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Burnley 2-1 Everton - Toffees fail to make dominance count

Three thoughts on Saturday's defeat at Turf Moor

Burnley v Everton - Premier League Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

Koeman short of attacking options

With 60% possession, 20 shots on goal to Burnley's nine and eight corners to the Clarets' two; Everton should have won this game handsomely.

Even a draw would have been considered a poor result given the gulf in class between the sides and the Toffees' lofty European ambitions.

Burnley's tactics were not overly complex. They were well drilled with plenty of men behind the ball, challenging Everton to break them down.

But if you fail to take your chances there is always the risk of letting a goal slip at the other end; a reality so cruelly demonstrated by Burnley at the end of each half.

The reason Everton were not out of sight was a failure to break down Burnley’s stubborn rearguard, not helped by the inconsistencies of their forward players - namely Kevin Mirallas, Ross Barkley and Gerard Deulofeu.

The trio’s talent is without question, but their attitude, workrate and consistency are; leaving Koeman desperately short of options.

Mirallas and Deulofeu are two of the most skillful players in the squad but they go missing far too often. I do wonder whether they have a long-term future under Koeman, a manager who places such high demands on his players.

The Barkley conundrum is another situation entirely as being a local lad is both a blessing and curse. It’s a blessing because I feel Koeman will persist with him longer than he perhaps would with other players, aware of his standing amongst the support. It’s a curse because a section of that said support cannot wait to get on his back after the slightest mistake.

The result is a player who is so desperate to impress he almost tries too hard, simultaneously weighed down by the fear of making a mistake and drawing yet another stinging rebuke from the stands.

Throw in a chronic lack of striking competition for Romelu Lukaku and it’s clear Everton have myriad issues with their forward line. The rebuilding job is perhaps more significant than Koeman imagined when he took over in the summer.

Jagielka on the wane?

Fresh from giving away two penalties last week Phil Jagielka had arguably his worst game in an Everton shirt on Saturday.

The Toffees skipper looked slow and ponderous and was wasteful in possession, even giving the ball away from routine free-kicks inside his own half.

At 34 questions must be asked about his ability to compete regularly at this level, particularly with Ramiro Funes Mori and Mason Holgate waiting in the wings.

His previously high standards means he deserves a chance to atone for his Turf Moor shocker but a central defender must be high on Koeman's shopping list in the near future.

Don't panic!

Having watched the game live and again on TV there is no denying that luck did play a role on Burnley's victory. Their opening goal, coming at the end of a half where they barely threatened, was a combination of sloppy defensive play and fortunate bounce of the ball.

The Clarets then clung on for their lives in the second period, wasting time and doing everything they could to run the clock down. Their winner came from a long punt forward, a kind bounce, a speculative shot and a fortuitous rebound that landed at the feet of Scott Arfield.

The fact Arfield should not have been on the pitch thanks to a horrific performance by referee Mike Jones just adds to the feeling of injustice.

It can't disguise Everton's obvious failings, especially as Burnley’s tactics should not have come as a surprise (our very own Mike Godamski talked about it at length in his tactical preview). But it doesn't mean we should panic either - they will play worse and win this season.

Koeman's rebuilding job is very much work in progress and the weaknesses of the Roberto Martinez era will take more than one transfer window to address. I don't think this defeat told us anything we didn't already know - the same failings were demonstrated against Crystal Palace, Bournemouth and Norwich.

This is just one of those results we have to take on the chin, taking solace from the fact it is one less game before January and the chance to inject further quality into the squad.