Everton in a Rut but Koeman Should Be Given Time to Put Things Right

by on Wednesday, October 4

Just as the Premier League season looked to be cranking into life, an untimely hiatus for international week brings things to a shuddering halt.

The likes of Manchester United and Manchester City, clear of the chasing pack after racking up six wins out of seven to start to the season, will be particularly unhappy with the check to their momentum.

The likes of Liverpool and Everton will probably be pleased to bring a halt to their campaigns to take stock and plot a revival. If Manchester is the northern powerhouse, Merseyside is the equivalent of a car that has had the misfortune of seeing its owner put the wrong type of fuel in.

While Jurgen Klopp was left to bemoan his Liverpool side’s finishing in the 1-1 draw with Newcastle United on Sunday, the German can comfort himself with the fact that they only have one defeat to their name – and if their attackers had had their radar a little better tuned, and their defence more switched on, the Reds could well have been on the heels of City and United. Liverpool will fall short of title challenge this term, but it’s not as bad as it is being made out.

For Everton, it’s not a pretty sight. Manager Ronald Koeman said after their draw with Apollon Limassol in the UEFA Europa League that his players were afraid to play.

“I cannot say they are not running or fighting but they are afraid of playing,” said the Everton manager, per the Guardian. “It is in the head of the players. As a manager you can help the team and select the team but when the whistle goes you are not the one who plays the ball back. It is about giving the players options but we are scared to play forward.”

As pep talks go, it probably wasn’t the wisest statement to make, even if he believes it to be true, and the Toffees followed up European disappointment with a home defeat to Burnley.

Everton’s majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri put his head above the parapet to give his full backing to the club’s manager. In days of old, such votes of confidence tended to be followed soon after by a letter saying ‘thanks for your efforts, you’re fired’.

After allowing Koeman to splash over £140 million in the transfer market, it would be a bold move to wield the axe after seven games that have included Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United.

The home loss to Burnley will be particularly painful, as will the sight of the club being in 16th place in the table, but cutting the Dutchman loose when the problem is in no way terminal would be unwise – the Toffees are, after all, priced at 11.0 with 188BET for a top-six finish.

The mistake Everton made in the summer was selling Romelu Lukaku without having a replacement ready to come in. The big Belgian guaranteed 20+ goals a season, and that is a massive void in their side.

After the international break, Everton travel to Brighton and that is a game they really need to win or the rot could set in.

Koeman should be handed the opportunity to arrest the slide, and steadying the ship before making a big play for a striker in January would be a starting point.