Thursday marked another frustrating night in Europe for Everton as Ronald Koeman’s side could only claim a point at home against Apollon Limassol, even after last season’s third-placed side in the Cypriot top flight were reduced to ten men.
The Toffees finished up with 62% possession and more than twice as many shots on target but lapse defending cost them dearly as the visitors popped up with a surprise opener and then grabbed a late equaliser in the final few minutes.
There were some positives for Everton to take into their home clash with Burnley this weekend, however, most notably a decent if not exactly spectacular performance from club-record signing Gylfi Sigurdsson.
Apollon’s late goal appeared to take a touch off the Iceland midfielder but he did make a greater impact going forward than we’ve seen from the former Swansea City man on the most part this season.
The 28-year-old, who Transfermarkt value at £22.5million, created the joint-most chances of any Everton player, including the assist for Nikola Vlasic’s second-half strike with a deft pass into the Croatian prospect’s path.
Sigurdsson also tested the goalkeeper twice, launched four crosses into the box, made two tackles and completed 84% of his passes in a solid all-round display.
And yet, it still feels as if Everton need more from the most expensive signing in the club’s history to turn their dwindling campaign around – like he was at Swansea last season, Sigurdsson needs to be a match winner for the Merseysiders.
He’ll get another chance of doing so when Sean Dyche’s side travel to Goodison Park this weekend, although Burnley are currently seventh in the Premier League’s away table with five points from three games.