Let them Eat Cake!
Everton have only rarely enjoyed an advantage in possession this season, as manager Rafa Benitez has preferred to sit back and play on the counter. Whilst this approach worked earlier in the season, injuries and a loss of form has resulted in poor returns the past couple of months. Yesterday, the Blues enjoyed an astonishing 60.3% possession in an away fixture, as hosts Brentford were happy to concede ground and give the up the ball, in the knowledge that the visitors would lack the guile and creativity to open them up. So it proved.
A Pop-gun Attack
It has been more than four years since the Toffees have endured such a protracted run of impotence in front of goal, now running to three consecutive blanks since Alex Iwobi’s consolation strike against Wolverhampton Wanderers. Not having the team’s leading striker available for 10 league matches is obviously a huge factor, given that no suitable replacement is available. With Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s return date still up in the air, this undesirable run could grow longer.
Everton have failed to score in each of their last 3 Premier League games - the first time they have failed to score in 3 consecutive league games since September 2017. #EFC— EFC Statto (@EFC_Statto) November 28, 2021
A Mighty Record, Shattered
The Blues struggled to carve out clear-cut chances and fell to defeat against Brentford, courtesy of a penalty awarded as a result of Andros Townsend’s dangerous play in attempting to clear a loose ball. The Bees actually generated few decent chances on goal themselves, but taking the lead allowed them to sit back in a solid defensive shape and watch their opponents run out of ideas. And so, Everton’s proud record of not losing a match to the Londoners in 68 years is no more. Of course, Sunday’s meeting was only the third encounter between the two sides since 1953...
When Will the Tide Turn?
Sunday’s setback extended Everton’s winless streak of league fixtures to seven, their worst since spring 2016. Without wanting to sound like a broken record, we could be updating this statistic in a couple of days, as the Toffees lurch into a Merseyside Derby against their powerful neighbours midweek. One team is scoring for fun, the other is neutered in attack. All Blues fans can hope for at this point is that all form and class can often go out of the window in a derby matchup, but if the home side ship the first goal under the lights at Goodison Park on Wednesday evening then things could get very ugly.
Everton haven't won in their last 7 Premier League games - their longest winless run in the league since April 2016 (also 7). #EFC— EFC Statto (@EFC_Statto) November 28, 2021
Salomon Rondon put in probably his best performance since joining Everton at the weekend, but was unable to prevent his team falling to another defeat. He tried hard over the full 90 minutes and took five shots, with two on target and posted an xG of 0.4 - almost doubling his total so far this season. He was brought in as a backup option and must be judged as such. Of course he has played a lot more than anybody anticipated and much scrutiny has fallen on him as a result, but however way you look at it, no goals in 10 games and only 15 shots is a poor return.