In their previous Premier League match, Everton were hedl to a 0-0 draw. Given their start to the season, this was a rather unusual result and one that was regarded as a one-off event. With pundits in the UK media still suggesting that Everton will finish in the top four of the Premiership this season, it is worth having a closer look at their performance this evening at Southampton, who are struggling at the bottom of the table and they have just sacked their popular manager Nigel Adkins and replaced him with Argentinian, Pochettino, who was previously at Espanyol in La Liga. It is hardly an inspiring choice of manager bearing in mind also that he hardly speaks any English.
However, Southampton has set up in the last few games to spoil and be negative, with pressing and non-stop running from their youthful players. They cannot be blamed for their tactics as they are desperate to stay in the Premier League, especially with the new television deal coming into force next season. It is an entirely different situation for Everton. Whilst it is accepted that manager David Moyes has successfully kept them in the Premiership during his long tenancy, he has not had any money to spend, despite their selling players every year to balance the books. So, on the one hand, he is to be commended for his juggling the finances and the players available, he cannot have any realistic thoughts of a top four finish for two very obvious reasons.
Those reasons are Steven Naismith and Leon Osman. Both have been long time servants at Everton, but their lack of ability at the highest level is dragging down the overall performances of the team. Osman particularly gives the ball away in areas where it leaves his team open to counter attacks. If he was a younger player, you would say that he was naive, but he is not a younger player, so you have to say that his displays are falling to a level that is not acceptable for a team at this level of competition.
Naismith is in the same category and his displays are becoming more erratic and less effective as each season goes by. Everton would not go amiss to copy the way teams like Southampton, who like Everton, have few finances available, recruit their players to have pace and durability. I lost count of the times that Everton players lost out in the 50/50 tackles.
Unless Everton can find some cash from somewhere, they are not going to compete at the top of the league. They have punched above their weight this term and congratulations on a good start, but they seem to be running out of steam. Another worry for Moyes is the form of Nikita Jelavic. He looks a shadow of the player who was scoring freely only months ago and missed a host of easy chances tonight which smacks of a lack of confidence. Teams now know that if they can negate Marouane Fellaini they will have a good chance of a result against Everton.
How long will it be before David Moyes decides that enough is enough trying to swim against the tide and leave for pastures new. He has already been sabre-rattling this season about the Bundesliga. Do not be surprised if he leaves at the end of this season of Everton do not finish in the top four.1011490