By Paddy Boyland
Ross Barkley’s superb curler from distance was the difference as Everton beat Watford 1-0 in their final home game of the campaign.
In a tight, end-of-season-like affair, the midfielder’s 56th minute goal was enough to grant Ronald Koeman’s side their 13th home victory.
The win also saw the Blues finish the season with their highest ever Premier League points total at home.
Here’s how they rated at Goodison.
Joel Robles- 7
Recalled as a result of Stekelenburg’s injury and was a safe pair of hands in goal. Considerably better under the high ball than the Dutchman, it must be said, while an important late save from Okaka preserved Everton’s advantage.
Mason Holgate- 5
Caught out by tricky Holebas on occasion, and wasted good crossing positions when the opportunity presented itself. Unsurprsingly hooked at half-time as Koeman searched for greater attacking threat. Lack of end product in final third means that he’ll no doubt end up at centre-back.
Phil Jagielka- 5
Would have bagged his fourth strike of the season but for Gomes’ first-half intervention. Fared less well defensively against Deeney and Niang due to his evident lack of height.
Ashley Williams- 6
Stood up well in general to the physical threat posed by Deeney and Okaka. Tailor-made for tussles like this. Clearly needs to play alongside a recovery defender against pacier attacks, though.
Leighton Baines- 6
Let down by wayward crossing in open play, but did deliver a couple of decent inswinging corners that almost yielded goals for Jagielka and Schneiderlin.
Morgan Schneiderlin- 6
A welcome returnee, but seemed a tad rusty throughout as a result of his layoff. Not quite able to dictate play in his usual manner, yet still a calm head in front of the back four. Improved in the second period.
Idrissa Gueye- 8
Increased in influence as the match wore on to the point where he was seemingly everywhere for spells. Regularly broke up play to drive Everton forward.
Tom Davies- 7
Dropped to right-back in the second-half after a decent opening period in which he tested Gomes several times and pressed Watford well from the front. One left-footed effort from range was a particular highlight and showcased just how quickly the young midfielder has added extra facets to his game. Already a crucial part of Koeman’s setup.
Ross Barkley- 7
A mixed bag from Everton’s diamond, who produced some lovely touched but was also guilty of hestitancy on the ball at times. Did, however, curl home a brilliant opener from the edge of the box to open the scoring. Begs the question, though: Why doesn’t he shoot more?
Kevin Mirallas- 6
Buzzed around without ever really affecting the game in any meaningful way. Remains to be seen whether he’ll keep his place in the starting line-up next season, despite today’s contract announcement, as Koeman demands more producitivity in the final third.
Romelu Lukaku- 6
Rarely afforded space against Watford’s back three. Could, however, have had a penalty after the break following a tangling of legs.
Hopefully that wasn’t his last performance at the Old Lady…
Enner Valencia- 7
Made a telling contribution from the bench, adding pace and dynamism to a previously static attack but should have scored at the death in a one-on-one. An extremely useful impact substitute, if nothing else.
Arouna Kone 7