Everton pass up successive away win but Allardyce hails 'precious point'

By Lyndon Lloyd 16/04/2018 39comments  |  Jump to last

For a man who has been in an overt mode of self-preservation lately, Sam Allardyce’s comments after this frustratingly predictable draw with Swansea can’t have come as a surprise to many. In addition to the usual guff about a point against a team that started the day four points off the relegation zone being a “great” result because Swansea had won their previous four at home, the manager declared that what he has achieved at Everton since he arrived at the end of November constitutes success.

Granted, the question from the interviewer came loaded with that particular word but Allardyce is on tricky ground when it comes to discussing success in relation to a club like Everton. We’ve known it, revelled in it, been robbed and then starved of it for too long now and, bitterly enough, the fact that the journeymen former England boss sits at the helm of this grand old team is a by-product of the latest shambles to befall it.

Allardyce has fulfilled the brief handed to him by a panicked Farhad Moshiri four and a half months ago. He has kept Everton in the Premier League, albeit with a win percentage of just 35%. In truth, his job was done by Christmas; the last 15 games presented an opportunity to take the bull by the horns and transform his image of a one-dimensional, motivator type whose simple talent lies in saving clubs from relegation.

We’ll never know whether David Unsworth would have been able to achieve the same feat for Everton this season following that 4-0 drubbing of West Ham; the decision to replace him had already been made. What’s clear, though, is that if this were one long job interview for one of the plumb jobs in English football, Allardyce has shown little appetite to ace it.

This game was as neat an illustration of his play-for-the draw lack of adventure as any. Seemingly without instruction to retain possession, dictate the game, or attack their hosts with any conviction, Everton found themselves 1-0 up at half time thanks to an own goal by Kyle Naughton.

It was unfortunate for Swansea who had belied their lowly status by employing crisp pass-and-move football and an impressing harrying game when out of possession almost from the off and fashioning three clear-cut openings by the time Yannick Bolasie’s 34th-minute daisy-cutter had registered for the Blues their first shot on target.

Jordan Ayew thought he had opened the scoring at the end of a 21st-minute counter-attack that led Wayne Rooney in an embarrassed heap after he’d missed a tackle in midfield but the Ghanaian’s shot took a vital deflection off Leighton Baines.

From the resulting corner, Federico Fernandez went even closer, rising highest to head back across Jordan Pickford’s goal but Cenk Tosun cleared his effort off the line.

Five minutes after that, the two Ayew brothers combined at the end of a good passing move from Carlos Carvalhal’s side but Andre, having out-muscled Michael Keane, could only fire straight at Pickford.

Everton offered a brief flurry of attacking intent in the waning minutes of the first period and, after Keane had headed wide after Lukas Fabianski had parried the defender’s initial header back to him, the visitors struck two minutes before the interval.

Seamus Coleman got forward well to ping a cross the back post and pick out Bolasie in space and, true to established form of doing on good thing a game to justify his inclusion, the Congolese forced a parrying save from Fabianski who repeated the feat a split second later to deny Idrissa Gueye from the rebound.

Unfortunately for the goalkeeper, his second save hit Naughton and crossed the line before Alfie Mawson swept it clear, the goal decision system alerting referee Lee Mason to the fact a few seconds later.

Theo Walcott was almost in a minute later from Tosun’s quick thinking but couldn’t bring the Turk’s long pass under control and that allowed Swansea to begin the second half on the front foot as they searched for an equaliser.

Keane’s header from a Swansea throw fell straight to Tom Carroll but Pickford was equal to his placed header with a diving catch and Andre Ayew was denied by the Blues’ keeper when he batted his shot behind in the 51st minute.

There was precious little desire or impetus from Everton to try and turn the screw on the Swans but Walcott did deliver a rare cross of quality from the right to find Gueye in a central position but his header was a poor one that had no hope of troubling Fabianski’s goal.

Benefitting from the introduction of Tammy Abraham with 25 minutes to go, Swansea kept probing as the half wore on and got their reward against a ponderous, untidy Blues side in the 71st minute.

For a second time, Tosun was called into emergency action to head off his own goal line but this time Everton’s defence couldn’t get it clear. And when Coleman’s scuffed clearance fell straight to Carroll and he shanked a ball out to Jordan Ayew on the left side of the penalty area, the forward accepted the chance with gusto, hammering a shot off the inside of Pickford’s left-hand post.

Allardyce pointed to fact that Coleman came so close to winning it for Everton with a quarter of an hour to go but his shot on the run from Tosun’s cross cannoned off the crossbar. In retrospect, however, a victory would have flattered the Blues and the manager’s decision to throw Ramiro Funes Mori on for Bolasie in the closing stages was evidence enough that he wanted to protect the point rather than build on Coleman’s chance to earn all three.

In keeping with his tenure, Allardyce’s side did enough but did exhibit the necessary guile or gumption to secure a win to reward the travelling faithful who once more sold out the away end. He will, no doubt, continue to insist in his press conferences that the criticism is only coming from a handful of unprofessional speculators on social media but as “fuck off Sam Allardyce” rang out unmistakably from those massed ranks in Blue, he can’t have been left in much doubt what they thought of him.

Allardyce is unlikely to walk away of his own volition — indeed, rather disconcertingly, he is now talking of pre-season plans and squad-building — so, again, the hope is that behind the scenes, there is no doubt about what needs to be done come the end of the season, if not before. If there is anything to the rumours that the decision has already been, it’s hard to see what good from stretching his tenure out over the last four meaningless games.

Yes, Sam, you’re a success. Now how about going out on “a high”?

Follow @Everton1an

Reader Comments (39)

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Brian Porter
1 Posted 16/04/2018 at 06:36:08
Well said Lyndon. As for your last paragraph, I think the overwhelming message we should be sending to Allardyce is best summed up by Winston Churchill's words to the weak and failing prime minister Neville Chamberlain before the took the helm and steered us to victory in World War Two. Those same words had been delivered by Oliver Cromwell to the Long Parliament 300 years earlier and are totally relevant to Allardyce's position.

"You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. In the name of God, go!"

Brian Murray
2 Posted 16/04/2018 at 07:19:03
Brian, ditto Bill and Bob, Dunc, Franny etc
Bob Parrington
3 Posted 16/04/2018 at 07:22:41
Regardless of anything said, this was a piss poor performance that might even have ended in a win if Seamus's shot had gone in rather than hit the bar. As I watch other sides below us in the league I become even more disheartened that we look to be the worst of all even though our league position is safe.

Totally demoralising!

Jim Bennings
4 Posted 16/04/2018 at 08:05:31
Good point Bob#3

We will now likely finish 10th as Benitez has found a winning formula at Newcastle and they are playing confidently, I expect they will take at least a point from Goodison next Monday whilst we will continue to flounder in the away games remaining.

Even finishing 10th will flatter this woefully inept Everton team though.

There are teams below us who are actually putting more effort in on a weekly basis but are struggling because of a genuine lack of quality/spending power but at least the effort is there.

West Brom have had a dire dire season yet they yesterday gave their fans at least some feel good factor after a horrible season with a fantastic away day.

When is the last time travelling Evertonians went away from home and came back feeling euphoric after a triumph like that?

Jeff Spiers
5 Posted 16/04/2018 at 09:52:08
As I have posted on another site, we can still go down. Mathematically. Don't laugh
Bob Parrington
7 Posted 16/04/2018 at 10:08:24
Jim (#4), is it just me or s the big difference I notice between us and the other sides, including those closer to the relegation zone, is that we don't do the simple pass and move in to a position to accept a pass. We get in each others' way. It's not every player but it seems to be the majority.

Watching Southampton against Chelsea, for the majority of the game they did just this – pass, move, accept, pass and move, und so weiter as the Germans say, and pester the crap out of the opposition players etc until they make mistakes.

I'm starting to think that football is a simple game made complicated by massively overpaid, mentally under-endowed managers and coaches!

Bob Parrington
8 Posted 16/04/2018 at 10:10:17
Jeff (#5). True... By two of the bottom 3. But it's a long straw!
Martin Nicholls
9 Posted 16/04/2018 at 10:13:57
Jeff (#5) – I think if you were to check the remaining fixtures of all 11 teams currently below us and in particular the points they will inevitably drop against each other, you'll find that we cannot "mathematically" drop into the bottom three.
Geoffery Cadman
10 Posted 16/04/2018 at 10:28:21
I half heard Sam's post match comments on Merseyside Saturday... is he now trying to take credit for signing Pickford?
Jim Bennings
11 Posted 16/04/2018 at 10:35:55
Bob (#7),

Yes that smacks me in the face too!

For so many so-called international players at Everton, it's amazing that none of the team can actually do the basics of passing and moving into space, we can't even keep possession from throw-ins, can we?

Couple that with the fact lesser clubs all seem to display more work rate and passion than us.

Pete Clarke
12 Posted 16/04/2018 at 11:11:43
If we had taken all of our chances this season and our opponents had taken theirs then we would be in the relegation zone or even bottom. How does this man even get a job anywhere?

Play the kids for the rest of the season just to give us a break and pick somebody from the crowd to be stand-in manager.

Paul Tran
13 Posted 16/04/2018 at 11:49:04
All of this shows the importance of getting a coach who can drill the players into doing the simple things quickly and keeping them motivated.

'Why can't they do that themselves?', I hear you ask. Interesting piece in yesterday's Sunday Times with Paul Lambert. He said when he took over at Stoke, he asked the players what they wanted. They replied, 'Discipline'. That's right, modern top-level footballers need discipline imposed.

That's why the right coach is important. It's not Sam.

Ian Burns
14 Posted 16/04/2018 at 12:05:12
As always, Lyndon, your article is right on the money. My personal worry is there appears to be a possibility that this dinosaur; self serving and loathsome manager (I use the word "manager" in title description only) will be here next season.

The supporters gave a clear message to him from the packed away end on Saturday which surely Moshiri heard from Monaco but Allardyce disgustingly dismisses as supporter ignorance.

Wishing for the end of the season is one thing but finding out this man will still be in charge is something else altogether!!

Jack Convery
15 Posted 16/04/2018 at 12:39:54
Can you imagine if we were moving into the so-called new stadium next season – ha, what a laff if Fat Sam was the boss for another 12 months. 60,000? – you would be lucky to get 600.
James Lauwervine
16 Posted 16/04/2018 at 14:40:35
Give me a shout when Allardyce has gone as, until then, I just don't give a shit. He can take half the team with him.

To think Koeman is still taking 𧹺k a month from us for doing a 100% shit job. So the club will pay almost ٟm a month to Koeman and Allardyce until June 19, whatever happens. What the fuck is going on? Possibly the two worst managers we've ever had.

I can't remember things ever being so bad. See you all after the World Cup... maybe.

Tony Everan
17 Posted 16/04/2018 at 16:05:54
Jim (#4),

Never mind the Barcodes playing better than us... did you see West Brom?

We are 9th and defying gravity.

Jay Harris
18 Posted 16/04/2018 at 16:42:09
We area total shambles of a team. No partnerships on the pitch and no evidence of any team spirit off it.

I don't blame Allardyce for this mess but ask myself why have Kenwright and Walsh got a free pass on what is a worse team than 3 years ago with over £200m spent?

It will take a manager of considerable ability to transform the squad and deal with Kenwight who shows no sign of going.

Mike Gaynes
19 Posted 16/04/2018 at 18:15:23
Jeff #5, yeah, sure.

We can also still finish above Arsenal for 6th and get back into Europe.

Of course, we'd have to win out and they'd have to drop each of their last four by an average score of 7-0.

But it's possible. Mathematically.

Michael Kidd
20 Posted 16/04/2018 at 19:43:58
I've watched a fair bit of Premier League football this season (on TV) and probably the worst four or five performances I've seen in these matches have been by Everton. West Brom on Sunday against Man Utd performed better than we have in any match I've watched this season.

I find myself asking again and again – if I didn't defend like that as a rank (term used advisedly) amateur when I was a lot younger, why does a pro do so now (eg – clear the ball into the danger area rather than to the flanks)?

Why can't one player in blue pass to another player in blue? We seem to gain possession and give it away again within two or three passes. Swansea – relegation candidates – were several levels better than us on Saturday. They were unlucky to take a point, even if Coleman did hit the woodwork.

On paper, we have players who can pass a ball and run into space, so what is going wrong? I think the answer is obvious – staring everyone in the face.
Jeff Spiers
21 Posted 16/04/2018 at 19:57:49
Martin@9. Thanks for correcting me. But my fear is we get beaten the 4 games left leaving at least Southampton to win all theirs. They will have 1 point more. Even Palace and Swansea if they win all theirs will survive. A MONUMENTAL task, agreed, and I hope my sums are wrong!!!!!!
Peter Fearon
22 Posted 16/04/2018 at 21:57:30
If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it. Sam Allardyce hammers home, week-in and week-out, this idea that he saved us from relegation, that only about 20 people on Twitter are not honored to have him managing Everton, that results like Saturday's point away to a relegation-threatened team are tantamount to a victory, and that Evertonians the world over love the standard of football he is serving up.

Strange thing is, I haven't heard a single challenging question about the execrable technical standard of play from anyone in the media at any of his press conferences.

Colin Gee
23 Posted 16/04/2018 at 22:25:14
Jeff (#21),

Yes, it is still possible for us to go down, even though some the teams below us have to play each other there are still enough points for them to gain for us to go down if we lose our last four and Southampton win their last five. It would take one hell of a freakish set of results for it to happen though.

I think there's more chance of me starting up front for us next season...

Brian Porter
24 Posted 17/04/2018 at 06:39:36
And Lookman scores again for Leipzig. Nice move eh, Sam? NOT!


Jim Bennings
26 Posted 17/04/2018 at 07:35:34
Everton have undoubtedly been very lucky this season in many games, draws salvaged by penalties scored and missed by opposing players.

We have won 4 games since December 18th and those games we were extremely unconvincing in.

Leicester we scraped past and were hanging in by a thread at 2-1.

Only Palace and Brighton did we look remotely comfortable in, whilst at Stoke we were aided by playing for over an hour with 10 men.

Darren Moore has instantly got a poor West Brom side playing with passion and for eachother, all I can say is we are lucky he didn't get the job in December.

The fact Burnley went from December to March without winning a game yet are well out of sight of Everton again tells you how poor we have been, not being able at any stage to put together a winning run .

Allardyce crows about the “fantastic home record” but let's put it forward..

Since before Christmas we have lost to Manchester City and Manchester United easily, had a dour lucky draw Chelsea hanging on grimly and a a scrappy draw with West Brom, a dour draw with Liverpool's second team while recording unconvincing wins against mediocre opponents Brighton, Palace and Leicester.

3 wins from the last 8 at Goodison.

Hardly great in my eyes, Sam?

Eddie Dunn
27 Posted 17/04/2018 at 08:01:01
Jim, we aren't alone – I heard a report on the radio on Sunday when Andy Dunn (a RS journo) said that the 14 teams below the top six had largely failed to win two games on the trot for the last few months. There is a big gulf between even Arsenal in 6th and the likes of Burnley in 7th, who didn't win a game for all of that time.

The rest of the league is relatively poor, but as is often said, the table does not lie, and there are many teams who are worse than us this season. They may have played some more entertaining football than us, but teams have also defended horrendously too.

For all of Sam's irritating persona and decisions, we are unquestionably harder to beat than we were. I know much is due to the return of Baines, Jags and Coleman but our position has also been effected by having to rely on Williams and Martina as well as a rookie in Kenny.

Perhaps we should just accept that Allardyce has stabilised our team, and although we are dull to watch, we will stay up. A luxury that Southampton, West Brom and Stoke would covet.

Jim Bennings
28 Posted 17/04/2018 at 08:23:53

For the money we have spent though we should be something more than just “hard to beat”.

That is a luxury Southampton and West Brom should covet because they aren't big spending spending ambitious clubs?

And there should never be such a gulf in class between Arsenal and us, again the money we have spent and the fact Arsenal haven't taken a single away point in 2018 yet we are so far behind them why?

Dermot Byrne
29 Posted 17/04/2018 at 08:28:36
Interesting, Eddie (#27).

Are not all domestic leagues just some big, internationally known and supported clubs with the rest just there for them to flex their muscles against and give media/ex-players something to market them with.

Then inevitably they all meet up at Champions League and clean up, thus securing their place next season. They can afford a blip when they miss a year. Fortnightly Premier League coverage will help that!

So us? Definitely part of the rest. I think the new stadium coupled with big playing investment at same time, a la Citeh, is probably our last chance.

If that fails, we will remain a plaything for the big clubs (and they will be big) and we can have a derby as our cup final, albeit in a nicer stadium.

Eddie Dunn
30 Posted 17/04/2018 at 08:45:58
Jim, I think the reason is all of the upheaval. For all of Arsenal's problems, they have had stability and players that are simply far better than ours.Remember that our net spend was modest and our failure to replace Lukaku hurt us more than anything else.

We are now looking like we could mount a challenge for 7th next season. The top six is miles off.

Clearly, we can't simply blame the managers for what has happened. Koeman, Unsworth and Allardyce have all struggled to get a tune out of this squad. It is no coincidence that the return of our old stalwarts in defence has helped us to move out of danger.

This season simply tells me that our squad is far poorer than we thought. The players have been the problem. There were personal problems, those that couldn't adjust to the Premier League, some lost form, others were injured. The youngsters were simply inconsistent(forgivable).

We failed to replace Lukaku and it has to be said that we spent unwisely. The board panicked and sacked Koeman without any idea of who would replace him and then panicked again when Unsworth failed to improve results significantly.

We survived but are now stuck in the process of recovering from the prior mistakes and, if we do replace Sam, we need to keep the disruption to a minimum.

We need quality not quantity and a manager that can inspire the fanbase and the players. For me, that guy is Eddie Howe.

Jim Bennings
31 Posted 17/04/2018 at 10:42:14
I'd be quite pleased with Eddie Howe too!

I think he's a manager that would be more understanding of the ethos needed at a club looking to play modern day football with more modern ideas.

Eddie Dunn
32 Posted 17/04/2018 at 11:23:54
Jim, Eddie Howe always seems positive and I have heard that his players actually like him. The general mindset of all and sundry would be enhanced by the positive vibe that he would bring. Even if we got tonked occasionally, it would be some consolation knowing that we had a go.
Brian Harrison
33 Posted 17/04/2018 at 11:47:01
I cant believe that some are still touting Eddie Howe as our next manager, do we not learn from history. Thats all this club has ever done, look at somebody managing a lower club who MIGHT be good given extra money to spend. I mean, if that's the philosophy then Sean Dyce has done more with Burnley than Howe has done with Bournemouth, and on roughly the same budget.

The only time this has worked for us in appointing Kendall but let's not forget, he was 24 hours away from getting the sack before the Kevin Brock own goal saved him. I also think his decision to move Colin Harvey to first team coach was another reason he turned things around.

Why do you think that Chelsea can change managers on a regular basis yet still win the Premier League, yes they have money but they appoint winners whether it was Mourinho or Ancellotti or Benitez or Conte.

As I have said on here before Howe is just another Mike Walker in fact I would suggest what Walker achieved with Norwich before we signed him far outstripped anything Howe has achieved.

Jim Bennings
34 Posted 17/04/2018 at 12:22:48

Comparing Eddie Howe with Walker doesn't really hold much water because football has changed so much since those days of the early 90's when it was slightly easier to get a team up the league back then, a quick glance imat some of the clubs finishing in the top 6 back then tells you that.

Howe has done a very admirable job with little money.

He has got a team of limited footballers playing quick incisive pressing football and doesn't seem as phobic as the top 6 clubs as our dinosaur Sam does (imagine Everton going to Stamford Bridge and winning 3-0)

Martinez was the last manager even bold enough to have a bash at those clubs away from home, at least he took a team to Old Trafford with the belief they COULD win at United!

Personally I'd take the odd thrashing away to the top clubs if it meant beating them regularly too.

I'm sick of the anti-football that's been on show at this club for too long.

Mark Murphy
35 Posted 17/04/2018 at 12:22:56
Kevin Brock did not save Howard Kendall from the sack with an own goal!
Eddie Dunn
36 Posted 17/04/2018 at 12:28:12
Brian- Chelsea can win things because of their quality of players. If Allardyce was in charge of them, they would still be in the top four.

I like Howe because unlike Dyche, his sides play attractive football and attack with panache. I don't want us to play like Burnley- they are merely a more disciplined version of us.

We will not attract the top managers who have a pedigree of winning things, that is a fact of life. The only reason for joining us would be a paycheque. The best managers will want a real chance of enhancing their CV with silverware and Champions League qualification.

We won't get those guys, we can though, attract those on their way up, and hope that we can make significant progress, like we did under Moyes, to make ourselves appear a club going in the right direction.

This season's antics have blown that scenario apart.

Brian Harrison
37 Posted 17/04/2018 at 12:35:18
Mark 36

Sorry I should have said with his back pass, which Heath latched onto and scored. But that goal did save Kendall from the sack I have no doubt about that.

Lennie Flynn
38 Posted 17/04/2018 at 12:56:43
Brian (01), it was not Churchill it was another tory twat, Leo Amery.

However I agree totally with the sentiments expressed.

Mark Murphy
39 Posted 17/04/2018 at 17:59:53
That's right, Brian – I was being a pedantic twat!
Jim Hardin
40 Posted 17/04/2018 at 18:22:47
Sorry, but Howe is, in my opinion, the English version of Roberto Martinez, offensive-minded but his teams simply cannot defend for 90+ minutes.You simply cannot compete in the top four or five without disciplined defense as Arsenal is finding out.

Howe simply cannot compare to Dyche given the similarities of limited resources but different results obtained. You won't hear Burnley fans claiming there is no flair or style to the play or moaning about a lack of offense. Did anyone notice that Dyche takes points from the big four/five in their own stadiums?

To label Dyche as just a defensive coach ignores the play in the Championship two seasons ago when he had players suitable for that level, and some of the play last season and this season when his squad is healthy. Unlike Howe, Dyche's teams know how to grind out some results and how to hold a lead.

It is also unfair to say he is too defensive etc., as he has not yet had money to go buy out-and-out Premier League-level attacking players and had to sell those whose offensive skills were highlighted playing for him. At Everton, he would have the money. Risky? Not as much as Howe and Silva.

Steve Taylor
41 Posted 17/04/2018 at 18:56:52
Be careful what you wish for – you might get it. A stay-up man... makes a stay-up team; it's about pressure. The same employees now will be much better next season, whether he stays or he goes, but a new manager will be on a winner because he will get the credit.

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