Everton @ Cardiff City: 5 Thoughts

Michael Steele

Taking a quick break from the transfer silliness to take one last look back at Saturday's match.

1. Three draws isn't good. But let's try to stay positive.
Yes, taking three points from Norwich City, West Bromwich Albion, and Cardiff City to begin the year is not good enough. But considering the circumstances, there's no reason to press the panic button yet. On the one hand, you have a new manager who is trying to implement an entirely new style of play after a decade of doing things the same way every year. Then you have the uncertainty of the transfer window casting a cloud over the team, a situation that should be resolved one or way or another later today. Finally, with the amount of possession Everton have enjoyed so far, the goals have to come eventually... right?

2. Gerard Deulofeu is good enough to play - but where?
I love the way Deulofeu will actually take on a defender and try his luck with a shot, qualities that have been sorely lacking in the Everton team over the last few years. But as long as Kevin Mirallas and Steven Pienaar are healthy, it's difficult to see how Roberto Martinez will be able to utilize the talented Spaniard in any role other than super sub. It might take some creativity, a different formation, or an injury, but Deulofeu is more than good enough for the Premier League.

3. Anthony Taylor is not good at his job.
Gary Medel tripped up Leighton Baines in the box, and it should have been a penalty. There's simply no arguing the fact. You might remember Anthony Taylor from his "performance" at West Ham last year, a match that Everton actually won. Unfortunately, they weren't so lucky this time around.

4. This game was crying out for (the good version of) Victor Anichebe.
It was always going to be challenging for Everton to break Cardiff down, but one of the biggest difficulties they faced was getting some semblance of hold-up play from the strikers. Both Nikica Jelavic and Arouna Kone did a pretty poor job of winning possession, and when they did touch the ball it seemed to bounce right off them. Everton really needed a big, physical presence at the top that passes would stick to, thus setting up chances from close range. Unfortunately, Anichebe wasn't available off the bench, and is rumored to possibly be on his way to West Brom.

5. If this was Marouane Fellaini's last game in the royal blue, then thanks for the memories, Fella.
Everyone has an opinion on Marouane Fellaini, and even though he can be a frustrating player at times, I feel like I'm at peace with the reality of his imminent departure. The simple fact is that even if we wanted to keep him at all costs, he doesn't really fit into the Roberto Martinez blueprint (as this game painfully demonstrated). If this is it, then I'll consider myself lucky to have been able to watch Fellaini play football on a weekly basis for the past five years. He's a fascinating player who produced numerous talking points and scored some of Everton's most important goals over the years, and for that I'm grateful.

And I'm not even going to consider the possibility that this was Leighton Baines's last game for Everton. He's indispensable to this team, he's my all-time favorite player, and just thinking about him in another shirt depresses me. So that's not going to happen.

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