5 Things We Learnt – Southampton (H)
1. Marco Silva has reignited the connection between Evertonians, the team & the national media seem to be jumping on the bandwagon.
Before delving into the performance itself, it is worth mentioning that the often mentioned rift between Everton & the media is reaching a point of stability. On Match of The Day in particular last season, the 8th place finish managed by Sam Allardyce would be lauded “a fantastic job”.
In a studio interview following the game, former striker Gary Lineker asked the fact to Silva that given the hostile relationship between former manager & fans, how important is it that Silva gets Evertonians on his side? His answer:
“It is the most important thing in football. Of course I want them to have a connection with me, but more with our players. It is important for us to give them something special every match.”
2. Fortress Goodison at times looked like the training pitch at Finch Farm.
The well worked free-kick routine, Richardson’s samba flick to Walcott & Sigurdsson’s 1 touch play in front of goal, Everton demonstrated some mouthwatering football during last weekends game, showing all that there is an obvious reason they lay claim to being the “school of science”.
6 of Gylfi Sigurdsson’s 22 passes were key passes in attacking phases of play & with both wingers as eager as the other to make an impact, it was a joy to watch, Richarlison bagging another goal while Walcott grabbed a goal & assist.
Idrissa Gueye completed 80% of his attempted passes while midfield partner completed the full 100%. Efficient.
3. On the topic of Finch Farm, defending balls into the box still needs a lot of drilling.
Similarly Raul Jiminez nodding past Jordan Pickford unmarked on the opening weekend, Danny Ings was presented with an almost identical situation when he found himself unmarked with an easy tap in following a Saints corner.
Whilst most supporters would scoff at the “Everton luck” of the former Liverpool front man yet again scoring against Everton, the zonal marking approach from corners & set plays are a real cause for concern. With Mina & Zouma yet to debut for the Blues, the matter may resolve with a change of personnel, focused training around the issue should iron it out.
4. We are yet to see the same level of intensity or dominance for 90 minutes
Yes, this may be seen as nitpicking, but Everton notably seemed to take their foot of the gas when 2 goals for the good. Substitutions may have had a part to play in this, as although Morgan Schneiderlin was forced to exit the game early for Tom Davies- Dominic Calvert-Lewin & Oumar Niasse are a stark footballing difference from the inform Richarlison & Cenk Tosun
Once the season is up & running & the new signings in particular find fitness, there is no doubt we will be able to maintain high pressure throughout the 90.
5. All things considered, the game indicates Everton will beat sides less talented than their own
A reoccurring theme for Everton the years has been slipping on the traditional banana skin games. “Come on Everton, these are shite” is a saying than has achieved a degree of infamy during match days at Goodison Park.
However, 58% possession, more tackles, dribbles & successful dribbles than Mark Hughes’ Southampton side portrays a certain confidence from Silva’s Blues. Hopefully, this will result in a fearlessness when coming up against the “big 6” which was referred to under Roberto Martinez’s time at the club: “sin miedo” (without fear). Everton certainly look to be on the up.