Another game, another disappointing performance from Everton. Woeful defending on set pieces cost the Blues dearly on Saturday as they lost 3-2 to Watford at Vicarage Road. Everton now have just one win in their last 10 Premier League matches.
This run of form has reached epidemic levels, and it has become clear that many of Everton’s first team players need to leave. Not because they aren’t nice guys or quality footballers, but they simply aren’t good enough for the aspirations that the club should have and that manager Ronald Koeman does have.
Let’s talk about the goals, because there were many of them and some were quite fun to watch on both sides.
Although this felt like a beatdown, Everton were actually the first ones on the board and it came quite easily. A simple long ball from Gareth Barry into the Watford box found Romelu Lukaku and he buried it in the net to gain an early 1-0 lead.
After what was quite a sloppy half for the home team, Stefano Okaka showed real class with his cheeky, spinning finish into the goal. However, where were Everton’s defenders? Leighton Baines was nowhere to be found. Ramiro Funes Mori failed to close down on his man. And Ashley Williams was doing a mid-game mannequin challenge as he just let Okaka go and score.
But that was far from the only defensive lapse. Sebastian Prödl gave the Hornets the lead early on in the second half. Seamus Coleman lost track of him on a free kick into the box and it was too easy for the 6-foot-4 Austrian from there.
Okaka got his brace and put the finishing touches on Watford’s day on another set piece. This time it was a corner in which Okaka got separation from Barry and floated a header in for the goal. But quick question, why was Baines IN THE GOAL to defend the corner? Get in front of the line and maybe Watford doesn’t score.
After a few defensive subs for Watford and offensive replacements for the Blues, Everton’s attack came back into the game a bit and seemed likely to score again. It was Lukaku again on the scoresheet as he crushed a header into the old onion bag.
The final 15 minutes or so of the game were very nice from Everton. But as mentioned above, it came only after they had a full-on attacking lineup on the pitch and Watford had settled for their three goals and was content to let the Blues have the ball. Player-to-player, Everton are more talented than Watford. It shouldn’t take subs to give them the upper hand.
It is clear that Everton just aren’t very good as they are currently assembled. That is a bummer, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Koeman is the manager of the now and the near future. He isn’t getting fired, no matter how badly the team plays. So, it is the players that will have to change. The roster is aging and flawed. Keeping Lukaku should be a priority and to do that, they will need to spend, maybe even as soon as January, and make a real run at Europa contention.
Are those realistic expectations? Perhaps not. But Everton are too big of a club to be playing the kind of football that they have been over the last two seasons. The fans deserve more and management expects much more.
The next three weeks present a huge slate of games, as December usually does. Next up, Arsenal comes to Goodison Park on Tuesday. Depending on what happens this weekend, they could be the league leaders. Things could get ugly.
Despite the loss, not everyone was terrible today. Head over to our Man of the Match voting and let us know who you think did a nice job.