In a league of his own: EFC gem who made 4 dribbles was Benitez’s only glimmer of hope – opinion

In a league of his own: EFC gem who made 4 dribbles was Benitez’s only glimmer of hope – opinion

Everton put in a very poor display against Manchester City on Sunday afternoon, losing 3-0 without any sign or attempt of getting back into the game throughout.

Rafa Benitez’s side has been riddled with injuries over the last three months of the season, with many key players missing from the action all over the pitch from defence to attack, Demarai Gray joined the long list of injuries 16 minutes into the Man City game.

Going into the City game at the Etihad, Everton weren’t favourites after losing four out of their last five games, but the reluctance to be direct and build play cost the side massively as well as a very shoddy defensive display from the backline.

Everton only had 22% possession on Sunday, with just 4 shots compared to Manchester City’s 17 attempts.

In fairness, Manchester City put in two moments of magic on goal with an outstanding assist from Joao Cancelo that led to a Raheem Sterling goal and a long-range masterpiece from Rodri, that Pickford was never getting a glove to.

The only glimmer of hope came from 30-year-old Andros Townsend, who played an energetic and committed variation of a ten role and centre midfield in today’s game against the Premier League champions.

No player in the team made more key passes than Townsend today (2) and managed more successful dribbles than any other teammate completing four, as recorded by WhoScored.

Townsend has proven himself to be a fantastic utility player for the club, where he signed on a free transfer securing a two year deal with the Toffees in the summer after his contract expired with Crystal Palace.

The Premier League veteran has played for a number of teams at the highest level, which has given him the experience and ability to read games and tactics, something that his less experienced teammates clearly struggled to do in today’s match.

The attacker was, by far, the best Everton player on the pitch today, this reflected in his SofaScore rating of 7.3/10, which was the highest rating in the team.

Rafa Benitez will be hoping that key players can return from injury as soon as possible, as the side has a number of difficult fixtures coming up and they need to start establishing form to get back inside the top half of the table, especially after Tottenham won their game with Leeds, which pushes Everton further adrift.

In other news: Gordon could develop an attacking partnership with Townsend