Why Idrissa Gana Gueye to PSG may be a good deal for Everton

Idrissa Gueye PSG

Propose the idea that Everton would be willing to sell Idrissa Gana Gueye to Paris Saint Germain this month and you will be met with derision.

When ranking Everton’s best players in recent years the Senegal player is a regular at the top. He remains one of few success stories from the short reign of former Director of Football Steve Walsh.

Even last season, when the Blues were one of the worst sides in the Premier League, Gueye came out with his head held high. That is a status few of his teammates can claim. This season under Marco Silva he has flourished once again. The Portuguese manager’s progressive, forward-thinking system has afforded Gueye a key role. Continue reading

Everton seek to reset against Bournemouth

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As months go Everton won’t have looked back on theirs fondly. December 2018 turned out to be a write off for Marco Silva and his squad.

A 1-0 loss to Liverpool at the beginning of the month, courtesy of Jordan Pickford’s moment of madness, set the tone for what was to come. Losses to Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Brighton, coupled with home draws against Watford and Newcastle, made it a miserable end to a miserable year.

Even a 5-1 hammering of Burnley on Boxing Day did little to raise the spirits at Goodison Park. While it was the perfect response to the drubbing by Spurs, it turned out to be little more than a small rise in an otherwise rapid decline. Continue reading

Everton owner Farhad Moshiri piles pressure on manager Marco Silva

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Everton owner Farhad Moshiri has piled the pressure onto manager Marco Silva by claiming that Everton’s league standing is ‘not good enough’ at a recent club AGM meeting.

It was quite a bold statement but one could say a right one but it will leave Silva under immense pressure to pick up more than the 27 points gained in the first half of the season. The problem for Silva is quite evident, Everton are on course to have a worse season under him than Sam Allardyce from last season and Silva has spent upwards of £50m more than Allardyce in bringing in players.

Moshiri was blunt and to the point and it was easy to see the frustration in his face as he spoke about the club. He said: “We are very serious about what we want to do. I know, I am a fan myself. I look at the table and it is just not good enough, I think we know that. We need to go up the table. We need to utilise the fans’ impatience to drive the club but we need to be patient for development.”

Everton have been on a poor run of form where they have won just 1 game from their past 8 and have fallen off the radar.  There was a lot of hope this season that Silva who had come from Watford was the right man for the Mersey siders, but that doesn’t seem to have been the case. Whilst the club have not gone backwards under his leadership they have not moved forward either and that will be the main concern. The only good news is that the team are playing their best attacking football in perhaps a decade but still results are not forthcoming.

In the FA Cup Everton could only squeeze past Lincoln 2-1 at Goodison Park and they could face a potential banana skin when they play Millwall away in the fourth round. This weekend the Premier League is back and the Toffee men will be favourites to beat Bournemouth at home, lose that and serious issues could begin to circle Siva’s future at the club.

Everton will not face a top six side until February 23rd when they will take on the champions Manchester City at home and so all eyes will be on the club who will be expected to start picking up points between now and then.

So far Everton under Silva have looked good on the eye but at the end of the day it is results of course that matter and for that Silva’s team once we throw in the money spent in the summer have looked very average.

Everton’s three-point plan for the January transfer window

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Like most clubs in the Premier League, Everton will be keen to get work done in the January transfer window.

While manager Marco Silva and Director of Football Marcel Brands have indicated that the Blues won’t be busy that is unlikely to be the reality. Both know that stating their intentions openly is a foolish move. Indeed, it was a pitfall the previous regime fell into and ended up suffering because of.

They also know, however, that this is a squad that remains in transition and needs several areas addressing before it is capable of achieving anywhere near their goals.

That makes it likely Brands and his team will be working hard behind the scenes to improve Everton’s squad this month. Continue reading

Manuel Pellegrini deserves all the plaudits at West Ham

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On first glance seeing West Ham in 11th place and with half the points that league leaders Liverpool have looks like failure and a step backwards. But manager Manuel Pellegrini deserves a lot of credit with the club and how he has turned around their fortunes with so much being against him has been quite remarkable.

First we need to look at how the club started their league campaign which was a nightmare of epic proportions- at  a bigger club he would have been sacked because the Hammers lost their first four games of the season before beating Everton away from home in a surprise win. After getting a good draw against Chelsea and then beating Manchester United it was back to poor form. But we have to look further into the clubs problems.

Those problems stem from the amount of injuries they have had to deal with and for a club the size of West Ham that can be magnified. Before the season got underway they had lost influential Argentinian Manuel Lanzini who was injured at this summers World Cup. He is due back sometime in 2019.

Winston Reid suffered a knee injury in July and was thought to be out for a few months but come January, 2019 the club are still waiting for his return. The club have also been stricken down during the season. First it was Andy Carroll and then Jack Wilshere, the latter has returned but Wilshere has managed to play just 5 games this season. One must wonder if the purchases of these players who both have a history of long term injuries made any sense and in this case the club are to blame.

The next major injury was to Andriy Yarmolenko the player who cost £17.5m teared his Achilles in October and won’t be coming back to the team until at least March. Carlos Sanchez was another big loss, there is no reported return date for him and he has been out since September.

With all of these injuries on the face of it West Ham are having a decent season. They won’t be relegated and they won’t be in a relegation dog fight. This week they have the chance to go past Everton in the league and also have the chance to break into the top 10. It has been a slow build from Pellegrini when everyone was perhaps hoping for an continental burst of quality, but it has been here in moments for the club and if they stick and trust the Chilean they have all the chances to progress this season and next.

 

Everton are seriously underperforming in the Premier League

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With a new coach in Marco Silva the future was supposed to be bright and starting from this season all change was predicted on the blue half of Merseyside, but has that really been the case?

At the weekend Everton slumped to their 7th loss of the season and fell to 10th place with 27 points. All of this seems quite underwhelming considering two things; the hype surrounding Silva’s appointment and the money spent in the summer.

The excitement around Silva always of course seemed out of place given that the 41 year old has achieved very little in Europe’s major leagues in the 7 years he has been a manager. As manager of Hull the team were relegated although he did only step in that January but then when Watford snapped him up his win rate with the club was just 30% and his tenure lasted just 6 months. The Hornets had become frustrated that we wasn’t focused enough as Everton had come calling, and he joined the club this summer.

The club spent upwards of £80m mostly on Richarlison who came from Watford and Yerry Mina from Barcelona. The upside has been that Everton started the season very solid and played good attacking football, even when faced with tough opposition. When they lost at Arsenal they were arguably the better side and they also went to Chelsea and drew 0-0 which is no meat feat this season.

Goals have come with 31 to their name but goals have also been shipped to the tune of 30. The first problematic signs was losing at home to West Ham, at that moment The Hammers had not won a game and Everton were not only in form but had traditionally given the Londoners difficult matches, not this time and West Ham ran out easy winners. Then came the Carabao Cup exit again at home to Southampton who have struggled all season. This was a huge blow given that the club only have 2 chances of realistic silverware each season, that cup and the FA Cup. And now they were out of one of them.

Recent form has been a big worry though and even though the club are in 10th place if we look at the last five games they would be in 17th. They have lost 3 of their last four games and only the Burnley win which was a great win stands out over the last five weeks. Can Silva turn it around? Well he has a good chance too.

Everton have some favourable fixtures coming up at the turn of the year including two home games against Leicester and Bournemouth. Then they have two away games against Southampton and Huddersfield. If he can get at least 9 points from those matches he may win over the fans again. For now they have to start winning matches because it is hard to see much improvement from the Toffees so far.

 

 

Has Everton’s Marco Silva really been an improvement over Sam Allardyce?

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As managers go Marco Silva and Sam Allardyce are like chalk and cheese. Silva promotes his team to keep the ball and attack and go for the win. Allardyce is win at all costs, and if not possible a draw isn’t a bad result. The result was that Everton who have had both of these managers played a negative brand of football under Allardyce, play not to lose. But with Silva in charge fans have said that the brand of football attacking wise has been the best in a generation, but how do the stats add up?

After 19 games where we are now at the halfway stage of the season Everton find themselves in 8th place on 27 points. This time last season with Allardyce in charge Everton had 26 points. Of course we must back track here as Allardyce did not become manager until the end of November. Ronald Koeman was sacked and even David Unsworth got in on the act as caretaker manager. In truth it was quite a chaotic time at Goodison Park but even so the club compared to last season are just 1 point behind Silva’s version.

A better judgement of Allardyce would be what he did in the next 19 games where from a possible 57 points he won 23 points. In the end Everton finished the season in 8th place which was great considering how poorly they had started it and they ended up with a total of 49 points, 14 behind Arsenal who could only manage 6th that season.

Right now Everton are on for a target of 54 points which would be a significant improvement on last season. The call on this then is that Silva at this moment is an improvement on the club although there are still many games to be played and twists and turns to be had. The good news for the club long term is that the players have reacted to his philosophy and he obviously has a grip on the dressing rooms. The 6-2 type losses like the team recently suffered to Tottenham are still there and the worry that the club have an inferior complex when playing Liverpool has not disappeared either.

However Silva needs some time to shine and make all of his hard work come to fruition. For now whilst he isn’t making the club jump over their projected targets they are at least taking a run and jump there and getting to it bit by bit but to summarise Silva was the right man to take over from Big Sam.

Lucas Digne solidifying status as Leighton Baines heir for Everton

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When Lucas Digne arrived at Everton last summer he knew he had a job on his hands. Replacing Leighton Baines was never going to be an easy task.

Baines 11 years at Goodison Park have been nothing short of exemplary. 38 goals and 66 assists in 408 games have not only established him as one of Everton’s best but given him similar ranking in the leagues also.

His absence last season only helped to emphasise the point. Without him, Everton struggled. Cuco Martina failed to fill the void and the need to sign a long-term replacement became obvious.

Finding that man fell to Director of Football Marcel Brands. It was a task few would have been envious of. Replacing an icon like Baines is near impossible. Yet, somehow, the Dutchman has excelled. On the evidence provided so far, Digne is as close to an ideal replacement for Baines as Everton could have wished for.

While he may have struggled to impress at PSG or Barcelona, he has flourished at Everton. Like Andre Gomes in midfield, it appears the bigger pond did not suit him. Goodison Park, though, is the perfect fit. Continue reading

Son continues to shine for Tottenham but does he get enough recognition?

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Son Heung-Min wasn’t even 10 years old when South Korea reached the World Cup semi finals on home soil in 2002, and it was that very competition, seeing for himself the magic and hope that surrounds football that made Son pursue his own dreams.

After spells with FC Seoul in his youth years he had a huge cultural change ahead of him when he joined Hamburg in the Bundesliga in 2010. His potential was then snapped up by Bayer Leverkusen before Tottenham came calling in 2015.

Son has been ever reliable for the Premier League team, setting up goals, scoring them and always getting those important ones. He has been an integral part of the side even if he has started some games from the bench, he is as important as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was to Manchester United in the late 1990s and early 2000s. But arguably one could question if Son is not getting enough media treatment and enough appreciation. In a side who continue to be touted as amongst the favourites to win trophies, Son is just as an important as Harry Kane, and has ended up being a superb purchase for the club.

Whilst it’s true that Son is not scoring as many goals as Kane, it is what he does on the pitch too. Drawing defenders out, using neat tricks and his pace to create space and he is very popular with the players and fans. One has to wonder if Son is one of the best Asian players to grace the league.

There have in the past been quality like Tim Cahill of Everton, or Shinji Kagawa who had a few seasons at Manchester United. The one player that really sticks out though is Park Ji-Sung, who won over 10 trophies for Manchester United. Though Park was used mainly as a super sub there is no question of his quality and his influence over the Red Devils in the games that mattered, culminating in winning the Champions League in 2008 in all an English final against Chelsea.

But that is in the past and this is the present and Son continues to shine. He recently won the goal of the month for his superb solo effort against Chelsea. A goal that helped Tottenham to win the game 3-1 and inflict Chelsea’s first defeat of the season.

He has had a memorable week too- scoring at the Emirates as Spurs knocked out Arsenal in the Carabao Cup and then scoring a brace against Everton this weekend in a rousing 6-2 victory. The media pages need to be filled a little less with the brilliant Kane, and a little more with the also very brilliant Son, who may just be warming up to be one of the best Asian players to grace his name in the major European leagues.

Time for Lookman to be handed serious Everton chance

Ademola Lookman

With the busy Christmas period now underway for the Premier League, rotation has become a priority. For Ademola Lookman this could be an ideal time to prove a point at Everton.

This time last year the youngster was an unhappy soul. A handful of appearances was the best he had managed under Ronald Koeman and Sam Allardyce. By the end of the January transfer window, he found himself in Germany with RB Leipzig.

The Bundesliga proved to be an ideal location for Lookman’s development. 11 games produced five goals, four assists and plenty of plaudits. It also produced a summer-long transfer pursuit from the Germans which Everton resisted. Throughout the summer transfer window, Marco Silva and Marcel Brands insisted that Lookman not only had a future at Goodison Park but a bright one at that. Continue reading