1. Two holding midfield players is too many against all but the top six. Roberto got it tactically wrong in the first half. Watford were content to sit back and frustrate Everton, looking to catch the Blues on the brake. In this scenario we do not need both Barry and McCarthy to play in the holding midfield role.
If we are going to play both then McCarthy should be free to push forward and get between the opposition midfield and back four. This is especially true when Leighton Baines isn’t playing, as the need to cover the attacking runs from left back are greatly diminished.
2. We need to start games with a greater tempo. Our pedestrian play in the opening stages allowed Watford to grow in confidence and enable the Hornets to gain a foothold in the game. Roberto was able to get the message across at half time, with the Blues playing with significantly more urgency. Somehow he needs to ensure we start all games in this way and not simply as a reaction to going a goal behind or receiving a half time dressing down.
“In the first half, we clearly weren’t at the tempo and intensity Watford had…We saw in that first half one team in pre-season mode and another in a competitive mode.” Roberto Martinez
3. John Stones is boss but he still has plenty to learn. Watford’s second goal was clear evidence that John Stones is far from the finished article. The England international was composed for much of the afternoon but his attempts to prevent Watford from going 2-1 in front were not befitting a £30m defender. Stones threw himself to the floor in an attempt to block a shot that failed to arrive. If Stones had remained on his feet the Watford forward doesn’t get a clean shot at Tim Howard.
4. Ross Barkley isn’t a number 10, but he could be brilliant alongside McCarthy in an orthodox midfield role. Ross Barkley is a player with vast potential, but he is only going to recognise that potential by operating in a more conventional midfield role. The 90 minutes on Saturday epitomised this perfectly with Ross struggling until he was moved back alongside McCarthy in the Blues midfield. Ross is considerably better when he has the game in front of him, picking the ball up and driving forward. Far too often in the number 10 role he receives the ball with his back to the goal and is crowded out by opposition defenders/midfielders.
5. Evertonians love to boo. Moans, groans, Booing and protest banners! Looks like we have all taken a lesson or two from our Kopite friends. Booing at half time on the opening day of the season!!! Moans and groans as Kone entered the pitch!!! (Well done Arouna Kone, the Ivorian rose above the angst amongst the crowd and fired home the equaliser his cameo performance richly deserved). And finally protest banners flying over Goodison? I think you need a greater mandate than 100-200 Evertonians to get any credence for a protest against the board!