Following their 0-1 home defeat to Burnley at the start of October, the Everton players left the field to a chorus of boos that is becoming an all-too familiar sound at Goodison Park.
Even taking a tough fixture schedule into account that included trips to Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea, it has been a poor start to the season for a club that many had tipped to challenge for the top four at the start of the campaign.
Fans of the club had their expectations raised by the €150m transfer spend but are now staring at the realistic prospect of a bottom-half finish, having gained just seven points from their opening seven games, scoring just four goals in the process. Away from home, they are now 11 games without a win in the Premier League.
On their return to Europe, there were been dominated in Italy by Atalanta and held at home by minnows Apollon Limassol. Results and more importantly performances have deteriorated to the point where some fans are already calling for the head of boss Ronald Koeman.
So, can the Dutchman survive? And are Everton actually candidates for relegation? Anyone who fancies them for the drop might want to take advantage of the free bets on offer from Oddschecker, which include bet365’s risk-free wager for newcomers.
The club’s part owner, Farhad Moshiri has already given Koeman a public vote of confidence but as we have seen so many times before, that can often signal the end of a coach’s reign.
However, not all of the blame can be placed at the former Southampton boss’s feet. Having lost his star player and top scorer, Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United for a £75m fee, he made it clear that a replacement was required. But despite suggested interest in huge names such as Diego Costa and Olivier Giroud, nobody arrived and the transfer window closed without a deal in sight.
Fans were appeased somewhat by the €40m arrival of Gylfi Sigurdsson but the fact remained that they had failed to replace a player who had netted 25 times in the previous campaign.
Perhaps Everton’s problem was that they were trying to recruit players that were in fact out of their league. Having the money to splash on star players does not always mean that you will get your man and the Merseyside club are not yet at a stage where they represent an attractive draw for the most ambitious players.
All the talk of a new stadium, a billionaire owner, and a transfer war chest has maybe prompted them to try to run before they can walk. Some Toffees fans were even talking about a title challenge back in the summer. Now, a mid-table finish is perhaps the best they can hope for.
When facing the kind of teams that can attract the top talent, Everton currently look clueless. They go into these game looking to limit the damage, as they did last term, but they no longer have the potent outlet of Lukaku to snatch those valuable goals. Too many times, they appear to just roll over for the big sides and this negativity is now creeping into all of their matches.
The lack of an obvious first XI hasn’t helped Koeman’s cause and he has been forced to chop and change to try to find a formula that works. As a result, it is hard to see exactly where the club has progressed since the departure of Roberto Martinez, who at least offered an entertaining brand of football.
Under their current gaffer, there seems to be a lack of direction and a sense of anxiety during matches. Koeman has done little to reassure fans through his media appearances and almost seems resigned to the fact he may not be around much longer.
If he does survive, the next couple of months will be crucial as the club might find it difficult to recruit players in the January transfer window if they are languishing in or near to the drop zone.
In the meantime, Everton fans are once again dreaming big with talk of Carlo Ancelotti being the right man to step in should Koeman get the boot. Once again, they might want to set their sights on more realistic targets should that particular scenario arise.