Defensive concerns grow as Everton are thumped by Rennes

Saturday, 28 July, 2018 0comments  |  Jump to last
Stade Rennais 4 - 1 Everton

Marco Silva named something close to his strongest side for this friendly in Northern France against Stade Rennais but saw his team's frailties at the back exposed in a 4-1 defeat.

Following a 3-0 defeat at Blackburn this week, a game that began with a mostly second-string line-up and which was played after a full training session earlier in the day, attention turned to the tiny Stade Municipal in Vitré, 30 km east of Rennes with a capacity of 3,200, where it was hoped that a more optimistic outlook could be gleaned from what has been a poor pre-season thus far.

Like the full friendlies before it, the game raised far more questions than answers, however, although Richarlison added a much-needed boost of artistry, quality, and desire, scoring his first goal in Everton colours and generally looking the best player in Blue on the day.

Theo Walcott, Ademola Lookman, Yannick Bolasie, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Cuco Martina were still out injured and did not travel to France — Walcott and Lookman are expected to be back training with the squad next week — and there was no Mason Holgate on the team sheet.

Phil Jagielka was partnered with Michael Keane, with Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman as fullbacks, with the defensive midfield duo of Morgan Schneiderlin and Idrissa Gueye in front of them. Maarten Stekelenburg continued in goal with Jordan Pickford still on holiday.

Generally, there was some better passing in the midfield from Silva's charges, Coleman and Richarilson were big plus points but, on the whole, the attack looked blunt and the defence disconcertingly slow and vulnerable on the counter-attack.

There was a bit of kick-and-rush about the early movement until first Rennes, then Everton, had good moves down their respective left-hand sides.

The Blues were trying to retain possession, pass and move, play it on the ground; and when they didn't, they would lose possession as the Rennes marking was pretty tight throughout.

A good cross from Rennes was powered at Stekelenburg by Benjamin André, forcing a good stop at the near post by the Everton keeper.

Sigurdsson swung in a free-kick after a foul on Richarlison but the Blues could not retain the ball. Then some absolutely slick forward passing and movement through to the Rennes area... where Sandro lost possession. A great cross from Baines, headed back by Rischarlison and buried by Tosun but the seemingly faultless goal disallowed for some obscure reason.

Richarlison ran through well and played it out to Tosun whose shot was really rather poor. But a quick move up the other end saw the Blues defense ripped asunder by Siliki for Beaurigeaud to slam it home running in unmarked.

A mazey run by Richarlison was ended illegally, Sigurdsson stepping up to fire the set-piece into the wall, with Everton unable to build on their disallowed goal.

A Rennes move down Everton's right similar to the first goal resulted from a hospital pass by Schneiderlin and saw another wicked low cross from Siliki converted by Siebatcheau for the second Rennes goal as they looked more and more confident against Everton's supposed senior side.

Great work by Coleman won a corner that Sigurdsson delivered with unerring accuracy straight to the first defender. Sigurdsson had a chance for redemption from a wide free-kick on the right that Tosun met well, his glancing header bouncing the wrong side of the post.

Richarlison went on another fine run but lashed his shot into the side netting, with half-time approaching. Richarlison would save some Blues blushes on the whistle, driving home a low shot into the net as Sandro dodged out of his way.

No changes at the break, despite promises from Silva via the Echo that rotation would be the plan.

Coleman rather surprisingly ran half the length of the field with the ball at his feet, cutting in to welly his shot inches over the bar.

After a slew of subs on the hour for the French side, they looked to score but Stekelenburg got down well to save, with the Everton players starting to tire.

A good ball forward from Jagielka saw Coleman win a corner but it came to nothing, the Blues' zest fading fast. Marco Silva finally decided to ring a few changes on 75 mins.

However, it was the Frenchies who took the advantage, Maouassa galloping down the right off another fine assist from Siliki to strike with ease for the third. And then the man himself, Siliki would cut in from the left and make it four. Men against boys... or young fit boys against old tired men!

Davies, on as a sub, was more atrocious than ever, with some awful touches. Richarlison was booked for a dangerous high boot. The Blues at least tried to create some chances, more out of desperation than anything as the game dragged to its seemingly inevitable conclusion, the Blues well and truly humbled by the scoreline.

Richarlison tried an acrobatic finish off a Coleman cross, and Sigurdsson tried to get into the area for a shot but Everton really had no answer to the competent defense in front of them.

Thursday was bad against Blackburn; Everton actually played better today, but still came off worse, despite only senior players getting playing time, suggesting there is even more work to be done in the next two weeks.

Everton: Stekelenburg, Coleman, Keane, Jagielka, Baines, Gana (75' Davies), Schneiderlin, Sigurdsson, Sandro (75' Mirallas), Tosun (75' Niasse), Richarlison [Y:78'].
Subs not Used: Hewelt, Hilton, Kenny, Pennington, Robinson, Williams, Besic, Dowell, Vlasic.


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