Horrible team selection
I guess the idea of putting five at the back against an offensively-talented team makes some sense, at least in a vacuum. The reality is though, Sam Allardyce decided to play an overly defensive line-up against a team that one of the best in the Premier League with the ball. It didn’t help that Michael Keane and Eliaquim Mangala were simply dreadful, but that’s just part of the story.
The midfield selection was poor to say the least. Idrissa Gueye and Morgan Schneiderlin are fine as defensive midfielders, but they are not fine as the sole players in central midfield. Neither are particularly poised on the ball and neither can be relied on the play any sort of dangerous forward pass.
Finally we reach Oumar Niasse. I’m honestly starting to understand why Ronald Koeman froze him out of the first squad. I really believe that Niasse is not cut out to be relied upon to play the starting striker position on this team. Fortunately, Dominic Calvert-Lewin was able to come in and salvage something for Everton, but the striker position continues to look dire for the Toffees.
I can’t really fault Yannick Bolasie and Theo Walcott, they ran their butts off and Walcott had a half way decent match. Honestly, Allardyce probably should have used all three of his subs within the first half hour, that’s how bad this line-up was.
Big Sam is a terrible manager
Everton went big with their past two managers and tried to find forward-thinking, continental gaffers to shake them out of their mediocrity. When those two options were unable to sustain their success, they made a panicked move for an old-guard English manager who has absolutely no tactical nuance.
I won’t sit here and act like I saw this coming, but I think many of us had a feeling that this is exactly how a Sam Allardyce managerial run would go. There’s just no record of sustained success in his last few positions.
There may be some reluctance to go back to the likes of Ronald Koeman and Roberto Martinez, but if Big Sam is the alternative, I’ll take my chances with the former two managers. At least they got us to the Europa League, and within striking distance of Champions League spots.
Firing Allardyce at this point in the season won’t solve anything, maybe at the end of the season, but we have to hope Farhad Moshiri does not let his contract run the duration because we cannot take another season of this.
Arsenal put on an absolute clinic
Arsenal have absolutely had Everton’s number this season, whether it was under Koeman or Allardyce. It would be impressive to watch them surgically dismantle Everton if it wasn’t so depressing at the same time.
They pass and move how Everton wish they could, quickly and incisively. While the Gunners are racking up the goals, Everton supporters are being treated to backwards pass after backwards pass and long balls to nowhere.
Everton have tried to play a style like this under Koeman and Martinez, but never quite had the personnel to execute it correctly. Honestly, after half a season of long balls and counter-attacks I’ll welcome letting through two or three goals as long as it means Everton are scoring three or four of their own.