Same old, same old. I mentioned in a previous article how important it was that Everton win the first game of the season. They didn’t.
After drawing 2-2 for the third season in succession you’d think that Everton fans could accept this as the norm and have the attitude that “we’ll be fine as we always do this under Martinez”. We don’t though.
Two years ago we drew with Norwich and last season we opened up against Leicester but both of those games were away from home. You could even consider them good results against teams that would have the crowd behind them and be urged on to get a result in front of their home hoards. We were at home on Saturday. Not good enough.
For the first 60-70 minutes it was ‘typical Martinez’s Everton’. Lots of passing (65% of possession) and some good sideways play but with very little creativity on show. Time after time we brought the ball forward only to check back or sideways, allowing the opposition to get back into two banks of defenders.
Barkley was playing as a number 10 behind the constantly-offside Lukaku but yet again his decision making and passing was poor as time and time again he tried something which simply gave Watford the chance to break. On the odd chance that the ball was played over the top for Lukaku and he was onside he looked short of the sharpness a £28m striker should really have.
Watford, to be fair, battled hard and deserved their point; maybe more. They looked a lot more organised and hungry than the Blues despite having 6 debutants in their side and three out of four of their defence making their debut. We barely threatened the defence with intelligent runs or passes all game. They must have been delighted as Coleman simply dribbled the ball out of play time and time again. We had one shot all half; Barry with a header from a corner.
We simply are not learning from last season though and needed to do something about it. Midway through the second half, with us 1-0 down already due to a defensive mess (8 people defending a cross and one of 3 Watford players is free to score) Kone was brought on, probably as a sign of desperation although I could be doing Martinez a disservice there.
Now, we all know that Kone doesn’t have the greatest reputation at Goodison but there was no need for the crowd to boo him when he was lining up to come on. Goodison has become such a negative place to be at over the years that I certainly wouldn’t take my daughter to watch us at the moment. Too many people seem to be there as a habit. If that’s the way they feel they should give up their seat to someone else. I tend to buy ticket separately due to work commitments and would love to not have a rubbish choice of obstructed-view seats once in a while!
My point is that he’s an Everton player and should be supported like the rest of the team. As it was, the changes helped us greatly as we switched to two up top (Kone/Lukaku) and pushed Barry to left-back to replace the ‘solid but not Baines-esque’ Galloway. Not sure why Oviedo didn’t start, but he popped up on the left-wing for the last 20 minutes.
The impressive Cleverley (yes, I did just write that) lined up alongside Barkley for the last quarter of the game and he looked a lot more comfortable there, smashing in the equaliser from 20 yards. Watford then scored their second after Stones slid in pathetically and Howard gave Ighalo acres of room to score into.
By the way, I predicted Ighalo would score in my last article. Hope you had money on it… Stones was poor at times – hopefully he’s not beginning to get his head turned or believe the hype around him. Probably just being as he was l;ast season though. Great, but raw at times.
In terms of the transfer market the rumour mill is going into hyperdrive as every team starts stressing about the quality of their own squads. We’re no exception.
MIrallas looked quite dangerous in his normal greedy way before he was replaced after some goon stamped on his ankle and we need more people who can make something happen, as well as support for Stones/Jagielka.
Shaqiri looks like he is going to Stoke City which means they have either pushed on with a financial package, we were never interested or we haven’t offered enough. I’ve heard two rumours. One plausible in that we wanted him on loan only. The second amusing in that we invited him to Goodison but insisted he pay for his own ticket for the match. I’m assuming the second one was made up by some cheeky scamp on Twitter.
Stones looks like he’s staying but if he doesn’t then we’ll need two centre backs at least to help the squad over the course of the season. I just have no idea who those centre backs could be right now!
So overall, not a great start…
The thing is though – and I add this for balance – look at the other teams in the division. None of the ‘big’ teams looked convincing at all and we indeed ahead of Arsenal at the moment, and they had an ‘easy’ game to start with too! And who’s to say that Kone won’t now go on a great run and score loads of goals? We’ve still got Deleufeu to come back too!
We have, as I have said before, a very tough run of games – Soton away, Man City, Spurs away, Chelsea, Swansea away, West Brom away, Liverpool, Man United, Arsenal away. We can only hope that those teams are set to attack Everton meaning that we can get in behind, hitting them on the break.
We’ve started with a 2-2 draw for the last three seasons. Let’s just hope that this season is like the one two seasons ago as opposed to the last campaign! COYB!!