REPORT | Everton 2-5 Watford
Everton fell to a humiliating 5-2 home defeat to Watford after a collapse in the final 15 minutes.
An early Tom Davies goal fired the Blues ahead before former Toffees striker Josh King equalised on 13 minutes.
The returning Richarlison headed Rafael Benitez’s side back in front in the second half before the Hornets scored four goals in the final 12 minutes with King completing his hat-trick against the side who let him go in the summer.
The match felt like a turning point after a relatively positive start as Everton manager for Benitez with a chorus of boos reigning down at full-time from all four corners of Goodison.
The Toffees began the match in explosive fashion as Davies slid home Demarai Gray’s cross after a rampaging run into the area from the summer signing.
Watford equalised 10 minutes later as King finished off a corner with a goal that survived a VAR check for offside.
Once a first half in which the visitors looked the more threatening came to a close, Everton’s performance improved after the interval but they still struggled to create any clear-cut chances.
Then on the hour mark, former Watford man Richarlison was subbed on for his first appearance since returning from injury and with his first touch, he nodded the Toffees back in front.
The Blues then set about protecting their lead but the invitation of pressure from the Hornets was not the wisest decision as Juraj Kucka headed home an equaliser on 76 minutes before King took advantage of a chaotic Everton defence to make it 3-2 just two minutes later.
Thereafter the Toffees capitulated and two simple strikes from King and Emmanuel Dennis rounded off a 5-2 scoreline.
It was a dismal afternoon for Everton, with three points seemingly in the bag with 15 minutes to play, but defensive vulnerabilities cost them in embarrassing fashion.
Michael Keane and Ben Godfrey proved once again that they are not a suitable centre-back pairing and the return of Yerry Mina can not come soon enough.
In spite of his goal, Tom Davies showed just how much we are going to miss the marauding Abdoulaye Doucoure in the centre of the park during his recovery from the foot injury picked up int the week.
It seems unfair to blame Benitez as his introduction of Richarlison appeared to have won the day for his side but a defence clearly lacking in confidence or else just ability cost the Blues at the end of the day.
It could very well prove to be a more disastrous result in the coming weeks as Everton’s upcoming schedule is daunting to say the least.
It’s hard to see right now where the next three points are coming from.