Everton unable to make the most of scoring chances
This was another match in which Everton should have scored more goals than they actually did. There were a number of counter attacks that failed to produce a meaningful chance at goal mixed in with a few clear cut chances that the team failed to capitalize on. Yannick Bolasie and Ross Barkley, for all their pace and power seem to kill the attack almost as frequently as they create it. Bolasie can create magic with his dribbling skills, but is also guilty of giving the ball away in bad areas. Barkley on the other hand seems hesitant or unable to pick out that final pass to send Lukaku or others in on goal.
Given the amount of possession Everton had it is frustrating to see them yet again unable to produce goals in the run of play. The quality just doesn’t seem to be there like it was just a few weeks ago and now passes are missing their mark.
Ronald Koeman may need to look to his bench to find a spark to get his team going, because they have looked stagnant in the final third the last two weeks.
Blues line up seemed unbalanced
The absence of Leighton Baines and the addition of Tom Cleverley seemed to leave Everton missing that extra attacking edge. With Baines missing another game due to injury, it was again up to Bryan Oviedo to fill in at left back. It goes without saying that Oviedo does not offer the same quality in attack and defense that Baines does. Oviedo also does not posses the same calm on the ball that Baines does, leading to a number of balls being hoofed to the halfway line instead of calmly played to the nearest player.
The addition of Cleverley was a bit of a head scratcher for fans when the line up was released. Instead of opting for either Kevin Mirallas or Aaron Lennon to play out wide, a diamond midfield was adopted when Everton had the ball. I can’t point out any glaring mistakes or issues from Cleverley except that he seemed invisible for most of the match. He’s fine at shuttling the ball around midfield, but he does not possess the ability to break the game open with pace or skill, something Everton needed opposite Bolasie.
The international break has come just in time
After a scorching start to the season Everton have stalled over the last few matches. Ronald Koeman and his coaching staff need to work to get this team back on track as a tougher group of fixtures is on the horizon. Everton will face top four perennials Manchester City, Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal over the next few months.
The past month was an excellent opportunity to pick up points against lesser competition before they play the better squads. Instead they appear to have lost any momentum they had and dropped precious points at home and on the road.
Most importantly, this break will be a great time for some of Everton’s players to get a much needed break and heal up before the tough winter schedule approaches.