Except he didn’t err this week, did he? Quite the opposite, as the Toffees saw off the Baggies in a quite straightforward manner.
Tony Pulis, who looks more like something from Wind In the Willows with every passing season, has brought his own brand of joyless tedium to West Brom with a vengeance. This latest incarnation of barrel-chested hoofers had the chance of closing the gap between themselves and the Blues, but instead did almost nothing positive of note, even when two goals down at half time.
Watching them is the footballing equivalent of spending a boiling hot day down the social trying to fill out Daniel Blake’s disability forms with a leaking Ladbrokes pen.
When Romelu Lukaku missed a couple of decent chances – dragging a shot narrowly wide and then miscuing a free header at the far post – you couldn’t help wonder whether Pulis’s sack of drowned kittens of a team were going to extend their recent record of conceding no goals at Goodison.
However, they never reckoned on the new, improved Ross Barkley, who has clearly been listening to Ronald Koeman’s advice regarding his role on the pitch and the use of Soul Glo on his barnet.
‘Me and our Erwin both swear by it’.
The midfielder – rightly praised afterwards by Pulis for one of his most convincing performances in a blue shirt – saw a low shot saved by Ben Foster, only for the recalled Kevin Mirallas to react first and lash the ball into the Park End net.
There was a horrible moment where the angular-faced Belgian looked like he was going to do some elaborate celebration, but luckily that passed without incident.
Talking of incidents, do you think that Question of Sport will ever feature a video of two bladdered pot-herbs singing ‘We fucking hate Millwall’ in front of a load of Acquascutum-scarfed Billingsgate Market porters?
‘Right then Mo, what do you think happened next?’
There was more to come before the break when Lukaku held the ball up brilliantly among a crowd of jostling cart-horses before threading a pass into the feet of Morgan Schneiderlin. The spindly Frenchman, taking a break from being photographed on Deansgate in his plastering clobber, took a couple of deft touches before smashing the ball into the roof of the net. A brilliant goal from an absolutely superb player – shithouse pass at Tottenham excepted.
In the second half Pulis did nothing to try and turn the game other than throw on Salomon Rondon late on. He made little impact though, although it’s not surprising considering he looked like he had a shoplifted turkey stuck up his ganzie, the fat cow.
Barkley set up the final goal with a perfect far post cross for Lukaku to head his obligatory goal, and substitute Idrissa Gueye struck the foot of the post. The only other highlight was the quite remarkable booing of James McLean – presumably that’s still because he didn’t want to wear the non-political poppy that time? That’s some top grade grudge-bearing, right there.
After the slightly sobering performance at Spurs, Koeman must have been delighted with this display, even if on the touchline he always looks like a fella waiting for the RAC.
Just like Lukaku, who the wacky-collared Trevor Sinclair and bad-photofit featured Martin Keown inevitably had Everton ‘struggling to keep hold of’ on Match of the Day, the better Koeman does, the more he will be linked with a move away from his job at Finch Farm the Unstoppable Sex Machine.
The Barcelona post seems like a stretch – although obviously there is the former player factor – but you could certainly see Arsenal fancying a portion of his straight-talking Dutch pragmatism as a counterpoint to the more recent, rather anaemic Monty Burns years of Arsene Wenger.
It’s certainly a measure of how quickly Koeman has made his mark at Goodison – and let’s be honest, most of us had a few reservations about how he went about things during his first few months in charge – that we would all be gutted now if he did live up to his reputation as a managerial fly-by-night and do one when this Everton ‘project’ – yes, ‘project’, deal with it – is only just getting started.