Everton were unable to convert their numerous chances into goals as they lost 1-0 to West Bromwich at Goodison Park on Saturday.
It was a match that was really a microcosm of the 2015-16 Everton season. According to the BBC, the Toffees had 76 percent possession, 34 shots and 14 corners, but could not muster a single goal. West Bromwich Albion had just five shots and were rarely in the Everton box and yet they got the only score that they needed.
Ross Barkley and Tom Cleverley each had a shot go off the woodwork. Gareth Barry had a shot from about eight yards out get blocked. Aaron Lennon nearly had a deflected shot find the goal. But really the best chance may have fallen to Barkley in the 87th minute. He had a give-and-go with Romelu Lukaku and just had to beat the keeper, but instead ballooned it into the stands.
The Baggies one goal came in the 14th minute off of a corner. Jonas Olsson got his noggin to the ball and put it towards the back post. It looked like it was likely to go in on its own, but Salomon Rondon made sure of it by chesting it in from an inch out.
It was a real head-scratcher of a goal on replay. Everton had no one on the back post, no one near Rondon and goalkeeper Joel Robles did almost nothing to react. He watched it fly over his head.
But that wasn't the only problem with set pieces. There were countless free kicks into the West Brom box, but hardly anything resulted from them. The visitors are known as a stingy defensive team and may have the biggest, tallest lineup in the Premier League, but it defies probability that Everton wouldn't score or force more saves from Ben Foster as a result of those set pieces.
There could also be questions asked of Roberto Martinez's substitute decisions. Arouna Kone was the first player off the bench, replacing Tom Cleverley. The Ivorian's form has been lacking lately, but he did score against Albion a few months ago and Cleverley failed to make a big impact, so we can accept this one. But then taking off Lennon? He was the best player in a blue shirt today. Followed by subbing on Leon Osman? He is a club legend but he is short and slow at this point; not the ideal player against big, strong West Brom. Surely bringing on Kevin Mirallas or taking a defender off at one point made more sense if you were serious about finding an equalizer.
This is the life of being an Everton supporter. We watch the club dominate for the better part of 90 minutes and play exciting football, but they don't do the little things to win games. This would have been a disappointing match to draw, but a loss? Unacceptable.
The Toffees are down to 10th in the table, ahead of Liverpool (11th) on just goal difference at the moment. A draw or win for the Kopites tomorrow has Everton back in the bottom half of the table again. Pretty unbelievable for such a talent-rich squad.
Next up for Everton is a matchup with Bournemouth in the FA Cup next Saturday, another game they should win. But who knows what to expect.