For the second time in a week, Everton Football Club put in a complete - and spirited - performance. Sure, it was just West Ham and then Huddersfield Town, but the Toffees suddenly look like a team again. The 2-0 win saw goals from Gylfi Sigurdsson and Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
Don’t look now, but that’s also two consecutive clean sheets. Up the table we go.
- This was one of Tom Davies’ worst games in an Everton shirt. It could have been fatigue, but the teenager could hardly complete a simple pass, and slid into foolish tackle after foolish tackle. He was fortunate not to be booked twice. There’s an abundance of talent there, but it’s clear further development is needed.
- By contrast, it was probably Cuco Martina’s best game in an Everton shirt. The Curacao native was calm and composed in defense, and got forward well. It’s amazing what happens when you put someone in front of him who has defensive willingness (Sigurdsson) instead of a traffic cone (Mirallas).
- The Blues’ first goal was a thing of beauty. Aaron Lennon was a problem for Huddersfield all afternoon, and he skinned the Terriers’ left back on this play. Lennon found Calvert-Lewin, and Dom deftly back-heeled the ball into Gylfi Sigurdsson. The Icelander was free and clear, and produced a professional finish.
- For now, Everton seem to have found something in this 4-1-4-1 formation. If there’s anything you can say about this squad, it’s that there is no lack of defensive and creative midfielders. Sigurdsson’s free role on the left, contrasted with with Aaron Lennon’s blazing pace on the right means that the team looks balanced for the first time in ages.
- Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s goal for the Toffees’ second was nearly as good as the first. Idrissa Gueye made his trademark play of nicking the ball off a defender, which allowed Rooney to pick it up and play an excellent through ball into DCL. Easy as you like.
- Gylfi Sigurdsson looks to be an entirely different player these last two games. He’s trying creative ideas, and many of them are working. It’s almost as if - and bear with me here - he’s a good footballer.
- Sam Allardyce’s substitutions today were spot on. Morgan Schneiderlin calmed down the midfield in place of a wild Tom Davies. Ademola Lookman for a tired Aaron Lennon stretched the Huddersfield back line, and Michael Keane helped cement the win when he replaced Wayne Rooney late.
Everton’s next match is in the Europa League, where you’d assume Big Sam will rotate heavily in advance of the derby on Sunday.
Hopefully the time between matches allows Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines to get fit, but in the meantime, the Blues’ newfound fight at least makes the Liverpool match interesting in a way it might not have been before.