It’s only one game, but judging by Landon Donovan’s debut for Everton against Arsenal on Saturday, the American playmaker easily fit in to playing at the highest level in the best soccer league in the world.
Donovan started for Everton and played 68 minutes for the Toffees. During that time, Donovan created several chances for Everton, as well as getting an assist on Everton’s first goal as he floated a perfectly stuck corner into the box for Leon Osman to score with an incisive header.
Donovan, who was recently signed on loan to Everton for ten weeks, played on the right wing and was comfortable on the ball whenever he received it, making several crucial passes and going back into defense when needed. For Arsenal’s only goal, which took a wicked deflection, Donovan could have done better during his second attempted clearance but he seemed to avoid tackling an Arsenal player for fear of a penalty or free kick being awarded on the edge of the area. A few seconds later Denilson scored after the ball struck an Everton player and went past Tim Howard.
Later on in the first half, Donovan served up a beautiful pass to Phil Neville only for the Everton captain to shoot and find the ball hitting the top of the net. Still, it showed Donovan’s skill not only as a goalscorer but also as a creator.
In the second half, Donovan continued down the right wing but was joined by Tim Cahill who switched from the left to the right presumably to pressure Armand Traore who was having an awful game in his left-back position.
Donovan continued to contribute in the second half, often coming back to help in defense. But bizarrely, Everton manager David Moyes decided to take Donovan off in the 68th minute even though he was one of the better players during the game. Presumably Moyes wants to rest Donovan since he may not be 100 percent fit yet.
But what a game it was. Donovan looks like he was born to be a Toffee. Let’s hope he continues this level of performance in Everton’s future games over the next month.
After Donovan was substituted, Everton later went on to score a second goal after an exquisite pass from Cahill to Steven Pienaar who ran on to collect the ball and chip it over the head of Almunia into the goal. And what a cheeky chip it was. Everton continued to battle hard but were undone by a late goal from Tomas Rosicky, which was deflected in by Lucas Neill.
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