Williams sent off in latest failure for Everton under Allardyce
Clubs needing a confidence boost in the weeks ahead will be salivating at the sight of Everton on their fixture list after Burnley, who had not won for 53 games after conceding the first goal, claimed their first victory of 2018 with a 2-1 win on Saturday.
Cenk Tosun nodded home his first Everton goal to give the visitors some false hope before an attacking half-time substitution swung the game in favour of the home side. Everton and manager Sam Allardyce, on the other hand, did nothing and failure to keep possession heaped pressure on a crumbling defence.
Seven defeats in the last 10 and six successive away losses have turned life under Allardyce into the inescapable nightmare many predicted it would be and this miserable season crawls toward its conclusion.
With Allardyce running out of hollow excuses for Tosun's continued absence from the starting XI, the Turkish international capitalised on his first start in six weeks and made a mockery of his recent lack of match action. Willing to graft without the ball, the former Besiktas striker also impressed in possession and took his goal emphatically.
The pattern is set each match: Everton have no interest in possession in the first 15 minutes and merely hold position while trying to build a solid base, even though such an approach is redundant with such a punctured defensive unit. This illusion of control hands initiative to opponents and Everton rarely recover. Safety-first football does not suit this squad.
Meanwhile, it is difficult to recall an Everton centre-back pairing performing as abjectly as Ashley Williams and Michael Keane, both individually and collectively. As captain and the oldest member of the team, Williams disgraced himself with a senseless and petulant red card. Mason Holgate continues to warm the bench and has not featured in the last five matches.
Manager rating out of 10
4 -- Confusing substitutions and a second-half performance devoid of ambition underline the hapless management prevalent each match.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best; players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Jordan Pickford, 7 -- Though there were question marks over his role in the Burnley equaliser, a catalogue of fine saves spared his team further embarrassment.
DF Seamus Coleman, 5 -- Defeat spoiled his 250th Everton appearance as a mixed return after injury saw Coleman claim an assist but otherwise struggle to stamp his authority on the match.
DF Ashley Williams, 2 -- Unworthy of the captain's armband or the blue crest on his chest. A horrendous display was cut short by a cowardly elbow and red card.
DF Michael Keane, 3 -- A once-promising season has nosedived and this wretched return to his former club saw Keane bullied by a lumbering home attack and horribly at fault for the equaliser.
DF Cuco Martina, 4 -- Afforded former teammate Aaron Lennon far too much space in the first half and never recovered as the entire defensive unit fell apart after the interval.
MF Idrissa Gueye, 6 -- In contrast to many of his teammates, Gueye started the game quietly before improving over time. The midfield missed his combative presence after the sending off pressed him into centre-back duty.
MF Tom Davies, 5 -- Is still one of the few unafraid to be forceful in possession and take braver options on but, like the Watford defeat last weekend, his good intentions lacked the necessary execution.
MF Theo Walcott, 6 -- A constant threat in the first half before his influence diminished in the second. Some unusually poor choices and finishing in the final third stopped a lively display from becoming a match-winning one.
MF Gylfi Sigurdsson, 7 -- In and out of the game but easily one of the better performers before his perplexing substitution. Sigurdsson operated in a central role, creating an early chance for Walcott and playing an important part in the Tosun goal. A wasted second-half opportunity marked the only aberration.
MF Dominic Calvert-Lewin, 5 -- His 50th Everton appearance was forgettable, though much of the blame rests on a manager expecting a 20-year-old striker to perform effectively on the left side of midfield.
FW Cenk Tosun, 7 -- Made the most of a rare start with a well-directed header to open his account for the club. The January recruit also impressed with his hold-up play and ability to bring teammates into the game.
MF Wayne Rooney, 5 -- Commendable attempt to dictate the game produced little.
FW Oumar Niasse, 5 -- An unnecessary overhead kick defined an ineffective cameo.
MF Yannick Bolasie, NR -- A couple of wayward crosses and not much else.
Luke is ESPN FC's Everton blogger. Follow Luke on Twitter @lukeofarrell.