While Everton fans were surely unhappy to see an international break interrupt their team’s momentum, it may have been best for everyone involved.
After a week filled with drama over Romelu Lukaku’s quotes on his future, and how Everton has impressed (and disappointed) him over the past year or so, Blues are emotionally exhausted.
Fear of losing Lukaku has been at the forefront of Toffees’ supporters minds ever since he joined for good in the summer of 2014. It has been obvious since he was just a teen at Anderlecht that Rom was bound for big things, and has remained singularly focued on his personal goals since then.
I would even argue that prior to Koeman’s appointment and Everton’s rise, both up the table and in the public perception, most Toffees’ fans had resigned to losing the invaluable striker in the summer of 2016, or best case, 2017.
When Lukaku expressed his displeasure with some of the goings on at Goodison (almost all of which were legitimate), it stoked the somewhat dormant fears of Lukaku’s exit.
Unsure of how to go about handling themselves, Toffees supporters were torn.
The new regime has injected a new sense of confidence and direction in Toffees fans, while Lukaku’s complaints mirror long held concerns about the front office.
Supporters trust Moshiri and company, but Rom makes completely valid points.
Imagine if we had been able to secure a Michael Keane or Gylfi Sigurdsson in the past two windows. Would their inclusion have bumped the Blues the 4-5 points fans fear the squad will fall short of the Champions League by?
So how SHOULD supporters feel?!??!?
Well I’d love to quell your fears, and I may be optimistic, but I’m also pragmatic.
I believe that the only thing that will keep the big Belgian around is qualifying for Champions League, and I can’t find a good reason to stop him if we don’t.
Lukaku has given himself to the team like a true professional, and the fans EXUBERANT reactions to his golden boot race-leading 20th and 21st goals of the season tells me that Toffees fans feel the same.
We hooked up with Rom when he was just coming into his own, and we didn’t gain the backing or drive to match his ambition until just recently (too late?).
Much like a high school relationship, the possible break up of Rom and the Toffees will be due more to timing than to incompatibility.
We need a big time striker just like he needs a club to depend upon him and give him matches week in and week out.
Rom is if nothing else an intelligent fellow and he knows that short of Bayern, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus the Premier League will provide him the most consistent grounds to be seen by an international audience.
Both sides acknowledge as much, but the strikers goals and what Everton can deliver to him have reached a fork in the road.
If the Blues can keep their momentum going, catch a few breaks, and finish strong, however, they may be able to keep hold of the clinical finisher.
With that in mind....if you are looking for something to make you feel better about Everton’s chances of holding onto Rom, here you go!
Now to your questions!!
When Morgan Schneiderlin went limping off the field thirty minutes into the match against Hull City, I went through three stages of grief
(Realizing we have Idrissa Gueye and Tom Davies on the field.)
(Seeing the Terminator Gareth Barry come on and remembering our signings have given us proper coverage in the middle of the pitch).
No one is a bigger fan of Morgan Schneiderlin than I am, but after a few minutes of hyperventilating, I realized that Koeman and Walsh have prepared the squad for just such an event.
For all of the (valid) complaints about the lack of signings in the defense and the attack, it’s obvious the decision-makers at Goodison had forecasted both this season’s European battle AND the importance of bodies in the midfield.
With James McCarthy and Mo Besic almost back to full health, the Toffees were built to withstand this type of loss, even when you consider Schneiderlin’s immeasurable importance.
While the reader’s question asked if Barry was a simple swap in for Schneiderlin (he can be with other tactical adjustments), the Toffees’ have shown that with their current set up the team is far more versatile than that.
Unlike Antonio Conte’s three-back system or Jose Mourhino’s 4-2-3-1, Koeman does not identify himself with any rigid tactical principles.
He just likes to win.
The Dutch manager has won matches with both a back three AND a back four, three man midfields AND five man midfields, single strikers AND striker pairings.
The loss of Schneiderlin certainly hurts.
However, with Barry still strong (especially with Gueye there to cover the ground), McCarthy ready to offer his work rate, and Besic almost back to full speed, the Toffees are properly equipped to handle ANYTHING the Premier League can throw at them between now and the summer.
Koeman will go back to tinkering with the formations and tactics to make sure that the squad doesn’t miss a beat in their pursuit of European soccer.
Get better soon Morgan, but in the meantime, the squad has got you covered.
Top four is calling
Will Everton pick it up?
It only rings once
Great question, Chris!
While I have addressed personal grooming in previous mailbags, I hadn’t ever thought about bad hair as a chronic problem among the young Everton players over the past few seasons.
After reviewing the styles though....there is definitely something going on.
So, let’s try and determine just how deep the problem runs and then try and figure out who started this terrible trend.
First, let’s see who has been letting us down recently.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin doing his best young Michael Jackson impression
Ok...questionable but not terrible.....let’s keep going
There is Ross’s sweet tight man perm:
(As long as his form is PERManent we won’t care! Right?! No?? Sorry......)
Tom Davies is known as the Ketwig Kaiser for his locks!!!
But only after he initially signed on looking like a young Draco Malfoy:
Roberto Funes Mori, meanwhile, has been getting inspiration from Cameron Diaz:
I could keep going, but I imagine you get the point.
So what has gone wrong in the style department? Who did they learn these awful tricks of the trade?
What player(s) have set the bar so low that they feel like they can get away with anything???
Ok....I think I have identified the culprits.
Lucky for us, Baines seems to have settled into a decent hairstyle and the Q-tipped one is no longer around.
Now to straighten out those young guys........