Everton were well-beaten by champions-elect Manchester City, who turned on the style at Goodison park in an attempt to erase their 4-0 hiding from last season. Pep Guardiola finally beat the Blues at the fourth time of asking, and his side were easily the better on the day.
After the game, manager Sam Allardyce attempted to make sense of it all.
“Manchester City are a top quality team, you have to admire a team that especially in the first half were too good for you. As much as the lads tried it was something we couldn’t cope with.
”The real turning point was when we should’ve scored with Yannick Bolasie and gone 1-1 and they scored. It was very difficult when they scored; I thought David Silva was offside for one of the goals but what can you do.
”We fought, battled, scored and tried to go until the very end. All their eleven are fantastic in that system and that’s why they are so far ahead. We organised a little, but the main message was ‘If you’re going to press, do it together, if you drop off, do it together.
“That was part of the trouble in the first half, where individual members of the front line pressed and with City’s quality they can pass through you. We did as much as we could, tried as much as we could and I think that has been the same for every team bar Liverpool.”
Well, that’s a bad sign because the Toffees play the Reds next weekend in the Merseyside Derby.
And if ever you wanted to see a sign of how small-minded Allardyce’s ambitions are and why he’s not the man to take us forward, his next few comments should seal it for you, when asked about the Blues poor record against the top six.
“It says nothing. We are trying to progress and get better. If you are going to win anything you are better off winning home and away against the bottom 10, that will get you more points than against the top six.
”You can win the league without beating each other as long as you beat the bottom 10 home and away. You want to do your bread and butter games, the games that get you up there.
“If it is a team that is running away with the Premier League that is a bonus. Particularly in the first half that wasn’t good enough but you can only admire the quality of a team that is 16 points ahead. They could win the title next week. You have got to respect the opposition for what they are. They are far too good for anyone.
”At least we fought and made ourselves look respectable by getting a goal back and lost 3-1.”
The sooner we see the back of Big Sam the better. Don’t even wait until the end of the season, seriously.