I drive 110 miles to watch a home game, and then 110 miles home again, and it really bothers me that I then have to negotiate so much dog crap as I walk to the ground clasping my pie and chips [regular readers will know where this paragraph is leading, so feel free to skip straight to Paragraph 2]. It bothers me far more (nearly there) that I then have to watch (almost) such diabolical dog crap on the pitch in front of me as well (there you go, easy this writing lark – sadly, it’s been written before, by me, so I’ve just had to cut and paste a bit). The only light in yesterday’s gloom was dear old cumbersome clumsy Oumar, doing what he does best, confound the critics and score.
Before I moan on and on and on and on about yesterday’s performance, a word for an opposition player for once. Salomón Rondón showed up yesterday to be a mighty fine man, and a man I’d happily see in the Everton Blue if ever there were the chance. But it was as much to do with his obvious upset and caring for McCarthy after his season-ending leg break that’ll stick in my mind. There probably aren’t many Venezuelan footballers I could even name, let alone admire, but he goes in to my book with two entries: decent centre forward, and decent human being. I won’t gush about it, but he showed up a little better than some of the boys in Blue on both counts yesterday. He was everything we’d like a Centre Forward to be as well: holding the ball up well, turning his defender or laying it off, running in to space, fine shots, and clearly a good header of the ball too. Walsh should perhaps have spent less time combing the leagues of Europe last summer, and looked in the Black Country instead.
I am at a complete loss to explain yesterday’s performance, and it’s even harder to look for a crumb of comfort. Walcott looked ok, although given he’s used to ticky tacky one touch stuff with his former Arsenal colleagues, it was slightly alarming to see him have to beckon player towards him on frequent occasions yesterday. He ain’t going to be spraying 20 yard passes around, he wants everyone to be in close proximity to him, playing the triangles and 1-2s. But given he’s only trained with the squad once, we can expect more on 31st January, he says optimistically.
And that’s it. Positives from yesterday, Oumar’s goal and Walcott’s promise aside, are few and far between. Never have I watched such a turgid 90 minutes of football provided by what appears, at least on paper, to be a decent set of players. A team, however, they certainly were not. Rooney’s entrance gave a little momentum, but even he gave the ball away too often. Davies, Lookman and DCL weren’t even on the bench to be able to inject more energy and vitality in our play. Instead we had to endure another pathetic rendition of a DM in Schneiderlin (who has to go in the summer, if not sooner); another farce at playing a RB at LB (admittedly until we can register Garbutt we have no choice) and the said RB isn’t even good enough to be a RB either (go); a so-called left-sided CB who only uses his right foot in Williams (another to go); and another ineffectual display from Vlasic who clearly doesn’t know if he’s coming or going, either not in the squad or suddenly elevated to playing on match day (keep and nurture). Players like Klaassen and Sandro Ramirez get better each week whilst not featuring (I have one theory – Allardyce will secure safety and then play Klaassen for the rest of the season just to see if he really is awful, or the captain of Ajax that scored 1 in 3 for them in 126 appearances and 1 in 4 for the National Side in 16, actually might be half decent if we’d only give him a chance). But make no mistake, play like that and Leicester will rip us to shreds next time out, and frankly, anyone would. It simply isn’t good enough Everton, and Allardyce knows it, but he seems powerless to be able to do anything about it. I’m not calling for his head – yet – but if a man who was going to be the England Manager for a presumably lengthy spell can’t get this bunch of largely talented individuals to play better than that shower of you-know-what and actually be a team, then frankly he has to depart in the summer too.
Doesn’t he? Too dramatic? Too soon? Or just realistic?
Final word of course to James McCarthy. I’ve spent too long wondering where his ginger hair has gone, and not enough time looking at his work rate since his return. Then just as he shows what we’ve missed by putting his leg in the way of Rondón’s , and that’s it for the rest of 2018 probably. Whether he will ever come back as combative as we’ve known him, time will tell. Mind you, at least with a double fracture, there’ll be no more debates with O’Neil as to whether he’s fit or not. I wish you well Formerly Ginger Jim, a speedy recovery, a chance to try and make yourself sound more Irish than Scottish, but most of all, a chance to tell this squad that they need to put a shift in if they are ever to make it on the Everton stage.
PS that no 18 for WBA looked decent. Who’d you rather have at DM right now?