Sam Allardyce a parody of himself as pathetic Everton outclassed by City
Even accounting for the excellence of a Manchester City side marching toward the Premier League title with games to spare, the Everton display in Saturday's 3-1 home defeat was pathetic in every sense of the word.
Manager Sam Allardyce has become a parody of himself, as the more he tries to defend his style of play, the worse it becomes. Under his guidance Everton have twice set club-records for lowest possession as 18 percent in this match eclipsed the 21 percent recorded in the Anfield derby in December.
City controlled the game from the first whistle and Everton made no attempt to stop them as the concept of tackling bypassed most players. While the visitors racked up an eyewatering 82 percent possession, so-called resistance from the home side amounted to 13 successful tackles.
The grand plan concocted for the champions elect was to allow them time and space to pick apart a poorly protected defence. Goodison used to be a nightmare for City and the like, but the away side will have had training sessions more strenuous than this.
There are now only 540 minutes of football left to endure this season.
In a season of tactical disasters, this nightmare topped the lot as Allardyce decided to employ a desperately out-of-form central midfielder and two forwards as perhaps the worst defensive shield on record. None of the tactics made any sense -- it was often difficult to tell if there were any -- as Allardyce oddly named an attacking starting XI but then opted for a style best described as sit back and hope for the best.
The second City goal highlighted the directionless tactics in use. While half the team pressed up the pitch and the other half sat back, City casually ripped through the giant gap left in the middle of the pitch.
Manager rating out of 10
0 -- Ambitionless approach mirrored his woeful postmatch attempts to justify a 3-1 defeat as somehow acceptable.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Jordan Pickford, 6 -- Helpless with the three goals as the lack of protection left him with no chance. Superb save from a deflected Fernandinho effort spared further embarrassment.
DF Seamus Coleman, 4 -- Isolated too often as Leroy Sane and David Silva linked up to devastating effect on his side of the pitch. Rightly tore into Wayne Rooney and Morgan Schneiderlin for their lack of effort in the first half.
DF Phil Jagielka, 5 -- In trying to do the work of the absent midfield ahead of him, the Everton captain paid the price as his determination often saw him caught out of position and unable to recover.
DF Michael Keane, 5 -- The Everton centre-back looked as bewildered as most of the supporters by time the third City goal hit the back of the net. Far from the worst on the day, though that is a very low bar.
DF Leighton Baines, 6 -- One of the few to escape with any credit on his 400th Premier League appearance. Positionally poor for the opening goal but won a game-high four tackles and never shied from a challenging task.
MF Morgan Schneiderlin, 2 -- The former Southampton midfielder must excel in training because he has done nothing on the pitch to justify the faith shown towards him this season.
MF Wayne Rooney, 2 -- No amount of dreaming is going to turn a fading striker into an effective defensive midfielder. No tackles or interceptions defined a miserable outing in which the game went on around him.
MF Theo Walcott, 4 -- Worked hard and tried to be productive on the fleeting occasions he had a glimpse of possession, but he became another passenger as the match wore on.
MF Dominic Calvert-Lewin, 3 -- Asking a 21-year-old striker to play in midfield against the best team in the country went about as well as expected. Looked lost throughout in both the No.10 role and in central midfield.
MF Yannick Bolasie, 4 -- His two defining moments in the match summed up the Bolasie enigma as an excellent goal from distance followed on from an earlier missed header in the six-yard box.
FW Cenk Tosun, 6 -- To his credit, despite seeing so little of the ball he might as well have not turned up, the Turkish striker worked tirelessly, often pressing the entire City defence on his own.
MF Tom Davies, 6 -- Another one-sided drubbing ended with Davies showing up most of his teammates. Started the move leading to the Bolasie goal with the positive intent lacking elsewhere.
MF Beni Baningime, N/R -- The 19-year-old midfielder tried more passes in a late cameo than several teammates did in 90 minutes.
FW Oumar Niasse, N/R -- Touched the ball five times in his 12 minutes on the pitch.
Luke is ESPN FC's Everton blogger. Follow Luke on Twitter @lukeofarrell.