Groundhog day gloom at Goodison continues as Everton stumble on at home

Sean Dyche's side somehow contrived to lose 3-1 at home to West Ham on Saturrday despite taking the lead and getting a penalty, their first of the season.
Everton FC v West Ham United - Premier League
Everton FC v West Ham United - Premier League / Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/GettyImages

It was a bleak and demoralizing day at Goodison Park at the weekend and Everton supporters could be forgiven for believing this groundhog day of a season will never turn around.

Yet it could and should have been so different with the Toffees one up after Beto's first goal since the December win over Newcastle United.

Even after a lapse at a set-piece once again allowed the Hammers to equalize, the home team were creating enough chances to put the match away.

But in a relentlessly depressing repeat of game after game this season the Blues couldn't take those opportunities and found themselves looking at another draw to add to so many others.

Then came the calamitous end to the match as Everton conceded two very late goals to lose for the umpteenth time this season at the Grand Old Lady.

I don't know what can be done to change this relentless narrative that seems to be inexorably defining the campaign.

The Toffees had twenty two shots at goal with eleven on target and yet only managed a single strike! Although of course the visitor's keeper had a blinder as so often seems to be the case.

I, along with many Evertonians, have recently been critical of Sean Dyche's excessively cautious and defensive tactics this season even though the Blues 'XG' has been good for most of the campaign, something the manager has regularly pointed out.

While Dyche didn't depart from his favoured 4-4-1-1 formation against West Ham, he did finally give Beto a start, which seemed surely inevitable sooner rather than later given Dominic Calvert-Lewin's terrible struggles in front of goal.

I still want to see a more attack-minded tactical game-plan at home, but Dyche can rightly point out that even without it his team created enough chances on Saturday to win two or three games at least.

His new starting striker Beto scored of course but that was the only goal the host managed and he also tellingly missed a penalty, Everton's first of the season.

Additionally, too many of the attacking players the manager has to rely on to support his centre-forward and get him the goals needed, are stuck in a rut of poor form and low confidence.

In particular Dwight McNeil's performances are becoming a serious concern with the summer 2022 signing looking a pale shadow of the player who was the Toffees top scorer last season.

Along with him Jack Harrison brought in on a season-long loan from Leeds United has been very ordinary for far too long now.

Finally even Dyche's attacking talisman and still leading scorer Abdoulaye Doucoure made little impression last weekend, although his near two months absence for hamstring problems might be part of the problem.

All in all it is a very worrying trend with Everton seemingly becoming less able to score goals as the season moves towards it's climax.

Without drastic improvement here and very soon, it won't ultimately matter how many points do or don't get taken off the club, Everton could be going down anyway.