Thursday, 17 January 2019

Solanke can't be fit soon enough

When AFCB fell 10 down against Everton, I looked at what was on the bench and there were few attacking options for Howe. He had Lys Mousset and Jordan Ibe, and there was little belief that either one of them would be able to take a match saving chance if it fell to them on their recent form.
Has Mousset blown his chance at AFCB?
We don't know how Solanke will fit into the team at the moment. If Callum Wilson needs a bit more time to get back to full fitness, Howe will be sweating on his front men. Usually it has been Bournemouth's good fortune to see King score if Wilson isn't or vice versa, but the importance of Callum Wilson is simply going to grow if Bournemouth keep getting blank sheets when he is unable to play.

On current for though, it would be tempting to see Solanke and Wilson provide the spearhead for Bournemouth's attack. Waiting until February though for Solanke is really frustrating and Bournemouth need points. While goals aren't usually a problem for Bournemouth it is clear that without the presence of Wilson, Bournemouth look a much less threatening team.

It has been fortunate for King and Mousset that Wilson has been making the headlines for a while now, but  the focus is on them while he is struggling to regain fitness. If Solanke can be a big goal scoring addition to the team, then we could even see King and Mousset being lined up for moves away from the club come next summer.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Should AFCB up David Brooks' pay to ward off bids?

The Sun has reported that David Brooks will be offered a huge pay rise to keep him at the club with mounting interest from Manchester United and Tottenham. It is unusual for Bournemouth to have this kind of interest in their players and Bournemouth may be forced to increase the young Welshman's wages to keep him settled on the south coast.
AFCB would be loathed to see Brooks depart.
While Bournemouth have to be careful with their pay structure, David Brooks is a player that has already shown how much of an asset he can be in the Premier League and is probably among the favourites to be the Cherries' player of the season. But does that mean Bournemouth should bump up his wages, while others may be disappointed that there salaries don't go up? It will be a matter of internal decision-making. However, I can't see Bournemouth being happy to just let a Man United or Tottenham come in for the player and snatch him away because they can offer bigger wages.

David Brooks may not himself feel ready yet to go to such a top club, even if Ryan Giggs is keen to get the player to Manchester. The environment in which Brooks develops his game in the next two to three years is going to be massively important for him and for Wales. While Giggs would no doubt be telling him what he could have at Manchester United, Brooks should know that United are an unsettled club that are struggling to get their youth players coming through. That could be changing with Mourinho now out of the way, but Eddie Howe has already been taking Brooks' game on and that kind of trust and understanding is the kind of development that Brooks surely left Sheffield United for.


The temptation to cash in on Brooks would be too soon for Bournemouth. We have seen what he can do already and in 12 months time he could be even better equipped to take Premier League sides apart.

Transfer News: Chris Mepham of Brentford could be AFCB's next signing in the January window, says the Sun.

Would United target Eddie Howe just to get to Aké and Brooks?

The Daily Express was happy to plaster Eddie Howe's name all over the summer vacancy at Manchester United yesterday. The Bournemouth manager must be getting quite used to being linked with top vacancies especially with Danny Murphy piping up again to try and give Howe an exit visa from AFCB, even if he doesn't want it.
Eddie Howe is getting used to being linked to other jobs.
Bournemouth fans might have thought that the managerial swoops for Eddie Howe would start to cool off after the drop in form that the Cherries have had and their poor record against the top six this season that have yielded no points at all. On the contrary, United want a manager to develop their youth players and see Howe as a perfect fit.

What would worry me about such a development would not only be the snatching of Eddie Howe and Jason Tindall from the club, but also the star players that have carefully been gathered at Dean Court like David Brooks, Callum Wilson and Nathan Aké. As United are going to find it hard to pull some of these players away while Howe is at Bournemouth, they could try and go for the clean sweep by grabbing Eddie first.

The Englishman might like to see a manager such as Gareth Southgate or Eddie Howe at United, and the papers have a way of testing the waters with these 'outsider' headlines to see if there is a reaction to a suggested managerial change. But Howe has not done well enough this season to put his name in the first three for the Man United job in my view. United can go for just about any manager in the world and they would have to look first at managers with Champions League experience and cup success before assessing other options. Well, at least I hope that is so. The conspiracy theory of it being a plot to take away some of Bournemouth's top players at the same time doesn't bare thinking about!

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Do Bournemouth have a weak underbelly?

Bournemouth can be slightly satisfied that they only conceded two goals in their last game compared to the threes and fours that they have been conceding. Any defeat in the Premier League is disappointing and there was probably no need for the team to push everyone up and concede the second goal, but Bournemouth are always prepared to take that risk.
The goals keep going in at the wrong end.

What is frustrating is that Bournemouth were well in this game against Everton. They had the Goodison crowd on the home team's backs. Everton were not able to get their game going and Bournemouth looked well on top. Yet, as soon as the players came out in the second half, Bournemouth didn't have quite the same energy. They switched off after a corner and to leave a big man like Zouma unmarked so close to goal was sloppy.

Once Bournemouth were a goal down, it was going to be a hard task to get back level. Everton were confident that they could see the game out and Bournemouth were deflated that they had again made a costly mistake. While comebacks are easier at home, they are extremely difficult to do at away games. Everton might not have played well but they got over the line. Bournemouth don't seem to be able to stay in these kind of games when they are close and still shoot themselves in the foot when they could be content with a good away point. It was probably Bournemouth's strongest defence for a while, but the back four will not be able to take a lot of comfort from the result.


Without the firepower of Wilson, they were always likely to find it hard to score many goals at Goodison. The plan was probably to get one and play counter-attacking football. But when that goal didn't come it was like Bournemouth didn't have anything else. But Howe was never going to go defensive and that is probably what Marco Silva knew. There would always be a chance for Everton the longer the game went on, because Bournemouth don't shut up shop. Being hard to beat is sometimes not a bad habit to get into when you are playing away from home against a similarly matched team. This was a game where Bournemouth risked everything, when perhaps they needn't had to. A solid clean sheet would have been very valuable.

Premier Talk - Huddersfield part company with David Wagner

Performance level improves but no points for Cherries

It was a much improved performance from AFCB at Everon even though the team did not pick up any points. Eddie Howe was content with the way that Bournemouth attacked the game in the first half. But the team did not take their chances.
The line up may have changed but picking up points is still the aim.
The plus points included the play of Nathaniel Clyne who managed to make hoax Premier League debut for Bournemouth. The defence looked a lot more in control and calm under pressure and had they held firm we might have been talking if a good was point at Everton. The confidence has been taken a hit and the decision s are not going Bournemouth’s way.

The form of David Brooks remains strong. Ryan Fraser is still creating chances and Lerma managed to get throughout the game without being booked. But the big bonus is that Adam Smith was back and he managed to play the full 90 minutes. It was a big call to put Smith in at left-back but he doesn't let anyone down and played extremely well. The team now needs to get used to this back four. Howe would do well just to concentrate on getting the defence really tight for the visit of West Ham who are in great form.
Coastal Garden Buildings

If Bournemouth can get a clean sheet then at least they will get something on the board and in this recent poor run a point is nothing to feel sorry about.

PremierTalk - Huddersfield part company with David Wagner

Monday, 14 January 2019

Was it a penalty on Brooks?

Bournemouth have had their fare share of penalties this season ask Burnley fans who haven't had any to my knowledge! But some teams will swear that our players go down too easily and you can agree with that at times. But I don't think Bournemouth have the biggest players on the pitch, and they come up against some stringer professionals who are often slower and do get caught out with the pace for Bournemouth's attacking players.
David Brooks didn't win a penalty but he is a hazard when making driving runs into the box?
Against Everton Bournemouth were claiming another penalty when David Brooks went down in the box from Gueye's challenge. Some will say it would have been a soft penalty if it had been given, but penalties are either penalties or not penalties, soft or not. Referees need to ask themselves would that be a foul if it had occurred outside the box? That is where I get annoyed when penalties like the potential one at Everton were not given. Outside the box Anthony Taylor was hardly off his whistle.

Of course, you can't rely on penalties to be given every game to win them. Bournemouth need to score goals in open play and from set pieces and they had some really good opportunities. Stanislas might have done better from his free kick in the first half and Brooks might have steered his first half shot just inside the post rather than on it. But when you get decisions not going your way, there is a discomfort when you see a potential penalty not given - it's human nature. It's a very subjective part of the game as you know soft or not in some games they will be given while in others they are not.

There was no right or wrong call for fans on the Brooks' potential penalty, as the decision lies with the referee only and he didn't give it. But players and fans are entitled to their opinion, even if it doesn't matter what they feel. How much contact does there need to be to be a foul? It's a personal view - what is enough for some people isn't enough for others. But Eddie Howe was right in saying that the game could have turned decisively in AFCB's favour if a penalty had been given to reflect the team's dominance.

Personally, I don't think Taylor was consistent in his decision making. Gueye didn't get anything of the ball but got enough of David Brooks for me. It's a talking point, but we know who's view counts. You have to hope these things balance themselves out.

Bournemouth slip to sixth away defeat in a row at Everton

Match Report
Everton 2 v 0 AFCB
13 January 2019
Attendance: 38,113
AFCB fail for a fourth Premier League time to get a win at Goodison.
A costly lesson for Bournemouth was not to score when they were on top. Bournemouth did everything but score in the first half. David Brooks hit the post and was unfortunate not to win a penalty. Gradually, Everton came int the game and started to put balls into the box with Keane going close for the home team with a header just over the bar. The goals in the second half were a simple header for Zouma that wasn't marked, and a breakaway from substitute Dominic Calvert-Lewin that made it look easy for Everton, but it was far from that.

Bournemouth had to make a few changes starting with Callum Wilson who was out injured with a hamstring strain. Nathaniel Clyne would make his first Premier League start for Bournemouth and Adam Smith returned from injury to play at left back, ousting Charlie Daniels. Bournemouth set up 4-4-2 with King and Stanislas playing up front.

Match Description
Fraser got in an early cross and King just had the ball taken off his toes before he could get his shot away. A mistake from Brooks sees the ball go out of play.

Fraser is hobbling a bit after a challenge from Coleman. But it's Everton that have a free kick with Adam Smith fouling Lookman. Begovic dropped on it just in time.

Richarlison is caught offside, but AFCB have to watch the front man's breaks. Bournemouth are making it hard for Everton to play out from the back. Clyne puts in a deep cross and King is beaten to the header. Fraser picks up the pieces and squares it to King in front of goal but Pickford has somehow kept on to the ball with King right on top of him.

Bournemouth are starting to pass well and are robbing Everton in midfield. Brooks puts in a good cross and Fraser should have been given a free kick after Gueye's challenge, but Brooks has a free kick. The ball goes long and Brooks gets it and he's down in the box why wasn't that a penalty? Gueye shoves Brooks and didn't get a touch on the ball.

Everton are riding their luck. Lerma goes diagonal to Fraser and Lerma has a dig from distance ,but it's wide. A great start from Bournemouth after 13 minutes. Steve Cook blocks a shot from Lookman.

King wins the ball in the middle, Stanislas plays in Brooks and the shot hits the post! So unlucky! At the other end Lookman is blocked. Bournemouth really should be ahead.

Bernard wins an Everton corner off of Stanislas. Stanislas breaks and gets the ball out to King. The referee is playing advantage, but no yellow cards yet. Aké gets a food defensive header in. King this time gets a free kick off Gomes.

Fraser wins the ball and Brooks plays in King before the defender gets back. Richarlison and Aké go for a header and Aké goes over the top. Clyne ventures forward and almost catches Pickford out.Gosling tackles back well on Sigurdsson.

Bournemouth are playing first time balls Fraser and Gosling, now Smith and Smith is brought to ground and wins a free kick. It's Gueye again who fouled. Stanislas will fancy the shot from here on the edge of the box on 25 minutes. King and Fraser line up at the end of the wall.

Stanislas hits it low and Pickford just keeps it out low to his right for a corner. Lerma's shot hits Aké and Gosling fires well wide. Gosling over hits a pass but Pickford is caught out and Fraser puts a cross back in that King heads over.

Everton just haven't got going. But Bournemouth need a goal after all this dominance. Begovic gets to an Adam Smith back pass just in time. Thirty minutes gone and still nil-nil somehow.

Lookman puts in a cross and Bernard heads over from 15 yards. Brooks is fouled. This one can be chipped into the box. Fraser lobs it in but it's off Keane's head for a corner.Everton break, but Cook covers. Clyne makes an important clearance in front of Lookman. That was the first bit of pressure from Everton.

Lerma coms out with the ball and Stanislas puts the ball wide for Clyne who wins a corner on 36 minutes. Brook and Fraser puts a ball in that comes off a hand perhaps, but it's run to Pickford.

Coleman and Lookman on the ball before it's put out for an Everton corner. Lerma heads out. Lookman puts in a fast low cross and Bournemouth let the ball run through. Bernard is booked for a foul on Smith.

Digne's cross is too strong and goes out on the other wing. Coleman in space is blocked by Adam Smith for an Everton corner on 41 minutes. Digne chips the ball back in and Keane's header pops off the bar for a goal kick.

Lerma is penalised for a high challenge, but it looked like he was fouled. Clyne loses the ball. and Gosling fouls Richarlison who wins a free kick on the edge of the box.

Digne hits the wall and it's cleared by Fraser.Bernard into Sigurdsson on the edge of the box, but he has driven it wide. One minute of added time goes up. That's it half-time. Bournemouth had 43 per cent possession, seven shots and two shots on target with three corners.Everton have had eight shots but none on target and three corners.

Second half
Everton make the first attack with Bernard on the left wing and Gomes shoots well over.  Sigurrdsson put a ball in the box and Bernard just sees it go over his head.  Corner now to Everton. Richarlison got a head to it and Aké has to clear a shot off the line from Richarlison! That was close.

Clyne does well against Bernard. Adam Smith is free with Fraser who gets a corner.  Steve Cook puts a free header on to the roof of the net. Stanislas wins another corner. Fraser put it wide for King, but the ball doesn't fall for Brooks. Zouma clears.

Aké makes a couple of clearances deep in his own half. Lerma blocks off Bernard and it is a surprise he is not booked.  The ball is volleyed over by Bernard. Richarlison is offside, running behind Aké.

Brooks plays in Stanisals but he is offside on 57 minutes. Great covering by Clyne, off his chest, as the ball swept across Bournemouth's box. Aké makes a header and Aké blocks for a corner, no penalty as it comes off Aké's arm.

The corner goes out to the left and King can't stop the cross by Digne and Kurt Zouma has a free header at the near post to score on 61 minutes - 1-0 to Everton. One mistake and Bournemouth are undone!

Lerma wins a foul. Not a lot of attacking options for Bournemouth on the bench. Fraser is taken out by Keane who will be booked, but King plays on and hist his shot wide of the goal.

Zouma fouls King and is booked. Gomes is also carded for preventing the restart. Everton are keeping possession and Fraser tackles Coleman well in the box for a goal kick.

Mousset is coming on and Stanislas is subbed on 68 minutes. Clyne heads a Sigurdsson cross away. Bournemouth get on the ball. Lerma holds off two Everton players.

Gomes almost sneaked in when Begovic was slow to come out. Gomes fouls Steve Cook. King wins a free kick near the corner post on 74 minutes. King is walking gingerly off. Fraser's free kick to the far post is headed but Pickford punches it off his line.

Bournemouth have a corner. with 15 minutes left. Aké's header is right at Pickford. Sigurdsson on the right crosses and Richarlison's stooping header goes wide of the right post.

Walcott comes on for Bernard on 78 minutes. Richarlison fouls and Bournemouth have a free kick. Fraser to Mousset and Gomes reads it. Clyne puts a ball out.

Brooks is subbed for Jordan Ibe. King is caught. Richarlison against Cook but the shot is over. Richarlison is booked for a foul on Steve Cook. Sic minutes left.

Gosling and Steve Cook fouls Lookman. Ibe down the right is tackled by Lookman. Calvert-Lewin replaced Richarlison on 88 minutes.

Mouseet to King and Fraser but Pickford comes out. Gosling on the left wins a free kick off Walcott. Gosling is limping. Fraser delivers and it's out to Mousset and Everton clear.

Ibe gets a foot in to stop an Everton breakaway. Free kick to Bournemouth. Adam Smith up to Aké, King is in there all very scrappy.  Ibe drives it in low and Keane clears off Mousset.

Mina is coming on. Five minutes of added time go up. Lerma, Mouseset and Gosling but Keane blocks him - corner. Mina is on for Sigurdsson on 90+2 minutes. The corner is cleared. Ibe crosses and Coleman puts it out for a corner.

Fraser takes it. Everton win it. Begovic hammers the ball back downfield. A long throw from Cook is flicked on and another corner. Pickford saves comfortably from Mousset. Everton down the left and Calvert-Lewin makes it 2-0, side foot, clips off Steve Cook and Begovic. It's a sixth successive away defeat for Bournemouth.
Everton head for the top 10 while AFCB look nervously below. 
Despite the scoreline, Bournemouth created the chances to win this game. Some will look to the fact that Wilson was not available, but Bournemouth had the game under control in the first half. They still conceded a poor goal giving Zouma too much space, but Begovic had little to do for most of the game. The final nail in the coffin was the breakaway goal at the end. Bournemouth didn't deserve that, as it was a much closer game than a 2-0 score line. Still, the Cherries didn't score when they should have and if Brooks' post shot had gone in and they had been given the penalty, it might easily have been a different day, because Everton didn't look comfortable for most of this game.

Brouc, Rico, Simpson, Daniels, Surman, Ibe, Mousset

AFCB Ratings: 
Begovic 5, Clyne 5, S Cook 5, Aké 7, A Smith 5, Brooks 7, Lerma 6, Gosling 5, Stanislas 5, Fraser 6, King 5

Cherry Chimes' MoM: Nathan Aké

Pickford, Coleman, Keane, Zouma, Digne, André Gomes, Gueye, Lookman, G Sigurdsson, Bernard,

Everton Subs
Stekelenburg, Mina, Walcott, Kenny, Davies, Tosun, Calvert-Lewin

Ref watch: Anthony Taylor 2/10 - wasn't a favourite with the Everton fans but he didn't have the courage to make the big decision when Brooks was fouled in the box.

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Can AFCB reduce the goal against count up at Everton?

Bournemouth go into the match at Goodison with a terrible record, but Everton are also shipping goals and both teams need to tighten up in defence. The addition of Nathaniel Clyne will make a difference to Bournemouth in the pace and positional play of Clyne, but it's the centre-back form of Nathan Aké and Steve Cook that perhaps needs to come under more scrutiny.
A win would take AFCB back into the top 10
It has been a funny season for Tyrone Mings again in that he has picked up injuries and found it difficult to get himself available for a good run in the team and even after the Christmas period he finds himself first reserve. But with the amount of goals that Bournemouth ave been conceding which is up to 40 in the league, he must be a bit miffed why he has not been given a go to try and reduce the goals being conceded.

Everton's wingers are very mobile with Theo Walcott scoring in the reverse fixture earlier in the season and while Bernard has found it more difficult to score goals, he links play well and can pop up in space. Bournemouth need to be more wary of players getting in between their midfield and defence and Begovic needs more protection than he has had of late.

Worrying too is that this could be Lerma's last game for a couple of matches, if he gets a booking, and he will have his work cut out against Sigurdsson in the middle of the park. Bournemouth will need to find a player that can defend well in front of the back four when Lerma is out. Surman will probably be given the job, but I only hope to see Surman on at Everton if Bournemouth are closing out the game and are well in control of the match. Without Lerma, AFCB are much lighter in midfield.

Look out this weekend for Cherry Chimes on the Royal Blue Mersey blog 

Cherry Chimes speaks to Matthew Chandler to give a pre-match opinion on the Cherries' season ahead of Everton v AFCB.

Possible AFCB line up
AFCB Subs: Boruc, Mings, Simpson, Rico, Daniels, Surman, Musset, Ibe.

Send in your score predictions for Everton v AFCB to @Cherry Chimes. We will pick a winner from the correct entries sent in by 12pm on Sunday. I have lots of medium sized T-shirts left, so come on the medium-sized T-shirt wearers!


Saturday, 12 January 2019

Are Everton a better team than when we last met?

Everton have managed to overtake AFCB in the league but just like Bournemouth they have had their big defeats and disappointments. In fact, I'd say that being mid-table and on 27 points from 21 games is probably seen as under performing for Everton, so are they a better team than the one that had a 2-0 lead at Dean Court earlier this season and ended up only getting a point?
Bournemouth drew the first game against Everton last August
but Bournemouth had the advantage for 20 minutes
 before Adam Smith was sent off.
The game that is perhaps always special to Everton is their derby against Liverpool and while they lost that game in early December, there was lots to take out of that game and their narrow 1-0 defeat. We saw a much more energetic and go-getting Everton side that day, and while they have found it difficult to get points off of the top six, they have been playing some attractive football again.

Everton have scored 32 goals just like AFCB and they have done it with midfield goals as well as Richarlison's goals. The player that probably is not talked about as much as others is Sigurrdson. He has started to fit in much better at Everton now, and he is scoring wonderful goals again. AFCB have to put Lerma on him to try and stop his passing and look to frustrate him. Silva could also choose to bring Adeloma Lookman into their team after his excellent performance in the FA Cup last week.


Theo Walcott has also been getting goals of late and he has a good record against AFCB. The defence is perhaps the area where Everton have not managed to make great strides this season. Pickford has his moments of brilliance and risk taking, while the older guard of Coleman and Baines are not always getting games now. But Michael Keane is said to be having a good season and he scored against Bournemouth in our last encounter. 

AFCB have to believe that Everton are not unbeatable. Lincoln pushed them close in the FA Cup and there are no surprises about Everton and the way they play. 

Daily Telegraph  - What does your team need this transfer window?
Cherry Chimes gives an opinion on AFC Bournemouth, but you'll have to register with the Daily Telegraph to read the full article.

Look out this weekend for Cherry Chimes on the Royal Blue Mersey blog 
Cherry Chimes speaks to Matthew Chandler to give a pre-match opinion on the Cherries' season ahead of Everton v AFCB.

T-Shirt Competition
Send in your score predictions for Everton v AFCB to @Cherry Chimes. We will pick a winner from the correct entries sent in by 12pm on Sunday. I have lots of medium sized T-shirts left, so come on the medium-sized T-shirt wearers!

Friday, 11 January 2019

Beating Everton would rekindle AFCB's season

Let's face it, the season for AFCB has become a lot more unsavoury since the busy Christmas period and their exit from the domestic cup competitions. If Bournemouth needed an early pick up at the start of last year, they are just as needy now for that elusive win.
Can AFCB pick up points at Goodison?

The players can rejuvenate their season and push for that top 10 or higher finish if they can get a win over Everton. Bournemouth have had some tremendous battles against Everton and most of the dramatic comebacks have come at home. At Goodison it is much harder to get as close to them but Bournemouth should be targeting this as a must win game to get above one of their rivals for that higher finish.

Getting up to 30 points would start to put a different picture on what AFCB might still be able to achieve, and the players will know they will be starting to close on their best ever season. The players need incentives to push themselves, and while the difficult run of games is over, Bournemouth still have to start getting some wins. The difficult thing is that when a team is out of form, it doesn't always just turnaround quickly.

Eddie Howe has had more time to train with the players in the last week, but several of them have been carrying knocks or had illnesses. Bournemouth can't afford to have players out of position and short of their best players for Everton. The players need to feel that they are going to Goodison with a real chance of winning, if they are to break this cycle.

AFCB Away Form

Everton Home Form

In other news, Alex Dobre joins Yeovil Town on loan.

Rival Lines: 'We've got to stick with Marco Silva'

Rival Lines
Match Preview: Everton v AFCB
Blogger Interview: Grand Old Team
Twitter @grandoldteamcom
Andy's personal thoughts and opinions
Andy on Twitter @AndyCostigan1

I chatted to Everton blogger Andy at Grand Old Team this week to preview the Everton v Bournemouth match. I wonder if Bournemouth have risen to Everton's level or if Everton are starting to fall back to Bournemouth's level as the two teams sit right next to each other in the league on 27 points from there 21 games. In the past, Goodison has not been a good place for the Cherries to go visiting but this time Bournemouth will perhaps have one or two ex-Liverpool players who just might up the performance of AFCB in this game.

CC: Everton are being linked with Barcelona winger Malcom. Is he the kind of player you need or do you feel Bernard and Theo Walcott are doing okay

GOT: I think whenever you’re linked with a player from Barcelona, you have to be interested. That’s a club who’ve truly built up a enviable reputation for recruiting top talent and if they’re not commanding a place in their first team, there’s surely an opportunity to try and make the most of them in England... if they can adjust.

As for the Bernard/Walcott element, Bernard is settling in well, getting stronger and fitter with every game, and for me, his willingness to get involved is critical. He appears to have a really good work ethic and is skilled on the ball – I like him. Walcott is a different issue – he seems to be something of an enigma. Even Arsene Wenger couldn’t get a level of consistency from him to make him a regular fixture on the Arsenal team. Sometimes, he looks almost disinterested, I’d venture nervous, but that should be ridiculous given his experience. We’re tended to play him wide right and maybe, just maybe, he needs to be tried more centrally. He’s played almost a #9 position for Arsenal and England and with his undoubted pace and ability to shoot with either foot, if we don’t give him the opportunity to play there – succeeding or failing – we might be doing ourselves a mis-service.

CC: The 5-1 win against Burnley was some win. Why do you think Everton found it hard to build on that result in their next two games?

GOT: Whilst the Boxing Day win at Burnley was extremely welcome and we did play well, it was a performance massively owed due to the poor run of results since the Anfield ‘derby’. A lot has been said about the squad being tired for the subsequent games at Brighton and at home to Leicester, and it has to be pointed out that over the four festive period games, Everton had the shortest ‘recovery’ time of any of the Premier League sides. I think certainly we the fans and maybe the team underestimated Brighton on their own pitch, they’re no pushover these days as you guys found out in the cup tie. As for the Leicester game, well the Foxes came with their counter-attacking tactics and beat us without breaking sweat. We huffed and puffed, but didn’t find anything like the cutting edge and guile to undo Evans and Maguire. And they countered as they perfected in the title-winning season using the pace and clinical finishing of Vardy.

CC: What is the verdict on Marco Silva now? Is he the manager that will bring Everton fans Silverware?

GOT: I think it’s fair to say that the jury on Marco Silva is very much out and considering. We have to stick with him as we can’t keep changing managers every season (or less), but his adoption of zonal marking is causing mayhem at the back and we’re beginning to look very easy to play against. As it happens, I’ve just published a blog article on exactly this conundrum, what was it that made us pursue Silva so hard and what the effect of ZM is having on our squad.

CC: Do you think the gap to the top six can be closed by Everton this season?

GOT: In a word, No. The gap between Everton and indeed the rest of the best of the rest and the ‘big six’ is too big this season. We have the intent, but I’m not sure we’ve yet got a fully credible plan as to how to mount a real challenge for a Champions League qualifying place. In Marcel Brands, I think we have a progressive Director of Football, but he is going to need more than one season, probably nearer three and the accompanying six transfer windows, in which rectify the deficiencies within our squad, attract the right new players and determine the style of football that he has to oversee and that the manager must coach to. To my mind, the hierarchy of a DoF determining all policies and the manager and his coaching staff then working to implement said policies is vital. You can’t have a manager working at odds or differently to the overall scheme and determination of the DoF.

Coastal Garden Buildings

CC: If Liverpool win the title will you look away or applaud them?

GOT: If Liverpool win the title, I will neither applaud nor look away. Let’s be fair, they’re a very good side and Klopp has repaired the faults they had last season. They do play some very good football, but they also enjoy an incredible amount of luck, good fortune and let’s say favourable decisions going their way. If they win it, they’ll probably deserve it because the Premier League is the toughest in Europe, but their fans and the sycophantic media will make life nauseating for all of us for years to come.

CC: Richarlison is the leading goalscorer for Everton. Do you think he needs a strike partner this January?

GOT: Yes, we definitely need a striker. Whether we can acquire one this month is a huge ask and I’m not holding my breath. But we do need to find one in the summer if we can’t this month, as Tosun and Calvert-Lewin, for all their honest endeavour and effort are simply not good enough. As for Richarlison, I’m not personally convinced that he should play as our #9. As before, I think we should give Walcott a chance in that role, but we need to do it quickly to see if it can bring out the best in him.

CC: Ademola Lookman impressed in the FA Cup - would you like to see him given some starts now? And are there any players you would like to see leave the club this window?

GOT: Lookman is probably, no definitely the single most exciting player we have that we haven’t given enough game time too. He’s quick, can play off either flank, likes to take people on and can shoot with either foot. This lad is, in my opinion, one of the players we need to be building upon for the future.I think there’s a strong case for a number of players being allowed, maybe even encouraged to go out on loan. The problem we have is we spent a lot of money acquiring so many of them that if we sell them at a big loss on their book value, it damages the balance sheet and end of year accounts. Better to loan them out, saving on the wage bill while reducing their book value as their contracts run down. As for names, I’d suggest that on top of Holgate to West Brom and Dowell to Sheffield United, we should look for loans/sales for Niasse, Tosun, Tom Davies, Calvert-Lewin and Schneiderlin.

CC: Which player has improved most this season in an Everton shirt?

GOT: The most improved this season as against last season is without doubt Michael Keane. He endured a torrid first season with an awful injury, was rushed back into the team far too quickly and subsequently lost a massive degree of confidence. This season, he looks much more like the player we thought he might be when we lashed out £25 million on him. Of the new players, Lucas Digne and Andre Gomes have quickly become fan favourites.

CC: Everton were 0-2 up against Bournemouth in the reverse fixture and came out with a draw. Do you expect a much different game this time around?

GOT: Given your recent run of poor results, heaven only knows how the game on Sunday will pan out. I might be wrong, but I don’t see you guys coming to Goodison to defend. I think Eddie Howe will sense a chance given our defensive frailties to get at our back four. Naturally, I’ve got to suggest Everton will win, and with a full week to prepare for it, I think we will but, I can see it being a very close game.

CC: How do you think Everton will line up for the game?

GOT: My team selection would be... Pickford, Digne, Zouma, Keane, Kenny, Gueye, Gomes, Sigurdsson, Lookman, Bernard and Richarlison.

CC: It's good to hear at least one Everton fan who wants to give their manager a fair crack at managing the team. It took Klopp a few years to build Liverpool into title contenders and Everton are probably coming from further back so need to give Marco Silva time. AFCB have given Eddie Howe lots of time but there are only so many clubs that can be successful and competing with teams like Everton is success for AFCB. I expect a goal-filled game, but would welcome not conceding three or more goals for a change at Goodison!

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Thursday, 10 January 2019

Will Adam Smith win his place back when fit?

Adam Smith may only be a few weeks away from being able to return to full training, and when he does come back he is gong to see a bit of competition ahead of him. The time between now and then will be filled with Nathaniel Clyne getting up to speed for AFCB in the right back position, and Adam Smith might find that his number one position is a little harder to retain.
Adam might fancy the left-back spot when he comes back to fitness.
I don't see that being a major problem though for Smith. He has already demonstrated that he can play just as well at left-back and he is always an option on the right side of midfield, if required. Adam's versatility makes him a go to player and it is annoying for Howe I am sure that Adam is one of those injured at the moment as he is one of the players that can fill several holes when they occur.

It is interesting to speculate whether Clyne will win out against Smith for the right-back spot. I don't see Clyne being able to play elsewhere in the team, so it's either that spot of the bench for him and while Adam is used to battling Simon Francis for a place in the team, it is good to finally see a bit more competition for the right-back position.

Adam Smith is a player that tends to improve when he does have competition and I'm looking forward to see him perhaps learn a bit from Clyne, who may just have a bit more to his game when it comes to decision-making. Smith has never been able to get international recognition, but he might find out one or two things that are just preventing him to get to that next step if he works with Clyne and adds a few more things to his own game.