There won’t be many more winnable matchups in a team’s season than a home game against a 19th-place side who happens to also be in poor form. Despite this, Everton could not win. In fact, they nearly lost to Swansea until an 89th minute goal from Seamus Coleman salvaged a point from an atrocious performance at Goodison Park on Saturday.
The first half was a fairly even game. The Swans were in control over the match’s first 10 or 15 minutes, but then Everton edged ahead, creating three really good chances, but failing to convert any of them. All three times, Yannick Bolasie was involved.
The first chance was a rocket cross from Bolasie to Romelu Lukaku. All that needed to be done was put a slight touch on it and place it into an empty net. But the cross was hit hard and Lukaku had little time to react. So, the ball slammed off of his thighs and out for a goal kick.
It was another cross from Bolasie to create the second chance. This time it came to Ross Barkley. The England international controlled the ball beautifully and did the hard work to get into a goalscoring position. All that was left was the finish, but it was an awkward attempt that saw Barkley try a volley that went directly into the ground and then wide right of the goal.
And finally, it was Bolasie himself who flubbed a chance on goal. Lukaku played him in, leaving the goalkeeper as the only man to beat. But Lukasz Fabianski did a nice job of making himself big and gave Bolasie nowhere to place the shot.
Swansea failed to really create much of anything, apart from a decent free kick that Maarten Stekelenburg handled in the 20th minute, but would still find themselves ahead at the end of the first half.
Their lone goal came off of a Gylfi Sigurdsson penalty kick only minutes before halftime. Some calamitous defending from Coleman and Phil Jagielka forced Jags to dive into Sigurdsson and give away the PK. It is the third time the captain has made a tackle in the box that led to a penalty this season. So, it begs the question, can Ronald Koeman continue to start him every single game? The man is 34 years old. His best days are certainly behind him, but has he become a liability? It feels like Ramiro Funes Mori or Mason Holgate have to at least be given a chance to prove their worth.
In the second half, it was all about Everton. They dominated possession. However, they couldn’t muster any real chances until very late. The 89th minute goal from Coleman was flukey; the result of a looping, 12-yard header that was perfectly placed in the upper left corner of the goal. After that, it spurred the Toffees to go all out attack and nearly score a winner in stoppage time, but it never came.
Where was all of this attacking fervor earlier on in the game? Why must a crappy goal happen first, especially against such a poor side? Get it going earlier on and have a real chance at three points.
Part of the problem was the team’s awful performance on set pieces. They had 10 corner kicks, and I think about seven off them ended up directly in Fabianski’s hands. Try going short with one or, I don’t know, kicking it a little farther out from goal? On top of that, they had two nice spots for free kicks, but both were wasted. Barkley took the first, and didn’t get anywhere near enough pace behind it. The second was from Leighton Baines, and he smashed it directly into the wall. Just really poor.
I think Garth Barry’s face perfectly illustrated the feelings of Evertonian’s everywhere:
Next up is a trip to Southampton next Sunday, a team that frustrated Liverpool to a 0-0 draw today. Everton will need to bring their A-game.