Everton traveled to St. James Park in good heart, on the heels of a four game point streak. There were two changes from the side that faced Liverpool on Sunday - Morgan Schneiderlin and Aaron Lennon drew in for Tom Davies and Oumar Niasse, respectively.
Wayne Rooney got the winning goal, and it’s points in five straight after a 1-0 win over Newcastle United. Up the table we go.
- Nearly everyone has played better under Sam Allardyce, but perhaps nobody more so than Gylfi Sigurdsson. The Icelander’s confidence looks off the charts, and he’s consistently putting his teammates in good positions.
- It was a little weird that Sam Allardyce did not rest any of Wayne Rooney, Jonjoe Kenny, Gylfi Sigurdsson, or Idrissa Gueye. That quartet in particular have run themselves into the ground recently, but if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
- As mentioned, Morgan Schneiderlin was welcomed back into the side, and acquitted himself well. His calmness on the ball allowed Rooney and Gueye to get forward and press easier.
- Rooney’s goal was frankly not much of his own doing. He did play in Dominic Calvert-Lewin down the right, but DCL’s cross into the box, Lennon’s subsequent header, and Karl Darlow’s mistake made the goal. Wayne just cleaned up the mess.
- Nikola Vlasic deserves more playing time. I’m not sure where, but every time he sees the field, opposing defenses have an awful time trying to defend him.
- It wasn’t a barnstorming performance by any means, but Everton continued to defend well and hold their shape. Sam Allardyce did not take long to whip this side into better condition.
Clean sheet? Check. Win? Check. Another goal for Rooney? Check. Come get some, Swansea City.