Blackpool 2 Everton 4: Blues’ claim first pre-season win

After two terrible performances in the States and two defeats without scoring a goal, Everton finally broke their pre-season duck with a 4-2 win at Blackpool.

Everton had looked out of sorts, lethargic and behind the curve in their pre-season work as they lost to Arsenal and then Minnesota United in their pre-season tour across the pond.

Last night the Toffees’ claimed a first win in pre-season as they defeated the Tangerines 4-2 at Bloomfield Road.

Obviously, this win is welcome after those sub-part performances in which the Blues’ conceded six goals without scoring.

On the Lancashire coast Everton players Dele Alli twice, Tom Davies and Vitalii Mykolenko all netted to see the Toffees’ home.

This win was a much more positive result of course than the defeats in the States and there were several important things that stood out in the game.

The first was the fact that Frank Lampard reverted to a three or five-man defence with Ben Godfrey, Yerry Mina and James Tarkowski playing at centre-back.

This has been the default formation that Lampard settled in the later stages of last season as he searched for greater defensive resiliance, stability and consistency.

It worked in the end, but Lampard has still wanted to experiment with other tactical systems particularly some form of a 4-3-3 to given him some flexibility.

However, if the Blues’ boss cannot find the sort of players he will need to make alternative systems work (most of all a defensive or holding midfielder with the athleticism and strength) then perhaps he needs to just settle on a 5-3-2 type formation.

The three central defenders performed well, although of course it was a Championship team’s attackers they were up against.

In particular, Tarkowski playing almost as a sort of sweeper, was very influential initiating attacks from deep.

Perhaps he can evelove this role occasionally stepping up into midfield possibly, so creating a more fluid and flexible tactical approach and enabling Lampard to switch to a 4-3-3 in games.

Alongside that more solid defensive effort there were excellent performances of the two young full-backs Mykolenko and Nathan Patterson.

The Ukrainian scored a goal and looked sharp and Patterson was a dynamic presence always looking to get forward and supplied two assists with superb balls from out wide.

If these two can maintain this sort of form and impact, it could be a very significant aspect of the team next season providing width and an important attacking outlet.

All of which would be important especially as Everton will struggle it seems to bring in a lot more creativity before this transfer window closes.

While Dele Alli’s creative and goal contribution was welcome, we’ve seen little flashes of his ability before but he hasn’t sustained it so I’m not getting too excited by his performance.

He needs to consistently produce this sort of quality as Everton are desperate for more inventiveness and obviously goals.

One other potentially important factor was the impact that Salomon Rondon had starting at centre-forward.

His time at Goodison Park hasn’t exacly been a success since he jonied last summer when the cash-strapped Rafa Benitez brought him on a free transfer.

Yesterday the South American looked much fitter and more effective holding the ball up and providing that focal point for the attack.

Given Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s struggles and the reality of how hard it is proving for Everton to find a replacement for Richarlison, he might well be playing a lot more minutes next season.

So, better stuff of course but it was against a lower league side and it’s still critical that signings in midfield and up front are secured.