Welcome to 2019, folks. Anyone expecting it’d be any better than 2018 are free to check themself into the nearest sanitarium and knit socks with their remaining brain matter. Only one day in and I’m already prepping for 2020, or at least until the Earth is covered in hellfire thanks to Donald Trump distracting the media from his nude photos with an impromptu nuclear war. Hopefully that’ll be before the shite can win the league, at least.
Dealing with SADs is a challenge for most, but for Everton fans it’s like doing it on Master Mode. All hope and positivity drained faster than yer ma’s New Year’s Gin by a football team who decides to up sticks for December. This game against Leicester was an opportunity to show that the fight was still in the team after an abject performance against Brighton, and we seen fuck all. I won’t go through all the details of this game, both games were carbon copies of each other – lethargic build-up play and dreadful passing followed by an error at the back costing us a cheap goal before chasing an equaliser even more slowly. Only difference was the weather.
There’s two lines of thinking at the moment between Blues wondering what the hell’s going on with a team who were cruising in 6th not too long ago. One faction is arguing that Marco Silva gets the blame, the other is pointing out our squad depth and the deadweight we still have. In regards to the former, the drop in form will always bring minds back to Watford and how badly they sank once we came sniffing. It’s like going out with someone who cheated on them with you, there’s always the fear it’ll happen to you too. There’s no sense of urgency or motivation with this team sometimes, and you might well look at the manager sat in the dugout with a face like a smacked arse even when we’re winning and ask how much he’s doing to help with that.
That being said, he needed to make changes today and he did that – Kenny was brought in for Coleman and the back 4 was reintroduced. That’s where you start looking at who’s not performing on the team. When you pay the amount of money we have for some of that squad, giving performances like that aren’t acceptable. Walcott has gone absolutely toxic, the only time he shows up in games is to give the ball back to the opposition. The only reason I can see Silva still pick him is because he can score from time-to-time, but in recent weeks he’s cost us a lot more than he’s given us. Players like him, Sigurdsson (who was supposedly leading the team as captain today), Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin go missing for large swathes of the game, it’s like the final third becomes the Bermuda Triangle. For an ‘attacking’ team with £100m of players up front, that’s not good enough.
Worse still is the midfield – I don’t know what’s happened to Andre Gomes of late, but his form’s dropped off the chart. We were begging Brands to get him signed up the other week, now he can’t tackle anyone without fouling them, or pass to anyone wearing blue socks. Probably seen the amount of 50 year-old men signing up to hug him for charity and decided to sabotage himself. Gueye has been a welcome return to have someone actually collect the ball in midfield, but again he gifts the ball too often – they all do. For a team who moves the ball slower than a Lawn Bowls game, I still don’t know how we can’t string two decent passes together. There’s hardly any control of the game in the middle. Around the squad there’s hardly any fight or forward momentum. We don’t know how to deal with a team that’s dropped deep – between Brighton and Leicester I couldn’t see us scoring, even when Cenk Tosun was through on goal after Evans fumbled. People are saying we just need a quality striker this January, it looks like we might need 7 new players.
There were concerns about the attack earlier in the season, but not to this degree. This has all come about since the defeat at Anfield. We don’t seem to have recovered from that yet. But it’s been a month now. It’s time for the players to step up and stop playing in a daze. You would have seen less mindlessness in Concert Square last night. It’s not that we can’t find that ‘last bit of quality’, we just can’t get the fundamentals right like stringing two passes together. There’s no strategy to Everton’s play, it’s like watching me play FIFA. And why the frig can we not get a corner past the first man, never mind score from it? Everyone in the squad, from the management to the players, need to look at themselves and see what they need to do to fix this, because it’s looking dangerously like we could get dragged into the mire quite quickly, and what will the board do if we’re flirting with disaster again?
Okay, hangover-tinted rant over. Looking ahead, we’ll actually have a week after the FA Cup game to regroup. I actually have £5 set on Lincoln to win this game, they’re a League 2 team but they have their tails up at the moment, and if they had to play any Premier League team right now I’m sure an Everton devoid of any confidence or fight would be right up there. I’d be happy to lose a fiver if we stuff them and try to build some momentum. But we didn’t after the Burnley game. And this is Everton we’re talking about. 2019 doesn’t look to be changing much of anything, especially not my drinking habits.