Everton fans may be feeling a little happier after their side came away with a draw against Man Utd, although they will not be totally satisfied with the performance there were still some signs of improvement compared to recent matches. Everton went into the match on a run of performances which can only be described as disappointing, with the main themes of recent matches being a lack of urgency and creativity.
Everton started the match with Ramiro Funes Mori replacing Jagielka at the centre of the defence, and also with Gareth Barry and Idrissa Gueye being back together in midfield following respective suspensions. While the return of Barry and Gueye in midfield is a welcome one that brings about a needed solidity, the appearance of Funes Mori can bring a few worries due to what can be described as moments of rashness! All in all though Funes Mori had a reasonable game, and it was probably an understandable change due to the recent performances of Jagielka and being the right time to take him out of the spotlight for a game.
The match itself was not the greatest advert for a football match, with both sides lacking any real signs of quality in their play. As has been evident with Everton recently they seem to have a lack of creativity when approaching their opposition’s final third and this was once again prevalent. When approaching the final third during a match Everton are either making a rash decision and trying something wildly extravagant or conversely are too insecure to take on a chance and so pass it on to a teammate, who then passes the ball on to someone else to make a decision. What Everton need is for someone to take control of the situation and make a decision on what to do in the attacking areas of the pitch, whereas currently there appears to be a lack of players standing up to take charge of a game!
In a game in which few chances were created, it can be described as being very poor decision making for a goalkeeper to race out of his area to a ball that he has no real chance of getting! This was the case for Stekelenburg shortly before half time; this only led to Ibrahimovic lifting the ball over the keeper and into an empty goal. Funes Mori made a valiant effort to race back and clear the ball from the goal, but was just unable to prevent the ball from crossing the line.
The second half was much like the first with not many chances being created and Everton fans probably feeling as if they were going away with nothing from the game. Kevin Mirallas had Everton’s best chance to score when he found himself in space in the Utd area following a good piece of intricate play, Mirallas then fired in a shot at goal which was well saved by De Gea. Apart from some long range efforts at goal or some miss-directed headers there were not many other chances to trouble the scorers. This changed however as time was beginning to run out, when Idrissa Gueye had the ball in the Utd area and was fouled by Fellaini to give Everton a penalty. Despite the appeals from Fellaini the referee was correct in awarding the penalty and Leighton Baines stepped up to fire the ball home low to de Gea’s right hand side.
Everton seemed to be sparked into life by their equaliser and they finished the game much stronger than Utd and with a little luck on their side they could have grabbed a late winner. The puzzling thing about the finish to the game was how Everton suddenly came to life, and why they could not have played with that same level of intensity and belief during the rest of the match, if they had done so they could quite easily have won the match.