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Everton: Mason Holgate failed Rafa Benitez v Chelsea

When faced with extreme and severe adversity, this Everton squad seem to have responded this term.

The Toffees have only won once since the back end of September but they have now claimed an impressive four points against teams in the top four of the Premier League throughout their last three fixtures.

Just hours after Marcel Brands had left the club, Rafa Benitez steered his side to a win over Arsenal and despite having a number of their key players out on Thursday, they still drew 1-1 with the European Champions.

To add to injury woes to Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Yerry Mina this week, Lucas Digne was once again unavailable for selection.

Seamus Coleman, Andros Townsend and Richarlison were all absent through injury too as a particularly young side was fielded against Chelsea.

Will Holgate ever make it at Everton?

No chance!

No chance!

Of course!

Of course!

But, for the most part, they did their team justice in midweek. Jarrad Branthwaite popped up with an incredibly rare goal while fellow academy graduates Ellis Simms, Jonjoe Kenny and Anthony Gordon all got opportunities to show their true colours too.

However, it was one of their longer serving players in Mason Holgate who let his manager down.

He picked up a yellow card early in the game and even if the Merseyside outfit only conceded once to one of the best teams in the country, it was a shoddy display from the centre-half who was turned all too easily by those in Chelsea’s forward line.

The raw stats also don’t paint a very bright picture of his display on Thursday evening.

Holgate had 28 fewer touches than goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and registered a quite abysmal tally of three passes in the entire match.

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Of course, a defender shouldn’t be judged entirely on his ability in possession but the fact that he was so scarcely involved should be a cause for concern.

After all, in defensive situations, he was far from convincing. The 25-year-old is now at an age where he should be starting to blossom but this performance was yet more evidence of a player who still looks like he’s in the infancy of his career.

Mistakes are too often and he is a lightweight in physical battles. At Stamford Bridge, the Englishman only won 50% of his duels and gave away two fouls as one error led to a shot on goal from the Chelsea attack.

With Mina out injured, he will simply have to improve in the coming weeks because at the moment, Benitez is left with very little choice but to keep playing him.

AND in other news, Imagine him & DCL: Benitez must seal Everton swoop for “unbelievable” 52-goal animal…