Jagielka should no longer be a lock to start
As difficult as it is for me to say, I think we’ve reached the point where club captain Phil Jagielka should not be an automatic choice to start. Naturally, decisions such as this are tough to make, especially for someone that has been so important to Everton over the years. But Jags is quickly becoming a liability in front of goal.
His instincts may still be there, but his body doesn’t seem capable of keeping up with the opposing attackers. Yet again, the skipper pulled down an opposing player in the box and Maarten Stekelenburg was unable to bail him out this time. Everton may not have been dominating when the penalty occurred, but it certainly killed any momentum they had.
This team is not without other options either. Ramiro Funes Mori has proven to be a somewhat capable defender in the league and was arguably the team’s best center back last season. Mason Holgate has seen less minutes as the season has progressed, but showed flashes of brilliance when given the opportunity. Perhaps it’s time that Ronald Koeman looks to his bench next Sunday against his old club Southampton when bragging rights will also be at stake.
Same old problems plague the attack
Any flashes of the fast passing, possession based football we saw earlier in the season have slowly and painfully disappeared. Instead the offense has been based around playing the ball out wide to the full backs and wingers and pumping crosses into the box. Now, often you have to play with what the defense gives you, but this strategy is quickly becoming predictable and stagnant.
Yannick Bolasie, has a special ability to use skill to get space on his defender, but his service in to the box has been inconsistent. Leighton Baines has the ability to deliver quality service into the box, but he can’t be relied on as the sole player crossing the ball.
Overall, there appears to be an inability to create chances from the middle of the pitch. This is not an attempt to dogpile on Ross Barkley, because I thought he looked better in this match, but he doesn’t offer that quality final pass that you generally want from a central midfielder.
This likely comes down to a problem with personnel and tactics, but Everton need a new game plan if they wish to score more goals.
More lost points against lesser competition
Bear with me for stating the obvious, but these are matches that a team like Everton needs to be winning. Sure, a last minute goal to save a point is nice and all, but when playing a team sitting in the relegation zone, anything less than three points is a disappointment. Swansea City have one of the worst goal differentials in the league and have looked terrible through the whole season.
Maybe their improved play can be chalked up to the hiring of a new manager, but when you have a team with the quality that Everton does, you should be putting goals up on the board. Perhaps the score line should have been different, given the number of goals that Everton squandered, but there just seems to be an inability to create consistent chances, even against the worst teams in the league.