Everton’s defeat on Saturday to a poor West Brom side was the sixth time in fourteen matches that the Blues have lost at Goodison this season and the list of away victors does not make for pleasant reading:
West Bromwich Albion
The list of defeats, only Crystal Palace and Villa have lost more matches at home, is not a surprise when you consider the number of goals the team have conceded at Goodison. A total of 23 against in 14 matches (an average of 1.6 goals a game) is simply unacceptable and the Blues have a very soft centre at home. Not even Aston Villa, who shipped 6 at Villa Park against Liverpool at the weekend, have conceded more goals at home than Everton, which is remarkable for a team with top four ambitions (we do honestly!!!) and for a side who can boast three England international defenders.
Everton have not lost more than 6 games at home in the same season for 10 years and not more than 8 in the entire Premier League era. With home games remaining against West Ham, Arsenal, Southampton, Bournemouth and Norwich the Blues will be hoping they do not break that unwanted record.
Unfortunately it is not just defeats, the Blues have drawn too often with only four wins at the Old Lady during the entire campaign. Three of those four victories came against the current bottom three sides in the league, Sunderland, Aston Villa and most recently Newcastle. The other win came against a very out of sorts Chelsea.
It is not just the number of goals conceded, although Everton have found goals easy to come by for most of the season they have struggled when they concede the first goal and at home they have been unable to win a match all season when they have fallen behind. A lot of teams are arriving at Goodison with a negative set-up, catching the Blues with a single strike and then sitting back as Everton struggle to break them down. Against the Baggies at the weekend the Blues managed 34 shots at goal but failed to find the back of the net. This is not the first time Everton have plundered the opposition goal with limited success. Against Crystal Palace Roberto Martinez’ team had 19 shots and only managed a 1-1 draw thanks to a late equaliser. The story was even worse against Swansea, with 20 shots, resulting in a 2-1 defeat.
The poor results have led to some supporters turning on the team, it is not something I condone but I understand the feeling of frustration. The players and the manager have used their programme notes and pre-match media interviews to appeal for fan support, however the only way the team can turn the crowd round is with a number of consecutive victories playing good entertaining football along the way.
Based on results so far, it is a relief to see that seven of Everton’s remaining twelve league fixtures and our fifth round FA Cup tie against Bournemouth are away from Goodison Park.