Here are three thoughts from Everton’s 2-2 draw at Wolverhampton yesterday.
Fantastic Debut From Richarlison
Any concerns about Richarlison’s £40 million transfer fee are, for the time being, quashed after an incredible debut from the Brazilian winger. After two goals and some stellar play, Everton’s new signing looks like he will be an important player as the team tries to rebuild under new management.
It’s easy to see why Marco Silva wanted Richarlison so badly. He is strong, agile and quick and showed a real knack for finishing in the box with two very different but equally impressive goals. He looks like a complete package out wide, something that Everton have rarely had in that position.
There were certainly some bone-headed moves to mention. The early yellow card and the botched pass to Theo Walcott come to mind. We may see issues like this crop up throughout the season, but for the time being it’s fair to chalk these issues up to early season jitters.
Jagielka Red Card Costs Everton
It’s not unreasonable to think that Everton could have secured all three points from this match had Phil Jagielka not been sent off in the 40th minute. His challenge may have been close, but it was still one that was ill-advised and highlighted Jagielka’s deteriorating athleticism. Silva immediately pulled off Gylfi Sigurdsson, who was in the midst of a solid match, in order to get defender Mason Holgate on.
Not for the first time we’re seeing signs of age catching up on Jagielka - during the preseason we’d seen him get manhandled off the ball a couple of times, which is not a sight we’re used to.
Despite being down a man for an hour, Everton played well for the remainder of the match. Aside from Michael Keane’s error leading to Wolverhampton’s second goal the defense was actually solid. The attack was still potent without an attacking midfielder as Walcott and Richarlison bombed up and down the flanks with some help from Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines.
Unfortunately the added effort of playing a man down caught up to the squad and it was clear that many players were getting winded as the match wore on. Despite this, there were huge chunks of time where it was hard to tell that Everton were down a man with how well they were playing.
Positive Outlook for the Rest of The Season
After last season’s debacle it was nice to be excited about watching Everton play and see them perform well. There may be some areas of this team that need some shoring up, but things actually look promising.
For one, this team was actually fun to watch in the offensive third. The wing play was sublime and it’s easy to see the that are available with 11 men for a full match. Even the defense wasn’t as terrible as many were expecting. Baines had an amazing match and looks totally re-energized and the center backs will only get better once Yerry Mina and Kurt Zouma are ready.
This team may not be quite ready to storm the top-six but at least they’ll be fun to watch.