Everton 2-3 Valencia

The final game of the pre-season and we’re back at the Grand Old Lady as the Blues take on Valencia in the first home game for both Marcel Brands and manager, Marco Silva.

Following his exploits with England in the World Cup, Jordan Pickford was on the bench as Marco Silva line Everton up: Stekelenburg, Baines, Jagielka, Keane, Coleman, Schneiderlin, Gueye, Sigurdsson, Richarlison, Walcott and Tosun.

Latest signing and a confessed Blue Lucas Digne joined Pickford, Virginia, Ramirez, Niasse, Besic, Davies, Dowell, Calvert-Lewin, Lookman, Connolly, Pennington and Kenny on an extended bench.

For the visitors from sunny Espana, head coach Garcia Toral selected: Neto, Piccini, Kondogbia, Soler, Parejo, Gaya, Rodrigo, Torres, Mina, Garay and Diakhaby.

Chris Kavanagh was the referee on a very pleasant and sunny Saturday afternoon.

Walcott on an early break worried the Valencia defence while awaiting support when a solo effort and shot might have been the better idea.

On their third left wing attack, Vanencia opened the scoring as a cross from the left wasn’t cleared as Everton ball watched and Rodrigo had a simple finish from eight yards on nine minutes.

Everton responded with a good move that saw Gana Gueye find Richarlison and his fine curling effort was tipped away by Neto at full stretch.

Everyon drew level on 16 minutes as they kept pressure on the visitors defence and Walcott did well to release Tosun on the right side for a precise finish across the face of Neto inside the far post.

The poor defending that has blighted the pre-season was evident again on 21 minutes as Valencia retook the lead, the right winger skipping easily away from Baines to cross for Rodrigo to head home his second of the game from twelve yards.

Everton fought back to level on 29 minutes with Michael Keane heading in at the near post from a corner.

Mina was denied a third Valencia market by an offside flag as a poor clearance from Stekelenburg was played back in by Coquelin and he finished deftly past the Dutch keeper.

Baines with a decent cross found Walcott in the area but he was hurried by his marker and put his effort over the bar.

Half Time: 2-2

Just one half time change for Everton saw Leighton Baines replaced by Lucas Digne as the Blues attacked the Gwladys Street end in the second half.

A very quiet opening quarter hour saw Walcott withdrawn on the hour mark for Sandro Ramirez before Digne swung a low cross into the Valencia six-yard box that neither Tosun or Ramirez could finish.

Valencia made a raft of changes too ahead of a cross from Soler being hurriedly cleared at the expense of a corner.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Tom Davies came on for the last 17 minutes replacing Cenk Tosun and Gana Gueye respectively.

A poor touch by Ramirez and collision with Coleman presented Soler with an easy run in and he smashed a shot from the edge of the box into the top corner on 74 minutes to give the visitors their third lead of the game.

Ademola Lookman received a very warm welcome when he replaced Richarlison with ten minutes to play, the home crowd evidently keen for him to stay a Blue and not be sold.

Kieran Dowell made a late cameo appearance replacing Gylfi Sigurdsson with five minutes to play.

Full Time: 2-3

What did we learn today ?

For me, we saw that the centre of defence is crying out for an organiser, someone who will clearly take charge and impose themselves.

We saw that Gylfi Sigurdsson needs to impose himself more upon the game if he is to become the playmaker for Everton that he so often was for Swansea.

And we saw that whilst Cenk Tosun is a more than willing forward, he’s going to need better support up front.

With a week before we open up at Wolves, My guess is Marco Silva and Marcel Brands will need to get active in the transfer market as on the evidence of this outing, there are still gaps that need filling.

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