Everton spent Boxing Day on the road this year, and suffered from some weary legs at the Hawthorns against West Bromwich Albion. Wayne Rooney and Idrissa Gueye remained out, which didn’t help, but the Toffees managed a result all the same.
- We’d be remiss to not begin by welcoming Yannick Bolasie back into the team after over a year’s absence due to injury. The Congolese attacker looked lively and several times left his marker for dead. Yala got the surprise start, and quickly proved he can be an integral part of Sam Allardyce’s side. Go on, Yannick.
- I cannot tell a lie - this game was incredibly boring. Perhaps that was partially by Sam Allardyce’s design, but you could tell that tired legs from the busy holiday fixture list were not helping. Dominic Calvert-Lewin was able to get a 30 minute rest, but it’s clear he’s not the only player who needs one.
- Tom Davies has not had a good season, and that included today’s game. Ostensibly tasked with replicating Wayne Rooney or Idrissa Gueye, the youngster did neither. Davies was sloppy in possession and careless in defense. Davy Klaassen must be utterly abysmal in training to not get a chance at this point.
- Everton’s continued game plan this season - no matter the opponent - has been to let their enemies retain most of possession and attempt to strike on the break. The Blues were fortunate that West Brom were toothless today, nobody moreso than Salomon Rondon.
- Jonjoe Kenny has always been able to get forward, but his defensive development this season has been remarkable. For a man his size, Kenny has a wonderful ability to make any sort of clearance or block. The young lad enjoys getting stuck in.
- The extent to which Everton didn’t seem interested in attacking the game was frustrating, but at the same time, it’s a results based business - the Blues earned another clean sheet, and remain undefeated under Sam Allardyce. Progress, you’d say.
And so, Bournemouth awaits at the weekend. At this point, it’s probably fair to say that fans would enjoy seeing Everton going after a weaker team. The Cherries are vulnerable, and the Blues will need three points.