Bernard the only positive as Everton crumble all over the pitch with 4/10s
A sobering 3-1 home defeat against West Ham on Sunday acted as a reality check as Everton repeated old habits and gifted three points to visitors that had lost their previous four league games this season.
This ability to self-destruct and make ordinary opponents appear skilled predates the new regime but manager Marco Silva must fix this recurring issue. West Ham had scored just two goals in their first four league games but easily managed three in 90 minutes here. Ineffective in attack, invisible in midfield and brittle in defence, Everton must improve ahead of a trip to Arsenal in their next league outing.
Everton supporters received their first prolonged glimpse of summer signing Bernard in this match, with the diminutive midfielder introduced in the closing minutes of the first half. Prepared to drive forward in possession and use the ball with a purpose lacking elsewhere in the team, Bernard had an instant impact, playing his part in the Everton goal. The new arrival exhibited much-needed composure and intelligence with the ball at his feet.
One point from successive home games against Huddersfield and West Ham is a hugely disappointing return. Everton ended both matches with 56 percent possession but little to show for their monopoly of the ball. In and out of possession, a jarring lack of production from central midfield looms large and Silva must quickly solve this problem.
Defensive players had to try to become playmakers deep in their own half throughout this match, attempting improbable passes and compounding problems due to a lack of support and options ahead of them. With the central axis of Idrissa Gueye, Morgan Schneiderlin and Gylfi Sigurdsson once again failing to offer control or an attacking platform in the middle third of the pitch, it already feels as though much of this season rests on whether the injured Andre Gomes can be the deep-lying playmaker Everton so clearly need.
Manager rating out of 10
5 -- Deserves credit for the Bernard substitution in the first half, but Silva has plenty of work to do on the evidence after this first defeat.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Jordan Pickford, 4 -- After stating in a recent interview that he knows his limitations when playing out from the back, Pickford either ignored them or forgot them as reckless distribution gifted the visitors their second goal.
DF Jonjoe Kenny, 5 -- Delivered the cross for the goal but struggled to link up with Theo Walcott on the right flank and increasingly spent more time defending as West Ham focused much of their attacks down his flank.
DF Mason Holgate, 3 -- Positionally poor and slow to react for two of the three West Ham goals. The young centre-back has seen his form nosedive in recent weeks but injuries to other centre-backs leave Silva with no alternative.
DF Kurt Zouma, 5 -- Questionable positioning at key moments undermined his afternoon. Commendably tried to drag Everton up the pitch at times, but the home side having to rely on defenders for attacking impetus tells its own story.
DF Lucas Digne, 6 -- Created a game-high four chances in possession, which was as many as the rest of his teammates combined, while also winning a game-high seven tackles in defence.
MF Idrissa Gueye, 4 -- Left too many gaps in midfield in the opening stages and struggled throughout the first half until a telling contribution for the Everton goal. Improved marginally after the interval but erratic passing defined his performance.
MF Morgan Schneiderlin, 4 -- Senseless rush of blood in search of a loose ball he had no chance of winning left the defence exposed for the West Ham opener. Ineffective in possession before Silva sacrificed the holding midfielder after 43 minutes.
MF Theo Walcott, 5 -- The only midfielder to threaten in possession during the first half, though heavy touches and poor control curtailed several promising situations before his performance eventually fizzled out.
MF Gylfi Sigurdsson, 5 -- Scored a fine header to offer hope of a comeback that never arrived, but the midfielder simply must do more to influence matches with the ball at his feet, completing a mere 17 passes in 90 minutes.
MF Dominic Calvert-Lewin, 4 -- A spectator on the left flank for the second match in succession and no more effective in his preferred striking role in the second half.
FW Cenk Tosun, 4 -- Lack of confidence saw the out-of-sorts striker struggle on the ball and waste several opportunities through wasteful finishing and poor decision-making.
MF Bernard, 7 -- Brazilian midfielder was a rare positive on his first meaningful appearance of the season.
FW Oumar Niasse, 5 -- Fired his only presentable opportunity against the crossbar from six yards out.
MF Ademola Lookman, N/R -- Touched the ball just eight times in an ineffective 14-minute cameo.