A point on the road at Nottingham Forest on Sunday afternoon can be considered a point gained for the Blues, as frustrating as it was for Everton to twice surrender a lead.
Indeed, the overall team performance was a marked improvement from the 4-0 drubbing at Arsenal last week, but the Toffee’s £33m summer signing Amadou Onana was anonymous in midfield, lacking the power and aggression that has earned him many admirers at Goodison Park.
One admirer is former Belgian international and Premier League star Steven Defour, who recently revealed to the Liverpool Echo that he believes Onana could become a ‘midfield powerhouse’ for Everton under Sean Dyche’s guidance.
However, with Everton 1-0 up, Onana was part of a midfield seemingly asleep at the wheel, allowing Forest’s Morgan Gibbs-White the time and space to turn and shoot, with Jordan Pickford only able to palm the ball directly into the path of Brennan Johnson.
Idrissa Gana Gueye, whose form has been somewhat inconsistent of late, put in a fine display, and was a constant thorn in the side of Steve Cooper’s men, while Abdoulaye Doucoure had a mixed afternoon, with his first-half header putting Everton 2-1 up, only to cheaply concede possession late on to allow Brennan Johnson to equalise for a second time.
Onana meanwhile offered virtually nothing, and has arguably been lacklustre for two or three consecutive games now, cutting a passive figure in the heart of Everton’s midfield.
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A player of Onana’s pedigree and ability should be dominating games, especially against teams in the bottom half of the table, but in truth the Belgian international was out-performed by Forest’s Jack Colback, Morgan Gibbs-White and Brennan Johnson, who all caused Everton issues throughout the game.
Yet it was not just last night’s game. His performances away at Liverpool and at home to Aston Villa were also disappointing, and have been in stark contrast to some of the immense displays that we have come to expect from the former Lille man, notably in the 1-0 home victories over Arsenal and Leeds United last month.
Of course, at 21-years-old, Onana is far from the finished article, but having recently insisted to French news outlet SoFoot that he sees his future self at ‘one of the biggest clubs’ in the world, the prodigious youngster will need to add consistency to his game to fulfil this ambition.
Meanwhile, his place in Everton’s XI may not be guaranteed, with Sean Dyche recently revealing to the Liverpool Echo that “very good player” James Garner is looking to return to first-team action following a lengthy spell in the treatment room after signing for Everton last September for a fee of £15m.