I’m here to complain. To complain about our slow starts. To complain about our inconsistency. To complain about the fact that we often treat “lesser” teams with contempt, and don’t try our best against them. This isn’t a trait of just Koeman’s Everton – I saw it under Moyes and Martinez too… We’re not good enough to cruise through games without being punished. Both the Chelsea game and today should have made that plain.
The sooner we concede, the sooner we can concentrate on winning.
There’s a script at Goodison Park that we’ve faithfully memorised over the last few years. All Evertonians know how it goes: We start slowly against poor teams, go one down, finally wake up, attack like lunatics – our pulses quickened by a roaring Goodison – and sometimes (but not always) claw our way back in the second half. Our motto seems to be: the sooner we concede, the sooner we can concentrate on winning.
In the first half, Everton offered their own version of the Mannequin Challenge – static statues standing there waiting for victory to be presented them. Ross Barkley had a chance, and scuffed it wide after a turn. Lukaku also had a chance, not that he seemed to aware of it, the ball smacking off him from a violent Bolasie cross in front of a gaping goal.
More about Bolasie’s crossing: I like him – he offers unpredictability and raw skill and power but to call his crossing hit and hope would be kind. His crossing is like a pinball flipper, aimlessly smacking the ball into the box. It’s horrendously frustrating.
Our first half shooting was poor aside from one exception, our unerring accuracy when looking down and shooting at our feet.
Just as the script demanded, we gave away an idiotic penalty. Phil Jagielka, the villain of this piece had learned his lines rote and gave away an idiotic penalty.
Of course what followed was some fantastic Swansea defending. Gift wrap a goal for a struggling team and they’ll smell the whiff of three points and defend accordingly.
Not that Swansea played well. This draw from the jaws of defeat was all on us. You could barely get a pulse from our first half performance, and it’s sad when you have to rely on a half time rollicking and a fired up Goodison to up our game. The first 45 minutes stank of “lads, it’s Swansea.” Thankfully Seamus Coleman grabbed a late goal, but we should all be very disappointed.
Lots of questions, hardly any answers
This game just gave us questions and very few answers. Is Jagielka done? Can we win without Barry? Will we ever get any attacking consistency? Where’s Ross Barkley? Can Bolasie be anything more than an inconsistent pinball wizard? Is Lukaku world class? Will we finish in Europe? How many players need to be sold? Is our goalkeeper any good?
All I know is that this stale script needs changing. First half deep freeze. Second half thaw. Brave fight back. It’s now up to you to write something new Ronald, and to get your team to memorise their lines.
Premier League: Saturday 11 February (15:00); Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium
Saturday 25 February (15:00); Sunderland at Goodison