Everton drawing 2-2 at Bournemouth on Saturday felt like a 90-minute snapshot of where this team is and where they are heading under manager Marco Silva, showing both the progress made thus far while also highlighting areas still needing improvement.
Everton remain unbeaten but ended up lamenting a red card and failure to hold a lead for the second time in as many away games. The visitors demonstrated their "work in progress" status by performing better with 10 men against 11 than when both teams had 11 players on the pitch and, later, when both had 10.
There is disappointment at the eventual outcome after establishing a two-goal lead only to surrender it in the final 15 minutes, but there is also room for optimism in how Silva has started the process of rehabilitating this Everton team.
Silva has instilled a belief in his squad that they can compete even when facing a numerical disadvantage, although that theory is receiving more practice than necessary at this stage. Everton have played more than 90 minutes with 10 men across their first two away games.
Everton are conceding too many goals and chances from set pieces and must fine-tune their new zonal marking approach, but general defensive concerns outweighed dead-ball issues on this occasion. The visitors need to be smarter and more streetwise when closing out games, especially the more experienced members of the team. But with new signings waiting in the wings, Silva at least has the options to switch out those who are not performing.
Manager rating out of 10
6 -- While there is a tendency to try to stick it out with 10 men, there was a definite case for Silva substituting quicker as Everton creaked before eventually crumbling under Bournemouth's pressure.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Jordan Pickford, 7 -- More convincing than previous matches, this was Pickford closer to the form of last season. His quick thinking and superb distribution released Walcott on goal for the foul leading to the Bournemouth red card.
DF Seamus Coleman, 4 -- Coleman played like a malfunctioning robot in the first half as the ball frequently ricocheted off various body parts and rarely went in the direction intended. These lapses were too common for a player of his experience.
DF Mason Holgate, 7 -- The youngest and least experienced member of the defensive unit but increasingly the most convincing. That status is to his credit but should also concern Silva regarding the other defensive players.
DF Michael Keane, 6 -- An afternoon packed with incident saw Keane involved at both ends of the pitch, scoring a towering header to net his first Everton goal before questionable positioning reared its head again in the buildup to the Bournemouth penalty. Nasty head injury ended his afternoon in the closing minutes.
DF Leighton Baines, 4 -- Beaten for pace a few times in the first half and culpable for both Bournemouth goals as Everton surrendered their lead. Baines lost out in the air for the equaliser, but the naive foul leading to the earlier penalty was even more inexplicable for a player of his standing.
MF Tom Davies, 5 -- Worked hard but struggled to affect the match. Erratic passing did more harm than good as Everton failed to snuff out Bournemouth pressure in the latter stages of the second half.
MF Idrissa Gueye, 7 -- Noted for his defensive work but appears to be making a concerted effort to be more effective in possession, though one mistake on the ball almost cost a goal. Usual tirelessness without the ball, racking up a game-high seven tackles.
MF Theo Walcott, 8 -- His pace made him an excellent outlet once Everton went down to 10 men, with Walcott at the centre of the best attacking moments, scoring the first goal, starting the move for the second and drawing the foul for the Adam Smith red card.
MF Gylfi Sigurdsson, 7 -- Sigurdsson capped this latest accomplished display with his first assist of the season, linking up well with Walcott before delivering a perfectly weighted cross for Keane to head home.
MF Richarlison, 3 -- Fell into a cynical trap for the red card but cannot afford to be so foolish, especially with opponents sure to target him. Subsequent three-match suspension is a bitter blow after a fine start.
FW Cenk Tosun, 7 -- Goals are the only thing missing from his performances, as Tosun grabbed another assist and continues to offer a strong focal point in the final third.
FW Dominic Calvert-Lewin, N/R -- Unable to replicate Tosun in attack.
MF Bernard, N/R -- Some nice touches in a brief debut.
DF Kurt Zouma, N/R -- On for his debut in place of the injured Keane in injury time.