Plenty of good individual performances

By Paul Traill 30/08/2018 25comments  |  Jump to last
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Everton 3 - 1 Rotherham United

It’s always nice finishing work and knowing that you’re going to the football, and it was nice of Dan to pick us up from work and, after picking up Ste, taking us on to the match.

We had a couple in the pub beforehand and were all a bit surprised by the amount of changes to the team. Maarten Stekelenburg got the nod in goal and there were also opportunities for Lucas Digne, Jonjo Kenny, Kurt Zouma, Sandro Ramirez, Kieran Dowell, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Oumar Niasse. Fortunately, while a raft of changes to the team certainly disrupted our rhythm and cohesion, there was enough quality on the pitch to ensure our place in the third round was sealed, thanks to a Gylfi Sigurdsson tap-in and a brace from Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

We, like many others seemingly, timed it quite badly getting into the ground and there were a few queues as we approached the turnstiles and having needed a quick comfort break before kick-off I actually missed the first couple of minutes but was in my seat in time for the game to settle down. Almost 32,000 attended the game, with a commendable turn out from Rotherham United’s supporters helping the atmosphere.

As a team performance, there was a lot to be desired; however a lot of players shone individually throughout the team, not least Tom Davies, who, on a special night for he as captain, did a good job of holding midfield and keeping play ticking over. Getting the captain’s armband will have been quite the confidence booster for Tom and I was made up for him given some of the stick he has endured over the last year or so. Our fourth captain in four games already this season.

We took the lead on 28 minutes when a clever, if not especially accurate, free kick from Jonjoe Kenny eventually found Sandro Ramirez who, after receiving a return pass from Kieran Dowell, hit the ball across the box for the well-placed Gylfi Sigurdsson to poke home.

We’d had the better of the opportunities but easily could have gone in level at the break when centre-back Sean Raggett skied well over the crossbar from close range. A great chance and thankfully we weren’t punished.

The second half was more of the same - a lot of nice individual moments but not much in terms of playing pattern, but the game looked to be safe when Sigurdsson’s free kick hit the wall and came back to Digne who crossed first time right-footed. His excellent dipping ball in was well met at the back post by Calvert-Lewin. “That should do it,” I said to Ste and Gary.

It was just as well we had the insurance of a second goal as, on 86 minutes, Rotherham United’s deficit was halved when Will Vaulks headed in smartly from a corner and cartwheeled in celebration. While it ultimately didn’t matter, especially when Calvert-Lewin again made the game safe a minute later with a smart finish.

Our difficulty in defending corners, long throws and free kicks around the penalty area is there for all to see, and leaves me with heart in mouth every time. We are practically shipping a goal per game from a corner kick and I hope that Marco Silva, with his apparent attention to detai, is quick to solve this problem.

That said, there’s plenty to be positive about thus far this season, let’s hope that continues with a nice cup draw in the Third Round.

Player ratings

Stekelenburg: Caught most crosses and made a handy stop towards the end of the game. Did what he had to on a very quiet evening for him. 6

Digne: An impressive first start and you’d think he had been in the team for a few years as he settled in seamlessly. Looks a good player and hopefully he has a bright future at Everton. Good cross also with his wrong foot for our second goal. 7

Zouma: Looks a good, tough centre-back. A solid first start. 7

Holgate: He’s taken his chance very well so far and long may it continue. Keeps a calm head at the back. My Man of the Match. 7

Kenny: A good solid effort from Jonjoe. 6

Davies: Did very well dictating play from the middle. Will be delighted to skipper the side for the first time. 7

Sigurdsson: Offered a touch of class into the midfield and grabbed his first goal since February. 7

Dowell: A bit hot and cold. Does some things very well but has quiet spells in games. Seemed to be getting frustrated not to grab a goal or an assist towards the end. 6

Sandro: Started very well but faded as the game went on. Probably filling up numbers on the pitch rather than anything else given, if reports are to be believed, he is on his way to Real Sociedad in the morning. 6

Calvert-Lewin: Two goals for Dominic, one a well-taken one. I wonder if that is enough to give him an opportunity in Richarlison’s absence? 7

Niasse: Full of hard work and you’ve got to love his effort, but you always wonder if he’s going to be good enough for us, as exemplified with his free header miss in the second half. 6

Walcott (for Sigurdsson): Got involved. 6

Tosun (for Niasse): I really like Tosun, and hope he can get on the goal trail soon. Seemed a little frustrated at times in his short time on the pitch. 6

Schneiderlin (for Sandro): Not on long, can’t judge. Surprised to see him back so soon though.


Reader Comments (25)

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Alan J Thompson
1 Posted 30/08/2018 at 06:52:06
Jagielka, Coleman, Baines. I hope for Tom Davies sake the armband isn't the poisoned chalice.
Andy McNabb
2 Posted 30/08/2018 at 06:55:02
Thanks for the report, Paul.

Along with stupid haircuts, ridiculous salaries and so many tatts that players must do nothing else in their spare time, zonal marking is something that both annoys and bemuses me. Someone made the comment recently that a Watford fan had told them we would love the football but hate the defending from corners under Silva.

I'm not sure his attention to detail will fix this because he obviously does not believe in a big defender who is good in the air marking a big striker at corners etc. I noticed that, when equalising, Bournemouth had the choice of not one but three players in black and red to tap the ball in. I'm not a professional coach but surely something is very wrong when that is happening?

If someone could explain the merits of zonal marking to me, I would love to be convinced.

Amit Vithlani
3 Posted 30/08/2018 at 07:40:00
Thanks Paul, great report. Some interesting observations and talking points:

1. You indicated Dowell blew hot and cold. Yet he earned high praise on the radio. I suppose the radio commentators were impressed when he was "hot". I did not see the game at all, so ultimately defer to your judgement.

2. There was a debate on these pages over our youngsters. Calvert-Lewin and Davies looked decent by all accounts whereas Sandro was perhaps ok but not as impressive. My view is that none of the 3 are anything other than back-ups.

Given the choice between Calvert-Lewin and Sandro, I would personally offload Sandro due to his high wages and inability to play as a First XI choice. It appears he may be with the club, however, and it looked to me that Silva was trying to deploy him deeper and wider. He appears to have great technique so I wonder if the new role could suit him, although he would likely rank behind Bernard, Charlie and Walcott.

Perhaps Lookman is leaving after all, although I hope not, freeing up some room. But I think Calvert-Lewin is still a better bet – he does get goals and assists although he too, clearly is only a back-up, albeit one on a wage commensurate to a back-up.

Mike Allison
4 Posted 30/08/2018 at 07:57:02
Andy there have been many recent discussions of zonal marking on ToffeeWeb. Find a recent article called ‘The Twilight Zone’ for a full and frank discussion.
David Ellis
5 Posted 30/08/2018 at 08:29:00
Pleased to see Schneiderlin back so soon. With Gana injured we may need him to play the full 90 on Saturday – running out of bodies in central midfield.

Hope that Bernard is ready to go on Saturday as well.

Didn't see the game so grateful for all the reports etc. Pleased the gamble of making so many changes paid off – this kind of rotation helps squad cohesion as everyone feels involved, helps build confidence in the new/fringe players, rests key players and gives us a chance to check progress of the young guns it's all good (as long as we win).

Brent Stephens
6 Posted 30/08/2018 at 08:31:10
Amit, I thought Dowell was classy last night. A gem.

Loved your Salle de Baines on the Live Forum which I read on the train home.

Jay Harris
7 Posted 30/08/2018 at 08:51:12
Paul,

I can't agree with your rating of Jonjoe Kenny. Myself and a number of people around me in the Lower Bullens thought he was outstanding and MotM by far.

Zonal marking is effective but it does rely on the players to work with the system and the lethargy and complacency shown by the players when 2-0 up (ring any bells) was plain to see.

Tosun just stood by and watched the guy head the ball unchallenged for their goal.

A lot of work to be done on players concentration and awareness for 90 minutes.

Drew O'Neall
8 Posted 30/08/2018 at 08:54:58
Not a criticism because I support Silva's tactics and moreover I am delighted by Tosun's support play this season but may have been an opportunity missed to give him the maximum chance of scoring against weak opposition for his confidence.
Tony Abrahams
9 Posted 30/08/2018 at 08:58:38
As a team performance there was a lot to be desired? Not a lot I think you meant Paul? Because I also thought there was some good individual performances, but we let ourselves down with our poor defending?

Different formation, meant we never gave the defenders, enough protection, especially as I left the ground thinking all our defenders had decent games, individually?

I enjoyed the game though, thought we tired near the end, and it was the first time I have watched Dowell play live. I had been told he would frustrate me, but I actually enjoyed watching him play, although I’m sure he will frustrate me at some stage in the future though!

That’s not a criticism (yet!) it means I think he’s got a future, but it’s obviously up to him, how good it’s going to be. I like the way he makes time, he keeps the ball away from his opponent so naturally, and shows a real touch of class.

But if every player should play to his strengths, then Dowell, has got to keep forcing himself to stay involved, simply because he has no problems whatsoever when he’s got the ball at his feet?

Tom Hughes
10 Posted 30/08/2018 at 09:20:45
Always hard to judge against lower league opposition, but there was at least continued evidence of good flowing football, and all the player buying into it. Lots of decent to very good individual performances all over the pitch.
Dave Abrahams
11 Posted 30/08/2018 at 09:35:01
Paul, thanks for your continuing reports but please revisit your marking of Jonjoe Kenny — a six you gave him and nobody else got lower than a six... Jonjoe was in the running for MotM in most people's estimation; he was outstanding. As was Digne with Zouma also putting in an eye-catching performance.

The defence individually played well but, like the rest of the team when all back for corners, were hypnotised and fell asleep! Lots of us like what Silva is doing overall but not many agree with this zonal marking and he needs to fix or adjust it very quickly or we are going to get some hiding — something to compare with last season.

Jay Harris
12 Posted 30/08/2018 at 09:37:21
It was logical that there would be good individual performances and not necessarily a good team performance because we had 11 virtual strangers out there last night apart from the kids who I thought linked up well.

Having said that, it's now a pleasure to go to Goodison Park and enjoy a game. Hope we can say the same on Saturday as Huddersfield come and park the bus.

James Marshall
13 Posted 30/08/2018 at 09:39:30
Is there ever such a thing as an individual performance? Unless you're Messi, Ronaldo, Pele etc then most players are a sum of the parts of a team aren't they – each one of them affected by each other & so on.

I always wonder about giving players scores per man, and whether they carry much weight. If you put Niasse up front for Barcelona, he'd probably appear to gain a higher score (individually) than if you put him up front for Scunthorpe.

Brent Stephens
14 Posted 30/08/2018 at 10:10:00
Tony #9 – your take on Dowell – me too.
Bill Griffiths
15 Posted 30/08/2018 at 10:31:22
On the whole, I thought everyone had a fairly decent game individually but also thought there were moments of good team play.

Just prior to Calvert-Lewin scoring his first goal I was thinking he was the one I was most disappointed with but then he scored a couple of goals. There's posters on here slagging him off but he scored twice which is more than enough. He's just got to keep it up when he gets the opportunities.

JonJoe & Lucas had good games but I'd give Tom the MotM award given he's been somewhat below par lately and the misguided slagging-offs he's been getting from many on this site.

I thought he did great really, carrying the burden of Captain as well.

John Raftery
16 Posted 30/08/2018 at 12:45:18
I agree Holgate was our best player. He timed his runs forward very well, won two free kicks in the opposition half and was imperious in defence.

Given so many were playing their first game of the season it was encouraging that we won reasonably comfortably. The corner kick problem must be sorted out quickly. Our inability to keep clean sheets has already cost us points. It will cost us many more especially as teams will fancy their chances with routine balls into the middle. Hopefully, a settled back line will help but there are no guarantees of that.

In this competition, we have won all our ties at this stage since 2001-02. Our problems usually have been when we face one of the top four or six — especially Chelsea.

Paul Birmingham
17 Posted 30/08/2018 at 16:45:38
A decent win with 8 or so changes.

This Saturday, Huddersfield will have done their home work, and will park a few buses, as they say.

Defence will be interesting and whether Morgan starts, instead of Tom, in midfield. If Gana's out, both may start. Not sure about Dowell, could last a game, but it would be interesting to see, if he could step up. It's a critical season for him as well, in terms of his progress and development.

It's a game we must win, if we are to be trying to stay around the top 6 or 7.

Peter Rogers
18 Posted 30/08/2018 at 18:25:00
My only real concern so far is our defensive frailties especially the zonal marking that we just can't seem to get our heads around (no pun intended). I am not an expert on zonal marking but surely the tallest/strongest attackers target the zones defended by the weakest/smallest defenders and a good delivery into the right area of the box causes the issues we see.

Plus if an attacker gets a run on a defender moving from one zone into another and the defender in that zone is static, or has an attacker already, he can't react.

I much prefer one-on-one where each man knows who he has to mark and, as this is more evenly matched, at least stands a chance of winning the ball.

Or have I got this zonal thing all wrong?
Jack Convery
19 Posted 30/08/2018 at 18:30:34
Under Koeman we changed the team which had a great start to the season, when we played Norwich a couple of seasons ago. The season went South after we lost to Norwich...

Last night's performance appears to have been a marked improvement on our previous performances in this competition. I just hope we put out a stronger team in the next round and really have a go at winning the competition.

Dave Ganley
20 Posted 30/08/2018 at 20:48:15
Good report, Paul, but, like others, I thought your rating of Kenny was wide of the mark. I thought him and Digne were about the stand out players last night.

Decent enough win and when the players settled we played some good stuff. I was particularly impressed with the attitude when Rotherham scored, they just went up a gear again and could have had another couple.

Sandra was average at best for me, took the wrong option a lot of times, however he's not a winger and hasn't been playing regular. Dowell, I'm not sure what to make of him. He definitely has talent and he showed classy moments last night but too often you wouldn't know he's on the pitch. There seems to be something missing from his game to be effective in the first team but he's still young so can still get there. Was pleased with Calvert-Lewin with his goals, he certainly needed them and they were good goals too, 1st one a typical strikers goal and the 2nd was a peach.

Wasn't expecting a big crowd last night so left for the ground later, very surprising yet pleasing that we got 32,000. Thought Tom Davis had a tidy game too. Certainly the team could play better and the defence still needs a lot of work especially in the air but came away very positive with the performance.

Jeff Armstrong
21 Posted 31/08/2018 at 22:05:53
I thought Dowell was good throughout, to think Schneiderlin will replace him on Saturday is just... well it's not just, is it? It's how it is... Schneiderlin is the most cowardly player we have ever employed,

And yet he is now being lauded as saviour of our midfield. Don't make me laugh... he is a shithouse of a player, and Dowell, Davies, Banigime, McCarthy, and (a half-fit) me, should all be picked before this charlatan.

Jeff Armstrong
22 Posted 31/08/2018 at 22:10:45
Why are pleased that we got 32,000 for a game?? Don't we want a 60,000 stadium?

Half-full and pleased....

Steve Ferns
24 Posted 31/08/2018 at 22:21:03
Jeff, because it was our biggest attendance at this round of this cup for something like 50 years.

32,000 turned up despite knowing it was a much changed side and we'd be playing lower league opposition. Also, 39,000 for a home league game includes the opposition selling out their 3,000+ allocation.

I don't know what Rotherham got, but they had a lot of empty seats. So, yes. We should be pleased. It's progress.

Tony Cheek
25 Posted 01/09/2018 at 00:42:58
Just wondered whoever found out that having players on the goal line guarding the posts at corners was a bad idea?

We lost two points at Bournemouth because of it and conceded again against Rotherham. Has it now become "old-school" or are there still teams that use it. Surely it's common sense?
Jeff Armstrong
26 Posted 01/09/2018 at 20:39:15
Steve, the attendance was because it was a fiver for the kids – who are still off school – not much to do with progress,

If we were in a 60,000-seater stadium, I would say half-empty... you would say half-full... either way, still only 50% bums on seats..

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