For the third consecutive season, Everton started their season against a newly promoted squad. And for the third consecutive season, that game has ended in an unsatisfying and disappointing 2-2 draw. Two years ago it was away to Norwich City. Last year's opener against Leicester ended in a discouraging last minute goal that would set the stage for how the season would go for the Toffees. Although it was Everton scoring the last minute goal this time around, the result feels like more of a negative than a positive. If Everton truly have aspirations of being a top 6 club, then they need to be able to beat the lower-tier teams on a regular basis, especially within the confines of Goodison Park.
Stats Do Lie
If you were to look at the stats from this weekend's game, the first thought would probably be that Everton had to have won the game by a large margin. 67% possession, 60% of their shots in the 18-yard box, double the passes that Watford had, more corners and more set pieces. The list of things Everton were statistically better than Watford in is surprisingly long. Yet Everton were not better in the only statistic that matters, the final score. It's great that Everton are able to keep control of the ball for vast stretches of time, but all of that possession goes to waste when the team lacks the urgency to score for large portions of the match. And when they do give the ball up the are alarmingly vulnerable to counter attacks and show an real ineptitude on defense. Sadly, the statistics don't show just how much work needs to be done with this squad.
Everton Need More Width
A combination of injuries and an astounding lack of signings meant that Everton had to play a few players out of position. Brendan Galloway was forced to play left-back while new signing Tom Cleverley was forced out to the wing because every winger Everton has seems to be injured. All of these circumstances meant that most of Everton's attacking midfield had a natural tendency to play or drift centrally. This lack of shape and lack of width makes Everton's attack predictable and easy to defend. This also leaves the team vulnerable to crosses and attacks up the wing, something Everton found out the hard way on Watford's first goal
Do you agree or disagree with the thoughts listed above? Do you have thoughts of your own? Have your say in the comments section.