So Everton finish their pre-season campaign without a win. I said in my last post that I wasn’t too worried but that I might have to change my judgement if we lost to a team that had just been promoted to the German top-flight.
After all, it’s okay in my book to make excuses about playing foreign opposition and losing if they are in Euro competition with you that season. But losing to a second division Betis and a team that last season were in the German 2nd division? Hmm…
Anyway, the team lined up without Lukaku again, and Miralles was absent too, with Chris Long making an appearance up front for the Toffees. Alcaraz played too (which always fills me with dread to be honest) alongside Hibbert at the back, who – well – is still employed by the club. Distin and Stones stayed on the bench. Kone is still missing, assumed awful.
So what is there to say about the game? I wasn’t there admittedly but watched the game and found it uninspiring to say the least. Besic did his very best to run around kicking everyone in sight for the first twenty minutes or so. Admirable, but hopefully not too much of a liability in the Premier League.
Long took his goal well to put Everton into the lead after good work from Baines and Pienaar (hopefully those two will be back to their best this season), but from there things went downhill, with a penalty given away by Howard and then two goals conceded cheaply in the second half killed us off.
The biggest worry is that the passing game still isn’t great at the moment and, with Leicester City coming up next week – a team that will be VERY enthusiastic and desparate for their first win in the Premier League – it does leave my thoughts personally as being a bit nervous about it.
I mentioned on Twitter that I was concerned and was immediately told by loads of people that ‘pre-season doesn’t count’. Well, yes, but it does give your team a chance to play your best players together and get everyone fit.
Have we played our best team together yet? If players are back into pre-season why are they not playing games? Don’t those ‘in the know’ say that the only way for players to get match fit is to play games?
I guess we’ll see next week anyway. COYB!
EVERTON:Howard, Baines, Alcaraz, Jagielka (Captain), Hibbert, Besic, Barry, Pienaar (Naismith, 59) McGeady (Hope, 87), Barkley (Osman, 45), Long (McCarthy, 79).
Subs not used: Robles, Distin, Stones, Garbutt, McAleny, Duffy.
Goals: Long (13)