Jekyll and Hyde
Change in form typically happens over the course of several games, ebbing and flowing as the season progresses. A player might start the season in scintillating form, only to struggle in the middle of the campaign. For Everton, though, players seem to be suffering from this Jekyll and Hyde syndrome all season long, and especially during Saturday’s affair against Burnley.
Tom Davies had been playing very well during Allan’s absence but started the match by carelessly giving away possession in the center of his side’s third, a costly error that led to the Claret’s opening goal. But 20 minutes later, the 22-year-old was providing the cross for Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s marker.
On the topic of the Toffees’ number nine, while he scored to halve the deficit, he missed two open headers and let an errant touch end a promising attacking opportunity. And finally, there’s Richarlison. At times, the Brazilian looked dangerous going forward, but he couldn’t find the back of the net. Consistency is key for teams looking to contend for the top four.
Even Allan, who has been a rock whenever he’s played for the Blues, was not exempt yesterday, giving up the ball cheaply a number of times and then being beaten soundly my Dwight McNeil for what was eventually the winner.
"Jordan had the same problem he had last month. He’s going to have a scan on Monday and we will see. It is not a big problem. I hope he can recover soon."@MrAncelotti on the injury sustained by @JPickford1 during #EVEBUR. pic.twitter.com/vfrGjcTphO— Everton (@Everton) March 13, 2021
More Injury Woes
It wouldn’t be an Everton fixture without some sort of injury; ailments have ravaged the Merseyside outfit this season. After about 30 minutes played, Jordan Pickford dove for a low shot. The ball carommed off the post, but England’s number one immediately was clutching his side; Pickford missed several games earlier in the season with a rib injury. In normal circumstances, Sweden international Robin Olsen would have deputized, but he, too, is nursing an injury.
With his two starting netminders out of commission, Carlo Ancelotti turned to 21-year-old goalkeeper João Virgínia, who, until Saturday, had not played a single league minute this season. Fortunately for the Portuguese, the Clarets sat back during the second half and never troubled him in net. Injuries are a part of the game, but the Blues seem to have suffered an inordinate number of ailments this campaign.
Here are some “fun” stats for you: Everton have failed to win a contest in which they were trailing at halftime since September 2015; they’ve lost seven of their last 11 home league matches; the Blues sit 15th in the Premier League in terms of home form — securing 17 points from 14 games; they have been held off the scoresheet in the second half of their past 11 home fixtures. (Thanks to Pete Reynolds for his excellent breakdown of some shockingly sobering stats).
Fans or not, this team cannot win in their home stadium. To some extent every top team in the league is struggling with this, but Everton definitely have it worst. There is absolutely no advantage to playing at Goodison Park right now, mainly because this side has dropped points to teams they really should be defeating. This is not to minimize Burnley’s defensive structure and execution, rather it is to exasperate over how poorly the Toffees perform at home. There can be only one explanation: this team is the victim of some very elaborately selective curse!