Second half red card saves Everton
It’s easy to be positive after Gylfi Sigurdsson’s absolute beauty of a goal secured all three points for Everton in a rare away victory. But for a good portion of this match, things were not looking so rosy for the Toffees.
Everton came out swinging early and went up 1-0 after only seven minutes. The squad looked amazing and everything seemed to be clicking. Any early optimism seemed to fade as Leicester City worked their way back into the match and tied things up shortly before the half. Things didn’t really get better as the second half started and this appeared to be yet another three points that Everton would be leaving on the table.
Leicester defender Wes Morgan ended up being the true savior for Everton when he received his second yellow in the 63rd minute. This understandably shifted the momentum back in Everton’s favor. With much of the skill and precision that was on display in the early moments of the match gone, this was the break that was needed to put the game away. With Leicester down to 10 men, SIgurdsson was able to operate in more space and it lead to his goal that gave Everton the lead for good.
Huge contribution from Bernard
Gylfi Sigurdsson will likely get the lion’s share of praise in this match, but Bernard had his best performance for Everton since signing for the club. His first half cross that led to Richarlison’s goal will be his most discussed play of the match, but his inclusion in the side added a new dynamic that Everton have been missing.
Bernard showcased that he has the best attributes of Theo Walcott and Richarlison, but with less of their issues. He is quick and skilled like his attacking partners, but more precise than Walcott and less selfish than Richarlison. That precision with the ball and selfless play was the reason Everton were able to get the lead so early. And before things started going a bit sideways in the middle section of the game, Bernard creating a majority of the chances for his side.
The only concern for Bernard is if he can stay in the starting line up. Today’s performance certainly warrants more minutes, but it remains to be seen if this exact line-up is something that will remain viable in the long term. Richarlison had some good moments at striker, but his distaste for contact doesn’t lend itself to a Premier League striker. Walcott and Richarlison are essentially locks to star every match, this makes it difficult to work Bernard into the starting line up unless Marco Silva deploys this same formation.
Jonjoe Kenny was very bad
Jonjoe Kenny has done an admirable job in covering for the injured Seamus Coleman, but this match highlighted how the young right back is not at the level of a starting player. He’s good moments attacking and defending, but whole picture leaves something to be desired.
In this match, Kenny was absolutely poor. Leicester’s long goal of the match was largely due to errors by Kenny. His move to close down Kelechi Iheanacho freed up Ricardo Pereira down the wing and was subsequently shredded by the aforementioned Pereira twice as he slotted the ball past Jordan Pickford. Idrissa Gueye deserves some blame for completely vacating his position on the play, but Kenny never made up for his error in a meaningful way.
Poor defensive play can be somewhat forgiven if it is followed up by good play in attack, but Kenny failed to do that. It may seem unnecessary to gang up on a young player, but these are the types of errors that can cost Everton points in the long run. The team was fortunate that Leicester went a man down because it didn’t look like Everton were getting back into this match otherwise.