Everton had no trouble in seeing off FC Twente today, registering a 3-0 victory in their second preseason match of 2017-18. Kevin Mirallas, Aaron Lennon, and Kieran Dowell all got on the scoresheet, and Cuco Martina made his debut in the second half. Sandro Ramirez and Jordan Pickford were deemed not quite fit enough to make the squad.
Joel Robles made the trip, but Maarten Stekelenburg remained in net for the full 90 minutes.
Of the new signings, only Michael Keane started the game for Everton, but he was generally superb. The Englishman was powerful in the air, confident on the ball, and nearly scored off an early corner after a lovely flick on by Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
The Blues dominated most of the early possession, but end product was a little lacking, as both Mirallas and Calvert-Lewin struggled to find the net when presented with golden chances. Mirallas in particular was wasteful, and struggled to pick out the right ball when assigned to set piece duty.
In the end, Mirallas would rescue his otherwise mediocre performance with a lovely run and finish. Stealing a bit from the Arjen Robben playbook, the Belgian cut in from the left side and fired a laser into the top corner to put the Blues ahead before half time.
Everton’s first half right flank of Jonjoe Kenny and Ademola Lookman put in encouraging performances, with Lookman in particular very sharp. In the absence of Yannick Bolasie, Ronald Koeman needs someone willing to try things, and Lookman is stepping up.
With the news from earlier in the day that Newcastle United had not placed any bids for James McCarthy, the Irishman’s performance will not have elicited further interest in the transfer market. McCarthy was dreadful on the ball and committed several violent fouls.
The second half was much more engaging than the first, as Ronald Koeman eventually made wholesale changes, including bringing on Davy Klaassen, Wayne Rooney, and Cuco Martina. The trio injected a bit of life into proceedings, with Klaassen and Rooney both coming close to scoring.
Overshadowing those three was the play of Kieran Dowell. Unafraid to dribble at defenders and unafraid to take a shot from distance, Dowell scored yet another beautiful shot from distance. The youngster also set up a golden chance for Klaassen later on.
As Everton continue their search for extra attackers, it’s handy to have someone like Dowell around as cover for the first team. While previously a loan to the Championship could have been in the offing, Dowell is making a strong case for Koeman to keep him around.
In truth, though, the storyline should be Aaron Lennon. He scored Everton’s second goal, his first since returning from an extended layoff that began last season. We wish Aaron all the best, and it was wonderful to see him on the scoresheet and celebrating with his teammates again.
Two games down, two wins in the bag. It’s clear that Everton are still working their way to fitness and bringing the new acquisitions up to speed, but there are encouraging signs here. For now, it’s off to Belgium for one last friendly (against Genk) before the Europa League kicks off 8 days from now.