Koeman’s game plan an utter failure
Ronald Koeman opted to go with a more traditional 4-2-3-1, spurning his three at the back formation against a very dangerous Tottenham side. However this line-up was missing one crucial piece, the wingers to round out the formation.
Record signing Gylfi Sigurdsson was out of position on the left flank, while Davy Klaassen and Wayne Rooney took turns playing in central midfield and right wing. Unfortunately none of those players possess the speed needed to get behind Tottenham’s three central defenders. Sandro and Cuco Martina were able to momentarily stretch the opposing defense, but these moments were few and far between.
Down two goals at halftime, Koeman wisely brought on Dominic Calvert-Lewin to inject some pace into the side, but Harry Kane’s 46th minute goal made the switch a moot point and put the match out of reach.
Shambolic defending by Everton
Everton’s defense had been a bright spot prior to this match. While the team has struggled to score goals, they had largely been keeping them out of their own net. This match however was failure of the highest order.
Jordan Pickford perhaps could have done better on the first goal by Kane, but I tend to chalk that one up to luck more than anything. Instead of responding in kind, Everton wilted under the pressure of Tottenham’s attack and were caught napping on Christian Eriksen’s goal. Kane’s final goal showed a distressing lack of effort on the part of Everton’s defensive players as the England international finished the match off for good.
Realistically, Everton were lucky to escape this match with only three goals allowed. Had it not been for a few timely blocks and scuffed shots by Tottenham, this match could have been even more embarrassing than it already was.
Squad is deep in all the wrong places
I’ll admit it, my better judgement may have been clouded by the amount of money Everton spent this summer. Like many supporters, the fact that big money signings were happening was so exciting that the bigger picture was lost until the window had almost shut.
Looking at the current make-up of the squad doesn’t allow for all of the best players to be in their optimal positions. Assuming Koeman continues to play Idrissa Gueye and Morgan Schneiderlin at the same time, then Klaassen and Sigurdsson cannot both play their preferred attacking midfield position. One of them will get pushed out wide where their skills are not properly utilized.
The attacking trio of Wayne Rooney, Sandro and Calvert-Lewin are not really capable of leading a line by themselves. All would be best suited to play off a target man, the likes of which is not found in the squad. The team’s wing situation is a mess for the time being until Yannick Bolasie is healthy again. The remaining options are inexperienced, mediocre or malcontent.
Everton lacked a real playmaker last season, unfortunately they over compensated at the position and created a log jam. This current line-up may work in a video game, but in the real world it will be difficult to get the best out of a group of players that are not in their ideal positions.