Positive signs for next season as Everton beat Dynamo Kyiv
Everton beat Dynamo Kyiv 3-0 last night as the Toffees’ pre-season games ended with a final friendly against the Ukrainian club.
It was of course first and foremost a game to raise funds and support the Ukrainian people and represented a good final for Everton as they prepare for the season opener against Chelsea.
The Blues’ pre-season games saw Everton lose twice to the United States without scoring and then return to these shores with seven wins against Blackpool and Dynamo Kyiv.
It’s hard to draw too many conclusions about where the Toffees really stand as they approach the start of the new season, but they are indications of possible developments.
I had been very worried after seeing the Blues limping to win so obediently while in the United States. It was obviously very early in their pre-season preparations, but it was really clear that this team needed some major improvements.
As many Evertonians know all too well, this team has a very important set of needs if we are to see any tangible improvement in the campaign ahead.
These are particularly more pace and athleticism across the team, stronger and more consistent defense without mistakes, more creativity in attack and finally more goals in attack.
So, is there concrete evidence that these issues are resolved?
We’ve waited a while for the Blues to be active in the transfer market (other than James Tarkowski’s free transfer), then over the past few days the club have decided to attract more talent.
Last night, these three new recruits contributed enormously to the victory. Tarkowski, who has already made a positive improvement in the team’s defence, provided an excellent ball over Dominic Calvert-Lewin to almost roll him back over the Kyiv keeper for Everton’s first.
His ability to get the ball out of defense and deliver that kind of passing range from behind could be an effective additional weapon.
Then the latest addition, Dwight McNeil, came along and added two more goals. The first was particularly interesting as the former Burnley man cut inside from the right, weaved between a few defenders and then unleashed a precise drive into the bottom corner.
This is precisely what Everton need. Players coming from outside or from midfield who can face and beat their opponents, then create or score goals. This will be important as the team cannot fully rely on Calvert-Lewin for their goals.
If McNeil can provide that ability to run through defenses and create chances for himself and other forwards, then the Toffees will be able to offer a more dynamic and dangerous attack.
After that, other recent signing Ruben Vinagre provided a good cross from the left and McNeil, unmarked in the box, headed it.
Again, it was good to see another new signing make an immediate impact and offer the kind of inventiveness to create a lot more chances.
There is still a real need for more pace and power, especially in midfield, and an additional goal threat up front and Everton are strongly linked with a number of other players who may be able to. provide that.
And so, while of course it was just a game and a pre-season friendly, there were some welcome positive signs last night that some of those issues are starting to work themselves out.