Everton Vs Fulham: Match Review

Everton began their 23/24 campaign with a frustrating defeat that showed none of the issues that have led to consecutive relegation battles have been meaningfully addressed. Despite enjoying the better of the chances, wasteful finishing and lapses in concentration ensured Fulham walked away with 3 points for the 3rd consecutive visit to Goodison.

Intensity and effort

The first half was characterised by Everton demonstrating plenty of intensity but lacking in execution and the growing feeling that Neal Maupay will never score. In the opening minutes the Frenchman had a great opportunity that went the wrong side of the post, setting the tone for a half in which he failed to net no fewer than four opportunites.

Everton walked off the happier of the two teams having put Fulham consistently under pressure on the counter attack. The traditional Everton frustration of watching players unable to pick a pass at the crucial moment was present and correct. Alex Iwobi, however was excellent: particularly an excellent length-of-the-field run and cross-field ball that saw Amadou Onana test Bernd Leno. Fulham’s most dangerous moment, by contrast, was a momentary mixup between Jordan Pickford and Michael Keane that saw a loose ball almost fall for Raul Jiminez.

Controversy erupted after 40 minutes when the Fulham keeper came for a corner and dropped the ball under the challenge of James Tarkowski. Michael Keane was on hand to turn the ball into the net but Stuart Atwell had already blown for a foul, denying the Toffees the chance to have VAR take a look at what appeared to be a simple error.

Plus ca change

In classic fashion, Everton decided to abandon the principles that had ensured a solid first half display. The opening 10 minutes of the half lacked rhythm or pattern from either team. Nathan Patterson gave up a sloppy corner after losing the ball and Jordan Pickford was forced into a smart save on 55 minutes.

Alex Iwobi was at least bright on the left and forced a good save low from Bernd Leno on 63 minutes. Patterson was on hand to rattle the crossbar with the rebound and really should have done better. Arnaud Danjuma made his Everton debut, replacing Neal Maupay on 72 minutes. His introduction, however, seemed to turn off the brains of both Everton centre backs. Both Keane and Tarkowski were caught out of position as Harry Wilson split the defence and picked out the run of Mitrovic. His cutback left Decordover Reid with a simple finish. Reid should have had a second 4 minutes later after arriving unmarked at the back post. He was unlucky to lift the ball over.

Alex Iwobi, probably Everton’s player of the game, forced a good save after 84 minutes and Tarkowski headed just wide in the 88th. We all know, however, that once Everton are down, they are out. An over hit sideways pass from Michael Keane deep in injury time was a near perfect illustration of the last 6 years. Without meaningful improvement up front, we have the familiar feeling that it’s going to be a long season.

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