It has been an impressive start to the season for Everton however all things do come to an end, and it did, in some fashion.
A second half collapse meant that Aston Villa scored three goals in quick succession as Everton could not cope with the relentless pressing and atmosphere around Villa Park.
Here is what we can take from Rafa Benitez’s first defeat as Everton manager.
- Injuries can make a really big difference
Shock horror. Injuries to key players meant that Everton were without several players who are vital to them. Jordan Pickford was out with a shoulder problem, Seamus Coleman had a hamstring issue and Richarlison had a knee injury. Also, there was still no Dominic Calvert-Lewin who is obviously Everton’s main man up front. So due to all this can the defeat be that much of a shock? The way it happened will seriously disappoint many fans as it was a second half collapse but when so many vital players are missing it is something that Everton fans can’t get too angered about. Hopefully some of the players who missed out can be back for the League Cup tie against QPR.
2. Ben Godfrey is not a right back
He is a centre back by trade and a very good one. However due to his pace last season he was deployed at full-back on 15 occasions. He done well but against Aston Villa he looked very much out of his depth and his attributes are wasted in the role. In attack he was just simply in the way down the right-hand side. His positioning at the back was poor as well, especially for the third goal. He found himself in the middle of the pitch leaving Leon Bailey with a clear run-on goal. Probably Everton’s best centre back, needs to only play there.
3. Squad depth will be a problem
Godfrey having to play in full-back shows how the depth in some positions is just not enough. Also, the fact that Rafa Benitez could not even name a full bench highlights how the squad is small. There were only two attackers on the bench, and they were Ellis Simms and Anthony Gordon who have very limited Premier League experience. It meant Everton could not react to going a goal down as they had no options, if the injuries continue to pile up that will become a real issue. James Rodriguez needs to be urgently reintroduced to the fold so there is an extra player who has proven quality to help the squad.
4. Luca Digne needs to find his best form again
Against Burnley many Everton fans were debating whether Digne’s performance was good or not but in the end, it didn’t really matter as they won the game. However, this time round it was a main reason why Everton lost. The French international was bullied by Matty Cash for the first goal as he beat him to the ball quite easily before he hit a rocket with his left-foot. The second goal was a poor headed clearance from Digne which went into his own net. Also, he did not have any influence in the final third, which is what he is best at. It was what one can describe as a shocker; he needs to find the form which has him in the conversation about being one of the best left backs in the league.
5. Andros Townsend needs to find consistency
It has been something he has struggled with all his career and it stopped him in his early days from being one of the most promising wingers in the country. He was unplayable against Burnley providing the assist for Michael Keane’s goal and scoring a thunderbolt. Against Aston Villa he was below par failing with the majority of his crosses whilst he also struggled to get at Matt Targett. Those two games felt like Townsend’s career in a nutshell. Hopefully the standards can reach the Burnley game again and stay at those standards otherwise he will find himself on the bench more often than not when Richarlison is back fit.