Depressing but inevitable. As soon as the board went up with ‘8 minutes’ on it I think we all knew how this one would end. A player was allowed to run across the entire pitch, scuff a ball towards goal and then two defenders watched as an opposition player reacted quicker than them. Great, well done Everton.
There didn’t seem anger from the Everton fans that I know. Just a stunned inevitability that something like that would happen. Personally a 0-0 draw wasn’t of any interest to me. I wanted to beat them. Our league campaign is going nowhere so why not just give us some pride for once? But no. As someone said on Twitter the other day, every team has a bogey team; ours just happen to be our neighbours.
I think Everton fans also accepted that we got what we deserved though. After a bright first 20 minutes where Coleman was everywhere the tactics seemed to be to tell the players to put effort in and then hoof the ball long to Lukaku and hope for the best. I can see the sense in not messing about at the back with the RS players pressing well, but at least give Rom some support! Valencia put in ‘a shift’ but was out on the wing for most of the game doing his ‘one good thing; two awful things’ trick that he clearly practiced with Bolasie (I know some people don’t like Bolasie but his pace would have been very useful in this game).
Koeman is a mystery to us all at the moment it seems. He talks about having a certain style of football to play, but is anyone very confident that the players he brings in will make the side any better if he continues with these tactics? I guess he must be doing great things behind the scenes, especially if Lukaku signs his new deal but it isn’t clear to any of us what he’s trying to do at the moment I’m afraid.
Time and again the players huffed and puffed and hunted in packs for the ball. Unfortunately, once the excellent (again) James McCarthy went off we spent ages just running after the ball like kids playing 11-a-side for the first time. It’s all very well to be playing a pressing game, but time and again three players ran after one player only to find them play the ball out wide to someone in acres of space. Or chased players but got nowhere near them, like with Sturridge ahead of that goal going in. Obviously Gana gets a walkover here as he was the only person making decent tackles and getting the ball back for us.
Barkley was one of the most guilty players here. His stats were appalling, with his passing percentages in the 50% area for most of the game. Time and again he ran about with little purpose and, when he got the ball, made the wrong decision. At one point he got the ball in a great position with Lukaku free. He looked up, dithered and then passed the ball to Matip. Awful.
Whilst we talk about Barkley, can we agree that the challenge on Henderson was pretty appalling? RS or not, that could have done the posing slack-jawed moisturiser-bothering prat some real damage. It could also have put us down to ten men with about 40 minutes to go, which shows just how stupid this kid actually is. Mirallas probably didn’t come off the bench purely because he couldn’t be trusted not to do similar.
With just a few days to go you can’t help feel that Barkley is using up his final chances with Koeman. It’s unfortunate for him, but his form seems to be pushing him away from Goodison. When the cheque book opens – hopefully in just 2 weeks time – a fitting replacement might just be coming through the door and relegating Ross to the bench for some time.
On to Leicester then for Boxing Day. They embarrassed us last season 3-1 but this time around they seem to have half their squad suspended including their central defensive partners. Seems the ideal time for Everton to win then. What could possibly go wrong?