8/10 Gylfi Sigurdsson, Bernard impress as Everton make progress under Marco Silva
Everton are showing signs of the team manager Marco Silva wants them to be. Mixing the inventive football of a mobile attacking quartet with a relentless work rate across the pitch, two exquisite goals secured a 2-1 win against 10-man Leicester.
Silva can take pride in the way a young team applied his methods and revel in the quality of the two goals. After some Bernard artistry created the opener for Richarlison, in-form Gylfi Sigurdsson nimbly turned his marker before slamming home from distance to give the visitors a first away win of the season and successive league victories for the first time since April.
While the superlative match-winning Sigurdsson goal deserves all the plaudits sent in its direction, the performance of Bernard in his first league start for the club has supporters daring to hope he could fill the Steven Pienaar-shaped void that has existed for more than two years.
Similar in stature and style to the South African international, Bernard has the same knack for having time on the ball and finding space where none seems to exist. A prime example came with the opening goal, which saw Bernard embarrass two Leicester defenders before teeing up Richarlison for his fourth in six matches.
Along with the bumps in the road associated with overhauling a squad and instilling a new style of play with a youthful squad, mistakes are inevitable. The need for more defensive nous in key moments was seen when Leicester broke from an Everton corner and too easily travelled the length of the pitch to equalise.
Manager rating out of 10
8 -- Silva's attacking setup caused the hosts problems and he reinforced his bold approach by replacing a midfielder with a striker following Leicester captain Wes Morgan's red card.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Jordan Pickford, 6 -- Quietly effective without making a save of note, Pickford improves the defence simply by his presence, which seems to settle those around him.
DF Jonjoe Kenny, 5 -- There was some mitigation for his plight as Theo Walcott often left him outnumbered, but a tough afternoon for the young full-back culminated in Ricardo Pereira turning him inside out for the Leicester equaliser.
DF Michael Keane, 6 -- A solid but somewhat fortuitous afternoon. Keane was lucky to avoid punishment when Jamie Vardy escaped his attentions on numerous occasions, exploiting the defender's vulnerability against pace and through balls.
DF Kurt Zouma, 8 -- He provided a formidable presence and delivered his best performance since joining on loan from Chelsea, combining well-timed interventions with no-nonsense defending when required.
DF Lucas Digne, 8 -- Replacing Leighton Baines at left-back promised to be a tough task for whoever was given the responsibility but Digne has taken up the mantle seamlessly. Like Zouma, this latest classy outing marked his most complete display for the club.
MF Idrissa Gueye, 6 -- The herculean efforts of recent weeks seemed to catch up with Gueye as his performance fell flat for much of the first half, though it did pick up in the latter stages.
MF Tom Davies, 6 -- A yellow card at the end of the first half limited his influence, though there remained some positive signs as Silva continues to show faith in the 20-year-old midfielder.
MF Theo Walcott, 6 -- One of those displays that threatens much but delivers little. Improved decision-making is imperative to ensure Walcott has something tangible to show for his efforts.
MF Gylfi Sigurdsson, 8 -- With four goals in his past four league games and five in all competitions this season, Sigurdsson is in the best form of his Everton career in terms of contributions in the final third. His wondrous goal was worthy of winning any match.
MF Bernard, 8 -- Delightful trickery set up the opening goal as the Brazilian playmaker claimed a second assist in as many league games. His four chances created in open play is the best return by any Everton player in 2018.
FW Richarlison, 7 -- Employed in a central striking role for the first time, Richarlison opened the scoring and left Morgan in such a state that the only viable solution was repeated fouling that led to a red card.
FW Cenk Tosun, NR -- Better passes from teammates would have put Tosun through on goal on two occasions.
MF Morgan Schneiderlin, NR -- The first of two injury-time changes from Silva.
FW Dominic Calvert-Lewin, NR -- Had one effort from distance in the briefest of cameos.