AFC Bournemouth 1 - 0 Everton
Ronald Koeman himself has been pragmatic enough to acknowledge that his Everton team won’t win every game but, having overseen such a strong start to life at Goodison Park, it’s unlikely he would have expected to witness this kind of performance in a game in which the Blues were expected to do well.
Two defeats in a row, both under-pinned by really poor performances, have brought a swift end to the Dutchman’s honeymoon period at Everton and have thrown up some vexing questions and problems with a squad that still badly lacks sufficient depth.
With a display that was hauntingly familiar to the worst of last season, Koeman doesn’t appear to have the answers yet but he will have learned plenty from a chastening week where supporter expectations will have been realigned and sights will have been lowered.
Given that Everton should have won this fixture last year, that they beat Bournemouth on the two other occasions they faced them in 2015-16 and were coming into the weekend on a four-game winning streak in the Premier League, optimism was high that Koeman’s men could put the EFL Cup stumble against Norwich behind them by getting back to winning ways.
Sadly, they never really got going — almost to a man they looked for the first 45 minutes as though they’d sleep-walked off the team bus — and they paid the price against a Cherries side that was on the top of their game as they carried out what seemed to be a masterful tactical plan by manager Eddie Howe.
In stark contrast to the visitors, who all too often couldn’t get the basics like ball control, foul throws and a simple five-yard pass right, Bournemouth were quick, sharp and hungry and they had registered their intent in no uncertain terms before they eventually took the lead in the 23rd minute.
Ross Barkley’s weak give-away before a minute had elapsed almost ended with Callum Wilson opening the scoring, but he glanced Charlie Daniels’ cross inches wide of the far post. Jack Wilshere would have notched his first Cherries goal had Seamus Coleman not got a crucial deflection on his side-foot shot that carried it onto the face of the crossbar. Then the energetic Jordan Ibe, who tormented Coleman in the early going before the Irishman eventually managed to shackle him a bit more, fired a shot that looked destined for the bottom corner until it, too, took a vital nick off Ashley Williams. That was five minutes before Harry Arter drifted easily past Barkley and shaved the outside of the post with a similar angled shot.
It was worrying just how much control the home side had assumed of the game by the midway point of the first half and just how easily they were retaining it. Everton struggled to get the ball off their hosts and when they did, they invariably gave it straight back. Surely even Junior Stanlislas would have been surprised, though, at just how much space he found himself in 25 yards from goal. With time to line up his shot, he arrowed a 25-yarder into the top corner of Maarten Stekelenburg’s goal to make it 1-0.
Had Everton scored first, as they did at the Vitality Stadium last November and again in March, things might have been different. It certainly would have put a different complexion on proceedings had Barkley not frozen by the penalty spot when an early Yannick Bolasie cross bounced past his feet in the second minutes or had Artur Boruc not pulled off an excellent save to deny Romelu Lukaku eight minutes later. The Belgian met Barkley’s in-swinging free kick with a downward header searching for the corner but the goalkeeper reacted quickly with a firm hand to push it away and Barkley himself then lashed wide after the rebound had been fed back to him.
Starting in spite of an ankle injury, Gareth Barry was visibly off his game and with even Idrissa Gueye looking fallible, the first half made uncomfortable viewing for the travelling fans who had come in fine voice. Barry went closest to equalising before the break, though, when he tested Boruc with a crisp 30-yard shot that the ‘keeper helped over the bar with both gloves.
Apart from a Kevin Mirallas effort that was deflected well wide, Koeman’s side barely threatened otherwise in the final quarter of an hour before half-time during which fireworks — not to mention some decisive action like his early substitutions against West Brom and Sunderland — might have been expected in the away dressing room.
There were no changes after the interval, however, either in terms of personnel or the pattern of the game from Everton, at least until an otherwise well-below-par Coleman whipped a teasing ball in from the right that Barkley met with a firm header that he planted wide of goal.
Two changes from Koeman in five minutes before the hour mark saw Barry make way for Tom Cleverley and the largely anonymous Mirallas go off in favour of Gerard Deulofeu but while Cleverley brought the kind of energy and purpose that the rest of the side had been lacking, the Spaniard offered next to nothing.
After wasting a rare break-away chance with a lame prod forward looking for Lukaku, his only other contribution of note was a dangerous, deep cross that Boruc had to bat away from under his bar in the 64th minute.
If Koeman felt, as he indicated after the game, as though his players’ second half efforts were closer to the level he expected, it was probably due to the fact that they had far more of the ball after half time and were the ones trying carve out the chances as they tried to get back into the game.
With no real creativity or drive in attacking midfield, however, they had no answer to Bournemouth’s suffocating pressing game and with Howe assigning double markers to the Blues’ wingers, Bolasie and then Deulofeu often found themselves boxed off near the touchline, starving the side of width and keeping Lukaku in familiar isolation up front.
Not once did Everton get into the clear behind the home defence during 90 minutes as the Cherries did an impressive job of making the tight confines of Vitality Stadium — it’s five metres longer than the pitch at Goodison Park and just as wide) feel much smaller than it actually is.
When Bolasie threw off his tendency to over-elaborate he was quite effective. He played a one-two with Lukaku on the edge of the box and had a rare sight of goal with quarter of an hour to go but smashed his shot narrowly over. And with the Toffees still in with a chance of grabbing a point right to the end, it was the former Palace winger’s excellent delivery from the right that substitute Enner Valencia just couldn’t react to quickly enough to steer home, his first-time shot flying a yard wide of the far post.
Even after seven matches in all competitions, it’s early days in the Koeman era and the manager and he is still on a learning curve when it comes to the strengths and weaknesses in his team. He can’t fail to have been concerned by the collective malaise that blighted this performance, however. Apart from Stekelenburg, who had little to do apart from pick the ball out of the net and smother an early Wilson chance, and Cleverley who made as much of an impact off the bench as he could, it’s hard to find any positives from any of the other individual performances.
More worrying was the shortage of game-changing options on the bench, with the team’s supposed difference-makers — Barkley, Mirallas, Deulofeu and Bolasie — all letting him down to varying degrees and Valencia again failing to illustrate convincingly what he can offer the team up front. It's for those reasons that talk of a top-four challenge this term have been shown to be wildly fanciful without significant investment in January.
As an opportunity to get things back on track, next Friday’s game against a Palace team that underlined their own resilience and aerial threat by coming back from 2-0 down to beat Sunderland at the Stadium of Light now takes on added significance. Hopefully, the manager will use the days in between to ram home some harsh truths and light a fire under some under-performing backsides because he cannot have been pleased at all with what he has seen this past week.
Reader Comments (52)
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1 Posted 25/09/2016 at 01:09:36
The most negative caveats were (1) a lack of squad depth, which hopefully the January transfer window would address, and (2) a relatively kind set of fixtures to start the season. Overall, an impression of decent progress and a bright future in store beginning with the squad we've got and provided we subsequently get the right signings in.
One week on, and apparently things have changed. Now, a lot of comments suggest we're not much better, if at all, than last season, and there are now some question marks expressed over Koeman's approach. This evening, you could easily get the impression that we're doomed.
It seems odd to me that one week can produce such a change. It strikes me that either something has changed for the worse at Everton this week, or there's a degree of over-reaction on TW.
2 Posted 25/09/2016 at 01:35:49
Some of our performances were poor. But some were borderline unprofessional. Bolasie would have been dragged off in the Sunday League for the shit he was pulling.
Big test for Ron. His key trait seems to be that he will set high standards and not allow them to slip. Well he's got some big decisions to make now. What do you do when the majority of the team perform so badly?
3 Posted 25/09/2016 at 01:40:33
Teams like Liverpool have pace in abundance, and looking at today's performance we are miles away. Barkley and pedestrian Barry would not get in any of the top teams' midfield because they are not fit enough to play at a high tempo, that's why our midfield gets overrun.
Koeman knows the score and will sort it out but it might take him and Walsh a couple of transfer windows to get the high energy players like Gueye in.
4 Posted 25/09/2016 at 01:50:07
Prior to that we suffered 11 years of misery under Moyes with his depressing "knives to gunfights" mantra. Now we have Ronald Koeman and already he has accumulated diehard support that accepts no criticism of him.
All three were/are among the highest paid managers in world football. To hear they are learning on the job is ludicrous. If they make a stuff up, let it be on their own heads.
5 Posted 25/09/2016 at 02:10:28
I don't think Koeman thinks for one minute he can't be criticised he has made some selection mistakes in the last two games. But a bit of balance please the transfer window saw some great buys; TDD we are a joke; beat Boro fantastic, lose to Bournemouth we are crap; Koeman is a genius; no, he's useless.
This is a work in progress so we all need to be patient.
6 Posted 25/09/2016 at 02:18:44
The manager's pay is irrelevant. BK said he paid Moyes what he did as he believed Moyes as coach could offset our lack of spending on players and his record proves BK right. RM was a clown. Koeman is earning what he is because we had to pay over the odds to turn his head from Soton. Do you believe that Guardiola would do much better with these players?
The truth is we never replaced Arteta, Cahill or Pienaar. We believed somehow that Ross would be Gazza, Geri would be Messi, and even Ryan Ledson would be Roy Keane. In reality Ross is more Jodi Morris, Geri is more Ilie Dumitrescu and Ryan Ledson is no Roy Keane.
The likes of Gemmill, Pembridge and Mike Newell wouldn't look out of place on our bench as we have amassed a horde of journeymen. Doesn't matter how much the manager earns, he's not an alchemist.
7 Posted 25/09/2016 at 03:49:35
Barkley, Bolasie, Gana, Barry, Bolasie again were all repeatedly caught lazing on the ball or dancing around it as if they could waltz through the defenders. And they all looked so surprised when the ball disappeared in the other direction.
This was not a timid, nervous side. It was a relaxed, cocky side. Too relaxed.
8 Posted 25/09/2016 at 05:48:11
The truth is the team in blue, playing the way they played, would be hard pressed to get any points off of the team in red and black, playing the way they played... ever.
We were out-played and out-managed. We were on the back foot from the opening whistle. They pressed us, the way we should have pressed them, and we couldn't find a way around it.
Have the opposition found our Achilles heel already?
9 Posted 25/09/2016 at 05:56:16
I've seen better team performances by 11 blokes just pulled out of the nearest pub. Everton have to learn to play for each other and to beat the opposition's harrying and pressing by letting the ball do the work. I'd sum it up by saying that my MotM was one of the unused subs.
10 Posted 25/09/2016 at 06:17:47
Fast forward to yesterday and the confidence we'd shown in earlier games had visibly wilted on the back of Tuesday's defeat. Even when it was clear that Williams was struggling, Koeman kept him on when he could have brought Funes Mori on to add an serial threat at set pieces and who always plays as if his life depends on the result.
Instead, mostly like-for-like subs merely perpetuated the collective lack of intensity displayed by the entire team yesterday. For once, our new manager lacked imagination in his subs and it showed in the result.
Must do better on Friday or I sense a few knives will be being sharpened and pointed in Koeman's direction.
11 Posted 25/09/2016 at 06:56:37
How we react in the next match against an up-for-it Palace will be the acid test of where we are and of Koeman's managerial prowess.
12 Posted 25/09/2016 at 08:17:28
Kieran (#6), reports from Twebbers and others who travelled to Bournemouth clearly show we were out-played on the field plus a problem of poor timing of substitutions that did nothing to alter the flow of the game. A number of our respected travelling correspondents also hinted our fitness levels were not up that of the Cherries.
I agree, the manager's salary is irrelevant to the players' performance during the actual game yet so much depends upon his ability to have his players physically ready tactically prepared motivated and working to a good game plan. The manager should have the nous to spot where matters are not going to plan and make suitable changes.
By all accounts, Koeman was remiss in all the above matters and hopefully he does not attempt to hide his own failures with a Martinez-like dollop of tripe.
13 Posted 25/09/2016 at 09:02:24
He also mentioned team work. Bournemouth presses like a team, Everton don't! On numerous occasions, Barkley was closing down on his own while the Bournemouth defenders would easily pass around him.
So there we go, how hard can it be to coach professionals to press together as a team!? Over to you Ronald!
14 Posted 25/09/2016 at 10:04:27
Bournemouth are no better than the others we've played; it's a case of us having played badly yesterday. If we'd played like we had been playing, chances are we would have won, and comfortably so. Because our wins have been comfortable, perhaps some complacency set in. Koeman was clearly fuming yesterday in the post-match interview.
15 Posted 25/09/2016 at 10:06:01
Being pessimistic is easily the safest mindset for being an Evertonian!
I haven't seen the game yet but really disappointed to lose. Win v Palace though and all will be back on track? (Going against my own advice there!)
I'm worried by the lack of game-changing options from the bench at the moment, especially with Ross's lack of form. More time for Dowell and Davies possibly?
16 Posted 25/09/2016 at 10:30:30
To believe that we can suddenly start matching top 5 clubs on the field with consistency after decades of spending half as much or much less on wages is also mad. It will take years to build the club to compete with Spurs never mind top 5. The impact of this inability to spend is on player quality, squad depth.
If you lack quality, you can make it up with effort, fitness up to a point, and you can develop younger players but you aren't going to match those whose 'youth teams' are every club on earth for more than one or two players a generation.
The weaknesses in our side are obvious; sentimentality is a luxury we can't afford. As Koeman said, we need a second team as good as the first I would add that some in the first team should be in the seconds. Top 4 consistently needs us to be able to (at least) double our wage bill in relative terms until we have that we will have false dawns.
17 Posted 25/09/2016 at 11:06:06
18 Posted 25/09/2016 at 12:03:21
I agree with the posters who said that this is an overreaction; it's a blip and we can't expect to go through the season without some shite performances.
Secondly, Koeman has got to be allowed to instill his philosophy, which is markedly different from BBS, and it'll take time; and let's hope that we don't go down the Sunderland route of changing managers as often as yer undies.
Slightly off the subject, there was an interesting comment by a journalist on the Sky program 'Sunday Supplement' (which is noteworthy in itself cos they normally talk complete shite) that the high pressing game favoured by Guadiola, Klopp, Pochetino, and Koeman, starts to run out of steam at the business end of the season, because it is virtually impossible for human beings, no matter how fit, to be at it for 8-9 months.
19 Posted 25/09/2016 at 12:22:35
We have Barkley, very skilful but generally pretty ponderous, and Mirallas, reasonably quick but can't tackle nor beat a man. Bolassie is quick and strong but others are very average. Only Gueye shows real skill and speed in midfield.
Changes have to be made, that is obvious ,and perhaps it's time to bring in Tom Davies again. Everton are also developing a bad habit of conceding first and in the last three games against average teams.
20 Posted 25/09/2016 at 12:54:18
Mirallas is no winger.
Neither is Deulofeu.
Barkley is no different.
Lukaku is still getting no service.
Barry is getting no younger, but with no ready made replacement.
And the defence still crumbles once pressure is applied. Yet, Galloway was sent out on loan.
21 Posted 25/09/2016 at 13:06:57
22 Posted 25/09/2016 at 13:08:19
Everton for me can be a dangerous team on their day. I fear though the squad is still thin on quality, therefore we will struggle to find consistency week to week. It's still early days so no panic yet.
I can see us having a dip in the market come January mind if these type of performances get more frequent. Really need a result against Palace now to get back on track.
23 Posted 25/09/2016 at 13:13:34
So they can do it... just not all the time... and I don't mean physical fitness-wise.
But mental fitness?? Maybe there's more than Barkley with a problem... So why?
1) Just a bad day at the office?
2) They can't be arsed? like Mike Gaynes says, plain over-confidence?
3) The New Manager bounce has worn off and they've reverted to their Martinez "can't be arsed" mode.
Thing is there are more arses to kick than Koeman has feet to boot with and a shortage of replacements if his auld Dutch leg gets tired.
You'll be earning your £6M Ron. Hop to it mate. Kick Arse, good style... Or Moshiri might have to kick yours.
24 Posted 25/09/2016 at 13:29:52
We were totally outplayed and outfought. But on the latter, how would anyone expect it to be any different when you play with 3 players (Barkley, Lukaku and Mirallas/Delofeu) who have no notion of closing down and winning possession?
The lack of any half-time changes was very surprising since it was clear that a structural adjustment was going to be required to change the course of the game. Only the (too) late bringing on of Valencia and so going 4-3-3 attempted this. In particular, the replacement of Mirallas by Deulofeu just gave us more of the same.
25 Posted 25/09/2016 at 13:30:44
Our start is good when you consider what happened in the last two seasons, so give Koeman and Walsh time because if we as fans can see the problem, I'm sure a top manager and top player for Barcelona and Holland can!
26 Posted 25/09/2016 at 13:42:40
He was really chuffed 8 days ago, but totally pissed off yesterday. Klopp has been in virtually the same situation at Liverpool, and it's only now clicking into place for them, but they have the same points as us. (I don't want to talk about Liverpool, but quite a few posts are saying how well they and others are doing, when in fact there doesn't seem to me to be that much difference, Man City being the stand-out exception.)
So I'll go back to what I said @1, there seeming to be a little bit of over-reaction to this week's events. Up to this week we've handled the games comfortably, and I'm hoping we do it again against Palace.
27 Posted 25/09/2016 at 13:52:12
Instead, we got a display that bordered on negligent. The attitude yesterday and Tuesday was awful. What has happened to the fight shown after Boro took the lead last Saturday?
Maybe Koeman's management style is not going down too well with the team / squad. I suspect something happened this week behind the scenes and it has unsettled things.
Koeman himself was very stroppy during his pre-match conference. His comment after the Norwich game that he played the best 11 available was surely wrong. The best 11 would have been the 11 who beat Boro, bar any injuries.
Something's not right. Friday's game v Palace will tell us if we are right to worry or this week has been a blip and just one of them things.
28 Posted 25/09/2016 at 13:54:38
For far too long, we have been suffering very ordinary sides getting results against us, like this week. Koeman coming out and talking crap like our former manager makes it even worse.
29 Posted 25/09/2016 at 14:57:10
Teams have a right go and we revert to the Martinez days. It'll still take a couple of months to eradicate fully. Barkley seems to have a great game then just slips back into uselessness he needs to sort himself out. Gerry to start on Friday for me.
30 Posted 25/09/2016 at 15:39:33
31 Posted 25/09/2016 at 16:40:53
The substitutions were too late and the wrong ones in my opinion, Barkley should've been off at half-time and Cleverley has never influenced a match in his career.
It's okay saying Koeman is trying to get over his philosophy you need the players clever enough and determined enough to take it on board... and sadly, we have too many players not capable of doing this.
32 Posted 25/09/2016 at 16:57:15
What did I do in a past life to be reborn as a Blue?
33 Posted 25/09/2016 at 17:19:10
34 Posted 25/09/2016 at 18:20:40
35 Posted 25/09/2016 at 20:50:55
There were players out there who were just not able to move with the ease that we have seen previously. I thought that the very fact that when Cleverley came on in a centre-mid position he looked far better in quickness of thought and deed than both Barry and Gana when in my opinion that is definitely not the case when all three are fit and feeling strong.
Seems to me we will have plenty more ups and downs yet but, if we can see improvement in all departments after each window, then we may be in a better position to either praise manager and board or indeed castigate them.
Friday night is a little early to be called and 'Acid Test' but it may throw up problems that we will need to deal with urgently in the next two windows.
Keep the faith, lads and lasses, and who knows this time next year we will be a consistent team with the necessary back-up in each position. Until then hold tight and keep taking the medication.
UP THE BLUES
36 Posted 25/09/2016 at 20:59:04
It's not the end of the world but a solid reality check. 6 games in, 5 against teams currently in bottom half. We've had a solid start but no more than that.
37 Posted 25/09/2016 at 21:56:51
Occasionally you have games likes this in the EPL; they were at the top of their game, we were well below our game and the bounce of the ball never seemed to fall our way all match. Heads up, Evertonians we will be back!
38 Posted 25/09/2016 at 22:08:12
We have only Lukaku and Coleman who are genuine top 4 players in my opinion. I like our new signings, good players all, but top 4 players, not for me I'm afraid; as for the others, mid-table quality in the main.
We have a good enough manager, but we are lacking on the player front that's our ongoing problem.
39 Posted 25/09/2016 at 23:26:57
All we need is another 5 top class players to build around Coleman & Lukaku. Presumably the remaining 4 players on the pitch can be any willing Sunday League player.
So there you go, Ron, problem solved mate. Spunk £200M on 5 'top class' players... doesn't matter who or where they play... we're gonna win the league thanks to Raymond Fox!
40 Posted 25/09/2016 at 23:46:23
41 Posted 26/09/2016 at 02:32:18
We had a good start and we all got a bit excited so let's see some steady improvement over the coming months and see where we are come January.
42 Posted 26/09/2016 at 06:50:12
I'm at a loss to decipher why we start each game slowly and tentatively instead of hitting the opposition early with high intensity and letting them know they are in for a rough ride. We seem to give everyone a head start and end up chasing the game by half-time... totally unacceptable in my opinion.
Back to Saturday, and with Bolasie totally ineffective, why didn't Koeman give Lennon the last 30 mins? We all know Lennon will run his legs off for the team and also provides a goal threat when he gets in the box, something Bolasie has failed to demonstrate so far.
43 Posted 26/09/2016 at 13:02:49
Man Utd, Man City etc don't shell out fortunes each season for fun, do they? We have spent good money but they're still players the money clubs don't want!
44 Posted 26/09/2016 at 13:41:58
I was cautious after the good run of results because, when we analyse it, we still have the likes of Cleverley, Lennon, Kone, Oviedo playing significant roles. I don't think Barkley will reach his potential and we have too many players who are good for 1 game in 3. I think we all hoped that Koeman would sweep through the club and get rid of all of the dead wood but it didn't happen.
I'm still optimistic though because I think we now have a longer-term plan as a club. Koeman is a good manager and will get things right given the resources. We need some positive announcement on a waterside development and to make Goodison intimidating again for away sides. Hopefully we can bring in some reinforcements in January.
45 Posted 26/09/2016 at 15:04:33
Koeman is no fool and wouldn't have accepted the role if he was presented improbable objectives for his first season in charge. Therefore I'd suspect a top half finish would be the realistic target for season one, and we can expect a season of ups and downs.
46 Posted 26/09/2016 at 16:56:18
God help us if Palace get a point...
47 Posted 26/09/2016 at 17:27:12
It has been basically the same all season and when the other team scores first, then it's all uphill. Hopefully certain things will change for the Palace game and we see this Everton side really taking charge early on.
48 Posted 26/09/2016 at 19:13:44
I have to disagree with you... We need 7 or 8 top class players to play beside Coleman, Lukaku, Gana. There are a couple of good players in the team: Barry, Williams, who are very useful, but, not for the long term, due to there age.
The three Musketeers: Barkley, Mirallas and Deulofeu have blagged it now for too long, and will not turn top Class,contrary to some supporters views. Koeman knows we need radical change, but needs time.
People are saying we should beat ' the likes of Bournemouth and Palace. Without realising that these teams are just as well equipped to turn over an above-average, but not top six team, such as ourselves. After all, we did buy one of their players... and could do with buying a couple more!
49 Posted 27/09/2016 at 10:39:41
50 Posted 27/09/2016 at 16:07:51
Possible overreaction from some but I can't help feeling there is still a lack of passion in the playing staff when compared to the RS.
A few on TW agreed there should be a big clean out over the summer. Clearly this didn't happen. Does this mean we still have some rotten apples within? Or is this equally an overreaction?
51 Posted 28/09/2016 at 15:11:07
I am hoping Bolasie is different and, whilst he often over does it with the fancy stuff, I think he can still keep his head up and deliver good ball into Rom from either foot. Geri should be standing head and shoulders above players with the speed and skill the lad has but he often looks like he couldn't be bothered.
I think Koeman tried to work hard with Mirallas and Geri in pre-season to boost their confidence but it looks like both don't have the desire to work their asses off, week-in & week-out, to prove they are top players.
52 Posted 28/09/2016 at 15:44:44
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