Everton won their second consecutive Premier League match yesterday as the Blues thrashed West Bromwich Albion 5-2 at Goodison Park.
In truth, although Everton got five goals in the end, the game was actually quite tight and competitive until the Baggies lost Keiran Gibbs for his shove on James Rodriguez.
This moment just before halftime had proved the key moment and it firmly swung the game in favour of the home team.
The Toffees made their extra man count and scored three more goals after the sending off as Dominic Calvert-Lewin bagged his first Premier League hat-trick.
This is an important change as although a team down a man will be more vulnerable to conceding goals, at least in theory, too often in the past the Blues have struggled to break down a well-organised and determined team, even one playing with ten men.
Not yesterday though. Everton were quick, inventive and constantly carving open the Baggies defence and created plenty of chances particularly though the outstanding James Rodriguez.
The Colombian superstar started slowly but once he got into his stride he was hugely influential, creating a series of opportunities with his incisive passing and distribution. Together with his first goal in a royal blue short, he also made an assist in a man-of-the-match performance.
One other player who is enjoying the huge impact the former Real Madrid man is having on this Everton team, is Lucas Digne.
The Blues left-back has been the team’s chief creative talent over the past two seasons and has borne the burden of having to provide most of the clear-cut chances from open play.
Now though with Rodiguez’s arrival, Digne isn’t the only creative player for the opposition to worry about. The French full-back had a fine match yesterday and was often putting in excellent balls and crosses from wide on the left.
Another player who has stepped up his all-round game is Richarlison. It’s true the Brazilian hasn’t scored yet this season, something he almost put right yesterday only to see his superb second half strike ruled out.
But despite that he got two assists in the game against West Brom and just as at Spurs, he was a constant menace for the Baggies defenders with his pace and direct running.
He is also linking up well with his South American colleague Rodriguez and after the Colombian laid on a coupe of good chances for the Brazilian to score last week, yesterday the two combined to set up Calvert-Lewin for one of his goals.
While we all want to see Richarlison getting on the score-sheet as soon as possible, if he can become an all-round forward who creates as well as scored goals regularly then that will make him an even more effective and valuable player.
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On their debit side, obviously the two goals that the Toffees conceded were frustrating.
One of them was a blistering strike from Diangana when he should have been closed down earlier and the other a fine free-kick.
Everton need to be stronger defensively, this is something they must improve if the team want to compete with the elite sides in the Premier League.
Allan perhaps should have been a little sharper to track back for the first West Brom goal but that is being a bit picky.
Well next up the Blues face another team who have had a great start to the season, Crystal Palace.
This will be an interesting clash especially as the rumours of Wilfried Zaha moving to Goddison Park just won’t die.