Sloppier than Saturday
Everton seemed to be nearing rock bottom after their terrible performance at Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday. Against Leicester City, the Toffees continued their poor run of form and ended their jam-packed December with yet another loss. Having won only one of their last eight matches, Everton desperately need a break before their next league match against AFC Bournemouth but there is the small matter of a FA Cup Third Round clash against Lincoln City on Saturday.
This was the fourth game in ten days that Everton have played and the team looked exhausted in this match. The sloppy play that was evident against Brighton was even more obvious yesterday as Everton struggled to string even a few passes together. And with little in the way of quality on the bench, Marco Silva was forced to trot out the same gassed players that struggled to contribute over the weekend.
It’s hard to pick out one particular facet of this Everton team that wasn’t working in this match. Rather it was the team as a whole that looked entirely off the pace and unable to generate any real attacking chances.
Leicester were bad, Everton were worse
This was by no means a dominant performance from the visiting side. Throughout most of the match, Leicester City were just as bad as Everton. Neither team seemed capable of reliably getting the ball into the opposing teams defensive third. Instead this was a case of which team would make the biggest mistake, and Everton blinked first.
For most of the afternoon it seemed as though this game would end in a listless 0-0 draw. There was little in the way of big chances for either side and the few scoring opportunities for either side rarely seemed to bother either goalkeeper.
What was needed to break this game open was a big defensive gaffe, and Michael Keane was the one to provide it. A mishandled ball by Keane found it’s way to Ricardo Pereira who played a streaking Jamie Vardy onto goal. Unsurprisingly the Leicester striker found the back of the net and the match was effectively over at that point. Everton never really threatened to tie the match up and the subs that Silva made had little impact on the end result.
Everton need to make a move in the January Window
Despite Marcel Brands’ insistence that Everton are unlikely to be active in the January Transfer Window, perhaps he will consider given the teams recent performance. There may not be a franchise altering player available, but this team needs options available. This match was not lost because Ademola Lookman wasn’t available, it was lost because the lack of depth forced players into more minutes than they were capable of playing.
Looking at the bench, there were few good options to rotate into the team. Everton’s three healthy wingers have been run into the ground over the last two weeks with no real option to replace them. And the striker pool is still the same ineffective mess it was at the start of the season.
Sure, Everon have had mixed results in the winter window. For every Theo Walcott, there is an Aiden McGeady stinking up the place. The record mostly skews towards bad moves, but there were some solid pick-ups in this window. Brands does not need to go out an find the next superstar, but a solid bench player or two could be a welcome addition to a struggling side.