After Everton’s 3-0 home defeat by Tottenham last weekend, I wrote in my editorial that reality was starting to bit for the Toffees. It seems things got even worse for my beloved team on Thursday night, as they suffered a 3-0 defeat against Atalanta in the group stage of the Europa League.
The thing about it was that the result and the performance did not surprise Evertonian’s. We went into the game slightly pessimistic after the last two performances and the team produced nearly a replicate performance from the one they produced against Spurs.
There was no skill, cohesion, intelligence, heart or fight in the team. Even in Everton’s darkest days, you could at least say we tried and often were not good enough.
However, this team are not a bargain basement team, like teams of the past. Dutch boss Ronald Koeman has expensively assembled the current team. The former Southampton boss has to take a huge slice of the blame for the team’s recent form.
The Toffees have endured a nightmare schedule in the Premier League. However, it is not like Koeman’s side were suffering narrow defeats or even looking like giving anybody a game. The recent performances have been embarrassing.
What is Everton’s shape?
People will say that new players will need time to settle, which in some cases may be true. However, good players tend to settle in very quickly if the team has a settled shape and formation. At the moment it is difficult to identify Everton’s shape.
Everybody must be sick of me moaning about Koeman signing so many number tens, but that was once again a major issue for the team in Italy. The Dutchman again started with Wayne Rooney, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Croatian youngster Nikola Vlasic behind lone striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who looked isolated.
Out of the three, at least Vlasic is a wide player. However, that still meant Rooney and Sigurdsson starting the game in similar positions to the ones they struggled to make an impact from against Tottenham.
I felt sorry for young striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin. He may have struggled to hold the ball up, but the service to him was non-existent. I am not sure how neutrals felt, but as an Everton fan, I could not see us scoring. The team created very little in front of goal, which is a major concern.
The team are just terrible to watch and as pundit Jermaine Jenas said ‘boring’ to watch. They were simply that bad.
Koeman needs to do better
Koeman has taken the blame for the defeat in Italy and so he should. The experienced Dutchman just does not seem to learn from his mistake. The way he set up his team was nearly identical to Saturday, just with different personnel. The result was the same, though, an embarrassing defeat.
The former Southampton boss spent big in the summer, even if a big chunk of the money came from the sale of star striker Romelu Lukaku. The players he has brought are not world-beaters, but they are not terrible either.
Any manager with an ounce of managerial acumen would surely be getting more out of Everton’s relatively talented squad. In truth, it seems like the players do not know what they are doing on the pitch and that leads to a lack of cohesion, a vital attribute in a team.
The players looked like they had never met each other against Atalanta. It was Koeman’s job to organise and integrate the new players into the squad. It seems he has struggled to do so far. Everton felt they were bringing in a manager with good tactical acumen, hence his reported £6million a year salary. He needs to start earning that big salary.
Everton set for some more comfortable fixtures
After Sunday’s trip to Old Trafford to face Manchester United, a game in which they are odds of 9/1 to win, the Toffees top-flight schedule gets kinder. Some Evertonian’s have held off on criticism due to the team’s difficult schedule.
However, if the team does not start winning the easier games, then Koeman will be fighting a battle to keep his job. I am not an advocate of clubs sacking bosses on a regular basis, but when the team shows no direction, fight or quality then the boss has to come under scrutiny.
I hope Koeman can turn things around in the next few weeks. If not then I am sure that Everton’s majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri will be more than willing to find a replacement for the Toffees expensive Dutch boss.
Is Everton’s current slump down to Ronald Koeman?
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