When Everton manager Sam Allardyce joined in November, majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri praised his strong leadership, great motivation, and ability to get the best out of players.
But a 5-1 drubbing at Arsenal on Saturday showed that Allardyce is failing on all fronts. Only self-preservation exists where leadership should as Allardyce accepts praise for wins but blames players for defeats.
There is also no motivation, as there is no incentive for players to perform. Players move in and out of the team at random. While some fade from the first-team picture for weeks before returning for one-off matches, others stay in the team despite poor displays. Good performances seem to guarantee nothing.
As for getting the best out of players, Allardyce repeatedly mentions consistency but offers no platform for it. In the last nine games, 40 changes to the starting XI and eight different centre-back pairings underline absurd team selections. Everton have now used 38 players in all competitions this season.
This season has descended into a succession of people shirking responsibility, on and off the pitch, offering up excuses rather than actions. Everton need structure, identity, and the chance to build partnerships, not a repeat of the chaos that saw Ronald Koeman sacked after losing 5-2 to Arsenal earlier in the season. Allardyce went one worse here, and the end of his tenure cannot arrive quick enough.
Tom Davies entered the action at half-time and departed at the final whistle as one of the select few worthy of the shirt on their back. Buzzing around midfield and trying to link the play, the midfielder played his part in the build-up to the consolation goal.
Even on a good day, Everton might struggle to contain Arsenal, but this was an Everton defence also contending with three personnel changes, a new formation and a centre-back making his debut after two days with the club. To throw Eliaquim Mangala into a game of this nature on such short notice defied belief.
Elsewhere, the wing-backs seemed unsure whether to push wide or support the three centre-backs, while the midfield neither helped Oumar Niasse in attack nor protected the defence. Each outfield player appeared unaware of their role in the first half.
Manager rating out of 10
0 -- Overseeing the worst first-half in recent memory was merely the beginning of this horrible episode.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Jordan Pickford, 6 -- Almost kept out the deflected third, but the Everton goalkeeper had no chance with the other four goals as the defence crumbled around him.
DF Jonjoe Kenny, 5 -- Not what he had in mind on his return to the starting XI. Solid work ethic put him above the majority as he mostly escaped censure for the five goals conceded.
DF Michael Keane, 4 -- One of the best players in midweek but lasted only until half-time in this match. Among those at fault for the second goal as Everton fell apart.
DF Ashley Williams, 3 -- For a player of his experience, there are far too many days like this. Rash decision-making resulted in poor positioning for the first two goals as Arsenal wrapped up the game inside 20 minutes.
DF Eliaquim Mangala, 4 -- Missed a straightforward cross for the opener before turning his back and deflecting in the third. A nightmare debut in a match he should not have started.
DF Cuco Martina, 5 -- Stuck to his task defensively and offered more attacking threat than Yannick Bolasie in front of him, setting up the Everton goal with a nicely weighted cross.
MF Theo Walcott, 6 -- Close to a goal in the first half before an excellent cross handed Niasse a clear-cut chance in the second. Removed after an hour with an eye toward preserving his fitness.
MF Idrissa Gueye, 4 -- Unusually poor, conceded too much space in front of the defence and never got close enough to the marauding Arsenal midfielders breaking forward.
MF Morgan Schneiderlin, 3 -- Strolled around like it was preseason and watched Aaron Ramsey scored the first hat trick of his career. How he remains in the team in this form is quite baffling.
MF Yannick Bolasie, 3 -- Aside from the occasional stumble over the ball or senseless run down a blind alley, the worst part of his performance was his work rate. Another who barely broke sweat.
FW Oumar Niasse, 5 -- Should have scored but hit the post with his only sight of goal. With service nonexistent, the isolated striker at least offered the application absent elsewhere.
MF Tom Davies, 7 -- Put the rest to shame in his 45-minute outing and has to start next week.
FW Dominic Calvert-Lewin, 5 -- Scored the consolation before later handing Arsenal possession for their fifth.
FW Cenk Tosun, NR -- Screwed a shot wide during a brief cameo.