Disjointed, new-look Everton have much to learn after heavy Spurs defeat
Manager Ronald Koeman commented afterwards that Everton could learn from Saturday's 3-0 defeat to Tottenham. On the evidence of this thoroughly one-sided 90-minute performance, Koeman and his players have many lessons to heed. This torturous match followed the expected script written by the respective starting line-ups. While an unbalanced and narrow home side toiled away, a visiting team comfortable in their approach proceeded to rip the Everton system to shreds.
Despite Ben Davies enjoying the freedom of Goodison Park on Tottenham's left flank throughout the match, Koeman declined to address the issue. Less than a minute into the second half, Davies set up the third goal and settled the match with an entire half still to play.
Everton were fortunate to escape with just three goals conceded. Only careless Tottenham finishing and their willingness to coast toward the final whistle prevented the three-goal deficit becoming a more embarrassing figure.
Tottenham are unlikely to face opponents as accommodating as this all season. While Mauricio Pochettino possesses a team well-equipped to challenge for the Premier League title, too many players out of position, others out of form and misguided tactics have Everton looking like a group of lost individuals.
An obvious shortage of width and mobility within the starting XI left the attack direction-less, the midfield congested and the defence exposed. Everton are presently struggling to master the basics and seem incapable of establishing any control in matches. Alongside absent guile or tempo, there was no conviction or belief when trying to retain possession. One solitary shot on target across the last two matches and no significant chances created epitomise a team that looks incapable of scoring goals in its current state.
For all the talk of additional leadership within the squad, there was no sign of that as the match ran away from the home side. Not one player in a blue shirt tried to coax the team from its toothless slumber.
Manager rating out of 10
3 -- This defeat rests firmly on Koeman's shoulders. Mismatches on the flanks went unchecked for the entire match. Between shoehorning three similar players into the advanced midfield roles behind Sandro and leaving his full-backs without protection, this was a disaster.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Jordan Pickford, 6 -- His role in the first two goals owed more to misfortune than mistakes. One or two timely interventions later in the match spared further embarrassment.
DF Cuco Martina, 4 -- A combination of individual errors and a panicky full-back left constantly outnumbered by tactics and teammates. Missed his attempted clearance for the second goal and almost gifted another as a bright start turned into a nightmare.
DF Michael Keane, 5 -- Keane was below his best, showing little of the commanding defensive qualities seen in previous matches. Better communication with Pickford could have prevented the second goal.
DF Ashley Williams, 4 -- Out-thought, outfought and outpaced by Kane throughout, the 33-year-old centre-back added a disappointing footnote with questionable positioning for the third goal.
DF Leighton Baines, 6 -- Misdirected several headers but fared better than most and at least broke a sweat in attempting to prevent further damage.
MF Idrissa Gueye, 6 -- Often does enough work for two players, but this match seemed to leave him trying to cover for at least three or four of his teammates. This was a credible attempt in the circumstances.
MF Morgan Schneiderlin, 4 -- Appeared miles off the pace, short on confidence and a shadow of the player evident last season. Demonstrated poor awareness and positioning for both the second and third goals.
MF Wayne Rooney, 4 -- A couple of neat link-ups in the opening minutes gave way to an anonymous and ill-disciplined display. Selected on the right flank but constantly drifted out of position and left Martina floundering behind him.
MF Davy Klaassen, 4 -- Back from injury, the returning midfielder was barely noticeable beyond customary work ethic before his withdrawal at half-time. A congested midfield affected his game more than most.
MF Gylfi Sigurdsson, 5 -- Smashing the club-record transfer fee to then play a £45 million signing out of position sums up the puzzling nature of Koeman's current tactics. Wasted out wide and rarely involved aside from set piece duties.
FW Sandro Ramirez, 6 -- For his 45 minutes on the pitch, the 22-year-old offered the only semblance of movement ahead of the ball. Too many aimless long balls in his direction saw his clever running go unrewarded.
MF Tom Davies, 5 -- Another shunted into an unfamiliar role, Davies offered endeavour but little else on the left side of midfield.
FW Dominic Calvert-Lewin, 5 -- Isolated and left to occupy the entire Spurs defence by himself, it is difficult to recall a worthwhile pass in his direction.
MF Nikola Vlasic, NR -- On for a 10-minute debut, an enterprising dribble in injury time marked one of the few occasions an Everton player committed defenders.
Luke is ESPN FC's Everton blogger. Follow Luke on Twitter @lukeofarrell.