Aaron Lennon finds new life
Through his ups and downs at Everton, Aaron Lennon has been nothing if not consistent. He’ll never lead the team in a meaningful statistical category, nor is he a player that can break games open with feats of skill and speed. But since returning from his battle with mental illness, he has been exactly the player Everton have needed.
Despite having a longer than usual rest period following a Wednesday match, Everton came out a bit sluggish against the visitors. Swansea City, for their part, looked eager to make up for their 4-0 loss at home to Manchester City. Finding acres of space down the left side, Swansea were very much the better team for most of the first half.
The aforementioned Aaron Lennon was the lone bright spot for Everton as he tried to jump start his struggling side. His defensive efforts were praise-worthy, but it was his work on the offensive side that put Everton back in the match just before half time. He may be no Yannick Bolasie, but he provides a certain amount of professionalism and dependability that isn’t always found in Everton’s younger wing players.
Ashley Williams takes leave of his senses
I want to like Ashley Williams, I really do. He’s a natural leader and Everton’s lone aerial threat on set pieces. But when he defends corners as poorly as he did on Monday, it makes him hard to defend.
If Williams had been beat fair and square by Leroy Fer, I could live with the goal. Defenders can’t win them all and sometimes the attacker comes out on top. Unfortunately, that was not the case on this particular set-piece. Williams, without hesitation, left his man to cover an already defended attacker in an attempt to go for the ball. This left Fer with a wide open shot on goal to put the visitors up shortly before the half.
Fortunately for everyone, Everton have recently found some intestinal fortitude and have not been collapsing under early goals. But this does not change the fact that goals like that can crush the confidence of a team. Going in behind at half-time is not a good look against the worst team in the Premier League. Luckily Aaron Lennon and Dominic Calvert-Lewin saved Everton that embarrassment before the break.
Gylfi living up to his price tag
Count me among those who was just a bit skeptical of the high priced arrival of Gylfi Sigurdsson. It’s not that I thought he was bad, just that the drama around his arrival and eventual price would be difficult to live up to. His early season struggles under Ronald Koeman did not help his case. Sure, there were flashes of the man who tallied 9 goals and thirteen assists, but nothing that justified his £45 million fee.
I guess all it took was a new manager and some time to adjust because Sigurdsson has been one of Everton’s best players as of late. He has even found a way to be successful out wide in a way he was unable to under Koeman and David Unsworth. While I think he could be far more effective in central midfield, he is still positively affecting games.
Sigurdsson has scored a couple of stunners this season already and only appears to be getting better as Everton settle in under Sam Allardyce.