"Tis the season not to be jolly.”
Whether you are unable to work out what to buy your irritable aunt for Christmas, or because the people in the office constantly talk about diets, as they feast on the mountains of festive chocolates—any joyful feelings are currently dwarfed by pure frustration.
This type of frustrated feeling will resonate with Everton fans.
After defeating Southampton at Goodison Park on Sept. 29, the talk was all about Champions League qualification.
This juggernaut was brought to a screeching halt as October and November saw the Merseyside club pick up only one victory from eight Premier League games. Granted, Everton were only defeated once in that run—handing Reading their first win since returning to the EPL—but drawing too many games from winning positions has left many fans singing the blues.
The feeling of “what if” is at the forefront of supporter’s minds, despite sitting in a handy sixth place in the EPL table. Games against Wigan, QPR, Fulham, Norwich and Arsenal on Wednesday night should have seen the club gaining maximum points—instead of the five they had to settle for. Dropping points at this stage of the season might have a negative impact on the side, with the infamous tricky festive period only three weeks away.
Hope and expectation has definitely turned into frustration for Evertonians.
As the habitual top four clubs Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs are experiencing a dramatic loss of form—due to transition or disruption—Everton are the club who should be looking to capitalize on their slip-ups.
However, the EPL draw specialists are making too many basic mistakes, allowing teams back into matches when the three points should already have been sewn up.
After seeing Everton’s last five games, it was apparent that they still lack a killer instinct. Yes, this season’s performances have greatly improved, with Fulham manager Martin Jol comparing the club to Barcelona, but the Catalan giants are lethal in front of goal—Everton are not.
Without that winning mentality, the club will continue to be the football bridesmaid—spurning golden opportunities to break into the Champions League places, or winning silverware for the first time since 1995.
That said, there are reasons to be cheerful for supporters.
Everton hold the record of hitting the woodwork the most times this season—12 in total—and have seen opposing goalkeepers thwart them a staggering 20 times in the last three games alone. Adding some creative, attacking flair to compliment their workmanlike performances was essential to move the club forwards. Stats produced by Opta suggest the Goodison Park patrons will witness a goal bonanza at least once this season.
Everton’s season is on knife-edge, where frustration could easily turn into elation.
David Moyes needs to discover the blueprint for turning Everton’s attractive football into three points, week in, week out—before this season ends up stagnating.
Defeating unbeaten Premier Champions Manchester City on Saturday would give Everton the psychological boost they desperately need to end their current frustrations, making December the season to be jolly.