Oumar Niasse leads Everton comeback as subs impress vs. Bournemouth
Two goals from unlikely Everton hero Oumar Niasse dragged manager Ronald Koeman out of another self-inflicted mess in the 2-1 win against Bournemouth on Saturday.
One seemingly inconsequential moment saw Niasse demonstrate the purpose and will to win lacking until that point. While fans and teammates celebrated his equaliser, Niasse ran to retrieve the ball from the net. This rescue mission was only halfway through and Everton still had a game to win.
Five minutes later, ably assisted in his game-saving efforts by fellow substitutes Tom Davies and Jonjoe Kenny, Niasse had bundled home his second of the match and third in four days to hand the home side a much-needed three points.
The three substitutes raised the tempo, changed the course of the match and dragged a spluttering home team from the brink of defeat to victory. This was another reminder that summer spending should have absolutely no bearing on team selection.
Once the match settled down, a familiar tale played out in front of an increasingly irate home crowd. With Everton destined to fail after a bright start fizzled out due to the same issues with and without the ball, Bournemouth simply waited for their hosts to run out of ideas before capitalising. The mistakes evident before the substitutions cannot continue.
Manager rating out of 10
5 -- Initial team selection and the same tired and unbalanced setup left his players fighting a losing battle from the first whistle. This stubborn repetition cancelled out much of the credit earned for eventually changing tact after 55 minutes.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Jordan Pickford, 7 -- Poor distribution can be forgiven on this occasion due to the hugely important save that denied former teammate Jermain Defoe at 1-0 down and stopped Goodison Park descending into full-blown anarchy.
DF Cuco Martina, 5 -- Failed to do enough to mute the growing calls for Kenny to take his place. Found plenty of space on the right flank in the first half but just one of his 10 attempted crosses in the match found a blue shirt.
DF Mason Holgate, 6 -- Drafted in with Michael Keane and Phil Jagielka injured, the young defender experienced a mixed afternoon with encouraging signs undone by poor positioning and a rash tackle for the Bournemouth goal.
DF Ashley Williams, 7 -- The most experienced player at the centre of a makeshift defence, the veteran defender made two important interventions early on and generally defended well.
DF Leighton Baines, 5 -- Good work out wide created a headed chance for Domenic Calvert-Lewin, but it is difficult to recall a more wasteful Baines performance in possession. Lack of support a continued factor but too many passes went astray.
MF Idrissa Gueye, 6 -- Attempted the most passes and made the most tackles but this was not a vintage Gueye display. Started the season in fine form but has spent recent matches trying to cover deficiencies elsewhere in the team at the expense of his natural game.
MF Morgan Schneiderlin, 5 -- Started well, switching play to good effect, but the promise dried up as the team began to struggle. Josh King driving unchallenged through midfield for the Bournemouth goal also reflected badly on a player tasked with protecting the Everton defence.
MF Wayne Rooney, 5 -- An abrupt elbow to the face capped a disappointing afternoon. His only noticeable contribution was conceding possession for the Defoe chance, which is always the risk when employing him in midfield.
MF Davy Klaassen, 5 -- Once more, despite flashes of quick thinking and intelligence, Klaassen was too often an observer rather than a participant and attempted just 20 passes and created no chances in his 54 minutes on the pitch.
MF Gylfi Sigurdsson, 6 -- Sigurdsson still looks more threatening from set pieces than open play, though his performance improved after the substitutions. Playing him on the left flank remains a confusing waste of time.
FW Dominic Calvert-Lewin, 7 -- Headed wide early on from his only presentable sight of goal. Yet this was another hopeful afternoon for a young striker involved in the second goal and most of the better Everton moments.
MF Tom Davies, 8 -- At the heart of both goals and played a forward pass whenever possible, the 19-year-old looks the most dynamic midfielder, impressed for the third match in succession and simply has to start games.
FW Oumar Niasse, 8 -- Infectious enthusiasm and energy instantly lifted the team before two goals saved the day. Even the most cynical fan could not help but be delighted for the striker this week.
DF Jonjoe Kenny, NR -- Fired in more quality crosses in the final 15 minutes than the remainder of his teammates did in the entire match.
Luke is ESPN FC's Everton blogger. Follow Luke on Twitter @lukeofarrell.