Pace A Predictable Problem
We knew going into the season that Everton, without Yannick Bolasie and Seamus Coleman, would struggle to find speed. The issue was worsened when Ronald Koeman refused to use Kevin Mirallas, Aaron Lennon, and Ademola Lookman.
It initially appeared as if David Unsworth was prepared to correct the mistakes made by the former administration, but when Rhino took off two wingers at halftime for a defensive midfielder and another striker, it became more of the same. The contrast was particularly stark when viewed against the blazing fast trio of Demarai Gray, Riyad Mahrez, and Jamie Vardy.
If Everton don’t trust the existing quality on their roster in terms of wide players, then the club have to address the area in January. You cannot stay competitive in the Premier League while playing at a pace that can be measured by a sundial.
Tom Davies and Idrissa Gueye Cannot Play Together
If an Everton manager is going to use a two man midfield, Davies and Gana cannot be paired. Both players are good at what they do and will be important to the Blues for years to come, but they do too many of the same things, and are too prone to chasing.
The point here is underscored a little too perfectly by Jamie Vardy’s opening goal. Both Gueye and Davies have opportunities to stop Demarai Gray in the open field, but end up over pursuing and whiffing completely.
Tom Davies is capable of playing ahead of Idrissa Gueye in a three man, and both players can be paired in a two man with a holding midfielder like Morgan Schneiderlin or Beni Baningime.
Otherwise, though, it’s too risky to field a lineup that essentially offers an opponent the same advantage twice.
Where Was Gylfi Sigurdsson?
Leicester City have played the same style since what feels like time immemorial. They want you to have the ball, and they want to strike on the counterattack.
Given that, David Unsworth should have wanted someone in his midfield capable of retaining possession and being comfortable on the ball. Sigurdsson, of course, isn’t exactly fleet of foot, so in an Everton side desperate for pace this may seem counter intuitive.
However, when we examine where Everton’s shots came from in this match, it begins to make more sense.
Wayne Rooney had to drop very deep to get the ball from two players who were uncomfortable with it, which meant that very few incisive passes were played into Leicester City’s area.
An alternative idea to starting Gylfi Sigurdsson would have been for Unsworth to play Morgan Schneiderlin, which would allow Rooney to stay further forward. Rhino did neither.