Donovan’s Start Live Blogged

Donovan is starting against Arsenal. What a debut for Donovan. Due to the weather killing just about every other Premier league game this weekend, Donovan will quite literally be playing in front of the watchful eye of almost all fans of English football. I just added Setanta, despite the fact its going under to see this game and will provide some comments on his performance and the game.

Closing Donovan thoughts: The debut was outstanding. He looked like an Everton regular and perhaps one of their best players. If you didn’t know it was his debut you would have yelled at the TV when we was withdrawn. He looked very very comfortable with the pace of the game and showed outstanding touch and pace. To use the cliche “he played within himself.” He played smartly and picked his spots and didn’t immaturely try to be a hero at every turn and was at times arguably to unselfish. He also demonstrated that he could pull the strings, as he had some fabulous passes.

Importantly, he showed to David Moises what he is capable of – the key now will be getting him more integrated into Everton’s approach. Following the halftime it definitely seemed that Everton was looking to release Donovan more and I bet Moises told the players at halftime to look his direction.

68: And LD is predictably subbed.

67: LD starting to look a little gassed.

65: Snow really coming down… even Arshavin the Russian looks uncomfortable.

62: LD cheered by Everton fans as he goes to take a corner…. and it was a weak corner too short.

60: Arshavin has been totally anonymous.

58: Donovan playing further up the field and more centrally, Traore takes advantage with good and dangerous run up the wing.

55: LD has an embarrassing stumble in good opportunity at the edge of the box.

55: LD should have tracked back on Diaby there.

53: Donovan almost behind Traore again on a long flighted ball. Traore is bad. LD is getting really active.

53: I think Moises had that team talk at halftime: get it wide to Donovan and run at Traore.

52: Announcers: “He’s looked good today” … and “Tricky little player.”

51. WOW. LD absolutely skins Traore – scramble in the box, Donovan gets it back and puts in creative ball just a bit too far for Piennar.

50. Donovan wins shoulder barge from Vermaelan! Than puts in dangerous ball (in a bad way) across his own midfield.

49: Aerial crosses from Arsenal are really very pointless.

47: Chatter about LD increasing… he is looking very comfortable whenever he is on the ball. He is impressing right now.

46: Donovan wins a foul in dangerous area

45: Setanta announcer calls Donovan’s first half “steady” – that’s fair

Halftime thoughts on LD: He had a very good and solid first half. He demonstrated his skills and really didn’t put a foot all that wrong. He got more into the game as it went on and is making sure that he contains defensively. He isn’t really getting “stuck in,” but it is more important for Donovan not to mess up defensively in his first game than impress with his sketchy tackling skills.

In general, I think Donovan has coped and transitioned well to the league. What I think will take some time is his team coping to Donovan. There were numerous times that Donovan was available in space upfield ready to launch a dangerous counter, but the ball didn’t go to him. With the US or LA that ball goes to him automatically. If I am David Moises I tell LD to run at Traore and I tell the team to look to Donovan more as an outlet to launch counters.

44: Donovan breaks past Traore, looks to put the ball across initially but no one there, smartly pulls back and lays off. Announcers critical said ball should have gone earlier, watching it again, Everton played it fine, Arsenal recovered well after Donovan broke free.

41: Good move by Everton and by Donovan. He gets ball in space in the midfield, instead of aimlessly running puts in a great ball ahead to Osman. Gets the ball back and switches fields smartly again. 5 years ago he puts his head down and runs at Traore. He showed his maturity there and his passing ability. Still I would like to seem him go at Traore.

39: Donovan wins a long chip off LB Traore defending was shocking. Good lay off by LD.

35: Cahil heads it across goal, Donovan closest but doesn’t make the run, you could say he should of but that would be a bit harsh.

27: Goal Arsenal: Deflected in. Cruel on Everton lucky for the Gunners.

21: LD wide open up the field and ball isn’t played. He was WIDE OPEN.

19: LD defensively is playing smart. He is positioning himself so he won’t get beat on the flanks and is containing Arsenal players with the ball not diving in and forcing them to pass. In other words any goal that Arsenal scores is not going to be because I get beat.

16: Good control and run from LD as he launches a counter.

14: Great trackback from LD and a good sliding tackle to disrupt the attack

14: Donovan is looking to break down the right whenever Everton get the ball.

12: Donvoan taking a corner… and WHAT A CORNER. Great header from Osman and great ball from Donovan. GOALLLLL…

8: The game hasn’t really come to Donovan yet, made a good run up the side and showed his pace, but the ball wasn’t played. Everton playing Everton toe to toe and Saha squanders a great chance.

1: He gets his first touch a simple control and pass back.

00: Donovan playing on the right.

-Despite all the talk of the cold it is above freezing in London… and we are off

Setanta Pregame – commentator “is looking forward to seeing Donovan.” Knows about him but questions whether he can deal with the physicality of the Premier League. This argument is put out there a lot without commentators considering that MLS is an incredibly physical league….and outcome the players, with Everton sporting two Americans! The Arsenal players look mighty cold, especially Sagna and Denilson.


One Response

  1. […] like that in today’s game. After a rather steady start, he puts in the corner to the back post that Leon Osman heads home to […]

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