This season has been dire so far for Everton fans. The positive summer vibes have disappeared as the Toffees have lurched from one bad performance to another. The team look slow, ponderous and like a group of players who have never met.
A 2-2 draw against Cypriot minnows Apollon Limassol on Thursday night in the Europa League was simply embarrassing. The Cypriot team worked their socks off and never gave up.
However, any Premier League team worth their salt would have beaten the visitors, especially when Apollon finished the game with just ten men.
The Toffees face a home game against Burnley on Sunday afternoon that could well define Ronald Koeman’s career as Everton boss. The Dutchman is under pressure and he needs a win to reassure the fans he actually knows what he is doing.
Doubts about Koeman
Koeman has been a manager for a long time and had mixed results in truth. He is the sort of manager that is good at creating teams that nearly challenge, a nearly man if you will. His biggest achievements have been in his homeland, winning the Eredivisie with Ajax and PSV.
This season he has shown a frightening lack of tactical acumen. The fact that he failed to replace top striker Romelu Lukaku in the summer was bad enough, but now the Dutchman persists with playing two or three number tens a game.
Everybody in the world apart from Koeman seems to see the Toffees problems. The tempo of their play is too slow and the Merseysiders play with absolutely no width.
In the past flying full-backs, Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman provided width. The pair were one of the best in the Premier League. However, Coleman has not yet recovered from injury and Baines is starting to look his age.
Without that full-back width, the wingers are even more important. The fact that the likes of Wayne Rooney, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Davy Klaassen are playing as wide players is really starting to frustrate Everton fans.
It is not as if the Toffees do not have wingers. In Kevin Mirallas, Aaron Lennon and Ademola Lookman they have three very decent wide men. However, for some reason, Koeman decides to ignore the trio.
It’s hard to understand the situation. Maybe, Croatian youngster, Nikola Vlasic will prove a viable option after an impressive substitute appearance in the Europa League. The 19-year-old has played the majority of his career as a winger.
Whether Koeman sees sense and starts with the Croatian and another wide player against Burnley on Sunday is unclear. Recent history suggests the Dutchman is likely to make the same mistake he has for much of the season and chose to decide to play his number tens in the wide positions.
Koeman’s future could be on the line
It is very early in the Premier League campaign, but already Koeman’s future is in doubt. It is not just that the results that have been dire this season, but also the performances. The Toffees have been awful to watch.
Sunday’s game against Burnley will not be an easy one. The Clarets have already picked up a win at Chelsea and draws at Liverpool and Tottenham. At the moment they are more dangerous on their travels than at Turf Moor.
However, Sean Dyche’s team have won just two of their last 19 away games in the Premier League. Everton have also managed to win 11 of their last 13 home games at Goodison Park and the Toffees are odds of 4/6 to win this clash.
If the Merseysiders are to defeat the stubborn Clarets then they will need to really up their game. This game is crucial for the Toffees and their season. The natives are getting restless and if the home side fails to win, then more fans will be looking for Koeman to leave the club.
Will Everton record a victory over Burnley on Sunday?
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