A change of system and a change of result as Everton came out 3-2 victors against Fulham after the early Sunday kickoff really was the epitome of ‘a game of two halves’.
Going into the game Everton were on a three game losing streak, meaning something had to change and, once again, Carlo Ancelotti showed his proactive mentality when it comes to swapping personnel and formation. The Italian manager revised his team plan and went with a 3-4-3, allowing Ben Godfrey to start at right centre back and Alex Iwobi to fill his unorthodox role of right wing back.
The game plan saw both Iwobi and Digne bombing forward from out wide and Allan and Doucoure attempting to dominate the midfield in a defensive manner and this resulted in a goal within the first minute of the game which would have calmed the nerves of fans. After a lapse of concentration at the back allowed Fulham to equalise, Everton went onto to score two more well worked goals with Dominic Calvert-Lewin netting his tenth premier league goal and Doucoure powering in his first in an Everton shirt.
The first half display was impressive with Iwobi, Allan, Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin the standout performers yet the fact the Blues are going another game without a clean sheet will anger the Everton faithful.
Despite the fluid, attacking display of the first forty five minutes, the latter half of the match was less than convincing. The Blues were pinned back into their own half, consistently giving the ball back to Fulham resulting in the Lilywhites having 63% possession in the second half. The substitution of Ruben Loftus-Cheek injected the opposition with confidence after he combined well with former Everton player, Ademola Lookman to neatly poke the ball home.
Whilst Ancelotti is praised the majority of the time, fans will be left questioning why James Rodriguez was left on the pitch until the seventy-fourth minute after a very static and lethargic performance put the other ten players under pressure. Although Tom Davies came on to provide mobility and energy which helped neutralize the constant pressure, Everton should not be scoring three against Fulham and still have their backs against the wall.
The call from supporters will now be to organise the defence. Everton have had no problem scoring goals with nineteen from their first nine games and it is likely that this will not be a problem all season long, especially with the league’s leading goalscorer in the starting eleven. However the defence has been less than admirable with only one clean sheet coming against Tottenham in the first gameweek. If the defence can tighten up and remove complacency, then a european place is more than achievable.