Last night saw the Blues return to Premier League action with a hard fought draw against Stoke city at the Bet 365 Stadium. It wasn’t the greatest result, especially with United dropping points but considering the pattern of the game it was a good point.
Cheered on by 3,000 magnificent Evertonians the game started appalling for the Blue boys. Falling behind to Peter Crouch’s close range finish after only 7 minutes. It was a terrible start but the Blues reacted well and started to dominate possession but with very little to show for it. Joel made a superb save from Arnautavic and if it wasn’t for his quick reactions off his line we could’ve easily been looking down the barrel at 2-0.
We then began to get a bit of joy in and around their box. Davies, Schneiderlin and Mirallas started to click and found Coleman in the box. He turned his marker and fired a shot towards the goal. For all the world it looked like Lukaku had tapped in from close range, but the linesman raised flag to a huge cheer from the locals. Think again 8 fingered Stokies! Lukaku turned and claimed he hadn’t touched it, claiming the Stoke Captain Shawcross had got the last touch. Replays showed just that and it didn’t actually get to Big Rom. Referee Craig Pawson consulted with his linesman, and what was noticeable was the reaction of the Everton players. This time last season Jagielka would’ve we waving his players away. Not this year, we are a different side, a nastier side, Baines, Schneiderlin and Coleman were in the linesman and referees ear to tell him what actually happened. It was so refreshing to see. All of a sudden the referee pointed to the centre circle to signal the goal would stand, cue pandemonium in the away end!
Joel made one final save to deny the busy Arnautavic but we made it to half time. We had been second best for large spells but managed to go in level.
Half Time Stoke 1 Everton 1
At half time Koeman made a change and took off Holgate for McCarthy and we reverted back to 4 at the back with McCarthy giving us more energy and bite in midfield.
We began the second half better than we did the first and controlled the game and kept Stoke at arms length. We took the wind out of the home supporters and kept them reasonably quiet. They had a few chances from dangerous set pieces and crosses but nothing to worry the now ever dependable Joel.
We were also struggling to create anything of any note. That was until Lookman came on that is. Mirallas had worked hard but it wasn’t his night. Lookman had been on for about 30 seconds when he almost made an instant impact. Davies flicking a back heal pass into the youngsters path and with one touch he fired a low shot towards the goal, which was brilliantly saved by Lee Camp.
At the moment, like at Palace away you always feel that we will create a chance or two. Last night we created three within seconds of each other. Firstly great work by Coleman, as he dug out a cross, running onto it was the Ketwig Keiser, the ball probably lacked pace but Davies through his head at it. Just when you thought it was hitting the back of the net Camp made a worldy of a save to push it away. The save fell nicely to Lookman who did everything right, he got his knee over the ball before drilling it towards the back stick, Davies tried to get his foot on it at the back post but there was too much pace on the ball and it flew out for a goal kick. That was the chance(s) there and then. There would’ve been no coming back for Stoke after that. Unfortunately it wasn’t too be last night.
Final Score Stoke 1 Everton 1.
However considering how poor we had been first half it was a decent point. You can see how Koeman is transitioning this side, there was a resilience to us last night. If we’d conceded that earlier goal this time last season, we would’ve probably folded. That extra steal and swagger we have developed is wonderful to see. Schniederlin was excellent, as was Davies. You have to keep reminding yourself that Davies is actually 18. His youthful exuberance is great. He does get himself into trouble sometimes but always seems to take the right option before finding a 40 yard pass from nowhere.
Another player who played a cameo role last night but will no doubt be playing a more prominent role in the future is Ademola Lookman. Another player who is older than his years suggest. As mentioned he was involved in most of good chances second half. However my highlight of the match was a moment late in the game, it didn’t lead to anything unfortunately but was brilliant nonetheless. Lookman was in the centre circle when the ball was played in to him. He looked like he was going to control it and pass it off, Charlie Adam thought that and stood off him. In one move he did this little shimmy, controlled it and left Adam in his wake. I’m pretty sure Charlie Adam is still in Burslem he was sent packing that much. The skill was exceptional and another sign of the talent we have.
A decent point and keeps the run going, now our attention turns to Bournemouth on Saturday.
Come on you Blues!