Everton were looking to continue their winning ways under new manager Sam Allardyce (the Toffees are unbeaten in 5 since his appointment) when struggling Swansea City came to town.
Here are my thoughts in no particular order of importance:
- Big Sam sticks with the same lineup that has helped him get off to such a rousing start.
- I know the old adage ‘if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it’ , but ‘if it’s tired, rest it’ is also true isn’t it??
- Very tepid start from the Toffees meant very few chances to start. While the team resolve to keep clean sheets is nice, the Toffees need to develop their ‘early goal’ instincts in order to make the counter more dangerous.
- Interesting note by the announcers that Everton are using the long ball in the beginning in order to give the Toffees creative forces (Wayne Rooney / Gylfi Sigurdsson) room to operate. Don’t tell that to Jurgen.
- The first third of the match the team gave off the sense they were tired.
- Sometimes I think Jordan Pickford is yelling at me. I usually deserve it.
- Mason Holgate’s tackle was absolutely beautiful. Much like Holgate himself most of the time, referee Jon Moss can’t seem to figure out which way is up.
- I wouldn’t be surprised to see a halftime change. It seems like the ideas are there but the players are lacking that extra kick to create the chance/cut out the pass etc...
- Which is exactly what led to the goal. From not stepping up to a quick free kick that led to the corner to Ashley Williams abandoning the eventual goal-scorer in order to win the header, Everton have looked a step slow.
- Aaron Lennon has to be the Player of the Season thus far. Since Ronald Koeman was fired and David Unsworth brought him in from the cold he has been an absolute menace. Not only has he proven to be the perfect security blanket to allow Jon-Joe Kenny to develop without being exposed but he has been a consistent attacking force and has stepped up at key moments.
- Lennon did a lot of hard work to draw the penalty, I wish Big Sam would let Gylfi take over PK duties until Leighton Baines returns. This ‘miss but make the rebound’ is bound to run out of luck soon. I am happy to see Dominic Calvert-Lewin score, regardless of the circumstances.
After a very poor performance for 45 minutes, the Toffees are fortunate to find themselves level 1-1 at the half. It will be interesting to see what Big Sam Allardyce will do at halftime. A big speech to light a fire under the current side? Or perhaps some halftime changes? Whatever he does, the Toffees need to improve.
- No changes for the Toffees to start the second 45 minutes of play. I don’t imagine it will be long though before we see fresh legs. My guess is Sam didn’t want to show up any of the guys who have been playing so well for him by pulling them after 45.
- Not a great start to the second half, with the Toffees still looking disjointed. A few bright individual moments by DCL, but unfortunately his product in the final third is still a bit too inconsistent.
- The second has been a carbon copy of the first, with the only difference being the Toffees are pressing higher after the intermission. DCL got a foot on a clearance from the Swans keeper Lukas Fabianski, but otherwise the press hasn’t done much to create any chances.
- Until Gylfi changed things that is! For all of the moans and groans about his price tag, the Icelandic assassin has truly shown his qualities over the past few weeks. Not only has he produced in the final third with his free kicks, assists and goals but Gylfi has also shown the willingness to track back as an outside midfielder and do the work necessary to help turn the ship and get Everton back on track.
- After scoring their second goal the Toffees did a poor job in stemming the Swans reaction to going behind. Luckily for the Goodison faithful Swansea offer the least amount of threat of any Premier League side there is.
- Ok Wayne.....we get it...you can make it.....NOW will you give up the penalty duties?
After starting poorly and escaping the first half level, the home-standing Toffees were able to get their act together long enough necessary to dispatch of a toothless Swansea who were up for the fight but lacked the requisite quality.
Everton will be happy with the result, and even though the winning streak continues on, the Big Sam Honeymoon period is quickly coming to a close and the obvious boost given to the team with the appointment of Allardyce will need to be parlayed into continued success on the field through the brutal winter stretch and into the new year.
For the time, however, Everton can celebrate another three points and one more step away from the disaster that was the beginning of the season and towards a 2018 full of promise.