One. Galloway continues to grow with every game. Brendan Galloway started only his seventh game for Everton against Swansea, yet his performance defied his tender years and inexperience at this level. Galloway kept the very dangerous Andre Ayew quiet, stamping his authority on the match and pushing forward to join in when Everton were in attack. His touch map shows how influential he was at both ends of the pitch, with half his touches in the Swansea half and many in and around the opposition penalty area.
At 19 years old it was a performance that England and Everton’s first choice left back, Leighton Baines would have been proud and Everton are truly blessed in the left back position.
Two. Barkley is a perfect 10. Roberto Martinez spent the summer chasing a number 10, a search that appeared to end in failure, but in Ross Barkley Everton already have the perfect fit for that position. I have confessed in previous weeks that I previously thought Ross’ best position was going to be as an orthodox midfield player, but with his confidence growing week by week he is starting to fulfil his vast potential and is quickly becoming Everton’s most creative player. He created 6 chances for his teammates on Saturday, with Everton’s profligate finishing denying him a hatful of assists.
Impressively 46 of his 49 passes found their intended target and as a sign of his growing confidence and influence over Everton’s attacking play more than half (26) of those passes were in the attacking third of the pitch.
Three. Are Stones and Jagielka the leagues best centre back pairing? After the match on Saturday the Liverpool Echo’s sports editor, Dave Prentice proclaimed John Stones and Phil Jagielka as the league best central defensive partnership.
“Manchester United don’t have a recognised central defensive pairing, Arsenal’s leaks like a sieve, Manchester City have the over-priced and over-rated Eliaquim Mangala at the heart of their’s while Jose Mourinho thinks so much of his centre-halves he tried three times to buy Stones” Dave Prentice
After watching Everton keep their third Premier League clean sheet in their sixth game it is hard to disagree with Prentice’s assessment. Stones was outstanding throughout, composed on the ball and hard in the tackle. Jagielka was combative and expertly marshalled and cajoled his young defence through what could have been a truly testing afternoon. This was Everton’s third away fixture in the league and they are yet to concede a goal. Greater tests will follow but Everton appear to have re-found the resoluteness at the back that was a surprising yet pleasing feature during the first season under Martinez’ stewardship.
Four. Time to introduce genuine width? Apart from the opening day draw with Watford, Everton are yet to name an out and out winger in the starting XI. In fairness to Roberto Martinez it has been difficult to argue with his team selection and in truth the Blues still created ample opportunities to win at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday. But despite the relatively positive start to the season, Everton have failed to score in three of the opening six matches.
The Blues have an embarrassment of riches in the wide positions and Lennon, Mirallas or Deulofeu would all offer a genuine threat from the wing. At the weekend Arouna Kone started with Steven Naismith in a narrow front three which also included Romelu Lukaku. Deulofeu certainly made a positive impact when he was introduced and he was unfortunate not to have an assist to his name. His arrival also created space on the left as he stretched the pitch.
Deulofeu also went someway to reassure those who would be concerned by a drop in work rate amongst the front three. The spaniard showed a good appetite for defending, tracking back to provide Tyias Browning with support against Jefferson Montero.
Five. Over the top refereeing results in sending off. There is no doubt that Kevin Mirallas’ tackle in the closing stages was rash and I am certain any attempt to overturn the decision would be a waste of time. However the decision to send off Mirallas was a little on the harsh side. The Belgium had no desire to injury the Swansea winger. This was clear to all and a yellow card, especially so late in the game would have sufficed.