Europa Report | “The massacre in Atalanta” | Atalanta (A)

I opened the laptop, I closed it again. I drank a cup of coffee and tried again, but to no avail. But now, here I am, after jeering myself up in the mirror, I am ready to piece together the massacre in Atalanta. I’m not going to lie to you all, it’s a crime scene, so put on your protective clothing and follow me behind the plastic curtain, but I must warn you, it’s not going to be pretty.

A reaction. That’s what Koeman asked for from his players following two dismal displays at Chelsea and Tottenham. A statement of intent. In return, his team curled out a large, collective, stinking pile of shite on the pitch. The result seemed to shock the watching media and neutral fan a like. But not one Evertonian didn’t see it coming. Lucky for Ronald and the players, all focus following the Tottenham defeat was on the talents of Harry Kane and co, and Koeman’s team’s failings seemed to vanish. But make no mistake about it, the team are lost and in deep trouble. There’s a lack of organisation, spark, pace, ability to Defend, ability to score…. Christ just a sheer lack of ability. Whilst new talents such as Klaassen, Sandro etc look lacklustre, the issues seem much bigger than that.

Koeman made six changes from Saturday’s game. But still no wingers. Calvert-Lewin coming in was a promising change though. Stekelenburg wasn’t a promising change. But to be fair the big Dutchman did okay considering the turds he had in front of him. Everton started surprisingly okay, nothing fantastic, but okay. Gylfi Sigurdsson had a half decent strike in the 13th minutes which was parried by Etrit Berisha, and Wayne Rooney then tried a delicate lob from the edge of the box that drifted just off target. I think these moments were important in the game. Not only was it our third shot on target in three games, but it also reminded us Sigurdsson and Rooney were actually on the pitch this evening. The whispers of positivity were quickly drowned out in spectacular fashion. Atalanta had a shot which was saved well by Maarten Stekelenburg but from the resulting corner, the ball smacked Phil Jagielka’s hip, and rolled to the back post where the unmarked Masiello tapped in from two yards out. An hilariously pathetic goal to concede.

Atalanta then came alive, whilst Everton cowered away. Stekelenburg had been called into action a couple more times before a certain Papu Gómez (you know the one I warned you all about) made it 2-0 in the 41st minute, cutting inside and unleashing an excellent shot that flew into the top corner. You know it was going to get messy at this point. And right on cue, our fears were confirmed just three minutes later. I don’t need to tell you all about this one, I’m sure the replays in your nightmares all night has kept you awake. But in brief, shite cross field ball, sloppy tracking back, tackles on invisible players (that’s you Besic) and a third goal before half time. 3-0.

The second half remained as poor as the first. There’s more chance of Lacoste trackies making a comeback than us. The hosts hit the bar and probably could have scored another three goals if they bothered to get back out of first gear. I actually believe they took pity on us. That’s right the Italian equivalent of West Ham took pity on us. Koeman subsequently brought on Davy Klaassen, Sandro Ramirez and Kevin Mirallas but it made little difference. The damage was done. Opening round defeat in embarrassing fashion.
Koeman held his hands up and admitted fault for the defeat, which is admirable. But when his excuse was ‘lack of preparation’? Then that my Dutch friend, is criminal. Koeman has had long enough to put his stamp on the team, and even with the new recruits, he should know what his best team is. Sadly, right now, I am not even sure he even knows what his best formation is. The next game is a make or break for him, and it just so happens to be against the potential Champions elect…. away. A repeat performance Sunday and you’ll be cut a drift by the Evertonians Ronald, myself included. After all, you’ve made me so embarrassed of the club, it’s taken me to the very last sentence to say the word… Everton.

– David (@DAHughes92)