In their last five games, Everton have only managed one win. Three losses and a draw complete the rest of the results, with the Toffees languishing two points above the relegation trap door. The club is not condemned to the drop with only a third of the season gone, but they will have to pick up results, starting with West Ham on Wednesday night. This fixture in itself is a relegation dogfight.
The manager, or ‘lack of manager’, situation has not helped the club. It has been 35 days since Ronald Koeman was given the boot, with club legend David Unsworth stepping in as caretaker. Performances have not got better and the players look clueless on the system employed. Whatsmore, they do not even appear to be trying. This was more than evident during their 4-1 defeat to Southampton yesterday
Everton Are In A Relegation Dogfight
Southampton romped to victory yesterday but were helped by some of the comedic defending on show. Managers can sometimes accept individual mistakes, but a complete lack of effort is inexcusable. Charlie Austin’s second goal of the afternoon was perhaps the most telling, with an Everton defence caught out and unwilling to track back. Even he looked surprised at the ease in which he was allowed to score.
In the last two games, the team have conceded nine goals. That, whether you like it or not, is the form relegation-threatened team. The players have not suddenly forgotten how to defend. Phil Jagielka, Michael Keane and Leighton Baines are all England internationals and know how to defend. Jordan Pickford, although young, will probably be the national goalkeeper for years to come. So surely it must come down to the managerial farce taking place.
Lack of Attack
The transfer of Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United for a club record £75 million was bound to weaken the team. Although the money was re-invested in attacking midfielder Gylfi Sigurðsson and Pickford, Everton have lost around 20 goals a season. They simply have not replaced that firepower.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin is a good young player and highly rated – but he is not going to score 20 goals a season. Neither is Wayne Rooney. The club need a proven goalscorer, in the mould of Jermain Defoe, who scares defences. Sigurðsson is a very talented attacking midfielder who will score goals, but he cannot be relied upon to lead the front line.
Managerial Situation Needs Sorting
The key to success still comes down to the manager. Everton will need to appoint the right candidate – and fast. The club is very much a rudderless ship, not being steered in any direction. Once the right man comes in, he will be able to stamp his philosophy onto the team. At the moment, the players are very much in limbo. Can they be motivated to play for Unsworth, who will no doubt step down once a permanent appointment is made?
But who is out there? Andre Villas-Boas has been touted as the bookies favourite to take the hot seat. Villas-Boas is no stranger to English football, having had spells at Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur. He did not succeed at either and now manages in China.
Marco Silva and Sean Dyche have both been mentioned but are happy at their respective clubs, where they have transformed their teams.
Whoever is appointed, they will need to get a grip of the club as quickly as possible. They will need to stabilise the defence and employ a system which enables the club to compete. Otherwise, Everton could be the next high profile team to be consigned to relegation.