Seamus Coleman comes in for harsh treatment as Everton fall to Man City
Seamus Coleman has not yet reached the consistent performance heights from before his ghastly leg break but the level of criticism coming his way is over the top.
Manchester City reclaimed top spot in the Premier League be seeing off Everton 3-1 at Eastlands. Gabriel Jesus put the league champions 2-0 ahead before Dominic Calvert-Lewin halved the deficit. Seamus Coleman was not on the pitch at that stage.
Raheem Sterling came off the bench, soon after, and put the result beyond doubt when he scored with his first touch.
As if to make matters all the more ominous for the rest of the league, Belgian attacker Kevin De Bruyne returned from injury and replaced Riyad Mahrez in the second half.
By that stage, Seamus Coleman had already been substituted off. Seeking to get his side onto the front foot, Toffees boss Marco Silva replaced Coleman with Theo Walcott after 58 minutes.
On Seamus Coleman, the manager left a centre half on at right back to take him off.
— Matt (@mattwill1982) December 15, 2018
Silva went to a back three and put Kurt Zouma on the right-hand side rather than leave Coleman there. It worked, briefly, as Calvert-Lewin got a goal back but Sterling settled the tie and left Everton in danger of slipping down a few positions once their mid-table rivals play their game in hand.
Coleman had been getting some grief from pockets of Everton fans, at home and away, earlier this season but answered back with a few decent outings and a goal against Brighton.
The Ireland captain celebrated passionately after scoring that goal and later commented:
"As footballers we all get stick so it's not like I'm having a go back at the fans, it's just me saying 'I'm all right'. When I am fit and at it I am OK. It's not against the fans because that night in January (when I made my comeback) is something which will stay with me for a long time.
"The fans understand the love I have for them and vice-versa. It's part and parcel of the game. Players can be very precious over criticism. The only way you can keep going is keep battling, keep doing the right things, keep working hard in training, keep listening to the manager, and your luck will turn around and that happened to me."
The upturn in fortunes has since levelled out and, some would claim, dipped. Everton have now just won one of their last six games to lose track on the top four (10 points back).
Coleman is not the only Everton player feeling the heat but his early substitution has brought his performances back under the spotlight:
I know last time we criticised Séamus Coleman he came back with a goal and a hypothetical middle finger, but today he’s shown his age.
I love him, I genuinely do it, but #EFC need to start looking for a long-term successor who can immediately compete.
— Elliott Cuff (@CuffWrites) December 15, 2018
I today was a defining moment for me though regarding Seamus Coleman. I do think it's time to look elsewhere, he's been a great servant to the club but there's better out there now.
— A guy named Chris (@randomscouser85) December 15, 2018
Such a shame to see Seamus Coleman performing badly recently, can’t dispute he’s done well for us but just not sure if he’s got it anymore🤔
— Nanci (@nancifarley26) December 15, 2018
The January transfer window may see Everton go looking for a defender but Coleman should have enough credit in the bank to get some patience and support from his coach, and supporters.