1. Possession doesn’t win football matches..
To see Everton thoroughly dominate Newcastle with 76% possession a good sign as to how Marco Silva’s Everton react to a big loss such as last weeks Merseyside Derby. Everton looked intent on attacking from the off, playing the majority of their football in the opposition’s half.
This worked against the Blues the moment Ademola Lookman was dispossessed in the midfield. The ball was fed to Jacob Murphy who had the time and space to pick out Solomon Rondon. This was entirely against the run of play and looked to stump Silva and the players. Similar to the Huddersfield game, the incessant pressure couldn’t unlock Newcastle’s back line..
2. The tactical flexibility of Marco Silva..
Obviously (to the surprise of many), Silva opted to rotate the starting 11 by introducing Kurt Zouma, Cenk Tosun and Lookman. This moved Richarlison back to his preferred position on the left flank- where he produced three successful dribbles, 24 accurate passes and a goal.
Tosun failed to take a golden opportunity to put the Blues in front firing directly at Martin Dubravka. Unfortunately, this was indicative of the the strikers performance. He was substituted for Bernard on with 20 minutes to go. In that time, we saw Everton play Bernard in the number 10 role and out on the left as Everton shifted to a 4-4-2. This may be telling as to how the rest of the festive fixture period may go. Plenty of rotation.
3. Michael Keane is an essential part of the Everton backline..
A fundamental basic of a Marco Silva side is playing out from the back; something that Evertonians admire- particularly when it’s done well. Up against a Rafa Benitez side that had no qualms with launching the ball downfield at any opportunity, Kurt Zouma and Yerry Mina’s combined 171 touches never really initiated anything substantial in terms of attacking moves.
Add to this their troubles with Newcastle on the break, it’s fair to assume Michael Keane will resume his post for Monday’s game.
4. Jordan Pickford saving Everton points again..
It was a funny old game for Jordan Pickford against his old Geordie foe. While being taunted and jeered throughout by the visiting fans, Pickford was met with a crescendo of support from the rest of the attending Evertonians.
The Merseyside Derby blunder looks to be firmly out of his system as he made four extremely important saves, including a vital parry from a Christian Atsu shot towards the end of the game. Pickford’s quality and importance to the side is undisputed.
5. Andre Gomes could play football with a lit cigar in his mouth..
With 118 touches, no other player influenced the run of play to the degree Andre Gomes controlled Everton’s football. This was another poised, classy performance from a Rolls Royce of a central midfielder.
In his 87 successful passes, the Portuguese international showcased a variety of short, medium to long passing, which was a pleasure to observe. Gomes appears to be a consistent shining light even when Everton are chasing the game. It can’t be overstated how much of an impact Gomes would provide given he’s brought in on a permanent deal. Make it happen Marcel.