Rafa Benitez, the manager of Everton, is on the verge of being fired unless he can turn things around at Goodison Park sooner rather than later.
On Saturday afternoon, the Toffees were shockingly bad against a Norwich side that has at times this season looked hellbent on breaking the Premier League’s all-time low point record.
Benitez’s time may be over, and he might be fired before the team’s game against Aston Villa next week.
The big anomalies in Everton’s records over the last three months have been a stoppage time win over Arsenal and a weird draw against Chelsea.
At this point in the season, six points above the relegation zone is a difficult position to be in.
Since beating the Canaries in the reverse meeting in September, Benitez’s side has lost nine of their last thirteen games. It’s a terrible fall considering how well the season started, despite initial hostility to Benitez.
Benitez, the quintessential Premier League pragmatist who has coached Liverpool, Chelsea, and even Newcastle, had every chance to be the coach who finally got the best out of Everton and put an end to years of punching below their weight.
The results haven’t lived up to expectations, and fans are growing vocal about their dislike for the Spaniard. At Carrow Road, a banner reading “Get out of our club” was displayed once more, and one enraged supporter attempted to confront Benitez on the pitch before being prevented by security.
Against Norwich, Everton lacked quality and fight. Andre Gomes was a disaster, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Demarai Gray were both too quiet.
For much of the game, their strongest attacking asset appeared to be Anthony Gordon’s tireless running, but it was never enough to break down a tenacious opponent.
Everton are committing simple defensive errors that are not typical of a Benitez club. With greater posture and awareness, both goals surrendered may have been avoided.
It was always going to be an uphill climb when Norwich went up 2-0, and the fact that they had a chance to salvage a point thanks to a Richarlison stunner was rather unfair in the end.
At the very least, Benitez must get Everton to defend effectively. If they can’t accomplish that, they don’t stand a chance, and he may not have the time to correct these errors.