Promising Debut from Gomes
Everton’s summer signings are slowly making their debuts with the club. Against Crystal Palace it was the turn of midfielder Andre Gomes to play his first minutes with Everton. And much like Bernard and Richarlison before him, things look promising.
Starting next to Idrissa Gueye, Gomes was very solid for most of the match. He looked to be more skillful and offensively minded than Morgan Schneiderlin, while appearing more refined and controlled than Tom Davies. He may not have created as many scoring chances as some would have liked but he made few mistakes and was a calming presence in the midfield.
As much as I want to see Tom Davies continue to get playing time, I wouldn’t mind seeing Gomes get a bit of a run to see what he can provide to the team. Davies may be an Everton player through and through, but I would like to see Marco Silva deal with things pragmatically and pick the best player for each position, against the corresponding opposition.
The Downside of Richarlison at Striker
Against Leicester City we saw the benefits of Richarlison at striker. Against Crystal Palace, the other side of that coin was more evident. In fact it wasn’t until substitutions forced Richarlison out wide that Everton finally scored.
For all of Richarlison’s positive aspects, he is one of the least physical players in Everton’s squad. Against a more physical and defensive team that distaste for contact rears its ugly head. He can run with the ball and find space behind the opposing defense, but when a game calls for a more back-to-goal style of play Richarlison’s weaknesses come out.
It’s hard to pinpoint one particular thing that he was doing that negatively effected things offensively, instead it was the sum of several issues. His style of play meant that Theo Walcott was nearly invisible for most of the match. The space that Walcott can usually run into was suddenly gone and Richarlison’s decision to receive the ball in the midfield clogged things up for Gylfi Sigurdsson. He was also unable to hold up the ball for long enough to bring in the wingers on either side of him.
This line-up can be effective against certain teams, but when facing a more defensively minded side it doesn’t appear to be the best choice.
Waiting Until the Last Minute
No one is going to complain about a win, but Everton sure waited until the dying moments of the match to put the game away. For 86 minutes this match was utterly uninteresting. Aside from Jordan Pickford’s penalty save and Theo Walcott’s near-goal, nothing really happened.
Things were even looking iffy when Marco Silva took off Bernard, who up until that point had been the only player for Everton that was generating offense. I don’t think many will be doubting Silva’s substitutions as all three players that were brought on had a hand in Everton’s two goals.
In particular, Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s goal felt like one that may not have been scored had a true striker not been on the pitch. For all of Richarlison’s size he seems unwilling to get in the trenches like Calvert-Lewin did on that goal. Though it certainly helped that Ademola Lookman delivered an absolute beauty of a ball into the box.