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Toffees Mailbag: Everton’s bad luck, momentum & who should play #9?

A seriously light-hearted look at all things Everton

I’ll sum up last week’s match with two tweets.

To your questions.


Ok.

I’ll bite a little more on the Gunners match.

I agree with my man David here.

It really is.

It feels like every little thing that COULD go wrong, HAS gone wrong.

  • Shallow center back pool due to injuries/ late signings?

Don’t worry, Jags earns red card after 40 minutes of the season, resulting in a three game ban.

Oh.

Then he got injured and was knocked out for over a month.

  • Richarlison gets off to a hot start, appearing poised to far outplay his price tag?

How about a red-card earning ‘headbutt’ that knocks him out three matches, taking the wind out of the sails of a very impressive start.

  • Andre Gomes injury taking longer to heal than originally thought?

How about injuries to Michael Keane AND Idrissa Gueye AND Morgan Schneiderlin!

And now Yerry Mina is also going to be out for a further three weeks.

I promise that I am not going full-blown conspiracy theory....though to be fair

Seriously though, things just haven’t fallen for the Toffees thus far.

Everton are certainly due their heap of credit for causing their own demise, but with the margins of error so thin in the Premier League that the difference between a fun and Europe-chasing season and a middling mid-table march very often comes down to the random breaks.

The Toffees problems are obvious, and unlike our previous managers I am confident our leader is vigorously addressing these issues in training, but it would be nice to GET SOME LUCKY BREAKS!!!!

When a ball pings off the post, then off the keeper and in, the team gets a sense that things are ‘meant to be’.

I know, I know....it sounds hokey, but as a VERY mildly accomplished athlete myself I do invest in the idea that momentum is the best teammate you can have.

Last year’s Toffees side was the perfect example of a team that never got momentum. It got so bad that most Blues tuned out once safety was virtually assured next season.

Hopefully things turn around and we don’t end up there again in 2019.


Well to be honest, we may be finding out that there WASN’T too much money to pay for the Brazilian.

The winger (besides the aforementioned headbutt flick) has been the brightest light in an otherwise dusky season.

You are right though.

The consensus after Richarlison’s signing was that the Blues had thrown in a few extra pounds into the pot in order to help quell any grumblings from the Watford camp about the still simmering Marco Silva courtship saga.

Then......

It appears that Watford FC, despite their great start to the season that sees them currently occupying a Champions League spot, are still salty about the way things went down last season when Everton pursued Silva following Ronald Koeman’s departure.

And while charges and points deductions are possibilities laughed off as far-fetched, let’s not forget how much the Premier League loves making an example of the Toffees.

As I mentioned before, this season has seriously lacked prolonged momentum and these are just the type of little things that nip away at a teams focus.

I genuinely doubt much will come of the charges, perhaps a fine, but more importantly I would LOVE to see Richarlison continue to make his Silva-inflated price-tag seem like a bargain.


Put another way:

There are two seemingly true yet contradictory statements that can be made about the Toffees forward situation this season:

  1. Cenk Tosun and Dominic Calvert-Lewin have offered good hold-up play and industrious work rates.
  2. The Toffees desperately need better quality at the striker position because no one has scored.

The debate over how to address the striker situation is a complicated one. There are a number of arguments to be made for Tosun:

  • He’s proven himself to be a high-caliber finisher with both feet
  • He is an established professional who has scored at the top levels

There are also arguments for DCL:

  • His speed stretches back lines.
  • His finishing has obviously improved as he already has 3 goals this season.

(You’ll note I didn’t include Oumar Niasse, he is a PERFECT substitute when you need a goal, but that’s it, he’s not a starter or a 90-minute player.)

Then there is the idea of playing Richie at striker.

Let me start by saying that I truly believe in a vacuum Richie is our best #9. His hold up play is better than either DCL or Cenk Tosun and obviously his finishing is world-class.

I wouldn’t hesitate to use him there in any situation, but the factors to consider seem to be much larger than just who is best suited.

Tosun was signed as a replacement, albeit not an equal one, for Romelu Lukaku and DCL is seen as the next chance for the Blues to develop a top-level striker.

A move to slide Richie up top would feel like a panicked one, especially with reports Beskitas have already been sniffing around to see if the Toffees are interested in parting with the striker they just signed in January.

If the Toffees were to cast Tosun to the bench for an extended stretch, the rumors of discontent would only grow louder.

(Aside: I actually think Cenk Tosun is very happy and will continue to work hard. I don’t seem him being the type of player to ask out through the media etc.....and have faith in his professionalism.)

DCL filled in on the wing when injuries and suspensions started to pile up, but it is definitely not the young striker’s best position, and while he performed admirably his future is at striker.

I would love to see these two players trade off chances filling the role (until someone catches fire of course), and hopefully a few cup runs will give Marco Silva opportunities to play them both.

If the Toffees continue to struggle to find the back of the net I will have no qualms with Marco SIlva shuffling the pieces around until something clicks, and a Bernard/Richie/Theo lineup does sound intriguing.


TOFFEE TUNES

David Bowie

Young Americans