Club Friendly: MK Dons - Everton
New head coach Ronald Koeman will be very keen to get the supporters on his side, he has won his first two pre season games by a combined 4-0 and well over 2, 000 Evertonians travelled to watch the three goal win at Barnsley at the weekend and will be at Stadium MK in good numbers again this evening. They are a little restless at present as, whilst there has been plenty of talk about big name signings, none have yet to put pen to paper and the promised £100m + transfer kitty from billionaire owner Farhad Moshiri , is still earning interest in his bank account ! In that linked preview, I spoke about how much better the Toffees were on the road last year and I doubt too much will change in that regard until the squad does, they will play to their strengths and Koeman will want to build momentum and he won his first five friendly starts, all on the road after taking charge at Southampton and by an aggregate 15-1. He seems sure to go with a strongish line up today and Ross Barkley, Seamus Coleman, Aiden McGeady and Tom Cleverly, will surely see more game time after just 30-45 minutes off the bench at Oakwell.
Dons were a very poor championship team last season and rightly got relegated after just one season in the top flight, last August, and after they had just scored four on the road at Rotherham, I spoke about what I saw as a major weakness in the squad .....
"Newly promoted Dons scored four at Rotherham on opening day, but I have my doubts about them at present in terms of goals, they lost 20 goal top scorer Will Grigg and hugely influential 16 goal Dele Alli in the summer and with them, a lot of their offensive threat. I just do not see where the ten goal, let alone 15-20 goal Championship level striker is in this squad, maybe they will sign one, but IMO, he is not on the books right now. They play nice football and are comfortable on the ball, but goals will be hard to come , the four against the Millers papered over the cracks, just one in three starts against Preston, Reading and Bolton who are not the best teams they will face this season by any stretch of the imagination, give a better indication of the problems they face. At the other end of the pitch, David Martin has so far made the most saves in the Championship and and is keeping his team in games, but that can only go on so long."
They only scored 35 in 45 starts after that and ended as the lowest goal scorers in the Championship, have they adreesed that problem/issue ? No, have they strengthened in any department ? Again, the answer is in the negative, they are preparing for lower level football, but they look significantly weaker to my eyes and putting nine goals past a 5th-6th tier Irish team in early pre season hasn't changed anything and they were given the run around at times by a very average Conference team on Saturday, despite fielding a "strong" team. Their squad looks thin to me, several of the senior players are injured and I doubt will be risked and any team that Everton field should be up to winning this with a degree of comfort. Dons like to play out from the back, Everton will press high far more under Koeman and this looks a decent match up for the Premier League team.
Everton -1.25 ball 1.95 asian line/Sportmarket
from Clubgowi newsletter