Morgan Schneiderlin is fit again after missing the Swansea defeat through injury
Everton's penultimate game of the 2016-17 season sees Robles and Schneiderlin return to face Watford at Goodison Park.
Joel Robles is back in goal and Ross Barkley, who's contract situation has been a hot topic of conversation this week, starts with Morgan Schneiderlin returning to the side after injury. Mo Besic is on the bench after playing a few U-23 games to complete his rehabilitation from a long-term injury layoff.
No Tom Cleverley for the visitors — despite him agreeing to join Watford on a 5-year deal for around £8M back in March, but that doesn't take effect until 1 July, so he is technically still an Everton player on loan and therefore ineligible to play this one.
Watford got things going in the pouring rain, with a series of throw-ins. Mirallas eventually ran across the front of the Watford area but could not shape a shot and Barkley lost the ball.
Excellent movement into the Watford area and a smart exchange between Gana and Barkley saw Barkley shot but too close for Gomes to save easily enough when he should really have done a lot better. Watford went up the other end and won an early corner that was scooped away but all 11 back and so no counter-attack, and more Watford corners followed, Watford coming very close on the third as the ball pinged around in front of Robles.
Barkley won a corner, taken by Baines and cleverly fired in by Jagielka but saved well by Gomes. Okaka was allowed to run and lashed one just wide with Robles static. Another Everton corner, this one from the left, well in by Mirallas but headed away.
Holebas tried to catch out Robles with a free-kick given away by clumsy contact from Mirallas. Baines overhit another cross, deep to Gomes. Barkley set Davies off and he fired in a fabulous shot but close enough for Gomes to paw away for another corner. At the other end, Doucouré fashioned a shot at Robles.
The tempo of the game flagged considerably, a real end-of-season feel to it from two sides who had both forgotten how to score goals. Not helped by a failure on Referee Friend's part to play the advantage.
Lukaku did well to cut inside but has the ball taken off his toe and Watford went on the attack. Kabasele went down and was eventually replaced by Zuñiga. Things were enlivened by a bit of mass display of handbags after Berhami fouled Davies, who reacted a little miffed. Barkley's delivery from the free kick was really poor, not beating the first man.
Barkley played a lovely through-ball for Mirallas that won a corner but he then slipped on the wet turf trying to play in the second ball. Williams was called for climbing over Okaka, but nothing came of the free kick. Mirallas had a chance to play in Barkley but chose to overhit his pass for Lukaku instead and any chance was gone, ending a rather fruitless half of distinctly mediocre football.
A change from Ronald Koeman after the break: Valencia on for Holgate, and a switch to right back for Tom Davies, whose first ball to Valencia was brilliant, the cross less so. Some fantastic skill and sense from Davies, trapping a wet crossfield ball dead, then playing in Valencia for a cutback from the byeline that didn't come off
Far more invention and desire from Everton, which saw Davies and Valencia coupling with Lukaku, but the final crosses were too deep and no clear chances. Gomes punched across from Mirallas out to Schneiderlin who hit his earlier strike well over, but at least he too take a shot.
Nervy at the other end, when it looked like Deeney would poke home as they broke through but he drove the ball wide under pressure from Jagielka(?). Out of nothing, Barkley with space, off a great ball from Jagielka, a simple shot curling away from Gomes, fine goal!
A Watford corner followed, overhit, and Mirallas with a chance to run... but then overrun the ball. Watford tried to respond but Yanmat was offside. Mirallas got wide but a superb tackle from Mariappa.
A great move started by Barkley saw another interesting cross from Lukaku, with Mirallas then firing hard at Gomes, Lukaku going for the punched ball and being clearly tripped, but throwing his arms up a little too dramatically as he went down... no penalty, said Kevin Friend.
Barkley tried a chipped cross from a stalled position but it was too clever. Valencia overlapped but his cross only won a corner, delivered well by Baines direct to Schneiderlin on the near post but incredibly he headed inches over. At the other end, Okaka looked to pull the trigger but Schneiderlin in in an instant to deny him.
Mirallas set Lukaku off on a run but he was stopped too easily. Valencia than lashed in a fierce cross that could have created an own-goal but it spun wide off the defender for a corner. Play was halted while another little scally scampered across the hallowed Goodison turf... what is it with pitch invasions at every game now?
Watford had a spell of getting forward but with limited effect, Okaka almost getting the better of Williams, who did very well. Barkley got a great round of applause as he was replaced by Gareth Barry with 10 minutes left.
Gueye gave away a silly foul wide right that Holebas swung in but Lukaku powered it away. Kept attacking, trying to find a weakness in Everton's defence.
A final appearance of Arouna Kone, set to leave at the end of the season, who came on for a final farewell to the Goodison faithful, in place of Kevin Mirallas. Watford attacked with spirit and almost scored but for intervention by Barry, and at the other end, Valencia in with a glorious chance that he fired into the body of the advancing Gomes, when a delicate chip was called for...
More dangerous attacking from Watford, a fabulous ball in from Amrabat, defended superbly by Gareth Barry as Everton clung on into the added last 5 minutes of the season before the customary Lap of Appreciation.
Scorers: Barkley (56')
Everton: Robles, Baines; Jagielka, A Williams, Holgate (46' Valencia); Gana, Schneiderlin, Davies; Mirallas (87' Kone), Barkley (80' Barry); Lukaku.
Subs: Hewelt, Pennington, J Williams, Besic.
Watford: Gomes; Kabasele (37' Zuñiga), Prödl, Mariappa; Janmaat, Doucouré, Behrami (70' Amrabat), Capoue (81' Niang), Holebas; Okaka, Deeney.
Subs not Used: Success, Watson, Pantilimon, Eleftheriou.
Referee: Kevin Friend
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