Premier League
EvertonEverton2WatfordWatford2

Everton 2-2 Watford

By Patrick JenningsBBC Sport
Arouna Kone
Kone's late equaliser was just his second goal for Everton

Arouna Kone's late equaliser earned Everton a point at home to Premier League newcomers Watford.

Mexican Miguel Layun fired Watford ahead on the half-volley in the first half after Everton failed to clear.

Ross Barkley's stunning effort brought the home side level before Odion Ighalo's composed strike gave the Hornets the lead for a second time.

But three minutes later, substitute Kone snatched a draw with an angled finish across Heurelho Gomes.

How did the new boys do?

Watford have made 10 signings since winning promotion from the Championship, and Quique Sanchez Flores became the club's fifth manager in 12 months when replacing Slavisa Jokanovic in June.

Six of those new players made their competitive debuts at Everton, but there was little indication of the Spaniard's team failing to gel.

Sebastian Prodl was composed at the back and made several key interceptions as the home side were frustrated for large periods of the game, while Etienne Capoue linked up well with Troy Deeney when the forward and captain dropped deep.

Deeney touch map
Everton striker Romelu Lukaku and Watford's Deeney had contrasting first halves - Deeney's dropping deep was central to much of the visitors' good play on the break
Lukaku touch map
While Lukaku struggled to find a way into the game during the opening 45 minutes

Everton, by contrast, have had a quiet off-season. Tom Cleverley was the only one of three summer signings to feature, and there was little evidence to suggest he is the player manager Roberto Martinez is looking for to lift his side.

Did Watford deserve to hold on for the win?

Martinez has said he requires at least three more signings to be competitive this year, and on this evidence, it would be difficult to argue with him.

Everton 'never accepted defeat'

Much of Everton's play was laboured and ponderous and, despite improving in the second half, they owed their recovery to a moment of brilliance from Barkley.

The 21-year-old's right-footed strike flew high into Gomes's goal and once Watford's defence had been breached, the home side seemed to gather momentum where in the first half it would peter out.

There was an element of fortune about Layun's opening goal but there was nothing lucky about but Ighalo's strike.

The Nigerian striker dummied two Everton defenders before coolly slotting home to put Watford back in the lead, only for Kone to rescue the Toffees with just his second goal for the club.

'We weren't at the races'

Everton manager Roberto Martinez: "The first half was not good enough. We were in pre-season mode, while Watford were ready from the first whistle. Playing against a new team in the division, you are going to get that and we did not react.

Watford draw a fair result - Flores

"But the attitude was completely different in the second half. We never accepted defeat and it is fair to say we deserved the equaliser. Barkley's strike was world class, and forget about his age - he has matured immensely."

Watford manager Quique Flores: "I felt it was possible to do something special in my first match in England when we went 2-1 up but we made some mistakes in the end. It was a fair result.

"My targets are the same as the club and the players. We have to be competitive and we will try and offer something different to the fans every week. The connection with the fans is really special and we will try to stay close to them."

Man of the match

Deeney's hold-up play was central to much of Watford's composure in possession, but Ross Barkley deserves the award for his brilliant strike alone.

Martinez said the performance was proof the young midfielder had added maturity to his game for the new season. The Spaniard was surely alluding to the way in which Barkley continued to fight for possession and show for the ball when his team were trailing.

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The stats you need to know

  • Ighalo has scored more goals than any other player in the top four tiers in 2015 (17)
  • Everton have now started three consecutive Premier League seasons with a 2-2 draw
  • The Toffees have now conceded 37 goals on the opening day in Premier League history; more than any other side
  • Watford ended a run of nine consecutive defeats against Everton in all competitions

Line-ups

Everton

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 24Howard
  • 23ColemanBooked at 54mins
  • 5Stones
  • 6Jagielka
  • 32GallowaySubstituted forKonéat 63'minutes
  • 16McCarthy
  • 18Barry
  • 11MirallasSubstituted forOviedoat 77'minutes
  • 20Barkley
  • 15Cleverley
  • 10LukakuSubstituted forNaismithat 90+1'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Robles
  • 8Oviedo
  • 9Koné
  • 14Naismith
  • 21Osman
  • 27Browning
  • 35McAleny

Watford

Formation 4-4-1-1

  • 1Gomes
  • 2Nyom
  • 5Prödl
  • 15Cathcart
  • 25HolebasBooked at 66mins
  • 21Anya
  • 29Capoue
  • 8BehramiSubstituted forWatsonat 79'minutes
  • 19LayunSubstituted forParedesat 59'minutes
  • 7JuradoSubstituted forIghaloat 74'minutes
  • 9DeeneyBooked at 42mins

Substitutes

  • 4Angella
  • 10Vydra
  • 13Gilmartin
  • 14Paredes
  • 18Pudil
  • 23Watson
  • 24Ighalo
Referee:
Mike Jones
Attendance:
39,063

Match Stats

Home TeamEvertonAway TeamWatford
Possession
Home67%
Away33%
Shots
Home10
Away11
Shots on Target
Home5
Away5
Corners
Home8
Away2
Fouls
Home7
Away13

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Everton 2, Watford 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Everton 2, Watford 2.

  3. Post update

    Foul by Arouna Koné (Everton).

  4. Post update

    Juan Carlos Paredes (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  5. Post update

    Bryan Oviedo (Everton) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Nyom (Watford).

  7. Substitution

    Substitution, Everton. Steven Naismith replaces Romelu Lukaku.

  8. Post update

    Foul by Bryan Oviedo (Everton).

  9. Post update

    Nyom (Watford) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  10. Post update

    Attempt saved. Romelu Lukaku (Everton) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is saved in the bottom right corner.

  11. Post update

    Attempt missed. Ikechi Anya (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Ben Watson.

  12. Goal!

    Goal! Everton 2, Watford 2. Arouna Koné (Everton) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Romelu Lukaku.

  13. Post update

    Phil Jagielka (Everton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Odion Ighalo (Watford).

  15. Post update

    Corner, Everton. Conceded by Ikechi Anya.

  16. Goal!

    Goal! Everton 1, Watford 2. Odion Ighalo (Watford) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Troy Deeney.

  17. Post update

    Ross Barkley (Everton) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  18. Post update

    Foul by Juan Carlos Paredes (Watford).

  19. Post update

    Corner, Watford. Conceded by Seamus Coleman.

  20. Substitution

    Substitution, Watford. Ben Watson replaces Valon Behrami.