There are only two things you can take from a result when it comes out as 3-6;
1) Your team has a very good strike force, putting 3 goals past anyone is tough, but especially hard when against a team who only conceded an average of 0.7 goals per game last season.
2) Your defence is abysmal.
The latter is probably the more glaringly obvious point that can be taken from Saturdays game against league leaders Chelsea.
Tim Howard – 3
This was Howard’s 350th cap for the club and his 300th league start, and we won’t forget this Tim Howard performance for some time, he never stopped trying to get sent off; head butting Azpilicueta, grabbing Costa by his neck and ridiculously handling the ball outside the area. This is all well and good if you get away with it so i’m not complaining, however in terms of how he actually performed in goal, Chelsea had 8 shots on target and he managed to let in 6 of them. This season Howard has had 13 shots on target at his net, he has managed to save 3 of them, letting in the other 10. A Save ratio of 23%, the worst for any keeper in the league. Take from that what you will.
Leighton Baines – 6
When you concede 6 goals as a defender it is difficult to see how you can get an above average match rating. Baines however did look good down that left hand side and managed a delightful free kick to set up Eto’o for his goal on debut. He also created 3 chances, had 2 successful dribbles and managed a 92% pass accuracy. Baines was one of the only players who looked like he could last the full 90 minutes. He was involved in most of the possession for Everton, accumulating 105 touches of the ball almost twice as many as any Chelsea player managed.
Phil Jagielka – 2
My lowest match rating since writing these reports goes to Phil Jagielka. Sorry Jags but you’ve had one of your worst performances in an Everton shirt. Lets recap: Phil tried to play offside when it quite clearly was never on for Costa’s first goal after 36 seconds, he felt that standing off Matic and letting him have a free shot for the Chelsea 4th goal was sufficient defending, then capped it off by falling over when Drogba was played through for the 6th goal. Not to mention his shockingly bad defensive statistics which you don’t want to hear. Oh you do want to hear? 0 interceptions, 0 shots blocked and only 1 tackle in 90 minutes.
Sylvain Distin – 3
Distin didn’t have much going for him either, looking completely knackered after 70 minutes. Allowed Matic to shoot without even a challenge, and couldn’t keep up with Ramires for his goal, allowing Chelsea to walk it into the net. He also managed to win 1 tackle, bringing the grand total to 2 tackles for both centre backs in a game where we conceded 6 goals.
Seamus Coleman – 5
People will look at this game and see (S. Coleman OG) in a 3-6 defeat and assume he has had a terrible game. As a defender you have to try and block the shot, Hazard’s run had opened up the Everton defence once again and he needed to do something. He managed better defensive statistics than anyone on the pitch with 2 interceptions, 3 clearences, 100% tackle success and 100% aerial duel success. Not to mention his 4 dribbles and 3 chances created, 1 being a superb one touch cross assist for Mirallas’ goal.
Gareth Barry – 5
Nothing memorable can be noted from Gareth Barry’s performance except for some pretty aimless balls up top to no one. 86% pass accuracy and a couple of tackles for Gareth. I feel as though Barry needs to lead the team when it gets down to it, several times in the match we scored and everyone lost their heads allowing Chelsea to score again. Barry needs to calm everyone down and show his experience at these critical points.
James McCarthy – 4
Uh oh. Two bad performances on the bounce for JMac, Ive put him down as the main culprit for 2 of the Chelsea goals. Coleman’s own goal should be down on the score sheet as a McCarthy OG, Hazard pretty much walked past McCarthy on the left wing with out any difficulty at all, putting pressure on Coleman to make the challenge. JMac then found himself on the right hand side for the 5th Chelsea goal, he allowed Ramires and Matic to run rings around him with the easiest of 1-2’s. There truly is questions on McCarthy’s fitness, for someone who covered every blade of grass last season this isn’t good enough.
Kevin Mirallas – 6
Mirallas has been a consistent attacking threat this season and looks really up for it in both of his 2 opening games. A centre forward style header capped another good performance from the belgian. He managed 6 shots, 3 on target, a 92% pass accuracy and created 2 chances.
Steven Naismith – 7
Averaging 7.33 in his first 3 match ratings this season, Steven has been the standout player for me. Naisy has become the first Everton player for 52 years to score in the first 3 league games of the season. Alex Young in 1962 was the last to reach this feat. His cooly taken finish was a typical Naismith finish and he showed up once again when Lukaku failed to have an impact. 3 shots (1 on target), 2 chances created and 1 dribble for the Scot.
Aiden McGeady – 7 (Man of the Match)
This will be a surprise to some that I have given Aiden the MOTM and not Naismith, but I honestly thought he was the unsung hero of the Everton attack on Saturday. He managed a 96% pass accuracy (highest on the pitch), including 4 chances created and 2 accurate crosses (most on the pitch for both). Aiden had a part to play in both the Everton goals he was on the pitch for. Firstly, it was his well weighted key pass to Coleman that allowed for a first time cross to Mirallas for Everton’s opening goal. Then when Everton needed to create another chance, McGeady showed up with great pace and precision to drive forward and execute a well timed pass to Naismith for his goal. This subsequently proved to be his last touch and he was subbed off for Eto’o in the 70th minute.
Romelu Lukaku – 4
Fitness is still quite clearly a problem for Rom at the moment, with his only real presence in the game coming as he leapt high above John Terry to head onto the cross bar. His movement and first touch however has not been good. He committed 2 turnovers, was disposed twice and offside 4 times. These are not good figures for a Striker, improvements are needed.
Samuel Eto’o: 7
It was written in the stars that Eto’o would come on and score against his former club, he truly obliged with a well placed header after only being on the pitch for 5 minutes. His reception from the Goodison faithful was awesome and he showed that even though he’s 33 he still has a lot of energy in those old legs. Looked very good on the ball and managed 10 passes with an 80% pass accuracy.
Muhamed Besic – 3
Wow, what a start for the new boy. On the pitch for 4 minutes, had 6 touches of the ball, one of them being the most dreadful touch made in an Everton debut for some time. 6 passes with a 67% pass accuracy isn’t a dream start for Muhamed, it can only get better from here though, surely. Interesting fact from his performance however was he managed 2 tackles in 4 minutes, how many did our centre back partnership make in 94 minutes? You guessed it… two.
Overall Team Rating – 4.73
The two teams with the best defensive record last season played today, you would have put money on a goalless draw, instead it ended in a 9 goal thriller. Our defence needs to improve and improve fast, we have conceded 10 goals already this season which is over a 1/4 of the goals conceded in 2013/14. However, as always this is the section I try and draw out positives from the game, Eto’o looked good, we can score goals when we feel like it and Naismith is still on track for 38 goals this season.
1) Samuel Eto’o became the 499th different player to score for Everton in our history.
2) Everton have managed 3 goals from set pieces this season, more than any other PL team.
3) 45 – Everton have scored a 45th minute goal in all three of their Premier League games this season. Spooky.