The only two Everton players to leave the Emirates on Saturday with any sort of positive performances were also two of the youngest in the squad. Tom Davies sparked the Blues midfield with his energy after coming on in the second half, while Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s introduction paid immediate dividends as he scored the Toffees’ consolation goal in the 5-1 hiding by Arsenal.
Still only 20 years old, Calvert-Lewin has featured in 25 of the team’s 26 Premier League fixtures this season; the only game he missed was against West Bromwich Albion, with Sam Allardyce claiming the youngster needed to “rest and recharge his batteries”.
After the game, Calvert-Lewin spoke to evertontv about his motivation levels.
“I do [feel refreshed], I am young and hungry and want to play every game.
“I am waiting for my chance – like today (against Arsenal). I am working hard in training and feel fresh and ready to go.
“The manager told me to run hard: to get forward and back and try to affect the game. I got the goal but, arguably, it was a mistake from myself for Arsenal’s fifth goal, so it was a disappointing afternoon.”
The forward now has scored four Premier League goals this season - Everton have scored 46 goals in all competitions this season, with Calvert-Lewin involved in 14 of them, the same as Wayne Rooney and one ahead of Oumar Niasse.
“It is nice to score goals but on a day like today it does not have the same effect.
”We are a team, we win together and lose together, for me – and the rest of the lads – we are disappointed with the performance. All we can do is work on it and put it right next week.
“Every game is a big game and we have to get our confidence back this week and put it right.”
Everton had looked like they were finally coming to life with Niasse hitting the post just minutes before Calvert-Lewin scored, but the youngster, playing on the left wing, was responsible for an error that allowed Arsenal to score the fifth and kill any semblances of a recovery. He was not afraid to take the responsibility for his actions, something the manager seems incapable of doing.
“Because of the scoreline I tried to keep the ball in play and keep the tempo going, as opposed to letting them get the throw-in.
“It was, perhaps, naïve from me, when there were two players behind me, but I will have to learn from that.
“I wanted to come on and take my chance but it was a frustrating day for all the lads. We wanted to come here and get after Arsenal.
“We knew that if we let them dominate the ball they would punish us, and they did early on. The important thing then was to not concede another, but they got the second goal and it was a tough task from then on.”
With Cenk Tosun’s struggles since joining the club and Niasse’s drab showing the last two starts, it appears Calvert-Lewin may be the best bet the Blues have to start the game, with Niasse and even Tosun coming on as impact subs in the second half.
Expecting Allardyce to have two strikers on the pitch in forward roles even when chasing a game though? You might as well wait for hell to freeze over.