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Out-of-form Mirallas a symbol of Everton’s woes

Just what has happened to the talented Belgian?

Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Cast your mind back to November – Sunday 30th – to be precise, and Everton’s game away at Tottenham Hotspur.

Just 15 minutes in to the game Kevin Mirallas curled home a wonderful opener and all seemed well in the wonderful world of Everton.

That goal at White Hart Lane put the Blues on course for a third win in a week following a 2-1 victory at home to West Ham and impressive 2-0 win at German high-flyers Wolfsburg in the Europa League.

It was also Mirallas’ fifth goal in 10 games – a ratio that could see him edge towards 20 goals over the course of a season.

Sadly for Everton they once again suffered brain freeze at the back, gifting Tottenham two goals before half-time to slip to a third league defeat of the season.

Still, it was only Everton’s fifth defeat from their first 19 games of the season in all competitions, meaning their campaign was easily salvageable.

What happened since is almost incomprehensible as it is drastic.

In the following 20 games Everton have lost nine, drawn seven (one resulting in eventual defeat on penalties) and won just four.

Mirallas’ form has mirrored Everton’s malaise, scoring just four times his 18 games since that Tottenham defeat.

Two of those goals came in cup competitions, while in the league a deflected effort against QPR and late consolation against Newcastle are all he has to show over the past four months of football.

Injuries and the subsequent lack of match sharpness hasn't helped, but cannot be solely blamed for the former Olympiakos man's dip in form.

Despite those worrying statistics Mirallas has been able to create headlines – sadly for all the wrong reasons.

He has the ignominy of being involved on one of Everton’s most controversial moments of the season; his embarrassing penalty miss against West Brom after stealing the ball off teammate Leighton Baines.

He also angered the supporters when he revealed he was considering his future at the club as he wanted to play Champions League football.

For that reason he perhaps symbolises Everton’s struggles this season; a supremely talented player, drastically under-performing, who believes he belongs at a higher level but without the performances to match.

Conspiracy theorists think Mirallas already has a summer move lined-up. His body language at times is terrible and suggests his mind is already drifting onto his next challenge.

However, manager Roberto Martinez must find a way of revitalising the 27-year-old between now and May regardless of whether he is ready to move on. As one of Everton’s more creative players his form could decide the fate of their looming relegation battle.

For starters his link-up play is vital for Romelu Lukaku, a player who struggles badly without decent service. Ross Barkley is another who could thrive alongside a flying Mirallas.

His magnificent performance off the bench against West Ham in January set the benchmark as to what he is capable of. A string of displays like that and Everton should pick up the wins they need to move away from relegation danger with games to spare.

If it was that easy though we’d all be football managers, so we just have to place our trust in Martinez to somehow spark Mirallas back into life and in doing so drag the team out of their current malaise before it's too late.