More of the same offensively
Had Dominic Calvert-Lewin not scored when he did, it was very likely this game would have ended in a draw. The same issues on the offensive side of the ball that have plagued Everton all season continued to afflict them in this match, namely their poor finishing and a general lack of quickness when passing.
Obviously this is not a criticism of Carlo Ancelotti, as he’s had all of a few days with the team and it would be unreasonable to expect a miracle in that time. For this match Ancelotti did do away with the long ball, high pressing style that Duncan Ferguson had deployed in his time as manager. In it’s place was a familiar play out from the back, quick-passing style. The early results were understandably mixed as the players struggled to make quick decisions and accurate passes.
Everton were able to find success playing the ball from the wings via crosses, but it still remains concerning that this team routinely struggles to find a way to score. It will be interesting to see how Ancelotti is able to transform this side through new tactics and eventually new players.
Sign Sidibe permanently
With all due respect to Seamus Coleman, I believe we’ve found our right back of the present and possibly the near future. As Djibril Sidibe has gotten more time with the first team, the more I’m impressed with what he brings to the table. He is by no means a massive defensive improvement over Coleman, but offensively he may just be the better option.
This club had been spoiled for so long at the full back position. Between Leighton Baines and Coleman, Everton had arguably the best full back combo in the Premier League for many years. But both have declined in recent years, despite their ability to show flashes of brilliance. With Lucas Digne holding down the left side, it may be time for his fellow countryman to be the permanent right back for Everton.
Continuing to climb out of the cellar
I don’t think many supporters truly believed that Everton have ever been in danger of relegation, but it’s nice to see them climb up the table regardless. This team has also been playing some uncharacteristically scrappy football in that time. This season’s Everton team is likely not destined for top six glory, but that hasn’t stopped them from stealing points from some difficult matches.
In their last four league matches, Everton have played Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United and Burnley. In that time they grabbed eight points and didn’t lose a match. A lot of credit obviously goes to Duncan Ferguson, but the players have shown a resiliency that hasn’t really been there in the past. Unfortunately their schedule will only grow tougher with two more matches in the next seven days including one against Manchester City.
Hopefully Ancelotti can start to build this team up over the remainder of the season and have them ready to compete in the long term.