Everton may have a new x-factor in Lookman
When watching an Everton match, one generally knows what they’re going to get from most of the players on the roster. Each of the players has something they do well and is generally expected of them on any given match day. One thing that has been missing from this team is a player that can do the unexpected and break a match wide open. Everton may finally have that player in Ademola Lookman.
For a time, Gerard Deulofeu was thought to be that player. He was quick, creative on the ball and could swing a mean cross into the box. But as we learned from his time with the club, those moments didn’t happen frequently enough.
Enter Ademola Lookman. The teenager got his first start with the club against Bournemouth and and did nothing but reinforce Ronald Koeman’s trust in him. Whether is was his cheeky dribbles or knack for finding the ball in dangerous areas, Lookman seemed to frequently put the Bournemouth defenders on their heels. He may not have directly contributed on the score sheet, but Lookman was all around the ball causing havoc in the opposing third.
Time will tell if Lookman has what it takes to perform like this on a weekly basis, but the early returns are promising.
Addition by Subtraction
Everton made it through the winter transfer window with a few key additions. Given the Toffees new found wealth, many hoped for more of an overhaul of the squad. Wholesale changes will have to wait until the summer, but in the mean time Everton did do an excellent job of clearing some dead weight from the roster.
The likes of Bryan Oviedo, Darron Gibson, Tom Cleverley and Gerard Deulofeu were clearly not going to see much playing time this season. But their departures could be seen as a big hit to the depth of the squad.
We will see if injuries come back to haunt Everton in this regard, but in the mean time the team seems just fine with out those players. Koeman and a few players have had nothing but positive things to say about the changes and so far the results seem to bear that out. The Toffees bench for the game yesterday was as strong as we've ever seen it, with the best player of the first half of the season Idrissa Gueye sitting on the sidelines.
Everton let their foot off the gas, but finished strong
If you had turned this match on after half time, you may have been wondering how on earth Everton had secured a three-goal lead. A dominant first half performance was followed by a lack of urgency that nearly cost Everton much needed momentum and the lead.
Early on, Everton could do no wrong. They were moving the ball with ruthless efficiency and scoring on command, looking to destroy the will of the visitors. Bournemouth, to their credit treated the second half like it was a brand new game. Having brought Everton’s lead down to one, the Cherries looked primed to tie up the match and take the lead. Everton’s solid defense suddenly looked flat footed and had it not been for Joel Robles’ stellar performance, the result may have been different.
Everton seemed to abandon their first half strategy in favor of sitting back and hoofing clearances down the field. This tactic came very close to costing them points, but fortunately Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley came to the rescue.
After the game Koeman commented on the lack of intensity to begin the second stanza, and you can imagine this will be an area of focus in training this week.