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Wayne Rooney, Everton lack ambition, creativity again vs. Swansea

Wayne Rooney, Everton lack ambition, creativity again vs. Swansea
From ESPN - April 14, 2018

A campaign that began with genuine hopes of progress is instead ending with Everton manager Sam Allardyce lauding the mediocre, describing a 1-1 draw at Swansea on Saturday as a "great point."

This pitiful embrace of mediocrity is turning a storied club into an irrelevance. There is no scenario in which settling for a point against the team fourth from bottom in the league is acceptable. Yet here was Allardyce going one step further and actively protecting a point, introducing centre-back Ramiro Funes Mori in place of winger Yannick Bolasie.

Four more games until the end of the season is four too many for Allardyce. This failed experiment has Everton regressing further each match. Prolonging this farce has no obvious benefits and only risks widening the disconnect between supporters and their club.

Positives

While the general decision to substitute an attacking player for a central defender rightly attracted derision from the away support, it was at least positive to see Funes Mori make his first appearance since March 2017 after overcoming a succession of injuries. A player returning from injury as the only worthwhile positive is also a sign of how far Everton have fallen to this point.

Negatives

Everton fittingly needed an own goal to break the deadlock on a day when they rarely looked like scoring themselves, but it was all downhill thereafter. In one of the least successful defensive ploys of the season, Everton decided to leave the opposition's top scorer unmarked inside the penalty area to fire home the equaliser.

The terrible irony of Allardyce setting up so defensively is that Everton still cannot defend. Two of the three teams currently in the relegation zone have conceded fewer goals this season. Everton have not kept a clean sheet away from home since December, a run of seven successive matches. Allardyce is failing at the only thing he values: ultra-defensive football.

Manager rating out of 10

2 --Two minutes after Everton hit the Swansea woodwork, Allardyce brought on an extra defender for an attacking player and switched to a five-man defence. A perfect snapshot of his miserable tenure.

Player ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Jordan Pickford, 7 -- Too many aimless clearances in the opening minutes before his performance settled down and normal service resumed. One of the few undoubted positives this season.

DF Seamus Coleman, 7 -- Poor clearance for the equaliser and missed a glorious chance when rattling the crossbar from a few yards out, but the Everton right-back pushed forward whenever possible and offered an attacking threat absent elsewhere.

DF Phil Jagielka, 7 -- The 35-year-old is 11 seasons into his Everton career and still the most reliable central defender at the club, which says a lot about his consistency but even more about the recruitment in the meantime.

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