James Rodríguez Puts On A Show In Everton Debut
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The Premier League’s billing as the world’s best division is a contentious one. While there’s no doubting its supreme viewership numbers around the globe, the quality on the pitch is occasionally more helter skelter than fine flowing.
At its best, its a blood and thunder experience with two sides going after it hammer and tongs. At its worse, its a series of hit and hope long balls with zero sense of midfield control.
The demise of Manchester United and Arsenal hasn’t helped in recent years, nor has the dismissal of Mauricio Pochettino at Tottenham. Likewise some managers with clear attacking principles — Maurizio Sarri and Ronald Koeman — have found solace at Juventus and Barcelona rather than continuing to brave English shores.
However, despite the lack of a significant preseason and the usual friendlies that accompany it, the 2020-21 Premier League looks like a return to form on the attacking side of the ball.
The qualities of Liverpool and Manchester City going forward require no further discussion. Arsenal looks transformed under Mikel Arteta. Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s midfield three of Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes and Donny van de Beek is supposed to light up Old Trafford. Chelsea’s attack is now a FIFA Ultimate Team project.
Brendan Rodgers is committed to an attractive brand of football at Leicester City, likewise Marcelo Bielsa at Leeds and Nuno Espírito Santo at Wolves. Hell, even Newcastle promises a more proactive approach based on the evidence of Saturday’s 2-0 win over West Ham.
But perhaps the most intriguing part of opening weekend was Everton’s 1-0 win over Tottenham at Hotspur Stadium in London. José Mourinho’s Spurs won’t be the division’s great entertainers — although Jordan Pickford recorded a couple of great saves for the clean sheet — but Carlo Ancelotti’s Toffees look good.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin was Everton’s joint-top scorer last year alongside Richarlison with 13 league goals, and he scored the winner in the 55th minute after connecting sweetly with Lucas Digne’s free kick. The French full back was Everton’s leading provider last season with seven assists, so this connection was nothing new for the side.
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) September 13, 2020
What was new was the addition of Allan (Napoli) and Abdoulaye Doucouré (Watford) to the midfield and James Rodríguez (Real Madrid) to the attack. Allan and Doucouré went the full 90 minutes and helped Everton pass around Tottenham’s advanced pressure with ease.
Man of the Match, @Everton's Allan
Completed 46/55 passes
8 x possession gained
PL debut in Everton's 1st win v Tottenham since Dec 2012 pic.twitter.com/3DbMziepQu— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) September 13, 2020
James was beautiful in possession throughout and hardly put a foot wrong before being substituted for Tom Davies in stoppage time.
5 - James Rodríguez is the first Premier League debutant to create at least five chances since Alexis Sanchez for Arsenal in August 2014. Dazzling. pic.twitter.com/sGkb0JWMmv— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 13, 2020
James Rodriguez Everton Debut Vs. Tottenham
James Rodriguez, mate.Just different class. pic.twitter.com/DeAWXizl4T
— Toffee TV (@ToffeeTVEFC) September 13, 2020
Everton returns in the Premier League next Saturday against West Brom at Goodison Park.