In the last 6 months of public education in America, there is a condition that afflicts almost every student:
Senioritis hits when students realized that even if they work as hard as they can, any gains made in those final months would be negligible. They’ve already secured passage into their next year of education, and even if they became a perfect student it’s not like they are going to graduate top of the class.
This was all I could think about as I watched a listless, uninspired Everton face off against Bournemouth on Sunday.
From the time the first ball was kicked, the lack of impetus and hustle from Everton created a distasteful atmosphere throughout Goodison.
Up against a team struggling just as mush as the Toffees themselves, the home side should have come out full of confidence.
Instead, the Toffees had the air of a team that had secured mid-table anonymity for another year and had little to gain from exerting too much effort.
In fact, in the first 30 minutes the best thing that happened to the Toffees was that they somehow DIDN’T give up a goal after what can only be called a comedy (or tragedy) of errors in communication and execution from Jordan Pickford and Co. in the back.
The wandering Blues finally got some direction when Ademola Lookman created a few opportunities and slid the ball dangerously through the box, but much like is to be expected from a team lacking confidence, there was no Toffees player taking a chance to make a run and ultimately the chances came to nothing.
Right before halftime, Michael Keane glanced a header off the top of the crossbar, but by the time the whistle blew for intermission it felt more like an act of mercy than M.O.
When the second half opened, it was obvious that Marco Silva had given his side a stern talking to as the Toffees came out with a renewed sense of purpose, and even though Andre Gomes effort skied over the bar after the initial buildup of the half the crowd greeted it with unabashed cheers.
The Toffees unlucky streak continued, however when just three minutes into the half Nathaniel Ake unknowingly blocked Richarlison’s effort off the line to keep the game scoreless.
The rest of the opening 15 minutes of the 2nd stanza brought little to cheer, as both sides poked and prodded each other but failed to make any meaningful incursions into the opponents box.
The tie was finally broken when Everton recycled a corner kick after a tepid clearance and Lucas Digne (of course) served up a beautiful near post cross that an aggressive Kurt Zouma got his head to and steered in past a helpless Asmir Begovic.
Of course, as the Toffees have proven over and over again, no lead is ever safe in their hands and the minutes immediately following the goal saw Everton ebb between all-out-attack and time-killing tactics, unsure of whether to try and put the nail in the coffin with a second goal or hold onto the lead.
The next 20 minutes saw neither team create any great chances, though Everton did collect yellow cards like they were playing a game of Uno.
When Bournemouth began racking up corner after corner in the final 10 minutes, Everton fans feared the worst, but it wasn’t to be.
With just seconds on the clock, Ademola Lookman broke free before finding Dominic Calvert-Lewin who finished cooly into the corner to wrap up all three points for the Toffees.
It wasn’t pretty, but after the run of form the Blues have been in it was a much-needed three points.