Gordon sends timely reminder as Ancelotti finds new favourite

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Adam Jones assesses the key talking points from Goodison Park after Everton beat Salford City 3-0 to progress to the third round of the Carabao Cup

He did just about everything apart from put the ball in the back of the net.

Anthony Gordon listed his first Everton goal as one of his targets as he spoke to the ECHO following the club’s final pre-season match of the summer against Preston at Goodison Park.

And it was clear the youngster smelled an opportunity to bag one as Salford City made the visit to Merseyside on Wednesday evening.

Playing in front of the equally energetic Niels Nkounkou, the winger went on to cause the League Two side all sorts of problems throughout the 90 minutes.

The youngster switched things up well in between bursts down the flank and cutting inside to shoot himself, always keeping the defence on the back foot and fighting a losing battle by the time the closing stages came around.

The first period saw a powerful effort headed behind for a corner which looked to be on its way to nestling into the far corner.

That was only a brief sign of what was to come in the second half though.

On another day, Gordon could really have found himself with a hat trick and taking home the match ball from a big victory for Everton.

Late in the second period, he worked the ball inside before unleashing another brilliant effort which smashed off the far post, before coming back for him to win a penalty.

Then shortly afterwards, with the ball crashing off the crossbar into his path from Moise Kean’s effort, the winger slammed another one agonisingly into the woodwork from an angle.

Gordon might leave Goodison Park frustrated that he wasn’t on the scoresheet for the first time in a senior game, but that shouldn’t take away from his pride in his display.

The winger’s energy throughout the tie was brilliant to see and certainly would have impressed Carlo Ancelotti once again on the touchline.

His creativity was exactly what the Blues needed and it would have been a perfect performance if one of his strong efforts had just found the back of the net.

Gordon is keen to make himself a prominent figure in the Everton squad this term, and displays such as that will certainly go a long way towards achieving that goal.

Much was made of Everton’s line-up as it was announced an hour before kick off, with ten changes being made to the side that beat Spurs in north London at the weekend.

Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton are looking to kick on and another crucial summer is underway at Goodison Park.

Marcel Brands will be a busy man as he looks to strengthen Everton’s squad in the transfer window.

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This rotation, you have to feel, was to negate any sense of fatigue and to reduce the risk of injury with an important home game against West Brom coming up this weekend.

Unfortunately there was still an issue for one player regardless with Jarrad Branthwaite being substituted before the break, and there will be many fingers crossed his injury is not a serious one.

Ancelotti gave a number of players the opportunity to impress him against Salford City on Wednesday night and whether they all did or not remains to be seen.

But, with one injury aside, he gave them all a full 90 minutes to show off their talents. No more changes were made by the Blues.

Again that could have been with one eye to the game at the weekend, of course. The manager may not have wanted to risk an injury to one of the substitutes being introduced late into what proved to be a comfortable win.

Of course if the match had gone differently then there was a strong bench for the boss to call on if there were any issues.

But this is exactly why the boss wants strength in depth to be able to choose from, and why he wants to be able to rely on a number of players in multiple positions.

This could be a sign of what is to come in the future, although perhaps ten changes won’t happen again further into the competition.

In essence, the decision from the boss to prioritise the fitness of his players and to hand important minutes to those on the fringes was the right one.

When Ancelotti first arrived at Goodison Park he continued the formation that had managed to turn things around under Duncan Ferguson.

The 4-4-2 allowed Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison to play off each other in particular and led to a fair amount of success in those early stages.

However, as last term wore on, you started to wonder whether perhaps Everton would be better suited to a new system.

In the opening matches of this term the Italian has clearly agreed, switching to a 4-3-3 against both Spurs and now against Salford City.

The personnel might have been largely very different but the benefits and intricacies of the system are still clear.

The midfield three on this occasion were Gylfi Sigurdsson, Bernard and Tom Davies. All three looked much more confident than they did at stages towards the end of 2019/20.

The latter, particularly in the first half, allowed himself a lot more freedom to get forward and flashed an effort just wide of the far post as part of that.

Sigurdsson took on much of that responsibility in the second period, arriving at the right place at the right time to add Everton’s second goal of the game inside the box.

The Iceland international really should have had his second assist of the match earlier on too when his fantastic cross perfectly picked out Moise Kean, only for the striker to find the crossbar.

Bernard, meanwhile, was finding a lot more space to affect the game – keeping the Salford defence guessing and almost finding a couple of goals of his own from decent efforts.

Aside from the midfield though the team looked much more balanced generally in all areas of the pitch.

Even taking into consideration the opposition the Blues were facing, the defence were rarely concerned and each put in solid displays.

Full backs were joining the attack, the overlaps with their respective wingers were effective and there were a lot of chances being created all round.

This could well be the formation Ancelotti finds a bit more joy with in subsequent weeks.



SOURCE: https://www.w24news.com/news/gordon-sends-timely-reminder-as-ancelotti-finds-new-favourite/?remotepost=283196

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