EPL: Rating the Everton Players in 2-1 Loss to Norwich City
David Moyes must be wondering why his side just can't seem to hold onto a lead.
For the second time in seven days, Everton succumbed to a late equaliser as substitute Kei Kamara's header cancelled out Leon Osman's goal in the first half.
Only this time there was further damage to be done.
A draw looked a certainty as the minutes ticked closer to full time, but Grant Holt managed to pounce on a loose ball in the penalty area and smashed home to grab all three points for Norwich—and consign Everton to a deeply disappointing defeat.
A top-four finish now seems only a distant possibility for Everton with their inability to kill off games, and hold onto leads a serious obstacle for a side with such lofty aspirations.
Let's take a look at how the players themselves performed
Tim Howard: What Howard had to do he did with a minimum of fuss. He stopped efforts from Wes Hoolahan and coped well with what were some dangerous set-piece deliveries into the box by Robert Snodgrass. Howard conceded two in the end, but it's hard to blame him, as he was left totally exposed by his defence. 6/10
Seamus Coleman: The Irish fullback showed little sign that he was recovering from an injury, and was a constant source of energy and running down Everton's right hand side. Always full of movement, his forward runs for the most part pushed Hoolahan deeper into his own half, and he was excellent defensively, recovering well if he was caught out farther up the field. 7/10
Phil Jagielka: Jagielka had a relatively quiet first half, but there was always the feeling that Norwich might be able to make something happen with long balls played into the box. He didn't always look convincing aerially and continued to struggle even more when Kamara came on to replace Becchio—he'll be disappointed about the way both goals were conceded. 5/10
Sylvain Distin: Like Jagielka, Distin didn't have an awful lot to deal with, but his inability to get the ball clear and win crucial headers cost his side dearly in the end. Norwich's gameplan going forward was fairly straightforward—play long balls into the area for Holt and Becchio/Kamara. A player of Distin's quality and experience really shouldn't have struggled as badly as he did. 5/10
Leighton Baines: Baines is a rare example of a player who can be a genuine playmaker for his side from fullback, and while he supplied a great cross for Leon Osman's goal, he didn't do much else. The width he offered allowed Pienaar to move inside, but his delivery was often lacking, which was one of the reasons why Jelavic had so little service. 6/10
Darron Gibson: Gibson performs a quiet but necessary role in the Everton midfield, and went about his business as expected today. He managed to stifle Norwich's creativity in the middle of the park, and his deep positioning allowed Everton's fullbacks to push forward without having to worry about being caught. Went close with a left-foot effort but still has only one goal for the club. 6/10
Leon Osman: With Gibson sitting deep, Osman could have had more freedom to go forward, but instead he too often found himself quite far back and didn't have much of an impact on the game. On one of the rare occasions he found himself in the box he managed to score, but you can't help but think if he'd gotten into the area more often Everton might have been able to get a second goal. 6/10
Marouane Fellaini: Fellaini was his usual physical presence, but he didn't really manage to do enough in a creative sense, and ended up having to come deep a lot of the time to get the ball. While he is a tough character, he received little or no protection from the referee, who seemed to turn a blind eye to kicks and fouls on him throughout the game. 5/10
Steven Pienaar: Playing on the left-hand side of midfield, Pienaar struggled to get into the game and didn't really offer very much in attack. He did look dangerous, on occasion, but his dribbling was largely ineffective, and his delivery from set-pieces was atrocious. He'll need to show more than he did today. 4/10
Nikica Jelavic: Jelavic was employed in his customary role, playing just on the shoulder of the last defender. He found it difficult against a Norwich side which defended with quite a deep line, and offered him very little space in behind. He didn't have the best of service, and even if his movement was often good, he needs to offer a little more creatively. 5/10
Steven Naismith: Naismith really isn't a winger, and as has been proven both with Everton and at international level, he fails to really make much of an impact playing out wide. He was always a willing runner, both going forward and tracking back defensively, but he did nothing in an attacking sense, and his crossing was particularly poor. 4/10
Substitutes: Kevin Mirallas was dropped by David Moyes, with the manager telling him he'd need to show more if he wanted a regular place in the side. He only had 12 minutes to do it today, but he offered nothing. Bryan Oviedo also came on to replace Pienaar with a few minutes to go.
400 - Sylvain Distin has become the first non-UK or Irish outfield player to make 400 Premier League appearances. Landmark.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 23, 2013
4:09 - Leon Osman's goal has ended Everton's run of four hours and nine minutes without a Premier League away goal. Wait.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 23, 2013
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