The old guard’s fall from grace
In a Sylvain Distin-esque topple off the pedestal, Phil Jagielka appears to have aged ten years in one off-season. Once a guaranteed performer in central defence, the captain has regressed at an alarming level and has rapidly become the biggest defensive liability in the team. The need to rest Ramiro Funes Mori with another game coming up on Monday is understandable, but at this point Mason Holgate should be getting a look ahead of Jagielka.
Likewise in midfield Gareth Barry is no longer a sure thing for Ronald Koeman’s side. Barry certainly still has a role to play for Everton, however with the emergence of Tom Davies, he may no longer be the first choice to play that role. Barry especially looks out of place when Everton are pressing the opposition.
When Barry missed a handful of tackles against Hull, his age and lack of pace left him woefully out of position and gave the opposition the chance to hit Everton on the break. Everton may be able to get away with this against a team like Hull but better teams will absolutely punish the Toffees for mistakes like this.
Everton can’t solve their problems on the wing
The defensive unit has been poor for Everton, but their wing play has been equally as horrid, if not worse. Despite Kevin Mirallas’ tendency to disappear for stretches, he seems to be the only winger on the squad capable of staying in the line up consistently.
Since Yannick Bolasie’s injury, the wing opposite Mirallas has been a carousel week in and week out. Recently we’ve seen Aaron Lennon and Enner Valencia switch in and out with the inevitable Dominic Calvert-Lewin substitute in the 70th minute. Gerard Deulofeu has all but vanished from Koeman’s thoughts and rumors of an exit for the Spaniard have begun to surface.
Ademola Lookman, the Charlton Athletic winger appears to be poised to join Everton in the coming weeks, but it remains to be seen if the diminutive teenager can solve Everton’s woes out wide. Unfortuantely it does not appear that there is a healthy player on the squad that can play the wide position to Koeman’s standards.
Everton play down to lesser opposition, again
No team should enter a match thinking they have a guaranteed win on their hands, especially in the Premier League. However, games like this are very much winnable and the players and supporters should absolutely expect their top-10 team to win matches against a team in the bottom three. Playing the team with the worst goal differential in the league, Everton seemed to shrink under the occasion. Were it not for a fluky own-goal and a last gasp header, Everton could have given Hull their first clean sheet of the season.
Forgive me for stating the obvious, but this is simply not good enough for a supposedly ambitious club like Everton. It may not be the desired result, but I think supporters can forgive the club for losing to the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and the like. But to perform so poorly against teams like Hull, Burnley and Swansea is simply unacceptable. This isn’t just a one off either, this season Everton have seemed totally incapable of beating teams that are simply not as good. This team obviously has it’s weaknesses and is aging at a rapid pace, but the talent is still there and we should not be going into matches like this and stealing a point near the 90th minute.