Everton self destruct but haven’t lost the plot

Five of the teams who started the weekend in the bottom half of the Premier League table lost yesterday. Four of them (QPR, Sunderland, Everton and Blackburn) lost by only one goal. The other five were all in action today.

I wrote here yesterday before the match between Newcastle United and Everton that rather a lot has been made of Everton’s shortage of firepower so far this season. Perhaps because of their league position, or just because they don’t always have an out-and-out goalscorer in their starting eleven. For only the fourth time in the league this season Louis Saha started for the Toffeemen, but the Frenchman was unable to add to his single goal so far.

But it’s at the other end where, after losing 2-1 at St James’ Park in a game where all the goals were scored before half-time, Everton manager David Moyes felt any faint opportunity of taking something away disappeared. “I think you make your own luck and we did not do that with our defending in the first half,” he said, following a┬áJohnny Heitinga own goal and Ryan Taylor’s strike, which took the number of league goals Everton have conceded away from Goodison Park this season to eight (15 conceded home and away).

Meanwhile, Sunderland went to Old Trafford, where they lost by a solitary Wes Brown own goal yesterday, having previously only leaked four on the road. But West Brom’s record took a dent in the shape of three goals at Arsenal, and Swansea City up in tenth place kept a clean sheet at Anfield, having previously shipped 14 in their first five away games of the campaign. The Swans hold the record at this stage of conceding the fewest goals at home in the entire Premier League, although they have scored half as many as Manchester City have at the Etihad Stadium.

The gung-ho approach of setting out to score one more than the opposition is a dangerous strategy, so priorities tend to naturally lie in trying to avoid conceding goals first an foremost. That is something Everton, with only one clean sheet all season, will very much be continuing to try to do in the coming weeks.