Why Everton fans are right to be disappointed
The 2017-18 season was built up to be an exciting season for the blue half of Merseyside and their supporters. Enriched by owner Farhad Moshiri, the club spent big in the summer to help with the loss of striker Romelu Lukaku. In the first six months of this term, the club has endured Ronald Koeman's sacking, flirted around the relegation zone and crashed out of the UEFA Europa League too.
Sam Allardyce's appointment was one ultimately met with concerns as many were sceptical around the club's ambition as well as the long-term planning behind this move. Granted when 'Big Sam' arrived, results changed and confidence collectively improved for Everton - they propelled themselves away from the relegation in the short-term.
However, a current run of seven matches without victory has brought back the doubts from experts and supporters alike as they still run the risk of being a club battling relegation now.
Team selection, tactics, and the playing style employed by Allardyce is yet again under the microscope as Big Sam does not seem to know the best way in which to utilise this Everton squad.
With constant changes in central midfield, to the organisation of more attack-minded players, there has to be genuine concern that even their own manager is unaware of the best way to play this current Everton crop.
The club was always going to spend money during this current transfer window and thus far, they have added another £47m to their spending tally for the campaign. Arrivals of highly sought-after Turkish international Cenk Tosun and Arsenal's forgotten man Theo Walcott are sure to boost their attacking options.
Tosun, despite blanks against Tottenham and West Brom, looks encouraging. He will provide both power and technique to the Toffees' frontline, having netted 41 goals in 96 appearances for Besiktas.
As for Walcott, he has plenty of pace, precisely what Everton need, and created an assist against the Baggies on his debut this past weekend while proving both sharp and industrious.
The biggest disappointment for Everton fans is their style of football. With the quality of players in their side, they should certainly be expecting the team to play better than they're currently producing.
Concerns will continue to grow further, especially when the manager is quoted as saying that they need to be more boring - it has been asked, can they get any more?
Dominic Calvert-Lewin needs to start, as he's been the one player who has really covered himself in glory this season and looks to be a threat to opposition defences whenever he plays.
Tom Davies should be given the opportunity to develop a midfield pairing alongside Idrissa Gueye, while the possibility to play an attacking midfielder ahead of the duo, or a third central midfielder usually depends on the opposition and type of tactics that Allardyce opts for.
Morgan Schneiderlin has struggled for form this term and as a result, the Frenchman's place in the side is not justified at present. Three of their summer acquisitions have been ultimately poor thus far, with record signing Gylfi Sigurðsson and Wayne Rooney - despite his goals - seemingly unable to combine with one another in the same team.
Davy Klaasen meanwhile, has not been given a fair chance to showcase his ability despite the level of criticism he has received since joining from Eredivisie giants Ajax.
This transfer window presents a fantastic opportunity for Allardyce to address one of the club's biggest issues, the current position at left-back. Leighton Baines has been a fantastic servant for the Toffees but injuries are really playing a big part in his career now, so they need to find the next player capable of replacing the 33-year-old long-term at Goodison.
At present, Cuco Martina features there. Despite a handful of decent displays, the former Southampton fullback is simply not good enough to be starting for Everton. The left-back conundrum does not stop there either, as the promising Brendan Galloway was fantastic two seasons ago but has fallen off the radar since making loan moves to West Brom and Sunderland since then.
Everton need to invest in a quality left-back to improve their shaky backline, which has struggled for sustained periods of the campaign thus far. Links with Bristol City's Joe Bryan appear unlikely at present given just how well Bristol City are performing across all competitions, while West Ham's Aaron Cresswell and Manchester United fullback Luke Shaw are both genuine options to target.
Both have genuine crossing ability and can provide assists aplenty to their forwards, including newcomer Tosun in future. Whether or not they make a formal approach remains to be seen, though.
The final week of this current transfer window could define the rest of Everton's season for Allardyce, who might even be looking over his shoulder right now as Marco Silva is without a club. He was initially Moshiri's first-choice to replace Koeman following his dismissal and now that he's available, question marks might be raised about the long-term future of Allardyce himself with the team struggling to match expectations of them.
The club still has work to be done in the window - Ashley Williams has been struggling for form and it's becoming increasingly clear they need to strengthen defensively. Adding another left-back, whether it be from within or an acquisition, could prove beneficial while they continue to address their Lukaku shaped hole in attack.
It's also clear that the squad needs trmming. Players including Sandro Ramirez and Oumar Niasse are not considered good enough to start on a regular basis but are eager for first-team football, so it's possible that they will be allowed to leave - either on a temporary or permanent basis - as Everton need to establish more balance within their senior squad.