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Everton are still lacking a leader

Monday 18th September 2017
Everton's hammering at the hands of Manchester United was yet another example of why they are not yet ready to battle for a Champions League spot with the best in the Premier League. A 4-0 defeat means that the Toffees have now conceded 12 goals and have not scored in four games in the league and Europe. This clearly makes for worrying times at Goodison Park. 

Their defeat at the hands of Manchester United was perhaps an unfair one on the scoreline at least. United lead through Antonio Valencia's screamer from the fourth minute and, for the first 20 minutes or so, it seemed as though Everton were going to take a hammering.

However, they grew into the game and did create their own chances, but they were not taken. Jose Mourinho's side then went on to score three goals in 10 minutes through Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Romelu Lukaku and Anthony Martial. A 4-0 defeat was harsh considering how well Everton grew into the game, but that is just football.
Throughout the game, two things were very evident. The first is that Everton are missing an out-and-out striker to lead the line. Wayne Rooney did his best to give the Toffees an outlet, but he was isolated for much of the game. While his signing in the summer was one that was regarded with much celebration by the fans, he is not the same player of five years ago, with his ability to score 20+ goals a season in the past.

Second was the lack of a real leader on the pitch. Everton spent heavily in the transfer window this summer and added some real talent to their squad. The likes of Gylfi Sigurdsson, Michael Keane and Jordan Pickford have all plugged holes in the team that were lacking quality, but none are experienced in battling at the top of the table.

Indeed, the three, with all of their talent and ability, are still young players. Last season, Chelsea could call upon the likes of Eden Hazard or Diego Costa to get them out of a hole, while Harry Kane did the same for Tottenham. Who can provide that same grit and resistance for Everton though?

Rooney seemed lost and unable to have an impact on the game for the most part, while Sigurdsson suffered a similar fate along with both Keane and Pickford looking nervous. From the bench too, Ronald Koeman could not call upon reinforcements that have heaps of ability in change a game of that nature.

Even though Everton are clearly moving forward, they still have a long way to go. Koeman was in desperate need of someone on the pitch to get on the ball, keep it and move it along intelligently. They did not need to play an incisive through ball to get the side on the front-foot, instead, they just needed to play the smart game and keep the ball.

Similarly, one of Ashley Williams or Phil Jagielka should have taken control at the back with Keane clearly nervous. From front to back the Toffees lacked a leader. While Everton may be adding more skilful players allowing the ability gap to continue to close between themselves and those above them, they need experience and leadership to really evolve as a team, and that does not come cheap.
Ben Darvill

I graduated with an upper second class degree in English and Creative writing from Cardiff Metropolitan University. I have been a freelance sports writer since leaving University and have written for a number of online websites. I am a Chelsea and England fan but I enjoy watching any team play as I have an intense passion for football.

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