Another night of bitter disappointment as we draw in on the inevitable.
Koeman sensed the looming storm up ahead and was forced to try something new following the dismal display at Brighton on Sunday. He finally rested his most experienced and trusted player, Wayne Rooney, ironically on the 15th anniversary of his name-making goal against Arsenal. Rooney was not even in the squad, while the likes of Leighton Baines, Idrissa Gueye and Gylfi Sigurdsson started on the bench.
It was important to start well… get the crowd on side. But inside five minutes it was 0-1 to the away side. A sloppy challenge from Mason Holgate inside the box gifted Lyon a penalty. Danger man Fekir stepped up and found the bottom corner.
Everton struggled to find a way into the game. With confidence rock bottom, Davy Klaassen was a shadow of the player who shone so brightly for Ajax in last season’s Europa League. Incapable of finding a blue shirt, it was a painful performance to watch. It’s easy to slate the lad himself, but he is simply a product of this seasons rotten showing.
After nine minutes Everton were cut open again, Depay only denied by Williams’ last-ditch sliding tackle. Everton scrapped for half-chances but Depay’s 30-yard free kick came closest to providing a second goal before the break, Tom Davies’ headed intervention leaving Jordan Pickford wrong-footed and the crossbar rattling. The atmosphere was flat and it seemed the Toffees were set to bow out on another whimper. Half time 0-1.
Klaassen made way at half time. It was very much a mercy substitution for the long-awaited return to the first team of Ademola Lookman. Lookman energised the side and Everton came out and had a go in the second half. A push by Williams on Lyon goalkeeper Lopes sparked a brawl which spilled over into the advertising boards and gave opportune chance for some Blues to throw their own sly digs in on the Lyon players. Yes, a little bit naughty, but fuck them. And if you don’t like it, well fuck you too.
This sparked life into the game for Everton, as is so often the case. It was that turning point that got everyone pulling in the same direction. Williams was lucky to escape with a yellow card and was soon putting his adrenaline to better use, Sigurdsson’s free kick was swung in and met by Williams who powered it into the Lyon net on 69 minutes. 1-1. Game on.
We know the drill. We have been here before. The winner is coming. Sigurdsson nearly sent the Evertonians berzerk shortly after with another free kick that evaded everyone and clipped the inside of the post. It was coming though. Sandro Ramirez came on, was he going to be the hero? Well no. The opposite in fact.
He tackled his own man on the half way line which allowed Maxwell Cornet to escape down the right and cross to Traore, who touched the ball off his instep and into the Everton net. Heartbraker.
Everton just couldn’t recover. It killed them and it killed the fans too. The game petered out and finished 1-2. Defeat number six so far this season, although it feels we have had so many more. It was the type of defeat that you would forgive, if we hadn’t been so poor in the weeks leading up to it. Everton now sit bottom of the group and have a mountain to climb to qualify.
It seems the Everton board won’t act until the season is over, which at this rate will be before Christmas. Therefore, expect something similar come Sunday against Arsenal.
-David ( @DAHughes92 )