Everton I Love You, But You’re Bringing Me Down

This latest instalment started after the Sunderland game but we just never got round to publishing it. Thursday/Sunday effects everyone you know, not jut the players.

Think about the bloggers.

Anyway, we might as well stick it on here anyway so as not to waste the words. For the environment and that. Innit.

Oumar Niasse!

It sounds like the catchphrase of a scandalous-for-his-day music-hall performer.

But it’s not. It’s Everton’s Senegalese sniper – the sub-Saharan Straqualarsi – whose late goal was by far the highlight of a pretty dreary cup encounter against perennial Goodison punchbags, Sunderland.

An intriguing stat on the night – you may not have read this – is that the Black Cats actually had more shit players with no confidence on the field than Everton. Mad.

Talking of less-than-peak performers, only the heartless could fail to feel something for the labouring Sandro Ramirez and Davy Klaassen. Ronald Koeman must have hoped that the slower pace and modest ambitions of lower league opposition would provide the opportunity for two of his summer signings to strut their stuff a bit and gain some confidence, but in truth they struggled again to make much of an impact. They never stopped running – you couldn’t doubt their commitment – but still the game looks so difficult for them. Especially compared to the assured display from Nikola Vlasic, who can just play without any call for the ‘team to be built around him’ or the need to play him on the hypotenuse of a midfield trapezoid, or whatever.

The ball sticks to the young Croatian, he’s always available and he passes to a blue shirt. In short, he just looks like a good player, straight out of the box.

We shouldn’t write the other two off just yet though – you only have to look at two-goal Dominic Calvert-Lewin to realise that youngish players can make huge strides in a short space of time. He was ‘Bambi on ket’ last season, when dumped into the derby, but here he showed his maturity as a striker, with two neat finishes, a Latchford-esque diving header against the post and a number of lovely, delicate touches to spin in behind and leave that Lamina Kone’s head spinning like Linda Blair.

The whole Niasse thing is weird. Koeman left him out because he clearly thought he was shite. And no one was really arguing. After all, it happens all the time – a new manager comes in, doesn’t rate someone and so tells them to look elsewhere if they want to stand a chance of getting a game.

The key with this though appears to be the story about the fucking locker. Was it a genuine, throwaway comment from a hurt individual or was it a masterstroke from a crafty head-worker, along with showing up in the away end at Old Trafford? Has he been cynically cultivating his underdog image or his he just a genuine lad who wants to play?

Either way, he’s raised his profile and, with pressure on Koeman regarding the lack of a genuine striker, forced himself back into the squad. And, to be absolutely fair, his attitude while turning out for the under-23s has also been exemplary, by all accounts.

He certainly took his goal well against Sunderland, and he does look genuinely quick, but it’s hard to see Niasse starting games in the Premier League. And while his cup cameo was very entertaining, it will quickly become tiresome if he becomes some sort of stick to beat the dumpy Dutchman with whenever we are next having a poor game. Probably against Bournemouth on Saturday.

You can see it heading that way though, can’t you?

Well, that’s where the post-Sunderland bit ended, and now we skip forward past the Bournemouth and Appallon Limassol games. Do that Scooby Doo/Wayne’s World wobbly screen thing.

So, it turns out that Oumar Niasse was a tremendous Senegalese stick to beat the manager with, seeing as he came on and salvaged the game late on with two goals against a disbelieving Bournemouth, who were leading with great goal by Josh King, the Lidl Lukaku.

That’s not in any way a reference to King’s genitals by the way, or that cringe-making song that some United ‘bloody blokes’ see as an expression of their god-given right as Englishmen. Let’s just hope and pray that these phallic freedom fighters are not deterred by the threat of legal action by their club. They should stand firm here (oo er!) and take their lead from the white-hot racial politics of American sport before every match.

Side by side, united we stand, every last one should symbolically ‘take the knob’.

That will show…someone.

Speaking of huge penises.

No, that’s not fair. We’re not quite there yet.

Koeman’s having a rum old time of it though, isn’t he?

Watching the Blues at the moment though is just a bit sad. Not infuriating, just melancholy. Probably the worst thing you can say is that the match just doesn’t feel like Everton. In brief bursts, that special feeling returns, but when the ball’s never in the box and decent players are shrivelling before your eyes like salted slugs the whole spectacle is just so flat and forgettable.

If Koeman got the bullet tomorrow and another manager came in, you know what he would do. He would simplify everything and make some firm decisions. He would get some width in the team, play players in their proper positions and, especially at home, he would tell the players to get the ball in the box and get that fucking crowd going.

And we would all call it a breath of fresh air.

If we can see that, surely Koeman can too. Does he really need to lose his job for this to happen? Are there some writ-in-stone footballing principles that he’s protecting here, Roberto Martinez-style? If so, what the fuck are they? An insistence that fullbacks should spend every game on the touchline having wacky crossfield balls smashed toward them at head height?

How is it that good players making everything look so complicated? Against Limassol, the Cypriot fullbacks were are able to cut off the the wings completely, on their own, simply by ‘standing there’, and yet the Everton bench, and indeed the players on the pitch, looked incapable of coming up with a solution. It was embarrassing.

Burnley at home should represent a golden opportunity to put some shit right. Instead, you find yourself absolutely dreading it.

Jesus, we remember why we never published this in the first place now.



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