Blackburn Rovers 3 - 0 Everton
The fifth pre-season game kicked off this evening at Ewood Park where Everton took on Blackburn Rovers. But poor finishing from Tosun and others, despite a bright showing from new signing Richarlison, denied Everton the goals needed in the second half to make up for a shameful first period.
With Davy Klaassen departing to Werder Bremen and new signing Richarlison expected to play a part, we could finally be seeing the clearer intentions of Marco Siva in terms of his preferred squad for the upcoming season.
Sigurdsson starts tonight's game (wearing the No 10 shirt vacated by the departed Wayne Rooney!), while Gueye and Richarlison are on the bench among a raft of substitutes.
Some 3,365 Everton fans made the reatively short trip into the heart of Lancashire, with Everton kicking off and Mo Besic soon showing off his ball skills with a fine pirouette. However, the early pace was set by the home side, Bradley Dack picked the ball up and fired a wonderful strike just wide of Stekelenburg's goal.
From a Blackburn corner, the ball was lofted over to the back post where a speculative header from Lenihan looped high over the stranded Everton goalie to drop just inside the far post, giving the home side an early lead.
Everton became rather tentative after that shock, with too much backward passing and very little inventive forward play, the front men being well isolated. It was 20 mins before Robinson put in a decent cross to the back post where Kevin Mirallas was poised to burst the net with a crisp and masterful volley... but mishit the ball completely!
Blackburn continued to keep Everton manly in their own half, passing back to Stekelenburg with irritating frequency and showing very few signs of playing the ball with meaningful intent up the field.
McGrew took out Jonjoe Kenny and picked up a yellow card (32'). Everton made nothing of the free-kick or the subsequent corner, and Davies petulantly grabbed the shirt of a sprite-footed Blackburn player, earning him a very cheap yellow card from Martin Atkinson.
Some better play saw Davies set up Sigurdsson on the six-yard line but he could only pass it back tamely to the keeper rather than leathering it into the gaping net behind him. Keeny looked to be taken out as he readied to shot from the corner of the area, but no penalty.
At the other end, hopeless defending and absent challenges let the unmarked Samuel hammer home the second goal of the game. Pitiful stuff on the whole... is Silva trying to prove a point here?
Half-time and Marco Silva made nine changes, with only Sandro and Stekelenburg avoiding the cut, Richarlison making his first appearance in the Royal Blue shirt of Everton FC./p>
Some better football ensued, a great cross from Coleman picking out Tosun who's header seemed to be a little over-confident, the keeper saving it well. Then a half-chance for Richarlison. That didn't stall Blackburn who continued to pepper the Everton goal with shots from distance, Stekelenburg saving competently. Tosun saw space for a shot that he launched, er, spaceward.
Dowell swung over a high deep free-kick from the right and Richarlison was the last man but could not direct his header inside the post. Richarlison showed some desire when he got back to dispossess a Blackburn attacker with a fine tackle.
Blackburn almost struck again, first from a free-kick where Baines was fouled as the ball whizzed along the Everton goalline, then a poor clearance that saw Dack try to curl one around Stekelenburg.
Baines got well forward off a Richarlison ball and Dowell seemed set but was taken out. Richarlison then tried an audacious chip from nothing that just evaded the top corner! Lovely improvisation!!!
Dack finally got his goal, impertinently pushing Jagielka off the ball and lashing home for the third Blackburn goal, despite the better forward play from Everton.
Richarlison was fouled, Sandro putting in a great deep ball that the keeper batted away. Dowell looked to run in on goal but passed instead of shooting. Then he tried to play in Richarlison, winning a corner that was wasted when Sandro failed to get onside fromm the short corner.
A good cross from Dowell on the right was intercepted. Then A brilliant ball in from Richarlison laid it on a plate for Tosun, who this time headed wide when it seemed easier to bury in the net.
A brilliant interchange between Richarlison and Baines seemed detuned for a super finish that was denied by a well-timed block that sent the Brazilian tumbling. Valasic, on as a sub for Sandro, had two bites of the rather sour cherry as the ball just would not run for the Blues.
Baines put in a fine cross after some good work on the left but this time it was Richarlison who could not get his header on target. Vlasic on the left did well, then Coleman on the right, winning a corner, over everyone from Kieran Dowell.
The lack of goals despite some excellent build-up play has to be a concern, while Everton continue to give away sloppy goals that continue to flatter their modest pre-season opponents.
Baines was aggrieved by a totally reckless tackle from Travis that was not punished by Martin Atkinson, leaving a rather foul taste at the end, a little fractious gathering in the middle.
Everton: Stekelenburg, Robinson (46' Baines), Williams (46' Jagielka), Pennington (46' Keane), Kenny (46' Coleman), Besic (46' Gueye), Davies [Y:34'] (46' Schneiderlin), Sigurdsson (46' Dowell), Mirallas (46' Richarlison), Sandro (78' Vlasic), Niasse (46' Tosun).
Subs no Used: Hewelt.