A bit of an interesting selection for Frank Lampard here today - midfielders Tom Davies, Andre Gomes and Jean-Philippe Gbamin were all missing, with Yerry Mina also out, and no word if there is any injury issues in the side. That meant a 3-4-3 with a midfield of Abdoulaye Doucoure and Alex Iwobi, flanked by captain for the day Vitalii Mykolenko and Nathan Patterson. Up front were Demarai Gray and Anthony Gordon behind Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Jordan Pickford between the sticks, behind James Tarkowski on the left, Michael Keane in the middle and Ben Godfrey on the right.
On the subs bench were new signings Ruben Vinagre and Dwight McNeil, along with Allan, Dele, Nkounkou, Rondon, Warrington, Mills, and Welch.
Everton were quickly out of the blocks and got a somewhat fortuitous early goal too - Tarkowski’s long searching ball over the backline was met by a a backpedalling Calvert-Lewin, and his reverse header flew over goalie Nescheret after just four minutes played.
The Blues had a couple more chances to score soon after, but Calvert-Lewin, Gray and Gordon all spurned shooting opportunities and allowed the defence to regroup. Wingbacks Patterson and Mykolenko continued to impress, bombing forward at every opportunity, creating plenty of width and giving the midfield an outlet every time they had the ball. The Ukraine international particularly seemed to be in acres of space very often, though at times the poignancy of the occasion seemed to get to him.
Kyiv settled into the game as the half wore on though and started to threaten the Everton goal especially towards the last few minutes of the half. A couple of dangerous freekicks into the box were not dealt with well, and Lampard will be frustrated that the work being done on defending setpieces still doesn’t seem to be showing rewards. And then with almost the last kick of the half, Andriyevskiy’s powerful shot from another freekick from distance was saved very well by Pickford to keep the score at 1-0 at the break.
The second half started off with no changes for the Blues, and they continued to let Kyiv have the ball without any real danger. However, at the hour mark Lampard made a couple of changes that immediately made an impact, none more so than the introduction of debutant McNeil who was just signed by the Blues yesterday.
The 22-year-old’s left foot is one of the better ones in the league, and he showed it off minutes after his introduction finding the far corner after cutting in from the right side.
Dwight McNeil makes it 2-0 with a beauty! Instant impact from the new Blue!— Everton (@Everton) July 29, 2022
Then it was the chance of the other signing, just 24 hours before McNeil, with Vinagre making space for himself and his cross finding McNeil in the six-yard box for the former Burnley player to head home.
McNeil strikes again!— Everton (@Everton) July 29, 2022
Lovely assist from fellow new arrival Vinagre as well.
A raft of changes after that ended this as a contest, but the buzz around the stadium was all about Dwight McNeil who grabbed a brace on his Everton debut.
Second straight game we’re going to call out Tarkowski in this section. His vision when on the ball is nothing less than incredible, with his long passes seeming to undo the Kyiv defence just as they had done Blackpool last weekend. This was a part of repertoire that we had only heard about, and had certainly been hidden away while he played at Burnley.
The attack continues to look quite toothless and if Kevin Thelwell needed any prompting to fix the impasse over Maxwel Cornet with the Clarets, this first half would have been it.
Welcome to Everton McNeil and Vinagre!