Verdict: Leicester 2 – 2 Everton
@Markthablue’s verdict as Everton produce a carbon copy of last seasons Carrow Road opener
“Its only the first game.” “A point away from home is a good result.” “They’re a newly promoted side and were up for it.”
All of these well used phrases would normally bring a modicum of comfort to a hugely irritating 2-2 draw at the King Power Stadium but not on this occasion. This should have been as easy a win as you could wish for on an opening day fixture at a newly promoted side.
Prior to the match we were hit with the news Ross Barkley will be out for the foreseeable future. Truly gutted about this, Ross was the one player I was truly excited to see start this season; a real shame he is out.
I’ve seen fans say we have enough cover in midfield so we should be OK, I agree we do have numbers but absolutely no-one who can offer what Barkley does. I think this warrants further transfer activity as the creative spark, if the second half was anything to go by, has fizzled out.
Everton never do it the easy way – would it have killed us to keep it tight the last five minutes – but Everton and straightforward do not go hand in hand. To be fair we looked mean in that first half. Goodfellas style at times as we played some penetrating stuff that Leicester couldn’t live with.
There is no more joyous a sight than to see Pienaar and Baines finding their collective mojo on the left. They were simply mesmerizing at times.we get it right few teams look better than us.
Everton took a deserved lead with an absolute pearler and an early contender for goal of the month. Aiden McGeady, a player every blue is keen to see the best of this season, started in fine fashion curling an inch perfect strike into the top corner with a 6 yard box full of Leicester players queuing up to take a photo of
A great start but in classic Everton style or #EvertonThat for the twitter users amongst us, Leicester were back level inside 2 minutes.
Record signing Ulloa getting off the mark from 6 yards after a woeful clearance from Sylvain Distin. Who, breaking the defenders code of attempting to clear through and not up-and-away from a crowded penalty
We were back in front on the cusp of half-time through a lovely finish from the ever improving Steven Naismith, burying a left footed shot into the top corner following some lovely Memory Lane inducing buildup play from Baines and.
Naismith’s finish came after he’d had a previous effort disallowed but truly highlighted the confidence pouring through his play under Martinez. I think he’s currently our best finisher and it’s great to see him playing with a smile on his face. Huge credit to Roberto and more importantly to Naismith himself. He has emerged as a key player for us. It’s been a great turnaround.
Also great to see our left hand side get it’s magic back. I hope this becomes a feature of our play once more this season, such is the potency of an inform Baines and Pienaar. Another dimension to our attacks, albeit a familiar one, is never a bad thing.
Half time came and Pre-season looked like the red herring we’d all hoped it would be. But then the pipe and slippers well and truly came out in a ridiculously lax and more worryingly lethargic second half.
The creativity had vanished along with the players energy and our attacking intent had gone for a guided tour around the Bermuda triangle.
With the scene now firmly set, Leicester grabbed the inevitable equalizer on 86 minutes through sub Chris Wood – finding himself in oceans of space to restore parity. 2-2.
Leicester should have been level earlier as Schlupp blazed over in comedy fashion with the Everton defence again going AWOL.
It’s clear the hangover from pre-season has not cleared. It’s not irrational or knee-jerk but the sense of frustration I felt at this result was huge. In a carbon copy of the opening day of last season against Norwich, we let a bang average team off the hook.
We have got to become more ruthless in our play. Going forward and in defence. We should never be content. We have the quality to put teams to the sword so drop the Mr Nice guy act Blues. We’re hated in the media, let’s be hated for what we do on the pitch. Keep on at teams, show no mercy. We have the talent but a lack of ruthlessness will prevent us from getting to where we want to be.
The energy and enthusiasm of the manager and even more so the fans who desperately want this to be the season we cash in on our undoubted ability has to be matched by the players.
It’s the first game of the season so no time for the antidepressants, but this is two points dropped in my opinion.
There were however plenty of positives to be had from the first half, the football was wondrous at times.
We looked a different class and a threat to Leicester every time we broke forward but the energy levels were not there second half and we looked like we were waiting for the inevitable.
I repeat, it was fantastic to see Baines and Pienaar back in tandem playing so confidently but I’m more happy for Pienaar who, I must admit, I thought was finished after last season. I just didn’t see him contributing but if he continues in this form we wont be able to do without him.
So, we snatched a draw from what should have been an easy victory in the end. Great teams who win silverware do the opposite and we must learn quickly. A sloppy pre-season schedule has led to a lethargic start to the season.
No more Snooze buttons Everton, it’s time to get up.
Arsenal are up next, so no room for tired bodies and minds here. I fully expect to see a purring, smarting Everton go for the jugular once more against the glass chins of Arsenal next Saturday.
Should we beat Arsenal and Chelsea in our next two fixtures the result at Leicester will look useful but it’s because of our next two fixtures against infinitely tougher opposition that make the draw at Leicester frustrating to say the least.
I’m more than confident we can get the job done on Saturday and surpass our points tally from the opening three games last year. A win would get the momentum going, a momentum I believe will end this ridiculous trophy drought.
“Unfortunate the second half was a little too relaxed,too low tempo and we fell for losing one moment of concentration.” Roberto Martinez
Lets hope the gunners feel the force of a well rested Everton next Saturday!