Everton kept the same 11 who narrowly lost to Arsenal on Tuesday night with the major tactical shift being that Billy was provided the closest support to Louis Saha, often interchanging with Rodwell down our left side. Blackpool played 4-3-3 with Grandin playing as the most advanced midfielder ahead of Adam with Vaughan anchoring. DJ Campbell and Jason Puncheon supported former Blue James Beattie up front.
Everton attack down the left
A key factor of the game was Blackpool’s vulnerability down their right side, with all 5 Everton goals coming from this area and it was from here that Everton took the lead early on. Billy and Rodwell played a series of one twos down the left hand side before some slick wing play from the Russian enabled him to beat his man and cross to Saha who slotted with aplomb. Everton have been woeful defensively of late and for the 11th time this season we surrendered a lead and it was a familiar story to last time out at The Emirates with a soft goal conceded from a corner with Baptiste slotting after Adam’s delivery had caused havoc in our defence.
Chalkboard Analysis – Left shows how Everton focused attacks down Blackpool’s right side with Billy the furthest forward interchanging and often doubling up with Jack Rodwell on Blackpool fullback Neil Eardley, with Blackpool’s covering midfielder David Vaughan playing predominantly to the left of centre. The Chalkboard on the right shows the great display of visiting midfielder Vaughan, who completed 100% of his tackles (9/9) and 82% of his passes
Tangerine Pace hurts Blues
The second period began as the first, with good work down the left involving the impressive Rodwell freeing Baines down the line and his drilled cross was duly despatched by the on song Saha. There was good work off the ball here by Billy who created space for Baines by tucking in with Puncheon guilty of ball watching and enabling Baines to run in behind him. Whilst Everton had more of the ball (326 v 244 successful passes) and kept it better (74%v 66% pass completion) Blackpool’s pace and the shear volume of men they committed to counter attacks had Everton all at sea and the Blues where stung twice in the space of 3 minutes. First when Grandin won a 50-50 with the sloppy Heitinga and played in Beattie who pulled it back well for the debutant Puncheon to tuck home. Blackpool’s third goal was a great break away move with Puncheon again involved, teeing up Campbell whose superb shot struck the bar only for Adam to pounce and head home. At this stage Everton where in disarray defensively.
Tactical Changes turn game in Everton’s favour.
The third Blackpool goal led to a personnel and tactical shift from Moyes, with Billy and Rodwell making way for Beckford & Cahill. Mikel Arteta moved out left, Cahill played more as an orthodox central midfield alongside Fellaini with Beckford and Saha up front. In response Ian Hollowed withdrew Puncheon & DJ Campbell for Rob Edwards and Keith Southern, switching to a 5-4-1 formation. This meant that the previous pacey and penetrative breaks of Campbell/Puncheon where removed allowing Everton to keep a higher line with the threat in behind removed. Indeed, Blackpool failed to register another shot on goal from this moment. With Blackpool standing off Everton where able to build attacks well, and when Blackpool did get possession they where wasteful shown by the above pass completion graph with a 1-4% completion advantage that Everton enjoyed in the 2nd half soars to 14% better from the moment of Blackpool substitutions in the final 15 minutes. The Tangerines collapse began when an out swinging corner from Arteta was directed goalwards by Beckford which was dispatched by Saha for his first Everton hatrick.
Everton’s movement was good today and Blackpool were often guilty of not tracking runs and this was an example, with Beckford ghosting in behind Baptiste to get goal number 4
With Blackpool now rocking a devilishly tempting deep swinging right footed delivery from Baines was superbly lashed home first time from Beckford to put the Blues in front. Blackpool then switched to a 4-2-4 setup but would be caught on the break when Saha then made it 8 goals in his last 5 starts, running half the length of the field before showing great composure to tuck under the on rushing Rachubka after Fellaini timed a superb threaded ball to him. With the game won Moyes brought on Jagielka for Saha and switched to a 4-1-4-1 formation to quell any further comeback from the visitors.
One of the most open games in living memory at Goodison witnessed the Blues go goal crazy and claim a deserved 3 points. Saha will deservedly take the plaudits after an expert display in finishing which will give everyone at the club confidence for the second half of the season. With 18 goals scored in 7 games our goal threat is clearly improved….if we can remedy the problems at the back we could yet have a decent second half of the season.