Former Southampton boss Ronald Koeman experienced a bad return to the south coast on Sunday, as his Everton team were beaten 1-0 by Southampton at St Marys.
A more concerning issue than the defeat was the abject performance by most of the team but in particular the forward players.
In truth, Southampton were not great either, but easily the better of the two sides. They took the lead in the opening minute through a Charlie Austin strike and could have had more goals in the second half.
However, through a combination of poor finishing and a few decent saves from former Saints ‘keeper Maarten Stekelenburg, the scored stayed at just 1-0.
Absolutely no attacking ideas
To say Everton looked lacklustre on the south coast would be an insult to lacklustre if I was being honest. As an Evertonian, it was difficult to watch the team looking like they had no verve, energy or idea of how to create chances.
The few chances they did create were missed. Firstly as defensive midfielder Idrissa Gueye fired over the bar from inside the area. Then when supposed attacking midfielder Ross Barkley bulleted a header well wide of goal.
In honesty Everton never really looked like scoring, just like they struggled to break Swansea in their last outing only to snatch a point courtesy of a goal from full-back Seamus Coleman, who seems to be the one that supplies the biggest attacking threat for the Toffees at the moment.
Forward players struggling
The forward players have been worryingly poor in recent games. Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku may be Everton’s top scorer this season, but at the moment he is struggling for chances let alone goals. He just has not been given anything like the service he needs to score goals.
However, truly top forward players etch out chances for themselves. Lukaku believes he should be playing Champions League football, on his last few displays he would struggle to get into a Championship side. He is just not doing enough.
Winger Yannick Bolasie is starting to look more and more like a waste of money. His exit from Crystal Palace in the summer was met with mixed opinion. From his last few displays, we now know why.
While his step-overs look good on his highlights reel, he is an immensely frustrating player. The 27-year-old has pace and power, but he just does not seem like he knows what he is doing with the ball most of the time.
He does not just confuse opposition players, but he confuses himself at times. This leads to him losing the ball. His decision making is also highly questionable.
Ross Barkley continues to underperform, while former-Tottenham star Aaron Lennon remained anonymous for the 65 minutes he was on the pitch.
However, his replacement Spanish winger Gerard Deulofeu was even more useless. The 22-year-old has amazing technical ability, but again he is a poor decision maker. The number of times he runs down blind alleys and loses the ball is unbelievable.
When he is on song and constantly given the ball he can be a fantastic talent. When he is not he is a luxury Everton cannot afford. I am still trying to find the point of Ecuadorian striker Enner Valencia. The loan signing from West Ham has been completely ineffective in his short cameo roles for the Toffees. His signing was a desperate one.
Koeman must find a solution and quickly
Some people predicted that Everton could challenge for the top-four this season. If they carry on the way they are playing we will be in for another disappointing campaign.
Everton are currently odds of 5/2 to finish in the top-six. That aim was maybe a more realistic one at the start of the campaign considering the mess that Roberto Martinez had left the team in.
However, highly and rated boss Ronald Koeman has a lot of work to do. In fact, the situation may not improve until he has brought in some new attacking players in January and maybe even next summer.
Dutchman cannot keep blaming his predecessor for his teams failing. It is now his responsibility to put it right on the training field or in the transfer market in January. Either way, something has to be done or Everton’s once promising season could just peter out.
Who is to blame for Everton’s current poor form?