Everton’s indifferent form continued after a scrappy draw away to Burnley this afternoon.
Despite recent struggles, Carlo Ancelotti persisted with an unorthodox shape, with Alex Iwobi and Fabian Delph filling in for absences at fullback. Whilst they were not directly responsible for The Blues’ tepid start, it was clear in the opening stages that The Toffees were uncomfortable in their shape. Passive and embarrassingly inaccurate, Everton didn’t take ownership of the match early on and invited the home side to press.
It was through this press that The Clarets found the opening goal. A mistake by an out-of-sorts Allan saw Robbie Brady pick the ball up just outside of the box and unleash a fierce shot into the left hand corner. It was the worst possible start for The Toffees, who now had to try and do something which has been alien to Everton in recent years: come back from behind and win.
The response wasn’t wonderful but much like in the Fulham match a fortnight ago, Burnley’s defensive deficiencies gave Everton some opportunities. Aside from a Dominic Calvert-Lewin effort, however, The Blues failed to test Nick Pope enough and instead wasted some brilliant positions with shocking crosses and final balls.
They were to make the territory count as half-time beckoned. A much better pass from Allan released the quiet Richarlison, whose superb cross was diverted towards goal by a stretching Calvert-Lewin, who continues his outstanding start to the season. I have many doubts about this Everton team but none whatsoever about The Toffees’ number 9. He is quite simply an outstanding striker and will certainly be in contention for the golden boot at the end of the campaign. He oozes class and without him, heaven knows where Ancelotti’s men would be.
Half time: 1-1
If there is one positive to take from Everton’s second half display, it was that they didn’t concede again. Bar that, it was yet another sorry performance. Very few questions were asked of the Burnley defence and Everton regressed into the unstructured and loose side of late.
In a half of little to no major chances, the visitors seemed desperate to offer Burnley set-piece opportunities. Careless fouls and half-hearted blocks saw the hosts accrue a number of corners and freekicks which they were close to capitalising from. The biggest opportunity came courtesy of a Chris Wood header ten minutes from time, denied by an excellent stop from Pickford.
In response, Everton conjured up the biggest chance of the game. James Rodríguez, who had had one of his quietest matches in an Everton shirt, threaded an outstanding ball through to the substitute Gylfi Sigurdsson, whose tame effort bounced back off a scrambling Pope. It was a golden opportunity and an illustration of a sad reality of this current side. Whilst the majesty of the likes of Rodriguez, Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin is clear to see, the supporting squad are simply not good enough to capitalise upon their endeavours and it is only until those players are replaced that real progress can be made.
As the final whistle sounded, the all-too-familiar sense of resignation about Everton on their travels sunk in once more. If Everton are going to advance as a side, they quite simply have to take ownership of these kind of matches and take all three points. Until then, the Blues will continue to be rooted in mediocrity and be seen as part of a chasing pack, rather than the dominant players both the manager and the club aspires to be once again.
Full time- 1-1