On August 13, 2015 Everton signed Mason Holgate, a defender from Barnsley, for a fee of about £2 million. Just like the last player Everton signed from Barnsley, John Stones, Holgate is a ball playing center back. The past season Holgate has spent with David Unsworth and the Everton U-23s. This preseason Holgate has been training with the first team, even getting into some preseason games where he looked very strong.
Mason Holgate has the potential to be a quality player
In the first game, against one of the top sides last season, Ronald Koeman handed Holgate his debut. Ashley Williams was unfit to play, and Everton needed to play a 3-man back line, so Holgate was selected.
Overall, Holgate’s performance can be summed up as above average. He had some very great plays, but also had some bad plays, and received a Who Scored rating of 7.2. Holgate was also at fault for Tottenham’s goal, as he failed to beat Erik Lamela to the cross. But, he is not entirely at fault because Everton failed to properly clear the ball beforehand.
Guyeye already looking like a steal
When Idrissa Gueye was signed, it seemed like he would turn out to be a fantastic player. So far, that has turned out to be true. In his first game, he received man of the match honors.
He also had 7.44 Who Scored rating and recorded 1 shot. But in defense an possession is where he really shined. He recorded 82% pass accuracy, won 2 aerials, and completed 6 tackles.
Maarten Stekelenburg could be the number one for the year
With Joe Hart dropped from the Manchester City starting 11, many people have been speculating that he will join another club this window. One club linked to Hart has been Everton. Everton have been lacking a true number one, as Tim Howard departed for the Colorado Rapids this offseason.
Enter Maarten Stekelenburg. He spent last season with Koeman at Southampton on loan from Fulham, serving as the back up keeper. This year Koeman decided to buy him and Stekelenburg has since beat out Joel Robles for the number one spot.
Still, many people were unhappy and wanted Everton to have a marquee number one goalkeeper signing, before this game. However, against Tottenham, Stekelenburg proved he could be the number one Everton were looking for. Stekelenburg single handily preserved the draw with some difficult, jaw dropping saves. This type of goalkeeping is exactly what a number one goalkeeper should do. Finally, there was little he could have done to prevent Tottenham’s goal.
In Koeman’s pregame press conference, he said that the squad was only at about 70% fitness. This statement was clearly evident it the game. In the beginning Everton were actively pressing and forcing turnovers, but by the end they were exhausted, mostly defending in their own half. It is going to be scary to see what this squad can accomplish when fully healthy and fit.
The final takeaway from this game is that Everton look like a completely different squad under Koeman. They had a very organized shape and were able to repel Tottenham attacks, something that never happened in the Roberto Martinez era.