I really need to get something off my chest. To put it simply being an Everton fan is like torture at the moment. We all know that Everton have a talented young team, but they are excruciating to watch at times.
Yesterday’s 1-1 draw at relegation-threatened Norwich is typical of Everton in recent months and even years.
The Blues took the lead through a Romelu Lukaku header in the first half and proceeded to miss chance after chance in the first period.
Somehow the Canaries went in at half-time just one goal behind and like most Evertonians, I knew exactly what was going to happen in the second half. It was almost inevitable.
As soon as half-time came with Alex Neil’s side just one goal down the Toffees were never going to win the game.
Tearing my hair out
Reading the message boards and talking to fellow Blues it seems that most Everton fans felt the same way. They were similar to me tearing their hair out because of the lack of mental strength and profligacy in front of goal.
Everton now have a habit of throwing points away, almost snatching draws from the jaws of victory. The Toffees are a real Jekyll and Hyde team and it is a major annoyance.
Everton does have a young team with most of the team’s star players in their early 20’s. Ross Barkley, Gerard Deulofeu, Romelu Lukaku and John Stones are so highly-rated that sometimes we forget that they are so young.
They are learning on the job and they are gaining experience while trying to help Everton move in the right direction under the affable Roberto Martinez. For Everton fans the open nature of this season is tantalising.
Their talented, but frustrating team are in with a real chance of making those valuable top four spots. The Toffees recent fixture list has been kind. They were expected to surge up the Premier League table, only for Martinez’s side to inexplicably pick-up three consecutive draws.
To draw at Bournemouth just typified Everton in truth. Martinez’s side established a two goal at half-time, only to allow the Cherries to level the scores in the last ten minutes. Barkley thought he had scored the winner in stoppage-time, only for Everton to throw it away again.
The 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace at Goodison Park was maybe a fair reflection on the game, as the Eagles were excellent in spells, especially on the counter-attack.
The youngsters will hopefully develop a greater mental strength in the future. For now it is up to the likes of Tim Howard and Gareth Barry to attempt to help guide the Toffees youngsters through games and stay strong.
Captain Phil Jagielka is one of the players who usually helps maintain calmness in defence and has a big influence on the team. The England international has been out through injury and he has been missed.
Jagielka is due to return to the Everton team on Boxing Day and Martinez needs his captain out there, because he has been missed. His replacement Ramiro Funes Mori has done well in his absence, but he just does not have the same influence on the team.
A need for consistency
Everton have had some poor teams during my time following the club. Some of those teams had player’s that lacked technical ability, but were big on work-rate and heart. Those players managed to keep the Toffees in the Premier League.
Former-Blues boss David Moyes helped resurrect the clubs flagging fortunes during his time at the club. He raised expectations levels at the club and there was talk of the glory days returning to Goodison Park.
For years Everton fans major concern was the club investing money in the team. That concern has slightly died down in recent years, as the Blues now have a team that looks capable of on their day beating anybody in the top-flight.
That is what is so frustrating about the current Everton team. There is so much potential and talent in the team, yet they are infuriatingly inconsistent.
As an Everton fan the current period of time is strangely more frustrating than those relegation years. The reason is when the club had no money and poor players everybody knew that the team were up against it to win games.
At times the likes of Barkley, Deulofeu and Lukaku have played scintillating football and it has given Everton fans a tantalising taste of what can be achieved.
Everton on paper should be challenging for the top four places with so many talented players in the team. However, until the Toffees find mental strength and consistency from somewhere the Blues will unfortunately remain infuriating to watch.
Can Everton find the consistency for challenge for a top four spot?