Travelling Blues demand Benitez exit as Everton lose to goal-shy Canaries

Saturday, 15 January, 2022 0comments  |  Jump to last
Norwich 2 - 1 Everton

It's hard to see how Rafael Benitez lasts much longer after presiding over one of the worst sequences of results in the club's Premier League history

Everton's horrific form continued with a 2-1 defeat at Carrow Road against the top flight's bottom team who hadn't scored a Premier League goal since November.

Rafael Benitez has now overseen a run of just one win in 13 matches since the Blues beat Norwich City in the reverse fixture at Goodison Park in late September and the Spaniard was barracked by the travelling fans this afternoon who have seen enough failure from the former Liverpool boss.

The Blues fell two goals behind in the space of 90 seconds when Michael Keane's own goal was compounded by the visitors' defence opening up for Adam Idah to score his first League goal of the season.

Richarlison stepped off the bench to give Everton hope with a magnificent strike but despite having half an hour remaining to grab at least a draw, Benitez's side failed to make further inroads and succumbed to defeat for the ninth time in 12 games.

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The manager was hoping that the returns from injury of Richarlison and Yerry Mina, together with the availability of Dominic Calvert-Lewin would help him build on the slender win over Hull City in the FA Cup last weekend.

The Brazilian and Colombian weren't risked from the start but even though the absence of Allan and Tom Davies through illness and injury respectively complicated any desire Benitez might have had to deploy three in midfield, he should have had enough talent at his disposal to beat a team that had lost six on the bounce in the League.

He opted for the much-maligned Salomon Rondon playing off Calvert-Lewin, however, and apart from Demarai Gray's penetrating runs, the Toffees were largely toothless as a result until Richarlison replaced the Venezuelan in the 55th minute.

Dean Smith had managed to gee up his struggling charges and they matched Everton in the early going, Pierre Lees-Melou seeing a shot from distance saved by Jordan Pickford and Tim Krul needing to be alert to swallow a low drive from Gray that was searching out the near post.

Parity was broken in the 16th minute, though, when Josh Sargent's cross came in from the Canaries' right and Keane stuck out a leg that diverted the ball past Pickford to give the hosts the lead.

They were two goals to the good almost immediately. Everton were trying to attack at one end when Seamus Coleman sold Anthony Gordon short with an attempted pass that was intercepted by Brandon Williams who strode forward and calmly threaded the ball to Idah to fire past Pickford.

It almost got worse for Everton after Coleman was dispossessed again and Teemu Pukki was played into acres of space in the Blues' half but Pickford raced 15 yards outside his box to play “sweeper keeper” and close the Finn down.

A weak Rondon volley that was comfortably gathered and an uncertain moment when Krul blocked a low corner behind via Ben Gibson were as close as Everton came to worrying their hosts' defence in what was a desperately impotent showing.

The visitors kept the self-destruct button at hand early in the second half when Vitalii Mykolenko almost gifted Norwich their third goal with a blind back-pass straight to Idah but, again, Pickford snuffed out the danger before Benitez finally made moves to change his approach with his two substitutions.

And it took the Brazilian just six minutes to make his mark. A corner from the Blues' right was initially cleared but Everton kept the ball and when Krul failed to get proper purchase on a punch from Mykolenko's deep cross, it sat up invitingly for Richarlison to overhead-kick it cleanly into the top corner from near the penalty spot.

What should have been the catalyst for an all-out assault on the Norwich goal failed to spark much more attacking penetration from the Toffees, however, as Norwich defended in numbers and dealt with the slow-tempo play in front of them.

Mina's header off a deep free-kick bounced awkwardly off Gibson but Calvert-Lewin wasn't able to pounce on the loose ball before Krul smothered it and Ben Godfrey dug out a cross from the byline but Gordon's shot from close range was charged down by a lunging block.

Krul then saved a crisp shot from Godfrey but there was precious little from Everton in the closing stages and it was Norwich who almost completed the Merseysiders' humiliation at the end of seven minutes of stoppage time when Milo Rashica rolled a shot off the post as he had raced away with just one blue jersey in pursuit.

The result lifts Norwich, who have looked doomed almost from the outset, off the bottom of the table and to within six points of Everton who are in very real danger of being sucked into a battle against relegation over the second half of the season.

It's difficult to see how Benitez can survive what is as bad a run of results as any in the club's Premier League history as fan pressure builds to a crescendo.

 


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