These are sad days for English soccer in Europe. Days after Manchester City and Arsenal were booted from the Champions League and a week after Chelsea got the axe from 10-man PSG, Everton was left holding the bag in the prestigious Europa League. A second leg against Dynamo Kiev awaited this week in a tie they led 2-1. All to play for.
Or not. Kiev put in five goals on Thursday and thrashed Everton’s helpless defense for a 6-4 aggregate victory. At least Everton and universally-beloved-and-most-certainly-never-derided manager Roberto Martinez have the Premier League! Wh… what’s that you say? Everton are 14th in the Premier League and just six points clear of the drop zone with nine matches left? Never mind, then. As you were.
From an American perspective, one of the saddest things about Everton’s soul-crushing season is the relative decline of Tim Howard. He’s never quite looked the same since he cured the common cold against Belgium in the World Cup last summer. Everton’s defense in front of him has been putrid this season, which certainly plays its part. According to Squawka, the Toffees lead the Premier League in defensive errors with 30, four more than anyone else in the league. Unfortunately, a couple of those have been Howard’s.
Thursday was a typically morose day for Howard, who doesn’t have the national team to fall back on for some time due to his self-imposed hiatus. Two reasons why his Thursday sucked worse than yours.