Making up the Numbers

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Most of us don’t take it very well when Everton lose a football match, but Everton losing football matches in the manner in which they have been on a number of occasions this season is much tougher to take for us on looking Evertonians. I’ve withheld a lot of my frustrations so far this season; I’m a fan of Koeman, I want him to do well and I understand it will take time to turn us around, however after witnessing our players serve up numerous dyer performances already this campaign – the latest coming at Watford on Saturday – I’ve got plenty to get off my chest. From optimism about a new regime, new players, new ideas and a positive start to the season, to watching predictable, mediocre, and blatantly average shite within a matter of months is enough to send even the sanest Evertonian round the bend, it’s ridiculous.

 

It hurts us all when the Blues lose, but it hurts a lot more when the eleven dick heads who are currently taking to the field to represent my Club don’t actually give a shite about winning, don’t care about performing, and would never even consider making us fans feel proud. As long as they’ve lashed a few videos on their Instagram story, took a few Snapchat pictures of their new boots or recorded their team-mates in the ice bath, then surely they’ve justified their 60 grand a week wages and they warrant praise from me? Gang of shit houses the lot of them. Not worthy of the shirt, hardly any of them, and I’m not being dramatic or over the top here – I truly believe this. If this was fantasy football then I would play my transfer wildcard, I’d sell the lot of the them and start from scratch.

 

Saturday was the latest example of our players putting in a completely abject, unenthusiastic and disinterested performance. It was a display which was devoid of any confidence, any creativity or organisation, and with the majority of our squad looking like they don’t give a flying fuck, seemingly unable to string two passes together or go a game without conceding a goal, and our next two fixtures being Arsenal and Liverpool, you can’t help but worry about the current malaise that surrounds our Club. Ronald Koeman’s task of overturning our disappointing fortunes of the past two seasons was always going to be a big challenge, and take some time to rectify, however, after witnessing an absolutely woeful run of results since we capitulated against Norwich in the League Cup and seeing our players making it obvious that they are just passing the time, that job has just become increasingly harder, and a transformation is a lot further away than we would have thought.

 

The signs were good earlier this summer; Koeman signed, Steve Walsh arrived too, as did many new faces. Times were changing we thought. Of course not signing more players wasn’t ideal, but going into the new campaign we looked in good shape to put the seasons of 2014-15 and 2015-16 behind us. Everything was pointing in the right direction, even the off-field infrastructure topic was a positive subject of debate, but somehow we find ourselves going into Christmas in somewhat of a crisis. Koeman needs to stand up and take responsibility, even though our players have a lot to answer for, ultimately he is the man charged with managing them and turning this around.

 

Demotivated. A word which would sum up our plight best in my opinion. Everyone looks demotivated. From the Manager’s body language, the staff, the players’ performances and attitude, to the fans, the circle of doom is well and truly upon us and once again we are left with a feeling of deflation. Yes we are not even half way through the season and we could still salvage some respect and confidence from the current campaign, but what we are seeing currently is some of the worst football in many a year. Just what is our style of play? There isn’t one. What tactics are we employing? Nothing seems to work. Without Lukaku’s goals just where would we be? Why do the majority of our players look like they are taking part in a charity friendly every time they take to the field? We are now in ninth place, behind the likes of West Brom and Watford, and only have one win to our name in our last eight matches. We can’t stop conceding, we are failing to hurt teams and create, and our passion and desire to change things around seems non-existent.

 

From back to front we are underperforming; Stekelenburg looked a shrewd acquisition against Spurs and City, but the rest of the time he has stunk. He’s a bad flapper, concedes when he shouldn’t, and he is contributing to the problem. Ahead of him Baines and Coleman have gone backwards. Usually reliable, our full-backs appear to have lost all confidence, all attitude, Coleman’s head has gone down, he’s been poor for 18 months and Baines is simply not the player he once was. Bryan Oviedo – I’m not even going to go there. At centre half, Ramiro Funes Mori performs like Maldini one minute, but then performs like Kroldrup for the other 89. You can see there’s a player in him, but he’s off his head. Ashley Williams is not playing like the Ashley Williams we had hoped to sign, his experience is counting for nothing at the moment and he, like his colleagues, cannot contain the opposition. Jagielka, our Captain, has been dropped because he keeps giving penalties away and looks past-it in terms of age, pace and ability. That sentence alone sums up Everton this season, and I haven’t even mentioned the rest of the team yet.

 

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Gareth Barry has done well for us over the course of a difficult few years but even he looks like he is struggling in the middle of the park, an ageing player in a team who are underperforming will be highlighted – see Tim Howard, Tim Cahill, Phil Neville, Phil Jagielka for a variation of references. One positive is Gueye who can hold his head up as one of only a couple who are doing well, the lad has been brilliant since signing and turned out to be a good buy. Darron Gibson is on the missing list again, that’s all I can say on him, the waste of space. James McCarthy is nothing but a headless chicken in that side, he offers nothing and he needs to be binned off. Tom Cleverley, well you don’t need me to explain. Lacking passion, lacking quality, lacking anything – Tom Cleverley epitomises Everton FC at the moment. We can only hope that the return of Besic and serious investment in that area will eventually result in us seeing positive change in midfield.

 

Ross Barkley has been dropped recently and rightly so – if you don’t perform you shouldn’t get a game. But this needs to be mirrored throughout the side. All of the players above have others around them who can step in – Holgate for Coleman as an example – Tom Davies for McCarthy/Barry is another. Does Koeman think the younger lads are not ready? Well I’d rather see a half-ready youngster who is prepared to fight for the shirt than some household name who is just coasting towards retirement or a move away from Goodison Park. The Team needs an injection of youth and change. Get Galloway back and give him a go, allow Holgate a solid run of games, bring Robles back in – surely he can’t do any worse than Stekelenburg? What has happened to Kieran Dowell and Jonjo Kenny, Matty Pennington – why not give them a go now? They’ve looked more than ready when previously involved. Give Valencia a start he can’t do any worse than some of them.

 

We can’t keep going on like this, giving players who are consistently letting us down a start. I’d give Valencia a go up top with Lukaku, or shift Deulofeu up there and try something new. Mirallas and Deulofeu have been absolutely woeful. Deulofeu whipped a few balls in on Saturday and looked up for it, but then soon went missing when the going got tough. Mirallas is a phoney, loves himself but has nothing to back it up. He’s shite and needs shipping out. With Bolasie knackered then are options are even more limited, and I wish him a speedy recovery. But even Bolasie had really failed to impress before his injury, he had been inconsistent too. Some supporters called for Lennon to get a chance but when he has, he hasn’t done anything to say he’d be a better option. Another ageing player who probably isn’t that arsed any more – have you noticed we’ve got a few of them? Happy to pick up their wages, international careers are over, never really want to apply themselves at Club level and make a difference – it’s a common theme isn’t it.

 

Up front we are more restricted and thankfully Lukaku will keep chipping away and getting us goals. There’s a huge reliance on him to do so and that’s why Valencia needs to get more game time to show us what he can do. Many Blues have called for a 4-4-2, and it would be refreshing to see as a starting point. But tactics is just one of our worries. Until we get to January we have got to just muddle through with this crop of players but how low do we drop before we see a reaction from them? You’d think games against Arsenal and Liverpool would be the perfect recipe for a reaction from us, but I can’t say I’m excited going into them games. If we play like we have been then both of them sides will wipe the floor with us.

 

It appears that many Everton players have downed tools, they are coasting their way to the exit door and hopefully Koeman is primed and ready to bring in as many new recruits as possible. January is a difficult time to sign players but if we are talking numbers, Everton need at least three new players to give us a boost. The critical areas for me would be in attack, either a number 10 or an additional striker. We also need to look at central defence because this is a huge area for concern. A goalkeeper too would be a priority, because the one we’ve got now can’t even do the basics. Investment in the spine of this team was made in the summer with the purchases of Stekelenburg, Williams and Gueye but you could argue that only one of those players has turned out to be a good buy, the others have just bolstered the numbers. This area again needs to be looked at, and until next summer the right decisions need to be made as to how we sort this mess out.

 

Koeman has to change things, because we saw this stubbornness under Martinez and look how that turned out. Unfortunately it appears that many Everton players are not willing to put a shift in for their Manager and he needs to give a bit back by allowing others a chance. The younger lads simply need to be given an opportunity to express themselves, this would automatically give our fans a lift. We cannot just tread water and see consistently poor performances from the current XI week-in-week-out. Once we get to January, Moshiri and Kenwright need to show their ambition, as does Koeman, and invest in the required areas with sufficient numbers and quality. It will take more than last summer and this winter for our transfer policy to have a major effect on our performances, but these additions are part of a transition which is taking place at Goodison Park – it’s just a real shame that many of the players who will eventually be replaced are going to leave no positive lasting impression at the Club. Their attitude stinks. Evertonians can often be won over if they see effort, a willingness to get stuck in and graft. What we’ve sometimes lacked in quality over the years has always been made up by our hard-working nature, but at the moment, we don’t have either. Nobody in that side will put a tackle in, put their body on the line or grab this team or a game by the bollocks and change things. Every time the opposition attacks we look shit-scared. Every time a ball comes over there is mass-panic. There is no bridge between attack and midfield and there is an over-reliance on Lukaku taking a chance if it comes his way. It’s a tangled web of confusion, we started the season in confident fashion but it’s almost like they’ve gone into their shells and can’t cope with the Premier League. Pathetic excuses for performances and embarrassing rally-cries don’t wash with me, I want to see fight, I want to see heart, and I want to see our players stand up and be counted.

 

Let’s not forget that many of these players have been around for years, at different Clubs, with varied experiences, yet none of them seem able to put their heads together and fight for the Club they are currently playing for. There’s too much heartlessness within the ranks, nobody asking questions or really wanting to make a difference, I believe a lot of this stems from the mentality of the Club as a whole, we need to demand success and breed it, whereas many of us don’t. Happy to coast along, just doing fine, it makes me sick. It’s time all of our players read that motto that is sown in to that shirt they wear and all their fancy training gear and actually realise what it means. Play with an ounce of passion at least, and give us your all. Nil Satis Nisioptimum – Nothing but the best is good enough, that should be the mind-set, rather than just being here to make up the numbers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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