A Smash-and-Grab Raid Against the Odds

By Lyndon Lloyd 02/02/2020 44comments  |  Jump to last
Watford 2 - 3 Everton

It’s not often that Theo Walcott completes 90 minutes these days. Indeed, before today he hadn’t managed it since the final day of last season at Tottenham — also the last time he had scored — and had it not been for Fabian Delph’s dismissal in the 72nd minute of today’s game, it’s possible he would have been hooked again well before the end.

Such are the quirks of fate that meant that the winger, a rival to Delph for worst performer in Blue on the day, remained on while Dominic Calvert-Lewin was sacrificed for the introduction of Michael Keane to shore up the back and was there in the final minute of regulation time to score a dramatic winner that capped an equally stunning Everton comeback from 2-0 down.

If Carlo Ancelotti’s men needed to get the final minute or so of that Newcastle game out of their system, this certainly did the trick and they managed to exorcise a few other demons in the process, not least Marco Silva’s failure to engineer victory from a losing position during his stewardship of the team. The last time an Everton side had come back from being down before today was in December 2017 and the last time they’d overcome a 2-0 deficit away from home was under Roberto Martinez when they beat West Bromwich Albion in 2015.

This Everton team also doesn’t score from corners and yet today, thanks to Yerry Mina goals that come around like buses, they bagged two and then stymied Watford enough when they were a man down to allow for the counter-attack that led to Walcott becoming the unlikely hero of what was ultimately an unforgettable afternoon.

There’s no glossing over the fact though that this was a poor game and a poor display overall, one that, at 0-2 and 2-2 with Everton a man down, turned the mind towards the summer and the rebuilding work that needs to be done under the new boss. But after a thrilling conclusion, Evertonian eyes are now low looking up the table again and pondering what is possible abetween now and May.

Given the season they had to endure prior to mid-December and the misery the travelling Blues have experienced this season — that heart-breaking reverse at Brighton uppermost in mind — you can’t begrudge Everton the finalé they were able to savour and the result that lifts them back into the top half.

With Richarlison fit after missing the last two games with a knee complaint, Ancelotti had a dilemma in attack over whether to restore his most effective strike partnership and drop Moise Kean back to the bench immediately after he had finally opened his account or try and find a way of playing all three in the same starting XI.

The manager opted for the former and also brought Gylfi Sigurdsson back instead of Morgan Schneiderlin while Alex Iwobi, fit again after six weeks out with a hamstring injury, came in for Bernard whom Ancelotti appears to regard as being more effective at home than away. The fact that the Italian no doubt anticipated a robust midfield battle against a big, physical Watford side might also have influenced his decision.

A stern test in midfield is what Everton got in a first half where they largely most the battle in that area of the park. Watford, much improved over the past couple of months under Nigel Pearson, were quicker to the ball and hungrier going forward and it wasn’t a complete surprise when they went ahead after just nine minutes.

And it was that void that frequently opens up behind Djibril Sidibé on Everton’s right into which Etienne Capoue dropped a diagonal ball to Gerard Deulofeu who brought it out of the air deftly and laid the ball to Adam Masina who had driven forward completely untracked by Walcott. He fired a shot into the ground, past Pickford’s left glove and inside the far post to score .. of course.. his first ever goal for the Hornets.

Eight minutes later, Jordan Pickford came haring out of his box to collect a long ball dropped in behind the visitors’ defence and did well to get his body behind it and pass it to a team-mate down the left flank.

For their part, Everton were generally struggling to get things going after a promising early move that ended with Iwobi squaring a ball to Richarlison which the latter scooped disappointingly over. Truth be told, the Brazilian looked decidedly rusty throughout until he produced a terrific run on the counter to lay on the pass that led to the winner but he wasn’t alone in being out of sorts.

Sigurdsson was struggling to cope on the defensive side in midfield, particularly against Abdoulaye Doucouré and even some of Mason Holgate’s early passes forward searching out Walcott went well astray. Delph, meanwhile, couldn’t provide much inspiration, although he did embark one excellent jinking run straight through the centre of Watford’s midfield with four options ahead of him and ended up wasting it with a horrendous pass that went straight to a yellow jersey.

At the back, despite enjoying a five-inch height advantage over his opponent, Yerry Mina battled to cope with Troy Deeney and won just one aerial duel with the Midlander before Ancelotti switched strategies and employed Sigurdsson to jump with him allowing Mina to mop up the second ball.

However, it was a dreadful error from Delph that led to Watford their second goal when he gifted the ball straight to Deeney outside his penalty area and the striker paused before playing Roberto Pereyra in to drive a shot past Pickford three minutes before half-time.

Just as they did at West Ham a fortnight ago, however, Everton pressed in the dying phases of the first half and were rewarded when Masina headed behind under pressure from Calvert-Lewin and Lucas Digne stepped up to take the Blues’s first corner of the game in the first minute of time added on. His flighted ball towards the back post was met by Mina who out-muscled two defenders to get to it, the ball dropped to Holgate who couldn’t force it past the man on the line but it finally broke nicely back to Mina who prodded home.

That would end up being more than just a fillip to take into the dressing room because to minutes later, Everton would score from their second corner after Pereyra had blocked Digne’s attempted cross. Sigurdsson took the honours this time from the opposite side and he swung his delivery over everyone except Mina who easily stepped in front of Craig Cathcart to plant a downward header into the unoccupied side of Foster’s goal to make it 2-2.

Suddenly the whole complexion of the game had changed and with fresh instructions from Ancelotti ringing in their ears, the Blues emerged for the second half with much more intensity and tempo about their game. An early free-kick from Sigurdsson almost yielded a goal when Calvert-Lewin’s header bounced off Cathcart and flew narrowly over but despite the overall improvement from Ancelotti’s men, chances were few and far between.

And they were still prone to potentially damaging mistakes like Digne’s ill-advised pass inside for Delph that led to the latter over-stretching and bringing Pereyra down, earning himself a booking in the process just before the hour mark.

Nevertheless, with it being a much more even contest and Kean and Schneiderlin having been introduced in place of Iwobi and Sigurdsson, the feeling was that Everton had enough to win against a side that had started the day in the bottom three.

The prospect of victory appeared to evaporate in the 71st minute, however, with the latest of Delph’s bone-headed lapses in judgement. The midfielder had Capoue safely up against the touchline and going nowhere but elected to stab a foot in to try and tackle him and ended up chopping him doing to concede the free kick. As stupid as the supposedly experienced midfielder’s challenge was, it was a ridiculously soft decision by referee Craig Pawson to book him but in making the challenge, Delph had given the officials a decision to make, one heavily influenced by Capoue’s theatrics and the urging of Watford’s players and the crowd, and it ended with Everton finishing the game with 10 men.

Ancelotti sacrificed Calvert-Lewin for Keane, moving the excellent Holgate into midfield alongside Schneiderlin and the move proved to be an inspired one, giving Everton the defensive solidity to ensure that Watford were held at bay despite their late pressure and the platform from which to spring the decisive counter-attack.

Masina couldn’t bring Holgate’s defensive header from Mariappa’s long throw under his spell and Kean nipped it off his toe into the path of Richarlison who raced off down the left with two yellow jerseys in tow while his strike partner and Walcott sped forward with to his right. The Brazilian delayed he got within 10 yards of the box before slipping it in to Kean who, depending on your point of view, either missed his kick or helped it on to Walcott who arrived at the back stick in time to steer home a composed finish and win the game for the Toffees in the 90th minute.

The release of emotion, perhaps pent up from that frustrating conclusion to Everton’s last game, was palpable as all the players and substitutes mobbed Walcott near the corner flag in front of the delirious away fans.

Indeed, this was the perfect, albeit slightly mad, antidote to the utter emptiness with which Toffees fans greeted the final whistle against Newcastle. Whereas that draw with the Magpies had seen Everton throw away two points at the end of arguably their best performance of the season, today they first looked to have retrieved a point from a seemingly lost situation and then they grabbed all three just when it looked as though a draw would have to be enough after they were reduced to 10 men.

It means that they will finish the weekend in at least 10th place and at most just four points off fifth place with a home game against Palace to come before a fortnight’s break and then a series of fixtures against last season’s top six that present real opportunities for further upward progress. If this is the Ancelotti effect, long may it continue!

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Reader Comments (44)

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Bob Parrington
1 Posted 02/02/2020 at 03:34:55
Thanks Lyndon for your good report. I watched the game on Optus Sport. Delph seems to be a liability when defending but, at times, he looked OK going forward (you mentioned one occasion yourself). So perhaps it was fate that lead to his sending off in a poor decision by the ref (I didn't see any referral to VAR on this one, which surprised me). Clearly it was not a yellow card offence. If he'd stayed on there would always have been that chance of a blunder similar to that which lead to Watford's second goal.

Have watched the Everton winner several times, I reckon it was a pass from Kean on to Walcott. So he should gain a "Blue Peter" badge (showing my age with that). Walcott took his opportunity brilliantly, too!

Ajay Gopal
2 Posted 02/02/2020 at 06:24:09
Lyndon, I disagree that Delph had a poor game. I see Delph as being the only mid-fielder we presently have available who has the courage to show up for the out ball from Mina or Holgate, and he usually has to run with the ball himself, because the other MFs are absent or not technically capable of taking the ball ahead - think Iwobi, Walcott and Siggy. Inevitably, there will be one or two errors, like the one which led to Watford's 2nd goal. I believe that once Gomes is back fit, him and Delph will form a good combination. If Bernard is able to show a consistent run of form on the left side of the pitch, and we get in a good right-sided mid-fielder in the summer (as Brands himself has openly said Everton need), then we could have a very decent mid-field.
Jon Withey
3 Posted 02/02/2020 at 08:14:43
Thanks, Lyndon. Happy to see the team scrape together points even if they aren't convincing at times (and dreadful at Anfield) – that is one loss in ten, I read somewhere.

With Richarlison and Iwobi back we have plenty of attacking options and Kean is now contributing; it would be great to get Gomes on the field but don't rush him back. Also interesting to see Keane get some minutes, maybe that could free up Holgate for midfield at times, like he did late on.

A good Saturday.

Darren Hind
4 Posted 02/02/2020 at 08:46:40
A little gem in there, Lyndon.

While the debate rages about whether Kean meant the winning goal as a pass or a shot, you simply draw attention to the fact that it doesn't matter.

"Kean nipped it off his toe into the path of Richarlison"... Bingo.

Without Kean starting the counter, we wouldn't have had a goal to debate. That's what really counts.

Christopher Timmins
5 Posted 02/02/2020 at 08:52:05
Let's take our slice of luck and move on to the next game. Performances will have to improve or we won't pick up many points in the next set of games.
Mal van Schaick
6 Posted 02/02/2020 at 08:56:54
We have the makings of a decent squad and, come the summer, Ancellotti will tweak it a little with some ins and outs.

We seem to be playing with some resolution and determination since the ‘Ancellotti effect’, and I'll take a smash and grab because we have been on the other end of them... eg, Brighton.

Dave Abrahams
7 Posted 02/02/2020 at 09:05:33
Bob (1), regarding VAR, just watched MOTD and they said VAR is not used for yellow cards but strangely it is for red cards.

In the game I am referring to, Crystal Palace vs Sheffield Utd, a Sheffield player was allowed to stay on the field after a bad foul; he was already on a yellow but the referee let the second foul be enough not to use the second yellow, both fouls seemed to me a lot worse than Delph's two yellows.

Referees are the ones to blame for inconsistency in making decisions, both on the field and in the VAR room.

Paul Tran
8 Posted 02/02/2020 at 09:08:36
It isn't pretty, but it's effective. And after the first few months of the season, I'll settle for effective.

I expect us to win at the moment, other than against the top two. Frankly, I'd rather see us consistently beating those around us and below us first.

He's inherited a team made up of jigsaw puzzle pieces from different boxes and has them third on current form.

You don't have to be a 'fanboy' or an idiot calling him a 'fraud'. You can appreciate someone coming in and doing a good job, with acres of room for improvement.

Steven Astley
9 Posted 02/02/2020 at 09:14:20
Smash and grab job?? What the fuck!!!
David Hallwood
10 Posted 02/02/2020 at 09:43:53
Great report, Lyndon, as ever. To use the old cliche, if you play badly and win...

What caught my eye is Holgate when he moved into midfield. It's a shame that we're so light in the centre-back department because Carlo Ancelotti could do worse than give him an extended run.

A crazy game (crazy couple of games actually) in a crazy season; apart from the usual two, if we put a run together, we could plausibly end up in 4th because all teams are so inconsistent.

I certainly wasn't thinking that after the derby.

Brian Harrison
11 Posted 02/02/2020 at 10:21:40
Well I defeat since his appointment and in the last 10 games only Liverpool and Man City have done better. Ancelotti said we were lucky to be level at half time but even Nigel Pearson admitted we were the better side second half, despite having a man unluckily sent off.

Ancelotti has a lot of work to do with this squad, and I just hope we are able to give him the funds he needs to bring in the quality of player he will want. I think what will please him is the young players he has to work with, possibly only Richarlison who has that star quality at present. But Holgate is getting better and better with every game and what a bonus he can acquit himself so well in midfield. DCL and Kean are learning week by week and I am sure Davies will improve under Ancelotti. Also shouldnt forget another young player JJ Kenny will be back in the summer. So a lot to be positive about, lets not forget back in December when Silva was sacked and with a tough fixture list, many on here said they couldnt see where the next win was coming from. But thanks to what Duncan Ferguson did and now carried on by Carlo Ancelotti we are now looking up the table not down.

Jack Convery
12 Posted 02/02/2020 at 11:18:00
Give me a lucky general every time. Plus he knows what he's doing. Go Carlo !! COYBs.
Kevin Molloy
13 Posted 02/02/2020 at 11:21:57
he had a poor game yesterday, but there are very few players who can carry the ball fifty yards like that with a defender breathing down his neck, and then have the cool head to make a killer pass. That is what having a top quality player in the ranks brings.
I would disagree with anybody saying yesterday was 'luck'. Or, if it is lucky, it is remarkable how top managers enjoy more than their fair share of it.
Theo did have a relatively poor game yesterday, but he doesn't hide, and is capable of hurting teams. Certainly Iwobi or Bernard just wouldn't have scored that winner, they wouldn't have had the pace, simple as that. Even Schneiderlin, I was pleased to see how overjoyed he was with Theo's winner, it looks like our brilliant manager is starting to mould a team, something we haven't had for about five years.
Tony Everan
14 Posted 02/02/2020 at 11:57:12
Quality report Lyndon,

The win is very welcome, especially after Newcastle. Most importantly for me is we are now looking like a team. There is a different mood and aura about the club. Players look more focussed, there seems to be more togetherness and more of a will to win.

We have a good squad and some really good young improving players. I imagine most clubs now fear our attack. We have pace, arial strength and goals. Additionally, we have Moise Kean who will be exponentially improving over the next months and years.

I would hope we will be discerning and just focus on one astute quality signing or maybe two in the summer. The right player signed and we will be back in the big time challenging for top 4 and a cup. At the moment there is no team apart from the top two that are streets ahead of us and we are gaining ground as our young players improve.

Conor McCourt
15 Posted 02/02/2020 at 11:57:20
Lyndon, that was a great point about the little change Ancelotti made which practically guaranteed a draw when we looked as if we were going to lose it. Keane came on and gave us more physicality while Holgate ensured we wrestled back control in midfield. The fact we scored was a brilliant bonus.

I was very critical of Carlo after Newcastle and Brighton but today as in his first two games he made little tactical changes which brought about 3 'lucky' wins. This awareness is the big difference between him and Silva and no doubt under Silva we would have gotten 2 points and not 9 from these games.

Detractors have pointed out that we are just playing just as poorly as before, that Ancelotti is getting the breaks and that he has had a decent fixture run and the next month or so will be different gravy. These are all valid but credit has to be given also for his initial impact.

The big thing I like about him is that he seems to know his players and builds his team and system according to those traits. Playing with two up top suits our 3 strikers individual qualities so every player except Tom Davies has been given the best chance to show their attributes to best effect.

Today many will view Bernard's omission as ridiculous considering his form in the last two games. Iwobi was a poor replacement but Carlos idea was spot on as he wanted more energy to compete with their powerful midfield and Bernard has often been a passenger in these types of games. The player perhaps let the manager down. This is what I like is that he tries to manipulate the squad like chess pieces rather than just play his best eleven despite their suitability for the conditions.

On a side note many of our fans have been unsure about Kean but go back and look what happened after his scuffed shot. The player fell to the ground, looked up and desperately tried to get to his feet in anticipation of a sniff of a goal. Obviously Walcott scored but his instinct I haven't seen from a blue since maybe Jeffers.

Steve Mink
16 Posted 02/02/2020 at 12:00:16
I thought Delph was OK yesterday and unlucky with both bookings. Also delighted to be so wrong about Holgate - was on here a year or so ago saying he would never be Premiership quality.
Ryan Holroyd
17 Posted 02/02/2020 at 12:05:31
Kean definitely meant to pass yesterday
Christy Ring
18 Posted 02/02/2020 at 12:17:03
Great report Lyndon, and I agree with you completely about our midfield, the best thing ever happened was Delph's red card, because Holgate brought a huge physical presence, when he moved to midfield. Capoue won all the 50/50 challenges, Delph, Sigurdsson and Iwobi were 2nd best, and nowhere near good enough, and we have one of the weakest midfield in the Premiership. I know Gomes will be back shortly, which is miraculous but with Gbamin having to have another operation, we definitely need to buy a defensive midfielder this summer, as Delph and Schneiderlin couldn't lace Gueye's boots.
Brent Stephens
19 Posted 02/02/2020 at 12:31:14
Holgate has really developed well lately. I guess that loan period did him no harm either.Given our current limited choice in midfield, it's difficult to know where to start him. Kean and Mina is more fragile than Holgate and MIna. And yet that midfield was strengthened with Holgate not only yesterday but in other recent games.

Interesting comments about his tendency to look right, but mu,ch less so left, when passing the ball around in defence.

Tom Bowers
20 Posted 02/02/2020 at 12:36:44
Everton have so often been mugged in the past that this was a welcome change. We even got some much needed VAR assist that RS have been hogging all season.
Carry on Carlo !!
Fran Mitchell
21 Posted 02/02/2020 at 12:47:48
Won a game after coming from behind. Forgotten how that was.

We are clearly far away from what we should be, our midfield is sub par, none of Sigurdsson, Delph, or Schneiderlin have a future. Huge questions around Davies and doubt many would she'd a year if he was sold.

But the psychology behind the team is transformed. European football is there to be gained this season. 2-3 new central midfielders and we'll be a different proposition next season.

Phil Lewis
22 Posted 02/02/2020 at 12:53:27
How Sigurrdson still manages to pull on a shirt, let alone be awarded the captaincy, is totally beyond me. The man is an imposter, a complete liability. We are a man down from the kick off when his name is on the team sheet. I see no logic in that Bernard has put in excellent displays of late, yet remained on the bench yesterday.
Holgate just gets better. He has proved just as effective in a defensive midfield role as Central defence. Until an alternative emerges, I would persist with him there and partner Keane with Mina at the back. Holgate offers a physical presence combined with a cool, creative head. Sigurrdson has neither. I prayed someone would come in for the Icelander in the transfer window. Clearly nobody is that stupid.
Paul Jones
23 Posted 02/02/2020 at 13:58:32
Holgate is a better defender, more mobile, makes more forward passes and makes more clearing headers than Sniederlin & Delph. So appear to already have what we need. The two afore mentioned appear to have been very needless buys that have only benefitted those with contacts to brokers of either side.
Since the advent of Walsh & Brands, Gueyye seems to have been the only significant buy of value apart from Richarlison who came from the manger's previous club. If you go onto the fanzine sites of clubs we have made expensive buys from there seems to be an immediate outbreak of delirious celebration, Arsenal and City in particular.
Carl Manning
24 Posted 02/02/2020 at 14:08:57
In regards to Bernard, I think Carlo has very quickly realized he’s not the same player away from Goodison so played Iwobi instead. I fully expect he’ll be in the side vs palace
Eddie Dunn
25 Posted 02/02/2020 at 14:09:55
I also thought Delph was doing okay, passing well and getting about the park. He obviously made a poor touch for their goal but there were several bits of poor play leading up to his ill-fated pass.
He was of course very unlucky to get two yellows. On both occasions it looked like he got a little bit of the ball( I know that these days it doesn't matter if it's from behind). He simply should not have attempted the tackle, and the twat of a Watford player conned the ref.
Defensively we are a bit of a car crash with the line between our defenders and midfield the area of uncertainty.
It was good to see Schniederlin play so effectively, exposing the lacklustre Sigurdsson as a man out of form and fitness.
Holgate was superb and the manager used his subs well negating the loss of Delph.
It was great to see us turn the game on it's head and the spirit in the squad looked excellent as the new coach gets them to play to their strengths.
Carl Manning
26 Posted 02/02/2020 at 14:15:09
Paul, Delph cost £8m. That’s isn’t expensive. League 1 clubs are asking £10m for players now
Ian Bennett
27 Posted 02/02/2020 at 14:56:14
I hope Delph is moved on in the summer. At the time it seemed a decent move, but he's not brought anything that I hoped he would.

Bad mistake yesterday for the 2nd goal, and a stupid red card nearly cost us again. He's had a poor season, and I'd move him on to another mug team willing to give us a fee and take his wages.

Dave Abrahams
28 Posted 02/02/2020 at 15:07:21
Eddie (25), I’m glad you mentioned the Watford player who cooed the referee into sending Delph off, it happened right in front of the linesman, who made no effort to tell the, less than useful, referee what had occurred.

Why is there no come back for the action of the Watford player, who despite not being touched by Delph, rolled all over the place, costing Everton a player for the last twenty minutes, maybe Delph shouldn’t have made the tackle, no doubt, in my mind, he shouldn’t have been sent off for that final tackle, and the first one didn’t look like a yellow to me either.

Mike Powell
29 Posted 02/02/2020 at 15:15:24
Delph thinks he is better than what he is, we are a better team when he isn't playing. That ball he gave away for there goal says it all, hope he is one of the many we need to get rid of in the summer. Very happy with the way we battled with ten men great counter attack to win the game COYB
Tony Abrahams
30 Posted 02/02/2020 at 15:27:51
I think it was the linesman’s reaction, which was the reason Delph, was sent off, and I would love to both see and also hear the refs view of it, because he definitely over-reacted by pulling out a second yellow card imo.

Surely a sending off is a major decision, so the fact that VAR, hasn’t been introduced to help determine if it was correct, just adds more bemusement, as to actually what it’s main aim is?

Surely it would be fair, for the ref to be interviewed at the end of the game, and asked to explain his decision, and if he was influenced by his colleague, especially because a sending off, is normally one of the most contentious things in football.

Darren Hind
31 Posted 02/02/2020 at 15:36:29
Not a great fan of Delph, but if those two tackles warrant a sending off. The games going to hell in a handcart
Rob Halligan
32 Posted 02/02/2020 at 15:38:28
Tony, not only the reaction of the linesman, but also the reaction of the Watford player. It's not as if Delph lunged in on the Watford man, he just stretched a leg towards the ball and got a touch on the ball. Ok, there may have been a little bit of contact, but surely not enough to force Capoue to go down and writhe around in agony, and certainly didn't warrant a second yellow card.
Tony Abrahams
33 Posted 02/02/2020 at 15:57:36
More the reason for rules to be drafted in to end this disgraceful cheating Rob?

We all know it could be done, but it seems to me that football or the television companies that pay hugh amounts of money, want controversy.

Imagine at the end of the game a ref saying he was conned, which automatically brought a suspension for the cheat? Not hard to implement, if people got serious, and it might just take away a lot of gamesmanship, now wouldn’t that be nice? Especially if they could make it that black and white, that we wouldn’t have to hear loads of absolute shite getting talked by ex-players, or maybe I’m just asking for too much now!

Martin Mason
35 Posted 02/02/2020 at 17:43:06
I believe that we have turned the corner and that while pretty is a long way off, this slow improvement will continue. I believe that Ancelotti is very much the man and that he is doing very well with a squad burdened with several non-functioning members.

What a wonderful buy Richarlison has been though and what a great player Holgate has become. When you look at Digne and Calvert-Lewin, there have been some amazing positives amongst the disasters and, if Moise Kean can meet half of his potential, then we are in good shape. Shame on the club forever for Allardyce, Schneiderlin and Sigurdsson.

Jeff Holt
36 Posted 02/02/2020 at 19:27:23
Great news re Delph! Now unavailable!

Just get Schneiderlin and Sigurdsson sent off and we might look half-good!

Nicholas Ryan
37 Posted 02/02/2020 at 19:58:47
I wasn't at the match yesterday, and have only seen it on MOTD. Something struck me immediately, which no-one else seems to have mentioned. I thought Pickford could have done better with each of the Watford goals,... and the lad thinks so himself.

Watch carefully, his reaction after the 2nd goal; he drops to his knees, and punches the ground 3 times. There was no obvious defensive lapse to explain this; no massive deflection. The logical inference is, that it was frustration at his own performance. I'm not saying he was bad... I'm saying, perhaps, he could have been 5% better.

Danny O'Neill
38 Posted 02/02/2020 at 20:03:17
I said on Michael Kenrick's report, what a bizarre season.

I suppose firstly, and analysing the immediate aftermath of the last 2 games, had you told me we would take 4 points, I'd have been satisfied. Don't confuse satisfied with pleased but a home win against Newcastle followed by an away point against a Watford team recently "stubbornised" by the appointment of one of those British managers that makes them difficult to beat would have been a decent return in the context of our season to date.

But then we're Everton. Of course we would be cruising in the 93rd minute to Newcastle only to gift them a point. Of course we would be 2 - 0 down in the 45th minute only to go in level by half time & then steal the points in the 90th minute.

Give them their due; this lot keep us guessing & on our toes!! Why on earth would you want to support a normal and predictable football club when you can have Everton?!!

Seriously though, just before half time yesterday, we are nervously looking over our shoulder. Now, even after Tottenham's win today, we are 4 points off 5th & automatic Europa qualification. Given Chelsea could also capitulate as they are intermittent at best, we are 8 off Champions league.

Bizarre season in a bizarre and sub-standard league outside the runaway league leaders and the 2 behind them who are better than the rest. It says a lot about the standard of the league.

In that context, anything is possible so right now I wouldn't like to guess whether we'll finish 5th or 14th!!

Billy Dawber
39 Posted 03/02/2020 at 04:46:23
Nicholas @ 37, I too thought the same about Pickford. His positioning was to blame for both goals. Too far off his line and to one side of the goal. Been the same all season but got away with it alot of the time. Doesn't fill anyone with confidence i'm afraid and thinks by doing long kicks makes him a great goalie. Not when we've been spoilt with the likes of big Nev and Nigel Martyn etc. Good reliable keepers. Needs a rest like i've said before. Will do more damage in the next batch of games mark my words. Got away with it this time thank god. NSNO.
David Currie
40 Posted 03/02/2020 at 05:28:31
Phil 22, Agree with your post and hate seeing Siggy as captain, Holgate should be the captain. He is young, hungry and improving with every game.
James Hill
41 Posted 03/02/2020 at 07:59:52
Pickford as a keeper will always say he could have done better, 1st goal maybe. The second... anyone who thinks he has real chance in that situation is dreaming. The only hope he has is the striker hits it straight at him.

I can't believe the criticism he gets.

David Ellis
42 Posted 03/02/2020 at 09:54:51
I thought Delph was the one midfielder who was prepared to carry the ball forward. He's a decent purchase. But does do stupid tackles near the touchline that led to a goal the other week and a red card at the weekend.

Could never understand Koeman's fixation with Siggurdsen. He's competent when played a certain way but he's never fitted into the Everton team, and certainly can't fit into the current formation. Too slow to play out wide. Not skillful enough to be a No.10. Not strong enough to play in central midfield. Decent long range shot on him and at time decent footballing instincts but its not enough at his price tag.

I also thought Holgate wasn't going to make it after he seemed to stall at the beginning of last season, but he's looking very special now.

David Donnellan
43 Posted 03/02/2020 at 13:26:26
Someone said on here recently (I can’t remember who or which thread) that it feels like a storm is brewing in this team.
I have to agree, we are a way off challenging for anything yet. However Richarlison is maturing & improving, other young players like Holgate & Calvert-Lewin have improved & are getting better. Kean is beginning to show glimpses of huge promise.
We are looking more like a team now, more gelled & a bit more fight about them.
Still a bit more work to do, in terms of limiting the silly mistakes & passing needs to be a bit crisper.
Bringing the right players in this summer to improve what we have & these new players gelling into the side. Could spark something, let’s hope, small steps have happened since Ancelotti has come in, so hears hoping!
Billy Dawber
44 Posted 06/02/2020 at 05:08:35
We've got some great games coming up and it would be brilliant if we could keep this run going and get a few good wins against the so called top teams. We are playing some good stuff under the new gaffer but still making schoolboy errors in every department really. With a bit more polishing and getting things tighter we could be in for some cracking games. Onwards and upwards and lets see if we can surprise a few. NSNO.
Mark Guglielmo
45 Posted 06/02/2020 at 13:56:28
One minor correction, it was Everton's last come from 2 goals down since 5 November 2017, ironically also against Watford. For whatever reason, December keeps being mentioned but it was that November fixture. Onwards and upwards.

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