Everton 1 - 0 Southampton
It’s not quite true that Everton’s cathartic win at Anfield nine days ago would have counted for nothing had they lost tonight against Southampton but there’s no question that a defeat against Ralph Hasenhüttl’s struggling side would have been a massive comedown. Beating Liverpool on their own turf for the first time in almost 22 years was always going to be a result that stood on its own in the minds of supporters this season but to also finally see a win at Goodison Park after two and a half months has merely intensified the recent sense of optimism over what the Toffees can achieve this season.
It’s still very much “one game at a time” but being within touching distance of the top four with their highest points total at this stage of the season since Roberto Martinez’s debut campaign at the club means that Everton are very much in the thick of the Champions League equation. And rectifying their poor home form against teams they really should be beating was always going to be crucial to their chances of seizing a unique opportunity in These Covid Times.
From an entertainment perspective, this game won’t live long in the memory at all. Everton scored with their only legitimate shot on target — Richarlison had a header well saved by Fraser Forster but was half a yard offside when he made his move for the cross and Michael Keane had a goal ruled out when Mason Holgate was found by VAR to also have been beyond the last Saints defender later in the first half — which was only their fifth accurate effort in over 270 minutes of football at Goodison Park. But if the result does indeed end up being the catalyst that turns around the Blues’ home form and helps propel them into Europe, Evertonians may look back on it as a vital game in the season.
You would hope that consistent displays with more style, slick passing and attacking production will come under Carlo Ancelotti, most likely with more signings of James Rodriguez’s ilk, but for now Everton are effective without being especially dynamic or fluid with their passing game. This was another example of where the opposition, despite being towards the wrong end of the table, on the whole played the better football, were better at their hosts at playing through the press and often made better use of the ball going forward.
Crucially, though they were blunt in attack thanks mostly to Ancelotti’s impressive back line, one increasingly exemplified by Ben Godfrey’s rapid maturity from young hopeful to indispensable first-teamer in the space of just a few months. And when things descended into partial chaos in the 90th minute and a spate of pinball ended with Mason Holgate shinning the loose ball to Jannik Vestergaard in front of goal, Jordan Pickford came up big to deny the defender an equaliser almost at the death.
Had that gone in, it would have represented another bruising failing by Everton at Goodison Park — a failure to press home their superiority and, in particular in this match, to take advantage of an under-strength and occasionally nervy back line who were bidding to avoid Saints’ ninth match without a win and had the memory of a 9-0 drubbing at Old Trafford fresh in the mind.
That the Toffees, with the returning Dominic Calvert-Lewin and the in-form Richarlison playing as more of a two-man strike-force than is usually the case, didn’t put them under far more of an examination was frustrating but, in the final reckoning, the Brazilian’s superbly-taken goal was all that was needed.
It came in the ninth minute, initially from a “route one” delivery from Pickford (his distribution was particularly good all evening) but once Calvert-Lewin had won the aerial dual with Mohammed Salisu and Gylfi Sigurdsson had collected the second ball, it was all about the finesse of the Icelander’s pass and Richarlison’s expert finish. Threading an almost identical ball to the one James supplied at Anfield, Sigurdsson picked out the Brazil forward’s run who took it wide of Fraser Forster and then whipped a right-footed finish into the empty net from the angle.
Southampton's best chance of the first half also came via a set-piece when Calvert-Lewin had to dive to head James Ward-Prowse's free-kick behind and, from the resulting corner, Moussa Djenepo cut along the byline, Che Adams helped it on into the six-yard box but Jordan Pickford got a glove on the ball after it was turned goal-wards by Mohammed Salisu and then smothered the danger.
Had Richarlison been a touch more alert or decisive on the one dangerous Sigurdsson free-kick off the first half that didn’t result in an offside flag, he might have doubled his tally but he missed getting a toe on the whipped delivery from the right 10 minutes before the half-time interval.
That had been a brief puncture in a trend that saw Southampton having more of the ball and the theme would continue in the second half. Allan looked a little rusty with the ball at his feet at times but settled back in well and it wasn’t Doucouré’s best game in possession either but, as usual, he more than made up it with sheer energy and determination. André Gomes, meanwhile, has a solid game on the left side of a midfield diamond.
Sigurdsson fired a direct free-kick off the top of the defensive wall shortly after half-time and Forster denied Bed Godfrey his first Everton goal in the 58th minute he batted the defender's shot behind after Ward-Prowse had headed away from his own goal line.
At the other end, Salisu just missed restoring parity shortly after the hour mark when his back-header off a corner flew a yard wide of the upright. Nathan Redmond curled an effort past the same post in the 72nd minute but as the game moved into the final 10, Southampton's increasing pressure almost paid dividends. Stuart Armstrong surged through the middle and played a one-two with Nathan Tella before laying it off to Djenepo whose first-time shot flashed inches past the far post.
If that was one heart-stopping moment for the home side, Vestergaard’s chance in the final minute of the 90 matched it but Pickford stood tall and made a vital stop despite having had little do up to that point. The it was just a case of winding down the clock with the help of some mesmeric trickery by 87th-minute substitute, Alex Iwobi, down by the corner flag.
So now attentions turn to a Thursday evening trip to The Hawthorns to face former Everton boss Sam Allardyce and a side having an even tougher time of it at at the bottom of the division. With the Blues’ away record and West Brom’s struggles, Ancelotti’s men should travel with confidence that they can pick up another three points if they play to their potential and that if they can, they will further enhance their top-four credentials, particularly given that two of the teams immediately above them — Liverpool and Chelsea — are playing each other that evening.
Again, one game at a time but every victory is a step closer.
Reader Comments (59)
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1 Posted 02/03/2021 at 06:52:41
Three points and, especially, a home win are hugely welcomed but we must improve if we want to win often in the future. We must not forget that Southampton are currently one of the worst, if not the worst, team in the league. The whole defence played well except, as I already mentioned, in the last few minutes when Southampton made few chances.
I hope we can improve our game and win games as much as possible, we have West Brom and Chelsea next. West Brom is not so strong team but they are dangerous because they are fighting to avoid a drop and Chelsea are good, Tuchel has changed them, they are now a better team.
2 Posted 02/03/2021 at 09:26:44
Everton where prepared to stick with the pace of the game and fight, showing a improvement at home in mentality. Southampton where able to get dominance in midfield, which shows Everton though improved are weak technically in that area; pass completion and retaining possession.
This is how I see it.
Ancelotti will continue to try to improve the players in the squad and may just tip the balance of power in a tight run in. Everton may finally believe that they can achieve something and at last know they have to be prepared to put in the work and necessary application in every game to achieve this objective. Nothing is a given in the run in. .
3 Posted 02/03/2021 at 10:22:15
This performance was effective but dull and garnered 3 points. If we had written these same words after the West Ham, Newcastle and Fulham games we would sit 2nd in the table.
Last year we all recall Southampton playing us off the park in a really lucky 1-1 draw.
8 moths later we have clearly got stronger (they have regressed) and we are talking realistically about Europe.
Ancelotti is changing this team hugely and, with 2/3 in and 2/3 out we will be a proper top four challenger!
4 Posted 02/03/2021 at 10:30:49
It was a dour, battling win against a Southampton side who were a bit quicker and sleeker than us in midfield. We did well to keep them mostly at bay, and we had that extra class to take our chance to win.
It is an ugly win, but another 3 points on the scoreboard. It's all about getting into position now for the last 10 games.
Then the adrenaline and urgency will really kick in, it gives a glorious opportunity for players to show they have got what it takes when the chips are down. Some of our players can raise their level and we can kick on and do it.
5 Posted 02/03/2021 at 10:31:17
I'm worried at the paucity of chances that we create. It's difficult as we were way too open at the start of the season and everything has been switched to being hard to beat and to try to nick a goal.
It's a risky game, boring to watch but with excellent defenders playing to their potential + the goal scoring form of DCL and Richarlison (at long last) then it's proving effective when it works.
I don't know if it'll be enough to take us to the promised land of Champs League but it's probably our best bet.
I do however find it galling that despite playing 4 central midfielders we don't compete in midfield and instead easily concede the space and possession - would it have been the same with a midfield 3 of Davies, DoucourÃ© and Allan and with a 3rd attacker to support DCL & Ritchie? Hard to say.
I was looking forward to seeing the physicality & pace of King and DCL together. Perhaps with Ritchie on 1 side and Iwobi on the other. Probably more exciting and attacking but perhaps too open?
Anyway, can't complain whilst we win. And there are huge signs of change (beating Spurs AET, last minute equaliser v Man U and beating the Shite away) so we need to remember we are a work in progress BUT there are many positive signs.
If we can get Champs Lge it really would be special fingers crossed C'mon Blues!
6 Posted 02/03/2021 at 10:53:52
Siggy and Gomes are decent players but as has been well documented on this site playing them in the same team gives too much space to the opposition as neither are sufficiently mobile ( although Gomes is definitely improving steadily at the moment).
Until we get the new players we need Carlo is very cleverly relying on his defence to keep things tight and on his excellent front two to get a goal for the defence to defend.
A word for our keeper- I thought last night he put on a marvellous display of passing and if that had been Steven Gerrard hitting those long passes the Sky “expertsâ€ would have been highlighting each one and hailing him as the best in the game! Well done Jordan Pickford!!
7 Posted 02/03/2021 at 12:24:17
When I watch us play, the phrase "Riding your luck" keeps coming into mind and that's the way I'd sum us up this season.
And luck will have played a masive part if we see CL football next season, rather than our ability to manage games and win with comfort.
8 Posted 02/03/2021 at 12:24:30
9 Posted 02/03/2021 at 12:35:18
10 Posted 02/03/2021 at 12:38:44
11 Posted 02/03/2021 at 12:47:19
The majority of the game was passing around the defence and back passes to the GK, if they had played like this in England the crowd would be howling, but the Italians were quite appreciative of this chess- cum- watching- paint- dry approach to the game.
Which brings me nicely to the way we are setting up and the tactics we are using; here's a pub quiz question;' what's the connection to the current Everton team and the game I watched all those years ago?' text your answer to 'Anchelotti 2365'
I first noticed the way Tom Davies was playing which I posted quite a few that he was doing the Italian job; not exactly the MakÃ©lÃ©lÃ© role but to keep the ball ticking over, don't get into too many scraps, keep your position and don't go chasing the ball.
Tom at the time was still getting the height of abuse which has now stopped after some great displays.
But I think we may have to get use to the Italian win-at-all costs way. To the average Brit, this isn't the way to play football, but CA has a 50% success rate, which is on a par with Kendall's first stint.
Yes there's lots of improvement needed, especially in midfield, where DoucourÃ© for all his energy, can't seem to pass to a blue shirt, but do I think the trade off of not very easy on the eye football for a realistic shot at Champions' league is worth it erm I'll get back to you on that one.
12 Posted 02/03/2021 at 12:48:44
13 Posted 02/03/2021 at 12:52:49
14 Posted 02/03/2021 at 12:58:04
15 Posted 02/03/2021 at 12:59:17
Being almost totally reliant on online streams to watch the games, I have no choice in the commentators I have to endure. But when I learn Beglin is the co-commentator I already know the type of 'wisdom' he will impart.
He was, as you mention, at his comedic best last night. Every free kick Everton won, the player in the Blue shirt conned the ref and bought a cheap foul for his team. He never ever fails to take a cheap shot against us in all and every game and situation.
Live TV match commentaries in these CV-19 days comes with a 'with or without crowd effects' option. A pity they don't offer a 'mute Beglin' option.
The man is a total ballon.
16 Posted 02/03/2021 at 13:10:32
17 Posted 02/03/2021 at 13:24:34
The only thing missing was A great save from that bastard Pickford who ruined our, sorry Liverpool's season with a brutal attack on Saint Virgil which he's still evading prosecution."
Like referees, commentators should be picked on their neutrality.
18 Posted 02/03/2021 at 15:19:16
when Salah trips over air molecules: "There's clearly contact"
when Richarlison clearly gets fouled for the tenth time in the first half of a game: "It was a coming together and he made the most of it"
19 Posted 02/03/2021 at 15:31:52
I get that the average non-evertonian is a few evolutionary steps beyond a tadpole, but you'd expect a bit of a higher standard of analysis during and after games.
How broadcasters get away with having so many ex-shite players is beyond me. I suppose it's because the largest customer share of subscribers are the Neanderthals in red.
I just take this approach: would I take footballing advice, or listen to the footballing knowledge of the average rednose supporter? Emphatically NO! So down goes the sound! Fuck them. They aren't educating me with anything new! grunts and hand gestures would make more sense anyway
20 Posted 02/03/2021 at 15:59:04
On the match, I never thought I'd say we missed Davies, but we did, and boy do we need a right back! However, really happy with Pickford, Gomes and Richarilson, which I haven't said a lot this season. Godfrey continues to look
a great signing and it looks like DCL is finally fit again. So, more positives than negatives but next we need put one over on Fat Sam and I'll be really happy.
21 Posted 02/03/2021 at 16:12:04
Both Michael and you produce great reports. Yours, the fine craftsmanship of an Alex Young (I bet you suffer from blisters on your fingers at season's start!); Michael's, the breathless crash and crunch of a Peter Reid (and no less impressive for that given the time in which his report is produced).
Hope I'm not being too (what's the word?) in my praise.
22 Posted 02/03/2021 at 16:21:38
BS by name, BS by nature eh?
23 Posted 02/03/2021 at 16:24:29
24 Posted 02/03/2021 at 16:25:14
Is he implying that he's been poor up to this point and this is the least I expect considering the talent he has?
25 Posted 02/03/2021 at 16:28:18
I think the phrase you're looking for is one voiced by the late great Rick Mayall.
"Girly, girly bum lick."
26 Posted 02/03/2021 at 16:33:07
27 Posted 02/03/2021 at 16:33:16
No, but my brain clearly wants him to! I've corrected that little mental transposition of two kind of similar names so thanks for the heads-up!
28 Posted 02/03/2021 at 16:36:44
29 Posted 02/03/2021 at 16:38:57
Lucky you! Waking up to 3 points without having to endure those 2 hours of watching the match.
Last time we battered a team was West Brom earlier this season, wasn't it?
Anyway, enjoy the league table and hope you can stay up for Thursday's game. Fingers crossed the Blues don't spoil my tea and your kip.
30 Posted 02/03/2021 at 17:05:40
There was a Rich interview in The Echo. He told them Carlo basically told him to calm down (over his goal drought) and just focus on his job. "Powerful words" was how Rich described it. I think Carlo is alluding to Rich just focussing on playing well and not over-thinking it and stressing out which is what Rich says himself he had been doing.
31 Posted 02/03/2021 at 17:15:16
32 Posted 02/03/2021 at 17:15:50
33 Posted 02/03/2021 at 17:30:54
Maybe Carlo's not as soft and disinterested as might sometimes be assumed from his demeanor on the touchline.
34 Posted 02/03/2021 at 17:42:14
"8 moths later..."
Great title for a Film Noir.
35 Posted 02/03/2021 at 17:52:02
(Naff Alan Partridge-like title).
I found the Paul Clement episode particularly interesting. Carlo promoted him from working with the U-18s at Chelsea to working with him for the 1st team. He followed him to Real, PSG and Bayern, so he can be considered an authority on the man.
As well as saying how good Carlo is in applying a system that works best with the players he is given, he also mentions as affable and charming as he is, Carlo IS the boss and has an edge. 'You don't work with the players he has with the egos they have and be successful by being a shrinking violet'.
A player who played under Carlo in his early managerial days, Pietro Strada, says he doesn't shout a lot, nor even talk a lot. But when he does talk, you listen!
36 Posted 02/03/2021 at 17:56:15
37 Posted 02/03/2021 at 17:57:16
38 Posted 02/03/2021 at 18:02:08
Ancelotti clearly feels we are far more effective being tight, dropping deep and then hoping for a flash of brilliance from Richarlison, DCL, Siggy or James.
We just haven't got the players in the midfield to keep teams penned in.
The system, tactics are clearly working well particularly away from Goodison, but I wonder how effective it will be against teams who will really pen us in, City, and the likes of Arsenal, both who are great at keeping the ball, and both who we have to play away in the run in.
Its going to be a real tight finish re Top 4 but we need to clearly win most at home, including Spurs again and take some points from the City, Arsenal and West Ham away games. None of which will be easy, but a return of 4 from the 9 would be good.
Ancelotti needs to get a dominating new midfielder, a wide player who can run, beat players and score. Lets hope Gbamin gets over his real tragic problems and becomes that dominant strong midfielder for next season.
39 Posted 02/03/2021 at 18:12:09
The games against WBA ( away from home)and Chelsea ( potential big scalp) are different animals that we have approached with greater focus than our outings against the likes off Newcastle etc...
Just keep winning.
As for Beglin. He will be briefed by his producer to keep the vast majority viewers( who, as a result of market research, are found to support the RS) happy and tuned in to watch adverts. This is best achieved by damning the rivals of the filth, and who better to do it than someone who used to play for them. It is model that has been used for about thirty years now. It is especially relevant that I am typing this today when I have heard about Ian St John's passing. He was a devotee of his club, but I always found him to be fair to us, as he knew when banter ceased and respect began.
On a related matter, if you can find it, take a look at the banner at the head of the Metro newspaper - 26 February 2021. If it was politics you would think we were living in a dictatorship...
We shall not be moved !
40 Posted 02/03/2021 at 18:32:10
I emailed a friend today saying that St John was the last of the "decent" Liverpool players.
Back to the thread - If you look at Man U they have proved you don't have to play well you just need to be able to score goals and they have that in abundance.
They are not the second best team in the Prem by a long way but when they need it they score goals.
I have no problem with us doing the same because scoring goals and a lack of is the reason those teams are at the bottom.
41 Posted 02/03/2021 at 18:36:41
However, messers Begin and Tyler were obviously watching a different match to the one I was. According to them, Everton were fortunate to be ahead, general put downs at every occasion, the bias was markedly evident, and all the more bitter after the derby. Southampton were the better team but come away with nothing.
These two idiots should be banned from entering Goodison. They are propelling a myth of how poor or lucky we are to a worldwide population. Seriously, it's damaging our brand, reputation and image across the globe. Listening to them is like watching another game. In the post-match Sky studio even, they spent most of the time talking about Liverpool, even showing clips! Dreadful...
42 Posted 02/03/2021 at 18:52:27
I won't comment on last night here as I've done enough of that on Michael's thread. We are over the first hurdle of a massively important week that will define our run in. Get this right and we have the fixtures to pick up the points we need on the back of some genuine momentum.
I expect little else from Beglin. Aside from being yet another media recruit of the media darlings, he does have form with us. Not just that we are Everton, we effectively ended his top-flight career. He'll never forgive us for that and singing "Die you bastard, die" as he lay there with a terribly snapped leg courtesy of Gary Stevens.
I don't recall St John the player, just the 80s presenter with his Saint and Greavsie show. It coincided with our success, so I do recollect fondly. Also, he gave us a line to one of my favourite Everton songs! God bless and rest in peace sir.
43 Posted 02/03/2021 at 18:54:30
If you score goals, you'll do well. If you don't score goals... you won't!
No offence intended, mate â€“ just made me chuckle. And thanks for that. Although the Live Forum last night was a gas.
44 Posted 02/03/2021 at 19:38:16
Why mention it? Go and watch all the Liverpool games no-one at Goodison will ever miss him. The club should ban him for life!!
45 Posted 02/03/2021 at 19:48:12
In which case, don't they do all their commentaries from a studio? In which case, he can't be banned from Goodison. Nor do Everton have any say in who commentates on our matches. Just saying like!!
46 Posted 02/03/2021 at 19:53:51
47 Posted 02/03/2021 at 20:31:43
On a previous thread I suggested Toffeeweb could mimic Private Eye's “Colemanballsâ€ column with “Beglinballsâ€ equivalent- there would be no shortage of material.
48 Posted 02/03/2021 at 20:38:26
49 Posted 02/03/2021 at 20:43:59
"Watched the game in silence, my deaf brother even turns off the subtitles when that nob is commentating!"
50 Posted 02/03/2021 at 21:07:15
“He can expect a lot more of thatâ€ & “Ah there's nothing much in thatâ€ are comments that come to mind. (I have got a memory like an elephant for this sort of thing)
There is only one way to shut people like him up and that is for us to serve them up a big bowl of Everton success.
Up The Blues!!!!
51 Posted 02/03/2021 at 21:07:46
I've always hated him and thought he shouldn't be allowed near our games but I warmed to him in the second half at Anfield as his world fell apart on live tv. The So'ton game was enjoyable too as his bitterness couldn't be contained.
Of course this only works while we're winning.
52 Posted 02/03/2021 at 22:11:13
53 Posted 02/03/2021 at 23:03:02
He went quiet as in a sulk in the last 15 minutes. Could not bring himself to comment on Everton's superior tactics against Liverpool. It was obvious in the end he was scrapping the barrel of excuses for Liverpool and it pained him as Tyler went through the historical stats. I was sickened before for that, commenting on the live feed on Beglin but, I must say, I did enjoy him squirming at the end.
54 Posted 02/03/2021 at 23:24:06
My conclusion of Richarlison is that he's not the quickest over the first 5 yards and usually is being closely monitored by at least one opponent. He gets kicked and barged a lot and, for the most part, tries to get past this treatment and break away.
What happens a lot is that he gets fouled and either tries to stay on his feet or, realising there's no advantage, goes over or is forced over. This often happens a long way away from the penalty area or dangerous set-piece areas which suggests he's not picking and choosing when to go over, he's just getting fouled and the histrionics are what makes officials and pundits decide against him.
I saw one well-known forward the other week resist slight contact until he'd reached the area. Then he went over. For me, it was a straight red for cheating. It was shameless. Another well-known forward did similar a few months back. He got a "coming together" about 15 yards from the box but it didn't subdue him and he kept going until reaching the box. As soon as the same contact was made again, over he went.
Both led to penalties. Both were examples of blatant diving. Richarlison is not in their league as far as cheating or "winning" free-kicks and penalties. If he cut out the histrionics, the perception of him would change, probably to something closer to the truth as a player who isn't looking to con the officials but is hungry to progress and greedy for goals and assists.
55 Posted 02/03/2021 at 23:53:31
There's a point there, Rob. I think many commentaries are done remotely now (without being able to state exactly who/when).
As anyone knows, the game is visually very different when you're there, much more to be seen. I'd guess/expect they have several cameras and views available but it must affect the quality of the output (such as it is).
56 Posted 02/03/2021 at 00:06:57
With NBC showing ever game through their app or actually on live tv, you get to see a good choice of games. What I've noticed is that pretty much every other game will have an ex-pro that has some sort of connection to one of the club's who are playing. Unlike us who's stuck with that gammy legged biased red shite. You'd never hear the end of it if Cahill or Osman commentated every week on them lot's games.
Talking about pundits, I don't know if the last FA Cup feed that was on ESPN here was the same as back home. Gary Breen who used to play for Birmingham City was covering it, and I thought he's been the best co-commentator I've heard in a long time. He had no connection to either club but you'd could tell he had done his homework about them and the players. Totally unlike Beglin who just waffles on with his red-tinted glasses.
57 Posted 03/03/2021 at 00:12:23
Gary Breen was terrific but I also like Arlo, Lee and Graeme. ABC used to wheel out old Tony Meola who was surprisingly knowledgeable. Can't stand Peter bloody Drury who commentates like he's reading a Shakespeare soliloquy. Also in England, I can't stand Sutton or Waddle who are the most miserable gits I've seen this the hecklers in the muppet show.
58 Posted 03/03/2021 at 00:17:42
59 Posted 03/03/2021 at 11:46:46
For me, Keown is another total waste of oxygen. Listening to him commentate on an Everton game, you wouldn't believe that he once pulled on the mighty blue shirt.
I'm not sure any of the media outlets realise how boring it is to read, hear and see endless shite non-stories about the so-called Big 6. We are having our best season for many a year but get less attention than Ole moaning about not getting their 455th penalty of the season.
Another prime example of this is the attention (or lack of) that James transfer got from the media. If he'd gone to any of the Sky darlings, they would have been all over it and no doubt constantly highlighting what a great player and signing he is.
If it wasn't for, ToffeeWeb I'd have to search really hard to find any decent Everton related articles etc.
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