It feels wonderful to actually be talking about an Everton win. So before any of you try to rain on my parade, I’m going to put this out there immediately: it was only Sunderland. We’re going to assume that qualifier is attached to absolutely everything else said here today, but I do think there are some things we can actually learn.
Oumar Niasse is a superstar
Okay, probably not. However, I do think he’s got a serious role to play in this team. I’ve already proposed the idea of him getting time in a starting role, and what we saw yesterday from this gorgeous off-footed finish just reinforces that concept to me.
Niasse has some pace and he’s willing to do the work of a true nine, both of which are valuable assets that Everton need, especially until the January window. I’m all for running his legs off until then.
DCL should be the starting striker
This one I am dead serious about. The qualifier from the beginning of the article still applies, but the goals yesterday were earned weeks ago by playing well against better competition. The kid is really good, he’s a nominee for the UEFA Golden Boy for a reason, and unlike Sandro he’ll stay central and do his job even when he’s not getting service.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin isn’t as stocky as Niasse, but he plays bulkier than his frame and that combined with his pace gives Everton a real threat even when they are pinned back, something that Wayne Rooney at the 9 just doesn’t offer.
Sandro is essentially a winger
I’ve been saying for months that Sandro’s best role in a Koeman system is as a winger. No, really:
Sandro is actually the interesting character in the new signings, because while he is thought of as a CF like Pelle, he actually plays more like Koeman’s wingers. Sandro launches from deep often, something Pelle never did as Koeman’s striker. Some of this is due to the areas he received the ball in at Malaga. Improved service at Everton should see him closer to the goal more often and his shot selection will probably mirror Mane’s from the latter’s time with the Saints. Sandro will sub in as a CF but get a lot of his starts out wide.
Yesterday, Ramirez showed he can make it work.
Sandro out wide only functions properly if there is a striker willing to stick to his guns and hold his position, because the Spaniard is going to want to roam. When the Blues played Tottenham, both he and Rooney tried to roam and no one held down the center of the Spurs’ defense. Trouble that we won’t revisit ensued. With Calvert-Lewin or Niasse at the 9, Sandro out wide can play a winger role that is a combination of the traditional winger and the inverted wingers Koeman seems stuck on.
What this does is it gives Sandro the ability to keep opposing fullbacks honest with his pace, and also come inside to link up with the 9. Assuming the 9 isn’t Wayne Rooney, this gives Everton the chance to have two forwards with genuine pace out there which will keep them from having no counter attack against better teams if they are in Koeman’s 4-3-3.
On Wayne Rooney
For tactical reasons, Wazza simply must be a sub at this point in most situations, and that’s been the case since prior to the Tottenham match. With his level of pace, and the fact that he won’t stay put and play a true 9, Rooney is simply not the best fit for Everton unless they are in a 3-5-2 where he’s paired with a real striker.
The solution then, is to benefit from Wayne’s veteran savvy and scoring ability in controlled doses. Bring him on at the hour on a regular basis and let him be the freshest man on the field attacking the opponent’s back line.
This Vlasic Kid
On deadline day, we were all bummed out that all we got was a jar of pickles. Turns out, pickles are great when you have other ingredients to go with it. This Vlasic kid really can play. It’s unclear exactly where he fits in the team once Yannick Bolasie is healthy, but Koeman needs to continue finding him minutes.
The Sky Isn’t Falling
The Blues got some goals, have a favorable run of fixtures upcoming, and have talented guys looking to prove their worth.
This portion of the schedule may define Everton’s year, and it got off to a great start against Sunderland. If the Toffees can keep the ball rolling against Bournemouth, they will be on our way to the kind of year we expected before it began.