When you wake up in the morning and read that Koeman is unbeaten at Chelsea, and that Everton will stay 6th if defeated unless there’s an unlikely 6 goal swing, you just know things aren’t going to go well.
But whilst expectations of a victory were very far from my thoughts, the manner of defeat was something I just couldn’t have expected. Who could? It was a perfect storm, with Chelsea turning on what John Motson described as the best performance he has ever seen in the 25 years of the Premier League, and Everton clearly still on the train down to London, wondering if the 7th can of Special Brew was in fact a bad idea. We weren’t awful, we were terribly awful. Atrocious. Terribly atrocious. Gormless. Terribly gormless. You get the idea…
It is hard to focus on the defeated when the defeated were so completely outplayed. And it would be more gracious to say marvellous things about Chelsea. But I don’t write for a Chelsea blog. All I’ll say is that Hazard was unplayable, and he is one of the best players in the World on that form. Surely Barca, Real or Bayern would want to buy him in January (and there are 4 or 5 others they can buy from the Bridge whilst they’re at it)?
What of Everton? Indeed. What? As in, what on earth was that? Did the train journey down starve us of all our energy? Were we distracted by someone losing their Oyster Card? We were outclassed at every level, every dimension, and that is very hard to take. One can argue that any team would have suffered at Chelsea’s hands yesterday, but in my view, if they don’t have the ball, they can’t outplay as easily. Never have I seen so many misplaced passes, Barry setting the tone in the very first minute, and Bolasie treating the ball like a ticking bomb for his not-very-cameo hour on the pitch. But I can’t single out two players, it has to be everyone. If you’re told you had 40% possession, but managed just one shot, and that wasn’t on target, it’s wasn’t just possession that we lacked, it was a lack of a clue what to do with it. AND WHERE WAS THE EFFORT?
In a way, 5-0 is better than 1-0. Nowhere to hide lads, nowhere to hide. And that goes for the management and coaching team as well, who seem to have acknowledged as much after the game. There was a little too much “I told you we were rubbish” from certain supporters after the game, even though the prompt to that sentiment would seem to support that view. Yesterday we were rubbish, terribly rubbish, to return to a theme. But we aren’t ‘rubbish’ in general. We are ok, and going places, and every now and then we’ll stumble. But the challenge is to accept your failings, and apologise (especially to anyone who spent >£100 going to the Bridge yesterday), and then do something about it.
Don’t for a minute believe that we’re going to have a massive splurge on players in January, even though we certainly need fresh new and more talented players. January is not a good time to buy, inflated transfer fees, and never a great time to try and gel a new squad anyway. And which team in their right mind is going to let anyone decent move? A few token buys at best, ideally a proper No1, another striker alongside Rom, and some more pzazz in midfield. But don’t hold your breath.
This is the time the players, and in particular the coaching team, need to earn their corn.