After a myriad set of circumstances resulted in Everton drawing Crystal Palace last week, a much more coherent side of Blues turned up at Goodison Park today. The defense stifled Watford at every turn, and the Lucas Digne - Bernard connection combined for a lovely goal. In the end, that was all it took.
Jean-Phillipe Gbamin made his full debut, going all 90 minutes. It was a bit of a mixed bag, and you can tell the quality is there, but you can also tell that he needs more time to get to know his teammates, particularly when it comes to on-field communication.
Andre Gomes returned from a brief knock to feature from the get go, and Moise Kean received another cameo, too. Unfortunately, Alex Iwobi’s debut would have to wait when Lucas Digne went down with a hamstring injury in the second half. Marco Silva will be hoping that either Fabian Delph or Leighton Baines (both?) get healthy, and soon.
In the first half, Everton played beautiful football, particularly down the left through the trio of Gomes, Digne, and Bernard. It was no surprise that the goal came from Digne releasing the diminutive Brazilian. On the right flank, things were a little choppier as Richarlison struggled from the first whistle. Richie misplayed pass after pass and missed two wide open headers.
The second half was a bit of a rougher ride. Jordan Pickford made an electric save right off his face via the boot of Troy Deeney, and Digne’s injury meant the introduction of Mason Holgate. The less said about that the better.
It wasn’t always consistent, but it was progress, and three points to boot. Everton delivered some punches, and took a few, too. Weather more storms like the one today, and they’ll be just fine.
P.S. Moise Kean is electric and I want him to be my adopted son.