross. Your echoing much of what the fans can see is wrong.
    Key point is, either the fans don’t know anything about the game and Mr Koeman is right , or, as a suspect, Mr Koeman is trying to tough it out and look as if all is Ok and we’ll turn the corner any game now. Really hope he is right, however I can’t see a small glimmer of light in the dark gloomy tunnel we’re in.
    I watch the team and there is absolutely no confidence, shape, pace, or plan. Please Mr Koeman, make some big decisions now before it’s too late. Drop Schneiderlin, play Davies instead. Play Rooney, but not as a striker. Let Sigurdson sit on the bench until he can work out where to play him. Get some pace in the team (Lookman). Keep Calvert- Lewin as the main striker until reinforcements arrive in January.
    The clock is ticking for us and Mr Koeman, it needs a big man to do something to keep the fans onside. I really hope our manager can do it or it’s Brentford away on a rainy night.

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