After spending over a month sidelined with a Thigh Muscle strain, Alex Iwobi returned to action in the premier league for Everton when the Toffees travelled to the Vicarage Road to face Watford.
Iwobi made his 17 league appearance for Everton since joining from Arsenal in the summer and he was handed just over an hour of football by Manager Carlo Ancelotti.
It was a good run out for the 23 year-old midfielder, but not so much in his overall performance in the Manager’s game plan.
Playing on the left flank of a flat midfield four, Iwobi showed little zest and struggled to impact the game.
His trademark short passes and possession game showed no rustiness, but there was no freedom to run and was mostly confined to the midfield third.
He attempted just a single tackle and block until he was subbed off in the 65th minute.
Despite the underwhelming display, the game time was essential for the Midfielder to get back to action and also give the Everton Boss options, with the team making a late charge to finish as high up the table as possible.
However, Saturday afternoon started off in disaster-mode for the Toffees as they were trailing by two goals inside 42 minutes of the first-half.
Heading into the game, Ancelotti’s men were on a three game unbeaten run and the last time they recorded a defeat in the league was to Manchester City in a New Year’s day fixture.
But they had been stung twice by the Hornets and needed a matching response to avoid an 11th league defeat of the season – they lost 14 all of last season.
They questions Ancelotti would have asked of his players as he stared with visible angst on the sidelines were answered from the most unusual quarters.
Everton’s Colombian Center Half Yeri Mina scored a four minutes brace in additional time of the firs half to bring his side level before the interval.
The visitors were then dealt a blow when Fabian Delph was sent off for a second yellow (71′).
But it didn’t force the team into defence mode, instead Ancelotti called on Italy international forward Moise Kean for Dominic Calvert-Lewin three minutes after.
With the game poised to end with the sides sharing the spoils, Kean’ substitution proved to be crucial as he initiated a counter-attack in the dying minutes of the game.
In a lighting paced attacking transition, Richarlison dropped the ball inside the box for Kean, the Italian in turn hit a one time pass to the right for the in rushing Theo Walcott, who then sliced the ball into the net before the goalkeeper had time to recover.
The Manager described the winning-goal in a post-match interview on the club’s website:
“Football is unpredictable, we we had 10 men and a draw would have been a good result but we had the opportunity of a counter attack – and it was a fantastic counter attack to win the match,” said Ancelotti.
“The spirit of the team was really good and we had fantastic support from our fans.
“We are really happy for them. To win this type of game away from home is really important for our confidence and the happiness of our supporters.
“We had to stay focused and defend well when we went down to 10 men – but there was still a possibility to do something.
“We can play better, of course, but the spirit was good and it was an important win.”