And if you thought Everton’s season could get worse, we draw to the league’s bottom side and in a painful, abysmal way, it’s sort of acceptable. Points over performance seems to be the default mentality throughout the team and board, which has oozed mediocracy throughout 90 minutes on a Saturday afternoon. How on earth we managed to get a point is beyond me, the first 45 was close to becoming the most concerning all season and if it wasn’t for the efforts of Niasse upfront, then we would be in deep trouble and not for the first time this campaign. Here is my analysis.
The Number 10 issue
The position has been a huge talking point for Evertonians this campaign and rightly so (we’ve mentioned it a lot ourselves). Looking at the average position map, you can see just how badly tracking back effects our offensive play.
We mentioned on the Leicester analysis that the massive area around the penalty area (where the no. 10 should be covering) barely had any of our play whatsoever, but in this performance, it’s even worse. Considering it was Gylfi covering this position and not Rooney, it shows that Unsworth’s directions for our 10 is heavily effecting our attacking play.
In this map from the first 45, Sigurdsson is deeper than both Schneiderlin and Gueye in midfield! Not only that but he’s surrounded with Baines and Lookman, nowhere near Niasse who needed to have support.
When Everton had Barkley in the team, you’d often see him next to our striker, maybe even beyond that at some points, but this is just horrendous. No support for the number 9 has turned into an ancient problem at Everton, considering Niasse managed to score and win a penalty in this fixture, it speaks volumes about his work rate.
Palace wasting opportunities
The first 45 was one of the worst defensive performances I’ve seen in a long time and we were very fortunate not to concede 5/6 goals during that period. Both Zaha and Loftus-Cheek found it comfortable breaking through our defence, exposing the extremely poor Schneiderlin and Gueye, both shadows of the players they were last season.
It was a game of odd statistics, Everton giving away 26 fouls in the game (mostly due to awful refereeing), but Palace were extremely wasteful in possession.
Throughout the 90 minutes, the hosts lost the ball 40 times (either due to dispossession or being turned over). In fairness to Kenny, he did handle Zaha well, but if a different Palace showed up on Saturday, we wouldn’t be looking at a normal scoreline.
What was even worse was when Everton moved back into a 442, which destroyed any sort of creativity, made Gueye and Schneiderlin 10 yards further back than they should’ve been and gave Cabaye and Milivojevic all the room in the world to rip us apart if they could.
Why Lennon plays
With the popular Nikola Vlasic somehow left out by David Unsworth, the door has opened for Aaron Lennon to come back into the side. Lennon has proven his worth at times whilst in Blue, but hasn’t had a proper run in the team since Martinez’s second season. It’s all to support Jonjoe Kenny at the back.
His stats support this, with 5 tackles attempted, an interception, block, clearance and no chances created whatsoever. It’s extremely harsh to criticise Kenny having come into the team at the worst possible time, but Unsworth demanding two attacking players back into defending for the time is very negative.
I’m not saying, “don’t defend”, defending has been one of the main problems in the Everton team, but Unsworth has set his team so deep that there’s no hope for any actual football being played. For the third time this season, Pickford made more passes than every single Everton player on the pitch. It’s depressing how it’s got this bad and Rhino has been thrown in at the worst time, but he really isn’t the manager to take us forward if he thinks this is ok – a daunting prospect considering if we don’t get Silva in the coming week or so, he’s probably the next in line. Onwards and upwards folks.
Stats via Whoscored, Squawka and @11tegan11
Up the Toffees.