Mission Merseyside: Matchday One
Arsenal-Everton is the one match today stills scheduled to take place despite the inclement weather enveloping Southern England. Stay tuned to MLS Talk for the latest on American football hero Landon Donovan’s Premier League debut. We’ll have post match thoughts right after the conclusion of the game, right here.
Going forward Donovan had some spectacular touches and runs. His movement off the ball was outstanding, while his positioning in the Arsenal half was also quite good. Donovan’s corner assisted on the Leon Osman goal, and Donovan’s set piece service was also second to none in this match.
Defensively, Donovan was less successful. He made some vital challenges on Arsenal counter attacks, but hesitated on clearances and didn’t pick targets coming out of his own end quite as well. His hesitation on a clearance coupled with a failure to close down Denilson directly led to Arsenal’s first goal.
The Gunners struggle in these sorts of weather conditions because they like to play football on the ground, and this setup well for the Everton counter attack, which Donovan helped to lead out of the the Toffees own half.
But on the attacking end, Donovan’s performance was more consistently dangerous than anything I have seen from Clint Dempsey in this three plus EPL seasons. (But Dempsey picks moments and specifically times his runs to make a maximum momentary impact, often times leading to decisive goals) In that respect, my post of last week which compared Dempsey favorably with Donovan was off the mark. Conversely, Dempsey’s confidence and flair are something we still want to see Landon acquire in his English adventure.