Sunday, January 10, 2010

Donovan shines in Everton debut

Landon Donovan's potential success for Everton in the English Premier League can do a lot to help legitimize soccer in the United States to the rest of the world.

His first match went a long way in offering that legitimacy, as he assisted on the first goal that aided in Everton's 2-2 draw with Arsenal yesterday.

Kevin Palmer of ESPN reports on Donovan's bright debut.

Donovan had the eyes of a few more millions trained on his opening day in the Premier League and he wasted little time in setting about his task of proving his worth as David Moyes' side went in search of revenge after the 6-1 humbling Arsenal handed out to them on the first day of the season.

Employed on the right side of the midfield, Donovan's first task was always going to be getting to grips with the pace and power that oozes from every Premier League game and the tactics Everton employed for this game meant there was no time for the American to settle.

With the snow tumbling down in front of us as the first whistle blew, Donovan quickly adapted to the leap in class as he looked to combine with the every-dangerous Tim Cahill and Everton's sole front man Louis Saha. Indeed, he warmed to the task well.

Okay, so he may not have taken hold of the first half in the manner he does for the Galaxy, yet such lofty ambition was always unattainable on a day when Everton's chief job was to close down Arsenal at every opportunity, in a desperate bid to cut down the flowing football that they strive to produce.

Young Arsenal defender Armand Traore was given plenty to ponder as Donovan ran at him with intent from the off and, such was the impact Everton made in this game, that it was little surprise when the visitors snatched a lead after just 12 minutes.

Moyes reserved special praised for his debutant. "I thought Donovan did very well," he stated. "He cramped up, so we had to take him off and the cold probably didn't help him. Landon was a threat to Arsenal all day and he did a great job out on the right. Landon offers us plenty of options and that is why we are delighted to have him."

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