Sam Allardyce made several changes to the lineup at the Vitality Stadium today, reverting to a back 4 and re-integrating both James McCarthy and Idrissa Gueye to a lineup that already included Morgan Schneiderlin. Wayne Rooney started from the bench and came on at halftime but it wasn’t enough.
In the end, a loss was perhaps the fairest result from a match that Everton should have tried harder to win.
- Jordan Pickford was superb this afternoon. There was nothing he could do on either of Fraser’s goals, but he stood tall to stop Callum Wilson’s wide open chance in the first half, and downright stole a goal from the Cherries in the second after a Rooney mistake resulted in a shot. He’s a keeper, this kid - in multiple senses of the word.
- Everton’s goal was initiated by an awful mistake from Simon Francis, but it was beautiful all the same. Gylfi Sigurdsson accepted the turnover and played a perfectly weighted pass to Oumar Niasse. Niasse’s flick into the path of Gueye, who finished the move, was absolutely delightful.
- The Blues’ insistence on sitting deep and letting the game come to them - particularly in the first half, and especially against bad teams - is putting them behind the eight ball. Opponents are taking it as an invitation to get forward, and as a result the Toffees create next to nothing for long stretches. A defense can only bend and not break for so long.
- It’s becoming more and more clear that Everton need to buy in January - if not for quality, quantity, because there are some tired legs out there, with no end in sight, particularly in the case of Cuco Martina and Jonjoe Kenny. The boys need a rest.
- The fatigue was no more evident than when watching Ryan Fraser give the Blues’ defense a torrid time. Fraser tries hard, but he’s not a good player.
- Everton asked for Sam Allardyce football. They’re getting Sam Allardyce football. Interpret that however you like.
Manchester United awaits the day after tomorrow. Liverpool after that. It’s not going to get any easier.