Hull City twice surrendered the lead on Friday night, drawing 2-2 with Everton at the KCom Stadium.
Michael Dawson had given the Tigers the lead, but a David Marshall own goal saw the game levelled, before Ross Barkley’s late header cancelled out Robert Snodgrass’ free-kick.
Barkley back with a bang
Ross Barkley has been attracting a lot of attention from the media recently, with a move to Tottenham even being whispered.
He is a player who has his critics, and with the hope placed upon him by not just Everton fans but England fans too, perhaps it is easy to see how the pressure has seemingly got to him.
However, when Barkley popped up late on to rescue a point for his team you could see what it meant to him, the celebration one of joy but also relief.
A third league goal in 17 appearances may not be the best record for a player who is so dependant on end product, but Barkley should consider this the catalyst for a recovery.
Ronald Koeman has a duty to protect his players, and as discussed before the game his management of the situation surrounding the 23-year-old could have been better.
Barkley is a confidence player; in order to produce he has to have faith in his ability, therefore putting an arm around him and instilling that belief is important.
Maybe he does do that behind the scenes, but either way let’s hope for England’s sake that this is the start of better times.
Performances to points
The task which Hull City face to stay in the Premier League cannot be sugar coated. Mike Phelan doesn’t have an easy job, and the result against Everton is one which demonstrates their fragility.
The method really is simple: they have to win games at home. On the road the Tigers are appalling; with only four points from nine games away from home, and a -16 goal difference.
Heading into Friday night’s game they had just eight points from nine home games, putting them 19th out of 20, with only Crystal Palace having a worse home record.
However, you wouldn’t have been able to tell that. Yes Everton are far from a perfect side, and being 2-1 up with 10 minutes left, they would have hoped to see the game out.
Phelan’s side looked creative yet effective, keeping things simple and playing to their strengths. Set pieces and crosses proved to be the very basic undoing of the Toffees, who seemed to struggle with such a direct approach.
But once again, they couldn’t turn it into three points. That will be a concern.
A worrying trend
Everton ended both 2014 (2-3 against Newcastle United) and 2015 (3-4 against Stoke City) with a Premier League defeat.
It’s easy to get superstitious as a football fan, especially when things aren’t going your way, and despite a late equaliser, can Everton really feel that positive?
They did have bright spells in the game, and to use the cliche ‘on another day they could have got a win’.
Both goals they conceded will irritate supporters; the first due to slack marking/a lack of being able to clear the ball, the second one which Joel Robles could have perhaps done better given Robert Snodgrass had shown his threat on a previous free-kick.
When pushing for an equaliser they didn’t look particularly hurried either, and seemed almost bereft of ideas until Ross Barkley popped up with a close range header, mostly due to a lack of concentration from Hull.
Despite these worries, Everton still sit inside the top eight of both home and away form, proving that Koeman is perhaps starting to achieve something. January could be important; additions such as Memphis Depay and Morgan Schneiderlin could be crucial.