Only Everton… only Everton could play with your emotions enough to go from ecstatic to distraught in under 8 minutes. 82 minutes gone and it looked as if we had our first 3 points of the season in the bag against an Arsenal team that simply weren’t bothered. Some how we ended the game in a 2-2 draw after conceding 2 of the softest goals you will ever see. It seemed like de ja vu from last week and four points dropped from two winnable games really hurts.
Tim Howard – 4 Arsenal managed 2 shots on target the entire game, both being converted into goals and although Howard couldn’t do much about the equaliser he looked flat footed for the first goal. Howard is still on his honeymoon after the World Cup, he needs to wake up because our only alternative is the controversial Joel Robles.
Leighton Baines – 6 With Pienaar injured after 10 minutes Baines had to run that left side by himself. The englishman impressed me defensively and dealt with Oxlade-Chamberlain and Debuchy convicingly. 3 tackles, 2 interceptions and 2 effective clearances supports this argument. The attacking presence of both full backs caused all sorts of problems for Arsenal and if you look at the heat map for both Baines and Coleman you’ll see how crucial they are in the Everton attack. Who needs a number 10 when you have Colemains? (Colemains?… I doubt that will catch on).
[HEAT MAP (via: @Squawka) – Everton attacking from right to left)]
Phil Jagielka – 4 The centre back partnership this season hasn’t started off well at all. Although Phil managed 2 tackles and 4 interceptions a centre back should be judged on how they are able to deal with opposition goal scoring opportunities. Considering Arsenal only had 2 real chances to score and both Distin and Jagielka failed to deal with either of them warrants a poor score for our captain.
Sylvain Distin – 3 Sylvain can have an 89% pass accuracy with more passes than any other Everton player (64) every week, but 5 yard passes don’t make up for failure to fulfil his role as a centre back. It his hard to see how our 6 ft 3 defender was beaten in a standing jump against a player who cares more about his hair than actually scoring. There will be certainly be a lot of eyes on Distin’s performances for the next few weeks.
Seamus Coleman – 6 Great finish from Coleman for the opening goal, hopefully he has started a goalscoring run just like he had at the start of last season. The 81% pass accuracy with 3 take ons, 2 crosses and a goal is what we were really missing last week against Leicester. Defensively however, Seamus had a bad day at the office. Both Arsenal goals originated from the side that Seamus is supposed to cover. It’s all very well putting the centre backs at fault but if both crosses were stopped at the source, we might have earned 3 points. When we’re 2 nil up Coleman needs to concentrate his energy in defending rather than always trying to get forward.
James McCarthy – 5 A bicycle-kick clearance is enough to get anyone excited and it was just one of his 5 effective clearances. As well as 3 tackles, 1 interception and an 85% pass accuracy seems good statistics for a defensive midfielder. If the game had of ended at 80 minutes JMac would have been a contender for Man of the Match. However if you watch the Aaron Ramsey goal back you can see McCatrhy looks lacklustre and allows Santi Carzola to get a cross in unchallenged. The fact i’ve put the words “McCarthy” and “lacklustre” in the same sentence makes me feel sick.
Gareth Barry – 7 Barry was one of the only players that seemed to have fitness right till the end, given he is 33 it puts the other players to shame really. A delightful cross assist to Coleman was the highlight of his performance. I also would like to note his link up play with Mirallas on that left side, they seemed to really be on the same wavelength throughout. 1 shot blocked, 2 clearances, 1 interception and winning 100% of his aerial duels shows this old man still has it, both offensively and defensively.
Leon Osman – 4 Although Osman is often seen as a scapegoat, Saturday’s performance was undeniably a bad performance for Leon. He looked as if he couldn’t make a pass, win a tackle or jump for 90 minutes. This may seem harsh but the Statistics back it up, he won a whopping 14% of his tackles, a 77% pass accuracy and won none of the 3 aerial duels he contested. Ouch.
Romelu Lukaku – 6 You never realise how much you miss someone until they’re gone. Never a truer sentence spoken and when applied to Lukaku it seems pretty true as well. As soon as he was subbed off in the 77th minute Arsenal started to play football because they had no fear of being countered. Playing with an injury to his toe was probably the reason for the substitution but he still put fear into the hearts of the entire Arsenal back four throughout. Mertesacker and Monreal couldn’t deal with a half fit Lukaku at all, imagine it when he is fully fit. Rom had 3 take ons, 2 shots and 2 created chances, one of which was a powerful run that led to the Naismith goal.
Kevin Mirallas – 6 Kev didn’t get a lot of the ball in this game but when he did he looked a threat, contributing 3 shots and 2 take ons showed super Kevin Mirallas is back. If his fitness levels keep up I have no doubt he will play a major part this season once again.
Steven Naimsith – 9 DARE TO NAISY. 2 goals in 2 games is a great start to the season for a man who many put into the category of a ‘squad player’. He may not be the most technically gifted player in our team but you can’t fault his work ethic, not to mention how clinical he is in front of goal. What was even more impressive than his 2 shots, 1 chance created and 1 goal was the importance of his ability to draw a foul and take the pressure off the team. He was fouled 6 times in the match (twice as many as any other player on the pitch). On top of this was his surprising ability in the air, both Calum Chambers and Per Mertesacker are giants and still Naismith managed to win 4 aerial duels (more than any other player on pitch). Great all round performance, long may it continue.
Steven Pienaar – 5 Not much to say about Steven who was injured in a challenge after 10 minutes, hopefully he will be back soon.
Aiden McGeady – 6 Aiden didn’t have much time to impress and probably will feel disappointed that he missed out on a start after a good performance the previous week. He managed 1 key pass in the 15 minutes he had, which is more than Osman managed in 80. Martinez’ selection of substitutes and timing of when they were made have been questionable in both games thus far.
Christian Atsu – 5 Only on for the last 5 minutes, it didn’t give the Ghanaian sufficient time to show his worth on his debut. I think he surprised a lot of people with how small he really is, but its worth mentioning that Atsu has been out on loan at both Rio Ave and Vittesse and won the “Player of the year” for both clubs in that season. Exciting times ahead when watching this kid i think.
Overall Team Rating – 5.45 A 2-2 draw against Arsenal who have spent over £35m on one player in two consecutive transfer windows doesn’t sound like such a bad result. However it feels like a defeat because of the manner we let it happen. Martinez needs to rethink his strategy of closing games out because if we try and play like that against Chelsea we will be annihilated. I have drawn up three positives we can take from the game; first half performance was sublime, Kev and Coleman are back and Naismith is the Albino Messi.
Interesting facts: Seamus Coleman’s goal was the 7th he has scored at Goodison but the first he has scored at the Park End. He loves the Gwlady street does our Seamus.
The draw on Saturday marks 5 games unbeaten against Arsenal, this is the longest unbeaten run vs Arsenal in clubs history.
Everton have now scored at least two goals in 10 of their last 11 Premier League contests at Goodison park.