Six goals in eight games. It’s a scoring streak Enner Valencia, Arouna Kone and Kevin Mirallas can only dream of. In fact, across a combined 798 minutes of Premier League action this season, only the Belgian has managed to locate the back of the net as Ronald Koeman’s Everton continue to look balefully reliant upon their 23-year-old talisman, Romelu Lukaku.
Quite simply, when the former Chelsea striker doesn’t score, or get the service he requires, The Toffees look toothless. They’ve managed one goal in their last three Premier League outings, a late, looping Seamus Coleman header to rescue a point against Swansea, while, in their two most recent away fixtures, Everton mustered a grand total of one shot on target. One shot on target in 180 minutes of Premier League football. That’s hardly befitting of a side with European ambitions.
All the while, a man completely disregarded by the club scores prolifically right under their noses. Stripped of his shirt number, removed of his rights to a locker, Oumar Niasse may be the third most expensive signing in Everton’s history but price tags count for little in the eyes of the straight-talking Koeman.
The Dutchman has publically demanded that the 26-year-old leave Goodison Park but, to his credit, or perhaps foolishness, Niasse has refused. He remains confident that an opportunity will come. And, judging by his form for the club’s reserve side, it’s an opportunity he may well seize.
Niasse smashed home his seventh of the season against Southampton’s under-23s on Monday. For the record, he tallied as many goals in one game as Everton have managed shots on target against Chelsea and the Saints seniors. The standard of the opposition may be far removed from top flight defences, but the former Lokomotiv Moscow hitman has displayed a clinical streak many of his underperforming team-mates appear incapable of matching.
The question is; how much longer before Koeman develops a craving for humble pie?