Sunday, December 8, 2019

Koeman needs to unlock mercurial Mersey magic

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 29 Oct 2016

Everton boss Ronald Koeman must find a way to get the best out of his mercurial attacking players

Everton boss Ronald Koeman must find a way to get the best out of his mercurial attacking players

Everton have made a mixed start to their Premier League campaign. The Toffees currently sit sixth in the top-flight table and have laid decent foundations for a challenge for European football this season.

Koeman has found a solution to the Toffees defensive problems of the last few years.

However, the 2-1 defeat at Burnley last time out showed that there is still work to do on that front. Despite that defeat, only Tottenham have conceded fewer goals than Everton in the English top-flight.

One theme for Everton in recent games has been that their attacking players have been so inconsistent. Aside from Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku, the Toffees other attacking players have struggled this season.

Everton’s squad is full of the unpredictable

I cannot recall a football team ever having so many unpredictable as Everton. Ross Barkley, Yannick Bolasie, Kevin Mirallas and Gerard Deulofeu are all in the Toffees squad.

This quartet must have Koeman and the Everton fans tearing their hair out at times. All four have displayed flashes of their talent in their careers. All four are match-winners when they are in form. They are all very good technically gifted players and can destroy teams on their day.

Unfortunately the quartet also have the tendency to go missing in games. I wrote an article at the beginning of the campaign saying the Toffees were fine having three of the four in their team. That was because more likely than not one of them would be on form.

More often than not that has been the case, until recent games. Against Burnley they were just not clinical enough. On another day the side from Merseyside would have won the game comfortably. Missed chances and a creditable display from Clarets goalkeeper Tom Heaton won the game for the Lancashire side.

These are the sorts of games that the likes of Bolasie, Barkley, Deulofeu and Mirallas have to step-up in. Bolasie scored, but the Toffees creative players have to give more.

Koeman has a big job on his hands

Ronald Koeman has a big job on his hands dragging any sort of consistency from the quartet. If he does then the Toffees have a very good chance of gaining a European place this season.

The Dutchman is trying to do what a lot of bosses have failed to do in the past. How do you solve a problem like Barkley? The lad seems to have talent, but at times his decision-making is atrocious. He is lacking confidence, but still has a part to play.

At the start of last season Barkley was absolutely flying. However, when the Toffees struggled in the second half of the season so did attacking midfielder. He has taken his lukewarm form from the end of last season into the current campaign.

Deulofeu was once talked about as the potential next Barcelona superstar. His career has taken a massive nosedive since. Highly talented, but something is missing that makes him struggle to get into the Everton starting line-up.

Yannick Bolasie is one of the most unpredictable players to ever set foot on a football field. I am uncertain he actually knows what he is doing with the ball most of the time. His feet are often quicker than his brain, which makes him frustrating and wonderful to watch at times.

Facing West Ham this weekend

Everton host West Ham at Goodison Park on Sunday, in a game the Toffees are odds of 4/5 to win. The Merseysider’s have been something of a bogey team for the Hammers in recent years. However, the Irons did record a 3-2 win at Goodison last season.

Slaven Bilic’s side came from two goals down to win the game after Romelu Lukaku had missed a penalty kick. The Belgian striker has a fantastic record against West Ham though, scoring eight goals in his last eight appearances against the London side. I certainly would not back against the Belgian adding to his goal tally against the Hammers.

West Ham arrive on Merseyside having recorded three consecutive wins and clean sheets in all competitions. Bilic’s side are definitely on the up after a terrible start to their campaign. With Everton on a run of five games without a win, the Irons could be difficult opposition for the Toffees.

A victory would be a shot in the arm for the struggling Toffees, as Ronald Koeman tries to establish the Merseysider’s as a top-six club once again. Helping his quartet of inconsistent attacking midfielders find consistency could be a massive step in helping resurrect the Toffees form.

Can Ronald Koeman get the best out of his mercurial Everton squad?


David Nugent

David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.



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