Same old Everton then, eh? Control games, making loads of half-chances only to switch off and let bog-average but feisty teams grab goals when we’re under a bit of pressure.
We’d all hoped that this Everton had left with Martinez at the end of last season. When Koeman was winning games against Boro or Sunderland but saying he still wasn’t happy I for one thought that we’d swat away the ‘smaller’ teams. The bigger teams might need more work, but Burnley and Bournemouth? No problem.
Saturday saw us making chances and moving the ball around with the look of a team that were going to win easily. Even the goal conceded was a minor setback to me – what was Stekelenberg up to though? Push it out for a corner man. Or simply don’t just lie down when people take shots. That’s what I do when told to go in goal at 5-a-side for goodness sakes. When we equalised through a fine strike via the generally frustrating Bolasie I believed that the three points would be ours though.
What then followed was half an hour of us keeping the ball and moving up the pitch slowly just like a Bobby Brownshoes side. Without the quality going forward – time for a long rest Mr Barkley – we were always going to be vulnerable at the back. And the moment Bolasie lost out in that challenge to clear the ball things were always going to blow up in our faces. Joy.
Many people (including me) will get annoyed by the fact that just two better/decent results in the last month would have seen us top or joint top of the league, whilst others will point out that we’re still just 5 points off the top. That’s more to do with the teams at the top imploding more than us staying with them though.
So where does Koeman go from here? The massive-faced Dutchman clearly is annoyed at his team but doesn’t really feel that he can do much more at the moment with what he has. Will he able to have a trolley-dash in January, when the players are normally even more expensive?
He will be aware of the positions that are an issue – a goalie, a partner for Williams, a left-back if Baines is kippered, a number 10 and another striker at least. He’ll also be aware of the flab that he needs to trim from his squad. But will he be able to get hold of the players he wants?
We’ve discussed before that Everton are in a strange situation. We’ve finally got a lot of money but at the wrong time (if there can ever be one). We can hold onto our players but will be in a market whereby every other club has big money to spend too. Why would players come to us when they can go to a Champions League club for the same money? We may have to overspend for ‘good’ players like Bolasie and Williams and hope that it’s good enough to get European football under the guidance of a good manager.
If that fails though, where does it leave us? Our best players will leave (Lukaku for instance) and we’ll only be able to replace them with good players. Goodison could well see a revolving door or players over the coming years as we look to stumble across a combination/perfect storm situation like Leicester got last year.
Mr Walsh – you’ve got one hell of a job on your hands!
Ps. Stones. Great ball that. Arf!