Review of August
By Gary Judge
Before we get into results & performances, how do you assess Everton’s transfer business in the summer window? There is conflicting thoughts that losing Zouma & Gueye will hurt Everton’s progression, but also you can’t forget that we seemed to have added some really exciting players to the team? It’s definitely mixed emotions for me. The signings of Delph, Iwobi and Kean represent progression in the shape of experience, quality and hopefully goals but the loss of a Gueye is a massive one for me and the failure to secure Zouma or an equivalent is also an obvious concern. Silva will be bitterly disappointed with the injury to Gbamin as it seemed he and Brands had identified a like for like replacement. Without him we are now hoping that Delph has put his injuries behind him and he can now fill in for Gueye. I’m very happy with the increased attacking options. You only have to look at our bench against Wolves; when Walcott can’t make the 18 you know we have a lot more strength in depth in that area of the pitch. In terms of defence, I think we need a bit of luck with injuries. I’m a lot more confident in Mina’s ability based on the opening games and I think Holgate is a decent enough option in the cups, but if either Keane or Mina got injured long term we are going to struggle back there. Fabian Delph and Jean Phillipe Gbamin’s injuries have highlighted that Everton seemed to be a little short of ball winners and aggression in the middle of the park, that said how have you viewed Morgan Schneirderlin, Andre Gomes and Gylfi Sigurddson form in the opening games? Everybody who listens to our podcast knows my opinion on Morgan Schneiderlin. He is a player with plenty of pedigree and ability but he doesn’t have the desire or workrate to make a consistent impact on games or to be relied on, particularly as a “ball winner”. I think the game at Aston Villa also proved that without a willing runner alongside him, Andre Gomes can be just as ineffective at his own game. The Wolves game for me, showed the blueprint for our midfield shape; Delph and Gomes were launching the attacks and helping us play through the lines, Sigurdsson found far more space in between the lines and the wide players were allowed to play on the shoulder and get in the box much more. We just need to address the defending in the wide areas, which is where we struggled against Wolves. Result wise, Everton sit on 7 points out of a possible 12 with wins against Watford & Wolves, a draw at Palace and a loss at Aston Villa. How do you view Everton’s start to the season? Wolves and Watford were in our “league” last year so these were big wins. The cup win against Lincoln was also a big morale booster for many reasons. The draw at Palace at the time felt like a deflating result but on reflection of their results, that now doesn’t look a bad one! It’s just that result at Aston Villa which is a blotch on the record so far. Not only the result but the performance itself exposed a lot of the frailties within the make up of the team. The one positive you can take from that game is that the Silva will have learned a lot of lessons about his players and the system which hopefully, they will all benefit from. Finally, Alex Iwobi has come into the Everton front 3 and added goals. How impressed have you been with him thus far? Very! He’s direct, quick and seems to link up well with our other attacking players. The fact he’s got 2 goals in 2 and was inches away from scoring at Villa tells you everything about the goal threat he’s brought. That was my only issue with Bernard last season but I do appreciate what he brings to the team in terms of his creativity and link up play. So far, Iwobi has managed to bring both ingredients to the table and this obviously now allows silva to move Bernard inside to deputise fo Sigurdsson should he choose, which I know a lot of fans will like the sound of.