(Sung to the tune of Jingle Bells)
Dashing up the table
The skys no longer grey
O’er the opponents we run
Sam chewing all the way
Chomp Chomp Chomp
Alarm bells have stopped ringing
Making Toffees spirits bright
What fun it is to win and sing
An Everton song tonight
Koeman fell, Koeman fell
Unsworth saved the day
Big Sam showed up, points arrived
and Goodison cheered HOORAY!
To your questions!!
Outside of Pickford and Rooney, who is Everton's player of the season so far?— Kevin Foley (@t_bonefoley) December 21, 2017
It’s also a tough one based on how screwy the season has been.
Wayne Rooney ’s goals and Jordan Pickford ’s saves have been key in keeping the season from completely going down the tubes, but I actually think the player of the season this year is a player who may not come to mind immediately, but who has helped change the course of the season as much as anyone.
He may not pop into your head right away because he didn’t pop up on the pitch until
- He only played in one Europa League match, the 3-0 loss to Lyon, so he never had a chance to impact the Toffees European hopes.
- Beyond that, before October 29th this player had played a WHOPPING 11 minutes in the league.
However, once he started playing regularly, Everton started winning regularly. In fact, check out how his appearances correlate to Everton results:
Pretty impressive, right?
This player has been on the field for Everton’s last 9 league matches (8 starts) and in that time the Toffees have gone 5-2-2, including being unbeaten in the last 5.
When he is on the field, this player contributes at both ends of the pitch and has improved every player on the field, especially those who he gets to pair up with.
His efforts in drawing penalties and creating goals are only matched by his willingness to track his runner all the way into Pickford’s box.
So who is this secret ingredient to Everton’s success?
Well, without further hesitation:
(Drum roll please...)
The Toffees Mailbag First-Half Player of the Season is.......
What do you think Kevin Mirallas is doing with all his newly-discovered free time?— Adam Braun (@abraun_15) December 20, 2017
(More on Kevin Mirallas later in this mailbag....)
"You're Coutinho."— Football Funnys (@FootballFunnys) December 21, 2017
"I don't know who you are."
She should have asked to see Harry Potter’s cloak of invisibility.
How else could Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain disappear so effortlessly every time he plays?
While there is certainly no way in the world that this picture reflects the actual design (that font is from before we last won a trophy?!) for the stadium at Bramley-Moore docks, it does remind fans that somewhere in the world Dan Meis is hard at work coming up with the perfect design for Everton’s new home.
(Picture is pretty cool though)
(Last thing....can’t Elstone wear a suit? At least a tie? I know teachers who dress more professionally than he does.)
A few different views of the goals versus Swansea City
On a quick side note.......
It’s sooooooo close isn’t it??
Yannick Bolasie will soon be back on the field for Everton and it couldn’t come at a better time.
While the Toffees have been riding a wave of positive results, there has definitely been a lack of pace and gumption about Everton’s attack all season.
As I mentioned above, Aaron Lennon has had an incredible impact on the team, but he needs help stretch defenses, which is Bolasie’s bread and butter.
Plus, Bolasie not only wins 1v1s, he is productive once he gets past them.
Check out his performance last season before he got injured. (All radars courtesy statsbomb)
Both his expected (xA90) AND actual (A90) assist production were both well above the league averages, and he was a regular contributor in the buildup to opportunities on goal (xGChain90) as well as taking shots himself (Sh90).
While Everton may have wide players on the roster, many have failed to create opportunities on a regular basis, while others simply don’t fit the mold of ‘Big Sam’ players.
(You don’t have to like it. you just have to accept it as the current reality.)
To remind you what Everton have been missing, compare last seasons contributions of Bolasie and our favorite pasta-eating Belgian Mirallas:
If you weren’t already aware, Mirallas isn’t very good at anything.
While being ever so slightly better at finishing than Bolasie (G90) , both struggle compared to the league overall.
However, Bolasie is FAR superior to Mirallas in his aforementioned contributions as a creator
This leaves Mirallas a jack-ass of all trades, and a master of none.
Finally, while Bolasie’s return shouldn’t have too much impact on DCL, who has proven himself an out-and-out Premier League striker (#9), Niasse may find the addition of another winger (and possible DCL strike partner in a 4-4-2) one too many layers of competition.
It may sound crazy, but with Big Sam not appearing as fond of Oumar Niasse as David Unsworth was, I predict we could see Everton cash out on Niasse in the winter.
I know it sounds crazy, but ESPECIALLY if Sandro Ramirez is given until the summer to prove himself, Niasse will be so far down the pecking order his value is sure to free fall.
However if Everton can recoup most or all of the over £13 million they paid for Niasse, whose value may never be higher, it will be an offer they can’t say no too.
Not a prediction, just a warning for you Niasse superfans out there, myself included.
Whatever happened to Shani Tarashaj?— jon hein (@jdhein13) December 21, 2017
As I far as I can tell he has done his best Andy Dufresne impression and:
In all seriousness though, Shani had a sorta-decent loan at Eintracht Frankfurt last season, making 15 appearances and scoring once, but upon his return this summer he suffered a few muscle injury setbacks that prevented him from both working his way into the Toffees side OR being loaned out (due to the health uncertainties).
Unfortunately for Shani, unless he can reappear from the depths of anonymity and conjure up a loan this January to reestablish his professional footing he seems a sure bet to be given away in the summer.
One more time......
Before the Waves
I’ll be honest, I have always been surprised that Magic Man hasn’t taken off and become far more popular in the mainstream music scene yet. Songs like Paris have been popular, but the group has failed to ride that momentum to the universal success I have no doubt they will eventually enjoy.
This album is a great example of why I think this group is going to be big. Each tune may only bear a one word title, but the album itself is anything but boring. Emotional without being ‘emo’, there is something there to love for everyone.