Richarlison delivers 9/10 performance in two-goal debut for Everton
On the back of the sleep-inducing football delivered last season, Everton supporters crave entertainment, and Richarlison could be the remedy if his two goals and an absorbing debut in Saturday's 2-2 draw at Wolves are anything to go by.
The Brazilian midfielder also played his part defensively as a debatable Phil Jagielka red card before half-time turned a comfortable winning position on its head and forced the visitors to play more than half the match with 10 men. But it was his exploits in the final third attracting most attention, as a simpler close-range strike opened the scoring before a delightful curled finish gave the away side the lead for a second time after the interval.
This represents a good point after a trying afternoon, though even accounting for the red card, there is some disappointment at holding the lead twice and not claiming three points. Otherwise, there were positives to build on for both Richarlison and Everton in their first competitive match under new manager Marco Silva.
Everton spent last season struggling for goals and creativity, so it was encouraging here to see those in royal blue carry an attacking threat, even when reduced to 10 men. Aside from Richarlison, the only new signing in the starting XI, this was the same group of players toiling aimlessly through last season. At the first time of asking, Silva improved on the bulk of those insipid displays.
Mitigating red card aside, Silva will want Everton sharper in possession as the squad continues to adapt to his methods. This slackness contributed to the red card, while other examples saw good counterattacking opportunities squandered. Silva also will be mindful of the two well-taken but poorly defended goals given up to their newly promoted hosts.
Manager rating out of 10
7 -- Deserves credit because Everton showed battling qualities and did more than just hang on despite playing much of the match with 10 men.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Jordan Pickford, 6 -- Beaten by an excellent Ruben Neves free kick for the first Wolves equaliser, but his initial misstep on the goal line was as much a factor as the quality of the set piece. A later save from Raul Jimenez demonstrated his shot-stopping prowess.
DF Seamus Coleman, 6 -- Wasted a glorious opportunity late on as his overhit cross evaded Oumar Niasse inside the penalty area. A dependable presence in a determined defensive effort but not as his best when pushing forward.
DF Phil Jagielka, 4 -- His 300th league start for the club turned into a nightmare as poor control and subsequent lunging recovery tackle changed the complexion of the match. His red card was harsh but entirely self-inflicted.
DF Michael Keane, 7 -- Excellent until one fateful crucial moment, allowing Jimenez to get the wrong side of him before steering his header beyond a helpless Pickford. However, the much-maligned centre-back can take heart from an otherwise positive performance.
DF Leighton Baines, 8 -- Kept his place ahead of new signing Lucas Digne and rewarded the faith of his manager with a tireless display down the left flank, snapping into tackles and overlapping when possible.
MF Morgan Schneiderlin, 6 -- Neither poor nor excellent, merely satisfactory, there is a sense Everton need more than this from whoever operates alongside the indefatigable Idrissa Gueye in central midfield. Tidy in possession but still needs to be braver in and out of possession.
MF Idrissa Gueye, 8 -- A typical all-action display as Gueye proved influential at both ends of the pitch, offering his usual defensive exploits while also playing his part further up the pitch.
MF Theo Walcott, 5 -- His preseason involvement consisted of just 60 minutes in a friendly seven days ago, which went some way to explaining this rusty and ineffective display. Snatched at a good chance inside the penalty area after a Richarlison knockdown.
MF Gylfi Sigurdsson, 5 -- Given a chance in his preferred No.10 role but had minimal impact on the match before Silva sacrificed the midfielder during the first half after the red card forced a change of tact.
MF Richarlison, 9 -- Deceptively strong and aggressive in his approach, the new signing offered a tantalising glimpse of his potential with two goals and an exciting all-round contribution before limping off late on.
FW Cenk Tosun, 7 -- Wastefully shooting with Walcott better placed in the second half was his only blip, with the Turkish striker running himself into the ground and assisting Richarlison's second goal after good link-up play.
DF Mason Holgate, 6 -- Solid in defence for the most part but also guilty of ball-watching for the second Wolves goal.
FW Oumar Niasse, N/R -- Added to the team effort in place of a tired Tosun.
MF Lucas Digne, N/R -- On for a brief debut in place of Richarlison.