Match Report| “The damage is irreparable”| Arsenal (H)
The waiting game goes on and on.
Everton were handed another drumming on Sunday afternoon at the hands of Arsenal in front of a packed Goodison Park. It was yet another bitterly painful spectacle for us Evertonians to endure. It had all the feelings of the end of the road for the Koeman era, yet 24 hours on and despite sitting in the relegation zone, the silence from the boardroom is deafening.
There were returns to the starting line-up for Kenny, Rooney and Baines as Everton seemed to line up with a 3-5-2-1…. I think (who can really say for sure these days). Arsenal made by far the brighter start and the visitors were almost ahead after only four minutes. A great save by Pickford kept out Sanchez. Seconds later Pickford dashed out to close down Sanchez again when he found space near the byline. Arsenal created a third chance after only 11 minutes when Bellerin crossed for Alexandre Lacazette who forced Pickford into another great save.
It was a worrying start, but soon after it was in fact the Blues who took the lead. Wayne Rooney rolled back the years. Fifteen years on from his famous goal against Arsenal in the Park End, he done the same again. A great tackle by Gueye guided the ball to Rooney who hit a sweet effort into the top corner past Petr Cech. 1-0. Here we go, is this the turning point finally? Well no. It wasn’t. The Gunners levelled with five minutes left of the first half when Pickford blocked a low shot from Xhaka but Monreal hammered home the rebound. 1-1 half time. A decent half, but level at the break.
I’m not sure what Koeman said at half time, but the Everton of previous games made an appearance in the second half, and it got messy quickly. Williams was taken off at half time after a yellow card and some close calls in the first half. Gueye was in the same boat but was left on for the second half. It was a decision that would turn out costly later in the game.
Arsenal took the lead after 53 minutes as Sanchez swung in a cross from the left and Ozil, glanced a deft header past Pickford. Hopes of finding a way back into the game were soon banished for good when Gueye lunged in late on Xhaka to pick up a second yellow card. It was a shit and very stupid challenge. Whilst it’s easy to blame Koeman for not taking him off. I feel as though he had to take one of two players off at half time and he went with Williams. I believe if he went with Gueye, Williams would have seen red. It was that sort of game.
Whilst he can be given leeway on the red card, there are no excuses for the lack of activity in the dugout. I always remember the term ‘Dithering Dave’ as the expression used to point out David Moyes’ reluctantly to make substitutions at the right time. Well, if he was ‘Dithering Dave’, Koeman is ‘Reluctant Ronald’. With the game getting away from 10-man Everton, his delays in making changes ultimately cost us again. With 74 minutes played, Arsenal sliced through Everton again, Ozil found space and squared for Alexandre Lacazette to lash in a forceful finish. 1-3.
Lookman and Niasse came on after the goal but the game was a ready gone. It was 1-4 when Wilshere slid the ball through to Ramsey, who placed the ball beyond the disheartened Pickford. Pickford didn’t deserve the torrid afternoon he had and was arguably our best player.
Everton pulled one back when Oumar Niasse closed down Cech and forced an error in which he was given an open goal to slot into. But Arsenal still found time to add a fifth through Sanchez, who for all his play acting and moaning, gave Everton a terrible afternoon.
There simply is no way back for Koeman now. The damage is irreparable. Maybe not everything that has gone wrong this season is his fault. But a lot is. The toughest part of all is being sold the dream of new investment, promises of a return to the big time. Yet, as Everton sit in the relegation zone heading into November, there seems no ruthlessness from the Everton board to act fast and try and salvage the season. No big club mentality. Just the same old ‘we’re here to take part, not take over’ mentality that has plagued Everton for thirty years. The League Cup is up next. Not a chance in hell Everton are going to get a result at Stamford Bridge with Koeman in charge.
So, thank you Mr Kenwright and Mr Moshri. With the League Cup gone, Europa League all but gone, the League is a mess, it seems we will throw all our hopes into the FA cup again. A competition we haven’t won in nearly 23 years. I won’t be holding me breathe for that one either.
The sleeping giant has awoken huh….
– David ( @DAHughes92 )