Everton’s failure to find any semblance of offense against the largely second team version of their Merseyside Derby rivals should serve as the death knell for Sam Allardyce at Goodison Park.
The Toffees accomplished nothing Saturday despite their point gained against Liverpool, who were away from home and coasting toward Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League second leg at Manchester City.
We mean, Ragnar Klavan started at left back!!
No, the Toffees did not have prime playmaker Gylfi Sigurdsson, but that shouldn’t have mattered given the Reds plans for the Merseyside Derby.
Allardyce opened the match with a cautious approach. Why did urgency only arrive in the final 15 minutes? Was Allardyce’s Everton afraid to lose to second-choice rivals? Or was he playing for a point in a match which only carried merit in terms of bragging rights?
Yes, Everton was still in a race for the 7th place spot which seems destined to reward with Europa League play. But they aren’t any more, five points and behind Burnley having played two more matches.
But they’ve spent big to firm up their status as a should-be Top Six contender. Arsenal’s poor season opened that door; Ronald Koeman put the club in a hole in terms of reaching that status, but no club — not Burnley, not Leicester City, not Arsenal — has done enough to make coming back an impossibility.
Everton is now under .500 during Allardyce’s reign, falling to 7W-4D-8L. That’s 1.3 points per game, and would have them with two more projected points than they stand with Koeman’s total included.
The fact that Cenk Tosun, a player who Allardyce reportedly didn’t want, was Everton’s best threat on the day also says something (Theo Walcott was also lively, as the manager continued to “save teams” via the transfer market). Everton was always going to rise above the drop zone, and those who bought into the fear of its legitimacy can be forgiven but not held up as bastions of perspective.
West Ham United has seen this before, and it should come as some comfort to Everton’s hierarchy that they were bamboozled by a man who has bamboozled so many others. Even the English national team fell for his act.
It’s not that he’s useless, rather it’s the reputation he’s cultivated as a man who’s going to do anything for your club more than Tony Pulis or Mark Hughes or any of the other brigade of “next tier” managers underneath the top bosses in world football. Yes, he led Bolton to Europe. So did Alan Pardew at Newcastle, and Slaven Bilic as Allardyce’s replacement at West Ham.
This cannot be your man, Everton, not if you want to be anywhere near your Merseyside rivals at any time soon.