Sam Allardyce 2/10 as Everton endure another typically bland defeat
The only surprise in this 3-1 defeat at West Ham on Sunday was that it took Everton 39 minutes to concede the opening goal. Former Everton manager David Moyes beat his old club for the first time in six attempts as the hosts scored three or more at home for only the second time all season. The final tally of 58 goals conceded makes this the worst defensive campaign for Everton since the 2000-01 season under Walter Smith.
Sam Allardyce rolled out all his greatest hits in this final-day loss, offering a final reminder of all the unwanted traits underpinning his tenure. Everton excel at nothing under his guidance, and his departure is a necessary final act before this season becomes a cautionary tale for the future.
There are plenty more refined players in the Premier League, but there is a lot to admire about the persistence Oumar Niasse has shown to prove himself. A smart finish here marked his eighth league goal in just over 1,000 minutes of football, ending the season with the best minutes per goal ratio in the squad.
Eight defenders filled the matchday squad as that familiar lack of ambition and general usefulness in all departments punctuated this final-day loss. Five defenders, two defensive midfielders and a team devoid of pace and creativity made the use of two strikers meaningless. None of the players seemed to have any idea of their role or instructions.
Manager rating out of 10
2 -- The later use of four central midfielders in a four-man midfield outdid the earlier five-man defence as Allardyce seemed to spend the afternoon plucking tactics out of thin air.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Jordan Pickford, 5 -- Pickford has had the great misfortune of playing every minute of every league game this season, a front-row seat to the ineptitude. A rare off day of his own saw him culpable for the second and third West Ham goals, though an excellent early save kept Everton from faltering even earlier.
DF Seamus Coleman, 5 -- Rushed to defend Niasse after an altercation with West Ham goalkeeper Adrian, but that was about the extent of his involvement in the match, although it was not for a want of trying.
DF Michael Keane, 4 -- Slow to react for the first goal and embarrassingly eased off the ball for the second. Poor positioning and awareness remain genuine concerns at the end of an inconsistent first season.
DF Phil Jagielka, 6 -- Best of the central defenders on the day, though that was no real achievement in the circumstances. Post-match comments about viewing eighth place as a positive were more troubling than his performance. His so-called leadership as club captain continues to fall flat.
DF Ramiro Funes Mori, 4 -- Still worryingly prone to moments of panic out of nowhere, which is not a desirable trait in a central defender. Unconvincing throughout and miles off the pace for the opening goal.
DF Leighton Baines, 5 -- Baines lacks support most matches, even when there is a midfielder in front of him, so asking a 33-year-old to play as a wing-back and be the only player on the entire left flank is pointless in the extreme.
MF Morgan Schneiderlin, 6 -- Reacted well to snuff out one early opportunity inside his own penalty area. The French midfielder also used the ball better than most, but a lack of options ahead of him muted his contribution.
MF Idrissa Gueye, 5 -- Gueye ended the season second only to Leicester's Wilfred Ndidi on tackles won, but did not impart his usual influence in the middle third of the pitch on this occasion.
MF Tom Davies, 6 -- Anonymous in the first half but one of the better performers in the second as the extra space afforded him on the left saw him more involved and able to get on the ball in advanced areas.
FW Oumar Niasse, 7 -- His eventual goal, a poised finish inside the six-yard box, was reward for his perseverance and willingness to chase lost causes, although an earlier miss at 0-0 could have turned the match.
FW Cenk Tosun, 5 -- Unable to hide his understandable frustration when substituted after an afternoon spent chasing shadows and watching a succession of aimless long balls sail to all corners of the pitch.
MF Davy Klaassen, 5 -- Kept things simple in possession and battled well without doing much of note.
MF Theo Walcott, 6 -- Rightly denied a goal by the offside flag after a nice finish but missed another, simpler chance later. Spent too much of the match warming the bench.
MF Yannick Bolasie, N/R -- A late cameo as the match fizzled out.
Luke is ESPN FC's Everton blogger. Follow Luke on Twitter @lukeofarrell.