Everton were cut apart 5-2 by a ruthless Watford as pressure mounts on newly-appointed head coach Rafa Benitez.
Everton’s rough patch continues as the Toffees fell to a damning 5-2 defeat at the hands of Watford. The Merseyside giants were leading the 2-1 up until the final phase of the game before a late collapse saw them concede four goals in 13 minutes.
An early Everton goal surely pointed at another possible rout by a Merseyside team on struggling Watford, but the Hornets had other plans. Claudio Ranieri’s tenure at the club began with a romping 5-0 defeat at the hands of Liverpool last weekend, but the Italian manager surely made big amends to banish that heavy loss.
After good work from Anthony Gordon to release Demarai Gray, who squared the ball for Tom Davies to give an early lead, as the Toffees looked bright during early exchanges. 10-minutes later, however, Joshua King equalised after a VAR led intervention.
The game went without any dramatic incident until the break, and by then, things were looking equal for both sides. Without any meaningful chances on both ends, something had to change, and Benitez brought on Richarlison. The Brazilian made the necessary impact, heading a delightful Michael Keane to give the Toffees the lead.
As it seemed Everton might nick three points, Juraj Kucka spoiled the party with a 78th-minute equaliser, after which it was the King show. The striker spent the second half of last season on loan at Goodison Park without making a start. He redeemed himself with two well-taken goals and completed his hattrick while dampening the mood of the Blues faithful.
— Premier League (@premierleague) October 23, 2021
To make matters worse, Emmanuel Dennis added a fifth to put the game’s result beyond doubt and out of Everton’s reach. In all its irony, Watford simply took five goals from Liverpool and returned the favour by giving it back to Merseyside.
Two consecutive defeats at home and the manner of this defeat puts immense pressure on Rafael Benitez as Everton are showing signs of a decline after a flying start to the season. The Spaniard’s position will come under further scrutiny if he fails in getting a positive result from the trip to Wolves next weekend.
Here’s how the Everton stars rated during their dismal defeat to Watford.
Jordan Pickford – 5/10
Out of the five goals, none were his fault, so that he might be vindicated of any wrongdoing here. The defence failed to provide any protection, as once the ball came into the box, there was only one likely outcome. That’s not to say he had a near-perfect game, when in fact, his erratic distribution kept inviting pressure.
Seamus Coleman – 3/10
It’s not the first time this season the opposition attackers have found joy burdening Seamus Coleman’s side to get ahead. Everton might have to reconsider his position and begin searching for a viable competitor or replacement if necessary. They have been linked with a January swoop for Aberdeen’s rising star Calvin Ramsay.
Michael Keane – 3/10
There could be some room for an improved rating for assisting Richarlison with a pin-point cross. However, considering his defensive responsibilities, he failed miserably, without exerting even a little control over proceedings, especially in the second half.
Ben Godfrey – 3/10
Early comfort signs were only false dawn for what was to come. Ben Godfrey had an awful performance, especially in the second half, as it was his side where all things went downhill for Everton.
Lucas Digne – 3/10
Just like his defensive colleagues, Lucas Digne was equally culpable in the collapse at the back. Moreover, there was no real contribution in the attacking third, as Everton genuinely lacked some inspiration in that department.
Tom Davies – 4.5/10
Tom Davies’ early goal certainly lifted Goodison park pretty early in the game, although he was guilty of conceding the corner for Watford’s equaliser. He did work hard in midfield to offset the absence of Abdoulaye Doucoure, but it was all undone in a late blitz from the Hornets, which tore Everton apart.
Allan – 5/10
Allan was one of the bright sparks in midfield and conducted his duty of breaking up play well for most parts. Still, like Davies, he lost total control of the game later on.
Andros Townsend – 5/10
Throughout the game, Townsend was a dangerous outlet, always trying to ping balls in or looking towards making a run with the ball. At times he looked lonely, trying to create chances, and on a positive note, keeps growing in his stature as one of the team’s most important players.
Demarai Gray – 5/10
Gray’s assist sparked up the game early on; however, since that point, he had a rather quiet game by his standards this season. He was taken off during the final phase of the game.
Anthony Gordon – 5.5/10
Rafael Benitez’ decision to replace him in the second half was a little baffling, considering he was one of the most industrious players in the Everton side. A good performance from him, as the team might have benefited with him remaining on the pitch.
Salomon Rondon – 3/10
Salomon Rondon’s poor performance continues, and Evertonians are now missing Calvert-Lewin more than ever. The Venezuelan cut a frustrated figure in the centre-forward position. It could be the right time for Benitez to wrap up his failed experiment with him leading the line, now that Richarlison is fit again.
Richarlison – 6/10
The Brazilian defined the term ‘impact substitute’ after taking just a couple of minutes since coming on to give Everton the lead. Unfortunate for him that his side’s defence collapsed to hand over all three points to Watford.
Alex Iwobi – 4/10
An ineffective substitution from Benitez, as Iwobi couldn’t supply anything of meaning.