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Everton vs Norwich City: Three Thoughts

Some observations from yesterday’s elimination from the EFL Cup

Everton v Norwich City - EFL Cup Third Round
Everton players appeal for a penalty after a handball on the line
Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

With Everton eliminated from the EFL Cup for yet another year, we look back to the fixture against Norwich City last night and share some closing thoughts.

An easy one to jump on would be the Championship referee Andy Madley who showed why he doesn’t do Premier League level games, missing two straightforward penalty shouts for handball on goalbound shots. However, we’ll take the high road instead.

No backup for Romelu Lukaku

Toffees better pray that the Belgian striker is blessed with exceptional health this season, because there seems to be very little depth behind him. Of the strikers on the squad carried over from last year, Arouna Kone is a known (and limited) quantity. It was looking look like Oumar Niasse’s Everton tenure was destined to be a short-lived one, but after he scored this week for the U-23s, could there be a way back for him?

Meanwhile, Gerard Deulofeu’s experiment as a no. 9/false 9 didn’t quite work out, primarily because of his poor finishing ability. Late loan signing Enner Valencia seems to have the energy, but not necessarily the size it would take to physically impose himself on defences in the Premier League.

Koeman is going to have to bring in more reinforcements at the striker position in the January transfer window.

Fringe players show why they’re on the fringes

Speaking of January, expect Koeman to spend a significant chunk of owner Farhad Moshiri’s fortune building squad depth. The first opportunity that players like Tom Cleverley, Ramiro Funes Mori and possibly Enner Valencia might as well have been their last too because of how terrible they looked.

While Koeman refused to directly criticize his players after yesterday’s loss, he cannot have failed to have seen that the fringe players cannot be relied upon to et the job done at this level. Especially knowing that Norwich City had made ten changes to their starting lineup from the weekend, there really was no reason why six Premier League caliber players failed to perform.

The Steven Naismith applause fiasco

Really, the fact that we’re still talking about this should tell you that we Toffees just simply need something to moan about. Naismith was a well-liked player during his Everton tenure. Apart from his effort on the field, his charitable work was renowned in the communities he lived and played in. Club and fans alike wished him the very best when he was transferred in January of this year.

Fast forward nine months to last night. He scored a goal in front of the Gwladys Street end. As he was mobbed by his teammates, he refused to celebrate his goal. It’s not like he doesn’t celebrate goals, we’ve seen this before, 18 times to be precise.

However, out of respect for the Goodison Park crowd, he didn’t. The Blues fans in attendance recognized this gesture, and applauded the player. It didn’t matter that Everton had just gone down a goal to this man - it was Naismith showing his class and restraint, and equally classy fans reciprocating it.

Steven Naismith
Matthew Kelly / Getty Images

It was all nice and good until some disgruntled fans started complaining during the game about ‘clapping an opposition player’. Come on, this is a non-issue. Naismith is a classy player, and the classy fans acknowledged it. Those still making a big deal out of it should relax and move on. In fact, had Everton come back to win we wouldn’t even be talking about this now. End of.