Everton finished their seven-match preseason with yet another defeat, primarily because of yet more shambolic defending. This time it was at the home debuts for Marco Silva, Richarlison and Lucas Digne, losing 3-2 to Valencia at Goodison Park.
The Blues went behind three times, pulling back with well-taken goals from Cenk Tosun and Michael Keane twice but didn’t have enough firepower to recover a third time.
Here’s what we learned from today’s game -
1 - Oh Lord this defence
There is no redeeming quality to this defence, especially the centrebacks. All three goals were a result of defensive errors, and a fourth that was disallowed was just as bad. Leighton Baines lost his man on a deep cross with no cover from Michael Keane - goal. On another cross into the box, Keane and Phil Jagielka had no communication, with Idrissa Gueye and Morgan Schneiderlin equally lost - goal. Jagielka played his man onside on a diagonal deep ball - goal (called offside). Sandro Ramirez runs into Seamus Coleman on a miscommunication - goal.
There’s only days left now to the end of the transfer window. Marcel Brands needs to pay up and get at least one Premier League starting-calibre centreback. Two would be better. And overall Silva needs to get the communication better within this entire squad, top to bottom. This squad needs some leadership on the pitch, and it’s not getting it from the veterans.
2 - Lookman has checked out of Everton
What was that Ademola? All summer long we’ve heard about RB Leipzig’s relentless pursuit of the young winger, and apparently he’s interested in the move too. Meanwhile, Brands and Silva have both said they would like to keep the player and that there’s a spot for him on the squad.
Well, Lookman came on for a few minutes at the end of the game after getting over an ankle ailment picked up in Austria, and could not have looked more disinterested. Which is really disappointing because he was given a rousing round of applause when he came on, but was so lackadaisical you could be forgiven for thinking he wasn’t even on the pitch.
In one instance, with the Blues behind and pushing forward for an equalizer, Lookman took a pass from Schneiderlin, returned it back to the Frenchman and then ambled off, looking away. Everton might as well just let him go and get what they can for him.
Not sure Lookman's heat map would cover more than 4-5 yards after that "performance".— Royal Blue Mersey (@RBMersey) August 4, 2018
Pretty embarrassing, frankly.
3 - Richarlison is the real deal
Everton might have paid through the nose, but what a hot prospect they have on their hands in Richarlison. The Brazilian was especially lively to begin the game, dribbling out of tight spaces, dropping back actively to get the ball and shooting on sight. He could easily have had a couple of goals today.
The front four looks rejuvenated with Richie coming on. The quartet looked flexible today, interchanging positions with ease and playing some neat little passes between them. Idrissa Gueye is also enjoying his role in Silva’s system, disrupting play up top. His attacking abilities and passing range are limited however, and he’ll get a lot of chances that a better player will execute, but we can hope he continues to grow.