Koeman will live and die by his youth mantra
The manager spoke about giving young players chances in his pre-match press conference, saying -
“I’m not afraid to give a chance to young players.”
He proved it yesterday, choosing to bring on Matthew Pennington when he wanted to revert to a back-three, and then sending on Dominic Calvert-Lewin when he needed fresh legs late on.
The first change was enforced, with the Blues not having any veteran defenders or midfielders on the bench. The second however backfired on him as Calvert-Lewin proved to be as profligate with the ball as Kevin Mirallas and Ross Barkley before him.
Once Everton receded into a shell in the last half an hour, the onus was on Romelu Lukaku and whoever was playing alongside him to hold on to the ball. Multiple times the forwards lost the ball cheaply either making poor dribbles or simply taking their eye off the ball.
Koeman bemoaned the ‘final ball’ yesterday - a second goal would have almost certainly killed off the game, and the manager will surely be wondering if he should have sent on the more experienced Enner Valencia instead of DCL.
Defensive personnel shortage gets worse
The Everton defence is in full on crisis mode right now. Ashley Williams picking up a red card means he will be suspended for the next game, at home against Leicester City who have now won five in a row and dispelled their relegation fears.
Koeman has lined up with a three-man (or five-man, depending on how you look at it) backline in both previous games against the Foxes this season. If he wants to do that on Sunday, this is what the defence could look like -
Kenny - Holgate - Jagielka - Pennington - Baines
Jamie Vardy has been rejuvenated, and will surely be licking his lips with the prospect of running against either Pennington or Holgate, or getting in behind Jagielka. Yikes.
Everton still to solve away woes at top six
To be in the top six Everton have to beat the top six, especially away from home. This has been said time and again, but Everton have one away win at the top six teams in the last six years.
The Blues came very close last night to finally getting another win, but lacked the killer instinct. Koeman was within seconds of becoming the first manager to win three consecutive away games at Old Trafford, and will be further haunted by the fact that a similar effort in the Derby on Saturday would have yielded a different result from the limp 3-1 loss.