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Three things learnt from Everton’s 1-0 victory against Stoke

The Boot Room

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Given the excitement and drama that unfolded throughout the Premier League on Friday and Saturday, Everton’s 1-0 home win against Stoke City would normally not have garnered too many headlines.

This was not the case this weekend, with boyhood Toffee Wayne Rooney scoring the winning goal on his return to Goodison Park and sealing three welcome points for the Blues. While Everton bristled with intent from the off, Stoke City looked lacklustre for much of the game and only really threatened Jordan Pickford’s goal in a final flurry late on.

So what did we learn from the clash on Merseyside? Here are three of The Boot Room’s key takeaways:

Saido Berahino still does not look like scoring

During his breakout season in 2014/15, Saido Berahino plundered an impressive 20 goals in 45 appearances for West Bromwich Albion and was quickly linked with a move to Tottenham Hotspur. After a deal failed to materialise, Berahino quickly fell out of favour with the hierarchy at The Hawthorns while concerns were also raised about his attitude and physical fitness.

His stats since 2015 have been underwhelming to say the least, with the former England U-21 striker scoring just seven goals in 48 appearances during the last two years. Incredibly, he has just one goal in his last 41 appearances in the Premier League, while he has failed to score in 14 matches since arriving at the Britannia Stadium in January.

He rarely looked like scoring on Saturday, nor adding to the meagre 13 shots he has mustered on goal in a Stoke shirt. Lacking energy and movement, he looked a shadow of his former sense and it is no coincidence that the Potters only improved when Berahino was replaced by Peter Crouch on 72 minutes.

Wayne Rooney will thrive in Everton’s 3-5-2 system

During the pre-season, there was considerable emphasis placed on how Ronald Koeman would accommodate the returning Rooney at Everton. After all, he struggled when asked to lead the line for Manchester United during the last two seasons, while he also lacked the sharpness and movement to play in the traditional number 10 role.

Koeman seems to have found the ideal solution by playing a 3-5-2 system, with the energetic Davy Klaassen roving behind a front two of Sandro Ramirez and Rooney. This affords Rooney the freedom to float and operate between the lines behind Sandro, while also alternating with Klaassen as the Dutchman looks to run beyond opposition defences.

The liberation of Rooney was evident during the first goal, as the forward dropped deep to lay the ball wide to Dominic Calvert-Lewin before racing into the penalty area to head home the youngster’s excellent cross.

Rooney will hope for more of the same as the season progresses, and this system certainly offers him the best possible chance to succeed.

Mark Hughes looks bereft of ideas at The Britannia

After deploying three at the back regularly during pre-season, Stoke reverted to their trademark 4-2-3-1 at Goodison Park. Despite this and only boasting two debutants, in the form of Kurt Zouma and Darren Fletcher, Stoke lacked any sort of cohesion throughout the side while Mark Hughes looked bereft ideas on the sidelines.

With little imagination or scope for tactical innovation, Hughes could only swap his forward players with 18 minutes to go, and while both Peter Crouch and the Cameroon international Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting threatened the Potters never really looked like breaching Jordan Pickford’s goal.

The defeat at Goodison also extended Stoke’s winless run in the league to 10 games, in which they have scored just six goals and shipped 15 to their rivals.

With a decided lack of inspiration both on and off the field, Stoke could find themselves embroiled in a battle for survival as the season unfolds. As for Hughes, he must look to do some more business before the end of the transfer window as he looks to revitalise a failing forward line.

The Boot Room is a football analysis website, bringing original and creative content to the fans of the English Football League.

Everton

Marcel Brand’s stance on Ademola Lookman should reassure Everton fans

Max Cohen

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Ademola Lookman
Photo: Getty Images

On Wednesday, Everton’s new director of football laid out his plans for the Merseyside club, emphasising the importance of working with young players.

According to the Telegraph, Brands is set to meet with Ademola Lookman in a bid to convince the promising youngster to stay at Goodison Park; a move that will reassure Everton supporters.

The 20-year-old spent the second half of the season on loan at Bundesliga side RB Leipzig, enjoying a successful spell that was punctuated by three goals and two assists in his final two matches.

Yet, the Englishman’s fine end to his stay in Germany sparked reports in ESPN that the Bundesliga club were interested in purchasing Lookman on a permanent basis, a transfer that would come as a massive blow for Everton.

The talented attacker only signed from Charlton in the summer of 2017, and was tipped to be one for the future at Goodison Park. To lose Lookman after just seven league appearances for Everton would be a tragic misstep.

(Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Luckily, Brands is well known for his development of young players and said he is seeking a forward-thinking coach who shares these beliefs.

As quoted in the Telegraph, Brand is looking for a “modern coach,” preferably someone “who wants to work with young players.”

These comments will surely come as a relief to Toffees supporters who suffered through Sam Allardyce’s reign, a manager who is possibly the polar opposite of a “modern coach.”

Maintaining the services of one of England’s brightest young attacking talents, one who was even tipped for a World Cup call-up, is undoubtedly among Everton’s top priorities this summer.

It is refreshing to see the club’s new director of football shares this view and Marcel Brands will do his best to convince Ademola Lookman to remain at Goodison Park.

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Everton news round-up: Baines remains, eight released and dressing room unrest

A round-up of the biggest news at Everton today.

Mathew Coull

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Baines Remains

First of all, there is good news for Everton fans. Reports this week that club legend Leighton Baines is considering his future at Goodison Park now seem wide of the mark.

It had been suggested that the England international was tempted by a move to Los Angeles to play in MLS. However, as reported by the Liverpool Echo, the defender has no intention of leaving the club he has been with for 11 years.

He is said to be excited about working with a new manager.

For Everton, it is great news. Not only is Baines a legend, but he is also the best left-back at the club and a danger from set-pieces who is reliable from the spot.

This news should certainly be welcomed among the Everton faithful.

The Not-so Magnificent Eight

Unfortunately for other Everton players, their future is out of their hands. Everton have released a handful of their under-18 staff today. Captain Tom Scully is leaving, with the expectation he will join Norwich City – according to the Liverpool Echo.

Others who have been told they can depart are Stephen Duke-McKennna, Tom Murphy, Sid Kerr, Charlie Ball, Nathan Moore and Jordan Corke. Nathan Baxter has also been released. He was signed under Roberto Martinez’s reign from Vitesse Arnhem but has failed to develop at Finch Farm and will now need to find his way elsewhere.

The release of Scully and Duke-McKenna may come as something of a surprise, but it appears that Everton are ready to freshen up their youth-team.

Whack-a-Mole

Now some troubling news reported by The Sun today. They claim there are huge divisions in the camp at Everton, namely between the whole dressing room and, seemingly, Oumar Niasse.

The report suggests the ill-feeling in the camp got so bad that youngster Tom Davies has even contemplated quitting the club.

(Photo by Mark Robinson/Getty Images)

But the most alarming factor about this story is the supposed ‘dressing room insider’ feeding this sort of ‘story’ to the press.

Everton fans will not enjoy seeing the dirty laundry of the dressing room being aired out in the open.

These matters should be kept in-house and Everton must search out and give the mole the boot before anything else.

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Everton should forget Luis Muriel and target his team-mate Wissam Ben Yedder instead

Everton are said to be interested in the Colombian striker again this summer.

Mathew Coull

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Everton are reportedly interested in the signature of Sevilla striker Luis Muriel. It is being reported in Spain that the Toffees are keen on signing the Colombian international this summer in order to strengthen their attacking options.

Fichajes and Estadio Deportivo in Spain have both reported the news and Everton have of course been linked before. Last summer, before Muriel made his switch to Spain it was reported by numerous sources, including Marca, that Everton wanted to bring the forward in from Sampdoria.

On the one hand, Everton fans will be happy the club are looking into new recruits for next season. However, Muriel is not the player at Sevilla that Everton should be targeting.

(Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images)

The 27-year-old managed just nine goals and four assists in 46 appearances for the Spanish side last season. That sort of form should hardly have Everton reaching for the chequebook.

If Everton are going to look at a forward from Sevilla, then they should be targeting French striker Wissam Ben Yedder instead.

The 27-year-old has been a far more impressive player this season, despite often coming on from the bench. He scored 22 goals and assisted five in 42 games, a much better rate than the man Everton are apparently chasing.

He also clearly loves English opposition. He scored a famous double against Manchester United to knock the Red Devils out of the Champions League and also scored three times in two appearances against Everton’s Merseyside rivals Liverpool in the Group Stage.

(Photo credit should read CRISTINA QUICLER/AFP/Getty Images)

Everton do need to make improvements across the camp, but it is hard to see how Muriel would make a significant difference to the Everton strikeforce.

Ben Yedder, on the other hand, would be a much more impactful arrival and he could hopefully continue his fine form against English sides but in an Everton kit.

With talk of Everton flop Sandro Ramirez heading the other way as part of the Muriel deal a fee could easily be negotiated to bring in the French forward.

If Everton are targeting a Sevilla striker this summer, then Ben Yedder is the man they should be going for, not Muriel.

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