IF EVERTON’S dramatic draw with Newcastle United proved one thing, it’s the difference Nikica Jelavic makes to the team.
With Jelavic the focal point, David Moyes’s side were in outstanding form during the first half, playing some great football and deserving to be ahead by more than one goal.
But with Jelavic having hobbled off shortly before the break, Everton didn’t get hold of the ball anywhere near as much in the second half.
They didn’t really have a pattern of play whereas the movement before the interval was excellent.
Jelavic was making the type of runs that players around him such as Steven Pienaar and Leon Osman could feed off. But in the second half, that movement stopped.
Playing the role Jelavic does, often on his own, is very difficult and he does it extremely well. Victor Anichebe got a goal, but he is a completely different type of player.
It wasn’t just down to the loss of Jelavic that Everton failed to win, however.
Newcastle had a flea in their ear at half-time and changed the system for the second half. They took a chance and went for it, and it paid off for them.
Then there was Anichebe’s other ‘goal’. Each time a farce like this happens, the more obvious it is that goal-line technology should be introduced.
It was an honest mistake by the referee’s assistant. From the angle he was looking, I don’t think he could see properly. There were too many bodies in the way. He has to be 100%, and I don’t think he could definitely say it was in.
Defensively, Everton were as good as anybody towards the end of last season, but all of a sudden they look more vulnerable.
Certainly, both Sylvain Distin and Phil Jagielka were given a tough time in the second half on Monday by Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse and Shola Ameobi, but they weren’t given much protection from the midfield.
John Heitinga is waiting somewhat impatiently on the bench, but there should be no kneejerk reactions to one draw that felt like a defeat.
I thought Everton missed Darron Gibson. He has gone very quietly about his business and does a lot of work in the centre of midfield that goes unnoticed. The second half on Monday underlined that fact.