13 minutes that shocked Everton - and revealed trends that should worry Rafael Benitez

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13 minutes that shocked Everton - and revealed trends that should worry Rafael Benitez - Sportimage
13 minutes that shocked Everton - and revealed trends that should worry Rafael Benitez - Sportimage

A crazy 13 minutes of madness or a worrying sign about potential dark clouds on the horizon? That is the question Everton and manager Rafael Benitez must ponder as the inquest into their shocking late collapse to Saturday’s 5-2 home defeat to newly promoted Watford is well under way.

Here, we look at what those four goals tell us about the current state Everton find themselves in.

78mins: Set-piece frailties

To concede one goal from a set-piece during a match is frustrating. To concede two hints at a real problem.

Without Yerry Mina, their best defender and biggest presence, they struggled all afternoon against a Watford side that was more physical and powerful.

The shaky backline allowed Slovakian midfielder Juraj Kucka to power in the second equaliser, having missed the first header from Adam Masina's free kick that set Josh King up for the equaliser in the first half.

80mins: Poor game management

Just 88 seconds after Kucka’s equaliser, Everton were behind. They charged forward, desperate to grab a goal to claim the winner they expected from this game, but instead lost the ball in midfield and as Watford broke, they had two-on-one on the counter attack with King helping himself to his second.

It was naïve game management and was befitting of a school team rather than a supposedly experienced Premier League outfit.

This defeat means Everton have now lost six of their last nine games at Goodison against newly-promoted sides, under Benitez, Carlo Ancelotti and Marco Silva.

King celebrates his second - REUTERS
King celebrates his second - REUTERS

This is not a new problem and suggests there is a weak mentality within the dressing room. Unless Benitez eradicates that problem, Everton will struggle to break out of the mid-table positions they have been stuck in for the last few seasons.

86mins: Toothless Rondon

By this stage, the hosts were in full panic mode and unable to clear the ball from their own area. King grabbed his hat-trick as he put the hapless Michael Keane on the floor and stroked it past Jordan Pickford.

To think, King was only given 138 minutes of football during his spell at Everton last season in which he failed to score.

The former Bournemouth player admitted to having "a point to prove" as he took to the field on Saturday and he showed it with three goals in a super all-round display of leading the line.

Everton have been without Dominic Calvert-Lewin since the end of August and Benitez revealed last Friday that their number nine would be out for another five weeks with a quadriceps injury.

In his absence, they have won just two of six league matches – against Burnley and Norwich - and been knocked out of the Carabao Cup by Championship side QPR.

Benitez brought in Salomon Rondon this summer as cover for Calvert-Lewin and Rondon is yet to score for his new club.

The Venezuelan does not look like the player who led the line so well for the Spaniard at Newcastle, with perhaps two years away in China and Russia taking away some of his effectiveness for the Premier League.

91mins: Lack of depth

The game was already up by this stage, but the visitors were still able to plunder a fifth goal – the most Everton have conceded in a league game at home since Tottenham scored six in December 2018.

Emmanuel Dennis was one of three Watford substitutes that manager Claudio Ranieri made at 2-1 down, who all made a positive contribution to the turnaround.

In contrast, Everton could not even fill their bench. The eight names also included two goalkeepers, so Benitez’s options were limited.

The Merseysiders were missing Mina, Calvert-Lewin and midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure, their best players in each position, but it shows that once past the first XI, the squad lacks strength and depth.

To think they have spent over £500million on players since owner Farhad Moshiri took over in 2016. Saturday’s display suggests there is not an awful lot to show for that lavish expenditure.

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