Everton: Urgency To Win A Game Creeping In


There were plenty of positives to take from Everton’s opening day draw away to Leicester. The same could be said for Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Arsenal, although that one was most certainly a tale of two halves. But while there has been plenty to like about Everton’s play in the first two games of the season, the team only has two points, and that is a little bit concerning even at this early stage of the season.

Everton did well to control the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with relative ease on Saturday.

Everton let a two goal lead slip at home to Arsenal, and that in itself is not good enough. Beginning with the positives however, there was so much to like about the performance in the first forty-five minutes. Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman were both constant threats from their full back positions, with Coleman opening the scoring against the run of play. Both have picked up from where they left off last season, and that is a great sign for this team.

In fact, last year both full backs combined for eleven goals. You would be hard pushed to find another team in Europe with two defenders who contribute that much in front of goal. So they are not the problem. Neither is the balance of the team, which has a lovely combination of steel and guile. But if these are the positives that this team brings to the pitch, how come they only have two points from their opening two games?

The club is lacking belief. Arsenal were truly terrible in their first half clash, with Everton players James McCarthy and Kevin Mirallas outshining their more illustrious opponents such as Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez. When Arsenal pegged one goal back however, Everton immediately began to panic. This was despite the fact they were the home team, and had controlled Arsenal so well for large periods of the game.

About three minutes before Oliver Giroud levelled the game, you knew the goal was coming. Everton seemed resigned to this fact, and so did their fans. Now, the loss of Romelu Lukaku to what looked to be a toe injury didn’t help the cause, he came off before both of Arsenal’s goals. But there was more to this draw than simply losing a striker.

So how can Everton fix the problems they have? One idea might be to start Aiden McGeady. His goal against Leicester was one of real beauty, and when he came on against Arsenal, he gave Nacho Monreal a tough time of it. He overdoes it a lot on the pitch, but when he simply runs at the opposition and creates space for others, he is a nice threat to have out on the wing. Compare this to Mesut Ozil on the wing who didn’t play or move like a winger should. That is two good games in a row for the Irishman now, so perhaps he should start the next game.

As much as Evertonians love defender Sylvain Distin, he is at times a liability at the back. His awareness and positioning are still excellent, but quick teams can and have exposed him already this year. John Stones and Phil Jagielka have a better blend of youth and experience to them.

Although it is still early days in this season, Everton are already four points behind some of the teams they would be hoping to battle it out for that fourth spot in the league with. They are know as strong starters in this league, but they haven’t got going yet. Perhaps more worrying, their strong home advantage when playing at Goodison Park was weakened by the fact that Arsenal managed to snag a point when they really shouldn’t have.

Chelsea are Everton’s next opponents in what is another home game for the Toffees. Suddenly the need to win has increased a bit, but they will be facing the side that have started this campaign the brightest. A loss here would not be ideal, and although a draw wouldn’t be so bad, it would be two more early season points dropped. In Everton’s defence however their start to the season has been far from easy. In fact it is one of the tougher opening schedules in the league.

Leaving on a positive note, it is clear manager Roberto Martinez has this team playing football the way he wants them too, and that is a good sign. Against Arsenal they outplayed them for parts of the game, and implemented a nice short passing game that provided results and was easy on the eye. This team is playing for the manager no doubt, and there appears to be a great cohesiveness to this team. They just really need that win now to kickstart their stuttering start to the season.