Seamus Coleman leads the team to a fine win after shaking off a hamstring complaint
Everton's 2021-22 season resumed under the lights at Goodison Park tonight with Rafa Benitez engineering a wonderful win after going behind to a difficult and belligerent Burnley side.
No Calvert-Lewin tonight. And all the talk of James Rodriguez not being fit enough for Rafa Benitez to include him proved to be correct: no Colombian maestro tonight.
Recovering from the hamstring problem gained on International duty with Ireland, Seamus Coleman is declared fit to face the Clarets with no need for a stand-in; Jonjoe Kenny once again on the bench.
Ben Godfrey is back after recovering from a suspected Covid-19 infection and Yerry Mina is also fit, these two joining Keane in a back five while Holgate drops to the bench.
In midfield, Andros Townsend and Demarai Gray should be the primary supply lines for Richarlison who ploughs a lone furrow upfront. Salomon Rondon must wait to make his bow from the bench following his move back to England from China.
Everton got the game got underway in front of a packed crowd under the Goodison lights for the first time in many many months, but they soon gave possession to the visitors and it got very scrappy. A nasty foul from behind by Brownhill on Richarlison inside the first minute was not penalized with the required yellow card... why not?
Everton finally got their foot on the ball and tried to build in the Burnley half but Doucouré's ball forward was overhit for a goal-kick. Then a brilliant ball in from McNeill deserved an easy finish from Wood that he could not pull off, but what a chance. At the other end, Gray fired one at goal but from far too far out, well wide.
Gray picked off a poor headed clearance from Mee and Richarlison spun forward to receive it but too quickly and was offside. Burnley won a couple of corners that did not threaten. Both teams had been thwarted trying to play out from the back and were resorting to long balls forward, but Richarlison was finding it difficult to do much with them.
Some of the play was incredibly scrappy, not one for the purists, while Burnley again showed greater incisiveness, Wood earning a corner that Mee came very close to converting, powering into a group at the far post. Again, Everton tried and failed miserably to play out from the back, with the crowd unimpressed and the game getting played mostly in Everton's half.
25 minutes gone and still nothing to write home about in terms of Everton attacking the Burnley goal... whereas the opposite was almost painfully frequent, Brownhill drilling a low shot at Pickford. Finally, Townsend jinked his way in and Doucouré produced a very difficult strike that Pope saved instinctively. That enlivened the Goodison faithful somewhat: Everton's first meaningful strike, just before the half-hour.
The next Everton attack won their first corner, played short and it never really worked. Mee went down, holding his head, and the Burnley players turned on Richarlison over something. Richarlison was clearly dragged down but Coleman had possession and Atkinson played advantage. Burnley were starting to get rough and physical again, but a fabulous piece of footwork by Richarlison played in Coleman. Doucouré's shot on the cutback was inches wide, and probably would have been ruled out as Coleman had strayed offside.
Burnley had effectively stifled most of Everton's play down the wings, the Burnley players swarming all over them. Even when Everton got freedom and space, Digne fired his cross at the only Burnley man in his field of vision. Benitez was getting quite vocal and animated. Perhaps he would make some key changes at half-time?
No. Burnley were also staying in the same belligerent mindset, Brownhill getting a yellow card for his rugby tackle on Townsend, and a nice free-kick opportunity that Digne disappointingly fired into the wall. Tarkowski went in very strongly on Rcharlison, clearing out ball and man, with no punishment from Atkinson. Digne's free-kick was too easily cleared.
Another awful tackle from behind by Burnley went unpunished but, when Townsend was the culprit, he got the yellow card. Burnley worked it from the free-kick, and Mee met Gudmundsson's quality ball. The goal Burnley had threatened from the start had finally come. Now, surely, Benitez would change something?
No, the horrible pattern of the game simply carried on regardless for nearly 10 minutes before he finally decided on Gomes(!) to be the game-changer. An Everton short corner and Gray's shot was good but blocked away. However, a decent cross from Townsend saw Michael Keane rise to execute an excellent header inside Pope's near post, with Gomes then replacing Godfrey.
The game looked to be stalemated but out of nothing, Andros Townsend produced a fantastic strike from almost 30 yards out, an absolutely wonderful goal.
Momments later (27 seconds!), a brilliant visionary pass from Doucoure to Demarai Gray running through and an accomplished finish for him, giving Pope no chance.
Next up was Doucoure who finished in fine style but he was 3 inches offside! The sea change was put down to Rafa switching from 3 centre-backs to the extra man in midfield, allowing Doucoure, who had set up both go-ahead goals, to get further forward.
Townsend worked space and fired in a massive shot but this time Pope was well up for stopping it with a tremendous save. The ball was worked around Doucoure set up Gomes but he somehow fired wide from a central position in front of Pope.
Burnley did score again but they too had strayed offside. Gomes was then encouraged to shoot from distance but made a horrible mess of it. Gray then got selfish too and had his shot blocked instead of playing in Richarlison. Rondon finally got his debut, coming on in place of Richarlison for the last 10 minutes.
Everton were firmly in control at this point, with Iwobi coming on in place of Demarai Gray, to a fine ovation from the now well satisfied Goodison crowd. It was into added time when Everton played perhaps their best passing move and it deserved a goal that just would not come. At the other end, McNeill warmed Pickford's gloves with a firm strike.
Scorers: Keane (60'), Townsend (65'), Gray (66'); Mee (53')
Everton: Pickford; Coleman, Mina, Keane, Godfrey (61' Gomes), Digne; Allan, Doucouré; Townsend [Y:53'], Gray (88' Iwobi); Richarlison (81' Rondón).
Subs not Used: Begovic, Kenny, Holgate, Gordon, Gbamin, Davies.
Burnley: Pope, Lowton, Taylor, Tarkowski, Mee, Gudmundsson (76' Lennon), Brownhill [Y:47'], Wood (86' Rodriguez), Barnes (76' Vydra), McNeil, Westwood.
Subs not Used: Hennessey, Cork, Cornet, Pieters, Bardsley, Thomas.
Referee: Martin Atkinson
VAR: Kevin Friend
Reader Comments (254)
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1 Posted 13/09/2021 at 19:08:08
Kinda makes the debate on the other thread redundant.
Or starts to prove the point…
2 Posted 13/09/2021 at 19:13:06
With four defenders and Seamus as the wing-back who is he (or Digne) going to cross to??
Could he not have started Rondon as we now look pretty lightweight attacking wise and I can't help thinking this may be a very hard game.
3 Posted 13/09/2021 at 19:13:46
I am going for 3-1, only because Wood always seems to find a way through us.
4 Posted 13/09/2021 at 19:14:24
Anyway, Calvert-Lewin is obviously a big miss. Hopefully Rondon can provide something off the bench if we need it.
5 Posted 13/09/2021 at 19:15:02
Dom's toe injury evidently taking time to clear up, given the international break. All the more credit to the lad for playing as well – and scoring three – as he has to date.
Richarlison playing down the centre, flanked by Gray and Townsend.
Interesting bench, too. James not included, but Rondon is. Hope to see the lad get some minutes.
Funny how there is just one single player that Rafa has selected for every minute of every game since he arrived.
6 Posted 13/09/2021 at 19:18:41
I agree with you saying it could be a very hard game, but all Premier League games should be treated that way by us. There are no easy games, until we've won.
7 Posted 13/09/2021 at 19:21:19
I was so hoping he was gonna ram a lot of those nasty comments back down people's throats, but their abject cynicism is vindicated by his failure to meet the virtually impossible (for him) "fully fit for 90 minutes" standard of our wonderfully pragmatic manager. And so we don't get to see any of his magic.
That's put me in a really bad mood... I've a feeling this is going to be one hard slog tonight.
8 Posted 13/09/2021 at 19:22:28
Referencing the same band's other hit, sounds like your comment was "Born of Frustration."
9 Posted 13/09/2021 at 19:23:18
I thought James would make the bench, definitely fit enough, paying him massive wages and not utilising his skill.
10 Posted 13/09/2021 at 19:25:49
Looking at the dearth of attacking quality on our bench, I'd have had James in the squad. If we can't break them down what are we going to do? Bring on Jonjoe Kenny and hope he scores his annual daisy cutter?
And talking of not being "able to play 90 minutes", surely that precludes Gbamin from selection?
11 Posted 13/09/2021 at 19:27:13
A win is a win for tonight. I'm not bothered about the performance to be honest but looking forward to seeing how we cope without Dom.
12 Posted 13/09/2021 at 19:29:34
13 Posted 13/09/2021 at 19:30:48
Nice to Godfrey back, though.
14 Posted 13/09/2021 at 19:42:36
Looking forward to seeing Rondon introduced, hopefully he will be a big step up from Kean, King and Tosun. Townsend will probably man-mark McNeil, who gave us bother the last time.
15 Posted 13/09/2021 at 19:44:52
James not on the bench makes it clear where Benitez stands. If he wasn't fit enough he wouldn't have spent the break in Ibiza if he was ever going to play.
I just have a feeling we'll dispose of the weaker teams this year. Win the games we should win. Mr Benitez is the ultimate pragmatist. We'll play a percentage game where the percentages are in our favour due to having the better quality.
I'll say 2-0.
16 Posted 13/09/2021 at 19:46:10
17 Posted 13/09/2021 at 19:46:48
18 Posted 13/09/2021 at 19:54:52
19 Posted 13/09/2021 at 20:03:32
Good point. I wonder how stubborn Rafa will be? Koeman eventually played locker boy Niasse, Moyes played Van der Meyde, even Nyarko got a second chance.
20 Posted 13/09/2021 at 20:35:41
21 Posted 13/09/2021 at 20:48:41
It's not working. Gomes on for Keane.
22 Posted 13/09/2021 at 20:50:07
23 Posted 13/09/2021 at 20:51:28
Marginally better in the final 10-15 minutes.
Bit of a borefest.
24 Posted 13/09/2021 at 20:52:03
We constantly seem to have a spare centre back not doing much.
Our wing backs often seem lost somewhere between defending and attacking. Digne especially is a passenger as a result.
Our wingers are often playing as midfielders, when they do press high we look more dangerous.
Richarlison is isolated.
We are defending too deep and therefore inviting crosses from deep.
On the positive side though…..
This is the most committed Ive seen an Everton team for a long time.
When our wingbacks look to overlap with our wingers we look dangerous.
I dont think this formation is working. We need someone up top, either alongside or just behind Richarlison. We also need our overlapping full backs, Digne especially, to play as overlapping fullbacks and not isolated wide defensive midfielders. We also need to stop worrying about defending on the edge of our own area and close the space down in midfield to prevent their deep crosses.
Also, Pope is diabolical on the ball. His first touch seems to bounce 5 yards away from him. Surely this is an opportunity to close him down every time.
25 Posted 13/09/2021 at 20:53:46
26 Posted 13/09/2021 at 20:53:58
Because of this, Coleman and Digne are essentially playing as conventional full-backs, and Gray and Townsend like conventional wide midfielders. The system is not really working and I'd like to see one of the centre-halves subbed off for Rondon.
27 Posted 13/09/2021 at 20:54:14
Negatives are Allan and Digne have been utter dross and we are awful when we play with a back five. I get its meant to be three but our wingbacks get pushed back every time and we have no outlet.
Get keane off and bring on Iwobi or Rondon.
28 Posted 13/09/2021 at 20:56:08
Listening to his comments about Calvert-Lewin, he could be out for a while.
29 Posted 13/09/2021 at 20:57:42
Change of formation, personnel needed. Keystone defending early on again. The bottom line is we have a lot of moderate players still.
30 Posted 13/09/2021 at 20:57:50
32 Posted 13/09/2021 at 21:02:51
33 Posted 13/09/2021 at 21:10:43
34 Posted 13/09/2021 at 21:11:53
35 Posted 13/09/2021 at 21:17:36
36 Posted 13/09/2021 at 21:25:47
37 Posted 13/09/2021 at 21:27:22
38 Posted 13/09/2021 at 21:37:47
39 Posted 13/09/2021 at 21:49:20
40 Posted 13/09/2021 at 21:53:26
41 Posted 13/09/2021 at 21:56:19
For an hour we played the wrong game. Slow with the ball and then play long towards a winger playing on his own up front. Burnley couldn't have wished for a better style of play for them to match up against.
Then we changed back to 4-4-2, opened up the game and made it end to end, played at pace and our better players showed why they are better players.
Could have scored as many as we wanted at that point.
43 Posted 13/09/2021 at 21:58:55
Excellent response to going down. There is room for improvement, and the set-up was poor, as was the first half. But as soon as we equalised, then changed the shape, we showed our superiority. If Gomes can play like that, he's a real asset.
Great Stuff and we're joint top.
Rafa is looking like an astute choice.
44 Posted 13/09/2021 at 21:59:19
45 Posted 13/09/2021 at 22:00:10
46 Posted 13/09/2021 at 22:00:12
Well done Benitez!
47 Posted 13/09/2021 at 22:00:34
The first half wasnt good, the second half wasnt half good.
48 Posted 13/09/2021 at 22:00:37
49 Posted 13/09/2021 at 22:00:55
I still think we'll undoubtedly need James at some point this season, but I'll just go ahead and file that away for now.
50 Posted 13/09/2021 at 22:01:19
Townsend and Gray have already contributed more than Iwobi and Kean ever have done, and for around £60m less!!!
Finally, even when we weren't winning, what a change to see an Everton team with passion and fighting for balls. We've been abject and laid back for too long. I thought it was all words when Rafa was saying “I know what Everton fans want to see from their team”, but I think he actually knows…
51 Posted 13/09/2021 at 22:03:27
52 Posted 13/09/2021 at 22:05:34
I hope this answers our joint musings on the other thread. This indeed did feel like it has told us a lot, as you outline. Great showing and credit to those concerned.
53 Posted 13/09/2021 at 22:09:19
A bread 'n butty goal for Burnley when we still hadn't woken up. Rafa was already preparing Gomes for Godfrey to re-jig and go four at the back when Townsend and Keane combined a treat for the first of our three wonderful goals on the night.
Townsend repeated his trick of cutting inside from the right flank to get the ball on his left foot for an absolute peach of a second. That was no hit 'n hope. That was placed and beautifully executed, the way he got the elevation of the ball exactly right to get it up and over Pope.
Then another beaut with a superb pass from Doucoure, lovely first touch with the outside of his boot from Gray to keep the ball moving forward and allowing time to steady himself for a clinical finish.
The disallowed Doucoure goal was another exquisitely worked goal. Three goals in 6 minutes, our control thereafter was total.
After tonight I'm sure Townsend and Gray have cemented themselves in the affections of the Goodison faithful.
Another 3-1 home win after coughing up the first goal.
Resilience and doggedness, harnessed to some very good football once we got up and running.
Our summer signings might not be the sexiest headline grabbers we might have hoped for, but increasingly they are looking like they were exactly what we needed.
Overall, impressed. Again.
54 Posted 13/09/2021 at 22:09:58
Impressive performance second half. Wonderful sights and sounds under lights.
55 Posted 13/09/2021 at 22:10:07
56 Posted 13/09/2021 at 22:11:38
Got to he honest though, I still think Digne and Allan stunk the place out tonight.
57 Posted 13/09/2021 at 22:14:05
Is that Townsend goal our best since a certain Jagielka screamer? What an absolute beauty. Guess it's too late for Andros to make the PL team of the week that someone mentioned, oh well, we know.
58 Posted 13/09/2021 at 22:14:24
This is the leadership that was lacking on the pitch last year.
59 Posted 13/09/2021 at 22:21:35
The scene on the pitch after the final whistle shows that Rafa is developing great relationships with his players.
Bring on the Villains.
60 Posted 13/09/2021 at 22:21:57
Is the fella we none of us wanted going to turn out to be the fella we needed all along ?..Funny old game
61 Posted 13/09/2021 at 22:24:28
62 Posted 13/09/2021 at 22:25:54
Allan did okay for me, he and Doucouré where too exposed at times until the change of formation. We were crying out for an extra man in midfield; as soon as we got Gomes on, we ripped them apart. Good attacking football with numbers to spare, and actual shots at goal from distance.
Great second half – especially as that twat Atkinson was giving us nothing.
63 Posted 13/09/2021 at 22:28:15
Took a nostalgic walk across Stanley Park to the Arkles and having a celebratory one before heading to town before going back to London tomorrow.
I know its a Red pub, but in his later life, my Grandad lived at 14 Arkles Lane with his second wife and it was his his local. She was a massive Liverpool fan. But she always fed me and my 2 mates after we'd been to Goodison.
I said I'd comment on the football when I give myself time. But that referee?
64 Posted 13/09/2021 at 22:30:46
65 Posted 13/09/2021 at 22:31:31
Comments on Benitez from Townsend and Carragher are interesting; I like the fact that he is a bit of a taskmaster and always looking to improve by the sounds of things. I've really warmed to him this far.
Great to see some cracking goals, Doucouré was immense again and unlucky not to be on the scoresheet too.
First half was forgettable and is long forgotten and forgiven!
66 Posted 13/09/2021 at 22:31:56
Three in midfield to dominate the game next time. Not three at the back to concede the initiative.
67 Posted 13/09/2021 at 22:33:53
The first-half tactics are meant to smother their attacks but we stood off them too much.
An extra midfielder caused them problem's simply because we had someone to pass forward to as they continued to press us high up the pitch.
Doucouré's pass was outstanding, but his passing in the first half was awful.
Townsend's strike, wow. It may only come off now and again but it's absolutely beautiful when it does.
Amazing what a bit of pace and energy can bring to a team. Gray had another good game.
Richarlison continues to work hard but his lack of creativity, poor passing and ability to make the right decisions at key times has meant his importance to us has diminished.
As for James, I believe he'll soon be back in the matchday squad. No point in risking him against those thugs.
68 Posted 13/09/2021 at 22:35:47
That was the big take from this game. Everton able to up a gear in the second half and having the underlying effort and work necessary. I do admit in the first half I began to wonder. . . but, as you say, the big question was answered. I was even thinking in terms of your recovery theory in the next game, as a second chance after the Burnley goal.
Digne fortunately was the only one below par.
69 Posted 13/09/2021 at 22:38:15
Atkinson had a another poor night refereeing another Everton game... Why didn't he use VAR after that vicious tackle on Richarlison early in the second half? One of many that went unpunished.
Richarlison had a good game for me tonight, on his own up front against a bruising Burnley defence, he never gave up and could be proud of his performance. He deserved his 10 minutes rest and a good ovation from the crowd when he came off, although he didn't seem to know how well the crowd had thought he played.
70 Posted 13/09/2021 at 22:42:32
71 Posted 13/09/2021 at 22:43:39
Me too – his subs have purpose, not just like for like. Once we went 4-4-2, we took the game to them but were being picked off with 5 at the back.
I love Townsend and Gray, both decent players and also decent human beings having had to get there the hard way. Listen to what they say... humble stuff! Andros's goal was an absolute beauty. He has a shot on him but he put a bit of tussy on that to loop over the keeper. 10 out of 10.
And then to see Demarai run through and slot like it was a training session was great. Keane and Mina also did well.
72 Posted 13/09/2021 at 22:44:49
Richarlison worked his socks off and likely made space for all of the goals. I was hoping he'd get a goal but he didn't get a decent chance unfortunately.
73 Posted 13/09/2021 at 22:48:22
Just watched Carragher and Neville discussing Tarkowski's challenge on Richarlison, and they said it was a red all day long, a shocking tackle. Atkinson definetly hates us the twat.
74 Posted 13/09/2021 at 22:49:03
Doucouré and Allan were both poor for an hour. Well it shouldn't be a shock. We were pushing it around the back, asking them to play little passes in their own half and then bypassing them with a long ball to Burnley's defence.
For the last 30 minutes, we opened up the game. When it goes end to end, I'm not sure there are many midfielders in the league that I'd prefer to those two. They're made for it. Doucouré winning every loose ball that comes out and Allan chasing down their breaks.
Same goes for most. Including Townsend and Gray.
75 Posted 13/09/2021 at 22:50:15
Okay, it didn't work brilliantly but I thought by the second half we were getting on top and their goal actually came against the run of play. The dreadful Atkinson didn't help, letting them get away with some out-and-out thuggery right from the off.
Too much moaning and negativity before kick-off and for the first-half performance. Burnley are better than their current points total suggests and I reckon they will be safe again this season and get a few decent results.
Long way to go but the team are playing like one, and a pretty decent performance overall from everyone tonight (I'm surprised at some of the comments about Digne; Demarai Gray is a very different winger to what he is used to so attacking wise he's not getting the sheer number of crosses in but I thought he worked his socks off and most of their threat came down the opposite flank).
Oh, and it's great to have a goal of the month contender again!
76 Posted 13/09/2021 at 22:50:56
My plan was to play Rondon to give more physicality up front, but fortunately Rafa knows more about football than me.
Again we come from behind to win, something that wasn't a feature before, so it looks like the squad has a bit more steel about them this season.
77 Posted 13/09/2021 at 22:53:35
These guys were great tonight. Can we now talk about the team, instead of turning everything into a James debate?
Fantastic second half by Everton. Rafa has turned us around this season, no longer heads dropping, or shutting shop with a slender lead.
Carlo jumping ship and FFP constraints might just be the turning point of Everton Football Club.
Early Days, but loving how, even after that performance, Rafa is wanting more.
78 Posted 13/09/2021 at 22:56:15
What can we say? What a gentleman. Epitomises what it means to represent this club.
I thought highly of him as a player in the past, then listened with interest on the radio stint not long ago. This guy gets us already, I've watched his interview tonight more than his goal; lovely stuff,
Excellent, dare we say from our manager, absolutely superb, clever, astute business.
I adored Mr Ancelotti, and always will have time for him, but hats off to all involved, and again, the manager, and should be captain.
‘Feet on the ground, head in the sky' tonight... Onwards.
79 Posted 13/09/2021 at 22:56:23
Are you having a laugh? Allan had a good game for 90 mins, not just bits. It was our shape that made him look bad but he was the one that kept it together.
Shame Gomes didn't score. We had more control when he came on and l'm expecting a big season for him if he stays fit.
That was the Everton l love... eventually. It was worth the wait. And we went 4-3-3, as in 3 central mids.
80 Posted 13/09/2021 at 22:56:28
Seems miracles happen more than once for this guy.
81 Posted 13/09/2021 at 23:03:02
That was a terrible miss. Then he stood back when he should have got onto a ball into the box. Then he threatened the corner flag!
Stick to passing, André.
82 Posted 13/09/2021 at 23:06:07
83 Posted 13/09/2021 at 23:07:48
UTFT!!!!! You're next Villains!
84 Posted 13/09/2021 at 23:09:00
More of the same from the 2nd half please.
85 Posted 13/09/2021 at 23:11:07
Great fight and more guts and belief shown in this game than in the last manager's 18 months. It's a tight squad but playing for each other like this is a joy to watch.
Now Everton let's do a good job and beat Villa, always a tough fixture, but it can be done.
Doucouré goal was offside, as was the first RS goal at Leeds.
But well done, Rafa and Everton, for playing the game and managing the game out this night.
86 Posted 13/09/2021 at 23:11:14
Credit to the manager for eventually changing things, and we did then play some flowing football, and Goodison became a good place to be.
We can't complain at 10 points out of 12. Villa, who looked good against Chelsea, will be a real test.
87 Posted 13/09/2021 at 23:12:47
He cut his teeth with a couple of small clubs before taking a step forward at Newcastle.
Now he's hit the big time at Everton and looks like he means business.
88 Posted 13/09/2021 at 23:14:41
Pleased for Andros and Demarai again, both excellent. Doucouré deserved a goal and what a goal it would have been with a tremendous passage of play in the build up. By that point, I was losing it, so exciting and I have felt really proud to be a blue this season so far.
Annoyed with some criticisms above regarding Gomes and Allan. The later was solid throughout and had a really good game, it's only those with Nil Satis Nisi Optimum specs who expect every player to be perfect, consistently throughout. Those who understand football will have seen other aspects of his game and his other contributions, such as his continued ability to break up play at the back and help out defence.
Gomes clearly can't score in a brothel but he played well, he offers other qualities such a ball rentention and a calmness, his sprayed pass to the right wing (I think to Townsend) after our third had gone in, was excellent.
Richarlison is a miserable git but he is ours and he is like a street kid, he just wants to play every minute of every game he can. James could learn a lot from these boys.
3 points under the lights; 4th and joint top, COYB.
89 Posted 13/09/2021 at 23:23:42
Exactly. I think he's still pinching himself.
One thing I've noticed this season with Richarlison. He's getting on the other side's nerves. A lot.
I don't think it's a coincidence. Benitez is getting in his ear, getting him to wind up the other side's key men. It was the midfielder for Brighton last week, the centre-backs for Burnley this.
90 Posted 13/09/2021 at 23:29:27
Lovely to look around the famous old stadium when the third goal went in, and see the whole ground bouncing, because it was a really beautiful sight!
91 Posted 13/09/2021 at 23:31:43
First half: no cohesion, lack of effort from some players, and simply playing after most probably training at Finch Farm, how to contain Burnley, to allow Burnley to play to their type of game.
The second half changed with what I thought was the start of the comeback, and that was the tackle by Tarkowski on Richarlisun that wasn't punished. after that Everton players started to get back into the game and that got Townsend booked for something that Burnley players had been doing from the start and they scored shortly after that.
The next game-changer was the substitution Rafa made and the tactical switch that brought a goal of the season from Townsend after providing a cross for the equalizer.
Even though it was a poor first half, it was refreshing to see that we have a manager who is willing to admit his tactics were not correct and changed them.
3 points were deserved with the second half display but we can't afford to play good for just one half against other teams. Who thought that Doucouré's pass to Gray was practically the same as Allan to Gray in the last game?
92 Posted 13/09/2021 at 23:39:47
93 Posted 13/09/2021 at 23:53:57
Tonight's game was a poor performance taken in the round but Everton emerged with all the points because they finished Burnley off in that 10- to 15-minute period of pressure.
It's early days and the team is far from the finished article but results like tonight help to build confidence and can only help the club move forwards. Richarlison shouldn't play as a centre-forward for Everton because he's far more effective coming in from the the wings.
Benitez paid far too much attention to Burnley's threat with his starting line-up and it could have proved costly but, when he made the changes, the Everton side looked dangerous and made a very hard-working Burnley side look what they were very ordinary. Villa will be a very stern test on Saturday, but I hope we can see an Everton side on the front foot, rather than attempting to merely nullify the opposition's threats.
10 points on the board from four games is better than most of us expected, but I'll take any win from any game, in whatever manner it's achieved, because that's what's required if we want to see Everton threaten at the right end ot the table on a regular basis.
94 Posted 13/09/2021 at 00:10:10
One thing I was disappointed with was Pickford's return to being brain-dead. I had hoped he'd cured his craziness but it appears not permanently
95 Posted 14/09/2021 at 00:15:36
96 Posted 14/09/2021 at 00:17:18
Care to explain that one, John?
97 Posted 14/09/2021 at 00:26:01
I too would be glad to hear John's explanation of his comment relating to Pickford. I don't remember anything of note during the game which would result in the keeper being labelled as "brain-dead".
98 Posted 14/09/2021 at 00:28:02
Gomes won some finishing competition in training last season. He can finish. Maybe he needs one to get him started. He seems a bit slimmer and hopefully fitter.
Perhaps we might reap some rewards for the £500 mil we've spent over the last few years. After all, it's been a while since we sold one of our top players... they are all still here. Great to see that turnaround tonight. The Everton that l love!
99 Posted 14/09/2021 at 00:34:05
Love him! UTFT!!!!!!
100 Posted 14/09/2021 at 00:38:40
I haven't seen it on the telly yet but in the Park End, first half, he had another brainstorm where, I think Wood should have scored. He didn't know whether to come or go and did neither.
For the remainder of the half, when we had the few attacks we had, he was stomping around the area talking to God knows who?
My cousin who was in the Lower Gwladys told me after the game he'd had a few moments second half too. During the Southampton game, he was really calm and focused and seemed like later half of last season, to get more composed. Sadly, it didn't look like that to me... certainly when he was in the Park End goal.
101 Posted 14/09/2021 at 00:40:19
Benitez tried to fight fire with fire and in my opinion should have changed it a lot sooner. Gomes made a big difference. I also thought Allan did well, besides the football, his constantly organising players around him.
Well done, Blue Boys.
102 Posted 14/09/2021 at 00:40:30
For now, an astute – no, staggering piece of business.
103 Posted 14/09/2021 at 00:46:44
You got me curious, so I looked it up. On 26 April 2017, Gomes scored a brace in Barca's 7-1 home win over little Osasuna.
Since then, he has appeared in 121 games. He has scored once. This was it:
A beauty. No question. A roofie from 16 yards. But the only one.
We should not have been astonished that he missed that sitter today.
104 Posted 14/09/2021 at 00:49:10
To my eye, and that of the match commentators, Wood should have scored but seemed to flinch out of it and produced an extremely poor header due to... seeing Jordan coming for the ball, not 'neither' as you claimed.
Nothing brain-dead on that play at all, nor in anything else Pickford did all match.
105 Posted 14/09/2021 at 01:10:51
Nothing much has changed since then to make me disagree with him.
Benitez – very, very, slowly, winning over hearts and minds, One Game At A Time??
106 Posted 14/09/2021 at 01:58:12
Man-marking in our box, neat piece of Brazilian football touching off the attack leading to Gray's goal.
107 Posted 14/09/2021 at 02:08:48
Credit to Benitez for eventually getting it right, but tonight's performance to me again emphasised the massively unprofessional, slacker attitude that until this season, so far, has pervaded Finch Farm. Benitez has seemingly introduced a whole new level of fitness, attitude and pace. He's yet to win me over because the improved qualities I identify should be bog-standard to any pro footballer, manager, coach, owner or boardroom.
It once again causes me to reflect, after the high of a welcome professional win, just who in our boardroom has been responsible for the dross served up to us for the past 30 years, and just why anyone would continue to employ him?
There is no coconut for anyone posting the right answer.
108 Posted 14/09/2021 at 02:11:57
109 Posted 14/09/2021 at 02:19:18
Yes, against Southampton in our previous home match, LOL.
110 Posted 14/09/2021 at 02:24:29
All-in-all, we have a better squad than 10th, as we did under Carlo. I'm looking forward to the season with confidence. If we lose a game, l don't expect it to take 4 more losses for this manager to find a solution.
Or, if we do go on a losing run, we could all just blame Kenwright.
111 Posted 14/09/2021 at 02:38:55
112 Posted 14/09/2021 at 02:44:02
113 Posted 14/09/2021 at 02:58:45
Under Allardyce (believe it or not), we went one down to Swansea and won 3-1.
Under Koeman, we went one down to Middlesborough and won 3-1.
Last year we went one down to West Brom, then proceeded to drop five on them, though the match was also tied 2-2 at one point.
And I think can think of three instances we came back from 2-0 down to win 3-2.
Against West Brom under Martinez.
The Unsworth match against Watford.
Watford again under Ancelotti, when Mina scored twice in first-half extra time, then Walcott went on to score the last-minute winner.
The Silva years are easy, because we never came from behind to win once!
114 Posted 14/09/2021 at 03:04:42
Yes, the first hour was pretty turgid, but Rafa shuffled his cards and we came roaring back into the game with three well-worked goals. Lots to be pleased with, including a very tidy 30 minutes from Andre Gomes. Lovely.
115 Posted 14/09/2021 at 03:21:59
116 Posted 14/09/2021 at 03:37:16
I was even beginning to think that all the previous performances under Rafa had been some sort of fluke, and we were reverting back to how we were last season behind closed doors, weak and lacking passion and drive. Burnley getting the almost inevitable goal, based on our own ineptitude to that point, seemed to spur us on and we were transformed, galvanised in to an efficient unit.
Mind you, the change of shape, and that is no reflection on Ben Godfrey who became make-weight to allow another midfielder on and scrap that 'three at the back malarkey', which has never boded well for us. I had predicted 4-1 to us and at one point thought that may have been achieved or bettered when Doucouré's goal, which was clearly offside, hit the back of the net.
Still pinching myself when I look at the Table and see that no team has done better than us apart from goal difference, although it is early days, and we haven't played any of the 'big guns' yet. Without getting too carried away, we look to have a decent foundation, and confidence to try and build up a decent run.
I know this is not the right platform, so prior apologies Editors, but several people have indicated that The Cancer Research UK Appeal has been difficult to spot, and therefore is not getting the hoped for response. It is under Site/General Forum, so please just take a minute or two and do what you can. Thanks!
Onwards and Upwards Blues!
117 Posted 14/09/2021 at 03:40:24
Digne though, was dreadful. I used to rate his distribution highly but today he couldn't hit a cow's arse with a banjo. Every cross hit the first man.
I also don't understand why he kept taking short corners which were totally ineffective. Let's hope he reverts to normal service asap.
118 Posted 14/09/2021 at 05:23:30
I can always admire a manager willing to mix things up when things are going wrong. (Remember Moyes, who I did admire, always left it to the last ten minutes.)
Last season's malaise in the whole, was losing to bottom third teams. Especially at home? What the fluff?
Was this to happen again? Apparently not. Bodes well. Especially after going behind.
We won't beat every Sky Big 3 team but we should beat many of the rest. Bodes well, again.
119 Posted 14/09/2021 at 05:37:30
120 Posted 14/09/2021 at 05:48:34
Anyway, I digress. Most has been said. A pretty uninspiring first half and what felt like an inevitable Burnley goal. Personally, I didn't panic as, despite them going probably deservedly ahead, they hadn't threatened us and we had better quality on the pitch. We just needed to flick the switch. And we did.
I'm not going to analyse the game too much as I got carried away in the atmosphere of an eventually rocking Goodison under the lights. But some observations that I can remember.
Allan. I know I go on about him, but he really did marshal the team. Constantly talking and instructing and, once again, in the very poor official's ear, making the case for the team. Interesting to see him and Coleman getting together for a captain's chat occasionally.
I thought both centre-backs were very good in dealing with the only threat Burnley posed. Not sure a lot could have been done about the goal other than stopping the cross, but easier said than done and I haven't seen it on the tele yet.
On the short corners and Digne, I suspect it was a tactic. "What's the point of lumping balls into the box against Burnley?" I said to the guy next to me – literally minutes prior to that peach-iest of peach crosses from Townsend that Keane guided into the net. Talk about a classic only having to change the direction of the ball because of the quality and pace of the cross.
Nothing more needs saying about the Townsend goal and as for Demarai Gray, he is rapidly in danger of becoming a fans' favourite and an absolute steal of a signing.
I must mention Gomes. Much criticised, but he really added guile and composure when he came on.
Richarlison worked his socks off in what is not his best position and he wasn't protected by the referee, who simply must have a grudge against us. I don't want to dwell on Atkinson. Poor.
So, I head back to London. Thankfully Costa was open. I'm several hundred pounds lighter again, but still buzzing, so money well invested. Maybe Moshiri could do with a chat with me!! That's 9 points from 9 for me this season.
121 Posted 14/09/2021 at 06:39:05
Bill - "Yes, our last home game."
Don - "I didnt mean this season. Keep up, old bean."
Bill - "You ask, what have the Romans ever done for us?"
TW's should Cherish Don, because his village will surely want him back one day.
Interesting points made about Allan. One guy thinks he stunk the place out and another thinks he really did marshal the team.
Me? I think he did okay after recovering from a first half where he barely found a blue shirt.
I noticed it was Doucouré's turn to hit a worldy pass... Somewhere down the line, we have to recognise that Gray's movement into space is so good. He is making these passes so much easier for the player in possession.
122 Posted 14/09/2021 at 06:59:22
Repeating myself from there, football at it's simplest best.
123 Posted 14/09/2021 at 08:17:10
Enjoy the rest of the week.
124 Posted 14/09/2021 at 08:37:22
Sue Smith & Stephen Warnock work well as a pair, and I can see some heated exchanges from them if Dermot tries too defend Atkinson!!!
125 Posted 14/09/2021 at 08:38:25
Demarai Gray is a breath of fresh air – energetic, keen, and very pacey – could be a real bargain... his confidence will be up and can only get better.
Burnley were disgraceful, a few of those tackles were shocking with Atkinson no more than 5 yards away; he is an awful referee.
The fans were brilliant. I don't think we would have won that game last season... it would have just petered out.
Seamus Coleman gives us 100% every game, maybe coming to the end of his career but what a leader! He loves our club. Top man... we must keep him involved with club – he epitomizes all the qualities our great club stands for.
Onwards and upwards. Bring on the Villa.
126 Posted 14/09/2021 at 08:54:21
As it happens I thought Burnley's second “goal” should have stood. I thought Pickford was poor but to be fair to him, not because of his personality traits, he just very poor at crosses and it's a big flaw in his game.
127 Posted 14/09/2021 at 08:57:59
It would have been nice to see someone take retribution on Tarkowski and let people see that, if you mess with any one of us, there'll be consequences. The great Everton team always did that, think Reid, Gray and Ratcliffe.
Very promising but let's see what Rafa can do against the so-called big teams.
128 Posted 14/09/2021 at 09:05:37
Now that, to some extent, many would agree with but it does send a message to other teams as to what to expect, as we found out last night, when they play this lot of troglodytes – and indeed it is what one might expect from Dyche – he is a bit of a warrior himself.
Atkinson was disgraceful yesterday, offering no protection to our players. Lee Evans was clearly briefed to hit Richarlison as hard as possible and from as early as possible from the start. Perhaps the referees could be given a heads-up about what to expect when they officiate Burnley from now on.
I think at the end of the day, we did a pretty good job protecting ouselves, however, as the scoreline shows!
129 Posted 14/09/2021 at 09:09:05
Carragher on the other hand managed to get a Van Dijk reference in.
130 Posted 14/09/2021 at 09:20:46
131 Posted 14/09/2021 at 09:41:41
This season, there seems to be more tolerance by referees of this as long as it is fair, as it was in my eyes becoming more akin to synchronised swimming than football as I remember it. We don't of course need the thuggery of past times creeping back in, as you say.
The physical "highly tuned" fitness levels probably contribute towards the injuries we see in the modern game and it's right that players should be protected from these, but, at the end of the day, it is, and should be, a physical as well as tactical contest.
132 Posted 14/09/2021 at 10:01:59
Early days, but promising so far.
Two tough away games next.
133 Posted 14/09/2021 at 10:37:33
The appearance by J Rodriguez last night might be the last for a J Rodriguez for a while
134 Posted 14/09/2021 at 10:47:17
Benitez is supposedly a cold fish and is probably just what this squad needed some tough love.
Only 4 matches in but looking very very positive so far. The upcoming fixtures look favourable so lets gets some serious points on the board and see where it takes us.
135 Posted 14/09/2021 at 10:54:44
And again the additions to the side in Gray and Townsend are noteworthy. Cheap as chips but added squad quality. Nailed-on starters.
136 Posted 14/09/2021 at 11:12:43
I think Rafa also deserves recognition for this. Townsend - who has also re-energised this team - spoke about Rafas continued insistence on making runs in behind, and supposedly berated Gray and himself at half-time for not doing enough of that in the first half. The way the team and the management staff responded to the disappointing first hour of the game gives me great satisfaction. We have had a succession of managers who have struggled to turn tides, shift formations, and inspire our players to dig in and find an answer. The early signs are very promising.
137 Posted 14/09/2021 at 11:26:58
I totally agree with your opinion on JP and crosses.
Last night however I think it was Pickfords late run towards Wood that caused the goal to be offside. Had he remained on his line and the watched the header fly past him there is a good chance that Wood would not have deemed to be interfering.
Its extremely unlikely that JP considered that when he dashed off his line with zero chance of winning the ball…..but you never know.
Like others have mentioned its refreshing to finally have a proactive manager at the helm. Much of last nights performance was standard Everton. Bullied at home by an inferior team and end up going one down.
The response from the manager and the team was impressive and it made for fun watching in the end. In fact our the response was the complete opposite to what we have seen from this bunch for the majority of the last 4-5 seasons.
If the Everton we saw in the last 20 minutes can turn up regularly for the full 90 then I can see us giving any team a game.
138 Posted 14/09/2021 at 11:50:45
140 Posted 14/09/2021 at 11:55:04
141 Posted 14/09/2021 at 11:55:09
142 Posted 14/09/2021 at 12:02:32
143 Posted 14/09/2021 at 12:19:09
144 Posted 14/09/2021 at 12:48:17
If we sold him for around £80-90M and, and bought McNeil for say £30M, I think that would be decent business. I do like Richarlison, but it does seem inevitable he's going to move sooner rather than later.
145 Posted 14/09/2021 at 12:53:07
146 Posted 14/09/2021 at 13:01:10
Personally it still feels odd. I've progressed from calling him 'Benitez' to 'Mr Benitez' (more respectful) but still can't call him 'Rafa'. That's like using the pet name that your girlfriend's ex (who you loathe) used to use.
Petty I know. Guessing I'm not the only one!
147 Posted 14/09/2021 at 13:02:19
I think if we were going to get him it should have been just now. I reckon by next year, he will have too many admirers.
148 Posted 14/09/2021 at 13:06:37
149 Posted 14/09/2021 at 13:06:59
Credit to Rafa for still changing the formation after the equaliser, as many managers would have then sat Gomes back down, thinking their original tactics were now working out. They patently were not.
I think Rafa is our most asute boss for some time in his assessment of when personnel and formations have to change. Early days for sure, but the signs are promising.
Bigger tests are obviously on the horizon and I just hope that this fighting mentality is continued against the title contending teams. So many of their opposition think it's a damage limitation exercise and go out not really believing they can win. If Rafa can embody the mental strength with the defensive solidity and fast counter attacking then we could be in for a good season.
Some cracking goals and a memorable atmosphere.
Early days, but hopeful ones for sure.
150 Posted 14/09/2021 at 13:07:11
151 Posted 14/09/2021 at 13:13:13
152 Posted 14/09/2021 at 14:03:14
153 Posted 14/09/2021 at 14:30:51
My point was to register the pleasure I took from seeing long overdue dynamism in a game. Long may it continue.
154 Posted 14/09/2021 at 15:10:08
I would say mutual respect but a bit of a Mexican stand off and dance off and who blinks first type scenario?
I said it against Brighton, he toyed with the idea, but stalled at the half way line and just welcomed the players back.
I think he likes us. I think we like him. We just both won't admit it yet.
155 Posted 14/09/2021 at 15:41:07
I was more than prepared to give Carlo time but I think Rafa is exposing his limitations, along with Koeman's and Silva's. Work with what you have and find tactics to get the best out of them instead of shoehorning players into systems and tactics that they aren't technically or physically able to play.
Early days yet but if he can also find a way to get the best out of James (who needs to play well for us to get in the Colombia team for the World Cup potentially), I'll be a very happy man. Still haven't played anyone of any real note but we look far more dangerous than last season. Very pleased so far.
156 Posted 14/09/2021 at 16:10:28
First to spot it wins a night with Derek Knox, second place is two nights!
157 Posted 14/09/2021 at 16:25:54
If I'm right, I'll happily donate the prize to some little ole dear in care somewhere. Win-win for all.
158 Posted 14/09/2021 at 16:26:59
159 Posted 14/09/2021 at 16:34:38
It all comes out in the wash, they say.
160 Posted 14/09/2021 at 16:48:06
Took some doing to hit it like he did while basically looking out to the wing.
Oh and prizes are not transferrable so pucker up big boy!!
161 Posted 14/09/2021 at 16:50:38
162 Posted 14/09/2021 at 17:00:15
163 Posted 14/09/2021 at 17:01:09
Rafa seems to understand what Evertonians want. High tempo, high commitment, quick attacks, no fannying.
Our recent former managers just didn't understand. The closest was Roberto, until he decided to bore and torture us to death with his tippy-tappy nonsense and inane press conference drivel
Townsend – what a fucking cracker!
164 Posted 14/09/2021 at 17:04:57
Oh and not that it's of any interest to anyone but I called 3-1 before the game and actually went and put a coupon on as I got upstairs early.
Never been quite so slightly made up that fourth was disallowed as I went home £50 better off.
165 Posted 14/09/2021 at 17:13:30
It's a cool 34 C, 70% suffocating humidity and not a breath of wind in Balmy Brazil where I'm sat.
So why I have just felt a cold shiver ripple through my entire body at the image you just conjured up?
166 Posted 14/09/2021 at 17:16:23
167 Posted 14/09/2021 at 17:24:38
I've always rated Rafa, I wanted him instead of Koeman (just imagine if he had the £100M to spend). I just hope the many who stated never to an ex-Liverpool manager can now accept that (so far) this is looking like the best appointment we have had in a long-long time.
An Everton team with goals — Love It!
168 Posted 14/09/2021 at 17:35:59
169 Posted 14/09/2021 at 18:01:40
Is that the prize, Brian? Did we nearly meet last night? Your name was mentioned in the Saddle and you may have been pointed out to me.
Unless the last emotion of the last 24 hours are fatigue is now affecting the brain!
170 Posted 14/09/2021 at 18:13:11
I know we'll come up short against the top 4 but, if we could just give them a great game and win a couple, perhaps?
171 Posted 14/09/2021 at 18:29:32
172 Posted 14/09/2021 at 18:44:43
But I suspect the reason there is a feeling of optimism is that we are playing with more spirit, more pace and more adventure. And I think most supporters will be happy with that.
The difference has been in midfield with obviously Gray and Townsend looking shrewd acquisitions, Allan has been solid but the player who seems to be enjoying it most is Doucouré who has been given license to play to his strengths which is his tremendous athleticism rather than sitting around the halfway line protecting the centre-halves.
173 Posted 14/09/2021 at 18:44:51
Danny you weren't with Martin and his gang in the corner were you?
174 Posted 14/09/2021 at 19:01:16
From the highlights, all 3 were sensational goals. Townsend - what a player, what a guy! I think the formation that we ended with 4-3-3 with Gomes on instead of Godfrey looks to be our ideal formation. I am genuinely not worried about Calvert-Lewin's absence for a few weeks, although obviously I want him to recover fully and be back ASAP. If he were to be available tomorrow, Rafa would have a genuine selection worry.
I think Rafa is happy with the set of players he has now, but obviously backups for Coleman and Digne are the glaring weaknesses in the squad right now.
Aston Villa will be another tough test, but it feels reassuring to have a manager who knows how to win. Can't wait to watch that game.
175 Posted 14/09/2021 at 19:01:47
176 Posted 14/09/2021 at 19:24:20
Scissor tackle on Richarlison 2nd minute - clear yellow, nothing given. Brownhill
Reckless tackle on Richarlison, straight red. No card.
Tackle straight through on Townsend, no card.
I hope Burnley get relegated. Their thug pub style of football, launching it and clattering through players isn't something I want to see.
177 Posted 14/09/2021 at 19:25:37
If you compare the results by the same fixtures from last season (I presume you have gone with the first four results to state we are 2 points worse off by comparison), we are 3points to the good.
Beat Southampton at home both seasons, equality.
Drew with Leeds, beat them at their gaff last season, –2 points.
Won at Brighton, drew there last season, +2 points – overall equality.
Beat Burnley last night, last season lost at home to them: +3 points making us 3 points to the good on the like-for-like fixtures from last season.
Always a silver-lining if you look.
178 Posted 14/09/2021 at 19:28:07
I've worn Schalke tops to all matches so far this season.
And Schalke won this weekend too, so a great weekend for me. I'll be out to see the Koningsblauen (Royal Blues) as soon as I can.
179 Posted 14/09/2021 at 19:35:41
Errr second thoughts, don't answer that. 🤣
180 Posted 14/09/2021 at 19:42:49
Many thanks, Mr Benitez.
181 Posted 14/09/2021 at 19:43:46
182 Posted 14/09/2021 at 19:48:43
183 Posted 14/09/2021 at 19:48:55
184 Posted 14/09/2021 at 20:18:09
See you on the 25th.
Undeclared at present.
185 Posted 14/09/2021 at 20:33:06
No, I said same stage as last season but of course I was being tongue-in-cheek, I just couldn't find the emoji for it... 😉
186 Posted 14/09/2021 at 20:52:36
Joe (187) - obviously it's still early days, but it does feel as if Benitez is the manager we thought we were getting with Koeman... a no-nonsense pragmatist, but now with the work ethic and tactical nous to back it up.
187 Posted 14/09/2021 at 21:22:45
188 Posted 14/09/2021 at 21:58:25
Im not trying to be negative or awkward, but Im intrigued as to why you seem so positive about Benitez at this time, so early in the season, given what happened last season.
We are definitely playing refreshingly well, but havent we done this before, only to be let down? Wasnt that the reason for your caution last year? What do you see as so different this time?
If our form continues long-term, THAT would be a new thing!
189 Posted 14/09/2021 at 22:27:29
190 Posted 14/09/2021 at 22:39:21
From the oppositions perspective they dominated and outplayed us for the majority of the game.
Their mistake, which was our fortune, when they took the lead they kept pushing high up the pitch. That's not what Burnley of old would have done.
We took advantage of that by bringing on an extra midfielder and then had runners and the wingers played deeper leaving space ahead of themselves.
I'll give Benitez credit for that. Gomes didn't do much and his woeful shot sums his match up. But he did OK.
If Burnleys second goal would have been given, (I cant believe it wasn't) it may have been a different outcome.
But as I said before the game, a win is a win. Forget performance, we had a good 30 minute spell, took our chances and the 3 points.
191 Posted 14/09/2021 at 23:00:18
192 Posted 14/09/2021 at 23:14:23
I wasn't sure about him this time but, as you say, he's twisting my arm.
193 Posted 14/09/2021 at 23:26:07
It's very early days but Rafa, has got the best team spirit and focus and tune out of an Everton squad since the first season for Bobby Brown Shoes.
Early days this season and the Wilton Arms and The Holt End have mixed memories, mainly good, but a tough challenge. I believe sincerely Everton can take Villa apart on Saturday if they play and focus like they did last night in the second half.
A good start but let's see Everton keep this zip and belief. Inspiring 8 minutes, last night – the best home goals scored at Goodison Park for some time.
194 Posted 15/09/2021 at 01:45:48
When Townsend hit that ball for the goal, we went ballistic. We watched outside on the back patio and were chastised by the Mrs.: "We have neighbors!" We absolutely lost our shit.
For me, what was even better, was Doucoure's ball. My God what a pass! Jeez man - like what? Thirty yards on a DIME? That was absolutely beautiful.
Also loved a former Burnley player got it all started in Michael Keane - rubbed that shit in the Mrs.' nose! 😂
Six minutes of utter bliss!
Great, great game.
Now, for the drop.
We've not played anyone. Don't get all excited and dream of glory. I'll believe it when we finally play one of the "big boys" and beat them. When October comes, and when October leaves us, we'll know a hell of a lot more about this team.
But for the time being, great stuff.
195 Posted 15/09/2021 at 02:03:24
That's a great post.
I've been contemplating Rafa a lot lately. I didn't want him, and was toxic about his appointment. Here's the thing.
Maybe (maybe??) his time in the City of Liverpool while coaching "the others" provided a Blue education for him? He seems to be setting up a team that, from what I can garner as a red-headed adopted bastard, Evertonians will love.
Is it possible he actually understands how to set up a "Blue side"?
I think yes.
And the funny thing is, if he just basically doesn't make waves, stays professional, and keeps the FSW gob shut, we'll all be ok with it.
He's playing the landscape well. Props to him.
Now let's see, when we take a loss or two against Man Utd or Chelsea, whether or not Blues are singing the praises still?
But so far I'd give him a 10 out of 10 rating. He's done damn well, and is playing this whole thing like a chiseled pro.
196 Posted 15/09/2021 at 03:20:31
Southampton, Leeds, Brighton and Burnley. And Villa and Norwich next. All but Brighton are stuck in the mud already.
Sure, Benitez and the newcomers have been great. But there's nothing wrong with wondering if our league position is due more to our pillow-soft schedule than our dazzling quality.
The October and November fixture list has a whole different look to it. That's when we find out if Pinocchio is a real boy.
197 Posted 15/09/2021 at 04:56:35
Comedy gold... but only because we won anyway
198 Posted 15/09/2021 at 06:39:02
Against Burnley, for the first half, we were dreadful; no creativity at all, we gave them possession and couldn't get out of bed let alone get out of our own half. Because of this, I am not getting carried away. We have no one with the capability of James if the supply of Doucouré or Townsend is stifiled and I am sure teams will be looking to do exactly that.
Richarlison looked a lonely man chasing shadows for most of the game. No early balls into the box... so I am not sure we got the gameplan right.
In the second half, ball watching and free header gave a goal away, but a great 10-minute spell that showed great quality of Gray and Townsend (what a strike) but for me, there is still a need for a No 10...
Gather the points now before winter sets in!!
199 Posted 15/09/2021 at 06:55:04
One thing that seems to have been forgotten is Doucouré manhandling one of the Burnley players at their corner and bringing him down in the penalty box. Clear penalty as far as I can see. VAR apparently looked at it and dismissed it. Perhaps they thought there was some manhandling of Doucouré as well but if you are looking at the player and not the direction from where the ball is coming, you are asking for trouble...
200 Posted 15/09/2021 at 07:25:14
Interesting point on Mina. I thought he was pushed in the back (in hindsight, didn't see it from where I was at the time). At the pace players move, the slightest of touches will cause you to fall. Did he make the most of it? Possibly. But if that's a forward, you're looking at a penalty. Because it was a foul in the box, regardless of reaction.
Anyway, take nothing away from the cross and the movement from the Burnley goalscorer and all ended well.
Also interesting how we all see it different Justin. I thought when Gomes came on he gave us a bit of composure in midfield. The shot? Well, as soon as I saw him teeing it up, I didn't get excited. Not his thing. He played really well in my opinion.
201 Posted 15/09/2021 at 08:12:15
We will, in all likelihood, get beaten by the Sky clubs when we meet. Why? Because they are better than us, that's why.
In the meantime, if Rafa can get us improving, getting the achievable points and playing towards the Street and Park Ends rather than the Bullens and Goodison Road, I shall be rather pleased.
It may be my imagination working overtime but I wonder if one or two can't wait for us to tail off, in order to get the bed sheets out? Surely not... 🤔
202 Posted 15/09/2021 at 08:15:37
One game at a time. Beat the weaker ones, let the form and morale runs hot and the harder games will be dealt with.
203 Posted 15/09/2021 at 08:30:59
I agree it's easy to get carried away after a win. When the dust settles we're usually neither as good nor as bad as we think.
It's a good point about Richarlison. He's been asked to do the job of Calvert-Lewin in a side which organises its attack around Calvert-Lewin's strengths. However, Richarlison is not good at that role (few are) and needs the team to adjust if he's to be effective.
As a centre forward he seems most effective as the hard working foil for the likes of Neymar, playing for Brazil.
Maybe this means getting Gray much closer to him in a more advanced role, posing the problem of quick feet, pace and movement instead of just hard work and muscle.
A fully fit and motivated Colombian No 10 may also help but I'm not holding my breath on that. Maybe Gomes or Iwobi instead.
204 Posted 15/09/2021 at 08:45:36
Regarding your last point, any Evertonian would be a very sad case if they looked forward to any tailing off just to be ‘proved right'.
The issue at the moment is more to do with a lot of ‘isn't Rafa brilliant' posts. He may indeed turn out to be brilliant, but only time will tell, and it would require a very sustained run of good form to justify calling him that.
It's just a tad premature at this early stage. We've been there before, and then been bitten on the arse!
205 Posted 15/09/2021 at 09:08:11
He will offer stability and hopefully, build the foundations for genuine improvement. We will fall off and the euphoria will vanish in the months to come. As you, say we've been bitten in the nether regions before and we have a squad that is painfully slim.
I do feel there are one or two sad cases who can't wait to say "I told you so", however.
206 Posted 15/09/2021 at 09:18:02
Thus far, we have recovered from two very poor first-half performances at home against Southampton and Burnley but then produced excellent second-half recoveries. "Mastermind" wasn't the word I was thinking when I saw the the team and formation on Monday evening… and for an hour we were clueless and negative.
If memory serves me correctly, we won seven on the trot at the beginning of last season. The key to our good starts in consecutive seasons is that our best central midfielders have been fit and in good form. It amuses me that some posters are fawning over Benitez and dismissing everything Ancelotti did.
207 Posted 15/09/2021 at 09:35:07
Also, our season went to shit last season soon after Carlo's daughter was held at knife point. That is a fact. Before that sad moment, Carlo was fully committed to us.
We don't know this but I think his daughter was in her dad's ear saying she wants out of here and he said okay. Very strange how no-one has been done over it yet. Surely there were cameras in such a household?
208 Posted 15/09/2021 at 09:37:36
I agree with every word of your post, the headline of this post shouldn't be "Benitez masterminds another comeback" – it should ask why did he change to a 3 at the back.
Just look at the sides that are successful – Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea – their managers don't try to be smart arses, they play the same system every week. In Man City's and Liverpool's case, it's 4-3-3 and, under Conte, Chelsea played 3-5-2 but they didn't change formation – they played the same way every week. Players usually aren't comfortable with change, and only the very best players can change from one system to another, and we don't have that quality of player.
I would also say against good sides if you fall behind we probably wont come back, and to change a system just 4 games into your tenure doesn't make any sense. I think if Burnley had taken their chances in the first 60 minutes we may well have been 2 or 3 goals down.
Now I have said I am not a fan of Benitez but he has certainly galvanised this side to play more on the front foot that we have for quite a while; Gray and Townsend have been good buys I suspect Brands may have suggested we buy Gray and Townsend is obviously a Benitez purchase.
Like Ed says, many now want to trash what Ancelotti did, but he did win his first 7 games and he was responsible for the purchase of Allan, Godfrey, Doucoure and James. And you have to say that probably all bar James will be central figures going forward in the team. My only criticism of Ancelotti was he tended to be more defensive than he needed to be in a lot of games.
209 Posted 15/09/2021 at 09:45:08
I think some of the negativity comes from the dramatic way we faded away in the last 10 games and the style of non-football we were playing in that period. The good times are easily forgotten, as will this current spell if the form dips below the standards set.
Optimism comes from the team now looking more pacey and tenacious. Harder working as a unit. There seems to be more of a team spirit that wasn't fully formed last time round. I was impressed we still found a way to win in the second half against Burnley without our main goalscorer. Also impressed that Iwobi and Gomes are playing better so far when called upon and Holgate and Godfrey will be fighting to start. A lot will depend on how Gbamin, Davies and these other squad players step up to the plate when they are inevitably needed. Not signing Diaz gives a great opportunity to Gordon to make the next step and stake his claim. Should be interesting to watch some of these players against QPR.
I would have liked to have seen Dumfries and Diaz brought in to give us more strength in depth and more of a guarantee of Top 6 consistency. Top 6 now will likely depend on the injury gods smiling upon us. At least until January, when I think we will make a signing or two.
210 Posted 15/09/2021 at 10:02:46
We'll miss Dominic's presence away from home more than for the home matches, because of the work rate he usually puts in and due to his being a focal point of a lot of our attacks.
Whilst I don't think that too many are fawning over the manager, I do hope that those who opposed his appointment don't vent all of their anger at him if or when it goes slightly awry in terms of results. In general, if the team continues to play with the same commitment that it's shown in the first few matches and also shows its intent to score goals then that will be far better than we saw in the last dozen or so games of last season.
The current manager has one major advantage over the previous incumbents, he should, after living in the area for so many years, fully understand what is and isn't acceptable to Evertonians and I fully believe that he does.
However, I noticed that he was having a brief chat on the bench with Duncan during the game on Monday, where it seemed to me that Duncan was telling him that Everton prefers to attack the Gwladys Street in the second half, from that perspective we have to give him a bit of time to fully understand the different aspects of the club as he's only been here a very short while.
211 Posted 15/09/2021 at 10:15:07
I was very anti-Benitez at the time of his appointment but have changed my tune since learning of our financial predicament. I am now relieved to have him.
It's a good start but there will be set-backs because the First XI is patchy and the squad is really weak in some areas.
Benitez will also make mistakes – like starting with a back 5 at home to Burnley (which was always going to play to their strengths rather than ours). However, managers seem to make fewer mistakes when they have two or more excellent players in each position at their disposal. We don't.
212 Posted 15/09/2021 at 10:34:24
It's not a game of "ifs" and "might have beens" – it's about actually sticking the ball between the posts.
Aside from that, no-one seems to be mentioning Townsend's second long-range effort which nearly took Pope's arms out of their sockets. That would have been a dream double.
213 Posted 15/09/2021 at 11:04:22
214 Posted 15/09/2021 at 11:22:16
We all know that the squad is still weak, especially over a full season. Benitez is just starting, still feeling his way, getting used to the squad and staff.
I have no great expectations for this season with the club in the position it is in. I expect we will be boosted by a couple of January signings to strengthen the squad and keep us in the top half of the Premier League.
Fans keep mentioning the first seven games of last season, they included Salford and Fleetwood in the League Cup. Ancelotti has been and gone and none of us know the real reason why he left; I personally will not miss him. Benitez is in charge now and I keep repeating myself: The longer he is here, the better I believe we will become.
215 Posted 15/09/2021 at 11:22:55
If you are able to access the OS 90 minutes footage of the game, prior to the game starting about 3 minutes into the stream you can clearly see Benitez asking Duncan about which end Everton prefers to attack in the second half. Benitez may have been aware of the name of the end but he perhaps wasn't aware which end it actually was.
216 Posted 15/09/2021 at 11:34:03
And on top of that, much as I love DCL, if that would have been him rather than Gray in the one-on-one, it's highly likely we wouldn't have scored. Same with the Townsend goal - who in our team would have scored that last season? Possibly James when he could be arsed?
Talking of Gray's goal - I loved that one. Memories of Trevor Steven on that great night - all the arl arses like me were saying it as we came out of the ground!
What a night to be at Goodison. Happy days. Personally, I'm leaving the future til the future, that was fucking great.
217 Posted 15/09/2021 at 11:38:05
218 Posted 15/09/2021 at 12:00:57
Different managers, different approaches, but largely the same thin squad and team as last season.
Michael Lynch @216. Your last paragraph describes Monday succinctly!
No expectations, lets enjoy the ride and see where it goes!
Wembley in May and Europe next season.
219 Posted 15/09/2021 at 12:23:42
220 Posted 15/09/2021 at 12:30:18
221 Posted 15/09/2021 at 12:31:50
...but after three wins from four league games, there appears to be no hangover from the Italian leaving Goodison Park, with even Michael Kenrick from Toffee Web [My Emphasis added]claiming Benitez had ‘engineered a wonderful win‘ against Burnley.
222 Posted 15/09/2021 at 12:36:29
223 Posted 15/09/2021 at 15:25:40
but for me, there is still a need for a No 10...
Remember when we had like fifteen No. 10's on the roster? 😂
A point on Rafa, and I'll make the whole of TW a deal!
I will get behind Rafa when I finally hear Goodison sing his name.
Leave it to the experts, says I.
224 Posted 15/09/2021 at 15:32:10
In the past, I've been behind Bingham, Walker, Smith... never rated them particularly but they were our managers at the time.
225 Posted 15/09/2021 at 15:33:18
I think you might have a long wait for that moment to arrive, a trophy on the sideboard or a humiliating defeat for our neighbour's against Everton may swing it, but I wouldn't hold my breath.
I think that toleration is there and goodwill towards the manager for the good of the club is also present, but the chances of the Street End bursting into song with the manager being the subject matter might prove elusive.
226 Posted 15/09/2021 at 16:43:07
You might have thought an owner and/or chairman might have noticed this consistent feature as the manager roundabout was spun and spun by them, to the cost of Lord knows how many £millions in unearned compo. Hell, you'd like to think a Director of Football might have alerted the two dopes at the top, but no, it takes a bloke like Benitez to come in and educate the club at every level as to the necessity of full basic fitness. Jeez!
But let's not ALL hold anyone to accountant at the top eh, and especially anyone who goes on ad nauseam that they "truly get" Everton.
227 Posted 15/09/2021 at 18:12:19
228 Posted 15/09/2021 at 18:26:19
229 Posted 15/09/2021 at 20:22:13
Bizarrely to me though, Darren then bestows huge admiration on all of the USMFF ex-players who Kenwright employed as coaches, regardless of the fact that since Tom Davies USMFF has produced no regular player for the first team (and Davies is barely regular) and hardly anyone who attracts a transfer fee or a notable career when they leave us.
In the meantime way too many of us choose to keep on whistling Dixie, hoping/praying for a manager with the skill-set to match JHC to finally descend upon us. Weird!
230 Posted 15/09/2021 at 20:40:55
231 Posted 15/09/2021 at 21:33:00
Mike G, the other sub-plot was in case the strippers/burlesque and coquettish dancers don't turn up, was to have a Don/Darren verbal sparring match (Marquis of Queensbury Rules of course) no biting, gouging, hair pulling etc, as a back up. Don't tell them though ! 😜😂💙
232 Posted 15/09/2021 at 21:40:11
Bill also said that he may put in an appearance at Bramley Moore, as he believes is so popular with the hardcore fans of Everton. Although he didn't say which night it would be on. :-)
233 Posted 15/09/2021 at 23:08:05
234 Posted 16/09/2021 at 11:25:02
There was a 15 minute period in the 2nd half where we were simply unplayable...real quality,I just hope we can keep this unbeaten run going.
Onwards Blues to Villa Park...still can't stop smiling!.
235 Posted 16/09/2021 at 11:47:55
No knives to gunfights, no heads down when we go a goal down and has turned a very average squad into a "team".
I cant wait for him to have a couple of transfer windows, I can only see us improving when he gets some of his own players in.
He gets the club because he gets the city, we need to "get" him, he's a football manager not a tory politician.
236 Posted 16/09/2021 at 12:16:28
Some intriguing improvements have manifested themselves under Rafa although his appointment ruffled a lot of feathers.
His amazing signings of Townsend and Gray for ''nothing'' is the highlight of the season so far for Everton if not in the whole Premiership.
He seemingly has also changed the mindset of the squad and when you have top players starting on the bench things can only be good.
The injury to DCL could be a setback but with the experienced Rondon to call on it may not be as bad as it seems in the short term.
Hopefully the trend will continue at Villa.
237 Posted 16/09/2021 at 12:54:58
238 Posted 16/09/2021 at 12:55:29
The two telling things will be, how we actually go about the ninety minutes and then how we react in the following fixtures should things go badly
Me...I'm quietly confident although after sixty years disappointment is an old chum. COYB.
239 Posted 16/09/2021 at 12:58:22
What a lily-livered statement to make. And deferring to the match-day crowd as somehow being more worthy of making a decision on what you think about the manager - sorry but that sort of low status crawling is not particularly Evertonian in my book. If you want to back Rafa then back him, if you don't then don't. Don't look to take your cue from other people as some sort of default position.
For the record, I am backing him. In a few short months, on no budget, he's got rid of the problem/underperforming players he was able to, and brought in players that we need - pace, width, running in behind, the ability to beat a man and get crosses into the box. We are fitter, better organised, and have managed to win games after conceding the first goal - as well as winning a game with 10 men. Early days, but at this point I can't see much that he has done wrong. We were on the verge of being a crisis club on and off the pitch - but I don't see the crisis on the pitch anymore.
240 Posted 16/09/2021 at 12:59:33
He can't be a Tory MP as so many of them appear to support the other side, including the newly appointed Culture, Media and Sports Secretary, Nadine Dorries. Her great-grandfather George Bargery was a founding member of Everton Football Club, he also kept goal for the Blues. According to the Echo He was between the sticks when Everton played their first ever competitive game – a Lancashire Senior Cup tie against Great Lever in 1880 and in the 1881/82 season he kept six clean sheets in nine games.
241 Posted 16/09/2021 at 14:28:19
You're a sensitive man.
It was a joke. I don't see the crowd ever singing Rafa's name, and no matter how hard I try, I still see the red FSW. Ergo, when the crowd sings, I'll fully convert - never gonna happen. As I say, he's done well, I give hime a 10 out of 10 up and to this point.
Don't look to take your cue from other people as some sort of default position.
Serious question - do you really believe that's me Andrew? If so, you're a loon.
242 Posted 16/09/2021 at 16:05:37
"why did the manager get it so wrong in the first place?"
243 Posted 16/09/2021 at 16:09:49
No? oh well lets see if you change your tune, when he rolls the Red shite over at Goodison.
244 Posted 16/09/2021 at 16:36:33
245 Posted 16/09/2021 at 16:51:56
"Rafa Benitez run down the wing for me?"
246 Posted 16/09/2021 at 17:44:31
247 Posted 16/09/2021 at 17:46:45
Or you could have Rafa the gaffer, to heartbeat.
248 Posted 16/09/2021 at 17:51:18
And yeah Mike, that Gray article was nice. Played the boy from Birmingham card nicely there, I think he may be good for another goal vs. Villa.
249 Posted 16/09/2021 at 18:17:00
250 Posted 16/09/2021 at 18:17:42
251 Posted 16/09/2021 at 18:23:59
252 Posted 16/09/2021 at 18:32:33
253 Posted 16/09/2021 at 19:25:37
I haven't seen him yet, but honestly what's going on at Finch Farm, not enough to have former players, stinking out the gaff, but now it's former players, family members getting a gig! Sorry, Don for stealing your line :)
Seriously, if he turns out half as good and as fully committed as his dad, he'll earn a decent living out of the game. See that Phil Jevons has left Everton to join Sunderland too.
254 Posted 16/09/2021 at 19:48:03
For all we know he may be a cracker of a player, Ill reserve judgement until Ive seen him play a few times. Im sure we will get some candid reports on here too of his ability.
255 Posted 17/09/2021 at 12:30:17
For over five years Don Alexander has come on he aiming his abuse at me. He has posted numerous times without even talking about the game in an attempt to get my attention. I blanked him for five years. It did not deter him. He didnt seem to understand how he looked.
Trust me, there is nobody and I do mean nobody Dull Don would rather meet than me. He has been obsessed for years...But heres the rub... He would only want to meet me if I didnt know who he was.
I'm not a big man. I'm not a violent man. I'm not even an angry man. So there will be no issue (as you seem to be indicating) with me meeting anybody, but I'm not a coward either. I have never said a word on here that I would not say to somebodys face. That makes me different from Don Alexander.
Recently I have started responding to Don and to my great amusement he acted in exactly the way I expected him to. He screams the house down. Now I'll just go back to blanking him
His constant claim the we share the same views on things relating to Everton is simply wishful thinking on his part.
256 Posted 18/09/2021 at 19:11:23
257 Posted 18/09/2021 at 19:16:11
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