It’s off it’s head now, all this.
After the relief of the crazy comeback against Watford and then the opportunity to gather our thoughts over the international break, surely you couldn’t have asked for a better away game to start the winter campaign than away at the seemingly doomed Crystal Palace.
Rather worryingly though, the Toffees got outplayed for the majority of the 90 minutes, and only had a point to cling onto during the desperate final stages because of the Eagles’ defending that wrote a goodbye note and put ‘The Idiot’ on repeat on the stereo.
David Unsworth seems to be struggling to decide on his best attacking line-up, as was Ronald Koeman, and presumably any new man, be it Marco Silva or whoever, will be the same given the overwhelming ‘saminess’ of this squad.
Our Yozzer Hughes-style pleading for Watford to release the manager they appointed only a dozen or so games ago is grim, and you can’t blame ‘them Italians’ for telling Farhad Moshiri to sling his hook. Silva looks a great candidate like – as far as anyone can ever tell – but given how indignant we get when our best players get tempted elsewhere, you have to have sympathy for the Hornets’ supporters, if no one else.
Fucking hell, Steve Sherwood and now this – imagine how shit it would be having us as your Nemesis.
However the whole situation plays out, we could certainly do with someone permanent being appointed before January, otherwise you are asking a caretaker to spend money in the transfer market in an effort to try and start restructuring the squad. That’s not ideal. Unless of course we ‘do a United’ and basically appoint Silva now, in secret, ahead of a summer move, and get him to give us his list of targets. Even if we were that sly though, it’s hardly going to be the most attractive proposition for any player with any sort of genuine ambition, signing for a club that can’t even appoint a permanent manager.
Imagine if you were Sean Dyche as well. He must know he’s the Toffees’ fallback option, but the longer this open courtship of Silva continues, the more he is going to look like a a mug if any offer actually arrives from Goodison. On the plus side for him, if Moshiri does come calling then he will know that Everton are absolutely desperate – his agent, who you imagine is like Den Perry from Phoenix Nights, will be rubbing his fat hands with glee.
In short, Everton have once again managed to manoeuvre themselves into an incredibly weak bargaining position – something that seemed less common when Uncle Monty was in sole charge. Maybe he wasn’t quite the lemon than some would have us believe.
Back to the actual game. Palace scored in the opening minute, through James McArthur, but Everton levelled five minutes later when Oumar Niasse stabbed the ball past Scott Dann and went down as if he’d been Tazered when the defender blocked off his run.
Leighton Baines sent Rodney Bewes the wrong way from the penalty spot.
Ademola Lookman, who always impresses as substitute, started here, but again, when given his opportunity, he managed to have an absolute stinker. It was no surprise when he was replaced at half-time, along with Morgan Schneiderlin, who continues to be a pale, equine-faced shadow of the player who arrived from United last season.
Palace had the run of midfield, and their dominance was rewarded on 35 minutes when a great sweeping move ended with a low cross from Joel Ward that Wilfried Zaha couldn’t fail to convert at the back post.
Roy Hodgson, who appears to be doing a decent enough job at Palace on this evidence, had every right to be fuming with his players when they failed to capitalise on their lead and allowed this terrible Everton team back into the match.
Once again it was the tenacity of Niasse – one of the few bright points of this shitty season – that created the opportunity. Julian Speroni was so chuffed with himself, dummying Niasse as he chased down yet another lost cause, that he couldn’t bring himself to then smash the ball downfield. The soft cunt had to milk the applause from the dog-on-a-string merchants in the home crowd, and fired a pass into the feet of an unsuspecting Dann. He was in turn robbed by Idrissa Gueye, the ball squirted to Gylfi Sigurdsson and he pushed a pass into the path of Niasse.
In fairness to Sigurdsson, who really is trying, but again in his ‘favoured position’ was largely anonymous, the pass was perfect, leaving Niasse to merely slip his low shot past the keeper. You have to give the Senegalese striker his due as well – when the ball gets played up to him sometimes it’s like a pigeon flying into a ceiling fan – but put it in front of him with a bit of space to run into and he causes havoc.
The second half was rubbish, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Tom Davies made little difference, and Unsworth had everyone scratching their heads when, with 20 minutes remaining, he replaced the energetic Aaron Lennon with Sandro Ramirez, especially when the knackered Niasse seemed on the verge of a second yellow card.
Still, the Blues hung on, thanks to a couple of decent stops from Jordan Pickford and a dreadful finish from Christian Benteke after some horrific defending from Michael Keane.
In the end this felt like a great point, which pretty much says it all about the state the club’s in.
Anyway, onwards and upwards. Atalanta midweek – a worse attendance than Jimmy Savile’s wake.