It’s eight games now since Everton’s confidence-inspiring 3-1 win over Middlesbrough took them into second place in the table and had many supporters and observers wondering if a switch had been flipped at Goodison Park – one where the potential locked away in a side that badly under-performed last season was gradually being unleashed by the arrival of Ronald Koeman.
As subsequent performances and results have demonstrated, starting with the defeat at home to Norwich in the League Cup, the Blues may now be harder to beat — that EFL Cup loss and the 5-0 thrashing by Chelsea notwithstanding — but they have found goals and inspiration going forward hard to come by.
Everton have picked up just one victory in those eight matches in all competitions and, far from the broom sweeping away the questionable methods and attitudes of the Roberto Martinez era, there’s a feeling that there is still something fundamentally amiss in the team under Koeman.
It’s got the fanbase eagerly awaiting the January transfer window to see if Koeman and Steve Walsh can unearth the remedy for his team’s malaise but there’s a lot to be said for the argument that a coach of his experience and repute should surely be able to get more out of the squad he has than he currently is.
Or do the issues that became evident over the past two seasons under his predecessor run so deep that an overhaul of the playing staff is the only solution? It’s hard to pinpoint precisely but what is clear is that Everton are playing at the moment without an identifiable style or any discernible pattern.
And there are big question marks over their collective mentality and their apparent inability to really rouse themselves until they’ve fallen a goal behind, usually on the back of a sluggish first-half performance. Today was yet another example; owing the supporters a reaction to their drubbing at Chelsea, Koeman’s players ended up having to be shaken at half-time into a response not only to their lack of reaction to the debacle at Stamford Bridge but also the fact that they had gone into the interval a goal down.
It was all so inevitable given the general lack of thrust and guile that had characterised Everton’s first 45 minutes. Granted, Swansea had come determined to press, harry and generally deny the Blues any space and Bob Bradley’s men deserve credit for the way they went about their business, particularly before half time. But the home team’s lack of movement, fluidity and simple passing options made it a painful watch for the Goodison faithful.
While Martinez’s Everton were guilty of over-passing, they were at least usually able to move the ball through midfield before hitting an invisible wall around the edge of the opposition penalty area. So often Koeman’s version seem unable to move the ball beyond the centre halves, with Phil Jagielka and Ashley Williams routinely looking in vain for passing lanes and men dropping deep the pick up the ball.
So it was Swansea, who had a lot less trouble pinging the ball through the centre of the park, who were able to establish the early momentum while Everton struggled to give their subdued fans anything to get excited about beyond Romelu Lukaku’s early sight of goal from the angle four minutes that Lukas Fabianski was equal to with a low save by his near post.
And it was the visitors who came very close to scoring after 17 minutes when Jordi Amat connected with a corner from the right that he glanced inches over the crossbar before the Blues finally started to make some inroads, both times through the mercurial Yannick Bolasie.
The Congolese hammered a 26th-minute cross into the centre that was far too strong for Lukaku to react in time and it bounced off the Belgian and over the bar. Bolasie’s next delivery was weighted better though and Ross Barkley, who had started the move with some silky footwork and powerful running, knocked it smartly past his marker but then fluffed his lines with just the goalkeeper to beat by bouncing his effort a yard wide.
Had that gone in, you suspect the contest might have panned out more like they did in the last home game against West Ham but, instead, things unravelled at the other end thanks to another clumsily-conceded penalty by Jagielka. Gylfi Sigurdsson had wriggled away from the Everton captain but then fell under his awkward challenge leaving referee Martin Atkinson with an easy decision to make in pointing to the spot.
There would be no heroics from Stekelenburg like there were at the Etihad Stadium last month, with Sigurdsson sending the Dutch ‘keeper the wrong way with a confidently-despatched spot kick high into the other side of the net.
Stung into action, what was arguably Everton’s best move of the match a couple of minutes later almost yielded an immediate equaliser when Bolasie was threaded in beautifully by Lukaku but Fabianski stood up well and blocked his shot behind for a corner.
Koeman said after the match that he’d asked his players at the break why they needed to fall behind before they finally started playing and it’s a fair question because they certainly were more purposeful and direct in the second half where it was mostly one-way traffic towards the Gwladys Street End. With Idrissa Gueye back in the side after suspension and easily the standout performer on the pitch, much of what Swansea tried to do in the second period was stymied as the Senegalese intervened time and and time again.
What was worrying, however, was that Everton didn’t create a genuinely clear-cut chance until Seamus Coleman popped up a minute from the end of the regulation 90 to steer a header into the top corner and spare the Blues the agony of a first home defeat of the season.
They would send 37 crosses into the box over the 90 minutes but hardly any of them found an Everton head and only one of them ended with an effort on goal, a laudable effort from Bolasie who rose above his marker but couldn’t get enough power on it to trouble the goalkeeper.
For the rest of the half, Koeman’s men seemed hellbent on demonstrating just how ineffective they can be from dead-ball situations. Corner after corner either sailed straight into Fabianski’s hands, failed to beat the first man or was easily headed clear, while the Pole saved Barkley’s direct free kick fairly easily and Leighton Baines drove another into the defensive wall.
Turning in vain to his bench, Koeman threw on Gerard Deulofeu for Aaron Lennon (who had offered almost nothing) in the 66th minute and then replaced James McCarthy (who had offered almost nothing) with Kevin Mirallas six minutes after that. If you were charitable, you’d say that the Spaniard at least provided a bit more movement and some different energy but he was unable to significantly influence proceedings and, like Bolasie later in stoppage time, he was guilty of poor decision-making when he elected an over-ambitious shot from way out that missed the target by miles when better options were on ahead of him. Mirallas...? Well, he offered almost nothing.
The manager’s final throw of the dice was to pull Jagielka off with four minutes left and bolster his forward line with the addition of Enner Valencia, a move that Sigurdsson almost exploited soon afterwards but was foiled by Stekelenburg. But despite the extra bodies in attack, it didn’t look as though the Blues were any closer to equalising until, out of the blue, they did.
A cross from the right was cleared to Bolasie on the edge of the box, he hooked it into the area looking for Lukaku, Amat was only able to head it into the air and Coleman rose to plant an inch-perfect header past Fabianski’s despairing grasp.
The players and Goodison were energised into a push for a winner in injury time and it almost came when Amat cut out Baines’s cross from the left and the ball fell to Bolasie but the Spanish defender recovered in time to clear the Everton man’s shot that was otherwise destined for the net.
Had that gone in, it would simultaneously have been just reward for Everton’s territorial dominance but also have masked some serious underlying issues that are ongoing impediments to Koeman’s goal of European qualification this season. Most glaring, again, is the absence of a reliable system, of an identifiable pattern of play and a consistent starting XI.
Evertonian eyes are on January but there are eight games — or almost a quarter of the season — between now and the time any new additions could be acquired. It behooves Koeman and his staff in the meantime to redouble their efforts to not only find a combination that is going to yield results during what is now a more demanding schedule until the end of the year but to uncover why there appears to be such a lack of motivation among his charges until they have brought adversity upon themselves.
Everton needed a reaction to their heavy defeat at Chelsea as Swansea City came to Merseyside with crisis looming over new manager Bob Bradley. Baines displaced Funes Mori, with McCarthy and Lennon also starting.
There was some good forward momentum from Everton in the early forays until backward play ended up putting unneeded pressure on the defence. Barkley played a good ball in to Lukaku's feet and the big man made space to fire at Fabianski.
Williams gave away a soft corner, Baines deflecting the shot behind for a second corner that was defended away but Swansea continued to press the Blues back. Jagielka and Coleman took each other out defending a lofted ball and finally Baines got the ball forward to Bolasie but it broke down when Gueye lost the ball.
Lukaku failed to hold up an easy ball played up to him, then Bolasie lost possession as the home side showed little sign of playing any better than they had in the dreadful defeat to Chelsea, allowing Swansea to pass the ball around at will until LeRoy Fer fired high over the bar.
Williams fouled and stayed down injured, giving away a poor free kick in a dangerous spot, right in front of goal, well set up for Sigurdsson; Stekelnburg did well to turn his set-piece shot behind, despite a slight deflection off the kick, Swansea heading over from the corner. Then Barrow and Sigurdsson almost combined to threaten the Everton goal, with the Blues defence all at sea.
Gueye tried the clever ball wide to Coleman but inexcusably overhit it out for a goalkick. Bolasie got a chance to run and cross but it was straight to a Swans defender and they were on the attack again.
Barkley did very well to beat four players and get the ball out to Bolasie who crossed hard, a perfect delivery for Lukaku to convert at the far post but it was a much harder cross than the big man could handle at an awkward height; however, a top striker really would have scored.
Much better play from Barkley and Bolasie and a superb turn by Barkley but he scuffed his shot agonizingly wide when he looked certain to score, and flung himself down in a mad fit of pique with himself at the lost opportunity.
Swansea were building with confident and accurate passing that got them through Everton midfield with far too much ease. But Lennon got forward and won Everton their first corner for Baines to deliver high into the arms of Fabianski. Gueye did well to poke the ball off Naughton and prevent danger from developing.
Barkley again tried to create space but passed out wide rather than driving forward. Everton pressure eventually won a free-kick for a high boot and Barkley curled it around the wall but not past Fabianski
Swansea got forward, and Jagielka put in a clumsy half-challenge from behind and a simple call for Atkinson: Penalty, smashed home by Sigurrdsson, with Jagielka booked.
A free kick wide left after a Naughton foul was very poorly delivered in by Barkley. Some brilliant passing released Bolasie who took and extra touch and Fibianski was out sharply to narrow all the angles.
A really maddening half from a Blues side that struggled for long periods but showed three moments of magic that should have produced three goals. Instead they went in a goal down to a round of groans from some frustrated Blues fans.
Lukaku's pace won a corner early in the second half but Williams could only head Barkley's delivery behind. The scrappy midfield play continued until Everton put together a better passing move that ended with a blocked header off Bolasie. More sweeping football and a good quick cross from Colman was cut out before it reached Lukaku.
Lukaku pressed Fernandez, forcing another corner but Fabianski saw Barkley's high delivery all the way, as the more determined play finally roused the Goodison faithful. Better pressure drew another corner and this time Baines played on outswinger but it was not clever enough.
Smart play involving some good touches from McCarthy ended with a looping cross to Lukaku that was too high and picked off by Fabianski. Lukaku was fouled near the dee and it was a chance for Baines to drill it into the wall. Lennon was like a terrier driving into the Swansea area but it was more like pinball off the defenders than cultured passing as the Blues scraped and scrapped to make scoring opportunities even half as good as the ones they had squandered in the first half.
At least the pace of the game was far better than the first half but it looked that Swansea had weathered the barrage and Baines was booked or a mistimed lunge. Swansea came very close to scoring a second off a superb delivery.
Lukaku was again denied a good ball in and McCarthy drove a distant shot wide before Lennon was withdrawn in favour of Deulofeu. Most of the play was still in the Swansea half but they were holding their shape well enough to prevent Everton from getting close enough to test Fabianski. Deulofeu's first corner was defended away but he had brought some new life with Mirallas the next change, replacing McCarthy.
Everton continued to press from the flanks but Barkley was booked for dissent after he was called for a ridiculous collision with Sigurdsson.
Deulofeu was taking far too long to get his crosses in, and when he did, they were poorly directed. Deulofeu saw a chance to shoot but sliced it wide of the goal. Deulofeu then tried to beat Fabianski to a high bouncing ball but the keeper was out sharply to control it. Taylor gave up another corner, that Baines took off Deulofeu but it was straight into Fabianski's arms at the second attempt.
Into the final 10 minutes, and for all their vim and vigour, there was nothing to show for it. The final throw of the dice from a frustrated Koeman was to pull Jagielka and put on yet another attacker in the shape of Enner Valencia.
Cork and Sigurdsson almost conjoured up a second for the visitors as it appeared that the plethora of strikers were doing little more than get in each others way but a ball looped in by Bolasie and headed out was then nodded into the top corner by Coleman, much to the relief of a hugely frustrated Goodison crowd.
Into 4 minutes of added time and Deulofeu was booked. Bolasie tried a clever volley but smacked it over. Deulofeu crossed in but Fabianski took it easily as Everton went all out for a winner, but could only rue those tremendous missed opportunities in front of their lowest crowd of the season so far.
From My Seat: Swansea City (H)
A dull morning with rain in L4 as we muster in the room of nonsense and discuss that game at Chelsea and after much discussion we agreed on the best description we could give it was ‘They were far and away better than us on the day’ plus some scathing remarks regarding lack of fight.
Still this is another game and against a team with a new manager who hasn’t won in four previous games and his team second bottom of the league so surely three points would be nailed on and keep our place well up the table. Quickly this was countered with yes be we are Everton and we always find a way to disappoint on such occasions. It was also pointed out that after the long international break with many players away and arriving back with not much time for much game prep we are often substandard. I came in full of the joys now I was glad when the teams came in to distract me from doom and gloom.
The team was well received and many were calling in the bookies on the way up to bet on such scores as 3.4 or indeed 5-0 wins for the Blues. I have been around this block before so I walked on by. Goodison road was heaving and the queue at the Blue Dragon was long but today orderly along the footpath rather than across the road. In fact all the outlets were doing well with the Hat and Scarf stall back in position and attracting many visitors.
Into the ground in time for Z-Cars and it being a cold day many of us had our ‘Big coats ‘ on and with the Goodison seats being so narrow a row full of people were glad we did not have anyone slightly overweight as we already resembled the Michelin men.
The niceties over the game got underway and for a short time we looked lively and Barkley got on the ball and made space and fed in a forward ball to Lukaku who took it well and shot at goal but unfortunately didn’t catch it quite right and the keeper fell to his post and gathered.
Then the rot started to set in. Fair-play to Barkley he was looking to get on the ball by finding a bit of space and looking to set something up but it became noticeable that each time he got the ball, looked up and no movement which left him with two options. Play it forward anyway or go back to keep retention of the ball. Snag with that was when he chose to keep the ball and went back there were rumblings from the sell-out crowd which he didn’t deserve as well has not doing his confidence any good.
With passing back Swansea pushed on quickly and we saw things getting a bit panicky. Firstly Ashley Williams gave a corner away with an unforced error and from its partial clearance Baines deflected a shot for a second corner. Swansea picked up on this and pushed on more now and from one push we had the ‘Comic Cuts’ moment when Jags and Coleman collided the ball took on a life of its own and squirted out from between them.
One of my mates said’ Are they deaf or blind’ anyhow Baines got them out of a hole by claiming the ball and finding Bolasie who went this way and that like a man in need of a map but he eventually found Gana who dallied on the ball and lost it.
We then went into a stage where we seemed to have little knowhow and even less of a clue regarding what game plan we had received. Bolasie ran at pace twisting and turning without having much idea of what came next. We seemed to have more players standing still than finding space. Horribly it brought back memories of our debacle at the Bridge.
As a onetime target that we nearly signed Leroy Fer shot wildly over the bar I was just glad Swansea were not as clinical as Chelsea. Williams fouled a Swansea player and hurt himself giving away a kick in a dangerous position especially if you have someone like Sigurdsson and they did. The Stek made an outstanding save from the Icelanders kick.
The half wore on and the weather seemed to get colder as players variously either lost the ball or made poor passes and when it came to crossing or shooting ‘Oh dear’ Barkley was trying to knit things together but was lacking team- mates showing for the ball. He did manage to start the move that so nearly brought that so important first goal.
Leaving about four of their players for dead he moved the ball on to Bolasie who hit one at ferocious pace across goal right at Rom and from the centre of that unguarded goal the ball hit him and went over the bar. Whether Rom could have done better he alone will know but I thought it was hit far too hard at him. Great chance though.
Barkley was at it again just minutes later when he combined very well with Bolasie who had at that moment his real football head on and fed Barkley to feet whose turn took three or four defenders out of the game and just as ‘Goal’ was in our throats he mishit his shot and it merely scuttled wide. His actions showed no-one needed to tell him he had cats that up.
The half was winding down with us pressing more but sadly without much purpose. Things seemed too hurried too hit and miss even the odd corners we gained sailed into the keepers arms. ‘Swing it away from him a bit’ someone yelled - I agreed. Just when I thought we would get in all square at the break and Big Ron could get stuck into them Jags is at his party piece again. A tackle in the box felled a player and just to make sure Jags followed up. No argument a pen it was.
All I will say is Sigurdsson gave a master class in the art of penalty taking. Keeper the wrong way and the net almost off its fastenings We did create a chance just before the break when an exchange of passes at pace in the final third got in Bolasie one on one with the keeper he took the extra touch and the keeper was out narrowing the angle and the chance was gone. I only he had lifted his head and looked he would have seen Lennon had made up ground was open and just needed the square pass to tap home and one all would have done the world of good for fans and players. So half time it was with the players trooping off to a chorus of boos from some quarters.
The chat at H/T was not complimentary with some saying it was like watching the last manager’s efforts I just said I thought it was a bit early to be making those remarks. Disappointment weighs heavy on Evertonians. Yet with more poise and confidence we could have been three goals to the good and a whole different conversation.S
econd half and from the off you could see the same patterns and mistakes but at greater pace. Some of that pace was shown by Lukaku who forced a corner which again came to nought. Scrappy midfield play was stunting the game now and no doubt Gareth Barry is a big miss. Finding a player like him who can create whilst being a shield for the back four will be no easy task. I reckon anyone as good as Barry but younger would be looking for Champions league football and cost a container full of readies. Crosses were off the mark, Shots either hurried and /or blocked.
The travelling Swans fans sang out that our ground is a library and they were right except for the fact that of all my years of following the Blues the crowd always needs the players to produce stuff that gets them going and when they do they would blow a library’s roof off. Perhaps that might be relayed to the players and if they gave us play to roar on then a rocking Goodison could rack up the points.
If I describe all the happenings of the second half it would send you to sleep or bore the pants off you as it was same old same old. We put some good stuff together and fail in the final third, we take corners that are catching practice for the keeper and from good spells of play we always look a touch vulnerable to a quick counter. Yes we are more up for it second half and operating at a better pace but it seems from my seat that we just lack that bit of class and guile to hurt a packed defence. Ross was better today but he wasn’t helped by other players dragging their players about and a mid-fielder who gets beyond our striker. We attack it’s broken up and they break at pace Baines fouls and a superb free kick is delivered into our box and the strike was close-very close.
The manager tried change on the hour mark with Deulofeu replacing Lennon who had not really shone this action was repeated some 6mins later when Mirallas replaced McCarthy…..This move did get us going with more intent and the crowd did start to get more interested but although we had the most of the attacking we were met by a determined defence willing to put bodies on the line to get the first win for their new manager which was working as there American manager was getting more vocal and animated as each of our attacks was thwarted.
Bolasie demonstrated his inconsistency with some very good dribbles leading to attacks to some atrocious crosses that put the Winslow in more danger than their goal. Deulofeu on the other hand was all blistering pace but from when he first came to us he would quickly get to the by-line and whip a dangerous low cross in but now he holds on to the ball getting to the by-line checking back then trying a dribble along the by-line and losing the ball to either a smart clearance or a corner and at no time threatening the goal. Hell it can get frustrating for the voyeur. Changes made and nothing to show for an improved performance as the Swansea lads would not give an inch as those three points were paramount to them.
Seven mins to go and we may as well lose 2-0 as 1-0 as Valencia was sent on to replace Jags. ‘Gung Ho’ was the cry but it was Swansea who tried to breach our weakened back line and Sigurdsson was put in one on one but the Stek spread himself and averted ignominy. Then on 89mins with not much hope left along with quite a lot of fans who had seen enough Bolasie goes on one of twisting turning dribbling sprees and his wild movement was akin to a Jackie Jumper but he did get a high loop on his cross and a Swansea defender was first to it but headed it back up in the air and not too far out and there was the captain of Ireland to rise and loop one into the top corner of the goal and just out of reach of a very tall goalkeeper and into the net.
Now all thoughts of libraries was forgotten as the real Goodison roar was in town. 4mins extra went up and the roar was unabated but alas that winning goal was not forthcoming. On the whistle many of those who roared the lads on now booed them off. I was pleased it was but half hearted.
MotM — Barkley for me.
It’s strange watching Everton at the moment and I think it stems from a change of manager and a few decent results early doors giving fans a hope that may just not be there at the moment.
I don’t think the players we have are particularly poor players but watching them game in game out you realise there is something missing and we have many a chat about this in the room of nonsense. My take is that Koeman knows what he wants in the methods to be used for our play but at the moment some of the players he has just not up to it at the moment and that is a reason I believe that we don’t play as a team with some players not fully understanding their own role and that of others hence the slowness of play in build-up and final third. A great example was watching Chelsea attack from back to front and then watch our efforts although painful.
Should Koeman change his methods to suit the players at his disposal or stick with his philosophy knowing it can’t come to fruition until a couple more transfer windows? I certainly don’t know but all I can do is wish the manager and the procurement team the best of luck in getting in the players the manager believes can make his way work. That is also the time that Big Ron can be judged through fans eyes until then keep the faith and hope he can at least keep us in the frame.
It’s coming to that part of the season when I first take note of league tables and epically the one in the first or second week of Dec. Whatever position we are in then I believe we will finish between two places higher or lower. Most unscientific I know but it has often worked.
Southampton next and that is a tough place for us to go plus the added spice of ex Managers. We have got a week to prepare so lets hope lessons are learned and plans and tactics understood and give it a right go.
See you soon
UP THE BLUES
Evertonians — well, this one at the very least — bade a not-so-fond adieu this past week to the final interruption to their club's attempts to gather some momentum in the Premier League as World Cup qualifying and meaningless, premature friendlies exit stage left until March.
Everton's players may have had their international commitments to distract them from the 5-0 defeat at Chelsea last time out but, for Blues fans, it's been a long fortnight to stew over what was a comprehensive mauling by a team that was unrecognisable from the derided mob that eventually cost Jose Mourinho his job this time last year.
Ronald Koeman was right when he emphasised that his team got the same number of points for the defeat as they would have had they only lost by a single goal's margin but he was equally on point when he described the result as “unacceptable” in his pre-match press conference yesterday.
“You can lose but not in the way we lost, not even against Chelsea and how strong they were that day,” the Dutchman told the media. “We made it too easy for them but I am really optimistic we will get a very good reaction this Saturday."
Everton certainly need a reaction, one that speaks to the pain and humiliation that Tom Cleverley's comments suggest the players were feeling as they trudged off the pitch at Stamford Bridge and the matchup they have been handed for their attempt at a riposte is a favourable one.
Swansea City come to Merseyside with their new manager denying they are a club in crisis but their return thus far of a single victory and their lowly position of joint-bottom of the Premier League alongside a similarly chaotic Sunderland would seem to indicate that a crisis is certainly looming unless results improve.
Bob Bradley's introduction to English football hasn't been the stuff of fairytales and he has managed to pick up just one point in four games since assuming the helm at the Liberty Stadium as the somewhat controversial appointment of the Swans' new American owners.
Swansea put up a spirited but vain fight in his first match at the Emirates where they lost 3-2 but successive 3-1 defeats to Stoke City away and Manchester United at home have underscored the size of the job ahead of Bradley and his team.
It means that Everton will have few excuses if they can't get back to winning ways against the kind of opposition they should be beating. Koeman's side are unbeaten at home since he took over and, the frustrating draw with Crystal Palace apart, they have been doing the business on home turf. That bodes well for a game that offers the Blues a chance to get back onto the coat-tails of the top five, depending on how results go elsewhere this weekend.
It's likely to be an emotional occasion for Ashley Williams who meets his old club for the first time since he left them for a new challenge over the summer. He departed Goodison on the winning side back in January having helped Swansea beat Everton in a league match for the first time ever but this time he will be aiming to reverse the teams' fortunes in what is almost certain to be his 10th start for the Blues.
And he looks set to be reunited in defence with Leighton Baines for the first time in two months in what is likely to be a reversion by Koeman to a flat back four after the left back completed his lengthy layoff with a hamstring injury. With Seamus Coleman a lock for the other fullback slot, it means that the manager will have to choose between Phil Jagielka and Ramiro Funes Mori — the former's seniority, status as captain and fewer miles logged on his return from international duty might all combine to ensure he gets the nod.
Koeman is forced into another change in midfield as Gareth Barry serves a one-game ban for accumulating five bookings but Idrissa Gueye is back from his own suspension and James McCarthy's availability following a hamstring strain of his own could see him slot into Barry's place alongside the Senegal international at Tom Cleverley's expense. Many fans would prefer that Tom Davies, the stand-out performer in yellow at Chelsea after coming on as a second-half substitute, but McCarthy would be better bet based on the preference for experience Koeman has demonstrated so far.
Whether there are other changes further forward surely depends on how much Koeman wants to shake things up from a fortnight ago. Kevin Mirallas was the man sacrificed to accommodate a five-man defence but he added precious little to an anaemic attacking display by Everton after being introduced before half-time. Even though he has been talking up the need to step up his performances in recent days, Gerard Deulofeu has flattered to deceive, while Aaron Lennon has looked decidedly ordinary on most of his outings so far.
It suggests that Koeman could opt for more of the same again this week and, presumably, challenge his erratic forward line to prove they're worthy of regular selection.
There's a sense — or perhaps just a hope — that somewhere along the line, this Everton side is going to wallop some unsuspecting team and that, if it's going to happen, it could be against the likes of struggling Swansea. By the same token, Koeman has yet to get the team firing on all cylinders playing consistently effective joined-up football and it may be that fans should focus on victories, however they come for now, while the Dutchman searches for the right blend.
Kick-off 3pm, Saturday 19th November 2016
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Last time: Everton 1 - 2 Swansea City
Predicted Line-up: Stekelenburg, Coleman, Williams, Jagielka, Baines, Gueye, McCarthy, Barkley, Mirallas, Bolasie, Lukaku