On Saturday afternoon, Everton suffered a 2-1 defeat at struggling Norwich. This was a Norwich team that had lost six straight Premier League games. A Norwich team that had also failed to score in six top-flight games.
The defeat will mean the end of Rafa Benitez as Toffees head coach, according to widespread media reports. For many Evertonian’s, the Spaniard was never the right appointment. However, reportedly majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri ignored the disapproval and went ahead and appointed the former Newcastle head coach anyway.
Poor results and decisions
Granted Everton’s squad is not the best in the Premier League. Many of the current team have underperformed under several other head coaches. There is also a gigantic mess behind the scene with the board, which is something beyond Benitez control. He has also been hamstrung by FFP.
However, all those reasons are not behind Everton winning once in their last 13 Premier League games. That is relegation form. Once again, even considering injuries to key players that is still an awful return of points.
Benitez’s tactics and team selections have at times been shocking. The decision to persist with veteran forward Salomon Rondon is one of the biggest complaints from Toffees fans. However, an even more glaring tactical error seems to be Benitez playing two players in centre midfield even though those two get overrun every game. Most fans can see that, so why can’t Benitez?
Poor old Seamus Coleman has been played at centre-back and left-back in recent weeks. He has been a great servant to the club, but he is now incapable of playing every game. Oh, and not forgetting the inept performances of centre-back Michael Keane. The former Burney star seems to get poorer with each game.
No fight or spirit
Everton teams have been famous down the years for being full of fight and spirit. The Everton team that won the FA Cup under club legend Joe Royle were dubbed ‘the dogs of war’ for their physical attributes and spirit.
More recently, Everton under David Moyes produced the same sort of spirit. The Scot had little to spend on players, but recruitment was excellent. Towards the end of his Everton career, his teams also played some more expansive football.
The current group of players look devoid of fight or spirit. They need a leader in the dressing room and on the pitch. When things go against them, they seem to wilt, which is none clearer than in that leaky backline, marshalled by that man Keane.
The next boss needs to ignite a fire in the players
It is widely recognised that this current group of players are underperforming. For all their faults, and there is many, they should be higher in the table than 15th. Last season Carlo Ancelotti finish tenth place, with most of the same squad.
If, as expected, Benitez is sacked by Everton, the next man needs to be somebody that can bring out the fire in that limp lettuce of a football team. The men from Merseyside are in serious trouble and the next appointment of a head coach needs to be spot on.
History has told us that Everton usually gets out of these predicaments. However, unless the club’s hierarchy makes the right decision next, then the club could be heading for the unthinkable spectre of relegation to the Championship.
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