Everton - and Ronald Koeman in particular - opened their Europa League group stage campaign by embarrassing themselves. Atalanta walked to a 3-0 win, and in reality, it could have been much worse.
- If that sounds familiar, it might be because Koeman sent his players out in the exact same setup that got carved to pieces against Tottenham Hotspur. A narrow 4-2-3-1 with no true wingers and no Seamus Coleman is quite frankly managerial malpractice.
- Everton’s players are not stupid. Koeman said so himself in his pre-match press conference. If they see that their manager is setting them up in a nonsensical way, with players out of position, it then becomes very difficult to perform to their utmost capacity.
- Wayne Rooney should not have played a minute in this game. Given the overwhelming probability he starts at Old Trafford on Sunday, what possible reason could there be for trotting out an old, slow player on the road after he’d started every match of the season? Bueller? Bueller?
- Jordan Pickford should have played in this game. Maarten Stekelenburg should not be faulted for this match in any way, but the Dutchman isn’t Everton’s best goalkeeper.
- Davy Klaassen is heavily experienced in the Europa League and only played 45 minutes against Spurs. Naturally, he started on the bench today.
- Of Atalanta’s three goals, only the second one could be considered an impressive attacking play. The first and third were disgraceful defensive deficiencies.
- Unfortunately, the Italian side are nowhere near the best attack that Everton will face in this group. Lyon boast Memphis Depay, Nabil Fekir, Mariano Diaz, and several other danger men.
The calls for Koeman’s head have begun, and in truth it’s not difficult to see why after such a comprehensively incompetent display. What’s worse is that it will get worse before it gets better, because Romelu Lukaku’s barnstorming Manchester United is next.
More to come. Unfortunately.