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Here we go again!

Goals conceded EvertonOnly three teams have conceded more goals (image courtesy of Squawka), only three teams have a worse goal difference but I don’t think there are any teams that possess such a lack of heart and commitment as Everton do at the moment.

When you hear stats such as:

“Everton have conceded more goals at this stage of the season than anytime since 1977”

…you realise how bad things are. At least we had a League cup final and FA cup semi finals that year. Then you hear:

“Before Everton’s game with Leicester City, we only had one point more than we did at this time in the 1997/98 season”

…and we all know what happened next. I’ve not checked these stats out but as they came from fairly reliable sources in the media I have no reason to disbelieve them.

Who is to blame? Where do we start?

I’m at a disadvantage over here in Spain and have to watch the games on live tv and Bein Sports feeds. You don’t get the full picture. The players who are hiding on TV can’t hide in the flesh. Given that, here’s my opinion…

Sam Allardyce?

When we took Sam Allardyce on there were fans who wanted him in just to save us, such was our predicament at the time. I don’t believe for one minute that he was anyone’s first choice but he’s here now. He picks the team so the buck stops with him. I’m not a top class premier league manager like the rest of us, so what do we know what to do for the best? If we did, we would be doing the job. Tosun bought and not played despite apparently being in form. He changes and picks over defensive line ups and formations each week.

He’s using an apparent small cub mentality on us. Take the FA Cup for example, when smaller clubs deliberately pick weakened teams so that they can concentrate on the league. We have of course been guilty of it ourselves and it usually ensures we are dumped out of the cup. Our most famous example I believe was when David Moyes picked a weakened side in the Merseyside Derby in order to progress in the FA Cup the following weekend (He doesn’t learn does he?). The rest sadly is history.

He’s taken it a step further by apparently giving up on games against the Sky 6 in order to concentrate on the ‘important games’ against the teams around and below us. Hence the surrender to Spurs, Man U and Arsenal. The trouble is, we can’t even beat those around us. More progressive teams are beating the Sky 6. Swansea (a few times), Bournemouth, West Brom and Crystal Palace have beaten these teams. We won’t beat these teams when we have the attacking threat of a Piers Morgan interview with Donald Trump.

Would I sack Allardyce now? Easy to say yes but would you trust this board with a replacement? 4 managers in one season? Is he to blame? Yes!

The players?

Several things stand out though. It appears that some players attitude is ‘not what is required’ for the first team. I prefer to use the phrase ‘most don’t care!’ Some seem more guilty than others. Why for example are Schneiderlin and Williams playing every week? I actually agree with Lookman going out on loan as it’s clear he won’t get game time this season. Like most though, I would rather he had stayed and played. His excuse of getting to know the players is wearing very thin now. Heads drop way too easily, lack of passion and effort from most. Have you ever done a job when half your workmates aren’t pulling their weight? How easy is it to perform every week when many couldn’t give a toss? There isn’t a player in that team that hasn’t been hammered this season on social media, except for Walcott… but there’s time.

Are they to blame? Yes, with a small handful of exceptions.

The Board?

There’s something not right in the background. Ever since Moshiri took over the teams performances have nosedived. This I believe is more sinister than blaming the players or manager.

I have a few questions…

  • If someone made a £20 million bid for Schneiderlin, why wasn’t it taken? Who made the decision?
  • How is an in form Champions League striker not able to get into this team?
  • What’s happened to Beni Baningime?
  • How can a player who reached the Europa League final last season be so poor?
  • If Rooney and Sigurdsson can’t play together, why play neither?
  • What does Walsh do?

Our immediate burst of 13 points from 5 games had lifted us to the top of the relegation mini league formed. The defeat to Arsenal meant we have now dropped below Bournemouth in that mini league. The most wide open relegation fight I can remember means that the teams below us are playing the proverbial 6 pointers most weeks and taking points off each other, but they are edging towards us. 40 points can’t come quick enough.

V.A.R

It’s going to take a while to bed in but I’m sure it will stay and improve. I have one observation and question though. When Salah went down against West Brom under arguably less contact than Niasse got a two game ban for, why wasn’t action taken? I’ll leave you to make up your mind.

Welcome back Seamus

It was great to see Seamus back in midweek, he is simply inspirational. That’s one extra plus from this season. There was no way he would be able to play two games in short succession given the time he’s been out. Here’s to next week!

Cyrille Regis – a legend

A short word about Cyrille Regis, taken way too soon. The West Brom team of the late 70s and early 80s was a joy to watch. What he and his team mates had to endure was disgraceful. He rose above it and a couple of weeks ago, passed away in a time when players go to ground at the slightest contact. A great man on and off the pitch. Quite simply a legend!

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Paul Chaloner

Paul Chaloner was born less than a mile from Goodison Park in 1962. He retired to Spain where he follows Everton from afar. He went to his first Everton match in 1970 (5-2 v chelsea), sold cushions in the stands throughout the 1970s until they were abandoned in the early 1980s and continued to watch the blues until relatively recently before going to live in Spain. He has three sons, all blues!

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