Everton fell to a disappointing home defeat to Burnley on Sunday as their underwhelming start to the season continues. The visitors took the lead thanks to a great team goal that culminated in a composed finish from Republic of Ireland international Jeff Hendrick. Although the defending was questionable, it was an excellent goal for the Clarets and underlined that they do have a lot of technical ability in their team to complement the aggression. Here are three things learnt from the match at Goodison Park:
If you buy mid-table players, you become a mid-table team
During the summer, Everton received a lot of praise for their recruitment with some pundits tipping them for a Champions League push. Their big-name signings included Jordan Pickford, Michael Keane and Gylfi Sigurdsson all of whom finished in the bottom half of the table last season. Although they shone in their respective teams, it is a huge ask for all three to step-up at the same time to start for an Everton side with ambition.
The biggest problem with the club’s summer transfer window was their failure to replace Romelu Lukaku. It was impossible for the Toffees to keep hold of the Belgian, but they had lots of time to source suitable replacements. The fact that Oumar Niasse was their striker against Burnley is a problem, as it is well known that the 27-year-old hasn’t been a part of Ronald Koeman’s plans since the Dutchman took charge. With every passing game, their recruitment is looking worse and worse.
Burnley have solved their away blues
Last season, the Clarets struggled on the road and didn’t post their first away win until the final days of April. They have already accumulated eight points from their first four away matches of the season against Chelsea, Tottenham, Liverpool and Everton. Even the most optimistic of Burnley supporters would have expected four losses.
Sean Dyche is proving himself to be one of the best pound-for-pound managers in the Premier League and he doesn’t get the credit that he deserves. Burnley, like Dyche, are seen as unfashionable by the national media, but that won’t concern them. It was a typically determined performance from the players and the three points has seen them climb to 6th in the table. They won’t be getting carried away, but they have started well and look at home in the top flight.
Koeman doesn’t know his best team
The constant rotation hasn’t helped Everton as they have yet to find their rhythm on the pitch. The Europa League has been a hindrance in that regard as they made three changes from the team that beat Bournemouth last weekend. It was an odd decision to start Nikola Vlasic ahead of Davy Klaassen, as the Dutchman was signed for big money and dropping him for an untested teenager won’t help his confidence.
A big problem with Everton’s recruitment was that they signed a lot of players that operate in similar positions. It was always going to be a near impossible task to fit Davy Klaassen, Wayne Rooney, Tom Davies and Gylfi Sigurdsson in the same eleven. Only one of them started on Sunday and that was Sigurdsson. Even though he was the only one in the line-up, he was still used in a wide position and he isn’t going to be effective in that role. Koeman needs to settle on a first eleven or the results will continue to underwhelm.