Everton close out a match
Even though it appeared this team might “Do an Everton” and blow their lead against Huddersfield, Everton did a solid job of closing out this match. There were plenty of close calls and Huddersfield tried to claw their way back into the match, but credit to Sam Allardyce’s men for grabbing all three points.
Consider me a member of the pessimistic masses who were sure that at some point in the second half Huddersfield would level the match and demoralize Everton. A defensive substitution would have been sure to follow and Allardyce would have stood at the podium after the match stating what a good result this was.
But to the surprise of just about everyone, Everton were fairly aggressive in the second half. The front line was able to take advantage of Huddersfield’s desperation for a goal and as the home side over extended, Everton’s attackers were able to get behind the defense and wreak havoc. Even as the game came to a close Everton were able to keep the pressure on. It’s hard to expect this to be a permanent strategy for Everton, but it was nice to see regardless.
Solid performance from the defence
The defensive unit has not been something Everton could be proud of for most of this season. Even though Sam Allardyce has made improvements in this area, the backline has been dreadful at times.
Seeing as Huddersfield is on the relegation bubble, David Wagner’s men needed to get some points from this match. And while the home side came out guns blazing, Everton’s defense was able to limit the chances Huddersfield had on goal. The Toffees were certainly lucky on a few occasions as the opposition missed some very open chances at goal. But for what seems like the first time in a long time, luck was on Everton’s side.
Lack of attacking intelligence
If there is one big issue that I believe has been holding Everton back offensively, it is the lack of intelligence of the attacking players. There are two notable exceptions to this however, Wayne Rooney and Theo Walcott.
While Rooney certainly has his issues, he perceives the game on a different level than the rest of the squad. His body may not be able to do the things he wants it to do, but the intelligence of a world class player is still there. The same goes for Walcott, having been brought up in Arsenal’s system, he was taught a more stylized version of football than we are seeing at Everton.
This is not to say that the rest of the Everton squad are dummies, but there are times you can see that every player is not created equal. This issue is especially noticeable when Everton try to do cheeky plays just outside the penalty area. Rooney or Walcott may try to play a backheel pass or a give and go and their teammates never seem to know what to do when this happens. This is why I would rather have cast offs from the top four teams instead of raiding relegation clubs in the summer. These players see the game differently having played for many years on much better teams.