On Boxing Day, struggling Wolves recorded a stoppage-time 2-1 win at Everton to move off the bottom of the Premier League table. While there was jubilation for the visiting contingent at Goodison Park, there was almost a sense of inevitability about the goal for the home fans.
Toffees head coach Frank Lampard didn’t just look angry at the concession of the late goal, he looked absolutely livid. He knew that the goal would add pressure on him and his poorly performing players.
The defeat means that Everton is currently just a point above the relegation zone. On recent performances, they could be in for a tough second half of the league campaign.
Calls for Lampard’s head
Lampard also knew that the loss to the then-bottom-of-the-table Wolves would lead to speculation over his future as the Everton boss. The first instinct when teams are doing poorly is to sack the head coach.
Underperforming players can’t be sacked, as they are valuable assets to the club worth millions. So, the next best thing is to sack the head coach. It’s the easy thing to do for club hierarchies across the land. Just ask the last Watford’s hundreds of bosses from the last decade.
Everton is a club looking for stability, but Lampard has been in charge of the club for less than a year. It is understandable that fans and everybody associated with the club want a sense of stability after the madness of the six years of Farhad Moshiri as the club’s majority shareholder.
Everton have to back a head coach to build something solid at some point. The problem is that Lampard’s record with the Toffees is a poor one. His record everywhere else is decent but not great. There are very few signs that the former Derby boss has the managerial acumen to move the team forward.
No doubt most Everton fans are willing Lampard to succeed, as he has a good bond with the club’s support. However, the supporters know that if results keep going against the Toffees, then the former Chelsea boss will be heading for the exit.
Frank Lampard’s managerial record
|Club||Appointed||In charge till||Games||Points per match|
|Derby||18/19 (Jul 1, 2018)||19/20 (Jul 3, 2019)||57||1.63|
|Chelsea||19/20 (Jul 4, 2019)||20/21(Jan25, 2021)||84||1.75|
|Everton||21/22 (Jan31, 2022)||Expected Jun 30, 2024||39||1.10|
Everton invested hundreds of millions to be mediocre
To be fair to Frank Lampard, Everton’s problems go far deeper than who is in the managerial hot seat. The group of players he is attempting to get a tune out of is proving to be mediocre.
Many of the current squad are not good enough to represent the Merseyside club. This is not some delusion by Evertonians, thinking that they should sign elite players. In reality, Evertonians are realistic that they won’t sign the world’s best players in their current situation.
The problem is that Everton has had to bring in cheaper players in recent windows because recruitment has been so poor in the past. The club from Merseyside has wasted hundreds of millions on buying players that were too expensive or not good enough to help the team progress.
The likes of Dwight McNeil and Neal Maupay were brought in on relatively cheap deals because the club were still wrestling with Financial Fair play restrictions in the summer. Both players may be useful in better teams. Neither is a match-winner.
The summer signings of centre-back pair James Tarkowski and Conor Coady were slightly better moves, as they have formed a decent partnership. The return of veteran Senegalese midfielder Idrissa ‘Gana’ Gueye was heralded. However, the midfielder is starting to look his age.
Alongside him in that Everton midfield has been big-money signing and youngster Amadou Onana, who has played in various roles. The Belgian international is raw and probably isn’t ready to play every game in the centre of the Toffees midfield. However, the youngster plays every game due to a lack of quality options. Some have criticised his recent displays, but judging a player with such limited first-team experience would be harsh.
Forwards needed in January
It is unclear if Everton will have funds available to bring in new players in the January transfer window. However, it is imperative that the Toffees manage to bring in attacking players, as the forward options available to Lampard are limited, to say the least.
If England striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin could stay fit, then the Merseyside would have been in far better shape. The former Sheffield United forward has struggled with injuries in recent seasons. He is currently recovering from an injury and lacks match fitness. He may be in the squad for Saturday’s daunting trip to reigning champions Manchester City.
His temporary replacement Maupay has scored just one goal this season. It could be argued that the Frenchman is not a lone striker, however. The service to him could have been better this season, too.
The likes of McNeil, Anthony Gordon and Demarai Gray have all failed to provide goals or assists this season. The trio are underperforming, which is why the Toffees are reportedly looking to bring in another wide player in January.
The club is a mess from top to bottom
While bringing in a few forwards in January may be enough to save the Merseysiders from relegation this season, the bigger picture at Everton is one of a club that is a mess from top to bottom.
The club brought in Kevin Thelwell as Director of football to attempt to put right many of the issues the club has faced recently, such as poor recruitment. Reportedly, Thelwell has a 120-point plan to transform the club.
The former Wolves man has a massive job on his hands to turn the club around. There are issues far above Thelwell’s pay grade, too, with chairman Bill Kenwright and chief executive Denise Barrett-Baxendale coming in for major criticism of how they are doing their jobs.
Sacking Lampard may return a short-term yield in results in the near future. However, for Everton to progress in the near future, there needs to be major changes made in every department of the club. Unfortunately for long-suffering Evertonians, there is very little sign of that happening in the near future, and it could lead the historic club to sink lower than it has in over 70 years.