It was a performance that we have come to expect from Everton in the 2015-16 season. They had flashes of brilliance, but ultimately proved to be disappointing, losing 1-0 to Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Gerard Deulofeu provided some much needed energy for the Toffees and looked to be a handful for the United defense throughout the first half. But he started to fade as the game went on and was eventually subbed off with a half hour remaining in favor of Kevin Mirallas.
There can't be too much to complain about with the centerback pairing of John Stones and Phil Jagielka. Stones made a goal-saving tackle on Anthony Martial in the penalty area and continued to be impressive with the ball at his feet. Jagielka had two of Everton's best chances, one hitting the crossbar and the other right at goalkeeper David De Gea.
STONES. https://t.co/pOmv8aDc4o— English League BR (@EnglishLeagueBR) April 3, 2016
The real problem today was the attack. As mentioned, Deulofeu provided a spark early on, but there was little apart from that. Aaron Lennon seemed to be given free reign to roam the pitch, but had almost no impact. Tom Cleverley was positioned out on the left wing, pushing Ross Barkley to a deep midfield role, which just did not work for him, It was a strange set-up.
Manchester United's goal came off the boot of Martial, but it was a ball Seamus Coleman should have dealt with much better. He had a good angle on the delivery, but just flat out missed it. That is one that Coleman will look back on and feel single-handedly responsible for.
Anthony Martial delivers once again for @ManUtd, scoring the opener vs. Everton. #BPLonNBC #ManUtd #Everton https://t.co/SZqfmy6R4X— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) April 3, 2016
What else can really be said? Romelu Lukaku didn't have much of an impact, but his service was poor for nearly the entire game. On one specific corner, Jagielka gave him an earful for not being where he was supposed to be. On the replay, it looked as though Rom didn't even really make an effort to be near the ball. I mean, yeah Lukaku makes a lot of money and should be giving his all for a full 90 minutes, but he was hardly the reason Everton lost.
One final thing that was problematic was the performance of Oumar Niasse. He was the big-money January transfer, but obviously hasn't done enough in practice to earn a start despite the poor overall team performance. So, instead he comes on as a last-ditch substitute. But even in that capacity he has struggled, looking weaker, slower and less-skilled than his competitors. Another nail in Roberto Martinez' managerial coffin? Perhaps.
Everton will be back in action on Saturday as they travel to Vicarage Road to take on Watford, a team just below them in the table. And then they are on the road again to Selhurst Park for a game with Crystal Palace. on April 13. Both are opportunities to improve on the Toffees poor league form, but that probably won't happen because #Evertoning.