Obstructed View – Reflections on the Arsenal (H) Game

Timing.

Who’ s going to read this garbage now? No one normally does, and certainly not now you can focus on the new Quiz Game: “Name That Manager”. I’ll come to that later.

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No amount of drama at Goodison yesterday could beat Niasse’s last minute goal, let’s give the lad some credit for chasing down a ball when 4-1 down, in the 93rd minute, and dispossessing Cech to score his 3rd League Goal of the season. Pity only 19 of us were left in the ground to see it. Anyway, that’s the light relief bit out of the way…..

“You’ve got a nasty chest infection”, says the Doctor.

[Awkward silence….he looks at me, raises his eyebrows, and I realise he thinks it’s time for me to say something]

“I know. I knew I had a problem, I feel dreadful, I look dreadful, I’m coughing and retching, and I can’t walk up the stairs without needing to sit down and have a rest”. It seemed to be the right thing to say.

[My turn to look at him]

“Right then, what shall we do?”

“Well, as the GP, as the expert, I thought you’d tell me?”

Laboured a point as it is, the pundits and armchair twitterati, have also been very clear that Everton have a massive chest infection, the crap we’ve been coughing up of late made worse by the expectation that we’d be close to the top of the mountain breathing in the cool air in our lungs, looking from our lofty post down at the strugglers who still hadn’t got out of the car park. We know we’re rubbish. We know we didn’t get a striker to replace Lukaku, having presumably put all our eggs in Giroud’s basket, but that we’ve also recruited a lot of same-y players, and brought back a legend that might, just might, be more of a distraction than an asset. We know all of this. What the pundits have lacked, is a clear way out of it.

It isn’t all down to no striker, although that has to be a significant missing piece of the jigsaw, but not having one doesn’t excuse some of the comic-caper defending of late, including Sunday. Having 8xNo 10s on the books doesn’t excuse not selecting a system in which any of them can play in, let alone the ones that cost all the money; and I could go on. The reality is that we know we’ve got a problem, that’s easy to diagnose, but unlike my chest infection, there’s no easy medicine to take to remedy things. And the expert pundits, prove once again that they’re ready to criticise and not so ready to construct and alternative. Even the BBC, even, came up with a team, that closely resembled one we’d selected several times before.

The reality is we need to decide what game we’re going to play, and then play it, religiously, relentlessly, and that becomes our default. Once we can play like that, then, and only then, do we vary the system to suit particular oppositions.

We need a manager now that can build on some foundations, however flimsy.

In Pickford, we have a ‘keeper that is getting far more practice than he’d hoped and we’d expected, but by heck he’s good. Vlasic looks a player too, great ability to turn, a little one-paced, but great potential. DCL a great future ahead, but not quite got it yet…but having said that, with a bit of luck and fewer world class saves, he could have had a few goals this season. Kenny didn’t disgrace himself, but didn’t over-excel yesterday. Keane is a good defender, and an England one at that. Sigurdsson IS a good player, but we haven’t seen it yet. Klaassen? Maybe next season, but he looks bewildered at the moment. And Lookman and Mirallas have the skills to give us both width and pace, although consistency in such flair players may always be an issue. Gueye is good, and just got damned by too many twinkly feet in front of him yesterday. And we do still have a diamond called Ross Barkley….somewhere….

We’re not a basket case. Lots of talent, they just need to be moulded and encouraged. I said at the start that whilst I liked RK’s plain speaking, his gruff manner might alienate some. Who next?

Ancelloti is an obvious choice, but would he even consider it?

Howe is a Blue, but more than that, he’s made a silk purse out of Bournemouth’s sow’s ear. But again, would he?

Tuchel, that famous Dortmund manager that few had ever heard of, left them 3 days after winning a trophy and hasn’t worked since. Why?

Dyche with Blue Woan at his side would not be a bad combo, but is he right for the ‘project’? Again, would he think it a poison chalice? But at least no one would take him on with lack of effort.

Arteta has been mentioned. Love him, but you can’t manage Everton just because we’ve got a great song about you, he’ll need to learn his craft at the helm somewhere first.

Unsworth, a sure-fire certainty to be in the dugout at least on Wednesday, but is it right for him now (see also Arteta earlier)?

Ferguson – no, nowhere near ready. And needs to be a great coach first, ex Blue a bonus, not vice versa.

Who knows? Knowing how our season has gone so far, we’ll be faffing around for ages, but once he (or she…..) gets the job, whoever it is, I sincerely hope they don’t have a twitter account. Let’s at least try and get behind the appointee.

Goodbye Ronald, it was fun whilst it was fun, but horrible when it was horrible, and absolutely stank on Sunday. Thank you for the good times, but I won’t thank you for extinguishing hope as I drove up the M6, even if 1-0 after 39 minutes raised an eyebrow at least….nah, all went Pete Tong after that.

Ross Crombie

 

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