Encouraging signs as Everton earn first win under Silva

By Lyndon Lloyd 18/08/2018 61comments  |  Jump to last
Everton 2 - 1 Southampton

If you’re on social media and follow enough Everton accounts you won’t have been able to escape the much-repeated — and retweeted! — fact that today Richarlison became the first player to score in his first two games for the club since Brian McBride in 2003.

It’s a statistic that perhaps says more about the paucity of the Blues’ finances, pulling power and recruiting over the intervening 15 years than the Brazilian’s achievement but it underscores the impact he has made since Everton “ruined the transfer market” by splashing out £35m on the 21 year-old last month.

Incredibly, Richarlison’s last 53 shots for Watford yielded no goals; his first three for Everton have all found the back of the net. Goodison Park has a new hero; an industrious, skillful, goalscoring wide man who has provided genuine excitement and flashes of thrilling ability in just 80 minutes worth of action so far.

What’s even more exciting for Evertonians is that, really like the team’s performance as a whole, you get the sense there is much, much more to come. By turns dormant and electrifying, Richarlison flitted in and out of his first competitive appearance in front of his home fans. Peripheral for the first 20-odd minutes of the game, he looked to be headed for the treatment table when he slipped awkwardly in the 28th minute, unnaturally extending his groin and crying out in pain, only to return to the action and head home an excellent goal to double Everton’s lead just three minutes later.

The Blues’ first goal, one that underlined the difference in approach and imagination of the new manager compared to that of his archaic predecessor, had been even better. A training-ground routine played out to perfection on the main stage, it caught Southampton cold and put Marco Silva’s men ahead with a quarter of an hour gone.

That Everton were two goals to the good with a little over half an hour gone without having consistently found third gear was both a cause for optimism that they could increase the visitors’ misery but also a source of consternation when Mark Hughes’s Saints rallied after the interval and made it an uncomfortable final half hour or so for their hosts when Danny Ings halved the deficit from a corner.

While many of Silva’s directives are clearly evident already — Everton press higher, work harder, are more dangerous from set-pieces, manage the game better and generally move the ball quicker and more effectively — some of last season’s foibles remain. Concerns remain on the defensive side and that inability to put matches beyond their opponents to stave off nervy finales is something that still needs to be developed.

They deserve credit, however, for grinding out the win in what was often a bruising encounter against a team that appears to have been moulded very much after their manager’s uncompromising and physical style. Not generally known for brute force, Southampton conceded a litany of fouls across the 90 minutes, collected four yellow cards in first half and were lucky not to have at least one man sent off for second bookable offences.

Three of the early infringements ended with efforts on target, albeit routine saves by Alex McCarthy, from Gylfi Sigurdsson free kicks, one ended Morgan Schneiderlin’s afternoon early because of injury but one led to breakthrough after Sigurdsson himself was clipped by Wesley Hoedt as he danced past the centre half not far outside the penalty area.

Leighton Baines shaped to bend one over the wall but rolled a pass to Morgan Schneiderlin inside the box instead where the Frenchman laid it off to Theo Walcott with the outside of the boot and the forward took a touch before lifting into the goal via the goalkeeper’s glove.

Southampton, who had gone close themselves in the 10th minute when Charlie Austin guided a free header wide of goal from a free kick, came within inches of equalising against the run of play in the 25th minute, though. Cedric Soares unloaded a swerving missile from outside the box that Jordan Pickford spilled into Ings’s path but got a vital arm on the striker’s shot to diver it onto the face of the crossbar to prevent what had looked to be a certain goal.

Three minutes later, as Richarlison lay in a heap following his fall and Southampton counter-attacked, weak defending by Michael Keane ushered Austin in on goal but Pickford did well to get to the ball first with a strong hand, referee Lee Mason waving away appeals for a penalty as the striker went down as a result.

Everton seemingly put themselves on course for a handsome victory three minutes after that. Seamus Coleman ended a fine passing move by pushing the ball down the flank to Walcott who whipped the ball across and Richarlison rose expertly above Soares to power a header past McCarthy and make it 2-0.

Ings had another chance from a corner but glanced wide 10 minutes before half-time but he couldn’t miss with his next opportunity, also from a corner on the Saints’ right, nine minutes into the second half. What appeared to be zonal marking from Everton left the on-loan striker completely unmarked in the six-yard box so that when the dead ball delivery was flicked by Mario Lemina, he had the simple of task of shooting past Pickford.

Everton were unquestionably the better side overall, however, and they found the incisiveness a dozen minutes later to score the third goal through Walcott, only to have it chalked off for a fractional offside decision against Tosun, and then carve out a gilt-edged chance for Walcott to end the contest legitimately, only for the former Gunner to drag his shot horribly across goal when he seemed odds-on to score.

Profligacy of the kind that stopped him from being a genuine star for club and country in his Arsenal days perhaps but had he scored he would unquestionably have taken the man-of-the-match award from Sigurdsson who was a tireless fulcrum even if he wasn’t superlative on the day.

The game had not been put to bed and, as such, Goodison had to endure one of those uncertain last 20-odd minutes as the opposition came forward in search of another equaliser but Southampton were largely kept at bay. Instead it was the Blues who might have scored again. First, when Idrissa Gueye’s low drive was parried away by McCarthy and then when substitute Oumar Niasse tried to gallop clear behind the defence but the ball got held up in his gangly stride allowing the covering defender to close him out.

So, three points on the board a week after Silva probably would have registered his first win as Everton boss were it not for Jagielka’s red card and things are looking very encouraging at Goodison under the new man. What was striking was how much better almost to man virtually the same team that Sam Allardyce complained he had inherited and could do more to improve than he was already doing played today.

Gueye was his usual tigerish presence in the centre of the park but was so much better with his distribution; Schneiderlin was actually deemed a significant loss when he went off even though his replacement, Tom Davies, looked re-energised and barely put a foot wrong for the rest of the afternoon; and, as was the case against Wolves last week, there was just so much more balance about the side.

At the back, Mason Holgate was composed, robust and solid, making a very strong case that it should be he who steps into Phil Jagielka’s shoes now that the club captain appears to be on the way out of the starting XI.

Keane, however, was less convincing in his efforts to ensure that Silva has a real selection headache when it comes to new signing Yerry Mina. The ex-Burnley man was shown up as the weak link at the back on two or three occasions and although he wasn’t punished, they serve as notes of caution when it comes to settling on the best combination at centre half.

Nevertheless, taken as a whole, when you consider that neither Bernard nor André Gomes, two technically gifted, experienced midfield players, have yet to kick a ball in anger in an Everton jersey and that Silva’s work has only just begun, there is so much to be optimistic about for the season. Tougher tasks than Southampton lie ahead but the new regime is off to a hugely encouraging start.

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Reader Comments (61)

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Steve Dickinson
1 Posted 19/08/2018 at 08:49:52
It's a testament to Silva's approach and coaching that the ten starters from yesterday who were with us last season all played at a far higher level, both individually and collectively. Add to that the talents and hard work of Richarlison and the anticipated quality of the yet-to-be-deployed new signings, and we have many reasons to be optimistic.
Derek Knox
2 Posted 19/08/2018 at 09:00:06
Good article, Lyndon, which illustrates, although early days, the transformation which Marco Silva has achieved.

As Steve says, barring Richarlison, there were ten of the team from last season; it does bode well for the forthcoming season. With reinforcements yet to come in, we may just have a side capable of holding their own in the Premier League and possibly a Cup.

Although, having said that, the defence still has me worried – especially from opposition counters and set-pieces.

Mark Tanton
3 Posted 19/08/2018 at 09:01:57
He’s been a total breath of fresh air so far. The pressing and energy levels were incomparable with last season’s slow-boat antics. I hope he has won some of his doubters already, and I think this Everton side will get much better.

As Steve says, so far what we have seen is the same bunch of players we all dreaded last season, playing with a new intensity. That’s down to Silva and his relationship with players. The new signings have me salivating to be honest. How much better can we get? That is the question.

Brent Stephens
5 Posted 19/08/2018 at 09:23:48
Pleasing that yesterday showed that we can not only play some very attractive football but also hold our own against a physically aggressive and niggly side.

John G Davies
8 Posted 19/08/2018 at 09:32:52
Great summation, Lyndon. The transformation of last season's squad is a testimony to Silva's coaching ability.

Defensively we will tighten up as he works more with them. It will be any two out of Mina, Holgate and Zouma in my opinion.

Really positive outlook from Evertonians is great to see.

Jakub Kollar
11 Posted 19/08/2018 at 09:48:12
Most importantly, it’s finally fun again to watch Everton playing. Don’t get me wrong, I support our boys even when they can’t achieve a shot on goal for three matches in a row. But now I know that it’s gonna be a show when the Everton boys are there!
Si Pulford
13 Posted 19/08/2018 at 10:23:06
Still frail from set pieces which is disappointing. Holgate dominant but question marks over Keane.

Loosing Schneiderlin was actually quite a pivotal moment. We were destroying them before he went off and a slight reshuffle left us more open. Although Tom Davies played really well it was slightly further forward and that barrier that Schneiderlin and Gueye created was gone.

I would have been interested to know why he didn't swap Richarlison for Lookman? You'd imagine there's no better time to bring Lookman on than against a knackered full-back on a yellow card?

Last season, these took four points of us. Think about that for a minute...

Steven Jones
14 Posted 19/08/2018 at 10:43:46
Brent @5 – very good point. The overall Southampton tactic of breaking any of our moves early by hacking down anyone on the half-break was a big challenge to the team to keep playing. The ref ignored it as a deliberate tactic and so did MotD.

Si @16 – Great point on Schneiderlin and the rotation of the midfield as he went off. Gana does not play the quarterback role as good as Schniederlin and Davies doesn't do the press from the front as good as Gana. Therefore, the more physical approach of Southampton gained traction – and any continuity in passing or movement was worn down by bad refereeing and Southampton's tactics.

Steven Jones
15 Posted 19/08/2018 at 10:48:34
All round – took my two (9 and 10) to their first ever Premier League game – and they loved it!

The sun baked down on the Old Lady and walking around the stadium twice to see all the pictures of the old heroes was very emotional for me.

I was in the Bullens Lower Tier and the ground looked the best I can remember and the atmosphere and togetherness of the fans and the team was palpable.

Great day to be an Evertonian – we just needed Theo to convert that one and we would have been in party mood with the opposition in tatters. I still enjoyed the nervous last half-hour, which left me and the kids emotionally knackered at the end!

Brent Stephens
16 Posted 19/08/2018 at 10:52:22
Si (#13) – "Loosing Schneiderlin was actually quite a pivotal moment. We where destroying them before he went off and a slight reshuffle left us more open. Although Tom Davies played really well, it was slightly further forward and that barrier that Schneiderlin and Gueye created was gone".

Yes, Schneiderlin sits and Gana roams more. Davies and Gana both roamed.

A "pivotal" change.

Terry Farrell
17 Posted 19/08/2018 at 10:54:11
Good performance all round and some great movement off the ball. Chuffed that Tom Davies came on and had a great game. He needed that.
Chris Gould
18 Posted 19/08/2018 at 11:05:04
Saints fans will not enjoy the style of play Hughes employed yesterday. He's clearly forgotten that he's not Stoke's manager any more. Ings was a handful and will cause many defences problems, but not the type of player who should have been anywhere near a top 6 side.

Zonal marking only works if you have giant centre-backs who win everything in the air, hence the purchases of Mina and Zouma. Keane was also very good in the air for Burnley.

If you don't make the initial clearance, then you're immediately in trouble as you haven't a clue where your man is. We saw this yesterday and it's a big worry. Zonal marking also allows the opposition to have a free run at the ball as our boys are not tight to them. It may all come good with the introduction of Mina, but we must be more alert to the opposition drifting into space.

Silva obviously thinks it will work, but I think we're in for some shaky moments until the players get a grasp of it. I just hope that he'll be prepared to ditch it if necessary and doesn't share any of Martinez's stubbornness to tactical change.

So far, so good. Silva has been impressive.

Brian Harrison
19 Posted 19/08/2018 at 11:15:58
Early days but the change in style is quite evident from what was served by our previous 2 managers. We had movement and pace right through the team, and in Richarlison a very exciting young player. It was almost inconceivable that 10 of these players played last season, yet this team was unrecognizable in pace and performance and the will to win from last season.

With Mina, Zouma, Bernard and Gomes still to come into the team, things are looking very positive. Last season, apart from the number 10 position, there was no competition for places; now, there is competition for every position. How nice to see Sigurdsson play in his proper position just behind the front 3 – his best game in a blue shirt for me yesterday. Holgate was another who had a good game; pity Schneiderlin had to go off as he and Gana had a grip in midfield. When Tom came on, we didn't quite have the same control, but he and Schneiderlin are different types so the game was bound to be more open, which suited Southampton.

I think the win was very important, to follow up a draw with 10 men last week. The win reinforces to the players that Silva's methods are working, and the win gives the same belief to the fans. We all know what getting off to a bad start creates; last season, albeit a tougher fixture to start, we were on the back foot from Day 1. The players never recovered from that poor start and the manager lost his job.

Yes, there will be tougher questions as the season progresses but, with the additions to the squad, I think we will be better-prepared for the harder games that are ahead. I also think it's easier to come into a side that's winning, but it's a whole different ball game to come into a side that is struggling.

So... Bournemouth away – who have started the season with 2 wins, so their confidence will be high – then Huddersfield at home. I think another 4 points from these 2 games will give us and Silva a solid base from which to build on.

Kevin Prytherch
20 Posted 19/08/2018 at 11:20:05
Overall a good performance.

Pickford got out of jail with his save, other than another dodgy parry he did well.

Coleman and Baines both impressed down the flanks. Silva obviously put emphasis on the wing play as this is where we destroyed them, Walcott and Richarlison were very good. Richarlison work rate and willingness to defend both stand out, I reckon £40 million could be a steal in a few years.

Tosun played well, however it is concerning that he can't get into a goal scoring position against the likes of Southampton.

Although Sigurdsson played well, he is not the creative focal point we need and it's telling that Baines probably took the majority of set pieces. I reckon he's probably got 3/4 games left before permanent replaced if Bernard is up to scratch.

Gana was excellent, bar one dodgy pass to Baines.

Schneiderlin was disciplined, and offers the defensive protection that Keane needs, however I think the biggest difference between him and Davies was that Davies always looked for a forward pass when he came on, whereas Schneiderlin played sideways and backwards again. I prefer Davies; however, I also think it's telling that Davies played well when introduced as a sub and less pressure on him.

Holgate was excellent, Keane had his moments.

A win is a win; however, it's only Southampton at home and we should be winning these by more than one.

Keith Harrison
21 Posted 19/08/2018 at 11:37:59
Ah, the lesser spotted Halligan resurfaces after I waited all night in the Winslow after the game.

Southampton were Stoke on steroids. They systematically kicked all our front 4 by rote until even that dozy sod of a ref booked one. Hoedt and Lemina in particular were worthy of an early bath.

Lapses in concentration let them back in the game, along with our profligacy, esp Walcott.

Good early signs as some of our link up play was scintillating, and a more settled defence can only improve us further.

Gana's passing still a concern, and our venerable full backs are starting to look their age in the latter part of matches, more so given the terrific tempo we now engage.

Early days, but halcyon days ahead?

Mike Allison
22 Posted 19/08/2018 at 11:45:14
Chris (#18), I'd argue all day that zonal marking is far better in the long run. When marking man-to-man, defenders become obsessed with their own man to the point of committing blatant fouls and even ignoring the ball. Zonal defending of set-pieces allows defenders to focus on watching the ball and heading it away.
Frank Wade
23 Posted 19/08/2018 at 11:47:20
I think one of the key differences is the fitness of the team. We were faster to the ball. Saints players were a step off the pace which contributed to the high number of fouls. I don't think that was their game plan.
Gary Russell
24 Posted 19/08/2018 at 12:26:14
Muchly positivo in these early days and most is looking good with more to come.

Watching MotD we had 9, maybe 10 blues in our box yet not one picked up Ings on the edge of the six. It was laughable. Zonal mark, clonal mark, atonal mark, but not no-mark! Jeezuz, call it what ya want, but do the important part of the phrase... mark!!!

I was anything but a Neville fan and still don't understand how someone with such a lack of talent or skill had the success he did (making it through the Premier League). He did, however, on MotD, highlight the offside goal, which the programme's editorial team deemed unworthy filler for our cut of the game. He even went so far as to correcting himself when he said 'our', revealing he may still have a soft spot for us. We need every head we can get in the media world, but less so if the positive shoots of Silva - Brands - Moshiri reign will make us hard to resist.

Results on the pitch are the be-all and end-all. Hopefully with style and flair, and as I said, so far so good. Yeah, yeah, happy clappers and optimism get shot down on here, and I also watched with the same 'typical Everton will concede' feeling.

Is there any manager as galling and depressing as Sparky? A perpetual wasp chewer...

John Boon
25 Posted 19/08/2018 at 13:10:18
Just not having to listen to input from Allardyce before or after the game is so refreshing.

Your report covered all aspects of the match. Hopefully we continue to make progress by playing attacking, attractive football.

Jack Convery
26 Posted 19/08/2018 at 13:13:41
The players are smiling again, something that went missing when Martinez lost the dressing room in his 2nd season.

Things are looking good because Pickford can play better, so too can Coleman, who had a difficult day against Redmond and Bertrand. Holgate is coolness personified. Keane gives me the jitters but he is better so far this season.

Baines has obviously decided rumours of his demise are very premature. Gueye played well and was given a lot of praise by Silva, which makes me think Schneiderlin will be out for a while. Schniederlin is doing better but I'd rather we went out and got a replacement in January if possible.

Theo can defo play better and should get a lot more freedom than Richarlison has so far. Richarlson is a star and he too will only get better. A certain starter for Brazil in the 2022 World Cup. Tosun is working his socks off and I reckon he will get us 15 goals at least this season.

It was good to see Davies play well and he was getting better as the game went on, making me think its all about confidence with him. Silva is the type of manager to give him that.

Calvert-Lewin is still a work in progress and this season is going to be very important for him to prove he can be part of EFCs future.

Niasse is Niasse and makes me smile as he causes defenders to have kittens when he harries them. He's also the only one who Carried On Smiling during the very dark days of the recent past. All of this comes without Lookman, Digne, Mina, Gomes and Bernard — good, isn't it!!!

Gordon Crawford
27 Posted 19/08/2018 at 13:23:44
That was a warm fuzzy post Jack. :)
David Hallwood
28 Posted 19/08/2018 at 13:31:05
I'll put the body amour and the tin hat on and say that the performance was akin to an RS performance of 2 seasons ago. Lot's to admire going forward and a zonal defence that gives lot's of opportunities to the opposition.

Sorry but nothing will make me pro zonal defence. Perhaps it's the way I've been brought up; mark your man, space never scored a goal etc. But the fact remains that Ings was free in the box and couldn't miss and I feel we'll see a lot of goals like that this season.

But the "what's hot" easily outnumbered the "what's not", so it's onwards and upwards.

John Pierce
29 Posted 19/08/2018 at 13:31:34
Kevin, I think you've misjudged Sigurdsson's contribution yesterday. Whilst in the long run you maybe right that Bernard takes his shirt, Siggy was the standout yesterday. His set-pieces, of which he took more than you suggest, maybe three in the first 10 minutes yielded two on-target Keane headers.

His overall positioning and ability to play the obvious pass with care and weight cannot be understated. The peak, an interchange with Walcott which should have been buried.

My hope with the zonal marking is that it is honed. However, if Silva sees it is not for this group of players, he is shrewd enough to change it. In conjunction with that, with pace in the team, not to see all XI back at corners/free kicks.

Both Richarlison and Tosun are good aerially, I'd like to see Walcott left up top.

The cup tie with the Millers should see a debut or two! Onward! UTFT!

John G Davies
31 Posted 19/08/2018 at 14:18:35
Our centre-half partnership will tighten up as Silva works with them.

Lack of concentration from Keane yesterday. It happens.

Watching the Man City game, John Stones was fast asleep again on Huddersfield's goal.

Geoff Trenner
32 Posted 19/08/2018 at 14:54:03
Young Mason Holgate had a fine game, a couple of errors but that happens. Keane less convincing but better than he looked under Sam.

Mason deserves to stay in the side, I'm not sure what the left/right balance is with outer new centre-back signings.

Chris Nolan
33 Posted 19/08/2018 at 15:04:33
I'm a new poster, having just moved away for a new life in Vancouver, British Columbia. Are there other Blues here by the way? The coverage here is great though the early 7am starts will be a challenge!

Like many on here, I'm encouraged by our start. Aside from the effervescent Richarlison, it's the same players as last season but Silva is already getting a different tune out of them. Defensive errors are a concern, of course, and I'm looking forward to seeing Mina and Zouma putting pressure on when fit.

To my mind, Holgate is the next line in both form and potential. Jagielka is now past it and I'm not yet convinced by Keane.

A good start! Let's hope we can build on it!

Darren Hind
34 Posted 19/08/2018 at 15:07:36
Have a look at that first goal again. The Schniederlin critics (me) must give credit where its due. I thought he just played a clever little pass around the corner but, having taken a closer look, I see he was treating us to a "Ronaldinho" (looking in the opposite direction as he passes it). Great stuff

Flaws all over the place yesterday so we could nit pick all day... but I'm made up with the way we went about this game.

We won't really know whether this coach is a top notch winner until we get to the business end of the season, but this will do very nicely for now. He not only allows his players to play — he seems to be insisting upon it.

John Pierce
35 Posted 19/08/2018 at 15:16:50
My biggest cause for optimism is Richarlison, perhaps not in the universal way you might think. Of course he has very good individual talent.

But my point of admiration is the effect he has already had on Baines & Sigurdsson. He is the first player since Pienaar to be able to hold the ball up on the left. That physical trait has immediately emboldened Baines who trusts him both to hold it and cover.

In a season where there are legitimate doubts about Leighton's physical limitations, our Blue Brazilian might afford him an Indian Summer?

That same skill has drawn Sigurdsson more into the play; allied with the Iceman's ability to select the right pass with the right weight, they look a very dangerous ‘Troika'.

That's what has me foaming at the mouth!!!

Don Alexander
36 Posted 19/08/2018 at 15:17:57
Chris (#33), the West Van Legion on 18th St just up from Marine Drive had a clique of Toffess ex-pats a few years ago. Great bar too.
David Barks
37 Posted 19/08/2018 at 15:37:10

I agree, Schneiderlin deserves credit for how he had been playing before being forced off. Hopefully not too serious because I do feel that his injury disturbed our midfield cohesion and was key to them getting back into the game. Crazy that I’m saying that.

I think the most important thing we are seeing is not any individual player or performance, but it’s how the team is playing as a TEAM. They are all working together, communicating and giving effort for each other. That is massive and the manager deserves credit for getting that from them because it’s clearly been missing for a few seasons.

I maintain that this season is a building block. I don’t think we can say we’ll know about this manager at the business end of the season. I expect to see this team continue to grow, the football to continue to improve as the cohesion and understanding among the players grows week after week and month after month. We have to remember that this is going to take time. But I’m really enjoying watching this team play football.

Ian Bennett
38 Posted 19/08/2018 at 15:38:36
I really like Richarlison's work rate. Just keep pinning the Merson articles on the dressing room walls, and keep picking up the MotM awards.

I've never seen one player get so much grief over a price tag that he can't control. He's given the lad pelters for last season when he was just 20, played a very long season after the Brazil league and internationals, and lost a manager who believed in him. An absolute joke.

Mike Gaynes
39 Posted 19/08/2018 at 16:05:10
Excellent summary, Lyndon. I had Gana shading Siggy as my MOTM, but both were superb.

John #35, great point about Richarlison's effect on Baines and Siggy with his holdup play, and I would also emphasize his defensive work, which enables Baines to get all the way forward and operate with much more freedom. Now use that napkin, please.

Darren #34, I noticed that little lookaway too, very stylish. I give Silva full marks for giving his side the relaxed confidence on the ball that is enabling touches like that all over the pitch. Some of the little passing moves yesterday were among the best I've seen in years.

Aside from that, what I like about Silva's work so far is the intensity he's injected into the side -- everybody working hard, closing down, swarming the ball. Not a passenger to be seen anywhere.

What I hate about Silva is the zonal marking on corners. Before Ings' goal, we gave up three free headers on corners. Our defenders were lined up like the subjects of a firing squad, complete with blindfolds -- nobody paid the least attention to Ings standing alone in front.

Brent, welcome back from The Other Side, but your posts were better when you were a spectral figure. Sorry.

Brent Stephens
40 Posted 19/08/2018 at 16:07:31
Thanks, Mike. Though I'm not sure which way to take that!! I can be hurt!
Derek Knox
41 Posted 19/08/2018 at 16:09:32
Ian @38, I think I'd rather see Merson pinned to the dressing room wall, preferably with 6-inch nails.

Like you say though, as long as we make him eat his vitriolic words, it will act as a spur to not only Richie, but to the rest of the team.

Although it's still early days yet, and having the benefit of watched all the other Prem teams, apart from Spurs, Man City, Chelsea and of course the RS, I can't see any reason why we shouldn't get something out of playing the others.

The only proviso being that we tighten the defence, we could have so easily ended up with only one point yesterday, when it looked at one stage we were coasting.

Steve Ferns
42 Posted 19/08/2018 at 16:13:46

Richarlison is called Charlie by his teammates — not Ricky or Richi.

Peter Mills
43 Posted 19/08/2018 at 16:31:57
It was great to be part of an enthusiastic Goodison again, with players trying their damnedest and the crowd willing them home in the last few minutes.

I also enjoyed Seamus having a chat with a couple of the Southampton players about their rough-house challenges.

Excellent also that the tragic passing away of Jack Riding was marked with a standing ovation in the 18th minute, by both sets of fans.

Derek Knox
44 Posted 19/08/2018 at 16:45:24
Steve @42, I stand corrected, even though I am sitting down. :-)
Pete Clarke
45 Posted 19/08/2018 at 17:13:26
A great result yesterday but should have been by a greater margin.

Richarlison is a very good player but is very quick thinking also. That reverse pass to Walcott was lovely and a goal then would have seen us as comfortable winners.

Tosun works hard for sure but he definitely lacks that burst of speed over the first few yards so he will never be prolific. Any striker having Walcott and Richarlison close by will get goals though and I reckon we will see a bit more of Calvert-Lewin soon.

Surprised at the praise Schneiderlin has been getting because, in my eyes, the guy should have long left us. He can't really pass it well, or lesser still forward; we may well have slowed Southampton down with him on but that also slows us down. Davies did very well and should grasp this chance now as it is a position that needs a strong player.

Happy with the win and the confidence it brings. Next up is against the manager I thought we should have gone for so hopefully Silva proves me wrong.

Michael Byrne
46 Posted 19/08/2018 at 17:18:11
Chris @33.

Lots of Blues here in Vancouver. 7am starts are great, especially in winter. One can get up, watch the footy over coffee, and then spend the day skiing. It's just the 4:30am starts that are a pain in the arse.

Michael Lynch
47 Posted 19/08/2018 at 19:02:48
I thought the atmosphere was great yesterday - hardly surprising as we were witnessing the type of football we haven't seen for some time. Very happy with the way we played, particularly with how we defended a slender lead by attacking even more, rather than retreating into our own half and trying to hold on. We might end up frustrated a few times this season, as we give up leads by not defending in numbers, but we'll also see a few games like yesterday, where we excite and entertain and still manage to grab three points.

Sigurdsson was excellent from where I was sitting, pushed much further up than he was last season and playing a lot of those trademark little through balls and one-twos.

Really look forward to the rest of the season.

Len Hawkins
48 Posted 19/08/2018 at 20:07:01
One thing that could put a dampener on yesterday is Hughes moaning about Pickford not getting a red for trying to rub that tattoo off Ings back. Apparently the ref said he didn't see it so I hope there is no review of the incident as our luck may be tested.
Mike Gaynes
49 Posted 19/08/2018 at 20:13:32
Charlie it is, Steve. Thanks.
Steve Austin
50 Posted 19/08/2018 at 20:39:01
Chris (#33)... I am in Burnaby, BC... you will find the 4:30am games are harder to get used to, but you do and you will find that your weekend can be ruined by 9am Saturday morning, especially last season. But nothing like starting the day off with a big smile... Welcome to the West Coast!!
Steve Austin
51 Posted 19/08/2018 at 20:44:10
Don (#36), We can't go into the Leg Iron in West Van, my brother cooks meals there, and me Mum helps with the dinners, both redshite that is why I now stay away, even being a member since 81. Full of redshite now, and my family being two of them...
Kevin Prytherch
52 Posted 19/08/2018 at 21:14:57
John (#29) – I'm not saying Sigurdsson didn't play well. I just don't think he's good enough to challenge the top 6, and I think it's telling that the set pieces were shared. To me, it seems that he's not in Silva's long-term plans... otherwise, a dead-ball specialist would have been taking 90% of dead balls around their goal.

Pete (#45) – I totally agree, other than defensive discipline (basically an extra body at centre-back), I don't see what Schneiderlin offers. With two decent centre-backs, I think his role will be redundant and definitely don't see the praise that's given to him. He's basically playing better than the crap he was last season – playing slightly less crap and totally safe and within himself.

Ian Bennett
53 Posted 19/08/2018 at 21:26:04
I think Sigurdsson will get a load of free- kick assists this season. Richarlison is likely to be the most fouled player in the Premier League.

A right-footed free-kick coming in just needs a touch from a Tosun, Mina, Keane etc – and in it goes.

Sigurdsson has pace in front of him, and competition on the bench. I am expecting a lot better season.

Jamie Sweet
54 Posted 19/08/2018 at 23:27:56
I would be interested to hear your thoughts on Tosun, Lyndon. He seems to be one of those players that really polarises opinions amongst us Blues.

I've heard a range of opinions, from calls to get rid of him, to claims we've got a top-notch striker on our hands, and everything in between!

Personally, I thought he had a great game against the Saints. His first touch, strength and ability to lay the ball off is excellent. I don't think he'll ever be a 20-goals-a-season striker, but his presence will certainly result in decent returns for all the players playing around him.

He had loads of balls pinged into him from midfield, and I don't remember one of them bouncing off his shin, he always seemed to be able to keep the move going. This really helps us transition from midfield to attack a lot quicker as he brings in the other forwards into play around the penalty area.

I feel his style is integral to the current game plan. I like it. I'm pretty sure Richarlison, Walcott and Sigurdsson will be liking it too!

Don Alexander
55 Posted 19/08/2018 at 23:36:04
To me, Tosun has ball retaining skills comparable with Mark Hughes. It ain't always pretty but, with a good team around him (which Hughes never had with us), it can be pretty effective.

Now if he can at this late stage develop a scoring instinct similar to the young Hughes I'd be delighted. As he is, he looks useful as a scorer rather than spectacular, in other words, exactly what we paid for him. He does put a shift in though.

Mark Tanton
56 Posted 20/08/2018 at 00:10:02
Tosun's standing ovation on Saturday after being pulled told the story for me. He led the line superbly from the first minute and is a real centre-forward.

He might not get more than 15 a season but he pulls defenders around, holds the ball up, and gets others in on goal. He is doing a hell of a lot of donkey work, and it's appreciated. He does it well.

David Barks
57 Posted 20/08/2018 at 00:54:40
I think Tosun will be perfect for us this season. The perfect personality up front and hard work given the “team building” mode that we are in right now.

He'll go on a run of goals at some point but, more importantly, he'll work his ass off and is skillful working with the other attackers in the team. Next season, that might be a different story.

Chris Jones [NZ]
58 Posted 20/08/2018 at 01:00:26
A few thoughts from down here:

Siggurdsson and Gana were excellent.

Tosun played bloody well too – a centre-forward is about more than just scoring.

Our central defence is young and relatively inexperienced; it will improve, but we'll need to breathe and go with the mistakes for a while.

If you're going zonal at corners, someone has to spot and call the gaps.

Davies played well – much more controlled than I've seen previously, but he didn't fill the Schneiderlin role which therefore exposed Keane and Holgate and shows the tactical value of a true holder.

Richarlison - he'll do.

Oh, and Mark Hughes is, was, and ever will be a first order twat.

David Barks
59 Posted 20/08/2018 at 01:09:33
Chris Jones,

Your last sentence should be pinned to the homepage of this site.

Darren Hind
60 Posted 20/08/2018 at 09:47:20
One complaint not related to the performance.

I tried to get a ticket for a mate of mine who wanted to travel up from Northampton. I was told by the box office that the game was sold out, I know another guy who was told the same, but during the game I looked across and saw lots of empty seats over by where the Upper Gwladys meets the Upper Bullens.

Somebody needs to tighten that up. Empty seats and disappointed fans.

Alex Parr
61 Posted 20/08/2018 at 09:58:32
"Oh, and Mark Hughes is, was, and ever will be a first order twat."

Mate of mine used to work at Man City, said Hughes was the most arrogant, rude and obnoxious person they've ever seen at the club. Refused to speak with employees and the tunnel police, refused handshakes, etc.

Apparently Erikkson was an absolute gentleman.

Victor Yu
62 Posted 20/08/2018 at 10:25:09
Why didn't Digne make the bench at least though?

Is he hurt?

Victor Yu
63 Posted 20/08/2018 at 10:28:37
And I don't want to see Richarlison anywhere near the Brazilian national team. As soon as it happens, he will be gone in 6 months.
Joe McMahon
64 Posted 20/08/2018 at 10:39:01
Jack, Calvert-Lewin will still be a work in progress in another 3 years. He is not a Premier League striker... could you see him doing what Callum Wilson did? I see his level at somewhere like Barnsley, not even Boro or WBA.

I also, like many, think we need Cenk and Theo to score more. Things are looking much better, and having Mr Brands makes a difference, and a manager who knows what he's doing.

Laurie Hartley
65 Posted 20/08/2018 at 10:45:11
Jamie (#54) – I share your views on Tosun. He makes it possible to play two wide men and with Sigurdsson just behind him we have the ability to really stretch defences. I think we will see a better Walcott this season because of this.

All we have to do now is sort the two central defenders out. I think Holgate will make the grade but unfortunately Keane just doesn't convince me. He ball watches too much.

To my way of thinking, if you are a centre-half, you attack the ball when it is in the air – full stop. So I guess that means I don't rate zonal marking.

Things are on the up.

David Hallwood
66 Posted 20/08/2018 at 10:49:34
Alex (#61), I've heard the same from a few people that he's a graceless fuck, and he was the same as a player. Obnoxious twat who I want to see sacked or relegated.

Brian Dagnall
67 Posted 20/08/2018 at 10:57:51
I think people on here are too influenced by the result. If it had been 2-2, which it could have been, or god forbid 2-3 the comments would be much less favourable.

So I return to something I have said on here before, that we must be patient and give Silva time, even if games go against us, as they surely will later. If he chooses zonal marking, then that is good enough for me. For me, Southampton scored because one of our guys was beaten in the air at the near post. The guy was marked, but at dead-ball situations we have to get to the ball first. If zonal marking doesn't work, then Silva will change it when he needs to.

But definitely, things are much better already. The ten guys from last season played better than before, and Richarlison is a great addition.

So I am a Silva fan and we must give him time. Optimistic but cautious.

Ray Smith
68 Posted 20/08/2018 at 19:33:39
I have just read Dermot Gallagher’s appraisal of the so called Pickford incident with Ings and am glad to see that Lee Mason was correct.

I only wish he had been firmer with the constant fouling by Southampton, who in my opinion were sent out by Hughes to rough up Richarlison, Sigurdsson and Tosun.

Well I’m glad to say it didn’t work and if Hughes stays Southampton will go down. He all but took Stoke down last year.

2 games in and he’s already blaming others instead of looking at himself. He wore the shirt once, but does anybody talk about him favourably, no, end of.

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