Will Koeman play Rooney? Can Harry find the net? Will Poch play the newbies?
In a month of only three games in August, we have seen good football but moderate results, the assessment of individual players has shed some light on what the team is missing and one of them is a Winger! Mousa Dembele was considered our best overall player this month. (Kyle Walker-Peters made an excellent start as Premier League man of the match debut at Newcastle, but hasn’t been picked since!) For the 3rd consecutive season we have had a slow start. Poch had a great start to his Spurs career 3 years ago (2014) with 4 wins in 5 games, which included 2 Europa League play-off games, but, in August for the last 3 years our results have been dull. 2 years ago we didn’t manage a win in our first 4 games (D3 L1) and sat in 16th place, and yet we became challengers to Leicester finishing 3rd. Last year was a similar situation with 1 win and 2 draws, although we were in 7th place in the early tables but we still became title challengers to Chelsea. Despite our moderate start this year (W1 D1 L1) will we achieve again this season? Have we enough on the bench this time? The link is said to be Levy`s insistence to bring players in after the season has started rather than doing the business in the summer months giving us no time to bed players in. the other is Harry`s August drought, 13 appearances for the club in August and still no goals! As a club though we have emerged as an elite Premier League force in the 4 years under Mauricio, who has successfully transformed us into title challengers and has earned us a regular Champions League place.
In an analysis by Opta of passing sequences Stoke and Leicester are the quickest at progressing attacks with their moves, averaging 1.99 metres per second. The Gooners are in the top 5 fastest attacking teams in the PL despite using more passes, an average of 4.38. We use an average of 4.48 passes but we are much slower even though we as a team have the second highest passes per sequence in the PL, our direct speed is 33 percent slower than the Gooners, even though our pass rate is similar in number to the Woolwich, we are much slower in moving the ball forwards. This has to change this season, especially at Wembley. Everton by contrast are the slowest at moving the ball forwards along with West Ham, Liverpool are the fastest! We can`t keep playing in front of defences we have to get in behind them. If we play possession football in front of the Everton defence it will be a long day. Our lack of width against Chelsea was one reason why we could not break them down and, try as we did to get a Winger in the TW, we didn`t, which we may regret. I am hoping Aurier is chosen as I would like to see how good he is playing as a wing back. Both Sanchez and Aurier fit Poch’s playing style well, both having the pace to recover from high-line defending if need be, and, the skill to assist in our method of playing from the back.
Everton is the first of seven fixtures we have this month including 2 Champions League games and an EFL game, ending the month at Wembley, in the Prem, against Huddersfield. More than enough game time for Poch to work out who will be his first eleven for the CL and the Prem and the Cup games. Most of our first eleven have been on International duty, hopefully, these players will not be too lagged on their return. Everton have spent the best part of £140m on new players and had just about done their transfer business before the season kicked off and what a good bit of business they did with Gylfi Sigurdsson, Jordan Pickford, Michael Keane, Davy Klaassen from Ajaz, who Davinson Sanchez knows well, Wayne Rooney, Henry Onyekuru, Sandro Ramirez, Cuco Martina, Nikola Vlasic. Siggy and Rooney could become a lethal pairing and Roon is enjoying his return to his home club scoring two goals in three Premier League games. Koeman’s side are without Seamus Coleman, Ramiro Funes Mori, James McCarthy, Ross Barkley, Yannick Bolasie and Davy Klaassen, while Jordan Pickford and Mason Holgate are rated at 75 per cent to recover from muscle and ankle injuries respectively but Sandro Ramirez is fit. There is a question mark as to whether Koeman will drop Rooney for this game. He may not play because of the stick he may get and all the media attention or because his mind might not be on the game given his current domestic situation! Looks like Rooney`s home form ain`t as good as his away form! Koeman has had several run ins with star players over the years over disciplinary issues, Koeman needs to get results at Everton after their expenditure, what Koeman doesn`t need is another Gazza! If Rooney does play then it should be a 3-4-3; Ramirez up front with Siggy and Rooney alongside, Baines, Gueye, Davies and Holgate across the middle and Jaglieka, Williams and Keane as the back three. Idrissa Gueye looks like a good acquisition for Everton as does Calvert-Lewin whose crosses assisted both Rooney`s goals against Stoke and City. Everton went to City to deliberately frustrate them but I expect the Toffees to come at us, with or without Rooney, they are going to be their usual handful. Our track record at Goodison has always been a tough one but Everton have not beaten us since December 2012 (9 matches ago).
Wanyama and Trippier are still trying to shake off ankle and knee injuries, Dany Rose is still in doubt. Although Rose has burnt his bridges with the Tottenham hierarchy he has still been named in our Champions League Squad. N`Koudou and Lamela are still not available and Lamela`s injury has meant he is left out of our CL Squad, but N`Koudou is in. Janssen is relegated to a squad player and looks like a busted flush. Who will Poch pick? Verts Toby and Sanchez at the back, Aurier and Davies as Wing Backs and Dier sitting in front of the back 3 in his favourite position? Dembele and Eriksen and Kane to make the spine with Alli and Son in the channels and could Llorente come on to replace Kane in last the 15 minutes? Aurier is an exciting player, who is going to give Trippier competition. Aurier rates himself as the best right back in Europe and should make his debut at Goodison this weekend. Davinson Sanchez impressed against Brazil and does look a bit of a beast! Alli can`t play the first 3 Group H matches starting on Wednesday against Borussia Dortmund at Wembley because of his red card against Gent last season. Poch`s pick for Everton must surely take that fixture into consideration. So, will Poch blood the new boys or throw them into the CL as their first game? We have a date with Derby or Barnsley in the Carabao Cup on the 19th September a perfect opportunity to let Poch see what our youngsters can do and for Vince to get some playing minutes! It all depends on how attack or defence minded Poch wants to be, so who will he choose for this one?