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Everton’s False Ten
by Ed Bottomley

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.

19 Years
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!:

Written by Ed Bottomley

Everton fan exiled in Michigan. Duncan Ferguson obsessive, history buff, optimist. Follow me on Twitter @DixiesSixty

3 Comments

Honestly mate, I was at the bar with my Atlanta Evertonians and about 90% of the groans were reserved for Ross Barkley, and deservedly so. That was the worst game he’s ever played. The other 10% were for Pennington letting every player on Liverpool cut inside for an easy finish, particularly Coutinho, given that is basically his favorite move. Don’t you think it’s a bit harsh on Lukaku? The reason he was so ineffective was down to Ross giving the ball away almost every time he touched it. A striker is only as good as his service and he got NONE. I don’t like Rom’s comments either and his agent is the biggest douchebag, but as usual, our entire TEAM played as though its 1990 and Liverpool is in title form. WE need to shed the inferiority complex. But if you must single someone out for that failure, it’s Ross. Rom is a genuine #9 and has played like it all season. Ross has played extremely well since the emergence of Tom Davies, but if anyone was a false #10 against Liverpool, it was him, not the guy leading the league in goals.

by Pete on Apr 3, 2017 at 5:31 am


    To my eyes, Ross was crap because he tried too hard, hardly anything he tried came off. Lukaku on the other hand didn’t try and was utterly dominated by Lovren.

    by Ed Bottomley on Apr 3, 2017 at 2:03 pm


What galls most is the redshite just aren’t that good. Even with a makeshift team we could have got something out of the game had everyone turned up. Unfortunately nobody did, which is why I wouldn’t have a go at anyone in particular. Lukaku and Barkley weren’t on their own in playing badly, EVERYONE did. Two of the goals could have been prevented by a capable keeper, but it was the midfield and defence in front of Robles who pathetically allowed them to happen in the first place. The derby record is now a disgrace to the club’s name. Shameful.It won’t change until the players summon some guts from somewhere, but it looks like it’s beyond the present lot, as it was the lot before them, and the lot before them etc. etc. ad infinitum.

by Phil Williams on Apr 3, 2017 at 9:56 pm


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