Just what is going on at Everton? After the fine season they had last time around, hopes would have been high for this season.
A summer of a lack of signings, talk of financial difficulties and the falling through of the plans for a new ground took away much of the optimism, but nobody would have expected the spirited Everton squad under David Moyes to give anything less than their best shot at closing the gap on the big four.
The uncertainty over the manager signing his new contract, reported to be a five-year deal worth around Ã‚Â£60,000-a-week, seemed as though it would be easy enough to sort out. However, that deal is still not signed and to an neutral observer, it is not clear whether it is Moyes refusing to sign, or the club refusing to offer.
Now Moyes admits the delay in agreeing his new contract may be affecting the team’s performances. Following their insipid display in the 2-0 defeat to their bitter rivals Liverpool on Saturday he said;
“What happens is that when the manager’s position becomes uncertain then uncertainty can come into the club, I accept that. That is not the reason for this performance or the ones before but I agree it doesn’t help the situation. It is something that needs to be addressed. I think both parties are aware that it has to be sorted and, hopefully, there will be some news soon. It is not a matter of compromise. I have been sitting waiting for the contract to come back from the club for quite a while now but I am not unsettled by it, not at all.”
Everton have now lost all three of their league games at Goodison Park this season and face a crucial Uefa Cup trip to against Standard Liege on Thursday, with the tie locked at 2-2. The game really does have significance for the whole of EvertonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s season.
Job for life
Some Everton fans are calling for David MoyesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ head. That would have seemed unthinkable only a short time ago as he seemed to be one of those managers like Wenger and Ferguson, who pretty much had a job for life if he wanted it. Now, all of a sudden, his position looks anything but stable.
So what has gone wrong behind the scenes? Whatever it is, it seems to have deeply affected the players. For a couple of years now Jolean Lescott has been one of the Premier Leagues finest and most consistent defenders. He looks like a shadow of his former self at the moment and the whole Everton back four, so reliable last year, are looking really shaky.
Saha on the bench
Going forward, Everton donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t look to have much of a threat. I was amazed to see Moyes select a team with a five man midfield and only Yakubu up front for the game at home to Liverpool. One of the only summer signings was Louis Saha from Manchester United, yet he sat on the bench for a majority of the game.
Surely David Moyes wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t looking only for damage limitation in a game that could have turned the season around for the whole club was he?
The only big money signing of the summer was Felliani who arrived for a fee of Ã‚Â£15million. So far, he hasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t lived up to that sort of price tag, although he is only twenty and it is still early days. The problem for Everton and Moyes is that they canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t afford to wait around to see if he will get better.
It will have hurt the Everton faithful that their team didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t really seem to go for the win at home to Liverpool and that the one bright spot of their fairly dismal summer was left twiddling his thumbs on the bench rather than trying to cause problems for the Liverpool back four.
Things going awry
I am a neutral observer and I am genuinely disappointed that things seem to be going a little awry at Goodison Park. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know if David Moyes is the problem or the victim in what is going on. I also donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know if many of the players have hit a bad run of form at the same time, or whether there is something much deeper that is concerning them and affecting their performances.
Whatever the situation is, Everton and David Moyes need to sort out the confusion quickly. As more time passes, especially if they donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t manage to get a result in Belgium on Thursday, the murmurings of discontent from a small group of fans will continue to grow louder.
Can Everton fans put their finger on the problem? Should Moyes stay or go?
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