Against Liverpool in the Merseyside Derby, Ronald Koeman debuted a brave new formation: the False Ten. Lukaku has been given a pretty easy ride from some Evertonians, especially as he clearly has a roving eye. He’s already turned his nose up at one contract offer, citing his Champions League ambitions. He wants to play for a top team, whether it’s Everton or someone else (and with Mino Raiola fighting his corner the suspicion is that it’s definitely someone else)…
The Premier League’s leading scorer and Player of the Month clearly wants an open relationship with Everton, but it’s OK – he’s a professional – he can play well and still look elsewhere. Look how he runs to the Gwladys when he scores… Look how much he cares! He’s only banging on about how much he wants the Champions League because he wants to play in it with us! He only has the most avaricious agent in the modern game because he wants success!
I’ve loved him this season, but on Saturday the top scorer in the Premier League played a False Ten with aplomb.
Lukaku used his strength. FALSE
Lukaku played well with his back to goal. FALSE
Lukaku had a shot on goal. FALSE
Lukaku looked like a £70m pound player. FALSE
Disinterested, weak, and always on the periphery, Lukaku gave a false ten masterclass.
I want much more than this provincial life!
I expected a beast to turn up at Anfield on Saturday. What I got was an effete beauty. Incapable of challenging for the ball, winning four out of twelve aerial challenges, and registering zero shots on goal. Our very own Belle had his head in the clouds for 90 minutes. All of his big words shrivelling in the face of Dejan Lovren.
Whereas Rom didn’t seem to care, Ross looked like he cared too much.
Yes, Barkley’s performance in the derby was a restless fever dream, a YouTube lowlights reel played in fast forward, but at least he tried. Ross didn’t hide, he did the opposite in fact, hogging the mic for far too long as he dribbled, tackled, and charged around Anfield.
He threw everything but the kitchen sink at Liverpool, including himself, studs up and fists clenched. Whereas Lukaku didn’t look like he cared at all, Barkley looked like he cared too much. He has been having a good 2017, but against Liverpool he isn’t a player, he’s a neurotic fan. His mind was racing in all the wrong ways. He seemed flustered, and when he wasn’t trying to Maradona his way around the entire Liverpool team, he was leaving his foot in. All of which brings me on to Seamus Coleman.
Not That Type Of Player
Five words that should be binned and banned from football forever. Forget about that type of player. Think about that type of tackle, because just days after we all (justifiably) erupted in disgust at Neil Taylor’s sh*thouse tackle on Seamus Coleman we seem to be sweeping Barkley’s behaviour under the carpet. This is the second derby in a row that Barkley, all studs up and impotent rage, has nailed a Liverpool player. Take a look at his tackle on Henderson from last year. Take a look at his tackle on Lovren on Saturday. Are things like that OK because they’re on Liverpool players? Was this OK because it was on Luis Suarez? I don’t want to talk about idiot Liverpool fans singing about Seamus Coleman’s broken leg. I don’t want to talk about them much at all to be honest. I want to talk about us, and Barkley’s tackling was an utter horror show.
Next year it will be 19 years since we’ve won at Anfield – we’ve had different players, different managers, different owners – but never three points. On Saturday Liverpool carved us open and didn’t look to have broken a sweat. Our players meanwhile looked like zombies. Of all the teams to be our bogey side, why does it have to be them? 2017 has been a good year for Everton so far, but this capitulation, led by our false ten who claims we aren’t good enough for him, will stay with me for a while…
I hate ending on such a negative note, so here’s something from the Echo’s Tony Scott, onto United!:
We’re in April, that’s our 2nd defeat this year with a patched up side.
9pt gap EFC & LFC, not 29 some pundits think it is.
— Tony Scott (@Tony_Scott11) April 1, 2017
Premier League: Saturday 15 April (15:00); Burnley at Goodison
Saturday 22 April (15:00); West Ham at London Stadium