A win and Everton would have gone level on points with their opponents, Burnley. Anything else and the Blues would have still been chasing Sean Dyche’s team.
It gets worse. Allardyce seems to be deliberately self combusting his sides opportunities of winning as the games go on. I don’t believe it’s possible for a team or it’s manager to deliberatelylose a game, in fact we’re not even clever enough to do that, but Sam Allardyce certainly doesn’t show a great deal of remorse or concern after defeats.
A solid first half, much to our surprise
We went to Turf Moor desperate to bury our away day form and finally come away with a much needed 3 points. We started off well, in fact I would go as far to say we looked completely different to the team I’ve agonisingly watched away from home this season.
Theo Walcott could and probably should have had a goal at least and Burnley struggled tremendously to deal with the threat and pace he was putting to them. As a team we created a threat to the home side, they struggled to deal with what we put in their direction. Mainly, Cenk Tosun’s running provided no certainty at the back for their defence and it’s something we’ve been screaming out for, amongst the abject and unsavoury displays this season.
The first half could well have ended even though, as Burnley did create chances of their own, mainly through Aaron Lennon. Cuca Martina has recently found a level of sorts in his performances, it’s neither good nor bad and after what we’ve seen from him at times this season, we’ll take it! Today, however, Martina took a step back and his performance plummeted under pressure from Lennon and it was something he just couldn’t deal with. Allardyce should have saved him and us from allowing Lennon to make an impact and brought Leighton Baines on at half time.
A change in tactics for the better… And then the worst.
4-4- f*cking – 2!(Mike Basset impression and the Benson & Hedges box with the team on, in hand!) It was about time as well, we’ve failed miserably for years under the same formation. The impact we had on our opposition and the game in the first half was as a result of the formation, a long with the efforts from the players going forward. It worked, it definitely worked and in the coming days if Allardyce says any different, then you have my approval to launch your phone across the room. Burnley didn’t expect it and our plays seemed a lot more comfortable with what they were trying to do, they were more assured on the ball and were recovering well off it.
We take a 1-0 lead into half time and we had, admittedly, ridden our luck on occasions in that half, but the bottom line was we were winning. Imagine the disgust and frustration around the away end at Turf Moor when we see our side come back out with a 4-5-1 and ‘DEFEND’ ringing in their ears. Because thats what happened, we can all sit here and assume that Allardyce provided some lovely tactics and encouraged the team to carry on from their reasonably good first half performance, but we know it never happened. It was proven with the formation but also how deep our defence was on the resumption of the game after half time.
Your typical Sam Allardyce move. “We have a lead and we defend what we’ve got” mentality hasn’t got Allardyce very far at Everton and that will continue to be the case. We had a really good opportunity to muster up a second goal and kill Burnley. It was there and we had seen the opportunities come in the first half with the way we were going at them. It starved our attacking opportunities, it forced the defence to go back to the failures of previous games and it killed any kind of energy we had from the first half. Nice one, Sam!
Significantly soft substitutions
The boos that came from the 2,800 Evertonian’s at Turf Moor, as the subs were made, spoke volumes. The second half was a completely different side to the one we’d seen in the first, we’d gone back to that team of unconfident players and it was fuelled by Allardyce. Tom Davies comes off for Wayne Rooney, which, wasn’t all that bad of a decision although Davies was giving us legs in the centre of the pitch.
After that first substitution, they got progressively worse, in fact the next one hit rock bottom. Cenk Tosun was brought off for Oumar Niasse and the boos were deafening, heard loud and clear by everyone. It was obvious that Tosun, being our main threat in the first half was going to continue that threat had Allardyce continued with the tactics we employed to get a goal earlier on. It was just a dumb decision, one that was never going to have any positive impact. Niasse runs, but as a defender you just let him run and then pressure him when he gets the ball, because he can’t get the thing under control. The Tosun sub hurt our chances almost indefinitely and Allardyce wasn’t done.
To complete the destruction of our chances, Allardyce took Gylfi Sigurdsson off for Yannick Bolasie. We’ve not really seen any non-like-for-like substitutions from Allardyce and if this is anything to go by I’d hope we don’t see too many more. Taking a ball playing centre attacking midfielder off shows how lame the manager was with his thinking, it literally ended our chances to come back into the game being 2-1 down by that point.
Player ratings to follow at 1pm today.