James Tarkowski played his first football for Everton and there were exits for a number of Academy products as Frank Lampard’s side played their first pre-season game against Arsenal in Baltimore.
Everton were 2-0 up at half-time – Gabriel Jesus and Bukayo Saka both on target within three minutes just after the half-hour mark – when manager Lampard changed his entire starting XI.
Centre-half Tarkowski, signed from Burnley this month, was joined on the pitch by Jean-Philippe Gbamin, who finished last season on loan with Russian club CSKA Moscow.
Also featured were goalkeeper Billy Crellin and young trio Reece Welch, Lewis Warrington and the combative Stanley Mills.
Arsenal also made sweeping changes and a game that was played at a brisk pace for the first 45 minutes lost a measure of its edge and flow.
Following on from a week of ruthless training in Washington DC, this exercise was nonetheless very useful. And Everton have another chance for match practice when they take on MLS side Minnesota United on Wednesday.
Arsenal opened up a clear field between them and their Premier League side in a burst of activity in the first half.
Jesus, a constant pest at the forefront of Arsenal’s attack, was responsible for Everton’s delay.
The goal came from a corner kick down the Gunners’ left – the same source of the game’s first clear chance, when Granit Xhaka met Cedric Soares’ 16.e– minute delivery with a header that crashed into the far post.
Cedric’s next free-kick went longer, evading Jordan Pickford and a handful of Everton bodies gathered in the middle of the box.
Jesus’ cushioned touch to control the back post was excellent; the finish, deliberately raised in the roof of the net, just as successful.
Pickford had refused Jesus at the quarter of an hour, the Brazilian center-forward signed this summer from Manchester City by recovering a ball lost at 18 meters but thwarted by an excellent stop to the left of the goalkeeper.
There was little Pickford could do, however, when Arsenal doubled their advantage in record time after Jesus’ goal.
Jesus was in the foreground, once again, advancing towards the edge of the penalty area to push a pass which Gabriel Martinelli failed to catch in front of goal.
Martinelli missing his touch played in favor of Arsenal, Saka arriving at the far post to apply a simple finish.
Everton were spending long periods in their own half. But there was a push from midfield in the form of Abdoulaye Doucoure, while Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s heist play was excellent. More than once, Arsenal defenders struggled to master Calvert-Lewin’s speed and physicality.
Doucoure looked most likely to disrupt Arsenal’s pace and a midfield run ended with the ball falling over centre-back William Saliba’s head. Calvert-Lewin had his chest in control but Cedric only needed a momentary sight of the ball to sneak in and intervene.
Perhaps inspired by his midfield partner, Tom Davies opened up Arsenal’s right side with a huge lofted ball for Niels Nkounkou, accelerating behind Cedric.
Nkounkou, back at Everton after a season on loan with Standard Liege in Belgium, was aiming for the near post but Matt Turner’s hand was strong.
Arsenal had glimmers of opportunity either side of their quick double strike.
Pickford and Yerry Mina combined to face a cross at the near post after Saka injected a change of pace to drop down a right and deliver.
On 40 minutes, Nuno Tavares’ long blast ran wide on the angle
Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard was too high with a free-kick after Ben Godfrey entered the book for a challenge against Jesus, who, in archetypal pre-season fashion, was duly cramped.
Lampard made his substitutions big and almost immediately saw Everton close in on a bold goal.
Salomon Rondon was not far in Arsenal’s half when he tried to catch goalkeeper Turner, who frantically recovered to make an unsightly save and avoid embarrassment.
Mills took possession of the right side of the penalty area soon after, feeding winger Alex Iwobi, who was off target with his effort.
Anthony Gordon, sporting his number 10 shirt for the first time, was buzzing for the new Everton side, who were limiting Arsenal’s opportunities and enjoying a decent share of possession.
Tarkowski applied a signature block as Martinelli progressed into the box for a shot. The defender also obstructed Reiss Nelson’s 78th-minute goal attempt.
Gordon fired a 90th-minute free kick into the defensive wall after Pablo Mari was penalized for knocking down Iwobi and when Warrington ran away after taking a long shot, Everton’s hopes of troubling the goalscorers dwindled are extinguished.
There was time for a rapprochement between the teams after Nicolas Pepe clashed with Mills, who forcibly resisted. Tarkowski was quickly on the verge of defending his 18-year-old colleague and the club’s new defender ended the game with a booking that looked rather harsh following a powerful tackle on Albert Sambi Lokonga.
Everton first half: Pickford (c); Patterson, Holgate, Mina, Godfrey, Nkounkou; Gray, Doucoure, Davies, Dele; Calvert-Lewin.
Everton second half: Crelin; Mills, Tarkowski, Keane, Welch, Mykolenko; Iwobi, Warrington, Gbamin, Gordon; Circle.
#Tarkowski #presents #Everton #lose #friendly #USA