Are Everton struggling to fulfil their ambitions?
By Joe Harker
A 2-0 defeat to Manchester City has Everton in ninth place in the Premier League and 14 points off the top six.
For a club that wanted to become one of the top teams in the division it is a disappointing position to be in. The style of play is unimpressive and the team is horribly vulnerable to conceding from set pieces.
A lot of money has been invested into the club with the aim of rising higher in the league. Everton stated their ambition was to be challenging at the top levels of the Premier League and European competitions within the next decade. They acknowledge this is a difficult goal that will take time to achieve.
Phil McNulty, the BBC's chief football writer, argues that Everton manager Marco Silva and majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri are failing to match up to lofty ambitions.
McNulty believes Moshiri's financial commitment to the club is not in doubt, having invested around £300 million since February 2016 when he effectively took over the club, but his decision making on the footballing side has been questioned.
For a man that wants his club to break into the top six and establish a long term plan Moshiri's reign has been turbulent. Since effectively taking over Everton have sacked three permanent managers and Silva is under pressure, it is hard to set out long term goals when the manager keeps getting sacked.
As for Silva, he is facing doubts over his reputation as a manager. He is on his third job in English football and all three have seen strong early results followed by a slump soon afterwards. He's the manager Everton have wanted ever since they sacked Ronald Koeman.
The manager has received public backing from the club but rumours that he is facing the sack continue to dog him. Moshiri recently said the club's league position was not good enough and the club needs a long term manager for their long term plan, not one developing a reputation for bringing short term success.
Both manager and majority shareholder appear to be stuck in short term patterns. If Everton want to succeed in the long run they will need to learn patience.
The Counter Claim:
However, lofty goals and extreme ambition do not guarantee success. Everton want to be challenging for the Premier League and Champions League within a decade? They may be well served by considering the reality of their situation.
Yes, Moshiri has invested a lot of money in Everton's squad and has done so with the hope that the club will break into the Premier League top six and be counted as one of the title favourites each year. But wanting something doesn't make it true.
There is a significant gap between Everton and the top teams in the league, they are not going to stand still waiting for the Toffees to catch up either. Moshiri has spent a lot of money on transfers but will he be able to match the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea when it comes to transfer business over the course of a decade?
Silva has said Everton must have an "honest" outlook on their long term project, saying he is laying the foundations for future success and urged detractors to compare Everton's budget to that of other clubs before judging them.
Everton have 33 points after 26 games in the Premier League, having played Man City during the midweek they have a game in hand over the teams around them. Their next game is against Watford, a win would see Everton move up to eighth.
If they drop points Bournemouth, Leicester City and West Ham could overtake them with wins and still have a game in hand.
In their last 10 games the Toffees have won three times and lost seven. Against top six sides this season they have played seven games and lost six, drawing one. Their next four home opponents are Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United, a difficult prospect for Silva.