Everton’s rudderless woes were laid bare for all to see in a truly humiliating outing at sparsely populated Goodison Park in the Europa League on Thursday evening, losing 5-1 at home to Atalanta.
The Serie A mid-tablers, playing only their second ever competitive game on British soil, went a 1-0 up inside 12 minutes only to heap the misery upon David Unsworth’s sallow side with a late blitz, popping in goals from all angles as the Toffees defence slowly dissolved into a fine mist.
Just 17,431 fans turned up to witness the capitulation, though we can only imagine that number was significantly lower come the final whistle.
Bryan Cristante got things up and running for Atalanta with a brace, a feat which was then matched by the man who replaced him for the final 10 minutes, former Cardiff City dud Andreas Cornelius, thus sandwiching a goal from Robin Gosens in the middle.
It could have been far worse for Everton but for Joel Robles’ admirable efforts between the sticks, including an excellent double-save from an Alejandro Gomez penalty three minutes into the second half.
If you can bear to watch, here are the ‘highlights’ in full…
Just to grind a handful of coarse sea salt into the gaping wound, the result was also the heaviest home loss suffered by an English side in the Europa League in over 20 years – since Nottingham Forest lost 1-5 to Bayern Munich in the 1996 UEFA Cup quarter-finals. Heady days indeed.
Alas, this isn’t a team of Bayern’s calibre we’re talking about here, it’s Atalanta, who are currently 12th in Serie A having failed to win any of their last four matches.
Their first competitive match on British soil? A 2-1 defeat against Merthyr Tydfil in 1987.
They waited over 30 years to get their revenge, and all it took was one of the worst Everton sides in living memory.