Each week, ‘In On Goal’ co-hosts Colin Murray and Dion Dublin give your their expert reaction and analysis from the weekend’s Premier League football. Don’t forget to tune into ‘In On Goal’ every Friday for your weekly football fix with previews and predictions of the weekend’s Premier League action.
A week is a long time in football, but David Unsworth will have wished he’d had longer to work on an Everton side who showed little improvement on their recent form.
Seven days ago, Ronald Koeman was still packing his bags and clearing out his locker at Finch Farm. While Everton’s midweek performance at Stamford Bridge in the League Cup showed improvement, Leicester City yesterday highlighted just how much work the Everton caretaker has in front of him.
Whether he’ll get the chance to demonstrate his leadership skills with the first team remains to be seen, but there is certainly a huge task ahead of him if he’s to make his current situation permanent.
The aging backline that includes Phil Jagielka, Ashley Williams and Leighton Baines has never been blessed with pace, but against the Leicester trio of Gray, Mahrez and Vardy, their speed appeared glacial at times as they were ruthlessly carved open with ease, and that’s got to be a big worry for Everton.
Leicester play well on the counter attack and were frankly never troubled by Everton’s brief spells of pressure. Granted, the Toffees were better in the second half, but as the clocks went back over the weekend, it was clear that time is not on Unsworth’s side.
Unless he picks up a win in his next couple of games, you’d have to bet on Farhad Moshiri and Bill Kenwright making a move for Sean Dyche to try and steer them out of what appears to be a relegation battle, and a very long hard winter ahead for the blue half of Merseyside.
The most worrying thing for Everton is that you can’t identify three sides in the League that are worse than them at the moment. Crystal Palace and Bournemouth who currently sit just below them in the table both play better football than Everton. The teams sat just above them, Swansea and West Ham, both have more goals in them and West Brom and Stoke both have more fight.
West Brom and Tony Pulis will feel rightly proud of their display against Manchester City at the weekend, limiting the League leaders to a slender one goal advantage.
Manchester City never looked like getting beaten, but for those thinking West Brom were next in line for a comprehensive beating from Manchester City were proved wrong, as Pulis’ side put up a dogged display and came away with a score line that most in the league would be proud of at the moment – even if it still earned them no points.
The way in which Manchester City have been battering teams makes them head and shoulders the early favourites to lift the trophy in May, but could they do what Arsenal’s invincibles did 13 years ago and go the whole campaign unbeaten? Only time will tell, but you wouldn’t bet against it on their current form.
Meanwhile the chasing pack kept the pressure on Pep’s men, with Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United all winning.
In fact, out of the top six, it was only Tottenham who took nothing from the weekend, with no Kane and no points from their trip to Old Trafford. Despite Guardiola’s insulting comments a few weeks ago, Tottenham are more than just ‘The Harry Kane’ team but they certainly did miss him. When your best striker is absent, it’s always going to leave a bit of a hole that Manchester United exploited to keep the pressure on their city rivals.
For the most part, it was a business as usual at both ends of the table with the leaders leading and the strugglers struggling, and for Everton they’ve got to hope they can claw themselves above at least three teams this season, as they’d probably settle for 17th place in May if it were offered to them now.
Whether they’ll achieve it remains to be seen. Whoever is in the manager’s dugout in December, they will be putting Premiership survival at the top of their Christmas list – even if they haven’t been good this year.
Don’t forget to tune into ‘In On Goal’ every Friday for your weekly football fix with previews and predictions of the weekend’s Premier League action.