English Premier League

Donovan starts, assists on goal in first Everton match

U.S. international Landon Donovan started today in his first match for Everton and assisted on his squad’s first goal in a 2-2 draw against Arsenal.

Donovan created Leon Osman’s goal in the 12th minute with a curving cross on a corner kick ¬†from the right side. (Watch the goal here.) The goal pushed Everton out to a 1-0 lead, before Arsenal’s Denilson equalized shortly thereafter on a deflected shot. Steven Pienaar scored Everton’s second goal on a counterattack, but Arsenal’s Tomas Rosicky scored on a deflected shot in stoppage time to secure the draw.

As for Donovan, he looked active before coming out for Diniyar Bilyaletdinov in the 69th minute. His speed seemed to help Everton put a lot of defensive pressure on Arsenal during the match’s first 60 minutes, and he was a disruptive presence defensively on the right side. Offensively, he won some fouls and had a nice drop pass to Phil Neville that Neville nearly chipped in for a goal.

Overall, Donovan looked like he belonged on the field in his first English Premier League match. Manager David Moyes’ decision to have Donovan replace Leighton Baines on corner kicks had immediate results. I suspect few expected Donovan to create the first goal in his first EPL match, let alone start.

He appeared to slow down in his last few minutes before the substitution, perhaps an indication that his fitness is a little weak after a six-week layoff.

Still, it struck me as a great start for Donovan. I’ve watched a few Everton matches this season, and today they struck me as a quicker, more active team, with Donovan, Pienaar and Osman standing out. It was an excellent showing for Everton and a great match overall. That the Toffees came away with only a draw, however, has to stick in their guts. They were lined up for the win, but two deflected goals past American Tim Howard deemed otherwise.

Did you see the match? If so, what did you think of Donovan’s performance? Were you impressed, or did you find him lacking? If you follow Everton, do you think his presence changed his team’s quality? Weigh in below.

2 Comments

  1. Watched it (from an Arsenal perspective) and thought Donovan was one of the best on the field in the first half. He gave Traore (the AFC left back) a torrid time, and had one neat dribble inside the box that almost did real damage. I was surprised he was taken off, but Moyes said he was cramping up.

    I hope he continues to start and continues to do well. Everton is a much better team for him than any of his German stints, and I hope he decides to stay in the EPL after the season (new MLS contract notwithstanding).

  2. I was very suprised he played as well as he did. When Donovan played in Europe it was a disaster. Yes a huge way to go garoto. I hope he continues to play as well. This could be an added punch for the Toffees. http://bobbygee.wordpress.com/

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