It’s hard to pick the bones out of a match that ended 6-3, a match that will simply go down as one of the Premier Leagues greatest ever matches. A match that will be talked about for many years to come.
Offensively brilliant and defensively atrocious. Distin and Jagielka have had terrible starts to the season. I said in my previous article that Distin had the worst of the two starts and was contemplating whether Stones and Jagielka could play together. After that showing, Jagielka also needs to be dropped. Unless we want to play Alcaraz (which I doubt many do), we can’t drop them both. The only thing I know it that John Stones needs to start. At this point I’d say it’s Jagielka that should be dropped as we know the Distin/Stones partnership works. This has highlighted is our need for a left sided centre back quite urgently, or just a centre back in general. Jagielka has faded badly, whether that is form or age remains to be seen. If Distin loses his pace, he is an average centre back prone to mistakes. Unfortunately at this point Galloway and Browning are too young and too inexperienced, but then again you may of said that about John Stones this time last year.
The centre back position has now come the priority. We have 4 strikers (counting Naismith and Kone), 4 wingers, 2 attacking midfielders and 4 centre midfielders. It’s a big worry, as the defending at times has been laughable and at the current ratio we will concede 127 goals. We obviously wont but it just shows the start we have had at the back. Last season it look us until the 26th of December to concede 8 goals at home, this season it took 180 minutes.
Let’s not let the full backs get away with this though, Coleman has had a bad start to the season defensively. He may of missed a fair bit of pre-season and the first match but that is no excuse for the the two home matches which a few of the goals coming from his side and his tendency to completely back off his winger led to Arsenal’s resurgence and his own goal vs Chelsea as he was very slow to help out McCarthy who was left one-on-one vs Eden Hazard. He has done well going forward but it means little if we’re shipping goals. I thought Baines started the season well but he seemed to be competing for the worst defender award yesterday too. Yesterday was one of, if not the worst, defensive displays i’ve seen from him. Trying to step out for the Ivanovic goal and his lethargic reaction to the Ramires goal was very worrying. Unlike Jagielka and Distin however, you do feel this is just a temporary blip for Baines and Coleman that will soon be put right.
Let’s not let the defensive midfield get away with this though. McCarthy is not covering the same ground as last year and Barry can only last 65/70 minutes at the moment. We have conceded 6 of our 10 goals in the last 20 minutes, I put that down a lot of our lack of fitness levels. When Matic picked the ball up 20 yards out, Barry looked off his feet, incapable of attempting to try and get to him. We backed off teams a lot last year, much to my annoyance but it never seemed to cost us, it has done a few times already this year. McCarthy and Barry need to be a lot better. Maybe we should start Besic. . .
Positives? Plenty. Mirallas is just absolutely brilliant and a joy to watch. If his flicked finished clipped the other side of the post it may have been one of the best Everton goals for years. His build up play and finish to his own goal was sublime. Lukaku worked hard and held up the ball better than usual. His first touch is still lacking but you want to see signs of improvement and I think yesterday showed that. What can you say about Steven Naismith? He has been in our top 3 players in each match and brings so much to the team. What he lacks in talent and technique he makes up for with intelligence, hard work and is a very good finisher. 3 goals from 3 games is a great return and his finish yesterday was fantastic, it was a great first touch and smart finish against the leagues best goalkeeper.
The biggest positive for me was Samuel Eto’o. With a player like him, with his reputation, it’s easy to forget how hard he works. People have questioned his age but he is still quick and still have a great level of fitness. The fact that he is one of the best finishers of his generation also helps. Baines’ cross wasn’t a good one. It was slightly behind everyone but Eto’o somehow managed to get his head on it and direct it into the bottom corner. I think Eto’o has been signed to start matches, and based on that performance you’d want him to.
It is West Brom next week and 3 points is much needed. As is a new centre back. The transfer window closes on Monday and i’m not sure much business will be done between now and then and we’ve not been linked with any defenders. Distin had a good season previously how can only hope this is an issue of form and not a decline, hopefully a renewed partnership with John Stones will bring out the best in him.