Everton’s abysmal season took a devastating new turn as they were embarrassed at home to Atalanta tonight. Sandro Ramirez opened his Everton account but it would not be a night for celebration as Bryan Christante and Andreas Cornelius both scored braces either side of a Robin Gosens goal as the Italians swept the hapless Toffees aside.
When the Europa League groups were drawn, Evertonians probably looked at this game and thought: “That could be the night we clinch qualification to the knockout rounds in front of a packed house with a great atmosphere, leaving us with a nice relaxing trip to Cyprus to round off the group”. In reality Everton came into this game already eliminated with no permanent manager in charge and around 10,000 fans inside Goodison Park, half or more being away fans. If you weren’t depressed enough pre-game you only had to realise you were set to endure another shambolic 90 minutes of Everton.
Everton started OK, with a few forays forward and some nice link up play but, you guessed it, there was no end product to show for it. Forgotten men Davy Klaassen and Sandro Ramirez were handed starts tonight after both had fell well short of Evertonian expectations so far. You could hardly expect them to set the place alight on a night like this but again neither showed anything to suggest they’re anywhere near good enough for Premier League football.
After the satisfactory start to the game Everton reverted to their now familiar disjointed and diabolical style. There was no chemistry or creativity to be seen as Atalanta simply sat back and watched the Toffees limp attack fall on their defence like water on rock. Sandro had his best chance so far in the Royal Blue as Kevin Mirallas’ shot was parried out to him but he wildly blazed his effort over the bar. Everton had another wonderful opportunity to equalise, as Cuco Martina’s cleared cross fell for him. He lashed one towards goal but Rafael Toloi headed off the line, the Blues best chance went begging. Just before the break Mirallas had another half chance, volleying at goal from a Masiello headed clearance, but his strike was right at Berisha and it would remain 1-0 to the visitors at the half time interval.
Just a few minutes into the second period and Atalanta had an opportunity to seal the deal. Goalscorer Bryan Christante got into the box and was brought down by Ashley Williams. It was a clumsy challenge from the Welshman and the lack of protest was a clear sign the referee made the right call. The talented Alejandro 'Papu' Gomez stepped up to take the spot kick but his effort was saved, the ball dropped again to his feet as he looked certain to knock the rebound home but Joel made a stunning save to keep the score at 1-0. However the Spanish stopper’s effort were to be in vain as with just under half an hour to go, Christante would double his tally and his side’s advantage as he flicked home a header unchallenged at the near post.
Sandro would finally open his Everton account to pull the blues back into the game. Rooney slipped in Mirallas down the right and he cut back for Ramirez who drilled one low to the right of Berisha and in to the back of the net. However that was as good as it got for the Blues as our gutless players completely fell apart in the final seven minutes. A goal for Robin Gosens and a brace for fellow substitute and former Aston Villa flop Andreas Cornelius added copious amounts of salt into the gaping Everton wounds. Williams and Keane were an absolute embarrassment all evening and big money still needs investing in our hopeless back line as they completely collapsed and had their faces rubbed in the dirt by Atalanta.
What an absolute embarrassment this season in is. The players are a total disgrace and it’s about time they faced the fans and did some explaining. The board is an absolute laughing stock as it continues its amateurish and farcical pursuit of a new manager. Things are lower than I have ever experienced. This is an Atalanta side that hadn’t won away all season and a side that has won just one of their 12 European away games which was back in December 1990 and they have beaten us at Goodsion Park 5-1, FIVE! David Unsworth is in well over his head and is nowhere near ready to manage at the top level.
However I seriously believe Guardiola, Mourinho or even Sir Alex Ferguson would struggle with this squad. £150M down the drain in the summer has left us with a squad unable to defend, weak in attack and severely lacking in fighters and leaders. The longer we wait to install a manager and give him some slim hope of arresting this form the more damage will be done, someone wake me up in May (in the Championship?) as I’m tired of these unacceptable performances.