There were plenty of points for Everton fans to unpick for after their 1-0 defeat against Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United. The game was defined by free-flowing moves and strong chances, ultimately delivering a result which will leave the Toffees feeling frustrated.
The first half was relatively uneventful but nonetheless entertaining; both sides had to exhibit some last-ditch defending as Jordan Pickford and Leeds’ Illan Meslier were called upon to make startling saves. Ben Godfrey delivered an impressive moment of defensive determination as he cleared a powerful Leeds strike off the line, with the Blues having been well and truly backed into a corner for periods of the game.
Everton had two goals rightly ruled out for offside in the first half; one from a slightly mistimed run from James Rodriguez while Ben Godfrey’s positioning ruled out a powered header from Richarlison.
It was a game of adaptive tactics and offensively-laden patterns of play, but the deadlock was broken by Leeds’ summer signing Raphinha. The Brazilian took an opportunity just outside of the box, curling a shot into the bottom right corner beyond Pickford’s reach to clinch all three points for the Whites.
Carlo Ancelotti had opted to stick with the 3-4-3 formation which was successfully deployed in the previous 3-2 win against Fulham, whilst Bielsa’s side remains unchanged from their most recent match against Arsenal that resulted in a 0-0 draw.
The Toffees were without Lucas Digne following confirmation of his long-term injury. Alex Iwobi shifted out to the left wing-back spot with Tom Davies being drafted in as his counterpart on the right.
Fans of Everton and rival clubs were quick to have their say…
Twitter: @RBMersey Doucoure killed Everton today! (@evertonn077)
Twitter: What happened to Everton? They precipitously fell off a cliff. (@bcline760)
Twitter: @TotalKroos That Everton midfield is so avarage technically, even Casemiro would look like prime Pirlo next to Allan and Doucoure. (@hoodfamoussace)
Twitter: Weren’t Everton going to be title challengers at the start of the season? (@chingyarmani1)
Twitter: @EduardoHagn Ancelotti has questions to answer, Everton’s form has been poor lately (@pwearfacemasks)
Twitter: RT @Mattyblag: @thechicoazul It’s a basic lack of intensity. I’ve never seen a team lose as many second balls as everton (@thechicoazul)