Football Features

Calvert-Lewin scoring at an Aubameyang rate: Five things learned from Everton 5-2 West Brom

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 14:41, 19 September 2020 | Updated: 9:48, 30 March 2021

In a thrilling afternoon of football, Everton thrash 10-man West Brom to go top of the Premier League.

The win gives the Toffees an incredible start to the season and leaves them with plenty of positivity going forward. What did we learn?

1. James The Artist

Three years ago Everton signed Gylfi Sigurdsson from Swansea for an eye-watering £45m. He was meant to be the creative superstar at the head of the Toffee midfield and add goals, assists and magic. It’s not that he was bad, but he’s never quite lived up to that billing.

Sigurdsson also looks worse because this summer Everton signed a real magician for just £21m. James Rodriguez has lit up the Premier League in the two games he’s played so far. Today in his Goodison Park debut he picked up one goal, one assist and one pre-assist.

The assist was the least stunning but still an impressive corner whipped in, the goal was a delightful touch and hit from the edge of the box. A daisy cutter that fizzed across the grass into the back of the net. The pre-assist, however? That was true sorcery as James lifted the ball beautifully over the West Brom defence to put Richarlison in, the Brazilian’s clipped effort might have been going on but Dominic Calvert-Lewin made sure of it.

It was a sublime bit of football from the Colombian, who looks like he will be the magician that Everton have so longed for and that the Premier League simply does not have enough of. A true artist.

2. West Brom’s breaks expose fatal flaws

West Brom opened the scoring in both halves of their defeat at Goodison Park, and even though they were soundly defeated in the end the goals exposed some pretty big flaws in the Everton defence that will concern Carlo Ancelotti as the season progresses.

First, Yerry Mina, the club’s titanic centre-back, was worryingly passive on both goals. First he refused to step up and confront Grady Diangana, allowing the young Englishman to shoot and score. Then he didn’t jump as Matheus Pereira’s free-kick fizzed an inch over his head. Everton aren’t good enough for their best centre-back to be so passive.

Everton may never be good enough as long as Jordan “Baby Arms” Pickford is in goal. The Englishman is an over abundance of personality but his short stature can leave him struggling on goals that other top keepers would save. We’ll never know for sure if a taller, more authoritative stopped would have dealt with West Brom’s goals, but we do know that Pickford gives off a Scrappy Doo vibe, and that’s bad.

Finally, the way West Brom were able to scorch through the Everton midfield is troubling. Allan, Abdoulaye Doucouré and André Gomes are all wonderful at pressing and winning the ball back, and passing it around well too, but none of them mark space especially well and teams will figure this out and really hurt the Toffees on the break as a result.

3. DCL has finally arrived

Dominic Calvert-Lewin is finally coming of age. The young striker who once scored an u-20 World Cup winning goal has always been a strange kind of prospect in the first XI. An endless battler whose physical power, tactical intelligence and aerial prowess made him a valuable squad player but never a superstar in his own right.

But then Duncan Ferguson and Carlo Ancelotti took control, an suddenly Calvert-Lewin’s output has exploded. Only Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mohamed Salah have scored more Premier League goals than Calvert-Lewin since the Italian took charge. That is absurd company to be keeping for a kid who, one year ago, people were wondering if he was even good enough to start.

His hat-trick today against West Brom was superb. His first goal a wonderfully instinctive bit of play, reacting to a loose ball by backheeling it into the net. His next strike a classic “ugly” goal that all no. 9’s would be proud of. His final goal was a classic Calvert-Lewin bit of aerial dominance. A stunning hat-trick that shows the full extent of his striking skill-set, Calvert-Lewin is a growing force in English football and with the likes of James Rodriguez running the side, watch him have a truly special season.

4. Mark Noble is fuming

It’s not often that the actions of a club can be so ridiculous that the club captain feels he has to speak out. Barcelona have managed to wind Leo Messi up enough for him to speak out, but Mark Noble? He always seemed like more of a stoic club man.

Yet when West Ham left Grady Diangana leave, Noble tweeted his frustration. And watching today you can see why. Diangana didn’t just open the scoring with a superb strike (although he very much did do that) after a great run, but he also tormented Everton on the break.

At just 22-years-old, there’s clearly more to come from the youngster and West Ham fans and their captain must be furious he’ll be doing it at the Hawthorns instead of in East London.

5. Evertonnes of fun

This is the first time that Everton have won their first two games of the season since 2012, but it’s not just that Everton have won their first two games but how they’ve done it. An impressive away win at Spurs was followed up by an emphatic home win against West Brom.

This was a game they fell behind in yet you never felt the game would end in anything but an Everton win, and so it did. But the way Everton came back to win was absolutely thrilling to watch, just tonnes of fun.

All mesmeric football from James, daring runs from Richarlison and an avalanche of crosses and crossfield passes from Lucas Digne. Add that to all of Seamus Coleman’s dribbling excellence and the relentless motor on Alan to keep the middle of the pitch bright red on heatmaps the world over and you can’t help but feel that regardless of where they finish this season they’re going to be so much fun to watch.