By George Overhill

21st Jan, 2023 | 8:40pm

Idrissa Gana Gueye was slammed by Paul Merson as the Everton midfielder wasted a golden opportunity to pull a goal back at West Ham on Saturday.

Trailing 2-0 at the break and staring at a defeat that was looking to send the club bottom, half-time substitute Tom Davies quickly pulled an inviting ball back towards the edge of the area that looked to be asking for the Senegal international to smash into the net.

Gueye instead took an unnecessary, heavy touch and the opportunity was lost, with the Toffees going on to lose and heap pressure on manager Frank Lampard, and Merson couldn’t believe how poor the Everton man had been.

Speaking live on Sky Sports Soccer Saturday (21 January, 4.07pm) Jeff Stelling suggested there should have been an immediate goal back after half time and Merson responded: “Oh definitely, they’ve brought Davies and [Dwight] McNeil on for [Seamus] Coleman and [Vitalii] Mykolenko and straight away, dividends.

“Ball down the right hand side comes to Iwobi, plays it inside to Davies who pulls it back to the penalty spot.

“Gueye has only got to shoot, he tries to take a touch. His touch is atrocious, you’d have thought he had Blue Curacao for breakfast, honestly.

“It flew off his foot and got cleared.”

Went begging

It was emblematic of the overall disarray currently engulfing Everton that Lampard’s half time decision to replace both wing-backs with more attacking players almost paid off immediately, but the chance was wasted.

The former Chelsea star would have loved to be the one running onto the cut back considering he was arguably the Premier League’s best at scoring from midfield in just such a position as a player, but right now nothing is going right for him as a manager.

As so often the players under his direction were unable to produce the kind of performances that Lampard did during his career, with Gueye perhaps succumbing to the pressure of the situation and letting the golden opportunity slip by.

Perhaps it wouldn’t have made a difference to the overall result because, barring a couple of chances that slipped inches by Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Everton were unable to make their far superior possession count.

Pressure and bad luck have been piled on top of flat-out poor play to produce a perfect storm of ineptitude in this Toffees side at the moment, and it might be about to cost the manager his job.

The board were in attendance this time to watch the latest damaging loss to a relegation rival, and while Bill Kenwright and Farhad Moshiri both refused to answer questions about a Lampard sacking afterwards on Sky Sports, the questions are now becoming deafening.