Positive factors in the horrible season start of Everton F.C
Everton drew a 0–0 with Crystal Palace for the very first game of the EPL season. With a few big names such as Moise Keane were brought to the blues, the toffees expect the club to have a stronger start of the season. However, the away game against the eagles was a bit more dramatic than the fans thought……
The first turning point at Selhurst Park was Andre Gomes’ injury around the 45th minute. Before Andre’s injury happened, the blues controlled the pace pretty well, though not many great chances were created. Once Gomes was out of the game, Marco Silva, the manager of Everton, was forced to change his game plan and put on the new signing defensive midfielder, Jean-Philippe Gbamin. Gbamin barely had a pre-season training session, so he was not in the premier league tempo. Gbamin was doing okay…not impressive in any perspective. Still, I believe he will be fantastic after a few weeks of training with the team. If I were Marco Silva, perhaps I will put on Tom Davies instead of Jean-Philippe Gbamin. Of course, I understand that these two players are different kinds of midfielders, but at least Tom had training in pre-season and build chemistry during the past season.
The second turning point on the field is perhaps the former Juventus striker, Moise Kean, was subbed in to replace #9 Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Though I like Dominic and believe he is still improving as a young forward, DCL was playing awfully and that’s why Silva brought in Kean at the 69th minute. On the other hand, during the second half, Crystal Palace was dominating without doubts. Moreover, the Everton’s transfer target winger, Wilfred Zaha, just slashing the blues’ defense into pieces. Just when the toffees thought Kean could have the same impact Zaha brought to the game, some tragedy immediately happened on the grass.
7 minutes after Kean subbed Calvert-Lewin, Morgan Schneiderlin got his second yellow card because of a clumsy tackle and that became the third critical turning point of the whole game. The rest of the game became an even more defensive strategy for Everton, though rare attacking chances were created. Thank god that the blues still managed to keep a clean sheet and took away one point from Selhurst Park. It was lucky for the blues to start the season with a draw instead of a heartbreaking game with a late conceding goal.
Yet, just as the title of this article said, some positive factors were still found on the field for Everton. As a start, I would say before Schneiderlin was sent off, Everton did a really good job on the defensive end. The blues rarely gives up the ball easily, even if they do, some hustle plays or tackles were made immediately after the turnovers. You could tell that they seldom lose concentration out there. I was kind of surprised to see the blues did so well on defense before they were down to ten men because compared to last season, Everton lost Idrissa Gana Gueye and Kurt Zouma, both of whom are a major defense power on the field. As a new defensive midfielder, Gbamin hasn’t fit into the team system yet. Therefore, Everton’s defense surprised and delighted the fans last week for sure.
Also, Jordan Pickford got his high-standard performance back to the goal post once again. Well, what I am trying to say here is that Pickford got into a down slump after the critical last-minute turnover in the Merseyside derby at Anfield. Last year was no doubt that is JP’s career year. Undeniably, his world cup experience brought his fame, football skill, and game understanding to a high peak. However, after he got so famous within such a young age as a goalkeeper, JP’s mistakes have been criticized more than ever and the pressure has affected the 25-year-old English goalkeeper far and away in 2018–19 season. After much less extensive training for this young goalie since there was no world cup, perhaps we can expect Jordan Pickford has an even better year.
Lastly, though Morgan Schneiderlin got two yellow cards, he proved that he still can play pretty well. Marco Silva already put Schneiderlin in the starting squad for several times last season and now before Gbamin put up some team chemistry, Morgan still has some opportunities about 4 to 5 weeks to play. Obviously, he is going to miss the next game against Watford at Goodison Park. But when Morgan proved himself that he can play, I believe Marco Silva will still try to play him at the third week versus Aston Villa. Most importantly, Schneiderlin also sort of raised his transfer market value, and Everton can find the buyer easier for the 29-year-old French midfielder, who still get paid 100,000 pounds per week. Maybe this is the best news for the toffees so far for the opening game.
More than that, for the upcoming game against Watford, Alex Iwobi is now ready to play. Perhaps the toffees can expect the new signings including Kean, Gbamin, and Iwobi all play their first home game and get their first win for Everton at Goodison Park.