After a second successive draw in the Premier League for Everton, it is evident that they are really failing to carry their European form into the league. While the side were dominant and full of ideas against Lille on Thursday, they struggled to break down a resilient and quite frankly lucky Sunderland side yesterday afternoon. Here are some of the main talking points, as always, get your comments in below.
Distin and Jagielka are okay
After some serious shaky defensive displays this season, the Everton defence is looking a little bit more solid recently. The loss of John Stones was unfortunate while the subsequent injury to Alcaraz should probably have been expected. Step up Sylvain Distin. Much maligned at the start of the season, he has managed to come back into the side and look like the solid and (somewhat) dependable defender we know. Meanwhile, Phil Jagielka is back to his best as well, which is nice to see.
Coleman and McGeady don't work
It was a surprise to see Seamus Coleman starting at right back yesterday after reports to the contrary, and the whole team is certainly more balanced with his presence in defence. Having said that, he was seriously limited going forward by his lack of a partnership with Aiden McGeady, and when the winger was substituted it allowed Coleman further forward, ending up in the penalty that drew the Blues level. It's weird to say, but Coleman is actually a better attacking option that McGeady at the moment, and if the partnership can't work, then the winger will have to be sacrificed.
Barkley on the left = No thanks
Ross Barkley out on the left is not something that excites any Everton fan. It's clear to see that he should be behind the striker because that's his best position by a mile. Sticking him out on the left nullified both him and Leighton Baines and hopefully this will be the last time we see it happen. Speaking of Barkley, how good is this kid? Every time he gets the ball he looks to go forward and create something, he's absolutely superb. Unfortunately, Naismith and Eto'o are probably more deserving of a place at the minute.
Eto'o is class, so is Naismith
Speaking of Eto'o and Naismith, these two are absolutely superb at the minute. Eto'o is bringing that touch of class the side is lacking at the minute and is making a mockery of the deal to bring him to the club and his age. His first touch is class, and he seems to have adapted into something a bit more, just look at the pass that sets up the Coleman penalty decision it's sheer class. Also take a look at that early build up play with Lukaku, the finish was unfortunate but other than that it was brilliant.
Which brings me neatly onto Steven Naismith. What a transformation this man is having under Roberto Martinez. His introduction into the game changed Everton's dynamic and he dragged the side forward, even providing a bit of a goal threat. On this type of showing, he should be starting with Eto'o and Lukaku should be dropped, which is something absolutely nobody will have seen coming.
The topic of strikers brings us neatly to Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian is seriously labouring at the minute and Everton are suffering as a result. Unfortunately, the player we had last season seems to have gone missing, as evidenced by his failure to turn his one on one with Costel Pantillimon into a goal, something he would have done with aplomb last season. Worse than that though, his first touch is poor and his hold up play is absent, while he doesn't' seem overly willing to spend any time in the box. He'll get better because he's got the ability, but at the minute he just isn't cutting the mustard.
Special Mention: Awful Refereeing
Given the performance of referee Ryan Mason, it would be amiss not to give it a mention. While it is loathsome and too easy to blame the referee on your sides' failure to win a game, Mason had a bit of a shocker at the Stadium of Light. His failure to send off Jordi Gomez for his dive, and second bookable offence, was probably fifty-fifty, but the decision not to send of Conor Wickham for the Everton penalty was outrageous. The Englishman was the last man and denied Coleman a clear goal scoring opportunity, so by the letter of the law should have seen red. This game could have been so much different if the Black Cats had had to play with nine men, as they rightly should have.