Everton: 3 takeaways from 1-3 loss against Manchester City

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - MARCH 03: Sam Allardyce manager of Everton during the Premier League match between Burnley and Everton at Turf Moor on March 3, 2018 in Burnley, England. (Photo by Lynne Cameron/Getty Images)
BURNLEY, ENGLAND - MARCH 03: Sam Allardyce manager of Everton during the Premier League match between Burnley and Everton at Turf Moor on March 3, 2018 in Burnley, England. (Photo by Lynne Cameron/Getty Images) /
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We share our three takeaways from the 1-3 loss against Manchester City at Goodison Park.

Everton have a good pedigree against Manchester City. In the mirror fixture last season we thumped the Citizens 4-0 – Tom Davies scoring the pick of the goals. This year was entirely different.

The Blues needed to be robust at the back. Sadly, they capitulated after only four minutes, allowing Leroy Sane to score emphatically. Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling would add further goals in the first half, tearing the Everton defence to shreds in the process.

The second half was a dead affair. Yannick Bolasie was able to pull one back. The rest of the team did little else.

This was another poor result and we share our three takeaways below:

Defense lacks speed for modern Premier League

In a previous post-match piece, I emphasised how slow the Everton defence could be.

Against lesser teams, the Blues fluff their offside trap on a regular basis, but invariably hold a stable line. Against Manchester City however, Allardyce’s men played a mishmash of pressing and collapsing back.

It was a mess, and no aspect of the strategy worked.

The fact is, Everton don’t have the defensive personnel to sustain a fluid, and aggressive defensive format. It’s all too easy for opposition attackers to draw our players in and play around them, as they do not have the speed to recover.

This has been particularly apparent against Southampton, Spurs and City this season, as this underlines.

The Everton defence looked painfully slow on Saturday, and changes need to be made. The Premier League is getting faster, and this will only continue to be a problem.

Calvert-Lewin / Tosun partnership is a cause for concern

Everton’s attack have looked pretty good of late. Cenk Tosun looks the real deal. Meanwhile Dominic Calvert-Lewin continues to put up assists. In fact, the former Sheffield United man has been directly involved with ten of Everton’s 38 goals this season.

It’s unfortunate then that the two don’t seem to gel all too well on the pitch. The pair last started together against Burnley, but Calvert-Lewin offered extremely little, looking isolated on the wing at Turf Moor.

Against Manchester City, the two were unable to link up with each other with any consistency. In fact, Calvert-Lewin only completed 60% of his passes.

Calvert-Lewin doesn’t play with the panache you would expect of a number ten, so it’s hard to see sense in playing him in the gap. Tosun meanwhile clearly prefers a supply from out wide, and hasn’t yet shown the nouse to latch onto knock downs from Everton’s young target man.

Simply put, there is no synergy between the two striking talents, or much sense in playing Calvert-Lewin in a deeper role.

At the moment, I would advocate starting only one of this duo. Hopefully this will change against Liverpool.

More from Prince Rupert's Tower

A playmaker should be Everton’s summer priority

Everton missed Gylfi Sigurdsson today. Minus the Icelandic midfielder, Everton gifted City a whopping 82.13% possession. This is the most an away side has registered in the Premier League since records began.

Distribution in the centre was dreadful, with Wayne Rooney lacking the legs, or guile to dictate play effectively. On the wing, the situation was no better.

Theo Walcott and Bolasie are useful players, but they are not particularly innovative in possession. At their incisive best, they rely on someone else defining the attack.

When Sigurdsson returns, the Blues will have a playmaker in the final third. However, a deep-lying ballplayer is an urgent priority come the summer.

Everton cannot start next season with a central partnership featuring Morgan Schneiderlin.

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The rumour mill is already running in terms of possible targets for the Blues. Besiktas’s Oguzhan Ozyakup is just one of the names linked with the club.