By Matthew Brady
Evertonians may be the only fans in the top flight grateful for the international break respite as their slump in form was confirmed by a 5-0 drubbing at Chelsea last weekend.
The defeat at Stamford Bridge was a demoralising one. Koeman’s tactical gambled backfired spectacularly as his 5-man defence was torn to shreds by Eden Hazard and company.
It paints a very different picture to the one fans were hoping for at the start of the summer.
A wave of optimism swept across the club following the appointment of the legendary Ronald Koeman, backed by the significant investment of former Arsenal shareholder Farhad Moshiri.
There were promises of a new stadium to usher in a new era as household names like Juan Mata and Axel Witsel were linked with a move to the Toffees.
Yet fast-forward to November and the blue half of Merseyside are currently ruefully shaking their heads again, hopelessly accustomed to the club’s underachievement in the Premier League.
The footballing luminaries still haven’t flocked to Goodison Park, a new stadium remains unannounced, and now Koeman has divided Evertonians with recent comments on Romelu Lukaku: “His potential is greater and higher than Everton. If Romelu was to play at Everton until the end of his career I know he has left something behind.”
The Dutchman’s opinion has certainly sparked debate. Everton fan website NSNO.co.uk has a discussion relating to the comments that has been viewed over 2000 times.
While opinions amongst fans is certainly split, the Blues’ majority shareholder Moshiri has defended his manager, claiming his comments to a Belgian newspaper were “taken out of context”.
Everton have won just one of their last seven games in all competitions and have relied on Lukaku, who’s scored as many league goals as the rest of the squad combined.
However, there is still a long way to go this campaign and they sit in a respectable 7th place while a busy January transfer window now looks inevitable.
They also seem to have solved their leaky defence, a hallmark of Roberto Martinez’s reign, and before last weekend they enjoyed the second-best defensive record in the division. This has been put down to Koeman’s intensive training methods as well as two key new signings: Ashley Williams and the tireless protection provided by Idrissa Gana Gueye.
Everton hope that a home game against strugglers Swansea will be the perfect remedy for their current predicament.