Second consecutive clean sheet
Everton have struggled to maintain defensive consistency this season. Rarely has this side strung together clean sheets, and they have now done it for the first time under Carlo Ancelotti. Shutting out Liverpool was more of a surprise, but holding Norwich City to no goals should be more of an expectation than a surprise.
Throughout the first half, both sides struggled to assert themselves. This has largely been the norm since the restart, but the defense really held their own in the more free-flowing second half. Norwich still struggled to make themselves felt offensively, but the Everton defense nonetheless stomped out what opportunities leaked through the midfield.
Unfortunately Everton may struggle to keep this streak going over their next two matches. With Leicester City coming up next week followed by Tottenham Hotspur less than a week later, Everton’s defense is likely to cede some goals.
Finally getting on the board
Unsurprisingly, Everton were unable to get on the board in their match against Liverpool. Spending most of the match on the defense, their options to attack were few and far between. The opportunities that did arrive were sadly not converted. But against one of the worst defensive sides in the league, it was expected that Everton would finally get their first goal after the season restart.
The lone goal in this match came from a corner kick, something that has become a bit of a specialty for Everton this season. After a rather dull first half, Michael Keane’s header found the back of the net in the 55th minute. Unfortunately Everton were largely unable to make anything happen after that goal.
Struggling to maintain pressure
A big reason Everton were unable to widen their lead was the inability to keep the pressure on Norwich’s defense. It’s unrealistic to expect any side to maintain non-stop pressure against even the worst sides, but I expected a little more from Everton. The attack looked much better in the second half, with Alex Iwobi getting more involved and Dominic Calvert-Lewin finally finding some space to run behind the defensive line. But so many of these moments of positivity were short lived.
Maybe my expectations are too high given the layoff this team has had. But the flashes of an improved attack are there. I also understand the need to reset the attack by passing the ball backwards. However, seeing good moves forward suddenly ended by a pass back to the goalkeeper is frustrating.
I would just love to see Everton try to keep their foot on the gas and get themselves some more comfortable leads to finish out the season.