Woeful Everton take undeserved point

By Paul Traill 20/01/2018 11comments  |  Jump to last
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Everton 1 - 1 West Bromwich Albion

Rather than get picked up for the game by Gaz, I got dragged into Liverpool for a bit of shopping with the better half and toddler, though Gaz kindly offered to pick me up at the cobbles at 1pm.

At about 12pm, we went for some food. Of course, the restaurant brought the wrong food order which ate into our time. We were hurrying to finish up to be at the cobbles for 1pm, this being exacerbated when Ste phoned me at 12:50pm saying they were almost there. We settled the bill, hurried up as best we could and marched quickly towards the cobbles in the pouring rain. Three quarters of the way there, Ste called me saying a parking attendant was moving Gaz and Ste along as they had been waiting in the area for too long, so I was instructed to leg it, so leg it I did, and in trying to navigate around some other pedestrian, I slipped on some paper on the floor and went straight over onto my chest… and bounced straight up and carried on running. It was so humiliating, and I eventually hobbled to the car after a very frustrating hour.

I hoped the day would get better after this and it did for the next hour or so as we had a good laugh in the pub, also catching up with Dan. There were no huge shocks with the team news, with new signings Theo Walcott and Cenk Tosun. The biggest surprise was probably the inclusion of Nikola Vlasic, with Wayne Rooney dropped to the substitutes bench. Prior to kick off there was a period of applause for much-loved Cyrille Regis, formally of West Bromwich Albion of course.

We began poorly, and never really got any better. Grzegorz Krychowiak had already sounded an alarm bell for us when he missed a good early opportunity, but our sleepy defence failed to heed the warning and were behind shortly afterwards when Jay Rodriguez waltzed through and finished well to give the visitors an early advantage. “Under-11s defending” was how Sam Allardyce described it.

West Brom were good value for their lead at the break as Everton offered little. At times in the first half there were a few little interchanges which were fairly pleasant on the eye, but nothing that resulted in any end product in the final third. The closest we came was when Jonjoe Kenny cut inside and shot at goal though the save was pretty comfortable for Ben Foster. This resulted in loud ironic cheers from the Gwladys Street, leading to a chorus of “We’ve had a shot”. It was pretty funny but the football on the pitch remained awful, so much so that I made the unusual step of joining Gary downstairs for a beer at the break. Things were that rancid.

You hoped we would vastly improve in the second half but we didn’t, if anything we were actually worse and some of the passing and decision-making was truly woeful. The horror moment of course came when James McCarthy sprawled on the ground in agony after colliding with Salomon Rondon as he bore down on goal. We were close enough to it to hear the bone crack. I’m as big a wimp as they come with things like this and the thought of it left me rather upset for James, though not as upset as Salomon who needed some looking after by his team mates. It was awfully sad seeing James stretchered off, particularly as he had been one of the few out there up for the fight. After the game, Sam Allardyce confirmed he had broken his tibia and fibula. I’m gutted for James, he will be out for a long time and would have made a difference for the remainder of the season.

On the pitch, things were beginning to get pretty desperate and Sam Allardyce’s response was to withdraw Cenk Tosun for Oumar Niasse. Just as everyone was lambasting Sam for the substitution, Theo Walcott headed a ball back into the 6-yard box and Oumar was on hand to smash into the net. It was all level and all to play for.

You hoped this would help us kick on but, though we rallied briefly, we didn’t make the most of this and Theo Walcott’s volley from the edge of the penalty area was about all we offered. Actually it was West Brom who finished the game by far the strongest and Salomon Rondon will feel he perhaps should have won them the game.

He certainly deserved to. His all round play was fabulous throughout, though unfortunately his finishing wasn’t quite up to scratch. He headed wide a few good opportunities and was also very unlucky to see his late effort crash away off the crossbar and to safety as Everton clung on amidst wave upon wave of West Brom attacks. Jordan Pickford’s face as he retrieved the ball near the end said everything you needed to know.

We were just awful throughout and I had to question those featuring on the substitutes bench. I felt the game was crying out for Tom Davies or Ademola Lookman to come on and grab the game by the scruff of the neck, but neither of them made the bench, nor did Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Overlook the youth at your peril Big Sam.

While uninspired by the appointment of Sam Allardyce, our initial form following his introduction won me over somewhat, and I’ve been trying to give him the benefit of the doubt during our current lean spell, but there’s no denying how bad this performance was against one of the worst teams in the league. Did we panic too early with Sam Allardyce? I think so. I don’t believe that leaving the job with David Unsworth would have taken us down, and now we are paying a manager handsomely, who, especially if these performances remain, won’t be around to lead us into next season.

It’s a mess alright, and I can’t wait for this season to end.

Player ratings

Pickford: Didn’t have a huge amount to do, but one of the few who did little wrong. 6

Martina: Certainly not the worst performer out there, actually, I’d say his use of the ball was probably better than most. The position continues to be a problem one though, and why Luke Garbutt isn’t given a chance is beyond me. 6

Williams: He gave the ball away very early in the game and never got going after that. Had a weak game and was ran ragged by Salomon Rondon. 4

Holgate: Also poor. 4

Kenny: Didn’t really get forward a great deal and his end product wasn’t as good as it can be. That late free kick was a shocker. 5

McCarthy: Tragic for James, especially as he was one of our best players out there. Will be sorely missed and it’s so disappointing just after getting back to fitness. 6

Schneiderlin: He seems to be everybody’s favourite whipping boy, but based on his performances last season in comparison to this one, I kind of get why. He’s a shadow of the player, but with James McCarthy now out for the season, you have to assume he’ll stay in the team. 5

Vlasic: I don’t think he was doing so badly and we might have benefited more from him staying on the pitch, but he was hooked at the break. 6

Walcott: Not a bad debut at all and will be made up with the assist. He is capable of much better, but I‘d say he was the pick of a bad bunch today. Nice of him to stay behind and applaud all sides of the ground at full time. My man of the match. 6

Sigurdsson: He was OK first half and very busy but in the second half he never got going at all. Very disappointing. 4

Tosun: Also never got going. I was encouraged after the Tottenham Hotspurs game and I know better than to write a player off after two games, but we need more from him than that. Hopefully with a bit more time with his team mates next week he can do much better against Leicester City a week on Wednesday. 4

Substitutes:

Bolasie (for Vlasic): Didn’t really offer much at all. 4

Rooney (for McCarthy): It was a good ball to Theo which led to the goal, but otherwise he was largely poor. He attempted many cross field diagonal balls to Theo Walcott but mis-hit several of them. He might end up getting a run in midfield now following McCarthy’s injury. 5

Niasse (for Tosun): What an introduction, scoring within a minute of coming on with his first touch. He was also denied a chance to run through on goal by a despicable handball by Craig Dawson (that should have been a red card surely?). His eagerness helped us out and even having just played 20 minutes he was as good a shout for man of the match as anyone. 6


Reader Comments (11)

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Si Cooper
1 Posted 21/01/2018 at 00:35:24
Paul, I'm very interested in your opinion of how Vlasic performed today. I didn't see the game live and asked if anyone could assess his performance for me as someone had singled both him and Gylfi out for particular criticism, though it was delivered as a sort of ‘look what happens when Big Sam picks players everyone has been clamouring for' comment.

Just another example of how different people can watch a game and come away with very different opinions I suppose.

Hopefully your weekend will improve now you've paid your ‘penance' of having to watch another frustrating performance.
Kieran Kinsella
2 Posted 21/01/2018 at 01:02:10
Si Cooper, Vlasic didn't really participate. Didn't see a lot of the ball but then again he didn't put himself in useful position. Against Man Utd, I thought he looked quite lively early on but not so today.

Andy McNabb
3 Posted 21/01/2018 at 02:07:44
Thanks, Paul, always enjoy your reports and the run up to the game.

I feel guilty that I get to sleep through the malaise of every performance while many of you have to watch or listen to that dross.

Anyone out there still think we won't get dragged into a relegation scrap? How we remain 9th is beyond me. 251 mins of League action without a shot on target – makes me yearn for the Walter Smith days. You lot with season tickets deserve medals.

Roger Helm
4 Posted 21/01/2018 at 06:26:24
I agree with your ratings but for Vlasic – he did nothing today, as he usually doesn't. He gets the ball on the wing, runs forward a bit then gives a simple pass square or backwards. Anyone can do that. Yet another wasted signing.

Too early to tell with Tosun but yesterday he didn't look big enough or quick enough for the Premier League. Rooney, Schneiderlin and Sigurdsson are just too slow: West Brom players, from the bottom of the table, were just running past them.

The only ones emerging with any credit were Pickford, Walcott (though he too had a quiet game) and Niasse.

Christopher Timmins
5 Posted 21/01/2018 at 11:51:04
Medals, that's what the supporters who travel week in week out deserve. I got a taste of what they have to put up with at Wembley a week ago and it's not easy.

I see where Silva was shown the door today. At least we won't have a huge compensation package to pay if we hire him. Funny, how even a mere link to Everton caused his fortunes to sink!

10 more points should see us over the line, thank God Brighton, Huddersfield and Swansea are in free fall.

Jim Harrison
6 Posted 21/01/2018 at 12:14:47
Not seen any of the game, but from reports and previous matched we need a beast of a midfielder. Strong on the ball and creative. Greyed to do the leg work and dirty work and player X to pull the strings.

ABis done. Williams should have been a stop gap. We have wingers now, who have been effective in the past. But the central foundations are too weak.

Of course we need to address left back too. But for me we have been soft through the middle for years. Teams seem to move through us quickly whilst we are sedentary.

John Raftery
7 Posted 21/01/2018 at 13:30:45
Can we dispel the notion Schneiderlin was anything other than mediocre last season? One goal against West Brom, unavailable owing to injury for big games against Liverpool, United and Chelsea, poor at Spurs and Arsenal and too often relying on Gareth Barry to help him through the closing stages of matches, he was given the benefit of the doubt having been out of the picture for the first half of the season at United.

I was hoping that with a full pre-season behind him he would become the fulcrum of the team. Instead he has become a liability, failing to shield the defence, seemingly incapable of working in partnership with midfield colleagues and offering nothing going forward. The contrast yesterday with Gareth Barry was stark.

Walcott had a decent game, showed some nice touches and made the most of what little service he had. He must be alarmed though at the shambles around him.

Moving Sigurdsson into the middle failed miserably. His lack of pace makes him too easy to crowd out and renders his passing ability largely redundant. The consequence is he becomes nothing more than a 㿙m one trick pony taking free kicks and corners.

We badly need a driving, mobile midfielder who can get around the park and turn defence quickly into attack.

Graham Morris
8 Posted 21/01/2018 at 16:37:00
This situation is getting ridiculous. That performance was unacceptable on any level and if we continue to perform like yesterday we are down and will deserve it.

I watched the game at home whilst my wife who can best be described as a casual football fan sat on the sofa browsing the internet and occasionally glanced at the TV. Her comments were sadly enlightening.

They included :

"Where did your defence go" as we let in the goal.
"It's not very exciting is it"
"Why are all your players so slow"
"For Gods sake pass to a player in blue" - Even she was getting riled now.
"Run you lazy sod" This was clearly directed at Schneiderlin.
"The crowd look bored"
"Your players don't care do they"

All very sad but so true.

The point is that the manager must see all this as well, so get it sorted.

Andy Crooks
9 Posted 21/01/2018 at 20:01:16
Too stuff as usual, Paul.
Geoff Evans
10 Posted 21/01/2018 at 21:31:29
Best wishes to Macca, get well soon.
Si Pulford
11 Posted 22/01/2018 at 20:10:00
The money we have spent on players who are just plain wrong is criminal. It's so obvious what we need. Walsh must be under real scrutiny now. Allardyce is a disaster that surely won't see the start of next season.

But the players have now failed under three managers in the same season and can't seem to muster the strength of character to put in a bit of effort and try to grab a game by the scruff of the neck.

Rooney is the only one not petrified of the ball and Sam the genius drops him. We're in relegation form and he starts our only two players with a goal threat on the bench vs the worst West Brom side for a decade. All round an absolute mess. From top to bottom.

I remain to be convinced by Moshiri, Walsh is a liability with Money, Allardyce is the least imaginative manager I've seen since mike Walker and the players haven't got any bottle.

Hopefully we stay up and rip this squad apart in the summer for a new manager.


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