everton, who were backed by many to finish inside the top six, have declined majorly under Ronald koeman at the beginning of the 2017/18 campaign.
After spending over £150 million during this summer’s transfer window, Everton have disappointingly only picked up eight points from their opening eight fixtures in the Premier League. The loss of their talisman Romelu Lukaku has also had an evidently negative impact in the final third, despite the return of Wayne Rooney from Manchester United.
The toffees have also struggled in the UEFA Europa League, losing heavily to Italian Serie A outfit Atalanta and dropping points against Apollon Limassol at Goodison Park. Everton manager Ronald Koeman is currently the bookies’ favourite to become the next Premier League manager to face the sack.
Everton’s 2-1 win against Bournemouth at Goodison Park silenced the majority of Koeman’s critics momentarily but defeat to Burnley reignited the calls for his sacking. They nearly suffered back-to-back defeats until Wayne Rooney’s last-gasp penalty kick rescued a point away at Brighton & Hove Albion.
It’s incredibly that despite the mass amount of cash spent by the club this summer, they’ve still failed to produce positive results on the pitch. The pressure is extremely intense on Ronald Koeman and his future is currently a ticking time bomb as supporters continue to lose faith with their expensive and unfamiliar line-up.
Thursday night struggles
Everton finished strongly in seventh place last season, (mainly due to goals from Romelu Lukaku) and earned themselves a place in the UEFA Europa League qualifying stages. This could be the perfect platform to continue to raise the profile of the club but similar to other teams, the Thursday night games are having bad effects on the side thus far.
After unconvincingly seeing off Rusomberok and Hajduk Split in the play-offs, Everton had now reached the group stages where they would face tricky games against Italian Serie A side Atalanta and French side Lyon, as well as an easier game against Apollon Limassol – so you would think.
On the back of a 0-3 loss to Tottenham in the league, Everton travelled to Atalanta for their first group stage match. After taking a full team, few would have expected back-to-back 3-0 losses but unfortunately for the Toffees, that’s exactly what happened. Everton were simply dreadful and after going in at half time 3-0 down, the rest of the game wasn’t filled with much expectation.
Manager Ronald Koeman spoke after saying: “I need to criticise myself” as Everton’s poor record against Italian teams continued. Further pressure was then added onto Koeman three days later as Everton were torn apart by Manchester United as Romelu Lukaku came back to haunt his old side on their way to a 4-0 win.
The critics were already out for Everton but an EFL cup progression and a scrappy 2-1 win over fellow strugglers Bournemouth eased pressure on the toffees.
Nevertheless, games come thick and fast when you are in the Europa League as Everton took on Cyprus based side Apollon Limassol three days before their next Premier League match. After new signings Wayne Rooney and Nikola Vlasic put the toffees 2-1 ahead, they couldn’t hold out and conceded a late equaliser. Having a squad overhaul in the summer was proving costly as Everton simply hadn’t gelled together as a team.
In their next Europa League encounter, they face Lyon away. With only a point after two games, their European journey could be a rather short one or could this be a blessing in disguise?
Ronald Koeman or McDonald?
After Koeman made his debut season as Everton manager a success, he was also blessed with a lot of money in the transfer market. I certainly wasn’t alone in thinking they could only get stronger with some summer additions but almost mirroring Tottenham when they sold Gareth Bale, the replacements simply haven’t been good enough so far.
Romelu Lukaku last season scored 26 goals in 39 games, so of course Everton had an almost impossible task of keeping the Belgian. When Manchester United came knocking, £75 million was the price that the two sides agreed on. Now the toffees had the funds to go out and replace him and his goals.
With Everton sniffing around Arsenal’s Oliver Giroud, this would have been a strong addition as the Frenchman is Premier League proven and desperate to be involved in every game ahead of the World Cup next year. Instead though, the toffees opted for the cheaper and inexperienced options in Sandro Ramirez and Nikola Vlasic to fill Lukaku’s boots. Both forwards are young and certainly have the potential to make a name for themselves, however these two aren’t ready to step into the huge space Romelu Lukaku left just yet.
Ultimately, the manager has the final say on transfer business and in this case, Koeman was already throwing himself under the bus with all that money intrusted in his hands.
As well as Ronald Koeman’s struggles in the transfer market, a game plan and lack of pace has seriously put the Dutchman’s job in jeopardy. With pace being such a key aspect in a team’s success these days, apart from Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Everton really don’t have a player who could get behind a team and punish them.
The sale of Lukaku not only lost a number of goals but also that turn of pace. His hold up play would allow other players to join the attack and create more chances. Big summer signings such as Wayne Rooney and Gylfi Sigurdsson are very technical players especially from dead-ball situations, however both aren’t blessed with pace and with the modern game ever changing, players like this may find themselves getting overrun sooner rather than later.
In Everton’s most recent disappointment, this time a 1-1 draw at Brighton, the Mayer of Liverpool Joe Anderson has made his feelings towards Ronald Koeman known saying: “He is clearly the problem.” It is believed that if it wasn’t for Wayne Rooney’s late penalty equaliser, Koeman could have been jobless after his dreadful start to the season.
new signings failing to adapt
£150m was pumped into Everton to bring in 9 players this summer.
Gylfi Sigurdsson, Jordan Pickford, Michael Keane, Davy Klaassen, Wayne Rooney, Henry Onyekuru, Sandro Ramirez, Cuco Martina and Nikola Vlasic all joined the Merseysider’s over the transfer window.
Nonetheless all that is present so far is quantity over quality as not one of these players has made a strong impression and the players have to take criticism. The English duo Jordan Pickford and Michael Keane in particular had great seasons last time out but both now look nervy and very vulnerable.
Everton’s biggest buy was Icelandic midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson at £44m. Last season, Sigurdsson scored 10 goals as well as grabbing 13 assists and the Toffees moved for the playmaker. However, in his first 10 appearances for Everton, he has only managed one assist. He’s been a real disappointment so far but the dead ball specialist has the ability to turn his and Everton’s fortunes around.
What next for Everton?
Unfortunately, it seems things could be set to worsen for Everton in the upcoming week. They face French outfit Lyon in the UEFA Europa League and Arsenal and Chelsea in the Premier League. It’s difficult to see Ronald Koeman surviving as his team continue to struggle to pick up points in both the Premier League and Europa League.
If Koeman survives the sack after the next three games, it’s essential Everton begin to pick up points against Watford, Crystal Palace, West Ham and Southampton in November. The Premier League can be an evil league, as it’s proved for Everton, but I’m sure they can turn things around with or without Ronald Koeman.