Though we should always exercise caution when assessing pre-season friendly performances, there were some takeaways we could glean from Saturday’s chaotic 3-3 draw against Blackpool.
Some of it was good, some of it was bad, most of it wasn’t really surprising.
The first 10 minutes were a complete mess, with Everton conceding three goals of an increasingly shambolic nature.
Welcome back, everyone.
They did, belatedly, manage to claw themselves back into the game though Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s header and Gylfi Sigurdsson’s penalty. Sigurdsson then levelled in the second half with a fine curling free-kick into the top corner from the edge of the area.
The Toffees pressed for a winner but couldn’t get that fourth goal, though they at least ended the game the stronger of the two teams.
Here are some of our thoughts:
Midfield still a huge concern
You could hear the collective groan of Evertonians across the globe when Gylfi Sigurdsson and Tom Davies were paired together in central midfield.
The duo struggled badly at the tail end of last season and their failure to offer much, either offensively or defensively, is why Ancelotti is so desperate to bolster that position this summer.
Their performance at Bloomfield Road didn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know. Sigurdsson displayed his set piece prowess, particularly with his free-kick equaliser, but offered little from open play.
Davies was again full of endeavour and looked desperate to make an impression, but struggled to create anything tangible.
Alex Iwobi and Moise Kean, played in the two wide positions, also offered little, looking very much like square pegs in round holes.
With just three weeks to go until the season starts, at least one if not two new midfielders are now essential. But I guess we already knew that.
Jury still out on JJ
Jonjoe Kenny was making his first appearance in an Everton shirt for more than a year after his loan spell at Schalke 04.
There have been mixed messages about his Toffees future, with some reports suggesting the club intend to start this season with him in the first-team fold, while others link him with a move away.
These friendlies therefore could be Kenny’s chance to impress Ancelotti and salvage his Goodison future.
He only got 45 minutes under his belt but will perhaps be disappointed to have been caught out of position at times, especially for Blackpool’s second goal.
My hunch is the club will sell if they get a reasonable offer, though it is likely to go right to the deadline.
Gibson and Nkounkou impress
A slew of substitutions inevitably took place during the second half, which disrupted the flow of the game.
It did, however, give us the chance to see new signing Niels Nkounkou.
The 19-year-old joined from Marseille on a free transfer earlier this summer and, after initially linking up with the U23 squad, has found himself training with the senior side.
He certainly caught the eye here with a lively display, particularly going forward. If he continues to impress he may well save Carlo a few quid in the left back position.
This is also set to be a crucial year for Lewis Gibson.
After impressing out on loan at Fleetwood Town last year, the 20-year-old knows this is the season where he was to try and make a senior break though.
He arrived on the pitch at the same time as Nkounkou and looked an assured presence at the back, though the challenge for both players will be to build on this promising start in the greater challenges that lie ahead.